Check your (charity) ego

I was discussing a recent charity event with a friend. We were talking about why the event didn’t sell out. Now people will come up will all sorts of “recession” reasons why it didnt sell out, but……

The event was being headlined by an act that would sell out an 8-10,000 seater venue, but this event, in a much smaller venue failed to sell out. Why?

Well I believe that the charities ego got in the way. They failed to recognise that this artist would sell out the event and instead they went about talking about themselves. We all use our fundraising to boost our profile and get our name out there, but you have to realise that sometimes your charity name/brand isnt the thing thats going to get you success.

I  often see people worrying about their name positioning, and not just in the charity world. You have to evaluate what you are doing and assess what is going to make it a success. Sometimes that involves taking a step back and allowing others take the limlight…..and checking your charity ego.

I think another example of this could be Parkinsons UK. I read an article on Third Sector the other day about their recent re-brand. You can read the full article here, and it really talks about social media and trying to control whats out there. But what struck me was how, it seemed, Parkinsons UK lost sight a bit. They focussed on something they thought was important but which actually meant very little to those who were passionate about their cause, people with Parkinsons (read their comments on the re-brand here). I agree with some of the points their CEO makes and some of the reasons for the re-brand are really valid. But part of me can’t help thinking that , despite them stating that they did involve all stakeholders, they got carried away with their charity ego and started to believe that the brand was more important than anything else.

I hope they get through this, and I am sure they will, I think their intentions were right. But to me these examples are reminders to me that we need to keep our charity ego in check and make sure we take that step back and evaluate the things that really matter and that will really (and I mean really) make our fundraising more successful.


6 thoughts on “Check your (charity) ego

  1. I have fought this battle many times: that you need to sell the event and not the charity and that event marketing has to be able to step outside of the charity brand to capture the target audience. It’s a battle I have yet to win.

    • Hi Suzanne, thanks for the comment, it is a tough battle isnt it…I agree with your comment “you need to seel the event and not the charity” Thanks

  2. I totally agree – I have worked in the charity sector for 20 years now, and yet I would NEVER go to an event simply because it’s for a charity. i would go to an event to see artists that *I* would want to see. the only difference is, that I might be willing to pay just a little bit more for the experience knowing that it’s for charity.

    • Thanks Normal, interesting to hear you would be willing to pay a little more to see an artisist if it was for charity..not sure I would (ha!). Thanks for reading and the comment.

      • It’s true. I went to see Florence & The Machine in November at Union Chapel for Mencap (and it was the 3rd time I saw her last year!) – and I wouldn’t have paid that money to see her normally – but acoustic sets in Union Chapel are fantastic. I also paid a huge amount for the Haiti benefit gig at Roundhouse last week – individually I never would have gone to see any of the artists, and certainly not paid that much but it felt more worthwhile for the wide range and the fact that it was for charity.

  3. And then there’s the battle to show the CEO/ED that the entertainment IS important…
    Going from being able to pick the entertainment at an event I was running, having people stay late to dance to the band (a first) to letting the ED pick the band, WAS A DISASTER.

    Both times this happened, people were running for the door before the first song ended. Perhaps leaderless organizations really ARE the answer… Hm…..Ever read The Spider and the Starfish?

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