Fundraisers Should be “Dreamers” - FIA Conference
29 February 2012 at 4:01 pm
Image credit: Angela Holland
Dreams are what capture donors, according to Kay Sprinkel Grace who delivered the Syd Herron Oration to kick off the 35th Annual FIA International Fundraising Conference on the Gold Coast today.
A self-confessed ‘dreamer’, Sprinkel Grace is internationally renowned as a ‘big picture’ fundraiser and is considered to be one of the greatest fundraising experts of the time.
A former journalist and US educator, Sprinkel Grace believes that the current climate is an extremely pivotal time in philanthropy.
“In the US, where the recession has continued to push its residue into the philanthropic decisions of many donors, many organisations have gone into maintenance mode and struggle with messages that border on begging for funding to keep their doors open and their services sound,” she said.
“These messages don’t come from a sense of the impact the organisations are having and can have, but from a sense of fear that they will not be able to provide essential services or enrichment to the community.
“These messages couple with the recipient’s fears about the economy and the result is a pervasive syndrome called “psychic poverty.”
Sprinkel Grace strongly believes that even during the worst times, people harbour dreams, and that even organisations with cash-strapped budgets need to set aside time to dream.
“It doesn’t cost anything to dream,” she said.
“You can hold a dream while still maintaining your commitment to sound fiscal practices and execution of your strategic plan.”
“Dare to be different, to me, means dare to dream,” she added.
She believes that we are on the brink of the greatest burst of wealth creation since the end of the 20th century, which will have a remarkable impact on global philanthropy.
“It’s time to make the next big shift and fundraisers will need to have courage, confidence, creativity and commitment to capitalise on a period which could prove very exciting.”
“With great wealth comes a heightened sense of responsibility,” she said.
“Who has the next big idea?” she asks.
“Now is the time for new dreams and big dreams.”
Sprinkel Grace says that the fundraising sector is founded on dreams and that we should dare to dream of things that can be and that can happen.
“We all continue to do what we do because it’s successful, but we need to create an exciting picture for the future.”
She says that fear and complacency are the enemy of dreams, renewal and change, and that we must adapt to changing needs.
Sprinkel Grace is a San Francisco-based organisational consultant and author. She consults around the world on NGO/ Not for Profit resource capacity growth, board development, major giving and other areas related to leadership of the fundraising process.
With over 700 delegates, this year’s conference boasts the largest attendance record in seven years and promises participants that they will be challenged in their thinking and further educated about fundraising.
The theme of the conference is “Dare to be Different”, challenging delegates to be different, to be willing to take risks and to make change happen.
The FIA chief executive Rob Edwards told the audience at the welcome gathering today that “everything we do in fundraising relates to protection, promotion and education”.