21/09/2015 - 16:33

Communication key as fundraisers target market

21/09/2015 - 16:33

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INTERVENTION: Anne Smith and Dale Alcock at this year’s state conference for fundraising. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Western Australia’s fundraisers are becoming more sophisticated in their efforts to support charities, according to prominent industry leader Anne Smith.

Ms Smith, the chair of Fundraising Institute Australia WA and Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation donor relationships manager, told Business News while grants, philanthropy and corporate partnerships remained the most prominent ways to attract money, fundraising was becoming increasingly important in WA.

Speaking before a state conference for fundraising held last week, Ms Smith said WA’s isolation from the rest of the nation helped fundraisers connect with supporters, particularly on issues that held a local connection.

“There are a lot of causes for a smaller population, but generally I think people are happy to support their local charity,” she said.

Ms Smith said fundraisers were learning new and creative ways to reach people, particularly through social media, but the emphasis was still on communicating what charities could achieve with support.

“Interestingly, I don’t think fundraising opportunities are drying up,” she said.

“When it comes to the practice of fundraising, Australian fundraisers are outstanding. We do as well as the Americans, but for pieces of a much smaller pie of philanthropy, generally.”

Keynote speaker at the WA fundraising conference, and founder of ABN Group’s charitable foundation, Dale Alcock, told Business News that while his organisation preferred to support the not-for-profit sector through a range of partnerships, he had learned that fundraising was more appropriate in certain situations.

“The ABN Foundation does not generally get involved in fundraising, however, we have had several occasions where there have been major events, such as tsunamis or fires, and we have matched our staff and their families’ donations dollar for dollar, which has resulted in substantial donations being made,” Mr Alcock said.

One example of this was after Typhoon Haiyan, which had directly affected the families of some of the group’s Filipino staff. ABN Foundation matched donations and provided $100,000 to the Red Cross Philippines 2013 typhoon appeal, Mr Alcock said.

Ms Smith said as more organisations competed for the same amount of dollars amid slowing economic conditions, particularly from the decline in mining revenue, fundraisers in WA were counteracting this with better communication about charitable activities.

“Brand awareness is critical,” she said.

“The good (news) is that WA people, per capita, are more generous. They are still happy to donate, but are looking into who they are donating to more seriously.

“They also expect to see the results and the impact their donation has made.”

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