Advisers’ Choice Series: What If …
The learnings from our work have been written up with the British Red Cross and shared around the world.
The scenarios were important in this process since they raised issues that we were then able to anticipate and plan for. Some of the learning was obvious, such as how many telephone lines were needed to cope with 2,000/5,000/10,000 calls a minute. And how many people would give online versus how many would send checks versus how many would turn up at banks with cash.
But there were other, more surprising learnings. One example came from a scenario we explored on the implications if something relatively contained happened in London during high tourist season. We predicted there would be a huge response from companies and by fellow tourists who wanted to help victims. We also, sadly, anticipated some traders would try to take advantage of the situation and people's sympathy by producing "fundraising" T-shirts, etc., where only a very limited amount of cash went to the cause.
As a result of this scenario, the planning group prepared a sophisticated licensing system in advance to make sure corporate support was managed ethically. The system actually proved invaluable in the real situation when corporate support was significant.
Scenarios are helpful in enabling you to get out of the couch-potato mind-set of business-as-usual. The "Global Fundraising Scenarios" story you can find at fundraising successmag.com outlines a project we launched last year to help fundraisers look past the current gloomy economic climate, where all the trends data look depressing. The rather grandly titled project was designed to get fundraisers to take a longer-term view distinct from the day-to-day, month-to-month or even year-to-year grind, and learn from an increasingly international body of knowledge.
The result was a data set to help fundraisers worldwide plan for a number of different versions of fundraising in 2020. Read the highlights of the results of this project online to see how they challenge your current point of view.
Related story: Scenarios Planning — An Ancient Art