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FIA Conference Session - Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned


23 February 2010 at 10:44 am
Staff Reporter
Experienced fundraiser tells it like it is and ways to fix it at the FIA conference in Adelaide at the weekend


Staff Reporter | 23 February 2010 at 10:44 am


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FIA Conference Session - Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned
23 February 2010 at 10:44 am

"Poor preparation equals poor performance" was one of the key messages to the FIA annual conference at the weekend from experienced fundraiser Gavan Woinarski.

In his presentation "Mistakes Made, Lesson Learned", the Director of Mercy Health Foundation in Melbourne outlined some common fundraising mistakes that occur because organisations fail to invest enough time in preparation and fail to see that fundraising is about people and not money.

Gavan Woinarski, Director of Mercy Health Foundation 

Gavan Woinarski says many organisations seek out older potential donors usually in their 70s, for a bequest, when this is so often too late, as their financial planning has already been completed.

He says bequesting programs need to engage donors much earlier and keep engaging them. And while sending letters is good he says don’t forget to pick up the phone and make contact, invite them to special events or to meet the CEO – fundraising is a contact sport.

Woinarski says major gifts of $1million or more take up to three years to achieve but often a donor’s timetable and a Not for Profits may not always coincide. Therefore organisations need to keep a number of major gift prospects in the pipeline to always ensure sufficient major gifts are received.

Woinarski says in his early days as a fundraiser his biggest mistake was sending out a ‘begging’ letter. These days he’s more likely to send out a colour brochure aimed at inspiring donors.

Gavan says one truism that he has learnt is that "if you ask for money, you will get advice. If you ask for advice, you get money".

In summing up he makes these points:
• Don’t fail because of a lack of resources
• Don’t go too quickly
• Have a plan
• Collaborate: this is a contact and team sport

Mercy Health Foundation secures gifts from Direct Mail, Major Gifts, bequests, memorial donations, Trusts & Foundations, sponsorships, government grants, events, Aged Care residents, payroll giving and thank you gifts. Visit their website at www.mercyhealthfoundation.com.au/home

The annual Fundraising Institute Australia conference ‘Terra Rossa’ took place at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Conference attendees were able learn experts from five main fields – bequests, fundraising technology/direct marketing, major gifts, outside the box, and trusts, foundation and sponsorship.
 



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