Australia, Business Strategy, fundraising, philanthropy, Women, Women in Business

Should you be certified?

CFREJust recently I decided to apply for certification as a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) Why? What? Did you know you could be such a thing? I was encouraged by my highly professional and effective fundraising colleague Stephen Mally of Fundraising Force that this was something that was considered highly important for all fundraisers and I do agree that it is important that we help recognise the skills and abilities required to be provide excellence in this challenging – and somewhat undervalued –  field.  It is not, as a lovely contact said to me the other day, just a matter of sending out a few ‘begging’ letters. He added: ‘Surely your assistant could do that?” I hope there’s more to fundraising than a few sporadic mailings no matter how well written?

For me, it was a choice to acknowledge the commitment I had made to my own career over these past 16 or more years. It was a way to promote the continuing professionalism of the sector and to encourage others to seek to further their own careers.

So I’ve signed up and will take the exam later this year.  I had a look at the number of  Australian ‘graduates’ to the certification and while there were a few there were not that many. So it made me ask? Do you think it’s worth the effort? Should it matter whether you’re a CFRE?  I’m interested in your thoughts.  And will let you know how I go with my study before the exam.  It never hurts to brush up on your knowledge and I’m sure I’ll also learn a few things I didn’t know before. If you’d like to find out more about CFRE, visit www.cfre.org or go to the Fundraising Institute of Australia website for more information.

Australia, fundraising, Melbourne Zoo, Not for Profit Sector, partnerships, philanthropy, Threatened Species, Victoria, Women in Business, Zoos, Zoos Victoria

Fundraising Excellence… Helping Australian threatened species

For the first time Zoos Victoria and our Foundation (fundraising and sponsorship) team were recognised by the Australian Fundraising Institute for our very special fundraising campaign leveraging the 150th anniversary of Melbourne Zoo.  It was my privilege to head up the ZV Foundation during this highly creative period, a role I still hold.

mali

One of the main projects was Mali in the City with 50 sculptures of our very own (then) baby elephant Mali were painted by professional and amateur artists and positioned all around the city. Each sculpture had a paid sponsor for the period of the installation and at the end of the exhibition, all of the sculptures were successfully auctioned off. A wonderful event that brought the Melbourne community back in touch with its fantastic city Zoo.  We raised almost AUD $1m with the campaign across our various events and activities for our Victorian and International conservation programmes. And had a great time in the process!

Here’s the story which was featured recently by the FIA talking about the awards:

Zoos Victoria

Winner of the 2014 Most Effective Creative Campaign and the 2014 Special Projects, Events Award

Campaign: Melbourne Zoo’s 150th Anniversary Mali in the City Campaign.

Key Personnel: Jenny Gray, Kevin Tanner, Pamela Sutton-Legaud MFIA, Sid Myer AM

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What does winning this award mean for your organisation?
Winning the award meant a great deal for Zoos Victoria, in particular helping to acknowledge the hard work of a team of people that worked on Melbourne Zoo’s 150th Anniversary celebrations. It was also significant as it further demonstrated the love that people all over Australia share for Melbourne Zoo and Zoos Victoria as an organisation but also the love people feel for the charismatic animals that live at our zoos including Mali the Asian Elephant. Being successful in reaching a large number of people with our anniversary celebrations was extremely important for our organisation as it meant many people became engaged in our fighting wildlife extinction work and at the end of the day – this is the most important message.

How has it impacted on your work in terms of campaign strategies, staff morale etc?
The Award was a huge boost for the many teams involved in Melbourne Zoo’s 150th Anniversary celebrations. It was nice for staff to be publicly recognised for a campaign which touched so many different people. It has also made staff feel proud to be part of an organisation that is fun, has the ability to be bold and, above all, to be part of an organisation that the community clearly values.

