Global fundraising is a rich and complex tapestry, and the United States, like it or not, is a relatively isolated part of it. U.S. fundraisers have direct mail down pretty pat, of course, and are latching on to e-mail and Internet strategies. But across the pond, as they say, your counterparts are developing campaigns for iPods and mobile phones. They’re on the streets, in people’s faces. And they’ve “gone guerilla.” In developing countries, folks are trying things on a wing and prayer, simply because there are no precedents or even infrastructures to support the tried and true.
I ’ve had the privilege of working for international fundraisers for the past few years. And that’s given me the advantage of seeing great ideas born and developed around the globe.
Until then, my view of new techniques was limited to thinking that fundraising, particularly direct-response fundraising, pretty much was an American institution.
“Rethinking Philanthropic Effectiveness: Lessons from an International Network of Foundation Experts,” edited by Dirk Eilinghoff, is a compilation of articles written by representatives of foundation and support organizations, consultants and researchers from nearly 20 countries.
The British and Americans share many similarities, most notably a common language. But there also are many differences. Any American tourist in London will notice the Brits’ dissimilar pronunciation of words such as privacy or schedule, and peculiar terms such as “lift” instead of elevator or “boot” instead of trunk.
Direct-response fundraising in the United Kingdom also shares some similarities with its American counterpart, but most notable are the differences. Our colleagues acrossthe pond face different challenges than we do and, as a result, thetechniques they’ve developed and the results they receive also are dramatically different.