I’ve been having a lot of coffees recently with peers. I think the penny has dropped that fundraising needs to change. Often the conversation moves quickly to the how as in what to do – especially if it’s a coffee with a consultant. The question I think is more important is “Why?” as in why fundraising needs to change.
Let me tell you why the why is so important.
The how is relatively simple – yet it’s not easy. I’ve outlined it in several blogs such as this one: Welcome to the party! How to apply the New Rules of Fundraising
If you want to get fit the how is go for a run or a swim etc. If you want to lose weight you decide how to change what you eat. However it’s the why that I always find is the driver that pushes me to do what I need to do. Without it that initial enthusiasm soon falls off.
And the same applies in fundraising – especially to make such a step change – or in this case a paradigm shift altogether.
Along the way you will stumble, and thing’s will not quite work out as you expect. After all you’ll be learning a new way to do things so this should not be that surprising. That’s when the why is so important. It keeps you on the path and gives you faith. And learning by trying, and failing along the way is important. It’s how we learn to do things better. The why helps you carry on.
If you understand the why it also becomes obvious what not to do too (almost as important as what to do).
And if you understand the why, it constantly helps you figure out the how.
It also helps you understand the symptoms of why the traditional ways are no working.
First of all YOU need understand why. So read books (and blogs) that help you figure it out for yourself. Spend time thinking – even studying to unpack what you read. How often do we set aside time to read and study? Its considered something you need to do outside of work and yet its so critical. And observe the world around you – especially what is happening outside the voluntary sector. You will begin to see.
Then you need to get others on board to understand. The more you can get buy in from above (especially) and below (ideally) the faster you can bring about change. Not because you will do thinks quicker (although you might be more compelled by understanding why) – simply you will sustain the mindset of wanting to change for longer. You won’t give up so easily. Now couldn’t be a better time too to get others to see and understand why – the symptoms are all around us (think Daily Mail headlines). The appetite for change has probably never been higher.
For the last five years I’ve tried a different approach to fundraising at SolarAid – its not easy but believe me it works. And the how has evolved as I’ve been driven to do things differently. A bit like climbing a mountain and the next part of the ascent revealing itself as I go.
Here are two guest blogs I did which explain my take on the why both written in 2014 before the symptoms came to a boiling point in 2015.
And a more recent update on 101 Fundraising : Why we need fundraising to change
At least now you know why it’s important to understand why!
Then you can start on ‘the how’ with relish and determination. Think of it as the first to do on ‘the How’ is to Understand Why!
p.s. apologies if you got my last blog, Confessions of a fundraiser, by email before I completed it (pressed the wrong button)!