Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Did NGO Fundraising Help Kill the Poppy Seller?

Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal (image via Wikipedia)

This story was startling and disturbing on different levels. Here we had a lady who had volunteered as a fundraiser for decades for a charity that was dear to her heart because it was a tie to her first husband, who died in WWII.

Besides volunteering for the Royal British Legion, Olive Cooke - a pensioner - also gave to several other charities, and this is what her grandson says caused her to jump to her death at the age of 92.

Evidently, she had a hard time saying no to the asks: she had 27 NGOs receiving funds on a monthly basis from her bank account and received greater than 260 request-for-donation letters every month, and several daily cold calls.

Was she overwhelmed at not being able to fulfill all the requests? Would she have gotten fewer requests if her name and address weren't added to so many lists, sometimes without her knowledge and permission?

All of the NGOs who responded to reporters after her death were surprised and saddened to learn of her circumstances. Many of them talked about their practices for keeping donor data safe. But there are obviously lessons to be drawn from what happened to Olive Cooke. One of them is in supporting policies and legislation to prevent predatory practices, particularly targeting the elderly. And not the least of the lessons is that we should be reviewing our own policies and procedures, working to make sure our own small NGO does not become so focused on fundraising that we forget to respect those from whom we fundraise.

Read the whole story here.

Good Ideas

Nonprofit Tech for Good makes an excellent case for why you should scoop up your domain name with an NGO and ONG, even if you have no immediate plans to use them. Though only registered nonprofits can use these designations, there's nothing to say a new nonprofit serving the same population as yours couldn't take the dot NGO with a name very similar to yours and then you'd have some confusion. As Nonprofit Tech for Good points out, reserving the NGO doesn't mean you have to use it right away. You can continue with dot Com or dot Org while you wait to see how things play out. Note that the ONG designation means nonprofit in other parts of the world, but if your small nonprofit is not planning to expand into the rest of the world, you might think you don't need to reserve it. However, did you ever think that someone with a similar name and the designation ONG might expand into your country? The internet goes everywhere, y'know.

HubSpot is offering ten PowerPoint templates for creating Infographics. You'll need to add your name and NGO information to get the downloads (you may possibly be contacted about their services).


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