Monday, May 3, 2010

Fundraising debate is a fundraiser itself

I am enjoying myself in 'Sunny Nelson' at the FINZ  fundraising conference in New Zealand.  Last night we had welcome drinks and I hosted a 'Pareto hot potato debate' on the subject of online social media.  The motion was “Investment of time or money in [online] social media is a distraction for fundraisers”. 

A bit of fun was had, along with a 'worm' giving instant feedback as people voted (and changed their votes) on the fly.  But we tried a unique voting system based entirely on 'bribes'.  The two sides had Dianne Armstrong (Arthritis NZ) and Errol Pike (Bible Soc) arguing against the motion and Steve Bramley (SGL Group) and Brendon Veale (Wellington Zoo) arguing for it.

To 'vote' people had to put money into buckets, and the bucket with the most money would win - and would get a bonus of extra cash.  The prize money would go to a nominated charity (Wellington Zoo or Arthritis).

The arguments were interesting, and fun - pretty mean about each other too (Kiwis have a very thick skin, it would appear) but boiled down to:

For motion:

•             Online giving  is still tiny compared to offline (3% v 97% according to Brendon, with no quote for his source but it is comparable to what Pareto Benchmarking finds).
•             Online social media-ites are the wrong audience
•             Online social media is not really building real relationships

 Against motion

•             It is huge and 'I want a slice'
•             It is the fastest growing method of fundraising
•             We have brought a dog who will get you with his tail if you don't vote for us (they really did bring a cute guide dog training puppy)

So, not a lot of substance in the arguments - but more important was the fact that it was fun - and a very interesting fundraiser.  You see, the votes were really, really close - there was just $9 difference which allowed me to get another $50 in donations by asking for extra, but not telling people which charity was leading.  In the end we raised about $580 - not bad from 80 fundraisers just throwing in a bit of cash.  And there is something liberating and motivating about good old fashioned fundraising, face to face!

(Oh dear, I am beginning to  sound like an events fundraiser again).


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