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#76 Simpler times

Thwack was the sound that a clutch of paper pledges made when proudly slapped onto the desk of my manager.

Between 2005 and 2008 - my peak fundraising years, thwack was my favourite sound. Sadly, this noise can no longer be heard as its successor would make a crack performing the same task and you’d owe your company $500 to fix the screen.

The thwack was the sound that triggered the most joy in my life, closely followed by the ‘yes’ of a new donor and the ‘thanks’ of my fundraisers.

A thwack meant that your entire team had smashed the results. As an f2f fundraiser you were warmed by the personal victory and as a team leader you were elated by the spirit and skill of those you’d trained. The thwack was my crack.

I used to rate these years as the best of my fundraising career – that is, until I worked charity side for a couple of years. It turns out that, as successful as I was throughout my career, I probably should have learned a few things before stepping foot on the streets to sign up my first donors – so here are a few of them:

  • Honest and timely communication with my charity client is the most profitable commodity.

  • T-shirts and jackets cost a lot of money and need to be returned – all of them.

  • Working in a location that the client was not advised of can be a serious issue that negatively impacts stakeholders.

  • The pitch cards and materials provided are the right tools for the job. As a fundraiser you can feed back preferences but have no right to make edits or create new ones.

  • My pay was not directly correlated with the success of the campaign.

  • Not all ‘quality-focussed’ approaches trained to you by your manager are ‘quality-focussed’.

  • What attrition is and how I can positively impact it – further than not telling people to cancel after a month.

  • Making up a pitch based upon the ideas of the fundraiser rather than the work of the charity is not a sustainable way to run a campaign.

I hope this informs your fundraising and helps and/or helps you manage your suppliers.

Happy fundraising!

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