“Everyone’s a fundraiser!” is something I hear all the time around the charity sector. It’s usually more of an aspiration than reflection of reality, and in most cases the integration of fundraising across an entire organisation is difficult.
In most charities, fundraisers work within their own team or department in a structural silo. They feature their own language, culture and networks. By looking at creative ways of structuring fundraising and the effect structure has on culture, we can design for integration instead of against it.
Because planning usually reflects the structure it takes place in departmental silos. So, fundraising teams find organisationally integrated planning difficult. By having only one, interdependent financial and activity planning process, and a plan for the people who raise the money and the people who spend it we can hardwire collaboration and deliver integrated, operational working.
Asking for money is uncomfortable
Even if the structural and planning silos came tumbling down, few people outside the fundraising team feel comfortable looking someone in the eye and asking for money. It is important to be clear with the rest of the organisation what integrated fundraising means for them. Once they are reassured that not everyone is expected to be a fundraiser, they will be more receptive to integration.
What problem are we trying to solve?
Be very specific about why fundraising needs to be integrated in the first place. This is a long and challenging process, so let’s be clear about the problems we’ll solve with integration, how this will work within the broader organisational operating model and how to measure success. We can then decide whether our hard work will be worth it and whether it will be sustainable.
There are different degrees of fundraising integration, from greater awareness of where the money comes from amongst non-fundraising teams to dismantling the fundraising silo for complete structural assimilation. Each degree of integration has benefits, from better quality cases for support and a better donor experience, to more efficient planning and increased income. At its best, integrated fundraising can galvanise an entire organisation behind a ground-breaking campaign. Who wouldn’t want that?