Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Why oh why is Sport Relief giving the Evening Standard £1m?

I don't believe it! Are they mad or am I losing it?

I applaud the fundraising efforts of the Evening Standard to raise money for London's homeless and dispossessed (now £8.3m). Equally I applaud All of Sport Relief's work in raising £52m for a huge range of good causes. However, what is the logic of one grant provider giving to another?

The Evening Standard are actively fundraising using the oxygen of free publicity via the daily paper and having those funds managed and distributed by CAN (Community Action Network). Nothing wrong in that. Similary Sport Relief fundraises using the oxygen of free publicity from the Beeb and then adds the money to that already administered by Comic Relief. OK so far? So now why is Sport Relief giving £1m to the standard to pass on to CAN to distribute?

It's a bit like Help for Heroes who fundraise (very successfully) using (amongst others) Murdock publicity and then give the money to some of the existing well established service charities. Perhaps they are more effective, not least because of all the extra publicity generated. However one can't help worrying whether much real additional cash is being raised and whether some events and activities cannibalize the efforts of those same charities that are supported by the new kids on the block?

I suppose I could be less grumpy and grateful for small mercies. At least they are giving the money to established providers who (hopefully) know what they are doing, rather than really reinventing the wheel and getting into direct service provision. Still it makes you think that there might be a better alternative.

Friday, 2 March 2012

What do you think of Fundraising Consultants?

The original Grumpy Old Fundraiser, John Sauve-Rodd sent me a very interesting survey about what clients think of their consultants and (and why not) what consultants think about their charity clients! Makes for some interesting reading, have a look at:

Of particular interest is the observation that "we only used them to persuade our boss to do what we wanted" because in my book that is one of the three worthwhile times to invest in the fundraising consultant. When you are a prophet in your own land, you often need the external "objective" voice to help win the arguement. My old friend Redmond Mullin, who sadly died last year was a consumate professional at persuading trustee boards and senior managment teams of the need to invest in fundraising. They would listen to Redmond in a way that they, sadly, would not listen to their own director of fundraising. (Yes that is the voice of experience speaking).

The second of the usual reasons for employing consultants is simply to provide the expertise or capacity that does not exist in-house. The capital campaign feasibility study, the fundraising audit in an under performing area and so on.

The third and I think least understand, is that of the change agent. The consultants can come in on an interim or time limited project basis, help to implement and manage change and then leave with all the monkeys on their backs. Its what they're paid for and helps the new team or reorganised department function far more effectively.

Each of these areas benefit from the use of consultants, provided that the brief was clear, unambiguous, without unrealistic expectations and, most importantly, fully agreed by both parties. It goes without saying, I hope, that you've got to find the right consultant with the right skill set and approach to be able to work within the culture of your organisation.

Anyway, do let me know what you think of the survey results.