Monday, November 24, 2008

Australian recession busting forum...the questions raised

At the recent fundraisers Forum in Sydney, we had quite a few questions for the panel; the panel consisted of Sue-Anne Wallace (FIA), Chris Washington-Sare (Greenpeace) and Sean Triner (Pareto Fundraising).

Q. Is establishing a 'new' charity the right thing to do now?
Clive Hughes of Microloans Foundation

A. Why not? Depends on your target market. If you're targeting institutional or corporate maybe not. Now is as good a time as any, so do it now. (Chris)
This environment is creating greater interestin in organisations that act ethicaly and morally. There is a need to show that you are ethical and transparent in hoe you use donors funds. (Sue-Anne)

Q. Nicola of the Fred Hollows Foundation, agrees with focus on net income, and focus on that, however there also points out that there is an opportunity for charities to lift their game. We need to share more and work together. She is worried that the recession is a good excuse to delay further opportunities for collaboration.

A. (Sue-Anne) Charities aren't in competition, they can work together. FIA provides training and networking opportunities for 6000 people each year. The next FIA conference is in Sydney and 800 people will attend.
(Chris) Build networks: it is importnat to build your own internal networks with your competitors.
(Kelly from Redkite added) We work with other childrens cancer charities. Take the initiative, opportunity and do it.

Q. Libby, Breast Cancer asked - Do you think like-for-like charities will merge similiarily as has happened in the UK?

A. (Sue-Anne) Maybe. Some initiatives may be on hold in uncertain times.
(Martin) Triggers for mergers tended to be financial mergers. Consolidation can be beneficial.

Q. Laura, Cancer Council NSW asked should we be going out with urgent messages. How do we tweak our messages?

A. (Sean) Be honest. Don't give people excuses not to give. What is really important is how you phrase the need. No-one likes to step in to fill a hole left by Government or incompetence. It all comes down to how you write it, the key is integrity and honesty. One charity tested this in the UK and said that mentioning the recession has seen a decline in income.
(Chris) Greenpeace won't be mentioning the recession in donor letters, it is not relevant.

Q. Gabriel from Anglicare asked, Is there a pyschological barrier now for new donors to commit to regular giving?

(Chris) When you are aquiring new donors to regular giving you will find that more people will say no compared to a one-off gift. Manage your expectations.
(Sean) If you haven't got regular givers, you need to get them. And yes, it might be harder to get them but you need them, so do it. Now is the opportunity to cut back on the things that aren't effective i.e. expensive events or ineffective communications.
(Sue-Anne) If expenditure is put on hold, make sure you are still investing in training.

Q. Ian from Special Olympics asked, is there a register of corporates that you could partnership with?

A. (Sue-Anne) No. Research as much as you can.

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