The future of hospice fundraising calls for collaborative leaders

The future of hospice fundraising calls for collaborative leaders

Guest Bloggers | 20 January 2016

I am still amazed at how many fundraisers visibly recoil at the word collaboration; I have witnessed it many times. There is no doubt that many are hanging onto “what’s mine is mine” attitudes and approaches to income generation, blinkered to the opportunities that working collaboratively could bring.

It is clear that many hold a belief that collaboration means to “give away” the income that they feel could easily be generated for their own hospice.  Furthermore, (dare I say it) this comes with a certain air of arrogance, that they would also generate this income in a much better way than their fellow fundraisers too and (the old chestnut) that they would be doing all of the hard work!  And finally, there is no doubt it often comes with the attitude –why should I do anything for them if they don’t do anything for me?

There is no doubt that there is a culture change and mind shift emerging as more and more forward thinking fundraisers are examining and working on collaborative agendas. The question is, are you one of them? If not, perhaps now is the time to lead in a different way, bringing to the fore the other side of collaborative agendas. Hospices need to break out of silo working and fundraisers need to step outside of their comfort zones and boundaries, to see and understand the strength that hospices can have in numbers.

Other charities are forming alliances for income generation and it is clear they see the benefit of having a slice of the pie rather than none of it. My conversations with these leaders make it clear that whilst the process of collaboration is not easy – it is essential to our future. Furthermore, national charities look at hospices with envy as they recognise that many of the issues they have faced with partnership working will be more easily managed when charities share the same culture. They openly state that the hospice movement would be a force to reckon with if they could get their act together!

There is also evidence that the major corporates are beginning to influence the need for hospices and charities to have collaborative agendas. They are looking to maximise their return from their investment in Corporate Social Responsibilities by looking for outcomes that impact on their wider communities. They also need to have confidence that their Charity of the Year partners are aligned and easy to work with.  It seems reasonable to conclude a plethora of parochial hospices would not top their list of preferred partners! The national charities would appear to be ahead of the game in this respect, creating a culture of collaborative thinking for income generation.

Now is the time for those, like me, that head up hospice income generation, to do some self-examination, exploring our own beliefs and values and striving to develop self-awareness of collaborative agendas.  There is no time like the present for leaders to give serious consideration to how we will work together to survive in the emerging financial climate.

An in-depth understanding of the process of collaboration is required to equip income generation leaders with the knowledge required to inform their approach. The conditions or factors that determine the chances that the collaboration will perform well or badly are: leadership, trust, process and culture. It should also be noted that however collaboration is defined or carried out, it is not easy!

Hospice UK, CEOs and Trustees have a clear role to play. Taking time to consider the vision and strategy for collaborative income generation is crucial. It could be considered an investment (literally) in the future of hospice fundraising.

There is no doubt that, as Benjamin Franklin once said “If we don’t hang together, we shall surely all hang separately.”

Tricia Cavell, Fundraising Director, St Richard’s Hospice

Join us and other hospice fundraisers at the IoF Fundraising for Hospices conference in January, taking place in both London and Crewe

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