What are your new year’s resolutions?

By Vera Peerdeman
On January 21, 2013 At 2:00 pm

Category : Best posts Q1 2013, Latest posts, opinion

Responses : 7 Comments

Last week Esta Magazine (a Dutch glossy) published an article on three ‘professions of the future’. And guess what? According to them ‘fundraiser’ is one of these professions. A journalist approached me (and my dog) for an interview on what it’s like being a fundraiser. Her questions made me think: if this profession can contribute to a better future, in what way can I do my bit? And, since we’re at the beginning of a new year, which new year’s resolutions do I have to make in order to reach this goal?  

calvin-hobbes-new-years-resolutions-620x469_mediumFor the curious ones amongst you: the other two professions of the future were ‘fertility doctor’ and ‘geriatric medicine specialist’. To me, ‘fundraiser’ was somewhat of an odd addition to this list. But hey, who am I? Seeing ‘fundraiser’ in the list felt as a great compliment. A great compliment for all of us fundraisers.

The journalist’s questions inspired me to think of the impact fundraisers can have in creating a better world. My first thought, was that we’re just the ones that raise money so that other people can change the world. Those other people should get credit for it, not the fundraisers. But then again, without financial means changing the world is pretty difficult. In Holland we say this is a typical ‘chicken and egg’ situation: which one came first? So I decided to consult fellow fundraisers.

Elsbeth Takkenberg, senior fundraiser at VUmc Cancer Center Amsterdam and 101Fundraising blogger, said: “With the euros I raise, changes can be made every day. So I don’t see ‘fundraiser’ as a profession of the future, but a ‘profession of the present’. And, as I think of it, it’s not the fundraiser who changes the world. It’s the donor.” Han Valk, head of fundraising and marketing at KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, added to this: “I wonder if the role of the fundraiser will be the same in the future as it is right now. If it’s up to me, fundraisers will be connected to specific organizational goals in stead of an organization itself. That they’ll be part of a network of stakeholders and donors who – as a group – want to solve a problem or improve a situation. Not just the ones who ask for money, in order to let the organization solve the problem.”

resolutionsBack to the new year’s resolutions. Before I wrote down some of my own, I asked approx. hundred Dutch fundraisers in my network to think of theirs as well. Five turned out to be the most popular (in no particular order):

  • Focus on better performance

Although ‘better performance’ was several times explained as ‘raising more money’, it was also explained as ‘being continuously eager to improve our service to donors’. This resolution was often combined with the second one:

  • Downsize organizational costs

The amount (or: percentage) of money that’s really spend on the cause, is a recurring topic in Dutch media. Most fundraisers who replied to my questionnaire, pointed out that this not only a matter of spending less money on organizational costs. It’s also a challenge they face in communication with donors. Therefore most of them said it’s also important to:

  • Be more honest with donors

Off course it’s important to share the successes of your organization with donors. But next to that, several fundraisers pointed out that (in 2013) they also want to involve donors more in the challenges (as in: difficulties) the organization faces.

  • Build sustainable relationships with donors

Intensifying the relationship with donors is a new year’s resolution every fundraiser mentioned in reply to my e-mail. Except for Reinier Spruit, because he ‘only’ 😉 wanted to:

  • Share more knowledge with fundraisers

And since I really appreciate his efforts in doing so with 101Fundraising, I’m more than happy to help him promote his new Facebook page for Dutch fundraisers.

My experience with new year’s resolutions is, that the longer you make your list the harder it will be to achieve all of your goals. So, this year my list consists of only one resolution. My mission will be to promote the power of friendraising. I passionately believe that the time has come for NGO’s to stop having a monologue with their donors and to start a dialogue. As you might know, I already shared some of my thoughts on this topic in this blog and I published a book about friendraising in The Netherlands. To me ‘friendraising’ is a holistic approach, and not only ‘building relationships’. If I live up to my resolution, chances are high that you’ll be hearing more about friendraising in 2013.

So, now that we (Dutch fundraisers) have shared our new year’s resolutions with you, we’re very curious what yours will be. Challenge yourself and share your resolutions with us in the ‘add your comment’ box below. Let’s create a better (fundraising) future!

A very big ‘thank you!’ goes out to Elsbeth Takkenberg, Han Valk, David Heyer, and Agmar van Rijn. They not only sent me their resolutions, but also took the time to share their overall view on fundraising in the future.

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Vera Peerdeman (13 blogs on 101fundraising)

Vera wants to bridge the gap between those who give and those who receive. When speaking with donors, she notices a gap between their perceptions and expectations and those of the organizations they support. She wants to bring donors and organizations together to realize their ideals. That’s why she wrote Handbook Friendraising (Dutch). Vera is proud that people see her as a specialist in major donor fundraising. When she speaks at (inter)national seminars and congresses, she gets inspired by interacting with the fundraisers in the audience. Please feel free to call her if you’d like to talk about whether she could make a valuable contribution to your project or conference.


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Comments

  1. It’s encouraging to know we have a future as fundraisers, it means peope have future as donors. My resolution for the new year is to be able to prove to myself that fundraising allows me to change also my own life!
    And please share this overall view on fundraising in the future you thank to Elsbeth, Han, David and Agmar!

     — Reply
    • – he, he skønt med en kæreste, som opfordrer til nul p-piller. Jeg tror, at det er meget individuelt hvem i forholdet, der først fÃ¥r ideen til børn… Heldigvis er vi mennesker oftest sÃ¥dan indrettet, at nÃ¥r et og andet stort sker i vores liv, sÃ¥ er vi pÃ¥ forunderlig vis klar (vi bliver i hvert fald bevist eller ubevist klar!). Jeg ville heller aldrig takke nej til nakkefoldsscanning. Har bestemt respekt for de, som gør, da der jo meget, meget sjældent er noget galt. Men alligevel… jeg var pÃ¥ ja-siden!

       — Reply
  2. It’s encouraging to know we have a future as fundraisers, it means peope have future as donors. My resolution for the new year is to be able to prove to myself that fundraising allows me to change also my own life!

     — Reply
  3. Interesting article Vera – got me thinking. One of my personal resolutions is to work to my strengths more (rather than getting dragged off in various directions). However, I think this is a good resolution for some of my clients too as quite often, they are taken off in lots of different directions ‘chasing money’ due to need and forgetting where their real strengths lie. I see it as an essential part of my work to get them back on track and working to these strengths as in the long run, they’ll raise more money AND make deeper connections with donors who really support their work.

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  4. Interesting blog, with “Be more honest with donors” being an always interesting conversation to have with charities. Working for grant giving trusts they are always interested in honest conversations to find the ‘right’ projects and how best to help whereas too many charities see fundraising as a game. The relationship is too regularly unequal.

     — Reply
  5. Interesting blog, with “Be more honest with donors” being an always interesting conversation to have with charities. Working for grant giving trusts they are always interested in honest conversations to find the ‘right’ projects and how best to help whereas too many charities see fundraising as a game. The relationship is too regularly unequal.

     — Reply
  6. Pingback: Who needs fundraisers anyway? | Pell & Bales