In the last week Fundraising Partners started a conversation about the opportunity we have to change face to face fundraising for the better in Australia and New Zealand. More than 40 people from across fundraising have already joined in the conversation, including those from charities, agencies and consultancies.
There seems to be general agreement that something needs to change, and a range of suggestions for how this might be achieved. From the beginning we’ve said that Fundraising Partners don’t have all the answers (if only we did), but what we can do \is to suggest a framework for how to best “arrange” the good ideas that are flowing in.
Levels of change
We think there are four “levels” where action is possible, and some illustrative examples of what could fall under each heading.
Changes that an individual can make to their own approach to face to face. Perhaps setting personal standards for the work they do or the partners they choose to work with (as discussed by Dr. Peter Coleman in his recent article).
Actions that an organisation can make to their face to face fundraising. For a charity this could be setting new minimum standards for their fundraising. For an agency, this could be deciding only to hire sub-contractors that have proven quality standards.
This would include organisations working together to develop new solutions. This could involve charities developing joint solutions or business models together. The Australian F2F User Group is already an example of collaborative work; but is there scope to maybe use this existing structure to benchmark agency quality or pool best practice? Is Rippling a prototype for collaborative change?
4. Whole of channel
Channel-wide approaches involve every participant in face to face fundraising to set higher standards or to cooperate in changing the way we all work. Perhaps the best approach to this level of change is through sector bodies such as the PFRA and FIA. Could the PFRA set new standards for face to face that include the quality and effectiveness of fundraising as well as compliance?
Which level should we prioritise?
We at Fundraising Partners would like to suggest that meaningful change can only happen if we work at all four levels. Although personal or organisational change will be essential, there is a limit to what a single person or organisation can achieve individually.
If a fundraising manager convinces their charity to choose to only work with high-quality agencies, it will be difficult to do this if there are not enough high-quality agencies offering services, or alternative business models on offer to allow real innovation and choice. These sorts of changes can only come about through weight of numbers – as we saw when the PFRA took on the challenge of improving fundraiser behaviour and the public reputation of face to face.
What could change?
This is the next stage of the conversation and where it really gets interesting. We’re going to keep gathering the ideas and suggestions that come in through our Facebook group.
We have some pet ideas that we’ll be introducing into the discussion as well just to see how quickly the giant fundraising brains in the group spot the holes in them and shoot them down.
Watch this space for innovations, ideas and controversy, and most importantly – GET INVOLVED!