Fundraising Myths: No 5: It’s the economy, stupid


I’m a truly unfortunate person. Really. I seem to have started in fundraising just when the good times ended. Apparently they finished the day before I started my first job (I won’t say exactly when this was but it was a little while ago, the organisation had just had its first ever computer delivered and it was still in the box, that long ago). It must have been like that because ever since in every organisation I’ve worked in, the fundraisers have told me that it’s really hard to raise money because of the economy.

I think this basically ranks with the “dog ate my homework” as a credible excuse.

Now, clearly there is some relationship between the health of a country’s overall economy and how easy it is to raise money for charity. I experienced Ireland in the celtic tiger years and, sure there was lots of new money about (turned out not be real money, alas) and this helped us raise a lot of money for Concern. And the economic crisis in western economies since 2008 certainly hasn’t made life for fundraisers easy.

But, you know what? The organisations that have done good fundraising since then, the ones with clear strategies, real propositions that attract rather than repel donors and who, crucially, have continued to invest in their fundraising have done really well (British Red Cross say, or Dogs Trust, not to mention NDCS and WWF) and the ones who haven’t, well haven’t.

So that’s down to the economy then, definitely…

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