It’s that time of year again when we all laugh at new gym members attempting to fathom sauna etiquette (don’t talk to people you don’t know) and set about transforming our lives or personalities. Here’s some suggested resolutions for Fundraising Directors:
- Obliterate silos. Despite their commitment to their charities, and exhaustive evidence that it’s far more cost effective to get more out of an existing supporter than recruit a new one, many Fundraisers find it impossible to share contacts effectively. Getting Fundraisers to think truly holistically about all the ways a supporter can engage with a charity (including, horror of horrors, non-financial support) and facilitate those journeys is key. The Fundraising teams that can do this successfully will be the winning ones. The main barriers are in Fundraisers’ heads.
- Tie top Fundraisers to their chairs. Experienced, high performing Fundraisers are rarer than ethics in Fleet Street. When you have them, do everything you can to keep them. We need to get far better as a sector in talent retention, progression and, yes, remuneration. This isn’t about performance related pay or creating a bonus culture, but it is about finding transparent and fair ways to reward star Fundraisers via development, promotion and pay.
- Educate your superiors and peers on Fundraising budgets. We’ve all had budget round discussions where we’ve presented carefully prepared figures based in fact and analysis …and been told to up them. And so we go and bump up the Legacy budget and cross our fingers. This is not helpful. As Fundraisers, we need to take responsibility for developing CEO/Finance Directors’ understanding of income trends, risk levels, ROI and the external environment. We should have the confidence to be open about the real net income return from each activity, and the timeframe it will need to produce a viable return. We need to build credibility and show we know what we’re talking about – and that the Micawber approach of “something will come up” is far too risky in the current economic climate.
- Ensure your team has ordered London Marathon balloon arches from a company that will actually a) inflate the balloons; b) deliver them to the correct location on the day; and c) anchor them firmly enough so they don’t blow away and threaten air traffic. At 7am on the morning of every London Marathon, Fundraising Directors across London are greeted by stressed Events Fundraisers frantically trying to locate missing balloon arches or swap wrongly delivered ones with other charities. If you live near Tower Bridge and woke up last April to a massive green and black balloon arch floating free past your door, that was ours. This year, let’s mark the first great sporting event of 2012 by flying the correct balloons in correct place at the correct time.