Friday, 12 October 2012

A truly surreal interaction.

A few weeks ago, an arts membership organisation lamented in Third Sector and on the BBC about the lack of funding available for its members, and announced the publication of a 15-page report which detailed its findings.

Being the proactive fundraising consultant that I am, I contacted the Chief Exec of this membership body, offering to explore options which might be available to him and his financially-squeezed.  There was no obligation.

Within 10 minutes of receiving my email introduction and offer to chat, I received an email in response.

He was not interested in discussing fundraising as an option for his organisation, or for his members.

Here is his entire response:

This is not for us thank you.  We do not fund or regulate and do not get involved in this level of operational detail.

It's more than a bit hypocritical to complain about funding cuts, and then avoid the conversation by claiming that "we do not get involved in this level of operational detail."

What say you?

Friday, 16 September 2011

What do you think of the "Dahl shed" controversy?

Some background info from the Telegraph is here.

There's nothing inherently wrong with involving donors from the general public in such an appeal, but rather than stating that "The Dahl family has already given generously to save the writing shed. We're now going to trusts and foundations and to the general public" as museum director Amelia Foster did, I would have much preferred a scenario like this:

"The Dahl family has made a gift of £250,000 to save Roald's shed, and we invite his fans and members of the public to join Sophie, Liccy, and the rest of the Dahl family in securing the final £250,000 we need."

I know that some people will balk at the idea of a public appeal when the Dahls could pay for the entire project themselves, but others will have a desire, a  need, to be involved and they should be given the chance to participate.

Rick Holland CFRE MInstF

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Would tax breaks really encourage more giving to youth charities?

Interesting piece here about the lack of donor support for youth charities, but are tax breaks really the answer?

It seems to me that describing them as "youth" organisations really don't do them justice: they're tackling employment issues, housing and homelessness, education, and so much more.

There's plenty there to engage potential donors, and although tax incentives are nice, they're not the answer.

Rick Holland CFRE MInstF

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Charities reject News of the World 'offer'

As the voluntary sector warns against accepting the News Of The World offer for free advertising in its final edition, we can only hope that charities will continue to reject such scraps of private corporations and set their sights higher.

What think you?

Rick Holland CFRE MInstF

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Arts Council promotes Fundraising

These should be rather interesting, and it's good to see the Arts Council finally waking up to the need for good private philanthropy.

Rick Holland CFRE MInstF

Monday, 20 September 2010

The UK's National Occupational Standards for Fundraising...where's the "Ask?"

Last week, I had the privilege to participate as a member of an expert fundraising panel discussing the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), the new framework for creating and accrediting qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

QCF units are based on the National Occupational Standards (NOS) which are developed and managed by the UK Workforce Hub.  According to Skills Third Sector, the QCF:
  • recognises smaller steps of learning (units)
  • enables learners to build up qualifications bit by bit (by combining units)
  • helps learners achieve skills and qualifications that meet industry needs
  • enables work-based training to be nationally recognised
 Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the National Occupational Standards for Fundraising skip the quite important step of asking people for money.

Sure, there's information on creating and developing a Fundraising Plan, and recording and monitoring donations, but the important step of asking a donor for money is omitted, compressed into the "implementing a fundraising plan" stage.

In the Major Giving component, for example, the important step of asking for a contribution is alluded to in No. 12. Select and implement appropriate solicitation strategies.

It's hard enough sometimes for professional fundraisers to ask for money, or to facilitate the process with trustees and existing donors.

The most troubling thing about the National Occupational Standards for Fundraising, however, is that young professionals with an interest in the sector will get a very wrong idea of what fundraising is about.

If we are going to encourage a "culture of asking" in the country, including it in our National Occupational Standards would be a great place to start.

Rick Holland CFRE MInstF

Thursday, 10 June 2010

David Puttnam is wrong.

On tonight's 10:00 BBC news, David Puttnam makes the same tired argument, linking his concept of American-style philanthropy to wealthy donors who want their names on buildings.  He said it wouldn't work in the UK, calling it "tacky" and adding that he himself would be "embarrassed" by such recognition.


Puttnam, bless him, continues to perpetuate the stereotype of the philanthropy coming solely from the wealthy narcissists.  

The cultural shift in the UK's giving will be driven by donors at every level, and the fundraisers who facilitate that giving.  Support of charitable organizations is a responsibility we're all learning to share, and not one that's only borne by the wealthy.

Rick Holland CFRE MInstF
Confident Philanthropy Ltd.