TEA BREAK WITHMINKE VAN REES
What kicks you off on Monday morning?
First of all, the coffee and my colleagues. The working environment is very important to me. In general, I am inspired by working in a sector that has an impact and with people who want to have a positive contribution in the world.
What inspires you in fundraising?
Collaboration between the funder and the receiving organization. I believe it is important to work closely together and both parties should contribute to that.
When it comes to various fundraising activities, I have to admit I am not a big fan of fundraising events as I am not the decision maker. I don’t feel comfortable to be approached if I am not in the position to commit to anyone because the decision does not lie with me.
What do you find important when starting a relationship with a new potential donor?
I think the most important is the language they speak. It’s important that the language you use and the overall communication approach fits the donor well. There has to be synergy, it has to feel like a good match. I also believe it’s crucial to have personal contact with the potential donor. This applies to the whole cycle — from proposal development to project reporting. It helps to keep the donor involved during and after the implementation of the supported project. When I look around, I see some improvement in this, but there still is a lot of room for growth, especially in the phase after the donation is secured.
It’s important that the language you use and the overall communication approach fits the donor well. There has to be synergy, it has to feel like a good match.
What trends do you foresee for the future of fundraising?
Impact measurement is trending at the moment and I think the trend will continue. However, I don’t think it’s that simple — the real broader impact is often hard to measure and maybe not always necessary to a deep level. I think it would be very interesting to invest more in long-term impact measurement. What is the actual impact of a project on the entire community 5 to 10 years after the project implementation? That is something I would like to see more as it is important for continuous improvement of implementation.
I also think that the role of wealthy families and individuals will continue to grow. A personal and tailor-made approach is important here.
What do you consider the most important quality of a good fundraiser?
Being able to translate the practice to paper, knowing enough about the project in the field to involve the donor and knowing when to consult the expert from the field.
But the most important quality is to understand what the donor wants. Really understanding what makes them excited and what they want to see in a project.
The most important quality is to understand what the donor wants. Really understanding what makes them excited and what they want to see in a project. I also consider it very professional if a fundraiser accepts and acknowledges that there is no match between their organization and us, instead of pushing the project anyway.
I also consider it very professional if a fundraiser accepts and acknowledges that there is no match between their organization and us, instead of pushing the project anyway. I think it’s important to acknowledge that and perhaps think of a different project that fits our focus better. Accepting when the fit is not there is quite powerful and gives trust.
My last advice would be to be in touch with a donor and to not be afraid to ask for a favor. When we like a project, we are happy to be a reference and help to connect to other donors or stakeholders. It doesn’t necessarily have to be for more funding, but at least for networking, learning and sharing ideas.
Minke van Rees
Director Education & Nature conservation at Turing Foundation
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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