Monday, 25 June 2012

Fake fundraisers - frustrating and fury-inducing

There are so many rules in this life – written and unwritten. If you use every plate in the kitchen you wash them up, you don’t walk out of the supermarket without paying, you shouldn’t queue jump and you should give up your seat for the elderly.  And if you commit to a fundraising target and sign a form to say you are going to raise £X, hundreds, thousands of pounds you do!

BUT it seems that so many people don’t see this as a rule that they need to adhere to and it’s a continual frustration for fundraising managers up and down the country.

Maybe I'm being harsh, but when someone writes on their registration form that ‘I have a large circle of friends, attend a church with a charitable congregation, work for a Top 100 company with 500 employees, and are holding a senior management job’ surely this means that somehow, one way or the other you have the potential to raise the cash? 

In so many cases it seems not.

Excuses, excuses

This year we’ve had a number of people not fundraise for the London Marathon. Excuses have ranged from ‘I lost my job’ to ‘I didn’t think I needed to raise so much,’ through to no excuse at all. Some and runners have simply disappeared without trace!  One of my runners has even gone so far as to change his mobile number.

It’s upsetting that after months of nurturing a relationship someone decides that they no longer want to communicate with you and that their enthusiasm for supporting your charity has gone. They’ve realised that they are too lazy, too busy or too selfish to complete their end of the bargain. And worst of all they are going to lie to you or ignore you forever more.  You are left with a bitter taste in your mouth and a less than healthy income line. 

So what can we do to avoid lost income?
  • Keep emailing, keep calling? I usually take this approach and sometimes I get a response – sometimes good, sometimes bad. But what if I get nothing in return? 
  •  Get my manager to write – a few guilt inducing words should surely do the trick? No? 
  •  If they don’t then I would ask my CEO to write.

And if this doesn’t work it is time to move on and accept it. 

Sadly there are people out there who will not give you or your charity a second thought. They will not feel a sense of guilt and they will not let it keep them awake at night. You need to do the same and make sure that you protect yourself in the future. 

Always be sure to keep on top of your fundraisers. Call them regularly, talk to them on email and question their fundraising plans. If they sound non committal ask them to be honest with you and explain that their place in the run/swim/cycle is invaluable to you. 

There are always going to be a few people that let you down, but the vast majority will outshine any disappointment. The ones who raise far more than they expected, those who continue to tell everyone about your cause long after their event, and those who feel guilty for not raising more when they have already surpassed the target. 

These are the people worth concentrating on and these are the ones who will shine out in my mind. 

Sarah Brett
Community & Challenge Event Fundraising Manager

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