Using the ‘f’ word at work

In this case, the ‘f’ word is fundraising – which community foundations don’t do in the traditional sense. Despite that today I attended a presentation of our local Association of Fundraising Professionals chapter to hear what new President & CEO, Andrew Watt, had to say about the profession and the association.  He gave an interesting and compelling talk and the core messages I left with were that charities should focus on impact in their work and they should keep an eye to the big picture to maintain a focus on the long term balanced with addressing the current needs.

We often hear from the organizations in our community that in this volatile economic time the community’s needs continue to grow while fundraising for those needs remains an ongoing challenge. Andrew suggests this economic state of ups and downs is our new normal. This emphasizes the need for the organizations in our community to continue to be innovative and to change with the times.

Andrew shared a great example of increasing impact and leveraging support on a grand scale that shows the importance of being innovative and open to creative new solutions…

Bob Geldof founded Live Aid concerts in the mid 1980’s, at the time to support famine relief in Africa. This effort raised just over $245 million, no small feat. In 2005, Live8 concerts were held and instead of asking for donations people were asked for their name as a ‘global call to action against poverty’ – 30 million people obliged. As a result, one of the promises made by the G8 leaders five days following the concert was $50 billion more aid per year by 2010. More information on the promises can be found on the Live8website.

As Andrew put it so nicely, ‘it’s about change, not charity’.