KAREN WILLSON, CFRE
Senior Vice President & Partner, KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.)
The core responsibility of the fundraising team in any charity, large or small, is to bring in more dollars so that the mission of their organization can be both maintained and hopefully enhanced.
We often think that our biggest challenge is finding those major donors. Where are they? The recent information from Revenue Canada has confirmed that although more money is being given to charity (post 2008-09), fewer Canadians are making these kinds of gifts. In the past, 80% of the giving came from about 20% of the population. But now the numbers show that close to 90% of the giving is coming from approximately 10% of the population.
A key principle of accessing these donors, or encouraging others to give, is to have people to ask. In fact, according to the Canadian Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (2010), one of the key reasons people give for supporting a charity is ”that they were ‘asked’ to give”. This is why we need volunteers! With over 80,000 charities, it is becoming ever more challenging to find these volunteers.
This same study determined that those people who are in the right age and stage of life, and that are in the prime donating phase of their lives ( 50+), are actually volunteering less.
How do we get these people engaged? In my experience there is no silver bullet. It requires dedication and rigour. Everyone associated with our causes has a network. We all know the theory of ‘six degrees of separation’. With the internet, experts are saying that we are down to 1-2 degrees. We need to make this network work for us!
- Have prospect review and volunteer review meetings with each of your current board members and volunteers.
- Speak to every person who has made a donation to your cause. Determine why they have made your charity a philanthropic priority. Who might they know who might want to learn more about you.
- Track who comes to your events and follow-up, in particular, with new attendees. You are not out to try and get their financial support right away, but find out who they might know.
- Attend the events of charities that are similar to yours. What are they doing right? Who supports them? If someone is passionate about ‘homelessness’ and this is related to your mission, they might give to you as well – be bold, find out!!
Karen Willson is one of KCI’s most accomplished senior leaders, providing strategic direction and project supervision to her clients, as well as leading staff and volunteer training. Join her sessions at Congress 2012 and follow her on Twitter @karendoreen