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Christian Nimsky's Weblog

Fundraising Evolution - Where Is It?

Christian Nimsky

As our kids enter their “mainstream” school years I am shocked at how much things have changed from when I was a kid.  We have homework for kindergarten students whose average age is closer to 6 than 5, (way too much) technology in the classrooms, overachieving parents and extracurricular activities organized to an almost paramilitary level of rigor.  Its no wonder the kids are so stressed these days - as a parent I’m stressed from the logistics alone and could see this stuff occupying a stay-at-home parent full-time before they had a chance to whip up a dinner each night for Ward (or June) when they come home from work.

One thing that hasn’t changed though are the fundraising approaches.  In spite of the internet, services like PayPal and the increase in two-income households (at least where I live) I still see countless fundraisers that emphasize “sweat equity” like selling candy, gift-wrap, tickets to some Lion’s Club or Rotary breakfast, etc.

I know that these tactics are in part used to avoid penalizing those with less disposable cash but it’s the most inefficient method possible to raise money.  I typically bring a checkbook to these and ask the person “how much do you want?” to just cut to the chase.  For fun I might ask how big a check I need to write not to be bothered again for one year.  Suprisingly, about 30% of the time the person asking for my help in these fundraisers doesn’t even know what their goal is.

Everything else about childhood seems overengineered yet we are like lemmings when it comes to fundraising.  Why is there little-t0-no original thinking going on here?