What is the biggest roadblock you face as a fundraiser??? I’m sure this answer is different for all of us and likely those answers touch on all sorts of different aspects of fundraising and philanthropy. Perhaps it’s incomplete/invalid data on your prospects. Maybe it’s having a tough time communicating your mission to a larger network. OR, perhaps it’s that your prospects (or future prospects) don’t know exactly what you’re fundraising for.
I try to keep this blog pretty general, but being that I work in educational fundraising, it’s hard not to write from that slant. However, I think this predicament happens for all fundraisers. Your prospects/community may know that your organization has something to do with homelessness, or animals, or building wells in Africa. They may even know more info about how exactly you help the homeless, which animals in particular you rescue, or which countries in Africa you focus your efforts on. But, do your prospects know where their dollar goes when they donate??? Do they know what kind of projects their donations fund???
For example, working at an independent school (like I do!) or a university – your future prospects are your current students. While in school, they’re not thinking about donating/fundraising. If they’re university students, they’re overwhelmed as it is with tuition, and being asked to donate may even seem insulting. So maybe we won’t ask you to donate as a current student, at least not until your grad year, but how do we educate you as a student on what exactly fundraising does for you, so that when you’re in a position to donate, you’ll know that it’s important???
That question is what inspired me to write this post in the first place, because schools like Wilfrid Laurier University (my alma mater) are attempting to answer that question with initiatives like Tag Day. I highly suggest clicking the link to learn more, but in short: Tag Day was created to generate awareness of how donations and philanthropy positively impact Laurier and its student experience every day. Tag Day’s student volunteers attach purple tags to places and objects that are made possible or enhanced through donations.
This initiative is great because it presents a tangible way of illustrating the power of philanthropy. Annual reports and web articles are all well and good, but a big, purple tag attached to a bookshelf in the library is pretty hard to ignore. It grabs your attention and makes you think. Kudos to Laurier for being innovative and inspiring with their fundraising and stewardship efforts.
What initiatives like Tag Day have you seen??? What efforts have you made to overcome roadblocks in your organization???
What Gives??? Trivia:
The latin term alma mater, used to refer to any school, college, or university someone has studied at and, presumably, graduated from, means “nourishing mother”.
Written by Maeve Strathy
Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in educational fundraising for the past 6 years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.