Be careful with fundraising – protect your reputation…

The bushfire catastrophe in Australia has gripped the nation, and the world! It’s truly horrifying with the loss of life, buildings, businesses, forests and native animals.

It’s natural that there’s an outpouring of generosity and fundraising – many cafes are raising money by collecting tips, donating money from every drink sold or even a day of profits.

And… where there is money in large quantities, there are risks. Transparency and squeaky-clean care are essential when you handle donations – people are becoming aware of this issue.

Here are a few thoughts on how to protect and grow your reputation…

  • If you’re running something like ‘$1 from every coffee is donated to the fire brigade‘, keep a list on show of how much was raised each day, plus where and when you sent it.
  • Post your results on Facebook or social media, maybe featuring some customers who have donated – be proud of this!
  • Set an end date for your campaign, so it doesn’t just fade away. If the issue is still important, start a fresh round, maybe raising money for a different organisation.
  • Smaller community groups are also in great need and may not have the ability to fundraise like large ones – they will be extra-appreciative if you seek them out.
  • Attach real people to the campaign – if you are donating to a community group, ask them to keep sending photos and information. Photos of kids and animals get a strong response.
  • Make friends for the long-haul – there are likely to be fires every summer, and the need of these groups will not go away.
  • Print off large quotes from customers (eg Facebook comments) and recipients about your donations and generosity. Put them on the wall and social media.
  • Make the burden on staff realistic – they may be donating tips or a day of labour, but they’re usually on low wages and can’t afford to be as generous as the boss.
  • Try and avoid politics – opinions are running hot about ‘greenies’ or ‘climate neanderthals’. Those disputes are for elsewhere – remove snarky comments if they appear on social media. You’re offering a place of peace and hospitality…
  • Yes, this is another list-building event – if people share their contact details, send them follow-up information about what your business does all through the year.