Put the fun into fundraising.
It really doesn't have to be an endless round of writing proposals to faceless donors. There are many fundraisers who love writing funding proposals but I loathe the job. It feels a bit too much like writing an exam at school. Exams, where some unknown person checks my answers against a list and judges my worthiness. The power dynamic itself is an ironic part of the problem. It commodifies my work and, forces it into predetermined, uncreative strictures. How is it possible to empower communities when we ourselves willingly disempower ourselves like this?
Yup, fundraising that involves begging for money, gives me the blues. If your fundraising efforts are getting you down, perhaps it's time to rethink how you're killing the bliss.
Let me share with you what I do to beat the fundraising blight. I build fundraising engines for local community projects in 4 steps:
1. Find and work with an organisation that is genuinely committed to empowering community development. One that engages with communities as co-creators of our common Good and not merely passive recipients of charity.
Hackney Cooperative Developments (HCD) is a well-established community-based social enterprise genuinely committed to engaging the local community. They hired me to lead their social enterprise development programme.
2. Get this organisation to agree to host an income-generating project. It needs to be something that local community members already produce for themselves. It needs to be something that addresses a wider need. As a social enterprise, HCD already rents out affordable workspaces and uses the surplus to fund community-led projects.
A group of us engaged with Fairbnb, a new platform co-operative seeking to transform travel. Fairbnb agreed to share half its platform fee from lettings in London with local community projects that HCD selects.
3. Establish a rolling marketing campaign to drive sales, ensure delivery, and assure quality.
Fairbnb will also pay HCD up to a quarter of its platform fee from each letting in London. This payment is for us to run and manage the local marketing campaigns, vet potential hosts, and ensure delivery.
4. Create an inbuilt progress monitor to learn from your mistakes. Make changes in how things are done to fine-tune the operations of this income-generator.
HCD's share of the platform fee increases as the number of hosts and local community projects increases. This builds monitoring and learning into the project's development.
Imagine the possibilities of replicating this 4-step process where you work. We could do it with other platforms. Creating fair food delivery projects or, fair online shopping or, fair-care agencies... the list is endless.
So we get to have fun whilst doing good. If you would like to join us, come to one of our networking events, and let's put the fun into fundraising