QEII National Trust’s mission is to inspire private landowners to protect and enhance open spaces of ecological and cultural significance through perpetual legal covenants on their land.
With nearly 5,000 covenants around the country and 1% of all private land in New Zealand currently under QEII covenant, it’s a big job to maintain these existing covenants, and challenging to keep up with the demand to protect more.
For over 40 years, the Trust grew and grew its programme of protection without consistently seeking philanthropic donations, and therefore relying mainly on Government funding and unsolicited gifts.
In 2020, with big plans to grow the programme to ensure New Zealand’s precious biodiversity and natural history is preserved before it’s gone forever, that’s where Barrer & Co came in.
Starting with an operational strategy, we set out the short-term and long-term fundraising streams we believed QEII would find success in, based on the most appropriate streams for the organisation to achieve sustainable income.
KNOWING WHEN TO SEEK OUT THE EXPERTS
CEO Dan Coup recalls how QEII then came to realise they needed support to get their fundraising operations off the ground.
“We just didn’t have a clue. We knew fundraising was a thing, but what we needed was someone to take us by the hand and help us along.”
“Strategically we identified a need to diversify funding streams from where we were at. We suspected there were generous people out there who would be interested in supporting us, and we knew philanthropic fundraising was something we should be doing.”
QEII then sought assistance with the implementation of the fundraising strategy, to take place over an eight-month period. We focussed on the bequest and major gift streams, as well as operational fundraising set up to embed fundraising in the organisation. This involved the following key activity:
- Writing policies, processes and procedures, and setting targets
- Identifying and training fundraising taskforce volunteers
- Setting up a fundraising database
- Designing a bequest programme
- Developing donor-centric messages and case for support document
- And finally, recruitment of an in-house fundraiser to manage the fundraising workflow ongoing
EDUCATING THE TEAM FROM THE TOP DOWN
One of the challenges our clients are often facing is a lack of experience and apprehension about committing to fundraising as an ongoing and essential part of running a charity.
For Dan and his team, we knew that sharing our knowledge would be vital to QEII’s ongoing success, flowing from the governance team to management, staff and representatives on the ground with the relationships with potential donors. Dan agrees this process was a highlight:
“The thing for me really was education. I literally knew zero. I didn’t know the types of tasks relating to fundraising existed. ‘Donor-centric’ messages for example was not terminology I had come across before. The main value for me was going from being unconfident and knowing nothing, to be taken on a journey by someone who knew exactly what they were on about.”
“We’re off on the right foot. Barrer & Co brought our governors on board with direction for the organisation and I didn’t have to be translating as Sarah and Kathryn were able to front up and explain things.
“It wasn’t only education, but also being able to give the Board rigour and confidence in what we were aiming for and why.”
BEST PRACTICE IN ACTION
With the strategy in place and key fundraising streams activated, as well as the right tools and resources, we know QEII has a world of opportunity in front of them.
One of the final stages of the work was to assist with the recruitment of a fundraiser who could see those opportunities and maximise them to ensure QEII has the financial sustainability to continue its great work in caring for our environment.
Dan says they’re feeling positive and have already seen the returns on QEII’s investment.
Shortly before the close of the contract, a donor mentioned to a staff member their interest in making a gift to QEII. The staff member felt confident that there was a fundraiser within the organisation to pass this information to and that the proper process would be followed to secure the donation and ensure the donor’s wishes would be handled with care and professionalism.
“It’s just fantastic to know we have someone to look after this person. It was easy and good to have the process in place and it worked really well and as it should for the organisation, our staff, and the donor.”
“The fundraising strategy set out a programme of work that requires resource to deliver it. Without the expertise and experience of Barrer & Co, we would have been hard-pressed to be confident about who to recruit in this key role. With the right advice, the selection decision turned out to be very straightforward and low-stress.”
SET FOR SUCCESS
Seeing an organisation like QEII who have seen such success in their important work rise to the challenge of setting up for fundraising from scratch, and thriving, gives us such joy.
Dan says: “We are incredibly grateful for the work that Barrer & Co have done with us and thank them so much for supporting us on this journey. The team have made it feel possible for us to fundraise with confidence and all of our staff have benefited from their professionalism and care in learning the ins-and-outs of increasing income for our charity.”
“I’d happily recommend that anyone in the not-for-profit sector with a commitment to fundraising works with Barrer & Co.”