Fundraising think tank Rogare has published the findings of a project to develop counter-arguments to the most frequently encountered objections to fundraising during the pandemic.
Objections to fundraising were collected from Canada, UK and USA and grouped into four themes: economic, public anxiety, perceived inappropriateness, and perception of need.
Counter-arguments were then build on ideas previously developed by Rogare for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Canada’s Canadian Fundraising Narrative. These can be used or adapted by fundraisers to fit their own situations and contexts.
As one example, in response to objections focusing on peoples’ financial difficulties, the project team recommends countering with something that might include:
“Some charities may feel that asking for support when people are struggling financially is inappropriate. Although many people’s incomes have been affected, there are others whose financial circumstances are unchanged. The lockdown has altered spending patterns, meaning that some people may have more money available to donate to charity than previously. Charities have always appealed to people at all levels of the socio-economic scale. Charities’ most loyal supporters are often those with modest incomes giving small regular or cash gifts.”
A second example, in response to objections based around the thought that charities not directly involved in the frontline response to the pandemic should not be fundraising:
“It isn’t up to us to determine which needs are more urgent or more important. Fundraising is ethical when it balances our duty to ask for support on behalf of our beneficiaries with the rights of the donor to choose whether to give at this time or not. We cannot presume to know what is in our donors’ minds, nor to choose on their behalf whether to give or not.”
Canadian fundraiser Vivian Smith of Liberty Quest Enterprises led the project with the team including, from the UK and Ireland, Craig Mullaly from SOS Children’s Villages, Colin Skehan from Trócaire, and Ruth Smyth from Boldlight.
Project leader Vivian Smith commented:
“We know that fundraisers are encountering these types of objections, not just from board and senior management, but from colleagues and donors too. Some of the project team have had direct experience of it.
“So what we aim to give fundraisers are the types of things they could say to people to persuade them that sensitive and appropriate fundraising should continue. We’re not suggesting fundraisers copy and paste what we’ve crafted, but we do hope we’ll have saved them a lot of the brainpower and time.”
Rogare’s Director Ian MacQuillin added:
“The need to fundraise is just as imperative during an emergency as it is during normal times, and may be even greater. Yet, if the objections to fundraising that fundraisers are currently encountering become the norm, charities will find themselves in an even more parlous state, with the effects of the pandemic exacerbated by a reluctance to ask for support.”
The report – Advocating for fundraising during emergencies: How to respond to arguments that fundraising is ‘inappropriate’ during the coronavirus pandemic’ – can be downloaded from the Rogare website.
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