This is my first post so, please forgive the length and palpable desperation, but I hope you will read and help – I’m not sure what else to do!
I work for a small charity as the sole fundraiser. This is a role I have (successfully) done before for two other charities, but at my current place I am really struggling to successfully fundraise because…
– The organisation’s budget is incorrect
– The charity wants to move to national status (visitor centre) with a marketing budget of c£3k
– The charity undertakes zero PR and has only just started to send out monthly newsletters (2), after 12 months of planning
– The charity doesn’t have a brand and has been developing its brand (and our collateral) for over 2 years, with no end in sight
– The cash-flow dependent organisation still hasn’t set up monthly cashflows
– The business plan has gone through five versions in the past 12 months
– My fundraising targets have changed significantly with each business plan, which meant a new strategy each time
– My budget was slashed to less than 4% of my target, without consultation or indeed informing me – I found out by chance (I wasn’t the only one to experience this)
– There are no programme/project plans for the short or medium term
– Ad hoc project ideas do not progress there is no understanding in the staff team of the organisation’s objectives
– Unsolicited partnership proposals are rejected by our leader because we are too busy
– Individuals who had pledged to join the community scheme (before I joined) hadn’t been contacted for years so none of them were upgraded to donors.
– I’m trying to re-engage those individuals, but there’s naturally bad feeling out there, so this won’t be a quick win by any means.
– There is internal access to a little black book, but the point person is reluctant to engage friends and networks because the organisation isn’t yet ready.
– I’ve started going rogue and just engaging prospects, but there is a bit of overlap with those prospects and the internal point person, so I am pretty sure I’m going to get in trouble soon.
I have tried various things to ready the organisation – from offering to take on comms responsibility (I have previous experience) with no extra pay; to producing the organisation’s strategic aims; to creating interim collateral (leaflet, website etc.); to kick starting programme planning with the whole organisation; to identifying the areas that need to be corrected in the charity budget; to explaining what happens on the other side of the table of a proposal or pitch; to escalating up to the Board and more!
Nothing has worked and, unsurprisingly, funding is becoming a concern. I’ve been advised by fundraising friends to jump ship, but the words ‘credit’ and ‘crunch’ echo in my mind and my previously shiny and lovely CV is fast becoming blackened by less than impressive KPIs.
Please, please help – can anyone suggest a different approach I can take or whether there’s something I’ve missed or am unnecessarily fixating on, please do let me know.
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