We see them often, someone puts up a random update on social media, perhaps something on the lines of “I have diarrhoea”, you make a comment and next thing you know you have a private message from them about how you shouldn’t have commented , “liked” or “Favourited” it.
There’s an expectation that you will now share something from a list they provide and that’s it’s all in aid/awareness of some cause.
I’ve avoided them, until the other night when someone said he’d been unwell and I made a comment, next thing I receive a private message instructing me to share something from a list of choices and, that it was all to raise awareness of a particular cause.
My first thought was … damn, I’ve fallen into a trap, then my mind went to how does this actually raise awareness of anything?
Actually, I guess it does raise awareness, as in the private message you get told what “cause” it is for, and in your sharing and others commenting etc on it they will receive a message telling them about the “trap” they have fallen into … so yes, I guess it raises awareness.
But, is this passive or positive awareness, can it help make a difference?
I wonder that it could actually have a negative effect, especially if people who get “caught” into this “trap” are already supportive of and share information about causes close to their heart do this; it could actually turn people of should the person sharing later share something important about a cause that needs immediate help.
Have you been caught out, have you participated or would it be something you would run a mile from?
Would you participate or would you run from it?
Some people have when I made mention about my friends diarrhoea, cottoned on to it immediately and I had some say it’s a pointless exercise, with others saying they would stop following or unfriend me should I do it again.
Is there a benefit to the “cause” or could it backfire and turn people off when you or the organisation has something important to say?
Please share this post – it will help save Unicorns, if you don’t you won’t win the lottery.
With the abundance of charities in New Zealand, with many working in the same area, providing the same or similar services, should more be collaborating?
Perhaps organisations can work with each other more to not only potentially deliver more services, to more people, but in doing so help reduce each others overheads.
There are situations where organisations will work with each other to avoid a clash of appeal timing and, yes, there are sector bodies who oversee and help co-ordinate certain public appeals; but could more be done?
If more organisations worked closer together the sector itself perhaps might be in a better shape, supporters may feel their support, their funds are being used in a better way.
I’ve spoken with some in the sector who think they would be in better position if they collaborated more but, they’re reluctant to pursue it as they fear losing control of their organisation, that they may lose public appeal for what they are doing. This can likely be easily allayed by having at the outset of any collaborative endeavour organisations simply have to have ground rules to which they agree and will stick to.
Often organisations struggle to source information, gain participation and shift public perception of an issue; often expending vast sums of money, on things other organisations are also trying to do; through collaboration this can be avoided, and focus can go back to the core activities of organisations.
One area where organization can be better of through collaboration is the sharing of skills, experience and administrative tasks; imagine if you had a few organisation working together in a single space; they could not only share skills but the expense of the admin and related overheads, leaving more funds available to carry-out the work they are there to do.
Look at how places have been established for business to share space, equipment at overhead costs, this has enabled them to grow and share knowledge. If commercial entities can do it, why can’t organisations in the charitable sector?
I’ve often quoted something a manager of mine told me years ago “competition without out opposition” – and that’s what collaboration can be.
Would, or does your organisation collaborate with others in the sector, if so how has this enabled you to better carry out the work you do, have you seen any improvements in the quality of your service offering?
If you support charities, would you like to see more collaboration between organisations, particularly those working in the same space?
Hard to believe that there’s less than 100 days to go until the end of the year; have you finished your end of year fundraising planning?
As we know people do give at Christmas time and, often they will plan who they will give to rather than make ad-hoc donations.
There’s been numerous stories over the years where families have sat down and talked about what they’d like to do in the way of charitable giving, rather than buying presents for each other.
So, if you plan your end of year campaign right and let your current supporters know (and encourage them to share your message with their family and friends) that they can make a Christmas gift to your organisation, you have the potential to gain additional support.
If you are in the habit (which I hope you are) of regularly communicating with your supporters (not just asking for money every time), but letting them know about the work you have been doing since the last update, your successes etc, you should use your next communication to let them know about your end of year plans and how they can be part of it.
Take the time now to finalise your end of year campaign, perhaps double check any plan you have and see that it encompasses everything you need to ensure a good outcome.
What are you doing for your end of year campaign, have you changed the way you are doing this on other years?
If you give to charity, what do you want to see in an end of year message from those you support?
Do you make planned gift giving at the end of the year?
It never ceases to amaze me that senior management in an organisation make the decision to change a campaign message, campaign objectives and more without any discussion from those on the frontline doing the work.
Sometimes the first the frontline staff know about a change is when it has occurred and, if they the fundraising team this can have a big impact not only on how they do their work, but also on their morale.
If management are thinking about changing course, modifying the message (and delivery) they are giving to supporters, wouldn’t it make sense to have your staff involved in the decision making process?
Those doing the day-to-day fundraising are likely to have a better picture of what is and what isn’t working, they will have an idea of how your message is being received and, as such have valuable information that could help you make the decision/s about whether change is needed.
Often frontline staff will feel resentment if decisions are made without any consultation and this can have negative impact on how they do their job; is this something you can afford in this competitive sector?
Any organisation, non-profit or for profit needs to have two way communication, if staff aren’t feeling engaged with what’s happening, if their views are being sought and aren’t valued; you run the risk of having a disenfranchised team – is this something you can afford?
When you make decisions, what discussion do you have with your frontline staff; or are you just doing what you think is needed?
What do you do when staff come to you and suggest changes to a campaign, is this something you take seriously, or do yo just shrug it off?
If you haven’t seen “Giving Charities a Helping Hand” by Jason Krupp at the New Zealand Initiative, take the time and have a read now.
“These are significant privileges, which is why it is important that only groups with a genuine charitable purpose be entitled to receive them.
“Yet as Giving Charities a Helping Hand argues, the regulations governing the sector have set the test of charitable purpose so high that many small groups cannot attain, or struggle to maintain, registered charity status. At the same time, commercial firms owned by charities are allowed to retain profits without paying tax on these funds. Indeed, there is little oversight over how these funds are used, and the current regulations create the potential for unfair completion in the market.
“This report puts forward three policy proposals to remedy this situation, namely to:
- re-examine the centuries-old definition of charitable purpose,
- restore much needed procedural fairness to the legislation, and
- Tax all for-profit firms equally, but make all donations to charity tax deductible.
“These reforms are aimed at helping the sector, with the benefits accruing to charities, and ultimately the communities and causes they serve.”
Who in your organisation is watching what’s happening in the community, particularly in the area your organisation works in?
It is surprising to hear from people employed in some organisations say “It’s not my job to look at what’s happening”.
I would have thought, like others in any role that staff in general would have some interest in knowing what others are doing, what’s in the news and what people are talking about on social media.
If staff are truly engaged with what the organisation they work with then, surely they would have an interest in what is happening in the sector, what people are talking about and more.
Are you encouraging your staff to look and learn?
When people work in fashion, they show an interest in what’s happening, what the trends are; it should be the same with your staff.
If your staff (you) aren’t interested in the bigger picture, it could be seen that they perhaps are only interested in the pay cheque; hopefully I’m wrong about this, but from what I’ve seen and heard lately I think I maybe right – I’m happy to be proven wrong.
I’ve previously written on topics such as:
And think it’s timely to start the conversation, again, about having a team of people in your organisation, who do more than just go through the motion of raising funds; they need to be engaged with the organisation, they need to be interested in the bigger picture. If they’re not then you could be missing out on opportunities.
What are you doing to get your staff engaged, what could you be doing differently to get them engaged?
Do you talk with your staff about the bigger picture, about what’s happening, do you share relevant articles you come across; are you even reading them yourself?
I’d be keen to know what happens in your organisation, please let me know in the comments below.