Are we caring less about the things that matter?

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I’ve recently re-read the report ‘Finding Frames’, a report that came out in January, authored by Oxfm and others, abut the legacy of Live Aid and the issues facing charities in engaging the public in development issues.

We have all had that conversation, with depressing regularity. “why should we help? I gave my tenner last year, and yet nothing seems to get better. There is always another cause. Anyway, half the money we give doesn’t even get there- it’s all wasted on admin costs and corruption”.

What is it we have done as a sector to make these opinions the norm? While our fundraising targets keep going up, and we get more and more intelligent about how to solicit donations, are we failing at the first hurdle? How is it that we are increasing donations but not engaging deep understanding in the cause?

As a Community Fundraiser, I have always loved the challenge of making fundraising meaningful, be it writing a schools fundraising pack, or supporting an emergency appeal. I have handfuls of data that show that as supporters become more engaged with the depth of development issues, the more they raise. It should follow on therefore that our best income generating mechanisms are those that engage and inspire as well.

As a charity we have recently been involved in an initiative run by the Global Poverty Project called Live Below The Line. It encourages people to live on less than a quid a day, under the poverty line, to not just get sponsorship for the challenge, but give them an insight into some of the difficult choices that come from living in poverty. It links, so tangibly the fundraiser, and the recipient of the funds. It is a fundraiser that has all the hallmarks of mass income potential, but with a depth and focus so often missing com sponsorship events. I hope that events like these will become more common, as charities become more intelligent at achieving depth and not just breadth of support.

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