Check your Kompass

VHS, Cassette Tapes, 8 Track, Alpine Pop Man, Corona Pop Man, Milk Monitor, Dictaphone, Fax Machine........ a list of things that many younger people will certainly not remember. Inventions that came and went before many were born.


I recall standing in a queue in Las Vegas to buy the very first version of the Apple IPad on the day of world wide release (We did sell the four we bought for a profit before landing back at Heathrow),  but we now live in a world of technology that is only natural for so many, there is no recollection of the times that went before. 


Pre the digital age fundraising was a very different game in some ways. Phones were attached to wires and had answering machines on them that sometimes worked. Typewriters or very early electronic keyboards were the way in which we wrote funding applications. We used to post things called letters! Gift Aid was rare and to claim it you had a red form for companies and a yellow one for individuals. 


The internet did not exist and to find details on either charitable trusts or companies you had to make a visit to the library and do your research there. When it came to companies The Kompass Directory was the bible ( a very heavy two volume one) of the corporate world. It contained all you needed to know about each company who had filed at Companies House and often had contact details and noteworthy individuals in it. However the information was at least two years out of date and no direct contacts for those you really wanted to speak to. All that had to be done by talking to people and finding out who they knew?


Contrast all that to the fundraiser in 2020. Mobile phones, email, web sites, online business and trust directories, data bases, a world of information about companies social responsibility and of course the wonderful world of social media.


But one thing has never changed in fundraising and that is personal relationships are key. Yes there are those organisations who keep their contacts sanitised through various contact channels. However there are still the majority who enjoy building personal contacts, working directly with an organisation and feeling part of the project. These are the relationships on which to set your compass. Long term funders are better than smash and grab grants, those who truly understand and feel part of what you are trying to do. Keep them informed even if nothing vast is happening, a few words about a development will keep them close to the charity. Don’t forget to ask the staff and volunteers of your organisation ‘Who do you know’, this works for local companies and sometimes you can discover real gold. But you should always ask the question as it engages other staff.


A long time ago one fundraiser asked his fundraising committee if they knew any of the trustees from a list of trusts that he showed them. One recognised a name and responded by saying ‘Oh there is a guy called Rausling who drinks at the same pub as me, I think he does something with regards to packaging? For those of you who don’t know the Rausling family founded and own Tetrapak one of the most successful businesses of its type in the world. Needless to say a connection was made.


So who is on your compass, on your map for fundraising, cast your net wide not just the internet but ask ‘who do you know?’ - you might find some interesting new directions.


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Written by the GoodCloud Team. Published Oct 31, 2020