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Those three little words that mean so much…

img (2)There’s a question that many fundraising folk ask each other at this time of year. ‘Will I see you in Holland?’

Maybe it’s a testimony to the clout of the International Fundraising Congress that it’s become synonymous with a country (or maybe Holland is just shorter to say?) Either way, I look forward to seeing you in Holland this year.

I’ve been privileged to be part of the great team organising the event this year. In developing this year’s theme and content, we came down to just three words that sum up what fundraising is all about:

Inspire. Connect. Transform. (more…)

Feel the fear and tell it like it is

Marathon-AK-006On 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…)

Dear events. Meet direct marketing.

I’m an unabashed direct marketer. Turned fundraiser. Or if we’re being pedantic, direct response fundraiser.

I live and die by results. It’s why (I think) our clients like working with us. No fluff, no window dressing. Just out and out obsession with producing great results.

Facetiously, it’s in part why I never really “got” events. When I started fundraising and met event fundraisers I felt uneasy when I was told that their event didn’t raise much cash but generated a “heap of awareness”, and “was great for stewarding some major donor prospects”. (more…)

The ask that got the fundraiser

Last week was one of the UK’s largest small donation programme spectacles… Comic Relief. This annual campaign, now in its twenty fifth year has raised over £800m for use in the UK and abroad tackling social injustice and improving the lives of millions. Capturing the heart and imagination of the UK, it has grown from a single day event into a sustained build-up of programming, activity and fundraising that culminates in over seven hours of televised entertainment and fundraising pleas. (more…)

32 million euros and it’s still not enough!

In 2012, our Dutch initiative Alpe d’HuZes raised no less than 32.3 million euros. When we started out in 2006, we raised a little over 300,000 euros, so this year we brought in 100 times more than six years ago. That seems impossible and incredible at the same time, but that is what we do: impossible things. (more…)

Connecting with your most loyal and senior donors

“Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigour. With such people the grey head is but the impression of the old fellow’s hand in giving them his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life.”
Charles Dickens

Connecting with our most loyal and senior supporters can be the most inspirational thing we do in our career as a fundraisers. It is such a privilege to meet and learn from people whose bodies are aging, but who, as Charles Dickens says, have hearts and spirits that are young and full of vigour.

Today I am going to share with you a little bit about what we are doing in my organization to develop a robust Planned Giving program. (more…)

A fundraising checklist: Should you consider “Summer Fundraising”?

I recently asked to some colleagues if they were running specific fundraising campaigns during the summer. Most of them answered they are not! Business as usual seems to be the moto. Worst, some programs are put on hold during the holidays. How can they be wrong? At the end of July, European cities get emptier than ever since kids are out of school and families are on vacation.

But my own experience of being a fundraiser has always been associated with very busy summer months: the period from June to mid August reminds me only to work hard, fully dedicated to analyse first semester’s result and to close planning for the upcoming semesters. On the operational side, I can remember only two tests run in July and August. But what if there was a real potential for fundraising during this time of the year?

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Crisis? There is no crisis!

Earlier this year we interviewed 10 senior fundraisers in the Dutch Market to ask them if the economic turmoil changed their opinion about the fundraising potential in their market. And, if any, where they saw fundraising opportunities.

In the majority of interviews, the current economic situation was debunked as an excuse for non-performance. Even if the market is getting a bit rough, there is plenty of opportunity for growth, was their main message.

The question is: Where is the money? And how to get it? (more…)

Social Network Fundraising: The Beginners Guide

This is me running 16km and raising €2,549 for the Dutch Cancer Institute (NKI-AVL). The target was only €200.

Social network fundraising works because of two reasons: (1) you are asking your own network, and (2) the fundraising is being done publicly. This combined provides a healthy and effective social peer pressure.

When you were young you probably had to do a sponsor run at school. You had to get pledges from your neighbors and family for a quarter or 50 cents per lap. Remember that your neighbor always said: “So, what is the rest giving?” This is the best way to describe social network fundraising, she didn’t even hesitated. Straight away she went into the “how much” discussion…

Recently I gave a presentation for the participants of the ATMA Challenge. In this fundraising event 30 young professionals will climb one of the Himalaya mountains (6,764 meter!). Every participant has to raise 2,000 euro for educational projects in India, so that adds up to 60,000 euro in total. My presentation contained 16 tips on how they can raise this money.

I am convinced that 2,000 per participant is too low. Just before I went there I posted on Facebook: “They are going to raise 100,000 euro. They just don’t know it yet.(more…)

The Fundraising Parable of the Good Samaritan

Claire Squires stood at the starting line of this year’s London Marathon knowing she’d raised £500 for the Samaritans.

Hours later, when news of her death broke, donations were pouring in to her fundraising page at £500 per minute.

Claire’s death is a tragedy – but what does this phenomenon say about us and the state of fundraising today?

There’s no denying this is a tough time to be fundraising. Yet the day after the marathon saw the largest number of donations JustGiving has ever received in a single day – with more than 10,000 people donating at any given time! In just 3 days Claire raised almost a quarter of the £3.8 million that the Samaritan’s receives each year from individual donations. (more…)

The 5 fastest growers and their recipe for success

That we all love ‘rankings’ was clear again when last December I posted a ranking of the fastest growers in Dutch fundraising revenue in recent years. The blog post is by far the most read post on 101fundraising so far and got a lot of reactions.

The post didn’t zoom in on organizations who increased their income substantially compared to the previous year, but the organizations that have a high average growth rate over several years (2006 – 2010). The idea is that by looking at the long-term, we’re looking at organizations who are doing something special in fundraising.

Ramses Man and myself questioned what these organizations did so well. So we decided to organize a ‘diner pensant’ and invited the five fastest growing organizations.

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De 5 snelste groeiers en het recept van hun succes

Dat we allemaal gek zijn op ‘lijstjes’ bleek wel weer toen Reinier afgelopen december hier op 101fundraising een ranglijst publiceerde van de snelste Nederlandse stijgers in fondsenwervende inkomsten van de afgelopen jaren. Het betreffende blog werd ‘by far’ het best gelezen artikel van 101fundraising tot nu toe en kreeg enorm veel reacties.

Het blog zoomde niet in op de organisaties die het voorgaande jaar veel zijn gestegen, maar juist op de organisaties die gemiddeld over meerdere jaren (2006 – 2010) een hoog groeipercentage laten zien. Door naar de langere termijn te kijken, komen de organisaties bovendrijven die echts iets bijzonders aan het doen zijn binnen de fondsenwerving, zo is de gedachte.

Bij Reinier en Ramses Man (Nassau) kwam gelijk de vraag op wát die vijf organisaties dan zo goed doen. Ze besloten een zogenaamd ‘diner pensant’ te organiseren en nodigden de vijf snelste groeiers hiervoor uit.

Jolanda Omvlee (directeur Compassion), Frits Hirschstein (directeur KiKa), Ruud Tombrock (directeur WSPA Benelux), Ellen Kooij (hoofd marketing, communicatie en fondsenwerving War Child) en Wimco Ester (hoofd communicatie en marketing Open Doors) vertelden tijdens het diner openhartig over wat hun organisaties zo succesvol maakt. In dit artikel geven Reinier en Ramses een impressie van deze gedenkwaardige avond in Restaurant Eetvilla van den Brink in Soest.

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