Wondering how to improve your fundraising? Read on:

Posted: July 4, 2011 in Fundraising
Tags: , , ,

Last week I learned (from Allen Reesor, Director of US company, Metrix Research) that when you’re thinking about how to raise money a good place to start is to understand why people give – what is it that prompts them to be generous?

He said you should begin by thinking about what you yourself are looking for in the activities you do in your own leisure time. That’s because (and this was an epiphany for me) giving is a leisure activity; it is not what you do at work.

But on reflection I think this shows through in the number of volunteers who help at winter night shelters precisely because that sort of thing (welcoming people into a church hall converted into a dormitory, serving and eating communal meals, chatting to people from widely differing backgrounds) is not what they do in the rest of their lives.

So when people give to charity they are looking for experiences of refreshment, escape from day-to-day responsibilities, re-invigoration, and spiritual up lift. All of which leaves me wondering whether this is what I am providing to the wonderful souls who give generously to Housing Justice?

Reesor’s second comment was that people who give to charity want their generosity to bring about good works. His research shows that, generally speaking, donors don’t want to give to build up the Church or to support services provided by the State. Rather they want to see that charities they support are at the cutting edge, innovating, taking risks. For organisations like Housing Justice that means it is important to demonstrate how our Christian faith is the rationale for the work we do. We need to show how God is involved and prompting our work.

Reesor then moved on to things that stop people giving to charity. The research suggests that when donors see that an organisation lacks integrity or that its leadership lacks vision they do not support it. Donors need to trust the charity (and its leadership team) before they give. They also like to give to new work and to charities that can show that they are in touch with the realities of the world today. Outcomes and impact measures need to be realistic and believable and charities should be honest about initiatives that haven’t worked – and show what has been learned as a result. There needs to be a real basis for trust between charity and donor.

For charities its means we need to create a real sense of connection between our organisations and our supporters – its no good just doing good works, you also need to work on relationships…

  1. Marie Page says:

    Really insightful post. Thanks for sharing. We all leave seminars and conferences with new knowledge like this. Brilliant to document it so that others can chew it over too.

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