Briefly tell us about the campaign that won you this award? What made this campaign so successful?
We won the Award for our 150th Anniversary celebrations which took place in 2012. In particular, we held a public art exhibition called ‘Mali in the City’ which saw 50 life-size artist decorated fibreglass elephant sculptures displayed all over Melbourne’s city streets and later sold at auction with all proceeds donated to Zoos Victoria fighting wildlife extinction efforts. The campaign was extremely successful as the sculptures were modelled on the exact dimensions of Mali the elephant, (at the time) a two year old elephant calf who was the first female elephant calf born in Australia and arguably one of the most popular animals at Melbourne Zoo. The campaign was also extremely unique, it was eye-catching and helped to brighten the wintery streets of Melbourne and it involved a large number of local people from local business to community and high profile artists.

Why did you/your organisation decide to submit an entry?
We decided to submit an award to help recognise the huge amount of work dedicated to the project by a large number of staff members across many departments of Zoos Victoria and also to help acknowledge the incredibly positive support from the Melbourne community. It was also another avenue to help raise awareness of our fighting extinction work with threatened species within a community that cares about causes.

What advice or suggestions can you give to other members considering submitting an awards nomination?
The Awards are a great way to celebrate your team’s hard work and successes within the fundraising industry. It was also a good way to benchmark your campaigns against what the rest of the industry is doing. In particularly winning the award had numerous benefits including media opportunities as well as the opportunity to build new relationships at the Awards event.

pamela FIA

Australia, Business Strategy, Corporate sponsorship, Economy, fundraising, Melbourne, Not for Profit Sector, partnerships, philanthropy, Uncategorized, Women in Business

What’s in a name? that which we call a Fundraiser by another name would it be as sweet?

Apologies to Shakespeare… But I’m pondering: Why do we call Fundraisers… well, Fundraisers?  Yes we do the action of raising funds … but that is so much only a part of the end result. What we do more than just raise dollars is build long term relationships and help philanthropists deliver on their own philanthropic goals.

In doing that we must do so much more that is often overlooked in the focus on the bottom line.

If you hire a Sales Person for your sales team, you want certain specific things from them in terms of meeting budget goals and building client relationships.  And clients hopefully are getting a product they want and need in exchange for their cash.

And yet a Fundraiser often must manage more than you’d expect from a sales person and it’s time we found a new description of this much misunderstood role. As a Fundraiser,  if you are to be successful in encouraging others to donate their time, talent and in particular treasure to an organisation, any fundraiser must learn an entire range of skills hidden in the term ‘fundraiser’ .

If you’ve ever met a great Fundraiser then you’d know that we are the sum of many parts. They are often good people managers, good financial managers, have a strong understanding of strategy: can take a helicopter view of a business to understand not just its financial needs but its priorities and urgencies.  They learn how to build long term relationships;  must learn how to recognise a philanthropist’s needs and goals and try to match them with their organisation’s needs and goals. It’s a tricky, sensitive business and one that takes maturity, knowledge and understanding of the role philanthropy plays in any non-profit business’s success.

Perhaps worrying about the title is a red herring. As with many things, it starts with the brief when a recruiter is starting to look for someone who can raise funds.

1. Forget the title: Look for relationship people – that is those who understand other people AND understand money and how it works within a business. 

2. Look for those who understand how to put together a strategic plan and can explain the organisation’s priorities to potential donors.

3. Look for those with a track record – yes, the bottom line does come into it, it’s just not the only thing.

4. Look for a link to your cause. Does the potential recruit really care about what you’re doing.

Just because I started this off looking at the title, I’d like to suggest a few alternative (nice) names for fundraisers:

Chief Relationship Officer; Strategic Prioritiser; Philanthropic Advancer, Bonding Adviser….

Perhaps the US has become more inventive – whatever we call them, fundraisers deliver a very valuable service to our non-profits and I believe it could be time we gave a higher recognition to their varied skills. They bring more to most organisations than just dollars. But as a ‘Strategic Prioritiser’ myself, perhaps I have a bias view. Over to you.

 

Australia, Business Strategy, Corporate sponsorship, fundraising, Not for Profit Sector, partnerships, philanthropy, Strategic Planning, Uncategorized

Can $50million ever be a bad thing?

