The year just passed will probably get, and deserve, some colourful descriptors from fundraisers, most of them uncomplimentary. In Britain particularly it was uncomfortable, to say the least. But as the year ended a number of encouraging signs were emerging that point towards some real potential for 2016 to be an altogether better experience.
First was the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) summit (see Ken Burnett’s take on the lessons from that) which most agreed was a generally positive, encouraging gathering. In reporting on the changes to regulation that are coming in the wake of all the recent negative comment about poor fundraising practices, the eminent panel all one after the other promised fundraisers one last chance at self-regulation, with wide commitment to consultation, fairness and proper regard for avoiding ‘unintended consequences’ from what some see as and many fear will prove to be potentially heavy-handed new regulations.
There’s also been a steady flow of thoughtful, constructive blogs and articles from all corners of our profession, many containing practical suggestions as to how fundraising should and could change. Interestingly many of these come from the upcoming generation rather than from the traditionally more vocal elder statesmen and women of our profession. Within the writings of these future leaders are real signs that the mood has changed, plus concrete hope that, working together, our profession will find practical solutions and constructive actions that will restore the joy of being a donor, and therefore, by implication, the joy of being a fundraiser.
In two weeks’ time the Commission on the Donor Experience is scheduled to hold the first full meeting of its newly-appointed commissioners. Our most recent update (No 3) will be on our website very soon. It will report a raft of projects and initiatives all designed to improve our knowledge and understanding of truly donor-centred fundraising and how we can make it work. Most importantly, it will launch a variety of ways for fundraisers and others to get involved in shaping the Commission’s output. In particular we’ll be announcing a new group formed by keen fundraisers determined to lead and shape the change that fundraising needs. Called the Enthusiasts Group and shaped by as well as composed of forward-thinking fundraisers, this initiative we hope will give everyone a change to become involved and to make sure the Commission builds your interests and concerns into their final output.
- Believe passionately in the need for change.
- Be open to new thinking and ideas generated by other enthusiasts.
- Be willing to try out new ways to improve the donor experience.
- Contribute and share what they’ve learned.
- Invite others to join the movement.
- Support the Commission on the Donor Experience by getting involved in projects and volunteering.
- Help shape the Commission’s interim and final reports.
Do you believe that the best people to shape the future of fundraising are fundraisers themselves? Have you got experience and insights that you could share? Have you got opinions and attitude that you’d like to see taken into account? Then please, don’t just complain about what’s not right, play your part in righting what’s wrong. Here’s how. Contact me at the address below or go to our website and register with the Enthusiasts Group. It’s easy, you’ll be very welcome and we’ll do our best to make it fun and interesting too.
Together, we can be the change that’s needed, and make 2016 the year of the donor.
Consultation documents and occasional updates from the Commission on the Donor Experience will be published from time to time on our website. To register for your updates about the Commission and its progress please email me, Richard Spencer here.