Mission driven fundraising refers to fundraising that is designed and implemented to promote the organisational mission. There are many misaligned fundraising initiatives solely focused on raising money and completely detached from the organisational mission – a topic for another time.
When fundraising and mission merge positive results are almost guaranteed – provided a good social marketing campaign is part of the strategy – no fundraising strategy can succeed if not enough people know about it – no matter how good it is.
Fundraising consumes an enormous amount of resources – money and time, often up to half of what is being raised. There has been much public discussion about the acceptable level of expenditure for fundraising campaigns as these resources, on the face of it, compete or are taken away from service delivery resources.
Headlines like “Charity Spends More on Fundraising than Research” don’t inspire public faith in charitable organisations and are regularly reported in the media.
However, without dedicating funds for fundraising there is no awareness raising of the cause, no growth and no service delivery, no policy development and so on. We have to spend money to get money. For more in depth analysis of our attitude to fundraising overheads please check out the Ted talk by Dan Pallotta ” The way we think about charity is dead wrong”. His views have formed as a result of a “overhead” controversy his organisation was involved with.
Examples of Mission Driven Fundraising Campaigns in Australia
If we agree that we need to spend money to reach our goals, then ensuring the mission is at the centre of the campaign is all the more important. It is wonderful when fundraising campaigns serve both purposes: furthering the mission of the charity as well as raising badly needed funds. This should simply should be the only way campaigns are conceived – business case aligned. Where fundraising campaigns raise awareness of the cause, the entire effort becomes worthwhile and increases the chances of the financial success of the campaign.
Campaigns tend to be particularly effective if there is an ‘experience’ involved. Seeing is believing – in other words, if we see something directly in front of us, if we are touched by what we see and experience, we are more likely to act.
Successful Alignment of Campaign and Mission
Can Too and Cure Cancer Australia
Promoting a healthy lifestyle combined with raising funds to find a cure for an illness is one such alignment. Can Too is an initiative that forms groups to participate in formal runs and swims across Australia and the funds raised are donated to Cure Cancer Australia which in turn invests the money in research to find a cure of cancer. The group has collectively raised more than $10 Million.
CEO Sleepout and St Vincent de Paul
Providing high income earners who are comfortably off with the opportunity to experience homelessness by sleeping on the streets for one night. St Vincent de Paul‘s CEO Sleepout saw more than 1000 CEO’s participating in 2012, raised more than $5 Million for the organisation.
There are more than 100,000 Australians who find themselves homeless each night of the year. Just under half of these are women; a quarter are under the age of 18.
The Vinnies CEO Sleepout on Thursday 20 June 2013 is a unique way for business leaders to raise awareness and important funds in support of essential homeless services across the country. (website quote)
Bail Out and Whitelion
Another excellent example, which I am most familiar with through my work with Whitelion is Bail Out. Whitelion was founded in 1999 in response to a gap in transitional services for young people leaving juvenile
justice. Since then Whitelion has continued to expand its services in response to vulnerable young people’s needs but the original mission and purpose – to reconnect young people who have been involved with the juvenile justice system with general society – has remained at the core of its activities.
Whitelion’s mission is focused on connecting ‘at-risk’ young people aged 10 to 24 with the community. It provides them with practical and effective supports that enable them to make positive choices in their lives. The young people that Whitelion supports have seldom had positive influences in their lives; many come from backgrounds that are characterised by multi-generational disadvantage, unemployment, substance abuse and offending behaviour. These young people require consistent, practical and intensive support to break the cycle of disadvantage and reach their full potential.
Whitelion breaks this cycle of disadvantage through role modelling, mentoring and employment programs that change young people’s lives. In 2012, Whitelion had 1,208 program places for young people who live in the community, and 90% of young people who get a mentor and a job do not re-offend. However; 4
6,187 young people are considered vulnerable, and 14,353 young people are considered at risk… (website quote)
Bail Out is giving people the opportunity to enter a juvenile justice centre, see with their own eyes what it is like to be in custody and experience being ‘processed’ within the system – something that most adults thankfully haven’t had to experience. The campaign is varied depending in which State it is being held, but the basic elements are the same: you subscribe to the 3 Rs: Register, Raise and Release.
To complete the registration form one must confess a crime, upload a mug shot and set ones fundraising bail target. It is possible to go into solitary confinement, start a gang or join an existing gang. Minimum bail to be released back into the community is set at $1,000.
The activities bring people together in a fun way but also bring home the serious nature of getting caught up in the juvenile justice system. Bail Out is informative, builds extensive networks of friends that can become further involved in the work of Whitelion, for example in the very important Mentor programme or in the case of companies, by offering workplaces to the young people Whitelion works with. It is a very neat fit with the overall work of Whitelion and therefore no effort is wasted in getting people involved. It is the perfect fund and friend raising vehicle!
In 2012 Bail Out, which is Whitelion’s largest annual fundraising campaign, raised just over $ 1/2 Million. The target this year is $600,000.
I need to declare my interest in the story about Whitelion and Bail Out. I currently work for Whitelion as a social media consultant and as a NSW Bail Out coach.