What makes up your charity’s constituency?

ConstituentsCharities are dependant on a constituency. Some charities have a built-in constituency and others are not as fortunate to have such a natural constituency. Examples of built-in constituencies include:

  • Grateful patients for a hospital
  • Students for a school or university
  • Members for a museum or cultural institution
  • Clients and family members for a charitable organisation

gratful-patientLast week, the Fundraising Institute Australia NSW CFRE Study Group met in preparation for the CFRE exam this spring/early summer. CFRE International certifies experienced fundraising professionals aspiring to the highest standards of ethics, competence and service to the philanthropic sector. A group of individuals in NSW and elsewhere are currently studying together for the exam. During this month’s discussion, we talked about constituencies of our organisations. Those from the Salvation Army talked about the very broad-based constituency of the Salvation Army, including the general public, former recipients of their vast services, and others who are grateful to the Salvos for the superb programming offered. A participant from an area hospital talked about the hospital’s grateful patients and family/friends of patients, which are part of their built-in constituency. She also discussed the fact of members of the general public giving to this great hospital because the hospital offers superior medical service to the community. In one sense, those in the community may not use the hospital, but want to support it because it is in their “back yard”.

Some say that we as fundraisers are more attracted to work for charitable organisations with natural constituencies than we are to work for organisations where a natural constituency is lacking.

What are your charitable organisation’s constituencies? Do you work for an organisation which has a built-in constituency or have you had to work to build a constituency more from scratch? Tell us how you build your constituencies and how you work with existing natural constituencies to increase their level of engagement. Please let me hear from you. Join the conversation below.