What’s next in fundrais­ing? Part 4

Recent­ly SOFII and The Agi­ta­tor joined forces with Rev­o­lu­tionise to iden­ti­fy, fos­ter and devel­op new jour­nal­is­tic tal­ent in fundrais­ing. We offered five free places for the 2014 Annu­al Lec­tures at the Roy­al Insti­tu­tion in Lon­don to aspir­ing fundrais­ing writ­ers, who each had to sub­mit a short piece on the theme of what’s next in fundrais­ing?’ The stan­dard of writ­ing and range of approach­es to tack­ling the top­ic were very impres­sive and made the task of choos­ing the best five arti­cles very dif­fi­cult. Here’s one of the win­ning entries…

Written by
Kirsty Simpson
January 22, 2015

When I first saw that the theme of this short article was ‘what’s next in fundraising?’ I got a little excited. The truth is, I’m not quite sure what’s ahead of us, but after an amazing year of becoming reinvigorated by the possibilities that fundraising brings, I’m certainly enthusiastic about what comes next.

I started 2014 with an emotional fundraising workshop run by Revolutionise at the Inch hotel in Scotland and have spent the past 12 months pulling emotional stories out of everyone I come in contact with and encouraging storytelling, with a box of tissues in hand. I think I can say quite honestly that I have spent more time sitting cross-legged on the carpet than I did at as a five year old.

Steven Sutton, what better example do we have of the impact of a sincere person telling his story in the hope of making a difference?

Bringing the heart of the cause back to the forefront of fundraising and telling the truth about what my charity does has been a breakthrough in my little fundraising world, but this has also become apparent across the sector. Take Steven Sutton, what better example do we have of the impact of a sincere person telling his story with the hope of making a difference? There’s been an influx of ‘reactive fundraising’ joining Steven in his take over of the Internet this year by social media campaigns such as the ‘no make-up selfie’ and the ‘ice bucket challenge’.

Now this article is obviously not titled, ‘what has happened in fundraising?’ So what is next? And what have we learned from the past 12 months that could indicate what we should expect from the future?

For me, the next step in fundraising is going to be a bit of a leap, or more appropriately a leap of faith. We are at a new stage in fundraising that makes practically anything possible and, with innovation having a substantial presence, I think 2015 will see charities taking risks, trying innovative ideas and bringing new exciting things to our donors.

If this year is anything to go by, charities will need to start allocating time and resources to the things that ‘could happen’, being ready to react to unplanned marketing that might just take off. Five-year strategies certainly have their place, but the future of fundraising is going to involve making the most of opportunities and reacting to the ever-changing environment, one day at a time.

There is increased value in charity messages coming from individuals as opposed to organisations, so linking beneficiaries with the mission of the charity will be the key. People who have benefited from the cause will become spokespeople and have the power to drive change. Service providers and fundraisers will join together through a new era of leadership that invigorates harmonious teamwork to achieve the charity purpose.

One of the most exciting things about this new direction of fundraising is that it’s not just for the ‘big boys’. It will put smaller charities in the same arena, allowing everyone to benefit as long as they take the leap.

About the author: Kirsty Simpson

Kirsty Simpson heads up the events and community fundraising team at Claire House Children’s Hospice. She is currently studying an MSc in Charity Marketing and Fundraising at Cass Business School and holds a First Class Undergraduate Degree in Events Management from The University of Birmingham. Kirsty is also a guest lecturer in the field of Event Management.

Kirsty started her career in corporate event management working for Events Unlimited, but realised her passion for the third sector when managing UK challenge events for a charity client of the company, Wooden Spoon. Kirsty subsequently worked at The Air Ambulance Service before joining Claire House Children’s Hospice in 2013, a cause that she is truly passionate about.

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