October 1, 2015
There is clearly increased interest in what we do as a profession and how we do it. Our supporters and donors rightly want to know that we are following good practice and taking care of their interests.
We should be proud of the role we play as fundraisers in encouraging donors to give to causes which they care about. Our role is one of facilitation. Helping someone to change something they feel is passionately wrong, helping them to give back something to society in thanks for all they have been given, helping them to remember someone they love, helping them to achieve a dream or ambition. This is the role of the fundraiser.
Unfortunately, very few of us will give unless we are asked or invited to do so. There are so many calls on our time, so many things we need to respond to and deal with in our lives. This doesn’t mean we don’t want to give and don’t feel good about giving. It’s the fundraiser’s job to help us to give – to invite us to help, to encourage us to be generous, to show us the impact we can have on the causes we care about.
One of the most positive messages arising from the recent review of fundraising regulation led by Sir Stuart Etherington is the call for greater donor care and a focus on long-term relationship building.
The Review recommends that “Charities should take steps in order to put donors’ interests firmly at the heart of everything they do, including their fundraising. In particular, charities should make a commitment to their donors, promising that they will review their use of supporters’ personal data and adopt a system of ‘opt in’ only for their communications.”
“The Review also supports the creation of a ‘Commission on the Donor Experience’, with the objective to increase both funds raised and donor satisfaction by appealing to the feelings, thoughts and desires of donors as well as emphasising the needs of the charity. This Commission will consider how donors can be put at the centre of fundraising strategies, by looking at how donors view and interact with fundraisers. Ultimately the aim is to build trust and confidence in the work that charities do and how they raise money.”
So what can #proudfundraisers do right now to begin renewing their commitment to donors?
Well, you could start by asking them how you are doing. Follow the inspired example of Friends of the Earth who wrote to every donor asking them for feedback and ideas.
Or the University of Warwick who have an online donor survey:
You could also create a donor charter or promise and share it with every donor. There are some interesting examples out there…
In addition to this positive focus on donor relations, The Etherington Review has shone a light on fundraising governance and the role of trustees in fundraising. #proudfundraisers should welcome the new levels of interest their trustees will have in their work. It is our job to work hand in hand with our trustees, to assure them of good practice, to help them manage risk, to inspire them with the generosity of our donors, and to encourage them to play their part in helping raise funds. Watch this space for further thoughts on working with trustees in my next post, #proudfundraisers partner with their trustees.
– Susie Hills, Managing Director