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  • Writer's pictureAndy at Fireside Fundraising

What can fundraisers learn from drag?

While talking to another fundraiser, Casey Carlos, about why we love Drag Race so much, we realised there's actually a lot that drag queens can teach fundraisers. I wanted to boil it down to three things:


1. You only have one moment to make an impression. Throughout the episodes, you see the artists get ready for hours. But when they walk down the catwalk, they're judged on the few seconds of their end result. Fundraising is the same. Whether it's your fundraising bid or your impact report... The donor doesn't want to see your homework. They just want to see the difference they'll make.


2. Just because you compete, doesn't mean you're rivals. The queens in Rupaul's drag race see each other as sisters. Yes, they're competing for the same crown, but you will notice that as much as they tear each other down, they also lift each other up, helping with challenges and makeup, lending wigs. Seeing each other as collaborators, rather than competitors achieves a better result for everyone. This is something our sector does so well. Charities are often working around each other. It's very rare only one charity is working on a cause... So much so that there's an NHS Corporate Partnerships Fundraising group, all helping each other raise money for their organisation from local business, for example. Collaboration gets better results than competition.


3. Often only one opinion matters. It's really clear that the winner of Ru Paul's Drag Race is decided by one person, and that person's name is literally in the title. RuPaul decides who wins. And it is so clear what he wants. He says all the time: 'make me laugh'. Those who make him laugh often go on to win. Our funders are out there saying what they need too. They're so clear. 'Make me feel.' The charities that make them feel, you guessed it, are the charities that get funding. Bear in mind that you don't have to appeal to everyone, you have to appeal to one person, and that person will often have set out their criteria.


Andy King and Tia Kofi

Anyway, that's our 'why every fundraiser should watch Drag Race' rant over... Thanks for tolerating our fun and our whimsy. I'd love to hear your favourite drag queen.


The 'on-brand' answer for us is Tina Burner, obviously it fits the Fireside theme, but the truthful answer is Tia Kofi. Here's a picture of us together at last Pride... now I'm showing off.

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