Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Raising money when times are hard

Attended a very good session of the fundraising consultants where trusts large and small told us in no uncertain terms what we're doing wrong. Interesting much of what was said has a resonance whether you are talking to a grant maker, an individual, a corporate or even a major gift prospect. So here are my top ten tips, not in any particular order, courtesy of Clare Thomas, Shirley Scott and Gaynor Humphreys.

!. There is increasing demand for(and in places reducing supply of) funds so do even more research to match your needs with theirs.

2. Everyone loves a project so always find appropriate ways of describing what needs to be funded, but be honest.
3. There is a growing understand of and appetite for social investment and even loan finance. So be bold, creative and take, calculated, risks.

4. People are thinking more strategically so help them to think about medium term goals and objectives. Those are usually more measurable which brings us neatly to.......

5. Make it measureable. Find the right measures of outcome and impact and make sure you report successes and failures.

6. Nobody wants to fund "replacement" funding especially where it is a result of cutbacks (government or previous funders) so look to capacity building and even restructing where cuts will mean changes, downsizing, consolidation. However you can be creative and positive about how these changes will deliver different outcomes.

7. Always look to maximise the impact of the investment being made. That doesn't mean hiding fundraising costs, quite the opposite. Be up front about the whole pound, the sustainable nature of the work and how the investment will make a measureable difference.

8. Really interestingly many grantmakers are reporting reduced levels of good applications though many are seeing more spam, spray and scattergun approaches. Back to more research and appropriate asks. There is money out there and this is backed by Joe Saxton's research from the "Charity Awareness Monitor".

9. Whilst Corporate giving is in decline and trust giving is fairly static the lottery funds are increasing. Sometimes the obvious is the right course of action but only after you've done your homework.

10. I lied I just like the alliteration. Though my all time top tip is still relevant. Be curious and ask questions. There are no idiot questions, only ignorance for five minutes or a lifetime.

Let me know if you've got a hot tip to add.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Oh what a circus, oh what a farce......... (with apologies to Tim Rice)

What a complete and utter farce!

A certain group of fundraisers attempted rather pathetically to organise a seminar in a business school. Perhaps they'd have had more success in the proverbial brewery, though I rather doubt it.

Instead of first come first served for tickets we were all invited to sign up and wait for the ticket allocation. I got my confirmation to attend (I thought) a few days ago. Ah.... but that was not the right list. Apparently tickets had been allocated to a few lucky takers and the rest of us (quite a few) were turned away having spent hours getting there! Paying customers, turned away. Is that any way to run an event?

You might think that, as an events fundraiser (we were after all paying for the event) you'd say yippy get a bigger room, another venue, but somehow pack them in. OR, at the very least, have the sense to let people know that the event was over-subscribed and please, don't waste your time coming.

If you can't run a seminar for a few dozen interested fundraisers, what hope is there of persuading major givers to part with their (mostly) hard earned cash. to paraphrase Charlie Brown, I weep for my generation!