Translating the language of consumers into global fundraising efforts

Sotta Long
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Switzerland

Nick Chiarelli
United Kingdom

INTRODUCTION

Marketers speak of consumers. Their concern is with profits. They design and make products that they hope will fulfil consumers’ needs better, cheaper or more stylishly. They are sometimes accused of encouraging over-consumption through the use of ‘carefully constructed pieces of manipulation’ called advertising. They compare and contrast their own efforts with those of others (competitors) making similar — or, some would say, identical — products.

One may think that fundraisers are the antithesis of this — that their efforts are aimed not at profit-making, but in generating funds that will be put to good use by improving the lives of those less fortunate in countries ravaged by chronic poverty, natural disasters and ineffective governmental. And instead of consumers, non-profits have supporters and donors. Instead of profits, they raise money that is ploughed straight into on-the-ground initiatives for good. Instead of competitors, they have non-competitive and sometimes even collaborative relationship with other NGOs.