I’ve been a fundraiser for over 13 years and have had to answer many times why fundraising matters. Why do I need to ask people to donate? They will just give, won’t they?
It’s not quite as simple as that and I want to share with you why fundraising is crucial to OneKind. The simple answer is that, in order to have the best resources to carry out investigations, to put together and launch petitions, to meet and engage with new members of the public, to ask them to support our work and sign our petitions, we need to raise money. To do that, it’s important that every penny we spend is spent in the best way. That means employing the very best people, with the right skills to deliver the maximum change for animals. We are a small team of six, so we also rely on our supporters and volunteers to help raise awareness.
It’s not just about us
I know that giving to causes we care about makes us feel good. People give their time and/or money to charity because they want to make a difference. It can be a very special thing and rewarding to hear from the charities they support; providing reassurance that donations are making a difference. Imagine how you would feel if you gave to charity and never heard anything from them. How would you know your gift was making a difference? How would you know about other ways you might like to get involved? Would you feel they even cared?
The relationship between supporter and charity is so important. Nowadays, we can go our whole day without speaking to anyone, receiving a personal letter or call. With so many things automated, done online, or through an app, human interaction is decreasing. We all need (and want) to feel special. Engaging with other people makes us feel good, decreases anxiety and loneliness, and allows us to offer our friendship and support to someone else.
That’s why we care about how you want to hear from us. We want you to know you are making a difference. We want you to see the impact of your gifts and (as we have the common connection of compassion for animals) how you can continue protecting animals.
To demonstrate this, I would like to tell you about Ann. Ann is in her 80’s, recently had a hip operation and her companion is her cat, Megan. Ann cares so much about animals and it’s through our letter writing that we have learned so much about each other. Sometimes I come into the office having received a new letter and photo of Megan and through our communication, I learned that Ann had written a report on sheep welfare, which she very kindly shared with us. It was really timely as we were in the midst of writing our farmed animal welfare report. Ann felt so glad that she could provide us with something useful but also appreciated that we took the time to read it. She even took the bus to the nearest town to have a copy printed especially for us. Ann feels close to OneKind and wants to support us however she can. She is always grateful to receive an email or a letter and because I know her so well, it’s always personal. This only came about when Ann called in to update her address with us.
Ann inspires me everyday to do my very best for Scotland’s animals. Her kind words uplift the team when we have spent the day researching or reading about cruelty or looking at really upsetting photographs. We are all human and can get affected by this sometimes but these gestures mean a lot. Ann understands that it’s hard for charities; that we need to ask for money or support through our petitions sometimes and whether she can or can’t give at the time, she is interested to hear what we are doing and what she can do to help. I know that we both gain so much from each other.
Beyond the bucket collection
There are over 23,000 registered charities in Scotland, all worthy causes. With the public being so generous, we have to find ways that engage with supporters in the way that works best for them and for OneKind. We need to raise over £300,000 each year to continue our investigation and campaign work. We need to have diverse methods for fundraising, to make sure everyone supports in the way they want to but also to maximise our exposure and investment.
Everyone has a different way of supporting causes they care about. It’s important to us to know that so we can make sure your experience with us is what you would like and means we are even more careful about every penny we spend. Some like to do sponsored events like run a marathon. Others like to host a Facebook fundraiser, by asking for a donation instead of birthday gifts. Some give monthly or send a cheque at special times of year. We are also lucky to have so many small businesses holding a collection can for us and so many supporters who buy merchandise from our online shop and also support from independent business owners who donate a percentage of their sales to us. Around half of our income also comes from those who choose to leave a gift in their will to OneKind. All of these need to be handled differently and it’s the variety that helps raise awareness and money while also allowing supporters to achieve a personal goal or do something that they can fit into their busy lives.
Campaign planning and delivery
We rely on the generous public and our loyal supporters to continue protecting Scotland’s animals. Campaigns require research and meticulous planning. We must act when the time is right to gain maximum exposure and results, ultimately delivering changes for animals. We simply could not continue our work without you. Some campaigns take years. With others, we need to keep plugging away; campaigning for one small step at a time. Our campaign to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in Scotland took ten years. They require detailed planning, undercover investigations to gather evidence, determination, and agility. We need to document and produce our evidence by way of reports, helping to gain exposure while also educating the wider public. Likewise with the fox hunting campaign; we have been working on this for around 20 years and still don’t have a full ban. Many people don’t know that fox hunting still exists in Scotland. The first step is re-educating the public so they know, then work together to demand change.
Speculate to accumulate
It’s simply impossible to raise money without spending any. We are very careful about how we spend the donations you give us. It’s so important to us that you trust us to make the best decisions and invest where the greatest impact will be achieved; ultimately we all want the same thing, to end cruelty to animals in Scotland. We need to produce materials to raise awareness and educate the public. We have to get out in the field, gathering evidence and researching so we can put together strong campaigns. It’s so important to have a dedicated team who bring crucial knowledge and skills, allowing us to deliver the very best for Scotland’s animals. Sometimes we may spend money on an event which allows us to speak with members of the public, gain petition signatures, share with them other ways of support and that can all add up to far more than the initial spend.
This is why I am proud to be a fundraiser. Because your £5 monthly gift or your donation from the Kiltwalk may well have allowed us to have conversations with key decision makers or allowed us to travel and capture evidence of cruelty (which can take several attempts). Your gift may have paid for Bob to travel and capture the one piece of evidence we need. Your gifts produce reports to document and highlight animal welfare concerns but also provide solutions and help us find more people who care so much for animals that they choose to leave a gift in their will, so that we can continue speaking up for and fighting for Scotland’s animals. Every animal deserves a life worth living and every gift helps us continue to fight for that. It’s not about what your gift buys. It’s about the impact it can have and that is priceless.
We are really transparent about our work, our costs and our campaigns. You can find our annual report from 2018 here.
If you aren’t already a member and would like to join us, you can do that here.