My 5 top reflections from my time in Australia

By Stephen George, Fundraising Leadership Coach & Consultant
Pareto Fundraising Guest at the 2019 Benchmarking presentations

Australia and New Zealand, you total beauties! You must be tired of receiving compliments. Don’t be – it’s deserved and true.

Having been a guest at the recent Pareto Fundraising Benchmarking presentations and having also undertaken a speaking tour to fundraisers in Australia and New Zealand, my time here was educational, inspiring and affirming.

Over a Sydney sunset and on my final night, I reflected on the big issues for fundraisers in both big and small organisations, and how that relates to what’s happening in the UK.

Our sectors need to thrive if we are to raise money and change the world. So for me,  there were 5 things that I saw and heard that chime here, as well as in the UK. We all need to address them if we are to grow and succeed.

Here’s my top 5!

1.  Short-term will drive you off a cliff

There is a strong short-term force that’s prevalent and that carries huge risk. Without a stable short, medium and long-term strategy, strong leadership and action ,we increase risk. We need long-term partnerships and leadership that has vision, plans and acts ahead.

2.  Measuring things that don’t drive value and impact

The tail seems to be wagging the dog. People outside of fundraising are driving measures that they think they need. But they are the wrong ones, and in the end, they drive the wrong behaviour and strategy. Fundraising needs to assert and measure what matters, not what other people think matters

3.  The need to match data with creativity

The Pareto Fundraising Benchmarking analysis is a powerful tool. Its longevity and impact will only continue to grow as it builds powerful insights. But when that analysis is matched with creativity and a willingness for fundraisers and charities to explore, try, test and even fail, anything is possible.

4.  Leadership is the difference

The difference between good and bad fundraising is good or bad leadership. Same here, same there, same everywhere.  People are hungry for leadership.

5.  The need to see and integrate a whole journey

The temptation for short-term also drives silos, and limited interactions and opportunities. By creating a wider integrated journey for the supporter, we can maximise their experience and raise more money.

Fundraisers want to do their job well. Partner agencies want to serve and excel. Charities want to grow and do more. Boards want to minimise risk and maximise opportunity.

The big lesson is none of this is achieved alone. But together, if we think about the long-term, understand, build and act on insight and take a few risks we can truly change the world. 

Stephen George is a UK based Fundraising & Leadership Coach and Consultant, speaker, writer, podcaster and trainer, specialising in helping charity leaders become creative leaders who change behaviour and raise more money. 

As a guest of Pareto Fundraising, Stephen attended the Benchmarking presentations in Sydney and Melbourne in March. He also presented a master class to our member charities on how leadership driven legacy fundraising can inspire and engage all people to leave more gifts in their wills to charities and non-profits.


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