Interview with Carl Young CFRE

Philanthropy and Fundraising Director – Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Effective fundraising leadership and being analytical with every dollar you invest

Carl is one of Australia’s most successful fundraising leaders and has been the Philanthropy and Fundraising Director at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre for almost ten years. Carl and his team have achieved some of Australia’s most notable fundraising awards over the years as well personally being awarded a FIA Fellowship for contribution and service to the fundraising sector.

Interview with Carl Young CFRE

Philanthropy and Fundraising Director – Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Effective leadership and being analytical with every dollar you invest in fundraising

Carl is one of Australia’s most successful fundraising leaders and has been the Philanthropy and Fundraising Director at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre for almost ten years. Carl and his team have achieved some of Australia’s most notable fundraising awards over the years as well personally being awarded a FIA Fellowship for contribution and service to the fundraising sector.

Summary of interview with Carl Young

Interview running time: 61 minutes

Reflecting on Carl Young’s early years of fundraising career

Carl Young has been the Philanthropy and Fundraising Director at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre for ten years. Through this chapter you’ll learn where it all began and how his career progress over the years from a World Vision volunteer to becoming a fundraising director. 

Early on it Carl’s career he learnt the power of data and how donor satisfaction was reflected in the numbers.

“I remember early in my career I remember people thought … not that I was cold but they thought ‘you don’t care about the people’ this was because I was looking at the data.” Carl Young reflecting on his early years.

After a highly established career in fundraising you’ll hear Carl’s thoughts on how donor engagement has changed over the years, as well what components have contributed to the success of fundraising campaigns early on in Carl Young’s fundraising career.

And if you’re an aspiring fundraising leader, you’ll get a better understanding of what a fundraising director roles entails with one of Australia’s most success nonprofit organisations.

Budgets, cost of fundraising and ROI

You need to budget and invest in fundraising wisely and be very accurate in how you calculate your ROI.

“That’s a dangerous question. Is it ROI or Net? It’s how you budget. So bequests generally from an ROI would be the greatest, but not always the Net.” – Carl Young

Carl Young puts a strong emphasis on getting this as accurate as possible. Learn from Carl Young the formula he and his team uses to measure their most successful fundraising channels and how this has contribute to the success of their fundraising efforts over the years. An example of this is using predictive modelling to predict the impact regular giving will have for their fundraising efforts over the next five years

This builds greater trusts with CEOs and boards as you can more accurately forecast the next 12 months and well as capitalise on the channels that work for your organisation.

One of these successful channels that’s worked for the Peter MacCallum Research Centre is Face-to-Face (F2F) Fundraising which is covered in the next section.

However with successful channels comes learning from unsuccessful channels. As a fundraising director you need to be try and test fundraising channels to see if they work for your organisation. Learn from Carl which channels have not been successful to Peter MacCallum’s fundraising efforts.

The fundraising team at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has grown their donor base to over 100,000+ donors. Carl Young shares his advice to fundraising leaders about how to be better forecast, calculate and budget for better fundraising results.

Face-to-Face Fundraising (F2F)

The principles of F2F fundraising hasn’t changed much over the years but to have an opportunity to talk directly with the public about your cause and having the data to measure success makes F2F fundraising so powerful.

“We do it well, training the team, right down to the advocates who represent our charity. They shouldn’t be seen as exterior to the organisation or remote. They are an extension of our organisation. We need to respect those individuals who are doing a difficult job.” – Carl Young on working with external F2F fundraising staff.

The fundraising team at Peter MacCallum has a unique approach about how they train external F2F fundraising staff members as embrace these people into their fundraising culture and their mission.

However, not all nonprofits can utilise F2F fundraising for their charitable cause due to budgets and limited F2F fundraising suppliers. Carl Young shares his advice to those organisations with alternatives to F2F fundraising which could have an impact on your fundraising efforts.

Fundraising leadership and recruiting the right fundraising talent

Carl Young has learnt a lot about recruiting top fundraising talent and he shares his advice to not only employee great fundraising staff, but also how to retain great fundraising staff.

Roles are based on the evolution of the fundraising team but having all facets of the donor journey covered with specialist roles is hugely important.

“We are quite good in our recruitment process. We look to hire like-minded people and we look at the behavioural traits in their CVs. If I see a perpetual mover, someone who’s been a charity for a year or 18 months … they’re tell you how they’re likely to behave in the future.” – Carl Young on fundraising recruitment.

And when it comes to creating a strong fundraising team, a donor centred team focus comes secondary to embracing a “beneficiary focused” culture within the fundraising team.

“We’re beneficiary centric. And the donors can play a part in how we can impact our beneficiary.” – Carl Young

In Carl Young’s ten years as the fundraising director for Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, he and his fundraising have been recognised for their fundraising efforts by the Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA). This includes being awarded the 2019 Fundraising team of the year – Winner; the 2018 National Awards for Fundraising Excellence (Donor Acquisition, Major Gifts) – Winner; 2017 Donor Renewal (charities over $5m) – FIA Fundraising Award for Excellence Winner. Carl Young reflects on what he considers is his greatest achievements are.

Using best practice fundraising fundamentals and what the future holds

Carl Young shares his tips for communicating for more effective communications with donors and how to use better language that resonates.

“You’ve got to understand your donors and their characteristics and the language that they relate too. That’s one thing we do well at  Peter Mac is we often talk about the right person and engaging with the right donor at the right.”Carl Young on how to better communicate with donors.

Something that been crucial to the success of Carl Young’s career is seeking advice from mentors and always looking for new opportunities to learn about the fundraising profession. You first have to accept that you don’t know everything about the fundraising profession, even after a long career, and be willing to learn from others.

Carl shares his guidance and insights for emerging fundraising trends and what he believes will change most in the fundraising profession over the next 5 – 10 years. 

In summary, Carl shares his final advice to inspire and fulfil fundraisers to make a positive impact and create change for a better world.

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