Fundraising is a tricky business. One that I’m glad I’m not in at this point. (As I have written before here, CleanUpTheRiver.com is neither a non-profit organization nor a for-profit business. I’m a guy with a kayak and an attitude who picks up trash, takes an inventory of river sites that need attention, and shares conservation issues on a blog.)
This past week, two different conservation groups got two different kinds of reactions from their fundraising efforts.
First, the good news. The McKnight Foundation contributed significant sums to a variety of river restoration groups. The largest benefactor was the Mississippi River, as you can see from this BizJournals story. But another group to receive money was “C.U.R.E.,” short for “Clean Up The River Environment” out of Montevideo, Minnesota. I am not a member of C.U.R.E., but I’ve followed it for a while, and they seem to be doing some good work on the Minnesota River. So, congrats, C.U.R.E.! And congratulations, too, to the McKnight Foundation, which continues to be both thoughtful and generous in their donations.
Now, the not-so-good news. Another notable conservation group got pounded pretty hard in a story from the Minneapolis Star Tribune… for allegedly over-dramatizing the extent to which straight pipe pollution is a problem on the Sunrise River in a recent fundraising newsletter. I was really sorry to see that. If it is true that the problem was over-stated, it not only harms the credibility of the authoring organization. It harms any group that requests funds in the name of their work in conservation and environmental protection.
I am reminded that, where charities are concerned… it is best to contribute not based on an organization’s ability to state a problem, but rather, on the basis of the solution they bring to that problem.
© Michael D. Anderson, St. Michael, MN. All rights reserved.