A Minute With Rosemary Oliver, Fundraising Director, Amnesty International Canada
Rosemary Oliver, fundraising director of Amnesty International Canada, took a minute to speak with FundRaising Success about her organization's fundraising.
“At Amnesty International, we believe in a world where everyone has the same human rights, no matter who they are, where they are born or where they live. We defend these human rights by campaigning against things like torture, political killings and disappearances. Our job is to create a culture where everyone has equal access to fundamental rights such as education and health care, as well as fight for basic freedoms most of us take for granted.”
“Our annual operating budget is $12 million Canadian. We have about 3 million supporters around the world and more than 60,000 from English-speaking Canada. These numbers have remained flat for a number of years, but we are once again beginning to see growth.”
“In order to remain independent we don’t accept any government funding, and it is really difficult to accept corporate dollars. So our mission is funded primarily by individuals. Our fundraising portfolio consists of traditional direct mail, telemarketing, online fundraising, canvassing, major gifts, planned giving and small community events. A full two-thirds of our revenue comes from monthly giving. Currently the majority of our new monthly donors are acquired through face-to-face fundraising, although we have used a variety of conversion techniques in the past.”
“As an activist organization, there are so many ways to involve donors in our work — in their local community and as part of an online community. They can do school talks. They can lobby government officials. Amnesty, in general, relies heavily on volunteers to help us achieve our mission.”
“We have worked very hard to develop a committed and loyal donor base. A lot of our current supporters have been giving to us for more than 20 years. We have strong name recognition. There is a lot of trust for the Amnesty brand. However, one of the real challenges for Amnesty is that our work isn’t really tangible. We do a lot of research and campaigning. Some of our successes take years and years. It’s really hard to get donors connected to the work that we do in this day and age [when people] want to see an immediate return on their investment. But we know what we do works, so we need to be up-front and honest with people.”
Dane Grams is the director of membership for Human Rights Campaign. He has held senior positions at Amnesty International, Greenpeace USA and Care2. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.