The alternative path for fundraising suggested by the authors strikes a nerve with Leo Orland.
Robinson Roe and Peter Dalton have written a book about the for-purpose sector which will both challenge and inspire the reader.
Giving Hope: The Journey Of The For-Purpose Organisation and Its Quest For Success reviews how for-purpose organisations are structured, measure themselves and communicate with their beneficiaries. The book marries concepts of business research with an academic tone to showcase best practice in fundraising. It is not an easy read but is definitely worth the effort.
In their book, Dalton and Roe examine emotional fundraising, lifetime value and the donor pyramid and how they fit with organisational leadership and development. They argue that many organisations are set up to fail, even if the organisation has a good understanding of fundraising. They say many organisations have the wrong structure and learning culture to enable fundraising to thrive.
To illustrate, the authors focus on three successful fundraising organisations as case studies: Plan International Australia, Mater Foundation and Oxfam Australia. Roe and Dalton highlight several dilemmas faced by these organisations, how they dealt with them, and the practical solutions the organisations applied successfully.
The six fundraising dilemmas these organisations faced are typical for most charitable organisations and include:
- staff turnover
- cost ratios
- tied funding
- the product or hope/misery dilemma
- crowded market
- pecking order challenge.
As a reader, I was excited about how these issues were addressed by the authors. For example, one problem I was particularly interested in, which most organisations face, is created by the so-called ‘silo effect’.
Organisations are typically structured around a production model which dates back to the 18th century. In for-purpose organisations this is reflected in teams which are divided into departments and divisions around fundraising functions, such as major gifts, direct marketing, gifts in wills, etc. The result is short-term KPIs and measurements which are not about the mission and effective outcomes but about money and efficiencies.
In their book, Roe and Dalton discuss an alternative path for successful fundraising which is mission-driven and outcomes-based and is reflected in significant studies undertaken in the commercial sector.
The authors correctly note that fundraising demands more than just dreaming up the next ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ or organising yet another gala ball, and suggest organisations seek to produce the right mix of fundraising activities and a better organisational approach to succeed.
As I read the book, I found myself underlining many vital points that struck a nerve with me, like the following:
Having to compete for more and more donors, and striving to reach ever-increasing fundraising targets, leads many for-purpose organisations to fundraise in ways donors dislike, which is counterproductive to building sustainable DLV (donor lifetime value). When ‘competing’ for the philanthropic dollar, the most competitive for-purpose organisations are those with end-to-end framing around giving donors hope. And they stay competitive by using DLV to measure how effective they are at ‘placing the donor at the centre of fundraising’. Pg. 148
In fact, I kept saying ‘amen’ many times throughout Giving Hope because what makes this book so exciting is that the authors provide solutions and not just the dilemmas, through those practical case studies.
Importantly, Giving Hope provides a real-world plan for leaders in charitable organisations to create more engaged, collaborative and productive teams, which break down silos and deliver more significant outcomes for their organisations’ missions.
I highly recommend Giving Hope as essential reading for anyone serious about organisational leadership and the integration of fundraising within a for-purpose organisation.
Leo Orland CFRE FFIA, Senior Strategist, Precision Fundraising
Leo has been a fundraiser for 39 years. Leo is a Fellow of Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA), a past Chairman of the FIA Board, former member of the CFRE board and former chair of the CFRE Exam Committee. He has been a member of the Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) for more than 35 years. Twice President of FIA Victoria. In 2013 Leo was named the Arthur Venn Fundraiser of the Year, a national award given by the FIA which recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to fundraising in Australia.
Giving Hope: The Journey of the For-Purpose Organisation and its Quest For Success
Authors: Robinson Roe, Peter Dalton
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan © 2019
Ordering information: https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9789811361449