The future of fundraising – a personal perspective

bitcoin-2868703_1920What is happening in 2018 and beyond? What are the challenges and opportunities ahead and what are future priorities of the IOF in supporting the fundraising community and further developing the profession? The chair of Institute of Fundraising and Director of Fundraising of British Heart Foundation, Amanda Bringans delivered a master class on ‘The future of fundraising – a personal perspective’ last week at IOF’s First Thursday event in London. Below are my 3 take away from Amanda with my humble input:

1.     Localisation of partnerships is going to be big trend in fundraising: Amanda Bringans

This means corporates will be supporting their preferred causes in their local communities. So charities should make their massages more compelling and appealing to companies based in their localities. I totally agree with Amanda on this, as last year when local Sainsbury chose Mind In Harrow, as a charity of the year and as a trustee I had an opportunity to meet with their local area manager and he said, we looked at the various charities but we wanted to do something for mental health in our catchment area, thus we chosen Mind in Harrow. Which confirms Amanda’s point that companies want to maximise their potential to have a positive impact on their local communities. So how we can maximise this in 2018?  I believe that the best way to make the start in “Localisation of the Partnership” by thinking of any companies you may have existing contact with. You can also utilising your extended network of contacts for an introductions. I have personally utilised ‘LinkedIn’ and twitter to unlock the potential of indirect relationships to reach out to the right people.

2.     Least every charity should be doing in digital is to mobile-optimise their websites to maximise the future digital fundraising: Amanda Bringans

As people are spending more time than ever online thus it should be of great importance to charities to be well prepared to engage their supports online. According to Movable Ink reports that across industries, 69% of opens were on mobile device, highlighting the importance of creating a great mobile experience, from email subject line to website landing page. For fundraising, this means making sure your donation page is mobile friendly, so you don’t miss any donors who want to make donations via their phone. Also, digital experience is now gone beyond having a good mobile optimised website, we must also be on every social platform and must invest in that area regardless of the cause and size to connect and engage with supporters. If you are still thinking about digital or struggling to convince your trustee’s to invest in digital have a look at below 2016 Charitable Giving Report by Blackbaud for some really interesting insights:

  • In the UK, overall giving rose 2.8% in 2016, with online giving up 2.2%.
  • 7.2% of overall fundraising in 2016 came from online giving. The non-profit sector is now lagging behind consumer trends for online activity
  • 10% of online gifts in 2016 were $1,000 or more and 41% of non-profits received at least one online donation of $1,000 of more, meaning that even major donors are moving to online channels.
  • 17% of online donations in 2016 were made on a mobile device. This is up 8% since 2014. Being mobile friendly is no longer optional for non-profits. Without a multi-step approach including mobile-friendly emails, websites, and donation forms, non-profits will miss out on more and more gifts from savvy supporters.

3.     Institute of Fundraising will be more focused on dealing with diversity in fundraising profession: Amanda Bringans

It was reassuring to hear from Amanda that Institute of Fundraising  is aiming to take a leading role in dealing with ‘diversity in fundraising’ by putting this issue at the top of its strategic plan. I have read an excellent piece of research which was carried out by Institute of Fundraising (IoF) in partnership with Barrow Cadbury Trust in 2013. This report gives a better understanding of the make-up of the fundraising workforce and gain an insight into the diversity of the profession. But I believe that the size of community and opportunity in BAME community has grown at phenomenal levels over the years, both in donations and talent. However, third sector has failed to realise this growing potential of BAME community, which is now exceeding well over £300bn.  It was appalling to read this month’s fundraising magazine where Paul Amadi, executive director of fundraising at the MS Society – writes that previously he was kept back from meeting certain donors because of the colour of his skin, and expected to laugh at a joke about a “n****r in the woodpile”. Amadi further said in his article that the business case for diversity in the charity sector is compelling, because it allows access to greater talent, and because diverse teams produce better results.

Finally, I must add that diversity in fundraising shouldn’t be only listed to ethnic boundaries, we must look into all forms of other inclusions too, whether its age, gender, sexuality, religion, region or disabilities.

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Ikhlaq Hussain is a major giving specialist, currently head of major gifts at Orphans In Need, trustee at Mind in Harrow, Board member and Fundraising Mentor at IOF (South East & London), and regular blogger on the topic of fundraising.

Picture Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/bitcoin-cryptocurrency-btc-currency-2868703/