Fundraising for the future- a conversation with Anne-Marie Grey

Anne-Marie Grey

After her visit to Sweden to attend Insamlingsforum and hold a masterclass on corporate partnerships, Give Sweden had the opportunity to ask a few questions to Anne-Marie Grey, Executive Director and CEO at USA for UNHCR. Anne- Marie is a straight shooter who doesn’t mind holding non-profit organizations feet to the fire. As she did during her visit, she outlines the main challenges of Gen Z donor engagement and emphasises the value of agility and re-thinking fundraising strategies in an ever changing world.

Copying what other fundraising organizations have done over the past twenty years is extremely fool hearty.  As our world changes, so must we.

Have you experienced any differences between working with fundraising in large compared to smaller organizations? Or are the motives for engagement the same?
Many small and large non-profit organizations face similar challenges namely a lack of human and financial resources for fundraising and how to meet the needs of donors in an ever changing environment.  I do believe that regardless of the size of our organizations we are all motivated to be a force for change in the world.  We are all passionate about our causes and our organizations.  Larger organizations can become bureaucratic, which is not a work environment that suits everyone.  I believe smaller non-profits can be more agile and nimble, adopting new ideas quickly.

At Insamlingsforum you were quite pessimistic in your present analysis of fundraising organizations and their abilities to adapt to the contemporary world as it is today. Why? 
Really?  I disagree. I simply identified trends and tried to lay out some facts about the world in which we live in and the opportunities we have to fashion our work to engage a new generation of donors in our causes.  Copying what other fundraising organizations have done over the past twenty years is extremely fool hearty.  As our world changes, so must we.  If we are going to embrace technology and all it has to offer and if we are to engage new Gen Z donors who currently make up 31% of the world’s population, we need to better understand what motivates them to take up causes.  We have new generations of young people who want to change the world.  Are we going to help them by providing collaboration on the communications and tools they need on the social media platforms they use? Or are we going to keep trying to win them to our way of thinking though the acquisition channels that worked for us in 1998. Collaboration in building new social movements is essential to our success.

What is the most important ingredient/condition for a successful corporate partnership?
Approaching the partnership as a win/win/win relationship.  It needs to deliver business objectives for the corporate, resources and expertise for the non-profit and a positive experience for customers, consumers, donors and those using the non-profit services.

What is your most important advise to todays fundraiser?
Focus on the quality of the donor engagement!  How many ways can a donor support or engage with you?  What motivates them to take an action on your behalf and how can you clearly and quickly share with them the critical impact they have made to making the world a better place.

Is there anything that you are very optimistic about regarding the future, that we in the fundraising business are good at/doing right and develop/expanding etc the right way?
I am incredible optimistic about Gen Z, the most social active generation we have ever experienced.  This generation is holding us accountable for ensuring we build a better world.  If we can help this generation and co-create meaningful opportunities to lend their voice and agency to our causes we will all succeed.