Does Your Fundraising Programme Motivate People to Give?

Studies show that people around the world are naturally inclined to be charitable, and even — contrary to popular belief — to give money. Here are seven questions to get your fundraising programme prepared for success.

By Rebecca Parkes, GG+A Europe

This past July, GG+A CEO John Glier and I travelled to northwest Germany to visit three very distinct organisations: a University, an art museum, and a family foundation. On this trip — which also included small planes, island hopping, and thatched roof houses — we engaged in conversations with leaders of each organisation, and discovered that each had the same end goal: to accelerate fundraising.

parkes house blogparkes blog - beach aerial parkes blog - planes

All of the organisations we visited are facing similar challenges. First, they need a way to identifyengage with, and communicate to their constituencies. They also need to understand what makes their organisation important to those constituencies and identify their “case for support” that would motivate individuals to give to them.

The other most common challenges we heard from these organisations, as well as the many others that we talk to throughout Europe, are:

 “People in our country don’t give away money.”

 “People in our country do not like to be asked personally for money.”

It is critical to understand the culture of giving specific to each country and group of constituents that we engage with as fundraisers and leaders. Yet, we also must understand that giving is a core characteristic of many countries and cultures, as shown by the World Giving Index.

The index, published annually by the Charities Aid Foundation, ranks the giving behaviours of over 130 countries according to three factors:

  • + willingness to give money
  • + time volunteered, and
  • + willingness to help a stranger.

The top 20 might surprise you. (Click on image to enlarge.)

world giving index graph

This survey shows us that individuals from many different countries and cultures around the world have a willingness to contribute to philanthropy, including giving money.

Wherever in the world an organisation exists, accelerating and conducting a successful fundraising programme requires that its leadership address and answer these seven critical questions:

     1. Who are our prospects?

     2. To whom is what we do important?

      3. What is our “case for support” or compelling philanthropic proposition?

      4. How will we engage and communicate with our prospects?

      5. How will we ask for gifts?

     6. How will we find what our constituents care about and build a bridge between that and our strategic priorities?

      7. Are we ready to invest time and resources to professionalise our fundraising operation?

Generosity is a common trait of people round the world. Tapping into that generosity requires more than just asking, but whether your programme can motivate in people what they’re already inclined to do.

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