©Alzheimer's Research UK/Alex Wallace Photography
Alzheimer's Research UK
Building the confidence to defeat dementia
Alzheimer’s Research UK has a bold ambition to defeat dementia. In 2013, the fundraising team wanted to raise £100m to make that day come sooner. But they needed to know whether raising that much was even possible. And they needed the credibility and courage to get their whole organisation on side, so they could tell their story to the world.
To test the team’s assumptions, we started with a robust feasibility study. That meant speaking with a number of supporters who had been touched by the disease and who knew the charity’s work was vital. There were also donors who wanted more updates on the scientific progress. And who thought that friends, family and others connected by Alzheimer’s should come together to raise awareness.
After these conversations, it was clear the campaign would have the strongest foundations. The team then sought our help to get the green light from the chair and the board. Together, we crafted a compelling, organisation-wide story which is still being used today. And, through coaching, training and more, we gave the young and hungry team of major gift fundraisers the confidence to go big.
But then we did something a bit different, too.
For some of those donors we spoke to during the feasibility study, we recommended setting up a giving club. Each would pledge £50,000 over five years for a specific, tangible research project. (The club smashed its £2m target within two years and is now looking at where to go next.) We also recommended kick-starting an Alzheimer’s movement to generate momentum for change. And over the next few years, this movement began to grow, steadily but surely.
But what are we most proud of? Seeing them grow in confidence.
That meant the confidence to attract more and bigger gifts. To get the buy-in of the whole organisation. To harness a wave of high-profile political support and public awareness. To take the organisation out of the message, so that their story became the story of the fight against the disease.
What we say
“I was able to make a very tangible difference by working with people and understanding what makes them tick. It’s at the heart of what I love about this job. I encouraged senior team members to share their skills, and also helped develop less experienced fundraisers who are all now doing a brilliant job. Through role-play, group practice and one-to-one sessions, I helped the team to write plans and reflect on them and gave them the language and techniques to speak with donors. I challenged them to be bolder and gave them the confidence to aim high.”
Simon Pennington, More Partnership
What they say
“There are so many consultancies out there that when you find a good one, you stick with them. And the reason why I enjoy working with More Partnership is that our relationship is built on honesty. Simon and his team were able to reassure us that our ambition was realistic. Some consultancies just tell you what you want to hear. But with More there was a sense that if they didn’t think it was possible they would tell you. They were able to instil confidence and credibility to help me get the buy-in of the board. My organisation hadn’t done anything like it before, so we had to take a risk. Having someone else other than me saying ‘we should and can do this’ was incredibly helpful.”
Ian Wilson, Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director of Fundraising and Communications, ARUK