Friday, September 26, 2014

Charity Begins At Home

Mike Maguire pointed me towards some of the things in this blog post. I promised I wouldn't write it until he'd done his own, but since he's now crossed to the for-profit dark we go...

As someone who fundraises for international humanitarian organisations, one of my least favourite phrases in the world is 'Charity begins at home'.

Whether or not it is explicitly racist, I hate the notion that there might be a mathematical relationship between how far away someone is standing from you and how much their life is worth. As someone put it to me: When a person says charity begins at home what they really mean is that it ends at home.

I especially hate it when Irish people say it, forgetting how recently it was that we depended on international aid and relied on other countries to welcome our emigrants (We still do).

The Sun in 1989

There are some truly beautiful stories of how people around the world step up to help the Irish - in particular during our most desperate time: the Great Famine.

There was the Choctaw tribe in Oklahoma who, despite having so little and suffering so much, donated $170 (worth tens of thousands today) to help the Irish. And the Islamic Ottoman Empire sent us a fortune.

And why are we so happy to ignore the fact that our economy is propped up by customers 'over there' and foreign visitors. It is sad to see some of the xenophobic comments that float around Irish news stories and charity social media posts, knowing that their authors may not even have existed if it weren't for the compassion and generosity of others.

I hope my country and my generation will be remembered as charitable.

And I hope we will see the phrase 'charity begins at home' disappear, or at least revert back to it's original meaning. You see, it doesn't mean help yourself (and people who look like you). Quite the opposite. Instead it means that by being charitable and kind to all, others will follow.

Lead by example. And dismissing the most vulnerable in our world flippantly with some meaningless catch phrase - well, that's not the example I want to set.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Some Dates For Your Fundraising Diary

Here are some great events coming up, if you're in to charities and fundraising:

Fundraising Essentials
On 24th September Fundraising Ireland are running a really cool 'introduction to fundraising'. There are some really good speakers lined up - some of the best fundraisers in Ireland...and me.

Fundraising Ireland's DM Series
This looks really good - 4 separate seminars run by some of the most experienced DM fundraisers around. It's not too late to book for the sessions on the 18th and 25th of September.

International Fundraising Congress
The IFC in Holland is always a great event. From 14th to 17th October fundraisers from around the world get together to learn, develop and gossip. It's pretty epic. I'll be running a session on Telephone Fundraising.

Launch of #GoodCharity
The website has been live for a while now, and the response so far has been great. We're trying to run an official launch next month, and get the media involved. At the moment we're pencilled in for 30th October.

Increase Your Fundraising By 85% - Event In The Wesht Of Ireland
I'm running a really special morning seminar with The Southern Branch of Fundraising Ireland in Cork on November 11th.

IoF Northern Ireland
On the 13th of November the annual NI fundraising conference takes place in Belfast. It's always good and really reasonably priced.

Toastmasters For Good
I'm still getting this set up, but working towards a series of early evening meetings in October/November. These will be free opportunities to help improve your public speaking if you work in the non-profit sector.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Recommended Fundraising Reading


Telephone Fundraising

Friday, September 5, 2014

Charity Videos: Good versus Bad

Here are two recent Irish charity videos:


One is cheap, poorly acted, with bad sound quality, and looks like it took about half an hour to make. IT IS AMAZING!

The other is slick and fancy, loads of people involved and obviously took a lot of work. I don't like it at all.

The Irish Cancer Society video is so average because:

  • It's all "We we we". We launched this, we did this. No you didn't! Your donors did!
  • There are so many many stats.
  • As much as I like their CEO, he shouldn't be in the video. And get rid of the fundraisers too. Give me more nurses! Give me more service users!
  • Get rid of words and phrases like 'Strategic plan', 'incognisant', 'collaborative', 'oncologist'.
  • Thank you count = 0

 The IMNDA video is so good because:

  • It's all thank yous
  • So many service users, so many nurses. Not a CEO in sight!
  • It's filled with real people with first names. No surnames!
  • Real descriptions of how they spend money, spoken like humans.
  • It's so cheesy and cute!

When you're making a video for your charity (and you should only need a phone) there is one simple thing to remember. It is a bitter pill to swallow but it is really one of the most important things in fundraising:

Nobody cares about your charity or your CEO. It is all about your donors and the people they help.