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Defeating the fundraising purpose

Defeating the fundraising purpose

Some causes are highly sensitive, so how should charities inspire people to give to them? Not like this.

Tommys (according to the fundraiser on my doorstep) has just launched a big campaign to raise money to fund its work. The fundraiser asked me if I had heard of and even though I said yes, I was given the standard script about what they do anyway. And then asked if I knew someone who had been affected by any of this?

Cue open mouthed and speechless for once Kate.

As it happens I do. And fortunately it’s not me. But is this kind of pitch appropriate to give to a woman of childbearing age with a 5 year old keeking round their knees? For all the fundraiser knew I might well have had personal experience of any one of these issues pretty recently. And I doubt I would have wanted a stranger on my doorstep to know anything about it. I can imagine some women, and indeed men, who have had experience of miscarriage, premature birth or stillbirth in their family, being quite upset by such a direct question. And keen to end the discussion right there without even hearing how their regular donation could help. Which defeats the purpose.

Tommys works in an important, neglected area of public health and absolutely deserves to have a broad base of generous donors who help fund their work. I might have been tempted to sign up but the insensitive pitch caused me to stop the fundraiser in their tracks. And for that I blame the agency which appears to have rolled out an identikit doorstep campaign with the stock standard pitch without stopping to think if it was appropriate or not.

My experience, though, prompts the question – how do charities working in highly sensitive areas reach a wider giving audience using tried and tested, successful fundraising methods? Or was I just being over sensitive….

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