Thursday, 25 February 2010

Fundraising Consultants - heros or villains?

Attended an excellent meeting of the consultants special interest group where Joe Saxton of NfP Synergy and Cathy Pharoah of the Centre for Philanthropic Giving, gave excellent presentations about the outlook for fundraising in the UK over the next year or two. Yours truely also did a turn on the impact for major gifts and major giving programmes. I do urge you to go onto the Institute of Fundraising website and look under the Consultants SIG section for the slides.

In a nutshell the jury's still out (of course)BUT there are a lot of implications for improving what we do, how we do it and to whom.

Naturally that self obsessed generation called the boomers are at the heart of a lot of the potential. Though remember as Linus (of Charlie Brown fame) says, "there's no heavier burden than great potential!"

Let me know what you think because I don't have a monopoly on good ideas, just a great supply.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

More fundraising research

Delighted that on Tuesday the Institute met with some 50 or so interested members, practitioners,academics, suppliers and the like to discuss what needs to be done in terms of making more research applicable to and usable by fundraisers. Of course I have a vested interest I hear you say, you're an academic now. Well that's true but I always have an eye to the usefulness of anything I'm undertaking as 20 years of practice has shown me that you simply can't have too much.

Anyway, as an aside, for a lecture about corporate social responsibility to some third year marketing undergraduates I was forced to do some desk research of my own. Sue Adkins always claims that the American Express link up with the Statue of Liberty restoration in 1983 is one of the first cases of Cause Related Marketing. However I found a Marriott Hotel and "March of the Dimes" link in 1976. Then I was reliably informed that Sunlight Soap had an on pack promotion supporting the RNLI in the 1930s. Can anyone beat that?

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Why feel guilty?

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about feelings of guilt. And that's not easy for someone who has been described variously as being relentlessly cheerful and a remorseless optimist.

Interviewed on in the Guardian ( about street canvassing I remarked that people need to sort out their own preferred giving and then stop feeling guilty about saying no to canvassers. In fact, I said, if they still felt guilty they'e better see my wife the pyschotherapist!

However I've just seen a Muscular Dystrophy poster using a child in a wheelchair with the caption " He'd like to walk away from this poster too". In my grumpy view this is guilt fundraising of the worst kind. Why make people feel bad when, with a bit more effort, you can inspire them to feel good about helping to change the world? It got me thinking that maybe I'm dismissing guilt too readily in pursuit of relationship fundraising.

I'm doing research into the motivations of those who give to charity and maybe I need to revise my methodology. After all if we accept that some people simply want to transact with the charity and not have a relationship that maybe we need to look much harder at some of those negative drivers? What do think? Do you feel guilty passing a blatently emotive, heart wrenching ad?