It seems to me that life’s getting more expensive. Actually, it may not be more expensive per se, but there seem to more calls on my cash more often. It may be down to technology, it may be that organisations and groups are getting better at it, but the net result seems to be the same; more people asking for my money on a more regular basis.
I remember reading an article somewhere about the effect of charitable lethargy. The Charity Sector were worried that with so many calls on our cash for, no doubt, worthy causes, the general public would be at risk of not giving at all. A real case of not being able to see the wood for the trees.
I believe that, to a certain extent, they were right. I have requests by letter, phone and email asking for my support not just from mainstream charities but from schools and local organisations trying to re-roof the church or save the village hall.
There are some which you feel “honour-bound” to support. And some that, having supported them, you cannot help but feel that, perhaps, they could have done things slightly better.
Everyone feels that they have to provide value-for-money and I wholeheartedly support that principle. They want to provide you with something in exchange for your donation. There have been times, however, when I’ve sat in a musty, damp village hall, watching a vintage raffle drum being spun by a local dignitary when I’ve wished I had just written a cheque instead and had the afternoon to my own devices.
I am not suggesting that fundraising in any shape or form is a bad thing or that you need to put on an event the size of a Robbie Williams concert, but that sometimes the “value” offered needs to be more carefully considered.
We are all used to swapping money for fun. Whether that’s going out for a meal, going to the pub, a match or a concert. Most of the time we are happy to spend it because we enjoy (or hope to enjoy) the thing we are paying for. Perhaps village hall raffles have been done so often in the same way, that what excitement there once was has generally left to a sense of anti-climax.
The challenge is on. Fundraisers need to come up with entertaining and innovative ways of making us part with our paycheques. And that is exactly what one of our clients did.
From their brief, we created a Standee, or stand up display, which was going to be displayed outside during the day. The form of it was to be a cartoon tree which had to have pluckable leaves containing the Tombola Prize, if you were lucky.
After much deliberation, we created the entire structure from 10mm BeeBoard, a honeycomb paper structure, normally created from recycled material, that is both remarkable strong and resilient. And it needed to be. The tree was 1.6 metres high and 1.2 metres across. Obviously that was going to cause issues with any wind, so we devised an ingenious rudder lock stand that was engineered to accommodate two 5 litre water containers to hold the tree steady. With the addition of a cross piece which held everything together and the bottles in place, the tree would stand up to quite a buffeting.
The final product was digitally printed in full colour to give the tree some life and vibrancy and delivered it in time for the tombola.
So congratulations to them for bringing a new twist to an old favourite fundraiser, making it more engaging and, fingers crossed, a better money raiser.