The Fundraiser - Practical advice and insight for the charity sector

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5 essential tips for charity fundraisers: part 2/4

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the International Fundraising Consultancy (IFC) shares the second installment of its 20 top tips…

Gearing up for our 20th anniversary we have put together 20 key facts every fundraiser should know. Some of the following are basic and some are outside any box we have ever found. None should be forgotten as we seek to grow our income and influence. The ensuing five lead on from the first installment by the IFC.

6. We all need a case for support - not just for capital appeals

Articulating why people should give to you and then actually writing it out really sharpens our sometimes rather fluffy thinking. At the heart of getting this right is fundraisers really getting down and dirty in the actual work of the organisation with both the staff and the beneficiaries – you might be surprised what you find there.    

7. Don’t go alone where angels fear to tread

If you are going to run a capital appeal, or any kind of fundraising programme you haven’t done before, do talk to a consultant with experience in that area. It will save you time, money and heartache – yes, I admit we are consultants so we would say that wouldn’t we, but our clients agree!

8. Faced with budget cuts – improve, don’t cut your fundraising

Far too many times I have sat around the senior manager’s table when income has fallen and been asked, along with other managers, how much I am going to cut from the fundraising budget and asked the CEO in turn, “How much less income would you like next year?” 

9. Fundraisers: make friends with finance!

The reason fundraising and finance clash is because fundraising breaks the rules to get the results and finance lives to follow the rules – two very different mindsets. But please don’t fall out: finance is where the donors’ money first arrives and that vital thank you process starts. Finance needs to know when you will inundate them with work and finance can really help you or really hinder you in so many ways. Invite them to events - be friends with finance…

10. Educate your Board

Fundraisers cannot expect the Board to help them fundraise if they don’t set out for them the fundraising strategy and what that actually means in practice. Their buy-in to this is the first step to securing their help, and in avoiding complaints about fundraising techniques on behalf of their relatives. If it is a big project do get them all to give. First the Chair should give then the Chair should personally ask the other Board members to give, no other way is as effective. Here you are not asking for large gifts, only the ability to say, “All our Board members have given” but it also works wonders for the trustees’ appreciation of fundraising. 

Back at the ranch

Looking at Parliament during the horrendous Brexit process whilst climate change, austerity and so many other problems go largely unaddressed, it is clear that the whole third sector is arguably the most vital part of our social, economic and political world. Professional fundraising is key to building that sector and seeing those ills addressed and that is simply why we do what we do.     

By John Baguley, Owner, International Fundraising Consultancy

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