Did Tragedy Confirm my Thoughts on Fundraising?

May 3, 2019

Well, I sure picked a crazy time to take a couple of weeks off from writing my post. So much has happened — the fire in Paris, the attack in Sri Lanka, the flooding in our area and the attack in Poway. There are so many thoughts running through my head that it is hard to figure if we, as a population, have lost our way or if there are truly heroes/angels among us.

I read a great article published by Rebecca Denny that speaks of some fundraising observations after the Notre Dame fire. My past assumptions were confirmed here:

  1. The money is out there — there wasn’t any more money in the world the day after the fire than there was the day before the fire. What did change, however, was an urgent and compelling case for support (that didn’t necessarily need three months to draft).
  2. What makes a good donor? I use the four C’s — Commitment, Capacity, Charitable by Nature and Contact. I’ve written about how Commitment is the main driver of all fundraising activities. This was confirmed. Whether it was a commitment to the church, the city, or commitment to making the world a better place, the commitment inspired people to pledge over $1 billion euros for the repairs.
  3. Fundraising is emotional, not rational. People saw the skyline burn and the visceral response was palpable. They were looking for some way to help and they personally couldn’t put out the fire. Some folks have commented that the church doesn’t really need the money, but that would be putting a pretty negative spin on a pretty impressive charitable act by others. Others have commented on the fact that money came to the cathedral pretty quickly, but natural disasters in the third world are slow to get support. I would take the high road and say that a rising tide lifts all ships. It will make philanthropy easier for all if there are successful fundraising efforts to point at.

I don’t think that we, as fundraisers should be jaded in our reaction to the financial support after the fire. These tragedies bring people closer together — in friendship and in fellowship.

Until next week.