TEA BREAK WITHSASKIA VAN DER KOOY
What kicks you off on Monday morning?
That really depends on the week. For example, this week, we were deciding whether to go for a call for proposals with a deadline on coming Sunday. We were discussing it already for some time and we needed to make the decision quickly. This Monday morning, we decided to go for it and from that moment on, I knew my entire week would be blocked completely for this. This was a real kick-off and I like this result-oriented, concrete work towards a goal and a deadline.
What inspires you in fundraising?
There are many angles in fundraising. I very much like being the bridge between the Program and the donor. I really enjoy being involved in both program development and the fundraising part. What gets me going is to tell our story from the field to everyone outside. To translate the work that is being done in the field, both our highlights and our lowlights, to the people outside, who may not have visited the project.
Do you foresee any fundraising trends?
The most important trend I see is impact measurement. I think fundraising is becoming more holistic and realistic — we have to show the real results, the quality of our work, our long-term impact, not just our outputs or ‘number of children reached’. In War Child, we have a Research & Development department that is very thoroughly developing, piloting and evaluating our interventions.
The most important trend I see is impact measurement.
The other trend I see is the involvement of the corporate sector. I don’t see the corporate sector as ‘the opposite’ of the nonprofit sector, but see there is room for synergy. To work together and strengthen each other to work in a sustainable and responsible way.
I don’t see the corporate sector as “the opposite” of the non-profit sector, but see there is room for synergy.
Is there an organization that inspires you in relation to these trends?
There are a few organizations that capture the current trends of corporate sector involvement or impact measurement very well. There is the IKEA Foundation, one of our most important partners. They are in fact much more than a donor; as a foundation, they are really focused on achieving sustainable impact with their partnerships.
What is the most important quality of a good fundraiser?
There are many qualities good fundraiser should have, but the first that comes to mind is certainly the ability to get to know the donor. It is so important to listen, to understand their goals, and to achieve these goals together.
What is a good lesson learned that you would like to share with readers?
Something that I have learned over the years is to always be open and transparent, even if things are not going so well.
I think a good fundraiser has to have good knowledge of what’s really happening on the ground — not only the pretty story but also things that are not going well. Transparency is key for sustainable partnerships.
Maybe it’s because I am an optimist that, when I started, I always wanted to tell the good news. But I have learned that donors appreciate it when we also tell them what is not going so well. They understand that and often offer their help. I think a good fundraiser has to have good knowledge of what’s really happening on the ground — not only the pretty story but also things that are not going well. Transparency is key for sustainable partnerships.
Saskia van der Kooy
Former Senior Foundation Partnerships Manager at War Child
About the series
Have you ever wondered whether you had more in common with your peers than just your passion for making a difference? Through informal interviews, we explore the ultimate drives of fundraising professionals, donors and association’s leaders, as well as their secrets for successful Mondays and their insights about the NGO and fundraising sector. Grab a cup and read on!
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