Fundraising Myths: No 6: It’ll never work here


I love fundraising in new markets. Ever since I ran my first international campaign, for Sightsavers in Ireland at the end of the ’90s (1990s not 1890s, I know I’m old, but..), I have been fascinated by how fundraising changes and how it doesn’t across different countries and cultures. I now have had experience of doing some type of fundraising activity in at least 20 countries and I can’t wait to do the remaining 150 or so..I could bore for hours on the subject (oh right, you know that already…)

And whenever I get involved with a fundraising activity in a new country, I quickly come across someone who tells me that this form of fundraising won’t work in their market. “But you don’t understand, Ireland/India/Hong Kong/Italy/Sweden/Burkina Faso is different to the UK”. Well, the former Upper Volta might be, I haven’t fundraised there (but would love to try..). For the other places, well my experience is that what works for the same charity or cause in one market, more often than not works in lots of other markets. And there are loads of examples which demonstrate this. And the NGOs who are most successful in international fundraising tend to use very similar approaches in the majority of the markets they work in.

Not all the time, there are of course real differences in culture, language, laws (particularly tricky) that mean that an approach which works in one place won’t work in another country. But you won’t know this for sure until you try it.

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