Time for Fundraisers to Do More Fundraising…Themselves!
17 March 2016 at 9:24 am
Are industry professionals personally contributing to the greater good as philanthropists, donors, fundraisers, participants, or advocates, asks Dr Steve Francis Managing Director, FrontStream Asia Pacific.
Philanthropy is the desire to make a sacrifice, to improve or contribute to the welfare of others through some form of contribution. That contribution can take many forms: a donation, undertaking advocacy for a cause, giving your time through volunteering, or if like me, you have worked with the Red Cross, giving your own blood! At the core of all this, is the idea that we are part of something larger than ourselves, and that we all feel the desire at some stage to contribute to the greater good, to our shared humanity.
In this context, I believe that it is worth asking a difficult question, of myself and the rest of the fundraising community. Are we, as industry professionals, personally contributing to the greater good as philanthropists, donors, fundraisers, participants, or advocates? It’s a tough question, but a fair one.
With all of the campaigning and asking that we enable and facilitate year on year, do we, and our colleagues give back too? I believe we should all “walk the walk” (literally) not just “talk the talk”. And not just for our own organisations, but for others as well. Within our industry, many do… but many don’t.
If you have been too busy with your day to day work and your inner philanthropist has been a bit dormant, consider the message conveyed by Melbourne born, global ethicist, Peter Singer in his book, The Life You Can Save. This ground- breaking and confronting publication outlines what he calls “The Basic Argument”. Singer states that by donating to aid agencies, you can prevent suffering from lack of food, shelter, and medical care, without sacrificing anything nearly as important, and hence if you don’t donate to aid agencies, you are doing something wrong. A bold assertion to say the least.
He even suggests that people in the developed world should donate up to one third of their income. His argument, from a pure ethicist perspective, is that the sacrifice of one third of your income, and the impact that that will have on your life (by not going out for a fancy dinner or purchasing a movie ticket) is not nearly as significant as the potential death and suffering arising from a lack of food and clean water, resulting from your lack of contribution.
Singer’s argument is hard to refute from a logical perspective, and in true ethicist fashion, it applies to all of us. Of course, I am not suggesting we all sign up with the next face-to-face recruiter that we bump into in the street and sign away 33 per cent of our income! I am saying though that, we need to be the donor we so wish to recruit.
Reflecting on this, late last year our team had a planning day and we all agreed that we would be better equipped if we contributed to the campaigns of our clients as participants and donors. It was finally time to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.
So this month, the whole of the FrontStream team in the Melbourne office decided to participate in the amazing campaign run by our client, Care Australia, Walk in Her Shoes. We created a team page, set a fundraising goal and following the campaign prompts, jumped right in it to let our friends, family and colleagues know what we were doing, and who we were raising money for.
Walk in Her Shoes was a peer to peer campaign asking participants to raise money and commit to walking a nominated distance in a week. The “ask” of walking a distance of 50km or more is a reflection of the hardship faced by women and girls in some countries who take this daily journey to access safe drinking water, in order to survive. Care Australia has been running this campaign for years and can prove to participants the impact of the money raised.
Through storytelling we can see that with better access to clean water and food, they have time to go to school or earn money by working to look after themselves and their families, further cementing the positive impact and the lives that are saved.
I am pleased to report that the FrontStream Asia Pacific team has exceeded the fundraising goal and collected all of the required kilometres, so our efforts have been a success. We also asked our US head office to match our team donation and they agreed. Workplace matching such as this is now becoming a more common strategy in workplace giving programs across Australia.
This is something we will do again as a team, it’s not a third of our income yet, but giving something is very rewarding and it’s the right thing to do. It’s worth getting off the treadmill, and challenging yourself to be the donor you wish to recruit!
FrontStream is a leading provider of integrated philanthropy solutions for Not for Profits across Australia.
Phone: 1300 330 118 | +61 (0)3 8379 0700