Over the past couple of years, at almost every event I go to I am asked "how are you coping with the recession?", and "how is fundraising going?"
The answers are pretty positive, and if the questioner is from another charity the next question is often "how many fundraisers do you employ?", or "do you use professional fundraising consultants?". Those who have read this column before will realise that I am pretty scathing about professional fundraisers -- I have tried employing them, and never found them to justify their often exorbitant fees/salaries.
At the World Land Trust we have developed a culture where we are all fundraisers, from the Receptionist answering the phone, to the Programme managers working with our partners. From our head of finance to our editorial staff, everyone represents the Trust, and everyone deals with some aspect or other relating to fundraising. And even our partner organisations, scattered all over the world play a very important role in the fundraising. Bringing in a professional fundraiser just adds another layer, and more crucially, another level of expense.
The nearest equivalent to employing a fundraiser (though actually radically different) is the fact that we employ Public Relations experts. PR is important to let the world know what you are doing, and if you can be seen to be doing a good job, the funds will come in (at least that's the theory). And that is basically the most significant way the World Land Trust does its fundraising now (once upon a time we also did a fair amount of advertising, but now do very little outside the Internet).
Word of mouth fundraising
This blog is another crucial part of the fundraising strategy. It is part of the most important part: the word of mouth fundraising. Over the years we have built up a small number of readers of my, admittedly, idiosyncratic blogs, but this often leads to our news items, and our eBulletin, and these get passed on, and because, you the readers often say nice things about the work of the WLT and its partners, that gets read and taken note of. So you, as I have pointed out before, are our most important fundraisers. Not someone earning £40,000 or £50, 000 a year for sitting writing to other charities all day, and pestering the rest of the staff for information.
So please keep up the good work. We need your support, because as i have mentioned before, the big donors, such as Ocean Group or PriceWaterhouseCoopers support us because they know we have several thousand supporters giving what they can, whether its £100 a month, or £25 a year. They also know that we have some serious support from the conservation world. Some are world famous like Sir David Attenborough or Bill Oddie, while others are Scientists like Chris Stringer or Mark Stanley Price. This draws a whole range of support from the rest of the world -- I am not going to name drop celebs, but you can find that out on the Internet, or on the about us section of the WLT website.
To find out how you can fundraise for the World Land Trust, visit our fundraising pages.