=mc Director Bernard Ross looks at the 5 Cs that non-profit organisations need to address before changing their fundraising strategy – Context, Competencies, Competition, Cash and Commitment.
From Worried Charity CEO: I’ve been discussing with my board and senior colleagues about the need to change our income base… we can see that statutory grants are going down, but aren’t sure whether to move into online, major donors, individual giving… or even trying to set up our own ice bucket challenge! We have lots of consultants selling us this or that as a perfect solution. But are there any more general considerations we should take account of before we plunge in to a specific technique?
From =mc Director Bernard Ross: So you want to change fundraising strategy – how many C words do you need to use before you plunge in?
I’ve been working a lot recently on fundraising strategy with a range of agencies – from global ones like MSF to local ones like Poetry London in the UK. The strategies we were discussing were very different and were designed to deliver different outcomes at a different scale. But in each case we ended up asking five key questions, each based around a C.
Here are the C word questions. If you’re thinking about changing strategy ask yourself these five questions:
CONTEXT: what does your environmental scan – PEST and SWOT – tell you about the opportunity? Before taking action you need to explore the market you want to work in for whatever it is you want to do – the global humanitarian market, the UK philanthropic market or even London’s artistic market.
And there are some further questions from that first one. For example: Are there enough HNWI prospects with enough capacity to deliver your campaign target? Does the channel you want to use – DRTV/F2F – work in that setting? Does your cause have enough traction to generate support now – or do you need simple awareness before fundraising? Deciding honestly and objectively on your context will help in your plan.
Launching into an initiative without competencies, and to some extent capacity, will end in tears or burnout.
If so how could you gain a competitive edge? Look at how Save the Children distinguished themselves very successfully from Action Aid, Plan, SoS, UNICEF etc. by making their proposition really, really simple.
Make sure you have a properly costed plan and then be prepared to invest for long enough to secure the results.
Without commitment the rest will mean nothing… and that commitment has to start with you.
Five tough questions. Ask yourself them. And if you can live with the answers then move to the more technical choice of which approach to use.
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Clare Segal, Director