Refreshing Your Fundraising At Matariki


Matariki is the Māori new year. It is celebrated in early winter, when the star cluster Matariki (also known as the Pleiades) rises in the eastern sky.  

Because Māori traditionally follow the lunar cycle rather than the Gregorian calendar, its tricky to pinpoint the exact time that Matariki will rise. The lunar calendar has 354 days, while the Gregorian calendar has 365. In 2020, Matariki is due to rise between 11 and 17 July 

Matariki is a time of renewal; a time for celebration, meaningful reflectionand preparation – laying the groundwork for the upcoming year.  

Your fundraising also can take some inspiration from Matariki. It is a mid-winter reminder to review your activities so far in 2020 and refresh your fundraising plan for the months ahead.  

Image source: Te Papa

Navigation by the stars

Life in 2020 has been a wild ride so far. Sometimes you simply need to pause for a moment and take a breath. Take time to head outside and look up at Matariki in the winter sky – the ideal time is just before sunrise. Watch a video on how to find Matariki in the winter sky here.

The Matariki star cluster is linked to celestial navigation. Like the nine stars of Matariki, your mission, vision, and values help you to navigate great distances and rough seas. They help you to make decisions and mitigate risk. Take some time to reflect on them. Are you still on course? If you find that you’ve drifted a little over time, use your guiding stars of mission, vision, and values to get back on track.  

Exploring other perspectives

Best practice Anglo-Western fundraising is often described as being “donor focused”. At the heart of this concept is the consideration of other perspectives – putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Ideally, this practice is interwoven with everything that you do. As we continue to work through the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts, it’s also about not assuming what your donors can do or want to do; rather, giving your donors the opportunity to give and letting them decide for themselves 

With seasonal change comes new beginnings. The environment around you changes, and even ways of thinking change over time. You learn, you grow, you respond, and you adapt. Question why you do things. Challenge the status quo. Now more than ever is the time to question the reasoning of “this is the way we’ve always done it”. Instead, consider “what can we do better?” 

Matariki tradition of storytelling

Kōrero pūrākau (storytelling) is a key part of Matariki celebrations – people gathering together in the winter to share stories, legends, and knowledge. Storytelling can connect the past to the present and the future. It is a wonderful tool for developing shared understanding. 

In fundraising you have many stories that you can tell. These will adapt for your various audiences, whether it’s your community and service users, your board, your funders and donors, or staff and volunteers. Look for ways to support your storytelling with refreshed testimonials and your financial reporting. Read more about how storytelling here.

As you prepare for the coming months, consider past giving trends (see Giving Insights from the Giving USA 2020 Report: 40 years of trend data including through the Global Financial Crisis), how your current financial situation has been affected by events in 2020, how you’re adapting your strategy, and what resources you need to work towards your vision.  

What is your unique story? 

Sometimes refreshing your fundraising plan takes an outside view – a different, objective perspective – and someone to facilitate meaningful questions. 

Does your organisation need a fundraising “refresh”? Click here to book a free consultation with an AskRIGHT Fundraising Consultant.