How different is Scotland?

 I’ve recently returned from another trip to Scotland, this time working with a client in Inverness. On my previous trip last August, I was lucky enough to go to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, am amazing celebration of Scotland’s vibrant heritage.   It’s always obvious when I work with clients in Scotland just how proud Scottish people are of their heritage and their strong cultural identity – not something you can say when you live in the Home Counties. I’m also often told how different the fundraising environment and culture is north of the border, and how much more difficult it is when it comes to major donors.

It’s true that compared to London, the prospect pool is small, and both the number and size of gifts is a fraction of that in the South East. The Coutts Million Dollar Donor report shows that over 75% of £1m+ donations in 2014 were to organisations in London and the South East. Only 2% were in Scotland. Clearly, this means securing support from High Net Worth Individuals is not easy but fundamentally success requires the same ingredients and approach in Scotland as it does anywhere else.

Knowing your audience – HNWIs have increasingly earned their wealth and approach their charitable giving as they would a financial investment.  Major donors will expect a charity to provide detail of the expected “return” on the charitable gift and require clear plans on outputs, outcomes and impacts. Does your organisation think in the same way?

Money plus – Increasingly, HNWIs are involved beyond just giving financial support.  They are passionate about their causes and draw on their skills and networks to further the aims of the charities they support.  Organisations wanting to take the financial gifts will need to be able to accommodate these other offers.

Don’t forget the heart – Despite the rise of more business like relationships between major donors and charity, inspiration is key so a compelling proposition that motivates prospects is also essential.  How compelling – and unique – is your Case for Support?

Excellent leadership – The perceived calibre of senior executive and volunteer leadership of an organisation is likely to be important factor for major donors. There needs to be clear and active leadership with powerful vision if you are to succeed. How does your charity shape up?

Multi-faceted prospects – A significant pool of prospects is a must for any programme but recognising that major donors wear more than one hat will help you build yours. Understanding donor relationships and networks – across the corporate and trust sector as well as personal ones – will help unlock other avenues of support.

Major donor fundraising is competitive wherever you are. Cultural attitudes and identity clearly have an impact on which charities people support, but being able to respond to need, delivering real impact and having a powerful vision are surely just as important? That’s my view – but what do you think?  I’d love to hear, so drop me an email