Spray and Walk Away – Wrong

Much of the giving done by businesses isn’t planned, it is in the main part just giving as approached with no clear direction, no commitment for the long haul.

Businesses seem to use the “Spray and Walk Away” approach; quite possibly as a quick way to give back but with little thought about how they could be doing more with the same amount of support.

Business giving can build stronger communities, and it’s in this vane of thinking that business should give strategically – but before any business gives it would make sense to encourage input from internal stakeholders – employees should be part of the decision making process.

With strategic giving, a business could do more with their charitable contributions. Instead of $50 here and there, a business could combine their annual giving “budget” to make one or several larger contributions that could well do more for the organisation/s.

When a business gives lots of smaller amounts, they are doing good, but could be doing more (and do it better) if they sat down and spent some time to evaluate where their charitable passions lie.

Any business needs to be strategic with their business giving, and we need to all remember that not all business giving is truly just because it is the right thing to do, a lot of business giving is strategic in that it’s aimed to also satisfy business needs – it’s planned.

Some, not all businesses, give as a way to promote the business, to gain new business opportunities and to be seen as being philanthropic.

No matter why a business gives, it is important to think how it can give in a better, more targeted way.

Make a decision where you want to give

Do you wan to give locally, nationally or internationally

What age group, younger customers and staff could mean a youth based organisation

Staff, have you had staff affected by something

Ask, ask, ask – your staff and customers should all be part of the decision making process. Think Z with their “token campaigns


Create a list of organisations that best match your criteria

Talk with your shortlisted organisations about what you can best do for them

Again, talk with your staff about the shortlisted organisations – are your staff still onboard?

Be part of it

Want to make in impact – show it

Don’t just make staff attend – get involved yourself

Think that t-shirt is too much for you – think again – lead from the outset.


If you’re still unsure about how you are best to give – talk to others in your industry, talk to more clients – you will find the right match, often it’s staring people in the face.

Fundraising – Simply Going through the Motions

Ever stopped and listened to your fundraising pitch?  Would you support you?

All too often fundraisers fall into the trap of “repetition” and simply “going through the motions” – not engaging supporters, simply asking for more support.

If your supporters aren’t being updated about the work of your organisation, how their support has helped and what your next plans are – you’re not engaging with them, and simply are using them as ATMs.

If you’ve been around fundraising for any length of time, you will know that it’s important to treat ever donor as an individual.

With the competition for the “charity dollar” different tactics are used to try and connect with people, and those who know what they are doing are more “personal” in the way the approach their supporters.

Knowing who your donor is, age, sex, marital status, and knowing where they live; gives you the ability to truly “know” them and thus connect with them in ways that will likely have more positive and greater response rate, a better return on investment (ROI) to use business speak.

The knowledge that you have of your donors, their giving pattern, what makes them “tick” means you’re more likely to be able to lower the cost of fundraising by having less “hit and miss” attempts.

Those who are truly good at what they do know how important it is to give feedback to donors, donors want to know that their support is making a difference.

Donors need to know that charity is important, what it’s doing and that if it wasn’t for them (donors) they work wouldn’t get done.

Next time to write, email or contact a donor – remember they have a name, use the right salutation, Mrs Brown may be better replaced with Mary – it’s more personal.

By knowing who your donor is, you’re able to adapt copy to specific donor groups – if you know who your donors are, what makes them tick, use language, phrases and information that hits the mark. What works for one group won’t necessarily work for another group.

As part of the planning for your next appeal, stop, think how you can better engage with donors, it’s worth the little extra effort. And, could improve your ROI. What have you got to lose?

See also:

Pick up the phone and say Thank You

Do you know why people lose interest in your organization?

Have a cuppa with your sponsors

Prostitutes or Clients – How do you treat your donors?

Collaboration is Needed

It’ s often been said that charities, those in the not for profit sector need to work together, that there should be more collaboration between organisations.

