Is face to face fundraising a joke?

I like a laugh and, like Stewart Lee, believe that “Great comedy can act as both a social barometer, and a social pressure valve.” So when I hear one of Britain’s top comics talking about fundraising, I’m interested. Along with Shaun Lock, who made some interesting points (and funny jokes, obviously) about digital slacktivism, Kevin Bridge’s set on Channel 4’s Comedy Gala for Great Ormond Street Hospital touched on face to face fundraising. Although he did not the use of the phrase “chugging” (“charity mugging”) he did highlight the negative conations that word represents.

For Kevin Bridges, face to face fundraising is linked to guilt and pressure. When you see a man with a clipboard in the street, it’s time “to plan your excuses” but sometimes,

“You don’t think fast enough and the charity guy is right in your face and he’s caught you off guard,

‘Excuse me sir would you like to help sick children?’

‘No, sorry. I’m just..ermm…no. Nope. Fuck ‘em mate fuck ‘em.”

And there we have it, it is absurd to not want help sick kids, but when someone stops you in the street to get your bank details to help that cause, you feel trapped, caught out, cajoled and are preparing excuses. Is that what fundraising is about?

No, this is not what good fundraising is about. But, worryingly, people seem to think it is.

“But there is no control over what is said”

Some thoughts on the challenges social media poses to care professionals providing info, support and advice and some ideas on how I (and perhaps you!) can help them…

Part of what I do involves training people on how to use digital tools to get things done. Things like fundraising, PR and, now, service delivery. Soon I will be parachuted in to a small (ish, around 13 staff) national charity to spend half a day with their fundraising team and half a day with their services team. The fundraisers are already using social networks to support their work, but the services team are not out of the starting blocks…yet.

Now I know a bit about service delivery, mainly through by work as a trustee at Bexley Moorings Project, but I am by no means an expert. So I’m not going in there with any preconceptions of how they should use social networking to help support their client group. What I am going in there with, I hope, is an understanding of the skills they will need and the questions they need to answer to work out what their strategy should be and what procedures they might need to make that happen.

I have one concern though, how far can I take them toward their end game of informing families about how they can help and providing them with the most relevant support?

They have already begun thinking about this (my title comes from their notes) and have identified areas they want to look at and, of course, they know well how to support their client group. So what happens if they quickly grasp all the tech? At that point they may know everything I know which is relevant, but I will be lacking the understanding of nuances of their work. What happens then? I think need help.

Can you help?

Any advice in the form of a comment below would be grand but what I would really love is for someone with relevant knowledge and experience – I’m thinking perhaps someone involved with service delivery for people with disabilities, someone from a social work background or maybe someone who works in an advocacy service – to drop in on the training via Skype (or Google+ if you’re down with kids) for a good old chin wag. Are you in?