Interview with – Mike Bartlett

Mike is our Senior Consultant in High Level Giving. He joined the Money Tree Fundraising team full time this month. He brings with him 15 years of high-value fundraising experience. Most recently he was Director of Fundraising and Communications for DEBRA, before that for Julia’s House Children’s Hospice and Winston’s Wish. He is your go-to person for major donors, corporate or trust fundraising. He is speaking at the IoF West Midlands conference in Birmingham on 5 October and the DSC Fundraising Fair in London on 22 and 23 November but if you can’t hear him at either of these then you can follow his thoughts on our blog and learn a bit more about him here: Mike, how much money have you raised for the charities you’ve worked with (roughly)? I’m always wary of this question as my fundraising has always been a team effort and I feel strongly that donors should get the credit, not the fundraisers, as they are the change-makers. In teams I’ve led I’d guestimate that we’ve raised over £25 million. And of all that experience, what would you pick as your greatest career success to-date? At a children’s hospice I secured a £1 million partnership over three years with a major bank. This arrangement included re-homing the hospice team in one of the bank’s offices rent free. When you look around our sector, who do you hold up as a Hero? On the fundraising side Alan Clayton is a brilliant, noisy brute. In the sector as a whole there are inspiring people like Shami Chakrabarti who make a real difference to society. And of the charities you’ve...

How big is big?

Big Gift, Major Gift, Major Donor – call it what you will – Fundraising isn’t defined by a set gift amount. It is defined by its approach – taking the time to develop a relationship with a person over time in order to ask for a commitment.

Do fundraising consultants really know their onions?

Interventionism is a hot topic. Whether you are talking about wars, international aid, third sector lobbying or charity trustees. It is the same for fundraising consultancy, which is essentially an intervention requested by a charity. Where the waters muddy, however, is when as a fundraising consultant you are briefed to intervene in one area of fundraising and it soon becomes clear that the issues are elsewhere. It may be that other departments are not supporting, that the CEO is disinterested or that the whole organisational culture is not set up for fundraising. It is often the case, if you keep asking why something is the case, that you can delve deeper and get to the cause of the issue, rather than remain in the outer sphere of symptoms, a bit like peeling back the layers of an onion. Now, the issue as a fundraising consultant is where do you stop? How many layers do you peel away when you have agreed a fixed price with the charity client? Human nature demands getting to the crux of the problem, which may require a root and branch review of the whole organisation, when the brief is to get major donor fundraising back on track. Our approach at Money Tree Fundraising is to start with a comprehensive proposal that follows a proven process; listen, review, assess, set goals, plan, then deliver. This is the only way to ensure enough of the onion is peeled away to get the heart of any issues and recommend the steps required for positive change. So often, however, this full approach is beyond the budget of a...

Fundraising IS dating!

The seven steps of major donor solicitation continue to be a mystery to some. Will a parallel with dating help to make it clearer, or is dating just as complex?