Three different, but inspiring, charity videos
Some Monday morning reading

How not to deal with a fundraising PR crisis

A fundraising storm has brewed up in the idyllic Isle of Wight after the local hospice decided to stop accepting donations from one of their local newspapers.

Officially, the hospice declared that it wanted to give another charity on the island a chance to benefit, but internet conspiracy theorists have linked it to critical articles that the paper had published about the council.

Fair enough you might say.  The hospice might have wanted to protect it's reputation or genuinely wanted to give someone else a chance to benefit. However, what really interests me and what anyone can learn from, is the hospice's reaction to the controversy, which, frankly, has been non-existent.

There is no statement on their website, a short, bland, official statement and a resout 'no comment' from an anonymous spokesman, whilst in the meantime the local blog has attracted an incredible 350 comments, many from disgruntled donors and supporters of the hospice who vow never to support them again.

The following quote is typical:

"Oh My God!! Its finally Offical!!
How can a Charity turn their back on people who have raised so much for them, very dissappointed with the puppets (Board of Trustees of Earl Mountbatten Hospice) and the puppet masters pulling their strings. This happens at the same time as IW Gazette is running stories on Council and its so called leader. Hmmmm!! :(. This needs reporting at the highest level and investigating. I will be saving my Donations for the hospice until Graham Elderfield has resigned his post (and please god, don’t pay him off with charity money)"

There are also a number of highly critical quotes of the Chief Exec, but plenty of praise for the nurses and the work they do and pleas not to forget the patients.

So how could the hospice have handled it differently and reacted to the storm?

  • Responded openly and honestly to the questions put to it. People may not have agreed with them, but it would have nipped the story in the bud.
  • Taken the time to respond to some of the blog posts.
  • Turned the tables and asked people for extra support because of the shortfall.
  • Put some info on their website.

By burying it's head in the sand the hospice has exposed itself to wider criticism and threatened it's future fundraising support.

If a similar crisis threatened your organisation how would you respond? Do you have procedures in place to manage such a situation? Would you bury your head in the sand or engage with your critics?