Fundraising Challenges Revealed - Survey
7 November 2012 at 1:56 pm
New research reveals that the two greatest challenges facing fundraising in Australia are competition and economic uncertainty.
The Fundraising Institute of Australia’s (FIA) national Fundraisers’ Survey found that with more charities comes more professional ‘asks’ and greater and more difficult choices for donors.
Respondents to the survey pointed to economic uncertainty saying this related to tighter consumer spending, reduced grant funding and potential declines in government funding.
The survey also found other challenges for fundraisers include finding, training ‘talent’ and keeping great fundraisers as well as concerns about pay rates.
On the issue of retaining talented staff, the survey confirms the results of a recent PwC-CSI Community Index pointing to uncertainties about being able to meet this demand, and finding and retaining quality employees.
The survey looked at public perceptions around fundraising revealing that donor fatigue, misunderstanding, misrepresentation, accountability requirements, degeneration of confidence in fundraising, declining trust in charities were all challenges they faced.
Fundraisers also pointed to the issue of keeping up with changes in technology and the opportunity that social media might represent. Some charities said they were afraid they might be missing something big but they were not sure what it is.
When asked about the challenges they face as a fundraiser, the main themes were:
- Lack of resources – time, talent, budgets.
- Organisational understanding – education of CEO/ Board/ Programs staff, realistic expectations and budgets, culture that supports fundraising, longer term focus.
- Convincing – the internal decision makers to…invest.
- Breadth – of role and responsibilities combined with high expectations and low budgets.
Survey respondents were also asked for feedback on the broader issue around how the FIA worked as a peak body.
Respondents described the FIA in a variety of terms including professional, ethical, improving, helpful and relevant as well as saying the the organisation was least likely to be seen as dynamic or innovative.
As well, the FIA says there is a concerningly large group of people who do associate the organisation as being formal, conservative, disappointing and an old boys club.
FIA CEO Rob Edwards says while the score for leadership was also, low respondents largely understand and value the role of the FIA especially in training, advocating and promoting ethical fundraising.
“Overall, the take-away from the survey is that people want the FIA to succeed.
“The sector does expect the FIA to play a lead role in working with Governments and that we are doing this well.
“Based on the research there are still some critical issues for FIA to address,” he said.
The report says these include:
- The FIA needs to show the benefits and impacts of membership.
- Engage more members – a small number of members are highly engaged and actively promoting the organisation. FIA needs to identify different topics (for example management, leadership, events) and techniques (blogs, webinars, social media, task forces) to build stronger connections with more members and provide greater value.
- Connect and support fundraisers with younger, new-to-the-profession fundraisers from marketing backgrounds or those in the events area.
- Influence and Educate – FIA can help the needs of fundraisers to be better understood by CEO’s and Boards. This will also help support decisions to invest not only in fundraising but also membership.
- FIA must manage its volunteers with great professionalism and uphold excellent customer service standards.