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We’re All Fundraisers – But Do We Know It?

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You don’t need us to tell you that fundraising isn’t always as easy as the glossy pictures we put on our websites makes it look! Global uncertainty, the digital revolution, new data protection rules and the sheer fact that there are more charities than ever – 167,443[1] to be precise with 5,000 new charities joining the sector every year – vying for the same pots of money, mean it’s never been tougher for fundraisers.

Whilst you need to be aware of what’s going on out there in the big wide world, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you have no power to control it. What you can control, however, is the way your team responds to the ever-changing environment. And by ‘team’ we’re not just talking about the dedicated fundraisers, but everyone else in your organisation – from the IT manager to longest serving board member.

The sophistication of fundraising

As life continues to evolve, it’s more and more important that fundraising becomes part of everyone’s DNA. These days fundraising is a sophisticated business that stretches further than a few gala dinners and the odd fun run. The most successful organisations are those that not only have a spread of fundraising activities, but where everyone understands what goes into making sure those activities are successful - from the fundraising and communications teams right through to IT, finance and HR.

You might have the best fundraisers in the world – but how much better could they be if they were supported by a team in the office who understand what they do and take that into consideration when planning and building processes?

It’s everyone’s business

Take digital transformation. Smartphones have overtaken desktops and laptops as the preferred means of accessing the internet in the UK[2]. That means your donors are finding out about you, giving you money, asking questions and generally interacting with you in ways that were inconceivable 10 years ago. All of a sudden, rather than simply providing the platform for your communications, IT is an integral part of your fundraising.

Grant applications is another example. With competition heating up, detailed accounts, accurate figures and projections don’t just support a compelling application, they are absolutely central to them, bringing your accounts teams into the midst like never before. But do you ever get the sense that the accounts team find the constant queries from fundraisers burdensome?

Pull in the same direction

So how do you get everyone on the same page when it comes to fundraising? A quick overview as part of an induction process isn’t enough – integration is part of a much wider culture change, but it has to start somewhere and that evolution needs to be led by your team at the top.

By breaking down some of the invisible barriers that exist between teams, you can help everyone to see themselves as part of a fundraising body that can make great things possible.

[1] Charity Register Statistics

[2] Digital Transformation

Arun Sharma