IFC Roundup: Funky Fundraising Failures
[Jon Duschinsky is the director of Ressources non profit, a fundraising consultancy based in Boulogne-Billancourt, France. At the 27th International Fundraising Congress, which took place in the Netherlands last week, he presented a session titled Funky Fundraising Failures, in which fundraisers from around the world talked about their professional non-successes. Here, he shares the top three lessons learned from that session.]
1. Check, then check again. The most common mistakes are the ones we miss through simple lack of checking. At the Funky Fundraising Failures session, fundraisers from around the world shared stories about how a small error, a moment of inattention, had caused some really catastrophic moments. From confusing the Baltic and the Balkan countries in a mailpack about the war in the former Yugoslavia, to printing a coupon white on black (try writing on it with a coloured pen!) … what would fundraising be without human error!
2. Fail in order to succeed. “Intelligent Failure” is perhaps the future for all good fundraising strategies. The concept, part of some ground-breaking thinking coming out of the for-profit sector, tells us to design ways of failing cheaply and quickly. Try something new, with no expectation of success, and you might just find that you surprise yourself. The four-step plan to Intelligent Failure:
* List your 10 Golden Rules of Fundraising — the things that you are absolutely certain of. For example, you will never break even on your direct-marketing recruitment in less than 12 months.
* Then prioritise them according to certainty, with the ones you are most certain of at the top.
* Then choose three to challenge — one from the top, one from the bottom and one from the middle.
* Develop a strategy — that is expected to fail — for each. If you expect to fail, you may well not. And if you succeed, you could bring about mega change in your organisation and your fundraising.