The secret life of a donor – video evidence

November 30 2012 - Mark Phillips

I recently had the fantastic opportunity of appearing on stage in front of an audience of over 900 fundraisers as part of Tony Elischer's amazing experiment – Theatre of Fundraising – at AFP Congress in Toronto.

One of the areas that Tony asked me to look at was fatigue.

This was a theatre, so it had to be entertaining. With the help of Raindown (who are an excellent production company that I highly recommend) we put together a short video where we attempt to demonstrate what it's like to be on the sharp end of so many fundraisers' efforts.

I don't believe compassion fatigue actually exists. If anything, I think people today are kinder and more compassionate than ever before.

The problem is that they are worn out by the approach of charities that think fundraising is just about asking more often in more intrusive ways.

Great fundraising is not just about demonstrating organisational need. It's about answering the needs of our donors.

It's about engaging and empowering them. It's about inspiring them with creative ideas that emotionally connect them to the causes that we raise funds for (you can read Aline's post on how we did this for UCL by clicking here).

It's the easiest thing in the world to just ask people for money.

What takes time and effort is the creation of the feelings of joy that every donor should receive when they see the impact of their giving.

That what we should be concentrating on. We are fundraisers. That's our job.

Should you wish to use the video or share it, feel free. All we ask is that you let people know that it was produced by Bluefrog.

  • Jonathan

    Brilliant, thank you!

  • Mark, if bluefrog had a fan club, I would be a card-carrying member. That UCL appeal is brilliant. But what I love best is your approach: “to create feelings of joy.” This, to me, is why you are succeeding. It’s also why it is such an honor (honour) to do what we do. Nicely put. Thanks for sharing your work with the world. Best, Lisa

  • Bob

    If the fatigue exists it rises from the various forms of unsolicited chugging, invalid solicitation and unwarranted asks. The problem isn’t too many requests, it is that the solicitor hasn’t earned the right to ask by developing a relationship with the potential donor (personal, media, social media, history, referral).

  • Great video and it perfectly encapsulates what an average day in any big city is like. It makes me wonder how exactly small charities like mine can compete in that market place and not become annoying.

    Also spot on casting for that female chugger. I find it difficult to say no to a smiley young girl :/