Fundraisers are 'good at ideas, poor at practice'

Too much faith placed in innovation, Management Centre study finds

Fundraisers in the UK are good at coming up with ideas but poor at putting them into practice, according to a new study.

The two-year survey, carried out by consulting firm the Management Centre, involved 57 international not-for-profit organisations, including 21 from the UK.

Fundraisers were asked to grade their own organisations in seven categories, such as idea generation, idea development and launching ideas to supporters. The scores were evaluated using an online benchmarking programme and given percentage marks, which the Management Centre said reflected the charity's strengths and weaknesses.

The 21 UK-based organisations that took part scored an average of 60 per cent for idea creation and 61 per cent for sourcing information, but only 52 per cent for selecting ideas, 49 per cent for development and 46 per cent for bringing them to fruition. The weakest area was exchanging ideas between branches, departments or regions, which came out at an average of 45 per cent. US-based organisations averaged 57 per cent in this area.

US organisations scored most poorly for launching ideas to their supporters, at 43 per cent. International NGOs achieved the highest individual score - 76 per cent - in the area of sourcing information for ideas, but were weak on idea integration, with 43 per cent.

Bernard Ross, director of the Management Centre, said UK organisations put too much faith in innovation and underestimate the time and investment needed to bring ideas to fruition. Innovation should be integrated as a core competency throughout organisations, he added.

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