Friday, 19 June 2015

Building Successful Corporate Partnerships for Charities

Last week I saw an article in the NonProft Times listing Five Tiers that can exist for a corporate relationship with a charity. These had been defined by Dale Hedding of the Arts Consulting Group and Jennifer Schwartz of the University of Maryland and were described as follows:

* Tier 5: Single point of engagement. The two entities are involved in a limited capacity.
* Tier 4: Managed relationship. This has few points of interest that require co-ordination.
* Tier 3: Tailored partnership. In this the parties work closely to identify value-added opportunities for a deeper relationship between them.
* Tier 2: Broad-based engagement. Both partners engage across multiple units or departments in a variety of ways, including participation by the corporation’s leadership.
* Tier 1: Strategic partner. This kind of relationship is long term, with significant and ongoing financial contributions. It also requires co-ordination with multiple offices.

I liked these categorisations - they are beautifully clear and simple.  To bring them to life, in my experience each Tier looks a little like this (if working for a higher education organisation, the examples would like different but the complexities would be the same): 

Friday, 12 June 2015

Campaign Planning is a messy business

As a veteran of a number of capital appeals, I was recently to explain how to go about campaign planning. Superficially, the question should be an easy one to answer, and when I first started out in the world of capital appeals I probably would have said the magic formula was something like this:

target amount ££ = nice tidy gift pyramid achieved by identifying, cultivating and asking x4 prospects for every gift needed, plus a kick ass case for support and sufficient resources to do the cultivation/asking bit. Simples.

The reality is a lot messier. The neat plan/pyramid is a little bit more like this... plus a few more variables.

1. Is this your first campaign?

Saturday, 6 June 2015

On Being a Donor and the Olive Cooke Backlash

A few weeks ago the body of 92 year old Olive Cooke was found in a gorge in Bristol. Tragically, she had taken her own life.  

Mrs Cooke was known as Britain’s longest serving poppy seller. She had devoted her life to charity work and charitable giving. However, upon her death, the media focused on one specific aspect of Mrs Cooke’s final years: the number of fundraising appeals she received from charities. This provoked a storm of outraged headlines such as: “Shame of charities that prey on the kind-hearted and drove Olive to her death: Organisations who exploited pensioner's kind heart admit to sending begging letters.”

Mrs Cooke’s family denied that charity appeals had anything to do with her death and stated that she would not have wanted this backlash against charities. "I know the letters were a nuisance and an irritation and very intrusive to her,” her granddaughter said, “but it wasn't the reason [she died].” That didn’t matter to the outraged press: within days the Daily Mail was talking about “Olive’s Law.”
It feels wrong that someone’s death should be used as an excuse to attack charities.
It also worries me.
At the Institute of Fundraising Scottish Conference last year, Martin Sime, Chief Executive of SCVO warned that there was a storm brewing and charities would soon be under attack. Charities had already been told to “stick to their knitting” and warned off involvement in politics. He suggested there was worse to come. And it seems that he was right.
The backlash created by the story of Mrs Cooke’s death has taken the fundraising world by surprise. No one expected it and officials from the Fundraising Standards Board have seemed unable to mount a convincing defence of fundraising.
Suddenly, we’re hearing about probes and investigations – the implication being that charities are involved with malign and shady practices to extort money from the vulnerable.
And that makes me angry.