Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Green Shoots or what?

How interesting that our erstwhile Institute Chairman is going to be the one to replace the legendary Giles Pegram at the NSPCC. Actually I think it's a very shrewd move! Although Paul hasn't been at RNIB all that long he is one of a few younger directors of fundraising who have the insight and understanding of this sector to go on investing when fainter ( and ofter older) hearts who ought to know better, are cutting budgets as a knee jerk reaction.

Even the recent CAF/NCVO survery of UK giving is hesitant to say more than there have been fewer large donations in the last 12 months; whilst Cathy Pharoah in the new Charity Monitor talks about very small growth and "real terms" declines. My own research amongst 30 charties involved in major gift programmes shows a very patchy picture which accords with what NfPSynergy predicted about the recession 12 months ago.

In the face of some grants and contracts being cut and some declines in individual giving fundraisers need to cross their legs and hold their nerves. Overall budgets may need to be trimmed in the short term but cutting investment makes no sense at all. What's more those fundraisers bowing to such cuts are doing the profession a lot of harm.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

September Professional Fundraising

Isn't it interesting how you say one thing and people hear something else?

The new pf has a decent report about the research I summarised at the end of July about how UK charities generally don't practice what they preach in terms of looking after and developing relationships with major givers.

They've picked up on my comments about the lack of conceptual frameworks, models and examples to help understand those who support a particular charity - and that is certainly an important observation.

However, I thought, my piece de resistance was that fact that whilst everybody acknowledges the fact that peer to peer asking is the most effective, powerful way to ask for gifts, very few charities are actually doing it!!!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Something in the air (As Thunderclap Newman would say).

Back off holiday and had to turn the central heating on last night so it must be autumn.

The association for the containment of Christmas is complaining about card catalogues going out before 1st November - they should be so lucky - I had my first offering, from the British Red Cross on 4th August followed by several others in the next couple of weeks. Is being first really the best way to gain market share? Frankly I doubt it. Charities seem unwilling or unable to innovate in established areas and are in real danger of missing a sea change (yet alone a seasonal change).

Frank C Dickenson seems to have got his PhD on the thesis that for fundraisers, "The Way We Write is All Wrong" (without mentioning his overuse of capitals) I agree.

He's analysed 1.5 million words of fundraising text from 880 (admittedly American) charities and concludes that, basically, it's crap! We've stopped writing personal stories and its all left brain information, mainly in the third party. Good Grief! The saintly Ken Burnett and Stephen Pigeon have been preaching for years to write stories to our favourite aunts (actually that was George Smith). So are we in the UK any better than our American cousins? I'd really like to hear your views.