Haiti takes us back to basics
Against the continued backdrop of recession, the terrible crisis in Haiti evoked a phenomenal response from the public and organisations alike. Giving patterns have shown the ongoing march of new media and social networking as part of the fundraising mix, with £8 million raised in response to a message on Twitter before the DEC officially launched its appeal and total online donations accounting for £14m of the £25m it raised in the first five days. And there is no doubt that the need for the international community to support the reconstruction of Haiti post the earthquake will continue for months if not years to come.
The numerous appeals for Haiti do provide the opportunity to remind ourselves of some of the basic ingredients of any successful fundraising appeal. Alongside the undoubted benefit of columns and minutes of press coverage, the appeal demonstrates some fundamentals:
- People – it’s an old adage but people give to people! Haiti needs tents, medical supplies etc etc but the ask and imagery is all around ‘help these people’.
- Urgency – aid is needed now, right now. Any time limit to an appeal provides a focus and call to action that evokes a greater response than an open ended timeline.
- Impact – it’s easy to understand how donations will be applied and what the impact will be. Donors don’t have to think too hard.
- Concise and compelling ask – it’s practically a one liner!
- Easy response mechanisms – on line, credit card, Text, by phone, by post – you can give how you want, easily and quickly, no need for donors to change their ‘spending’ pattern to fit a charity ‘ s infrastructure (or lack thereof!)
- Action turned on quickly by charities – asks were being made within hours of the disaster happening. If charities can do this in exceptional circumstances, why is the accepted norm weeks and weeks between concept and ask execution????
And I could go on …….
My point is that in an emergency such as Haiti, these elements are givens – but they are the basis of any really powerful and successful fundraising appeals. So revisit your thinking on your appeals and projects and see if you can inject some of these basic ingredients into your fundraising.