Friday, 15 June 2012

Dare to be Different - Million for a Morgue

Every now and then in the world of fundraising something comes along that makes me jealous.  Green eyed, sick to the stomach, filled with envy jealous.

Because it's cool. Because I wish I'd thought of it.

However, being a friendly sort of creature I don't start boiling up the hemlock, I start shouting about it from the rooftops.  Because if I'm jealous, it means I'm a fan.

This week the object of my envy is the University of Dundee.  A couple of weeks ago, I heard Dundee was fundraising for a morgue.  I sighed and felt sorry for Dundee.  A morgue?  They must be insane.  How would you fundraise for a morgue?

And then I saw this.

And it just about took my breath away.

Academia is all about pushing the boundaries, breaking new ground, reaching for blue skies and turning the world upside down.  Academics are rebels. Free thinkers.  Outside the box creatives.  However, sometimes it seems that as much as academics rebel, we professional services like to play it safe.

Sometimes it seems like we're a little scared of taking risks, scared of dumbing down or being irreverant.  But in an increasingly crowded market place that brings problems.  Pick up the case for support for most leading UK universities and you will see the same sorts of projects featuring in their fundraising campaign.  Libraries, medical schools, scholarships.  We aspire for excellence, we want to attract the best and brightest... sound familiar?


Not the most appealing of images.

But Dundee is an international centre of excellence in anatomy and human identification.  It's dead good (if you'll forgive the pun).  And at the heart of that is a morgue.  A really good morgue.  Or there will be if Dundee can raise enough money.

So Dundee have chosen to be bold.  In a crowded market place full of excellence and aspiration, pictures of smiling students and shiny buildings they've gone gritty and mass market.  They've got a campaign that looks like a crime novel (an immensely popular genre). They've got crime writers on board to back the campaign.  They've got a really inventive community fundraising initiative (bid to name a corpse).

It's intriguing.  It's funny.  And most importantly, without apology it dives straight to the heart of the case for support.  And it reaches out beyond the alumni base.  Diversification. I like that.

Once I stumbled upon Million for a Morgue I wanted to find out more.

And then I wanted to tell people about it.

In my last post I said that fundraising is about more than raising money, it's about transformation.   It's also about profile, about engaging and about reaching out.

Now I've got over my jealousy, I want to slap Dundee on the back and raise a toast in celebration of daring to be different.  And I wish them a million pounds of success - they darn well deserve it!


On Twitter as @collectivemarg

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