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Why is Fundraising like Dating?

Updated: Jan 6, 2022

One of my earliest lessons in fundraising was that a) there is an awful lot of money out there and b) most people have something they can give to charities of their own choosing.

The conclusion I have drawn from this is that it’s all about matching the right cause with the right person or business. How you go about doing this is a bit more tricky; Basically I’ve concluded this type of fundraising (individual giving and corporate relationships) is down to personal connections…it’s a bit like dating and finding a life partner.

When you’re thinking of looking for a date you could;

  • Go through your phone book

  • Ask a friend to set you up

  • Join a dating website

Translated into the context of a donor programme this means;

  • Create a database of previous donors who have given over £250

  • Ask friends or colleagues if they have any links to potential donors e.g. successful business people, celebrities or public figures and those who are known for their philanthropy

  • Join websites such as Raise your Hands and the Big Give which both help philanthropists find suitable charities to support.

You can probably tell that I am a millennial (defined as someone who reached adulthood around the time of the Millennium) because I put ‘dating website’ not ‘dating app’.

Although IT and an understanding of the most recent trends and advances is really important in fundraising the traditional approach is often the most effective.

I have to be honest and say I don’t have direct experience of the efficacy of dating apps in finding a life partner (I met my future husband in the pub on Christmas Eve) but I would suggest that you’re more likely to get an instant connection with someone when you meet them face to face.

This is definitely the case when it comes to finding major donors and so the willingness to go out, meet people, talk to them openly and honestly about the projects you’re fundraising for and not be offended (or feel rejected) when you get a knock back. People are entitled to do what they like with their money but you (the fundraiser) have something that everyone needs and that is the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you do something good.

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