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Fundraising for a Challenging Cause

One of the challenges that many charities – both large and small – have been faced with lies in marketing their challenging cause to supporters. At the Round Table held in July 2011, Good Values invited fundraising leaders to look at how to overcome these challenges, reach out to new audiences and build long-term relationships to maximise income.

The evening began with motivating presentations from Tom Lawson, CEO at Leap Confronting Conflict, and Sandra Osborne, Director of External Affairs & Knowledge at Sense. Tom spoke of his experiences of fundraising for difficult causes at smaller charities, and Sandra then looked at these challenges in larger organisations. Both shared their experiences as well as strategies for overcoming the difficulties involved.

The lively round-table session that followed covered a number of important subjects – including Good Values’ critical success factors for innovation.

A key topic for conversation was thought leadership and the need for organisations, large and small, to focus on a single issue to ‘own’ and be famous for. In particular, there was interesting debate about how most charities and causes have their challenges – and that it’s therefore important to be positive, to focus on the areas where you are most likely to maximise your return on investment, and to be ruthless about not spending time on those where you are less likely to succeed. Alongside this, audience insight and an outstanding stewardship programme were both factors that were deemed essential.

Finally, there was discussion on how it was more critical than ever for charities in difficult sectors to ensure their brand is helping not hindering fundraising efforts. Some also find they need to think about re-branding their entire issue if it is widely misunderstood. Before this can happen, it was noted that it was vital first to get internal communications right, before expecting you can communicate successfully with the outside world.

This is a short summary of the full discussion. If you would like to know more, please contact us.