A quick foreword before we get into it this week. FIA 2018 is fast approaching, and I am looking forward to seeing clients past, present and hopefully future, meeting new people, and learning and sharing the latest and greatest fundraising tips and trends. If you see me and want to have a chat about your charity’s F2F campaign, don’t be shy, I’m more than happy to chat about my favourite channel.
This week’s blog is my RG acquisition wish list for the coming year:
A team filled with volunteers. This comes up occasionally from complainants who don’t approve of paying fundraisers for their work. The truth is, a group of volunteers able to work in different locations around the state, five days per week, seven hours per day for an entire year has yet to be found. Sometimes you need to pay professionals to do a professional job.
A fundraising team with an average age of 40. Although it is true that age is not the only or even most valuable metric for quality long-term donors, it can be useful, and older fundraisers should lead to older donors. This has been achieved in contact centres with Tele-fundraisers, but the street, shopping centre and door-to-door teams are yet to achieve this feat. We get the odd mature candidate coming through the doors of our agencies, but never in large enough numbers to form a team.
Donors understanding why we are paid. It is on us (agencies and charities) to explain that charities would not be paying people to ask us to donate if enough of us donated without the ask.
Higher quality training. Training and support that enables fundraisers to sign up enough long-term donors per shift without having to bend any rules in every agency and in-house team around Australia. Every agency believes that it has the secret to donor acquisition, yet across the board, they are all nearly identical in their methodologies and tactics and only really differ on their targets, pressure and remuneration. One or two stand out from the crowd. We need to support them and extend the life of our channel.
A moratorium on bad excuses. A nationwide ban on the phrase “I cannot give to you, because if I give to your charity I’d have to give to all charities”. I have no issues with anyone not wanting to donate to a cause I am representing, but this reasoning is beyond me. In which world is the pledging of donations to one charity a commitment to contribute to every other one? Madness.
Understanding of our emotions. A re-education for the public who voice their hatred of F2F fundraising because “they always make me feel guilty”. You guilt is clear evidence that you care. Caring is not a bad thing. If you do not want to stop and chat to a fundraiser, you just need to say ‘no’ and keep walking.
Freedom to say 'no'. Every day donors sign up to a long-term pledge because they ‘couldn’t say no’ at the point of acquisition. Just say no. We won’t be offended, we’ll understand.
Better business practises. I would love to see more agencies appointing CEOs to run their business. Many growing fundraising agencies are run by successful fundraisers. Fundraisers are not necessarily great businesspeople – they can be, but they don’t always have the skills. An experienced CEO can make better decisions and is less motivated by their emotions.
An understanding that fundraising costs money. Nice and simple, in every business, it takes money to make money. Not even the charity sector can survive on handouts alone. This is not an industry run by volunteers knitting blankets and running raffles, it is a multi-billion dollar one surviving through the generous support of millions of wonderful people who were once asked to help.