You probably remember it much as I do: the white wristbands, the star-studded Live8 concert, the remarkable celebrity ‘finger click’ ads, Blair and Brown and the G8 summit engaged and involved. And all of it Read more…
Sometimes it seems like good writing has become one of the lost arts of the fundraising practice. Email and social media may be to blame, or too many demands on our time, or our Read more…
Give donors more choice over where their money goes. It sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? If we want to be supporter-focused, and help them feel genuinely close to the mission, why wouldn’t we let Read more…
Christmas is the time when fundraisers get excited about the sound of a man or woman trudging through the snow struggling under the weight of a sack full of gifts. Only for us, it’s the Read more…
Well, there’s a provocative question or two. But I’d suggest the answer is yes, it probably is. It all started with a throw-away comment from a client, that a year after working out their ideal Read more…
Answer: None of them started with fundraisers! Fundraisers here at IFC and all over the sector are raving about the spontaneous phenomena of the ‘No make-up selfie’ and the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’. But in our Read more…
As a direct marketer, it’s never bothered me so much. In many ways, crassly it’s a numbers game. For me, ‘no’ simply means, “there’s nothing to see here”.
And on I move. Looking for more and better ways to find people who say ‘yes’.
Until recently. (more…)
I think any money spent on brand awareness by a charity with a view to increasing fundraising income is absolutely and completely wasted.
I emphasise with a view to increasing fundraising income because I can imagine a scenario where a charity wants awareness for its mission, not for fundraising. (more…)
It started for me with direct mail. See, today, my clients do not segment for gender. They send the very same appeal letter to men and women. But, you have to wonder, could we attract Read more…
It all boils down to “the ask”, doesn’t it? All the phone calls, lunches, meetings, tours, events, trips; all that cultivation, it’s all fun and games until the ask.
People give money because they care about the cause, because they feel a duty to give, because they want to make a difference, but the most important reason people give is because they are asked. (more…)
Where do most non-profits tend to start when it comes to telling their story? They start with themselves. “Who We Are”, or on their website “About Us”. And then they move on to “What We Read more…
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…)
“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…)
I’m sure you’re aware of campaigns that started with the intention of “going viral”; if you haven’t worked on one. I know I have. It never works.
They fail because they try to force-feed the public with a key message, or get people to do an activity that’s somehow ‘relevant’ to their cause. But asking people to alter their behaviour is a big request. Only your die-hard supporters love you enough to do that – and that normally means it’s not enough people to form a critical mass. (more…)
Donald Rumsfeld said, “There are known knowns – These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns – That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know.”
I don’t make a habit of quoting Donald Rumsfeld but that’s a phrase that keeps coming to mind over the last few months here in Ireland. You see, fundraisers (or at least some fundraisers) are taking a battering. Two big charity scandals resulted in Board resignations and disappearing CEOs and we’re all feeling the effects in some shape or form. (more…)
“I no longer support Autism Speaks and this is why.”
Those were the words a friend posted on her Facebook timeline a few months ago. This is a friend whose son is affected by autism, a friend who has dedicated thousands of hours to raising money to find a cure for this terrible condition. For her to be moved to reject a charity committed to her common cause, the crime must have been serious. (more…)
On one Sunday in April, the streets of London overflow with determination and kindness. This year 36,000 people took part in the London Marathon and many more came to cheer and will the athletes on. If it were possible to bottle goodwill this would be the place to start.
Last Sunday, for the first time in years I wasn’t on the frontline near Embankment yelling encouragement at the athletes, instead I watched the London Marathon on television at home, with some friends. As you can imagine it was a different experience. I’m not sure if it was more emotional to be part of the noise on the sidelines, with the exhausted runners on the last leg of the race, or taking in the huge scale of the event from the wider television coverage. (more…)