Survey findings from the FINZ Conference 2019, on the greatest challenges faced by the social purpose sector in New Zealand.

Giving Architects, in partnership with FINZ, created a platform and survey for FINZ members to identify and comment on their greatest fundraising challenges, as well as their views on whether training would help in these situations. Respondents were also able to describe the greatest challenges faced by their organisations.

We were pleased with the volume and variety of responses, a real cross section of delegates at this year’s FINZ Conference. It has provided three striking insights we would like to share:

  1. Donor retention, particularly when it comes to Regular Giving (the largest fundraising challenge), is a major issue for a variety of charities. This has been highlighted in recent data released and reports written that indicates there is a decreasing number of donors.
  2. Most of the organisational challenges related to meaningful donor relationships and the challenge to provide the type of giving experience that donors expect, including understanding the impact of their giving. This is especially important when addressing the second largest fundraising challenge, major donor fundraising, where these issues become particularly acute.
  3. The good news is that fundraisers are clearly of the view that good quality training can help them in their day-to-day fundraising roles and the challenges that come with it. As one respondent commented, “Seriously? How can anyone say no?”.

Many of the comments related to the need for great preparation and planning, sometimes needing to involve others, as opposed to the act of fundraising delivery itself.

This shows there is a real need to approach fundraising issues with a sound and well-reasoned fundraising strategy, based on a strong awareness of international best practice. That explains why insights from so many of the experts invited by FINZ to this year’s conference, regardless of where they came from, were so warmly received. The fundraising takeaways were there in abundance.

One comment which to us epitomised the significant challenges many raised about their organisations was “We advocate for change which can take decades to achieve – it’s hard to show donors the difference their gift makes when the size of the issues we are working on are so huge.” We have heard this before. A clear understanding of your mission, the difference you want to make and knowing that you are achieving your mission (aka Theory of Change) is the starting point. Having the ability to then demonstrate the incremental impact on the journey of change is critical. As with some of the other organisational challenges mentioned, while the challenges themselves become very apparent in fundraising, they require the whole organisation to be part of the solution that then leads to greater generous support of the mission.