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The politics of fundraising/ 12 days

April 5, 2011

So, some further details about The Art of fundraising as per my blog post on the justgiving website.

This is like the HSBC adverts definition/ world view dilemma…. So this fundraising melarkey: Is it support or is it harassment?

Here are the facts: to get a place in the London Marathon other than the limited ballot places, one has to enter for a charity place. There is a set fundraising target attached to these places and if the money isn’t rasied the runner is liable. The amounts are not small, I needed to raise £1750. Some runners just pay the amount to not stress about the politics of fundraising. Hence why some runners forums call it buying your way into the marathon. Kind of a fair point I guess, but it is the planets largest fundraising event for a reason and it’s not because it is a marathon. It’s because it is a spectacle on a Roman scale.

So onto the arguments: There is the pro fundraising argument that you are encouraging people to donate and engage with good causes. People don’t donate (enough) to charity and so this provides a platform for them to do so. On a lighter level, fundraising in general (especially the personal, emotionally charged stories that go with it) at the very least should remind people to be grateful for what they have in life and what they take forgranted. Namely health and spare time.

There is the con-argument that it is forced donation using emotional blackmail and sob stories. And isn’t that rather a subtle Gaddafi-esque gesture in a post-Mubarak era? (*ahem* check me out and my political relevance? 🙂 ) Under the guise of the greater good, we take from the haves and give it to others (won’t get too socialist on this topic though-lol). People you work with feel obligated to support- there is also the awkward- how much to donate debate…

So that in a nutshell is the background which I am operating in. There is the more localised concerns such as asking too much from too few, if people wanted to support they would’ve and general social insecurities like that. I’ve asked once maybe I shouldn’t ask again etc etc. This emotional angst is actually quite up there with the training.

So I came up with what I thought was a cunning plan. I am a marketer, so how can I flog that skill. In my sudden spurt of exercise I have become very dependent on an arnica bath soak from A. Vogel. So I phoned them up and asked them to sponsor me for the marathon for every fan I can introduce the product to. Now FB would be the best platform for it- especially with the new functionality with pages.

Best lesson: KISS.

It is a simple concept, and all simple concepts rely on simple execution…but unfortunately the problems were in the execution. Because it was a page set up by the brand (fair enough for policing purposes) it meant that I was unable to directly invite people to the page- : http://www.avogel.co.uk/outward-bound But the page does look good- I also had to use a specific URL, which even though people are avid facebookers still throws up some awesome curveballs and they like the post about the page as opposed to the page itself. Like button visual from facebook
I mean, two of my greatest advocates, aren’t themselves fans! Not sure of a subtle way of pointing it out either, without whiping out the crayons. 🙂
Then other friends who I’ve asked to give me a hand are totally blanking me (possibly because it is endorsing something they don’t know) this obviously wouldn’t have been an issue if it had just been a support page (I hope! lol), and if it was treated as a more traditional advert for the product as opposed to an extension of a social media campaign. But this is the blurry world of modern marketing.

And so to live is to learn, because I do think that this kind of fundraising is the fundraising of the future. It is enabling your social network to volunteer their attention to something/ a brand and for that something/ brand to genuinely engage with a market segment in an increasingly disillusioned and fragmented market place. Now I think a charity donation on behalf of someone is a good social responsibility moment but now it can be more than that. It can be a ‘brand memory’ moment too. Provided you find a brand brave enough to let the potential manifest by itself. Afterall, to return to our Mubarak moment, if you try and hold on to something too tightly, the google generation will just move on without you.

And so, that, IMHO is that. If you found it useful, please donate £2 to my justgiving page as whoever gets the most amounts of donations between now and Sunday could win £1000 donation. www.justgiving.com/andreabritt. ..or click on the FB link > click like> click share. 🙂 So easy! 🙂 If you think you can do better, you most certainly can

That is the best thing with life, it’s always about the learning.

And my blog for this final week will be about what I’ve really taken away from my training for this marathon.

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