On fundraising with a heart full of love.

Alice: ‘I work for a charity’

Bob: ‘Aww’

Alice: ‘ .. as a fundraiser’

Bob: ‘Ah. *avoids eye contact*’

 Any fundraiser knows that conversation well.

Why do people want charities to do well but feel so uncomfortable around fundraisers? How can that be changed? Are all the headings below from Les Mis? Let’s find out.

‘There was a time when love was blind’

.. but now people are getting more educated about charities and increasingly care about how their money is being spent. We are learning that simply being for or against something (poverty, systems, abuse) doesn’t do it anymore. Many want to support those with solutions, or those actively looking for positive solutions, charities that are not just doing something but doing that something well. There are still charities that need to adjust to the new age of transparency and accountability and this very much includes fundraisers.

‘I don’t want your money, sir.’

OK, so no one is expecting fundraisers to say quite that, but no one wants them to get cash by harassing pensioners. Where is the line?

I think the starting point is to encourage a culture where all involved are respectful of the fact that people’s money is theirs, not the fundraiser’s. Just because a cause may be just, that doesn’t give anyone any kind of ethical claim over other people’s money.

‘Look down and show some mercy if you can!’

I strongly disagree with guilting or shaming people into giving. People may choose not to donate at all and it is their choice. Working for a charity doesn’t make one holier-than-thou and does not give an excuse to judge others.

‘Who cares about your lonely soul, we strive towards a larger goal’

Just no. If people decide to donate, it’s their prerogative to choose which cause is worthy of their money. Fundraisers can make their case, maybe try to persuade, but must never assume that they know ‘what really matters’ better than an individual. Giving is personal, and thoughtful giving is based on values that will not be easily influenced by the latest fundraising trend. If you can match people’s values and demonstrate a significant impact, your cause may become their cause.

‘Crying at all is not allowed’

I think that giving money to charity is a wonderful thing. It’s a privilege to be able to shape the kind of society that you want to live in. Fundraisers have an important role to present people with options to make the world a better place. Good fundraisers have a chance to make giving enjoyable, making donors feel empowered and valued.

‘There’s a new world for the winning!’

There is a new world to be won! There are so many opportunities for winning support by ethical fundraising now. Being respectful, ethical and appreciative will lead to increasing support. Because people want fundraisers to be nice (and it’s nice to be nice) and don’t like being tricked. Getting back (or going forward?) to these basic values gives us an opportunity to say ‘I am a fundraiser’ with pride.


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One Response to “On fundraising with a heart full of love.”

  1. Marine Lee Says:

    Very nice post!!!

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