FINZ Northern breakfast forum: Establishing a culture to support fundraising

By Andrew Healey

I once read that success is determined more by our ability to learn new things than what we already know — one reason why I enjoy FINZ breakfast forums.

You see, FINZ breakfast forums (and any event, for that matter) are about sharing and challenging ideas, looking at ways to improve what we do.

On August 6, I attended a breakfast forum at the Quality Hotel in Parnell, Auckland. Presented by Starship Foundation’s CEO, Brad Clark, and HR specialist, Anne Andrew, the forum addressed how CEOs can establish a culture to support effective fundraising.

Who attended?

The forum was designed for CEOs, board members, charity leaders and those working in marketing and communications. And despite the spritely (some might describe as ungodly) start of 7am, it was well attended — about 50 people by my reckoning.

The first order of business was breakfast (another reason why I enjoy breakfast forums). Then, over the course of about an hour and a half, Brad and Anne explained Starship’s approach to developing a sustainable vision and strategies.

What makes an effective fundraiser?

The qualities of a successful fundraiser were discussed first. Breakfast forums are usually interactive, so we were asked to discuss this with those sitting next to us. My table listed qualities such as emotional intelligence, perseverance and business acumen.  A key quality Starship had identified, explained Anne, was the ability to be passionate about a cause.

Collaboration

Collaboration is integral to Starship’s culture. To illustrate, we were shown an upside-down pyramid (see diagram below). Using this upside-down approach, the development of Starship’s vision and strategy began with their employees, rather than senior management.

For example, Anne facilitated a workshop with Starship employees (not just the fundraisers) to conduct a SWAT analysis and help them create what they saw as Starship’s vision. This was then presented to management for their input before being returned for further input. Doing this, says Anne, fosters buy-in from everyone. People “own” the vision.

Clear direction

Anne contracts to several organisations. And she said the most common complaint during an exit interview is that an employee doesn’t know what their organisation’s direction is. So, a clear understanding of what your organisation is working towards is essential — particularly in not-for-profits, as fundraisers are generally motivated by “doing good” than by a large salary.

Don’t miss the next Northern breakfast forum

The next breakfast forum, Working Effectively with Influential Advocates, is designed for CEOs and their fundraising, marketing and communications teams.

It will be hosted by Sir Bob Harvey, Dame Rosie Horton and Murray MacCormick at the Waipuna Hotel & Conference Centre on Thursday 1 October, 2015.

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