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.


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.


The Stolen Recipe for a Legacy Event

This is my second blog post for 101 Fundraising and, just like my first blog, the inspiration was coming from a presentation that I attended late last year.  [Yes, I steal ideas from others! Don’t judge!].

My job in WWF is to build a knowledge system for WWF’s legacy fundraisers. One of them is to organise a virtual presentation about legacy fundraising. This presentation was one of them and it’s about the recipe of success for legacy event. It was presented by Sarah Cunningham who is legacy marketing manager for WWF UK. [I already have permission from Sarah to use her presentation as my blog sources. Thanks Sarah!]

So, let’s get cracking! Sarah presented how she prepared the legacy events as if she cooked a recipe for dinner. I like the idea of it since a legacy event is not a fast-food standardized product, but more likely to be a customized and adaptable dish. It needs to be personal. (more…)

Event & Community Fundraising

Over the last years, fundraising events have become more and more important. Events like the Dutch Alpe d’Huzes (20M in 2011) and Roparun (4,9M), and the UK Cancer Research’s Race for Life (raising over £362 million since 1994) clearly indicate the potential of person-to-person fundraising. Our most dedicated supporters are no longer just our ambassadors, they become fundraisers themselves!

When you’re considering organizing your own event, great info can be found online on choosing the right event for your organisation, like e.g. the Convio Report “Peer-to-Peer Event Fundraising for Everyone – Choosing the right event for your organization”, or, on our own 101fundraising blog: How much can I expect from my fundraising event?

However, with the growth of the number of events, also more and more critical notes can be found. Questions whether the market for (sporting events) isn’t becoming saturated quite rapidly, given the large amount of initiatives at this very moment. Some of them hardly reach the break-even point, still others are already quite profitable the first year. So, even more important, questions arise on the effectiveness of these events, like e.g. the interesting article Are Charity Walks and Races Worth the Effort?


Making connections and joining the dots

In a previous 101 crowdblog Adventures in Innovation – The Prequel, we discussed how innovation is not about a lone genius sat in a room inventing stuff. Good ideas are often slow hunches that have been in people’s heads for ages fuelled by making a series of connections, and often helped along by curiosity, perseverance and passion.

Remember how Tim Berners Lee was quietly putting connections together for 20 years before he invented the World Wide Web? He had a slow hunch, he was passionate about data, curious how he could make sense of it and kept persevering putting connections together until he found a solution.

In his 2005 commencement speech Steve Jobs talks about joining dots, or making connections. He tells a story of when he dropped out of college, how it gave him the opportunity to drop into classes he was interested in; the courses he was passionate about. He joined a calligraphy class. He described it as, ‘beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture’ – and he found it fascinating. At that point in his life calligraphy had absolutely no practical application for Steve, it was only 10 years later when designing the first Macintosh, the dots got joined up. Personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do today if he hadn’t been captivated by that calligraphy class. Steve had a natural curiosity, was passionate about perfection and determined to develop the best computer in the world. (more…)

How much can I expect from my fundraising event?

That is the question I get asked a lot working with clients on their strategic fundraising plan. And a good question it is.  Especially because fundraising events and in particular sports events have become so popular in Europe. So this question deserves some kind of answer.

So, If you are considering to set up your own fundraising event or if you are wondering if you are making enough money from your own event, please bare with me in my search for an answer.

To be frank, it is extremely hard to predict exactly how much will be raised with your event this year or the next, but there are crucial factors that influence your success. Depending on how many ‘karma-points’ you score on each of these factors will give you some feeling of the potential success. (see a calculation below)


Hosting my first webinar: lessons learned

Thank you so much for the wonderful chance to really feel a part of what is happening in Haiti! These workers are real, sincere, ordinary people with the right training who work on behalf of our pittance donated to help the people in distress. Thank you so much for having enabled us to listen as the team told of their work in such an ongoing needy situation of our confreres in Haiti. Sincerely, a Donor, Oakville, Ontario

I hosted a donor accountability webinar last year. Like the curate’s egg, some parts of it were excellent, others, not so much.

Here it is:

(Click here if the embedded video is not working.)


Alpe d’HuZes: Patients first!

Our initiative Alpe d’HuZes started in 2006 with 66 bikers who wanted to bike the Dutch mountain Alpe d’Huez in France and make a difference in the fight against cancer. We were aiming for 50,000 euro, but we raised 350,000 euros and were suprised by our succes.

How in the world of cancer and fundraising was this possible? (more…)