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Much has been made of a recent philanthropic gift of $50m to an Australian university to set up a scholarship fund. Quite right, you might say.

The donation secured Graham and Louise Tuckwell the honour of having made the largest philanthropic donation to an Australian university by individuals.

The couple funded 25 scholarships of $20,000 each per annum for up to 5 years.

An interesting question is whether the University would have set up the scholarships without this impressive and very generous donation – ie was the scholarship a strategic or donor driven decision? Many organisations struggle with these questions. Should we accept a large gift which we otherwise would not receive unless we tie the gift to the donor’s specific requirements? It is not suggested that in this case the university in question had this dilemma – but is there ever a time when $50m is a bad thing?

Most not-for-profit organisations can cite examples of where trying to deliver on a donor request in order to secure a large gift has cost them more than if they hadn’t accepted the funds in the first place.

When a business (and non profit or otherwise we are all businesses) tries to deliver solely what is of interest to the donor, time and resources are taken away from other strategic priorities. Staff can become disheartened when they see their core needs being unmet while other ‘less urgent’ projects taking priority.

How do we avoid these situations and put ourselves in the best possible position to accept a generous gift AND improve our capacity to deliver on our core values and deliverables? I would suggest 3 things:

1. Be willing to have a transparent and honest discussion with the potential donor about what will really help your organisation deliver on its mission. What do you really need to move the organisation forward and meet the supporter’s philanthropic objectives?

2. Have a plan around your vision – if you can’t share your strategic vision with potential supporters how can they fund your highest priorities? If you don’t know, neither will they. Create a strategic plan with room for growth – show how you would put their funds to the best possible use.

3. Be willing to say no. Or to be more positive, be willing to say ‘yes’ to the gifts that will push you and your organisation along on its journey. Yes, you must always be flexible and you should know where the line is.

I wish all organisations the very best of luck and good fortune in their fundraising and hope their planning is going well for the next financial year. May another multi-million donation be just around the corner. Make sure you’re ready to say ‘Yes’ to it.

Read more about the donation here at the excellent Fundraising & Philanthropy Magazine http://www.fpmagazine.com.au/50-million-donation-for-australian-national-university-316794/

fundraising, Melbourne Zoo, Not for Profit Sector, philanthropy, Uncategorized

Give Hugs this Christmas!

Will you make a charitable donation this Christmas? Are you foregoing gifts this year in favour of your favourite cause? Many people will and the trend is increasing. I’d like to think we all probably have more than enough ‘stuff’ and dont need much else so a gift to a charity instead of a new pair of socks sounds like fun! Lots of charities need our support at this time of year in particular.

Try www.oxfam.org, www.worldvision.org, www.redcross.org or www.zoo.org.au to name a few… or if you have to have a gift, perhaps consider visiting an elderly friend or neighbour and giving them a hug … I think that’s just as charitable and probably very welcome 🙂 Merry Christmas, Felice Navidad, Joyeaux Noel 🙂

Give a hug for christmas
Give a hug for christmas
Australia, fundraising, Melbourne, Melbourne Zoo, partnerships, Uncategorized

Monty Python Palin in Melbourne

Michael Palin – the ‘nice one’ from the English Monty Python series will visit Melbourne Zoo next week to be the guest speaker for our annual fundraiser. We’re all very excited – how could we not be if we’ve seen K-K-K-Ken in ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ ?! We hope he’ll enjoy what we have planned for him… meet the Meerkats, Browse the Butterflies…and eat fantastic food prepared by celebrity chefs… AND help raise a lot of money, we hope. A night to remember! Visit http://www.zoo.org.au/melbourne/whats-on/dine-on-the-wild-side

Business Strategy, Corporate sponsorship, fundraising, Not for Profit Sector, partnerships, philanthropy, Women in Business

10 Tips to great relationships

10 ways to prepare for partnering

Thinking about entering the corporate partnership space or improving your results in this area? Pamela Sutton-Legaud suggests some things you should have in place before going to market.

