Review of Footsteps 111 Local Fundraising

The latest edition of Footsteps explores fundraising. Like so many other sectors and activities, fundraising has been hit by the outbreak of Covid-19 (new coronavirus disease). According to recent research by Pro Bono Economics, which matches volunteer economists with charities, 92 per cent of UK charities said Covid-19 has had a negative impact on their ability to meet their charity objectives over the next six months.

In Bangladesh, community groups often raise funds for projects such as road improvements and safe water and sanitation. Photo: Ralph Hodgson/Tearfund

Challenging times

Charities and fundraising organisations continue to work in these challenging and changing times. This is the backdrop to Footsteps 111 on local fundraising, which was completed before the global pandemic really took hold.

Fundraising fundamentals

The magazine kicks off with a reflection on the ministry of fundraising by Nicky Crampton, a fundraiser for Tearfund in the UK. It is a really positive and uplifting article in such difficult times. It also includes a great how-to guide to successful fundraising. Nicky’s ‘pray, build relationships, explain the problem and say thank you’ model is smart fundraising in a nutshell.

The article is packed with nuggets of wisdom that she has learnt from her own experience leading a team of fundraisers. For example, ‘If possible and appropriate, take people to see your work,’ and make sure you ‘describe the long-term benefits that you expect the work to have.’

Dr Gary G Hoag takes Paul’s letters to the Corinthians as the framework for his clear analysis of managing money well. He shows why generosity, fundraising and accountability were very closely connected for Paul. Alongside the article is a list of seven standards of organisational stewardship for building trust, from financial transparency to good administration of charitable gifts based on principles of Christian generosity.

Watch this amazing story about living generously and how a handful of rice has become a practical way to fund local churches in north-east India who don’t receive any outside funding

Good communication

Fundraisers need to attract people’s attention. A couple of practical resources include Margaret Chandler’s top tips on taking those all-important photos to help potential givers feel more connected with the communities where you are working. There’s a handy five-step guide to ensure people are fully briefed before agreeing to be photographed or filmed.

Building on Margaret’s article is a well-illustrated guide to visual storytelling. It’s full of the sort of information you wish you’d known before taking a video on your phone in bad light and portrait mode. It’s in an easy-to-digest format that uses screenshots to give examples of how to communicate context, subjects and action – the bare bones to capture the importance of a story and the impact it is having.

A feature titled ‘Communication that prompts action’ is an inspiring and thorough look at finding the best ways to talk and write about our work in a way that encourages supporters to act. Written by author of The Centre Brain, Steve Adams, it’s packed with information about our brains and how we make emotional connections, along with helpful examples of how Jesus presented some of his messages. It has a two-minute activity using the techniques in the article that I recommend you try. You might not become a successful fundraiser overnight but at least you’ll be ready to answer the next person who asks what your organisation does!

The people of Dhaulabaseni in Nepal worked together to raise funds for their road-building project. Photo: Godawari Kafle

Rich resources

There is plenty more to interest and encourage you, including a fun activity on kindness for young people on the Children’s Zone page and a Resources page containing short book reviews and useful websites to find out more about fundraising. There’s also a guide to accessing local government funds for community projects and initiatives, including a case study on working together for change in a remote village in Nepal. Finally, because no stone should be left unturned in fundraising, Tearfund’s Karen Lau offers some top tips on how social networking can provide another channel to encourage people to pray, volunteer and give financially to your work.

Let us know which stories and issues interested you in the comments box below.

You can read more about local fundraising and all the stories mentioned above in Footsteps 111.

Download a PDF version

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Nick Wyke
Nick Wyke is the editor of the Tearfund Learn blog.