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Self-destructive fundraising

23/08/2011

In his blog this week Jeff Brooks talks about three self-destructive courses of action not-for-profit organisations are following in a flawed attempt to survive the current tough economic climate.  He cites three main behaviours suggested by fundraising consultant Michael Rosen:

  1. Stop Asking.
  2. Do Not Have a Compelling Case for Support.
  3. Ignore Current Supporters.

Given our experience of the last three years, I’d add a few more linked behaviours guaranteed to make it tougher for not for profits and charities to survive an economic downturn:

  1. Put your head in the sand and just carry on doing things the way you’ve always done them… the downturn will improve right?
  2. Shy away from innovation and new ideas. Supporters and donors are having to think differently about their world, their budgets and their priorities so charities need to do exactly the same if they are to maintain a share of a shrinking/changing wallet.
  3. Stubbornly persist with the ethos that the not for profit world is superior morally and operationally to the commercial world and ignore ideas and processes that might actually help in tougher times.
  4. Be parochial about what you do and don’t partner with organisations that could actually help to deliver an even better service to your beneficiaries and create a stronger case for support for donors.
  5. Continue to pay staff peanuts for their skills, relying on the goodwill or an independent income to attract and motivate the best people to do outstanding work for you.
  6. Treat volunteers like skivvies; not engaging them with the organisation and just getting them to deliver the crap tasks you don’t want to do
Obviously, these are generalisations and don’t apply to every or even one particular organisation but we’ve seen evidence of them all.  What would you add from your experience?
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