Wednesday, 28 November 2012

What is the future of fundraising?

Great meeting of the consultants group last week. If Michael O'Toole is to be believed the future is "contracting". Yes well we know that CAF reckon individual giving is down £1.7bn and that government cuts have knocked another £2bn out of the budget, but, his view in the light of Government preference is that there are still great opportunities to bid for work. But is it work we want to do?

If the techies are to be believed then the future is in crowds, or to be precise, crowd sourcing. Ryan Bromley couldn't come but Vicky from Chameleon did a great job of explaining the applicability of it to fundraising. Crowdfunding if you prefer, though it was pointed out that social enterprises and small businesses are doing a great job of raising capital through crowdfunding which is interesting because it came up again at a Third Sector Research Centre seminar this week.

Here academics and practitioners were looking more at the supply and demand of/for social investment and crowdfunding does seem to be a viable option. However the more interesting debate ranged around where philanthropy ends?

That is, a gift from an individual or a grant from a trust is clearly philanthropy and nobody expects to get any of their money back. It is, in risk terms, a 100% certainty. No risk, no financial return on investment though givers are increasing asking for a social return on investment. However the moment that some of the money is to be returned, as interest or capital repayment, risk rears its head. What price the feel good factor? Where does a social investment fit in the philanthropist's portfolio? Some tricky questions that, of course, the academics suggested needs more research.

Well it does and I'll be adding some investment questions to my "nature of philanthropy" interviews so watch this space for some interim ideas.

Meanwhile what do you think is the future of fundraising? Same old same old, digital,or increasingly back to basics? Tell me what you think, please!And don't forget the champagne is still on offer (see October's challenge).