From Fundraising to Resource-Raising
Charities could unlock untapped resources if they were more strategic about non-cash giving, according to a new report by Caroline Beaumont. The report From Fundraising to Resource-Raising combines a survey of 75 charity professionals, 17 interviews with experience of resource-raising and seven case studies of charities that do resource-raising well: Crisis, Christian Aid, Transaid, Save the Children UK, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Macmillan and FareShare.
Some clear lessons emerged for those that want to become resource-raising organisations, but how these can be interpreted for the donor to produce more and more meaningful ways to give that are low cost to them, but high value to the charity? Here are six lessons for donors:
1. Learn about the charity’s strategic goals and look for mission enhancing opportunities to contribute to them. Charities often complain that donors expect them to develop new projects or programmes around their gift without regard to their existing priorities. Ask what they are trying to achieve and what programmes and projects are already planned, then jointly identify the assets you have that can help to generate income, support management or operations or help to deliver the mission.
2. Build relationships with the right people. I have heard two major grantmaking trusts say recently that they no longer talk to fundraisers, presumably because they don’t think they can engage on a peer level and are only after their money. But remember that fundraisers are some of the best connected people in a charity with a good view across the breadth of activity going on. So do see them as a key contact, but look for evidence that they are bringing together and introducing you to the right people in the charity to make a decision about the value and potential of what you are offering, whether they be in programmes, campaigns, procurement or operations.
3. Beware of funder flattery and allow the charity to negotiate. Charities are less confident about negotiating donated resources than cash donations and can end up taking things they don’t really want or, at worst, are mission diverting. Expect and invite negotiation for what is really needed.
4. Propose a figure that you can both agree as the value of the donated resource and insist that this is agreed with the charity’s FD and, where the gift is significant, their auditors. 66% of survey respondents weren’t able to easily find out the value of donated resources to their organisation and 72% said their charity never counts the income towards the fundraising target. This acts as a barrier to seeking and accepting donated resources. Apply some pressure to get the value recognised and reported.
5. Cover the ‘hidden costs’. This is the number one objection to accepting donated resources. The costs are actually well understood, but they often go unasked for because the perception is that the donor won’t pay. Understand the time and financial costs associated with managing and mobilising your gift and, wherever possible, fund them. If you can’t or won’t, then do ask how they will be budgeted for and paid for. If the charity doesn’t plan these costs in, then your gift is unlikely to be deployed effectively.
6. Be a good supplier – charities’ other main concerns are around quality, reliability and sustainability. If you are giving services then treat the charity as you would a paying client for your services, develop the relationship and be willing to discuss issues and problems. Some charities, like NSPCC, are employing reverse pitches for pro bono suppliers – expect this approach to get more common as charities get wiser to the value they can bring to the table.
According to the report author: “Ultimately it is a leadership issue for charities to move from a fundraising to a resource-raising approach. Charities need money and there is an understandable reluctance to take focus away from cash giving but modern donors can offer a rich mix of resources including money, goods, services, facilities, knowledge, skills, profile, access and influence. Charities and donors that understand and take full advantage of the mix may find they can achieve more with less money, but not less resource”.