“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…)
When I say I am 60 (only just) I wonder what your reaction is? He bloody looks it? He should retire? Richard you still have one third of your life ahead do not stop now! Poor guy? Or, go for it Richard the best part of your life has only just started?
Perhaps your reaction might be: I must read this blog: his life experiences and his fundraising experience must be AWESOME. Who could know more?
So, make your mind up. Your attitudes to ageing can make or break your performance: average gift values, loyalty, donor happiness and most importantly the final gift – the legacy.
Are you ageist? Or an Age Ambassador?
Do you think Old is cold or Old is gold? (more…)
I’ve often heard that more people are afraid of public speaking than of death. In the non-profit world, I think more fundraisers are afraid of asking for money than the death of their organization.
I work in major gifts. I ask people of means to invest large amounts of money in the cause I represent. I love it. But, I find it shocking how often fundraisers say to me: “I could NEVER do what you do” or “How can you ask someone to give YOU all that money”. I’ve heard similar objections to direct mail asks, door-to-door programs and asking donors to consider legacy gifts.
Fundraisers everywhere are ASK-averse, ASK-phobic, and worse yet anti-ASK. (more…)
Many charities have a welcome program in place to keep more donors in, to make them feel welcome or to ask for more money. Whatever the reason you have your welcome flow, there is always room for improvement. So, here’s a simple 10 point checklist that will help you estimate how much room for improvement there actually is. (more…)
- Acquisition ain’t what it used to be, and retention is abysmal. It’s time to really love our donors!
- Donor-centred fundraising – do it. You can’t thank these guys enough!
- What’s the next thing after direct mail? WHAT IS IT?!?
- You are a bad fundraiser. Bad! Work harder!
- What’s with this high fundraiser turnover?
“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…)
How ‘the pope of advertising’ helped lay the foundations of my professional life.
by Ken Burnett
When the advertising and communications agency that I founded in 1982 opened its doors for business, its proprietor – me – would most likely be found sitting on the front doorstep of the terraced Victorian house that was its first office with his nose buried in a book by David Ogilvy, Confessions of an Advertising Man. It was my bible, though equally likely at that time, or perhaps a bit later, I’d be found engrossed in his second classic, Ogilvy on Advertising (see here). I never met the great man and I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have liked him if I had (he was famously authoritarian and right wing), but to say Ogilvy influenced me would be a bit like saying that Scotsmen are occasionally affected by whisky. To call this a massive understatement is, in itself, a massive understatement. Back then I was so immersed in the wisdom of what he was saying that I would have highlighted at least three paragraphs on every page. Truth is, I modelled the best years of my business life on the sayings of this man. And I prospered as a direct result. (more…)
Convincing a board to give. It still is difficult in the Netherlands. Even when it comes to giving in times of a major gift campaign. Even when they know that giving as a board member will be inspirational, that it will set an example for prospective donors. Then why is it so hard to convince NGO boards?
I thought about this a lot last week. I did some research and had great discussions with colleagues and fundraising friends about it. We came up with several reasons why (Dutch) board members are still not that enthusiastic about giving to their organization. It had to do with culture: the culture of asking, the culture of giving. And even Dutch culture. (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…)
Why do we fundraise? Is it all about the money? Is it all about the donor? Is it all about the mission? That’s a tough question – and there isn’t an easy answer. Every single Read more…
This is a tough one.
Since I’ve been working in fundraising, and especially over the past year, I’ve been noticing the similarities and the differences between fundraisers that I really admire.
They all live by the principles of Relationship Fundraising, but some really take donor-love to the next level, while others simply use the building of donor relationships as another tool to achieving great results. (more…)
Morning in Oslo, Norway. My favorite part of the day is in the morning at my kitchen table, when I read the papers and tune in. Of course, I can’t resist checking social media. Here’s Read more…
You’re grocery shopping on a tight budget. You’ve got everything you need and a few things you want. You approach checkout knowing the £40 in your pocket will just about cover everything. But when you come to pay you find you’ve lost £10. Do you:
1) Look for the missing £10 (you know you had it a moment ago)?
2) Decide to do without a quarter of what you intended to get? (more…)
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…)
So you’re looking for a job, and you think you’ve found the perfect opportunity; a fundraising position for an NGO whose mission you believe in. What could be better! You apply, and you’re granted an interview. Read more…
Nothing sharpens your decision-making prowess quite like establishing a new fundraising operation, with the heart-thumping expectation of growing income quickly. Opportunities abound but how do you make the best of them? Anita de Ruijter outlines four scenarios. What would you do? Comments please! (more…)
A few months ago I was approached by a door-to-door fundraiser. It was dark, it was cold, and it was raining. The fundraiser, not bothered by these circumstances at all, told me a beautiful story about the charity he worked for. I believed him and decided to become a donor. Was it the rain? Or was I the perfect target for this charity? Or did I just meet one hell of a good door-to-door fundraiser? (more…)
Recently the Dutch Fundraising Institute announced the winner of the second annual Young Fundraising Talent contest. You can read the essay from last year’s winner here, and below a translation of the winning essay this year, by Paulien Boone.
This year’s theme was “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” and Paulien, with her entry, has won a trip to the AFP Conference in San Antonio, Texas. We wish her luck and lots of fun!
That familiar and addictive icon popped up on my phone: new message alert. It’s from a friend I used to see nearly every day for years; when we were both students in Groningen and did everything together. We’ve been trying to connect for weeks and with no luck. We live 250 kilometers apart and don’t get to see each other so often these days. And with so much distance I don’t quite know how to begin a conversation and I default to the easy questions: “How are the kids?” and “Have you finished your thesis?” (more…)
Philanthropy as we have known it is changing. And while donors continue to focus their time and money on the causes to which they have the most personal connection, our understanding of ‘community’ has evolved so fundamentally in the wake of globalisation that one may have just as much tangible experience of a starving child a hemisphere away as of the patrons of a breadline around the corner. And yet, despite the increasing sophistication of our donor communications and marketing strategies, the security of our success as Western fundraisers is irrevocable gone. (more…)
Yeah, yeah, crowd-funding is the new big fundraising idea. Nothing new there. But I recently did something through Kickstarter. It got me thinking about why it is so exciting. It is simple, tangible, direct, involving Read more…
If I told you that you could double your digital fundraising quite easily, wouldn’t be stupid of you not to? I think everyone would agree. Yet the sorry state of affairs is this- donation forms suck, and people are not fixing them.
There is this stubborn belief in fundraising, that if someone has decided to support a charity, surely they will do so even if the donation form is a bit heavy. This is simply not true. (more…)
The closing of a year is often a reflective time, and an article that recently appeared in my Twitter feed definitely inspired me to take a step back. The piece, entitled “How Many People Died Read more…