Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

What's your vision for 2012?

What's your vision for 2012?

For those feeling daunted by 2012, a word of encouragement. It’s not all bad news. Yes, things will be tough, but we’re all getting used to that. Nevertheless, you will still need something to carry you through the year and help you raise the funds your organisation depends on.

There is a biblical quotation that says “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). This could just as well apply to charities. Does your charity have an inspiring vision for the future? What is it exactly that you are asking supporters to get behind? What will motivate them to follow you and to lend their support, even when their pockets are squeezed? This goes to the heart of effective fundraising, which is not just about meeting needs or generating “outcomes”, but about real people, their lives and wellbeing.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with an inspiring couple who had founded a theatre charity for people with learning disabilities. They do a fantastic job on a small budget, transforming the lives of those they work with and even taking the troupe on foreign tours. Amazing stuff.

The charity, however, is small and struggles for funds. Fundraising is hand to mouth, to cover running costs and enable it to survive another year. My message to them was to think bigger and develop a vision for what the charity could achieve if the resources were there and people were inspired to get behind it.

In talking further, it soon became clear there was much more the charity could do to reach new people, expand its service, get its own premises and change more lives for the better. This is a vision in the making, which will certainly attract more support than a plea of poverty. My advice was to spend time as trustees building this vision and setting it down on paper. Their goal is to create an inspiring statement that will rally others to the cause and galvanise support.

Their ultimate vision, I am sure, will be bold and passionate. It will help them not only to survive 2012, but lay the foundations for a brighter future.

What about yours?

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Simon George is a Director of Wootton George Consulting and a Fellow of the Institute of Fundraising. He has worked in fundraising since 1987 and was the founder of the IoF’s Trusts Special Interest Group. Today he works with a wide range of charities in a consultancy capacity. www.wgconsulting.co.uk simon@wgconsulting.co.uk Tel 01785 663600.

Simon George, BSc (hons) FInstF (dip) FRSA is a Director of Wootton George Consulting and has been fundraising since 1987. He has special interests in fundraising strategy, legacies and charitable trusts. A longstanding member of the Institute of Fundraising, he founded its Trusts and Statutory Special Interest Group in 1999 and was also the first Chair of the IoF’s West Midlands region. He has written two e-books on legacies and grant fundraising, published by SPMFundessentials and has achieved the Diploma in Fundraising Management. In 2010 he was made a Fellow of the Institute of Fundraising. Today he manages a team of 20 fundraising consultants around the UK.

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