Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Crap fundraising practices

Well the s**t has hit the fan.Hasn't it?

The Institute of Fundraising spends the summer agonising over font sizes, what is a vulnerable adult and how to opt out, gets the report out which goes unnoticed whilst Sir Stuart's review on behaviour (see report) gets him straight onto radio 4. A lot of this is aimed at older people who remain more trusting of charities. How will it affect the attitudes and behaviours of more cynical baby boomers?

So what do we make of the recommendations and how will it affect fundraising?

Clearly, as Stephen Pigeon (chair of the Fundraising Standards Committee until recently) has commented, we took our eyes off the ball and in some cases went right back to transactional fundraising (and worse) in the pursuit of income at any cost.Texting people dozens of times after a single donation is crap fundraising. Phoning people on multiple occasions to upgrade a direct debit is crap fundraising. Why do we never learn from history?

What do you think needs to happen for fundraisers to be able to do their job properly?

Watch this space.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Burning Man - what a fundraising opportunity! Geronto Philanthropy in Action?

Sorry for the long absence. I've been "off grid" for three weeks in the middle of the Nevada Dessert.

It's an annual festival attended by 70,000 mostly white, middle class Californians and demonstrates, some would say, an amazingly philanthropic attitude. Below is a photograph of the artwork I helped to build, funded incidentally by a grant from the organisers - who claim to be one of the biggest US grant makers helping new works of sculptural/architectural merit. The other funding came from a Kickstarter request - crowd funding in operation and working quite well.

The really interesting thing though is that the whole week long festival operates on a "gift economy." That is once you've paid your 800 bucks or whatever, for your ticket, all the camps, cafes, bars and events you visit are completely free. Drinks, food, whatever! What's more it seems to me that the whole thing is run by and (largely) for baby boomers. There are, of course, people of all ages there. However the predominant feature is of grey beards and kaftans (or in the extreme, a naturist garb).

So what's going on? Millions of dollars raised and spent on art and promoting an amazing experience. Yes lot's of reciprocity and some enlightened self interest. I think however there's quite a bit of altruism going on. Take a look at the site and let me know what you think.

Maybe it's just an extravagance but perhaps there is something for fundraisers to learn from?