Some figures suggest that there is about 170-odd people for every charity in New Zealand; that’s a staggering ration.

Who would, could collaborate; the simple way of looking at this would be those organisations that are like minded, those who share a common visions, geographical location could also be taken into account. Don’t forget that those organisation sharing a common beneficiary could perhaps work better if they worked together.

With a number of organisations working in similar areas, with similar needs unless there is some form of collaboration the potential is there for some of organisations to cease to exist. The charity “market” is no different to any other market – it’s supply and demand; in the charity sector the “supply” could relate to funding.

Annual street appeals, envelope collections, tele-fundraising campaigns and the like are only some of the ways organisations gain the funds they need to do their work. Most organisations would also be applying for grants, and many “like” organisations would be competing for the same dollar.

This competition for funding is making it harder for organisations to gain the funding required to do the work they’re committed to do; and this has the potential to only get worse.

Already organisations are having to look for other income avenues in order to survive.

But funding is only one area that could benefit organisations who collaborate.

Organisations who collaborate will have opportunities to share stories, ideas, this would help each other gain further insights into the work they do, the “market” and much more … a win all round.

Do you have stories of organisations who are collaborating, how did they start their collaboration – what do the collaborate on, please share your insights.

ASKphobia – A Great Term

When I first started out in fundraising, I wasn’t always comfortable making the “ask”. I was afraid of being turned down, and sometimes questioned the amount I was endeavouring to ask for.

Why – I guess in those days you could say I was Ask-phobic. I was afraid of the “no’s” and couldn’t understand how people could have the sums I was intended to ask for.

Somehow, one day I shook the fears I had and asked. Sure I was rejected, but at least I was asking, and the more asks got me more “yes’s”

This article on 101Fundraising is a must read if you’re involved in any level of fundraising.

The tips offered are great, and are the types I offer when coaching people in fundraising.

Read ASKphobia: How to Overcome Ask Aversion and see what you think, can you add any more tips to help people with an ask aversion?

See also:

It’s not you they’re turning down

Tele-fundraising Tips

Fundraisng – Planning is Needed

Why you suck at fundraising

What are your plans for 2014

What are your plans for 2014

I originally wrote this in 2011 after writing What are your plans for 2011 for Socialize Your Cause which was more about what plans charities and non-profits could be doing to help them plan for 2011.

I’ve updated this as the New Year fast approaches. Let’s look at what we as individuals are planning, or could do this year to help others in the community.

There’s many options for us when it comes to charity giving, in New Zealand alone we close on 27,000 registered charities looking for support; this doesn’t count the number of community organisations not registered with Charities Services that are also looking for support. But, being Kiwis we are generous and support many activities, people and organisations in the community.

So, where do we begin when looking at who, what and when to support? I guess one of the things we could do is look at why we support

Perhaps we should look at Not-for-profit – Giving Survey Results and how we handle charity requests both of which give an insight into what and why we support.

If you’re working with/for a non-profit, it’s important to have your plans laid out – spend the time, see it as an investment.

For those in the community that support non-profits, it’s not a bad idea to spend time thinking about your contributions, who and what you give to, the frequency, the amount of money or time given; are there things you want to do differently?

There have been stories over the years of families who sit down, and as a group decide what non-profit/s they will support, how they will do it. Some opt to give any money they would spend as a family on a holiday to a cause in their local community; others will put any money normally spent on children’s birthday parties to causes that benefit children.

No matter what or how you’re able to give – as part of your planning for the year ahead, grab a pad and pen and note what you’re wanting to achieve through your charitable giving.

We plan almost everything in our lives, so why not our giving?

Who or what will you support in 2014?

How will you support organizations in your community?

What if anything are your expectations in return for the support you give?

As a company will you involve your staff in the decision making of what causes/s the company will support?

Can you introduce the cause/s you support to others in your family, circle of friends, business or community associations?

All these and more questions will help you with your charity giving plans for the coming year … so, pick up that pen and paper and start your planning now!