Don’t prejudge who will support

Prejudging in any situation can be bad, if not fatal. But when it comes to prejudging when it comes to fundraising it can cut out a significant section of the population who may wish to give, and unbeknown to the charity – have the ability to give.

Sure, there’s no issue with defining collection areas to ensure best reach, best bang for buck but, when it comes to not approaching a particular suburb or demographic it seems like madness. 

Remember in real estate ‘buy the worse property on the best street’ – perhaps by not approaching that particular house the charity will miss out.

Recently I’ve been taking particular note of street collectors and those out signing people up for causes, the almost haphazard approach has left me baffled.

Why? Simple, in the last few weeks I’ve noticed that I’ve not been approached my any, and it got me thinking is it me, or is there method in their madness?  So I set out recently with the purpose of observing who was approached and more importantly – who wasn’t. 

I hate to say it, but it almost appeared as though ‘race’ had something to do with it.

If you were a white middleclass male you were more likely to be approached, sure some women were approached but in the main it was male. Interesting given that in some research the suggestion is that it is women who make the ‘giving decision’. 

It’s accepted that not everyone can be approached but surely some extra effort wouldn’t go astray. 

When a large group of people are near by, it’s hard to work out who to talk to, but the effort has to be put into trying to talk to some of them, not just stand – txt friends, chat to one another – then wonder why no support has been gained. 

One person I observed was ‘stationed’ at a busy set of traffic lights – people stood waiting for the ‘cross signal’ were ignored. And they were standing right next to the person. The only ones approached were those crossing the road toward them – why? It makes no sense, there was a captive audience that was totally ignored. 

It’s not easy being out on the street raising awareness or funds, and time can seem to drag – but the more people approached and spoken with, makes the time seem to pass a little quicker. Not only that – but the people out doing the work for the charity or organisation will be seen to be doing their ‘job’. 

I’ve asked collectors and the likes how they select who they will approach, and have been staggered by the responses: 

“Depends if they’re on their own – if with others I don’t stop them”  Why not, if the person you stop doesn’t want to help, maybe one of the people with them might. 

“We can’t approach anyone under 21”  Why not? And how do you pick someone’s age? If the person is stopped and it turns out they’re not 21, you never know they may go home and talk about the organisation and support could be gained.

“If I’ve had a series of “no’s” I don’t stop anyone for a while”  Oh come on – celebrate every “no” it’s getting you closer to a “yes”.

Organization who have people out on the street should also have ‘mystery shoppers’ randomly checking how the people are doing, how they’re interacting with the public – are they doing their job – and are they doing justice to the organization?

Do you use street collectors, people to sign up to your organization – what training do you give them before sending them out? Are they reminded that they’re not only their to raise funds, but are also there to raise awareness of the organization – if not, why not?