On Kungsgatan, one of Gothenburg's most popular shopping streets, shopping people often meet recruiters from various organizations. Photo: News Øresund / Jenny Andersson. Source: Flickr.


We do not buy ourselves into a sustainable world

Today, non-profit organizations often use member recruiters in the city to raise money for their businesses. At the same time, the change needed in the consumer society requires that organizations also change their fundraising strategies.

On Kungsgatan in Gothenburg, store chains are close together. People who shop for coziness stroll along the lane and in their places one by one walk at a faster purposeful pace. Suddenly a flirtatious voice interrupts the muffled sound of rustling bags and buzzing.

- Do you want to save the Amazon ?, asks a recruiter from a non-profit organization.

The addressed man with a silvery beard and a hat just above his ears quickly raises his gaze. He stops and answers with what seems to be a breath. Then he continues along the city's popular shopping streets.

Observing from the corner where I stand, I think: Does the person in question want to save the Amazon? That's one thing I will not get an answer to. I can guess that he probably somehow still wants it. Who does not want to be a hero for saving the climate? But paradoxically, it seems that the organization workers' strategy of recruiting members along the street instead leads to these people creating their own strategies for escaping prosecution. A person quickly picks up the mobile phone and flutters his eyes. Another suddenly turns off at an intersection after seeing a recruiter's distinctive vest.

Non-profit organizations' own collections are a prerequisite to be able to receive a grant from Sida. Organizations that do not receive grants from Sida can be completely dependent on private donors to be able to carry out their activities. Therefore, fundraising strategies are developed to raise money. Part of the strategic plan is not infrequently to use member recruiters. 

Sure, Sweden has Europe most generous aid policy. 46.8 billion SEK of the Swedish state budget went to international aid last year. In practice, this means about ten kronor per person and month. At the same time, the Swedish people buy clothes and shoes for about 90 billion SEK per year. Such a comparison can reasonably justify the hunt for consumers one day on Kungsgatan in Gothenburg. Although I still think we can do more than that.

Non-profit organizations should change their fundraising strategies to show the way for the system change needed in a world of overconsumption and overproduction. Of course, this change should also mean that people actually have time to stop on the streets to learn more about international aid work. But for that reason, let us not fall into the wake of consumption where we mainly focus on redirecting the fast trade. Whatever the solution, I think the way we do things will be important. That is, how people on the streets are approached by recruiters. Interactive activities could also be offered to a greater extent where civil society, in addition to its financial contribution, is given a chance to create an understanding of how our own actions can affect the world around us. In addition, high-turnover companies could be encouraged to sponsor the activities of non-profit organizations to a greater extent. 

If we are to save the Amazon, we need awareness and a system change when it comes to the world's focus on consumption. And then change work should be just change work, even when it comes to fundraising strategies.

This is a chronicle. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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