Fundraising new year’s resolutions

I have to admit I’ve never been a great one for New Year’s resolutions. Never quite saw why an arbitrary date would suddenly make you behave in a better or more productive way.

But really it’s as good a reason as any to review how things are going and maybe introduce a few improvements. I like Woody Guthrie’s list from 1942, (particularly the defeating fascism one).

So what would be the changes we all could make that would improve the fundraising that we collectively do. To raise more money and make more good things happen in the world?

Here’s my list, in no particular order

  1. Less about us. Too much non profit communication is too focussed on the charity and not about the donor. Let’s stop talking about what we are interested in and find out what our supporters want to hear about. And, I don’t know, maybe listen to what they say in return? And even, let’s go a bit wild here, sometimes change what we do in response…
  2. An end to “raising awareness”. Let’s stop the waste of charity resources on activities that have no discernible objectives or where results cannot be meaningfully quantified.
  3. Showing need, unflinchingly. If there’s real need it is our responsibility to show it and only by doing so will we raise the funds that are needed to address it.
  4. Not forgetting the individual. These are real people whose stories we are telling and we must not lose sight of that by turning them into “case studies” or poster children.
  5. Asking bravely.
    Will £2 a month really end poverty? Well if not why are we asking for it? Let’s have bold objectives and ask for the sums that are needed to achieve them.
  6. A bit more originality. Would not go amiss. The rules of good fundraising communication are pretty simple. That doesn’t mean that all fundraising should look and feel alike.
  7. Fundraisers moving out of the basement.
    Non profits stopping treating fundraising as an unpleasant necessity, treating donors as partners not cash cows, fundraising becoming a strategic function, boards and CEOs who are recruited with fundraising as a core competence. OK, I’m starting to dream here…

Happy New Year





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