Friday, 19 March 2004

Mentioning the unmentionable: the cost of raising funds

One thing rarely mentioned in newsletters, bulletins and other communications is the cost of fund raising and administration. It's somehow taboo. But a good organisation requires good administration, and raising funds does cost money.

I was horrified to learn that many charities spend £50 or more to recruit a new donor -- which is probably one of the reasons that there is presure to outlaw 'chugging'. Chuggers are those people (usually personable young students), who stop you on the street and "ask you a few questions" which relate to charity donations. This way they get names and addresses of potential donors, and they are paid by the number of new donors that sign up.

The World Land Trust, like any good charity keeps its admin costs to a minimum, but we need to grow over the next year or so if we are to remain cost effective. Since we started back in 1989, there is so much more legislation and regulation. This means that very small organisations cannot really be cost effective, if they spend all their time filling in forms, and keeping up with the latest regulations. Over the years, the World Land Trust has built up an exceptionally effective infrastructure, and we have in place all the mechanisms for managing our finances -- a complex issue when working overseas. But the reality is that we could actually work with several more projects if we had the funds.

And that is where you, the readers of this Bulletin come in. We need to expand our network. Our existing supporters are mostly very loyal, and are very generous. They seem to like what we are doing, and are pleased to be part of it. Can you spread the word? We don't want to waste valuable resources on expensive advertising campaigns, and consequently the most cost effective way of spreading message is by word of mouth. And in the 21st century, this means by email. If everyone on this mailing list sent five copies of the current bulleting to friends and colleagues, and suggested that they might like to become a partner, and everyone took up that suggestion, it would raise well over another $200,00. And that would certainly buy several square miles of wonderful habitat in Ecuador or another Ranch in Patagonia. So please, if you like what we are doing, spread the message.

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