Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Down with “donors”

I’ve had a couple of weeks to digest all that I heard and saw at IOF’s National Convention.  As I drink from my Proud Fundraiser mug, and reflect on the themes that jumped out at me, I find myself stuck on one thing. 

One thing that really annoyed me.


Yep, I spent 3 days getting annoyed by donors.  Or, rather, by the use of the word: “donors”.  

Fundamentally, for most charities, our supporters are at the heart of everything we do.  We simply couldn’t do our work without them.  Our donors, to my mind, are a subset of our supporters.   

Those thousands of people who raise millions of pounds running 26.2 miles for us at assorted marathons across the country are, in many cases, not donors.  They don’t donate to us.  They choose to support us in a different – and amazing! – way: by raising money from their friends.   

Would they call themselves a donor?  Our campaigners who lobby politicians and force the agenda in the houses of parliament, who challenge drug decisions, who call out corporates for their environmentally devastating behaviour – many of those people don’t donate directly.   

But they help us achieve our charitable objectives.

But, more than that, at a time when we’re talking so much more about how we resonate, how we engage, how we find our emotional heart, how we tell stories and inspire, how crucial it is to understand attitudes as well as analyse behaviour – when we’re doing all this, how can we justify using such a transactional word?  

I sincerely hope that no charity would address me as “Dear Donor” in a mailing – even if I had given them cash.  

Personally, I don’t think I want donors.  I would rather aspire to supporters; people who care about the cause, who are inspired to fundraise or to give or to petition or to do something, to make a difference in the way they can. 

I’m not saying it’s not about the money – please, I’m a fundraiser, my primary function is of course to raise money – but isn’t it about so much more than that?

Lisa Clavering

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

#iofnc, what's it all about?

Well, the IOF National Convention is upon us. Or #iofnc as it's more commonly known by the fundraising twitterati.

And isn't it exciting! Three whole days where we get to learn, debate, talk, network and make new friends (as well as catching up with old ones). It's at times like this that I'm very proud to be a fundraiser.

I have the privilege of being on the Convention Board, so I get to help shape the content and form of the sessions  - so this post is a plea for feedback as much as anything else.

Be like @JamesBarker82 who wanted to hear more about digital content - so he put his money where his mouth is and volunteered to speak. And 'What fundraisers can learn from rappers,' was a great, informative and interesting session. Don't believe me? Check out #iofnc...

Wondering why there always seems to be a proliferation of middle-aged men talking about direct mail? Don't want to hear from the 'old guard'? Do what Battersea did and - send some of their fundraising 'guru's' to talk about why direct mail is far from dead. Real fundraisers, talking about their real-life every day fundraising. How revolutionary. And the room was packed.

Heard so much about 'innovation' over the recent years that you feel like your ears might bleed? Get the team together and prove how it can be done, on a small budget. Just like Terrence Higgins Trust did on Monday afternoon.

I've got some ideas for next year, but would love to hear yours. PLEASE do let me/us know what you'd like to see/hear about.

Leave a comment, or find me @roxymartinique

Danielle Atkinson