'And I Should Support You ... Why?'
The fundraising proposition transcends medium, culture and class. Sometimes it's given to you on a plate. Other times it's hard work to uncover it. But one thing's for sure: It's fundamental to a successful fundraising campaign.
The increasing number of fundraising channels available whets the appetites of fundraisers all over the world, yet they yield little if the case for support is weak. As disposable income comes under pressure and advertising messages increase, it's simply not enough to say that "your donation will make a difference."
Lucy Gower, a speaker at the International Fundraising Congress in October who provides training and consulting to charities in fundraising innovation, agrees. "Sometimes we chase the new, shiny, exciting things and forget the basic principles of good fundraising. As well as looking forward, we need to constantly remind ourselves what fundraising propositions have worked in the past and never forget those lessons, because they are at the core of what good fundraising is all about," she says.
"A classic example of a beautifully simple and effective case for support was Help the Aged's press ad, 'Make a blind man see — £10,' which was created by the legendary fundraiser Harold Sumption and ran for many years during the 1990s," she adds. "Those six words tell you all you need to know."
There are many classic fundraising propositions like this, picking a particular aspect of the charity's work, while others embrace the whole of an organization's work just as succinctly.
WaterAid's proposition, which ran unbeaten for many years until recently, was "Give water. Give life. Give £2 a month." Again, an artful distillation of its case for support, made even more relevant to its audience by the insertion of the message into every household's water bill.
External influences on your work can be rich seams to mine for propositions. The RSPCA involved its supporters in fighting for a change in the law that would allow the organization's inspectors to intervene when they saw evidence that might lead to an animal suffering (previously by law they would have to wait until the animal was actually suffering).