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Wake up to the new rules of fundraising!

Right now I feel like throwing a bucket of ice over the sector we fundraisers work in and shouting “wake up!”.

Years ago I knew something had changed in fundraising. I didn’t know what. Like us all I could see the symptoms such as rising acquisition costs, and falling response rates. I could certainly feel the pressure. So in between jobs I sat and read and read – books like Sticky Marketing, The Networked Non Profit and The New Rules of Marketing and PR. Surfacing from these fantastic reads I knew the rules of fundraising had changed. Over the last three years at SolarAid I have been learning how and doing by best to apply them.

This blog summarises my learning. (more…)

“I am calling you, because …” 10 reasons to give your donor a call

In the magazine TRENDYSTYLE, I read an article titled: “How often do you call, how mobile is your love?” According to the article, couples in love call each other all day long. If a day passed without a call, stress and mistrust may set in quickly. This reminded me of the relationship between the donors and charities. How often do you actually call each other? I believe there are at least ten occasions when your donors may appreciate a call: (more…)

Even for a charity there’s no such thing as a free lunch

At least, not without some reciprocity.

I love people who do pro bono work. They offer their skills free of charge for something they believe in. They will inherit the earth.

My younger son Charlie, who’s just completed his training as a human rights lawyer, used to work pro bono on Fridays for the charity Reprieve on ‘death row’ cases and at weekends for people who need legal aid. He did this gladly, for quite a while, as it helped him learn his trade. He did it for good causes because he figured they’d need and value his services more than would, say, a big corporate client or its highly paid legal firm. He not only learned from this, he believed it was well worth doing too. (more…)

How to Get Prospects to Call You Back

I used to jokingly tell people I was a professional “reacher-outer.” My day-to-day was just a fire hose of prospect outreach. But so often, I wouldn’t hear anything back. Nothing. So, I’d follow-up. Then I’d circle back, check in, touch base, ping, ping some more, and leave another message. And chase it with one last follow-up email. (more…)

Relationship Fundraising needs a brand re-fresh. How about Engagement Fundraising?

“An organiser’s job is to help ordinary people do extraordinary things” – Cesar Chavez, US Farm workers’ Leader

The first time I met my fundraising guru Ken Burnett (and I mean, the first time he actually spoke to me), was in Heathrow baggage hall after an International Fundraising Convention, many years ago (my days of being a young up-start are over). Star-struck I introduced myself. “So you’re the one doing great things at Oxfam”, he said to me. Well, as part of a great team of others, yes, I suppose I was. Because we were.  What a moment. I didn’t wash my shaken-hand for a week. (more…)