January is a time of New Year's resolutions – which ones would you like to see the charity sector make for 2013?
Alistair McLean, Chief Executive of the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB)
The Fundraising Standards Board has long been synonymous with fundraising complaints. We monitor complaints, we resolve them, we support charities in resolving them and, when these steps fail, our independent board adjudicates on them. Complaints tell us a lot about fundraising, but they also inform us about the good stuff; positive feedback. So let’s go out there and get donor feedback. Charities often shy away from engaging the public in conversation about their fundraising, nervous that it will attract criticism. In 2013, I’d like to see charities providing supporters with more opportunities to share their views about the ways that fundraisers ask for money. By asking, you can also demonstrate that you are really listening. After all, every conversation with a supporter is an opportunity to commit them to your charity and to convey its vital work and need for funds.
Scott Gray, Managing Director, Rapidata
More people than ever are using laptops, iPads and phones on the move. It has to be time for charities to up their game online – for regular giving. The majority of charities have an online presence – many take credit card donations through their websites – but still too many charities are failing to maximise their online fundraising for regular gifts. It’s a logical and cost-effective step when engaging, building the case for support, and then enabling supporters to make donations online. It’s easy to include a Direct Debit sign-up page and it makes sense to utilise it as a ‘giving hub’, supporting all your fundraising and marketing campaigns in highlighting that people can give regularly via your website. Whether driven from a DM pack or from an ad in the paper on the train to work, it’s about giving your supporters their channel preference; the ease and immediacy of a few clicks or taps that could mean a life-time of support.
Martin Jervis, Chief Operating Officer, Fundraising Initiatives
As one of the most successful methods of fundraising, yet one of the most publically berated, I’d like to see a conscious movement toward ‘sector protectors’ – fundraisers who stand up for face-to-face fundraising and who are determined to do it vastly better. Why? Because we should, and because now we can: we have the technology, to coin a phrase. By applying proven integrated technology across handheld devices and the mobile web to inspire brilliant, engaging storytelling to acquire donors and ensure a personal and pertinent donor journey thereafter. It means investing properly in training and using media-rich technology to consistently deliver the brand voice, imagery and video through your ‘storyteller fundraisers’. It minimises risk, gives greater control, and collects more data for segmenting onward donor journeys with a story that speaks to them. It’s time to stop F2F being the charity’s dirty little secret and make it the gold standard in storytelling.
Ian MacQuillin, head of communications, Public Fundraising Regulatory Association
Last month, a TV journalist asked our CEO if, rather than object to being asked on the streets by paid fundraisers, the public needed to change their perception of why and how charities raise money.
The answer of course is ‘yes, they do’. But for years fundraisers have ducked this educational challenge, preferring to keep their heads below the public-perception parapet than risk it being blown off by a media cannonball.
What’s exciting is that journalists are now asking this question, providing a fertile platform to engage the public about the need to fundraise – that if we don't ask, we don’t get – and that all fundraising is an investment.
Fundraisers will need to be brave enough to put their brands in the spotlight. And proponents of different fundraising methods will have to stop sniping at each other.
If we can do this, 2013 will be the year that we – as a community – turn the tide of public perception.
Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity
Invest in legacies. They are often the poor relation in fundraising, and frequently forgotten. They are misunderstood and regularly taken for granted. As one fundraising director recently told me, legacies are the easiest budget to cut of all. No one will notice. And if they do, it won’t be for another five years at least.
But imagine if all those legacies stopped coming in. Imagine if people stopped leaving a gift in their will – or they simply choose to leave it to another charity, rather than your own.
I would like the charity sector to make a New Year’s resolution to avoid this short-term approach. All charities need to start investing in legacies in 2013, giving staff and volunteers the tools and confidence to talk about the importance of a legacy.
It could be the difference between a charity being here in 10 years, or simply being forgotten.
This article first appeared in The Fundraiser magazine, Issue 25, January 2013