Winning the hearts and minds of donors

IHC fundraiser Chansina Chin is convinced that the more people know about the work IHC is doing, the more they will want  to get involved.

Chansina is IHC’s new Leadership Giving Manager in charge of bequests, grant funding and major gifts. She is keen to build stronger relationships with donors and grant funders to let them see more of what IHC is doing to transform the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.

“What I want to do is to form relationships with donors that are more than transactional,” she says. That means not just them giving us money and IHC saying thank you.  “We want them to become invested  in the organisation.”

She says IHC has a solid base of very loyal donors and she is keen to talk to them about the scope of IHC’s work with disabled people and their families. “We have a lot of amazing things happening,” she says. And a lot more is being planned, but that is dependent on funding.

Chansina says fundraising can do more to support the work of IHC Advocacy and the IHC Foundation. “We are talking about transformative giving that looks at changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.”

She says donors are keen to give to specific activities. During the Covid-19 lockdown IHC received some generous donations to its Emergency Appeal to support isolated families and disabled people. Three individuals each gave $10,000 and grants were received from Otago Community Trust ($25,000), the Ministry of Social Development Covid-19 Fund ($32,000) and Reed Charitable Trust ($9500). A total of $280,000 was raised in the appeal.

The funds were used for the Awhi Community project, which put devices in our residential homes so people could stay connected with family, friends and their communities. Funds also went to Awhi-at-Home, a parent support page on Facebook, which provided advice and a supportive community for parents of children with intellectual disabilities. The appeal also funded general support for families of disabled children.

Now IHC is hoping to continue some of the initiatives that came out of lockdown, such as a family respite project that started with Awhi-at-Home.

Chansina says once donors know that they can make a difference to people in a tangible way, they can be encouraged to give bigger donations. She believes many people would be open to that, and she is not afraid to be turned down. “If you don’t ask you don’t know. The worst they can do is to say no – and they might say yes.”

Chansina, who had been working in the Waikato as a fundraiser for St John New Zealand, started working for IHC in March 2019. In her new role Chansina is looking to boost income in three areas – major gifts, grants funding and bequests. “A very small percentage of fundraising comes from major donors and grants. Bequests, direct mail and regular giving are the organisation’s biggest source of income.”

National Fundraising Manager Greg Millar says IHC donors have stuck by us during the Covid-19 emergency because they feel concerned for people who they see as among the most vulnerable and often the most invisible members of our communities.

This story was published in Community Moves. The magazine is posted free to all IHC members.

Read the full issue of Community Moves.