Through my in-house and freelance career, I have worked with quite a few Boards. All of them vastly different and at the same time, sharing many similarities.
It is often the case that on appointing a Fundraiser, the Board breathe a sigh of relief – “Phew, our work is over. Now its someone else’s responsibility”. If genuinely as a Board Member you and all of your colleagues have said this and have never been forced to reconsider your view, you’ve appointed the wrong fundraiser.
As the Board you are a Fundraiser’s first port of call. A good fundraiser will act as a catalyst, unlocking the sometimes hidden potential in your Board’s combined address book. However, you cannot simply hand over the contacts and leave the fundraiser to do all the work. They will do the leg work, the research, formulate the plan and help you to execute it. However, people give to people, and most effectively, to their Peers. This is not a relationship you can back out of at an early stage. It is recognised though that you may not personally want to make the ask yourself (that’s ok), you do need to be involved in the process.
Another common misnomer is how well you have to know someone before you can tell a fundraiser you know them! Trustees like to be well-connected and in a group scenario, they often don’t want to be seen to not be as useful as others. Just because you appeared in Who’s Who? on the same day as Stelios, does not mean you know him! To know someone from a Fundraiser’s point of view, they need you to be able to pick up your mobile and call them Now! I sometimes find that it is those who truly feel they are not well-connected who reap the best results. It means they have never ‘tapped-up’ their friends and colleagues and are often unaware of their potential.
A well-connected Board doesn’t have to be a Board full of rich friends (although they do help). Those who know Trustees of other organisations, companies in the area, who have a good reputation within their own sphere’s of influence and those who add credibility to your organisation all are needed.
I find it is best to work with Trustees identifying and approaching their contacts on an individual basis. They tend to be more honest, more open, and in the long run, more successful!
James Brooke Turner, Finance Director at The Nuffield Foundation speaking recently at the Association of Charity Foundations’ Investment Conference suggested that Charities have got into the habit of over-saving, that some have high reserves and that it is possible they have more than they need for the rainy day they anticipate.
What level of reserves does your charity have? In the past it has been suggested that a sensible amount to hold is approx 6 months’ running costs. However, we are aware that there are charities currently sitting on much more than that ‘just in case’ things get bad. How much worse are we planning on things getting?
Read this article from the Guardian, it is very interesting! If you do have reserves ‘to spare’ and you are considering what to do with them, Get In Touch!
We all know that it is important to thank our donors. However, it is a fact that some always slip through the net. With rising postal prices and not all donors being contactable by email, have Pell & Bales got it just right?
A simple phone call really only does take minutes and, from the figures they’re offering, could improve our retention.
Thanks to Katya’s Not for Profit Marketing blog for flagging this up!
A man who dresses up as a giraffe and carries out random acts of kindness towards people has said he does it to feel good!
Twice a week Armstrong Baillie, 32, dons a furry suit his mother made him, before travelling to different places to do good deeds.
He calls himself The Good Giraffe and lives in Dundee with his girlfriend and her daughter.
The BBC website reported this story on 14th November. I love the idea, and the picture that goes with the article.
I remember being in a school assembly when I was at Chethams in Manchester. Our head teacher was talking about the many homeless people who ‘lived’ in the streets around the school and asked what we could/should do to help them. He said he sometimes took them to the cafe and bought them a drink rather than giving them money. One girl said she gave 10p to each person. That was some 20 or so years ago now. I think she probably still does.
When did you last make a random act of kindness and how did it make you feel? Why not try it again today
We all know the warm fuzzy feeling when we give presents to those we love. Some people know the same feeling when giving to strangers – a cup of tea for a homeless person, an extra christmas present for a child in Ethiopia.
But did you know that giving to charity, either in cash, goods or time donated can also give you that same feeling of peace and well-being and can even have some health benefits?
“Dopamine – which makes you feel happy, and gives you the feeling that what you are doing is right – and opiates, the body’s own secret stash of heroin and morphine.”
Last year, Cancer Research sponsored an article in the Telegraph highlighting the effects Dr Hamilton found and applied that thinking to Charity giving (see the link below for their article).
America has successfully used the ‘feelgood’ factor to generate donations for decades where as the UK has tended to focus on the cause and the need. In these current times of austerity and long-term economic uncertainty, never has your extra donation been needed more! Maybe now is the time for Fundraisers in the UK to look to this alternative view of fundraising?
We might as well, what harm is there in trying?
As the articles states, Audrey Hepburn once said, “You have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
According to reports from the BBC this morning, donations to charity are down 20% in real terms in the past year.
The Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations have undertaken a piece of research with the Office of National Statistics into giving trends and have looked at how the recession is biting Britain’s charities.
They found a double impact: the number of people giving to Charity has fallen and so too has the average amount given. Is this really surprising given the current state of our economy and lack of confidence?
It is completely true to say that the £1 in your pocket this year is far less disposable that it was 5 years ago. How can charities fight to maintain their income in such circumstances?
How do David Cameron’s plans for the big society and out-sourcing of many necessary services to the charity sector stack up in the face of these findings?
Are you an established charity? What have you found in your giving trends? Are you a fundraiser? How are you managing to still generate the income your charity needs?
Get in touch and share your experiences
I came across this today whilst looking for something completely different. A firm of solicitors in Wilmslow have made a donation to The Christie in Manchester after the practice discovered the cash lying dormant in a client account and was unable to find its rightful owner.
They have had to go through the correct channels and gain permission from the SRA to make the donation in this way but the long and short of it is that a donation of over £10k has been made which would otherwise have festered in an account, unable to be spent on anything else.
So, I call to all you solicitors out there, have you any accounts like this and if so, would you like some help in ‘freeing’ the money to a new good charity home? If so, get in touch, I know plenty who would happily re-home any funds you may have