Di Flatt's Blog


It may be time for change – but it is not the time to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater!’

Bathwater

Today I have read the thoughtful news piece in UK Fundraising, from the very eloquent Mr Ian McQuillin. You can read it here “Should fundraisers strike?”

It certainly seems it is time for careful thinking and for good measured and transparent responses. Things clearly need to change, and we need to ensure that any and all changes are indeed for the better for both fundraisers and donors.

At the same time, for some (or perhaps all of us) it may be time to come off the fence and speak out proudly for the amazing profession that we have chosen to work within.

‘Striking’ I think would be a tad too far of course, as without the brilliant fundraisers of the UK (and beyond) we will not then raise the money needed. Money that is vital to pay for the work of charities that many many people need (and increasingly so with a growing/ageing population and the many drastic cuts in government grants and individuals’ benefits).

But we do need to look at what our donors both want and need from us – and let us not forget that we have an extremely generous UK community.

We as fundraisers do a great thing – we bring people together to give the best of their-selves, be this expertise, time or money. And for every complaint there are always tens of thousands of happy donors who feel good about being able to make a positive difference.

We cannot and must not ignore the problems and issues – and we of course are not. We as a community of fundraisers need to address every issue.

But please, for our donors’ sakes, for our beneficiaries’ sakes, and indeed for our own sakes – let us not get so bogged down that we forget we are #proudfundraisers. Let us not forget the reasons why we took on this incredible profession.

We need to celebrate the generosity of the UK and applaud the donors who ensure that our charities can continue to do the work that is needed.

We are lucky to work amongst and with such generous and caring people, donors and supporters. And we have a huge responsibility to look after this generosity and the donors as individuals – but we must also place merit on the need look after ourselves as fundraisers and our ability to do the work we do as a member of the fundraising profession.

It was quoted in the UK Giving 2014 report (dated April 2015):

“Our analysis provides the following picture for individual giving in the UK for 2014:

 “Eight out of ten people (79%) participated in at least one charitable giving or social action activity in the 12 months prior to interview, with over half (57%) having done so in the last month

and

“In terms of giving money to charity (either directly or through sponsorship of an individual) 70% report doing so in the 12 months prior to interview and 44% do so in a typical month.”

See the report for the full analysis here UK Giving 2014 – an overview of charitable giving in the UK in 2014 (dated April 2015)

They go on to summarise the report as follows:

“In summary then, these results suggest that in order to encourage people to give regularly, charities need to:

  • Communicate the positive impact that donations from the public have
  • Provide clarity on how their charity’s aims and focus differ to other organisations working in the same area
  • Be aware of and respond to the individual circumstances of existing donors, so as not to ask for too much, too often
  • Communicate the flexibility of planned giving channels and/or increase the flexibility to meet the changing needs of donors
  • Provide reassurance about the security of personal and financial details and the ‘professionalism’ of charities in handling personal data
  • Continue to raise awareness of all the various ways in which people can give – including regular, planned channels for giving money, but also by giving goods, volunteering their time or sharing their voice – in order to engage all people no matter what their financial circumstances”

We as #proudfundraisers will do well to heed these results of speaking to the people of the UK.

So, I shall be awaiting the conclusions of Sir Stuart Etherington’s review with interest and with hope that it will clearly and fairly inform the future of fundraising legislation.

But we must take care too, for as my much loved Nanna would have said, whilst it may be time for change “let us not throw the baby out with the bathwater!”

As ever I remain a #proudfundraiser and CEO of Sweetpea Charity, and I will always strive to be the #bestyoucanbe. And in these times of change I am sure you will too!

Hold onto the baby my fundraising friends!  Hold on tight…………

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