Freeman Blog

Fundraising - Past Meets Present

Posted by Mark Freeman
Mark Freeman
Mark Freeman & Associates was established by Mark Freeman to bring together a number of trusted associates who...
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on Tuesday, 22 May 2012 in Freeman Blog

Article by Valerie Austin MBA

A few weeks ago I needed to pull together a fundraising strategy for a medium sized charity that has been doing fundraising in a traditional way for many years. They had some lucrative income streams and had been trotting along quite nicely thankyou, well, until like everyone else, the recession hit.

So where do we go from here? I made what I hope is a fairly typical mistake and started out by thinking, "What are we good at and what do we want to do?" Well, the world is your oyster - you can do anything, the problem is that you cannot do anything you want, as resources are finite. A focused fundraising plan has to be developed on the back of your strategy. So, after mulling this over I decided actually one of the best places to start was the past.

Unfortunately I could not turn to a database full of juicy information about supporters, campaigns undertaken, or indeed any kind of reporting that would shed light on what had actually been going on for the last 10 years. However, the one place I did find some basic information was the annual accounts. Plugging the numbers of how various income streams had performed over the past five years allowed me to see and graph the income trend - a picture says a thousand words!

I also managed to dig out some history on how volunteering had developed over the years. This all painted an interesting picture. The charity had neglected some income streams that actually could prosper with some TLC, whilst others were starting to decline.

Their volunteering framework was also in decline. I then decided it was time to look at trends in charitable giving, and find out what it is that people look for in a charity before they decide to donate. Long story short is that the volunteering landscape is changing - young volunteers no longer wish to bind themselves to an organisation, but to a cause or an issue that they feel strongly about. Corporates are no longer willing to just give charity money - they also want a reciprocal relationship. You can see evidence of this all around - food companies pledging support and money to save the countryside, energy companies wanting to make a green impact, suppliers of pet food demonstrating their support for animal causes.

So, it seems that a good place to start on your fundraising plan is actually the past and what it can tell you! Then move on to some research about the causes and issues that your charity can use to appeal to others - and build up from there.

Next week, part two in this series looks at social media and how it can advance your fundraising and marketing strategy.


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Mark Freeman & Associates was established by Mark Freeman to bring together a number of trusted associates who could offer charities sound professional and practical advice for trustees and senior management.

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