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#78 Green thumb fundraising

Fundraising Partners Green thumb fundraising - Adam Watson

We were once a family of subsistence-fundraising farmers. We harvested enough donors to meet the day-to-day need and put some away for a rainy day. We survived on a land that bore low hanging face-to-face fundraising fruit.

We picked this fruit, fed our beneficiaries and were able to envisage a growth to our services that was never before dreamed.

Then we got greedy.

We saw how great these regular giving donors were and we wanted more. Our boards insisted that we fill our sheds and silos with as many of these donors as possible, requesting huge volumes of these generous givers from our fundraising teams.

In short, we turned a sustainable cottage industry into mass corporate farming, and as with all ‘big farming’ the land was degraded, we became susceptible to drought and infection, and the produce contained less of the minerals and health benefits we became reliant on.

It is now time to step away from this scorched earth and migrate to new savannas where donors are nurtured in numbers that are sustainable for your organisation. Face-to-face and telephone acquired donors must be cultivated at rates that allow for them to be individually cared for. We must sit in our green-houses and speak to the saplings so that they grow up healthy and strong. Lessons must be learned from the mistakes made in f2f and the seeds of digital must be sewn with care and attention so that the soil is not spoiled for the next generation.

The job is not done once they blossom. The careful gardener will prune, repot and feed the right nutrients for their stage in life. They will take cuttings from the strongest plants and grow new crops from these exceptional exponents. Those with the greenest of thumbs will cross pollinate, test different combinations and rotate positions in the garden in an attempt to create new and better strains. All of this done with a keen eye, an honest intention and with the future in mind.

Let’s get back to basics. Let’s work together to mitigate the risk of producing high-cost low-yielding fruit and instead respect, nurture, grow and develop our regular giving programs so that we might once again feed our beneficiaries in a way we can be proud of and protect the earth from degradation so that we may continue to rely on it.

Whether you are planning a new campaign or revising an existing one, call us on 02 8924 1987, email or visit us at for more details about our comprehensive strategy sessions.

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