Take a Look Around
(This month, as we turn our focus to the international face of fundraising, I’m turning over my column and a large part of the editorial planning for the issue to the charismatic, highly regarded Tony Elischer, who very kindly agreed to act as Guest Editor. Tony has pulled together a fantastic team of writers whose stories will give you insight into the fundraising efforts, challenges and successes of your peers around the world.
Why is that important? Many reasons. Most practically, your organization might well be looking to expand its programs and fundraising outside of the U.S., and there are very real differences you need to consider. But in a greater sense, fundraisers — no matter where they’re from — most certainly can benefit from recognizing that the passion to right wrongs and change the world is universal, that we all have things to teach — and to learn — and that the tapestry of our humanity grows richer with each colorful and unique new thread we add to it.
So, please, enjoy the issue. Tony and I hope you’ll find it entertaining, educational and enlightening, and will use it as a jumping off point for learning more about what’s going on globally within the sector. — Margaret Battistelli)
And now a word from our Guest Editor
“Going international” might seem like a massive leap for some, a natural extension for others and part of everyday life for a few nonprofit organisations. But whichever way you look at it, it is one of the hottest areas of fundraising today and one of the most exciting for marketers.
If you look at a market map of the world that identifies markets by their cycles in fundraising terms, the most sophisticated markets often are the most saturated in terms of the number of organisations fundraising, the number of donors who have portfolios of charities to support and the cost to recruit new donors — typically the U.S., the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands and Australia. Over the last decade in particular, this has driven many farsighted organisations to look beyond their borders for opportunities to establish new operations in programme, advocacy, campaigning and fundraising terms.
The trend to reach out to new markets clearly is driven by standard marketing practice in the commercial sector. But in the nonprofit sector it all began with international nonprofits growing their portfolios of country offices to serve programmes and build funding markets. It’s interesting to look at many of the existing “blue chip” international organisations to see whether the centre created the regions or the regions created the centre — a key factor to understanding the culture, drivers and structure of many of these charity organisations.
Surprisingly, despite the success of household names like Greenpeace, Amnesty International, UNICEF, Save the Children, WWF International, Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and World Vision, you will struggle to identify more than a dozen that are truly global, which might indicate an opportunity. The other important thing to note is the dominance of humanitarian causes in these brands, with a heavy emphasis on children. While the environment is quite prominent, there are many gaps with other causes that you might expect to be thinking and operating internationally — the glaring gap being cancer and other medical/scientific causes.
While HIV/AIDS has a world-recognised symbol, it doesn’t have a single global body that most people can name or, worse still, support.
Like international companies, these international nonprofit organisations have surged ahead, transferring knowledge and successes between markets, building up global investment funds to follow through on successful test programmes, and, above all, building teams of global experts who support local markets and build global income sources. At a global level, the three key sources used to be foundations, corporations and global citizens; as of recently, it is clear that digital can add a whole new opportunity area at this level. All of this activity, over the last decade, has opened up new markets, rapidly moved developing markets forward, and stimulated developed markets further with new thinking and fresh propositions.
To give you a sense of scale of these developments, here are some of the successes:
■ UNICEF has increased fundraising income from $12 million to $100 million during 15 years investment in Japan.
■ The Red Cross has 600,000 members in Spain.
■ Plan International recruited almost 200,000 sponsors in its first five years in Scandinavia.
■ Almost 2 million Italians now sponsor a child following ActionAid’s entry into the market about 12 years ago.
The larger organisations certainly have been the natural pioneers, but their approaches, success and knowledge have opened up a wider world of opportunities for many other nonprofit organisations, especially successful ones based in the developed countries. We now are seeing single domestic organisations moving into new markets. We can see a dozen or so markets emerging as strong contenders for organisations wanting to move beyond their own borders, each with their own challenges and opportunities. As marketers know, there’s a lot to be said for being a follower rather than a leader — and now is the time to consider whether this is a route for you. The window of opportunity is wide open and certainly has several years of space for the right causes, organisations and followers to move in and find a niche in new markets to feed their visions. This issue of FundRaising Success has a selection of specially commissioned articles that I hope will capture your imagination and set you off on a quest to find out more.
THINK Consulting Solutions
THIS MONTH’S CONTRIBUTORS
Tony Elischer is managing director of THINK Consulting Solutions, a U.K.-based consultancy for the international nonprofit sector.
Margaret Bennett is director of THINK Consulting Solutions.
Della Weight is director of operations, Switzerland, for THINK Consulting Solutions.
Simon Collings is chief executive at international nonprofit association The Resource Alliance.
Daryl Upsall is chief executive at Madrid, Spain-based consultancy Daryl Upsall Consulting International.
Maj. Gen. Surat Sandhu is chairman of the South Asian Fundraising Group.
Katya Andresen is vice president of marketing at Network for Good, a nonprofit that helps other nonprofit organizations raise money online.
Jeff Brooks is senior creative director at Lanham, Md.-based database marketing agency Merkle.
Sarah Durham is founder and principal at New York-based consultancy Big Duck.
Farra Trompeter is vice president of client relations and strategy at Big Duck.
Related story: Responding to the Global Marketplace