Why would Dutch fundraisers want to listen to me?
A whole day of Ken Burnett on the future of fundraising, in four packed, busy sessions? Morning and afternoon? Really?
Ok, there will be comfortable chairs and plenty of coffee, even a nice lunch. In a delightful venue. And, I promise to keep proceedings lively with stories and anecdotes that will entertain you and make you think.
‘But, I hear you say, ‘A whole day? Are you serious?’
Well, if you’re serious about the future of fundraising, then yes, I am. You should be there.
Why? Because I will be coming to your great country bearing gifts. I’ll be bringing nothing less than a blueprint for the future of fundraising based on lessons learned from the worst crisis to hit UK fundraising in living memory. I’ll be giving you at least 32 moments of clarity, each capable of making such a difference to how you do fundraising that I call them ‘lightbulb moments’. Think of when a light goes on and you see something clearly and realise, ‘yes, this is how it should be!’ Individually, each of these lightbulb moments can be transformational. Together, they add up to a radical culture change across the whole of fundraising.
Why is this important? Simply put, I hope Dutch fundraisers can learn from the catastrophe that hit the UK in May, 2015, so make sure something similar can’t happen, for you.
For these last two years have been by a long way the most challenging in all my 41-year experience. Never before has fundraising in Britain been so much under the public spotlight. Never has the way fundraisers ply their trade been subject to such scrutiny and found so wanting. Never before have donors been so disturbed, so disappointed and let down by fundraising failures. In the wake of this crisis fundraising campaigns were cancelled left and right, managements and trustee boards panicked, public confidence in charities plummeted (it’s only just beginning to recover). Many fundraisers decided to leave, to do something else. Donors cancelled their direct debits and fundraising incomes fell, while the sensational media had a field day at charities’ expense. Lasting damage has been done, extensive new regulations are being imposed and ultimately, many causes and their beneficiaries suffered and are suffering still. The talk, in some quarters, has been about ‘managing decline.’
Yet out of this crisis something remarkable has happened. Shortly after the catastrophe hit a group of senior professional enthusiasts, nearly 1000 strong, came together under the flag of the Commission on the Donor Experience to redefine donor-centred fundraising comprehensively, to finally put the donor, not financial targets, at the heart of fundraising thinking and strategies. Their purpose was nothing less than the transformation of fundraising. Because nothing less would restore public confidence and fundraisers’ pride in their profession.
It’s this transformation that I am going to explain, in detail, on Thursday October 5th at Amsterdam’s Public Library. I hope you’ll be there. For the future of Dutch fundraising, I think you’ll find it very worthwhile.