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Creating a Fundraising Culture

Creating a Fundraising Culture

Last month we looked at the impact of organisational culture on fundraising and identified that it can either support or hinder your efforts to raise funds.

Charities tend to lie on a spectrum where, at one end, fundraising is fully owned and integrated across the organisation, to the other extreme where it is just delegated to the fundraising team, who are expected to do the job without wider support. Most lie somewhere in between.

In this article, we look at how a charity can foster a culture that will maximise its fundraising potential by ensuring that fundraising is owned by all its stakeholders.

Take the Long View

It is important to recognise that culture takes time to change. This can be frustrating, but fundraisers need to take the long view and to be patient if they are seeking to move their charity towards a position where fundraising is owned across the organisation. Nevertheless, there are things that can be done.

Find a Champion

Firstly, it really helps to put fundraising on the map if you can identify a senior person, such as a trustee, who “gets” fundraising and is willing to be an internal champion, for example by getting involved in fundraising activities, by being willing to ask for money and by advocating investment in fundraising at the highest level. This form of leadership can help set the tone across the organisation that fundraising is important and deserves support. So if you can, make friends with your trustees and senior team and try to recruit a champion for your cause. If there is really no one to fill this role, then next time a trustee vacancy arises, suggest filling it with someone from a fundraising background.

Celebrate Your Successes

Secondly, the fundraising team can achieve a lot by highlighting their successes internally. It is amazing how often charity staff work in silos, with operational colleagues unaware of what fundraisers are doing. So your internal comms need to engage across the board with staff, volunteers and trustees to celebrate successes and demonstrate the difference you are making.

Involve Your Senior Staff

Thirdly, it is crucial to involve your senior staff in fundraising where you can. For example, there is an important role for the CEO to meet your best donors and to help secure their support. By involving them at a practical level, not only will your results improve, but you will also foster a sense of ownership. After all, everyone wants to be part of something successful!

Make the Case for Investment

One common bugbear is the lack of investment in fundraising, which can mean a charity misses out on key opportunities. You can counter this by highlighting the return on investment of different aspects of fundraising. For example, grant fundraising often has an ROI of 8:1 or 10:1, while legacies can achieve 30:1 or more. By quoting your actual ROI internally or by using industry figures, you can make the case for additional investment. The more fundraising is valued, the more likely it is that it will be properly resourced.

Take Opportunities to Educate Colleagues

Make sure you use every chance to educate colleagues about the reality of fundraising and how they can help achieve success, whether this is an informal chat over coffee or a formal presentation at an away day. It’s easy to assume everyone “gets” fundraising, but this is rarely the case. So actively seek their involvement and use the opportunity to educate.

Ask For Support

Sometimes people will be very willing to support fundraising but have just not been asked. So try approaching people outside the fundraising function and seek their help, e.g. to get feedback on your fundraising copy, to help with an approach to a donor or to support a fundraising event.

Don’t Give Up

Changing the internal culture of an organisation does not happen overnight but takes time, patience and effort to achieve. But it can be done and will result in an increased income in the long run.

Take the time to share our insights today, and start growing your organisational culture, click below!


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