The following are ten tips you may like to consider, which will save you and your potential sponsor time, money and energy. It’s better to proactively determine these points rather than to be unprepared when a potential partnership opportunity arises.

1. Allocate responsibility for partnerships. Allocate a team or team member who has, as part of their job description and key performance indicators, the responsibility to deal with and negotiate corporate partnerships. This is particularly important in organisations that have a range of entry points, to ensure all potential partners are consistently appraised and receive the appropriate level of benefits to reflect the level of partnership.

2. Define organisational values for partnerships. Assist your staff by working with your board or executive team to create a corporate sponsorship policy which details what sort of industries conflict with or enhance your core values. Using an obvious example, if your organisation aims to assist people struggling with addiction, be explicit whether you will accept funds from tobacco companies, alcohol companies or gaming companies.

3. Create a selection criteria framework for sponsor partnerships. In support of your policy, it helps to create a sponsorship framework which outlines how you will select or accept new partners, how to acknowledge donors/sponsors and what you can give back in terms of value for their sponsorship dollars. Consider if you receive $5,000 or $500,000 gift – what could you offer to a sponsor at various levels of support? While each sponsor has different needs and requirements, you can develop some basic guidelines to get the conversation started. Defining this early – and the benefits that do/don’t come with each – can save a lot of headaches down the line.

4. Prepare a partnership benefits overview. Prepare a short guideline document to provide to any sponsor who should approach you which provides an overview of how you work, what you can offer, and why you’d be a great partner, as well as any selection criteria that you would apply to any sponsorship application. It allows you to respond to any requests quickly and professionally. It also allows a potential sponsor to self determine how good a fit they are with you, your stakeholders or audience.

5. Evaluate prospective partners’ organisational fit. Consider which types of organization are ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’ partners for your cause. At Zoos Victoria, we are a natural fit with organisations that wish to engage with a large family audience, as almost two million people visit our zoos annually. So, fast moving consumer goods organisations or those focused on a consumer audience are a good ‘natural’ fit. As such, when Zoos Victoria entered into a partnership with ANZ bank, this was a very natural fit for both parties as our audiences and values were well matched.

6. Look for a values match. It’s important to be explicit about your own organisation’s values and review how they align with a prospective partner. Zoos Victoria takes a G-rated approach to our family audience so we want to collaborate with organisations with similar values. We are also a nonprofit conservation organisation, so we want to work with organisations that are likeminded and consider the impact of their actions and those of their customers on the environment. We’re here to protect and defend endangered species and we want to work with those organizations that actively support this goal.

7. Consider the value/effort of possible partnership. Nonprofits are time poor and relationships are time intensive, so it makes sense to evaluate the effort to reward ratio of a prospective partnership. Zoos Victoria uses a simple but powerful decision making framework which offers a simple way to assess a potential partnership activity. We look for partnerships and activities that sit in that top left hand corner – the ‘sweet-spot’ of low-medium effort for high value. This works in everyone’s favour.

8. Aim for multi-year partnerships. Wherever possible, look for multi-year partnerships to make the most of the work that goes into a partnership agreement on both sides. Negotiating multi-year partnerships allows time for the relationship to form and grow, while assuring partnership goals are met along the way. Good results come from time and reasonable levels of effort.

9. Record each partner’s goals. Create clear goals and don’t be afraid to clarify all the key outcomes of the partnership in a written sponsorship agreement. It is much easier to clarify your partnership benefits and commitments at the beginning of the relationship, than half way through.

10. Implement a regular review process. With clearly written up goals in place, you should regularly review the partnership’s progress against expectations to evaluate whether it’s meeting each partner’s expectations and take steps to improve on the relationship where possible. With this approach you can create enjoyable, mutually-beneficial relationships that continue for many years through open communication.

Pamela Sutton-Legaud
Pamela Sutton-Legaud is the Executive Director of the Zoos Victoria Foundation and leads the strategic direction for institutional and individual giving for Werribee Open Range Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Melbourne Zoo which celebrates its 150th anniversary in October 2012.

1st Published in Fundraising & Philanthropy Magazine 2012