Stop asking for money! — Philanthropists are people too

Ever wondered why seminars and conferences in the philanthropic sector are always full of people looking for money?

Where have all the donors gone? The answer to this question is that they are quite rightly very reluctant to visit the very conferences designed to help them make better decisions as to where to donate their hard earned resources. They’re reluctant because should they brave such events, their desire for learning is completely over-run by eager people pitching their latest campaign, good cause or social enterprise investment opportunity.

Its now got to the stage where one Impact Investing event that I attended was full of people seeking to raise funding.

This system is obviously broken. Philanthropists’ needs are being ignored. Fundraisers are acting like piranhas after their prey. It’s literally a bloodbath with the poor philanthropist mobbed for their money.

Fundraisers profile, research and analyse their prey. There are companies specialising in “wealth profiling” willing to sell you any kind of financial dataset you can imagine.

We’ve completely lost it. We’ve completely lost the intimate connection that defines us as human. Fundraisers are being viewed by philanthropists in the same vein as used car salesmen.

So what is the solution? Good causes need money to do their vital work and Philanthropists have money.

Fundraisers need to rethink their relationships with funders. They need to see their funders not as some form of ATM, but as people first. People with their own challenges, desires and missions. Take the time to build a relationship with them. To be their friends first move away from the transactional focus on getting their grubby hands on the cash.

Want to raise funding for your enterprise? Great, first build friendships with lots of people. Get to know them. Don’t chase their bank accounts. Stop asking for money and start giving of yourselves. Be kind and forget about your pitch (hint: no one cares about it anyway).

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