Fundraising and the third sector: how can investments be encouraged in the non-profit world?

How do you persuade a Board of Directors to invest in non-profit fundraising? That’s a good question, and we might say that it’s a million dollar one - just to stay on the subject.

And it’s a question we attempted to answer with Massimiliano Massimelli, Head of Communication at Fondazione Reggio Children and protagonist of the first episode of ‘Lato B’, our side-project that explores some of the topics close to our hearts.

The non-profit fundraising jungle

In two sentences Massimiliano Massimelli presented us the context in which he also works for Fondazione Reggio Children in its search for donors.

For 18 years, Massimiliano has been involved in communication, focusing on growth and development strategies. For about the same number of years, he has been working in the non-profit world as a consultant in communication, planning and fundraising.

Together with him, we ventured into the wild forest of the third sector, an ecosystem in which associations, organisations, committees, foundations and social enterprises grow. To find our bearings and follow the right path towards an effective communication strategy, we asked Massimiliano Massimelli to act as our guide. The meeting led to significant considerations for projects with non-profit organisations, and much more.

We have, indeed, been working in third sector communication for many years. We curated the new identity of Fondazione Reggio Children, which promotes solidarity projects through research and education; and the new corporate identity of Food For Soul, the organisation founded by Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore that campaigns against food waste by means of social inclusion projects.

Talking to Massimiliano we realised what a gradual and painstaking job non-profit fundraising is. You need to be able to recognise a fertile ground, where you can carefully nurture the passion of people, companies and foundations for your cause.

The real difficulty is to commit to donors

For Massimiliano, Italian companies are among the most generous towards NPOs and, besides the fundraising itself, it’s also important to acknowledge the donors. Individuals, companies and organisations that invest in non-profit fundraising choose to do so voluntarily and actively. It sometimes involves more than just a financial risk. So, considering this crux, communication activities are extended focusing on this figure and differ depending on the donor. With private donations, for example, the main leverage is the emotional one, whereas for a company, we explore which factors influence the choice of funding. After a donation has been made, dedicated storytelling does not fade, but rather it seeks to strengthen roots by narrating the outcome of an individual's effort.

Our meeting with Massimiliano Massimelli gave us much food for thought on communication in the third sector and beyond. It also led to the drafting of a real cycle of follow-up meetings: our Lato B.

We like to make what is beautiful grow

Lato B is a series of training sessions we launched to bring us up to date on topics such as sustainability, digital sensitivity, design culture and business ethics. They are certainly topics that we could follow within our team, but we love to share knowledge with different professionals and personalities, from whom we can learn and with whom we might one day share new projects.

At our next meeting, we will talk about inclusive language with Elena Codeluppi of Btwo Factory, and we have already prepared a list of topics to focus on:

  • Data visualisation and storytelling by numbers
  • Web and regulatory accessibility, and social media developments
  • Machine learning
  • Corporate sustainability communication
  • The GDPR and data trusts, future developments
  • Blockchains, NFTs and other uses

For now, the project is reserved for our team, however we make no secret of the fact that we would like to make the meetings available to those who work with Bunker as well. Subscribe to our newsletter so that you don’t miss our updates on Lato B.

Do you have a new project in mind?

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Bunker is an independent cultural planning studio. We specialize in visual identity, as well as book and web design. We design experiences for the cultural, publishing and corporate world.

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