Are Harold Sumption's aphorisms still relevant in modern-day fundraising? | Dreamscape Solutions

Are Harold Sumption's aphorisms still relevant in modern-day fundraising?

It's natural to question the enduring relevance of age-old wisdom.


In the fast-paced world of modern fundraising, where trends and technologies evolve at breakneck speed, it's natural to question the enduring relevance of age-old wisdom.

Harold Sumption, an English advertising executive and fundraiser known for being "the biggest influence on a generation of British fundraisers", left behind a legacy of insightful aphorisms. As we examine Sumption's timeless aphorisms through the lens of contemporary fundraising, we discover a remarkable resilience that transcends decades and resonates with profound truth.

"Those who give, give. Those that don't, don't."

At its core, fundraising is about connecting with individuals who are passionate about your cause. Sumption's insight remains relevant in an era of digital connectivity and ever-expanding fundraising platforms. While the channels through which donors engage may have evolved, the fundamental principle of donor motivation persists. Understanding that not everyone will become a donor allows charities to focus on cultivating meaningful relationships with those willing and able to contribute.

"People give to people, not to organisations, mission statements or strategies."

Sumption's aphorism gains new significance in the era of social media influence and personal branding. Sumption underscores the importance of personal connection, highlighting that donors are motivated by stories, emotions, and relationships. By humanising your cause and showcasing the impact of individual contributions, NFPs create a compelling narrative that resonates with donors on a deeper level, making them feel their role in the fundraising process is significant and impactful.

"Keep the message simple: the need and what the reader can do."

Today's age is one of information overload, and simplicity is a potent tool. Sumption's advice reminds fundraisers to distil messages down to their essence, focusing on the urgency of the need and the actionable steps donors can take to make a difference. By eliminating clutter and confusion, you empower donors to engage with your cause more effectively, making them feel capable of making a significant impact.

"Open their hearts, open their minds, then open their wallets."

Effective fundraising is not just about soliciting donations; it's about inspiring action and fostering genuine engagement. Sumption's aphorism captures the sequential donor cultivation process, emphasising the importance of building trust, empathy, and understanding before asking. You lay the groundwork for sustained support and generosity by prioritising genuine connection and donor-centric engagement.

"Fundraising is not about money. It's about important work that needs doing. If you start by asking for money, you won't get it and you won't deserve it."

With donor scepticism and accountability, Sumption's perspective is a powerful reminder of the intrinsic value of fundraisers' work. When the focus shifts from financial transactions to mission-driven impact, you authentically engage donors in the power of your cause. By embodying the ethos of service and stewardship, you earn financial support and the trust and respect of your donors.

In conclusion, Harold Sumption's aphorisms stand as timeless pillars of wisdom in the ever-changing landscape of modern fundraising. As you navigate the complexities of contemporary fundraising, remember Sumption's enduring insights and advance your mission with clarity, empathy, and purpose. We encourage you to reflect on these aphorisms and consider how to apply them in your fundraising efforts. By doing so, you may find new ways to connect with donors, inspire action, and drive significant impact.

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