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Isn’t it just a little too easy to opt out of charitable giving?

Surely we all want to be charitable, to make a difference with the small amount of money we can spare each month? It’s not even that it’s a selfless gift… signing-up to donate to charity on a regular basis makes us feel good and, provided it’s a cause we’re aligned to, provides a whole new area for research, reflection and discussion (who knows, we may even encourage our friends and family to commit to the cause too). (more…)

Fundraising on the edge

Just because they make verbs out of intuition and alchemy doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re about.

 

I’m sitting in a circle of nine apparently sane people at a beach resort just outside San Diego, California and I’ve just been passed the talking stick. As I grasp its fur-covered handle the eagle’s feather attached to the other end wiggles slightly, indicating that I have to speak. I’m told I have to end my thought, which I’m not allowed to prepare in advance, by saying ‘I have spoken’, to which in unison the group will respond ‘A-ho’, Native American for ‘So you have’. In the near background a barefooted guy with bells on his feet is playing a didgeridoo. These are so-called ‘wisdom circles’ and I’m in a workshop on transforming philanthropy, where on their business cards the organisers have job titles such as the questor, the integrator, the potentiator, the torchbearer and the tribal chief. Fear grips me as I grip the talking stick and wonder ‘What, in the name of sanity, am I doing here?

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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…)

Live from IFC!

 

This year a number of 101fundraising crowdbloggers are in attendance at IFC, and at this hour we are precisely halfway through the conference. Some of us have given workshops and the rest of us have followed them. We’ve laughed at the good humor of some of the excellent presenters, cried at moving examples of the best DRTV spots from around the world (the award for the best spot went to Action Against Hunger for The Share Experiment), shared a few drinks, and mostly just enjoyed the rare chance to take a break from the “to do” list and share inspiration and ideas with some of the best in our business from around the world. (more…)

Time to wake up to e-F2F

Today, all over the world, thousands of ordinary people will decide to start doing something amazing. Every month, they’ll give their hard-earned money to causes that they may never have heard of before, to help people they will never meet or protect places that they will never visit. (more…)

Due Diligence and Major Donors

The Colonel and the College

On 23rd June 2009 the governing Council of the London School of Economics (LSE)  agreed to accept a gift from a group of companies in Libya channelled via the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, controlled by Saif Gaddafi, son of Colonel Gaddafi the country’s ruler. In July 2009 LSE awarded Saif a PhD in philosophy. This story emerged in the media only after the uprising against the Gaddafi regime began in February 2011.

LSE was attacked in the UK press for having accepted the gift and the controversy grew so severe that by March 2011 the Director of the LSE resigned. The LSE Council later funded an independent enquiry led by Lord Woolf.

As Lord Woolf’s report makes clear, when the gift was being considered Libya was being seen as a potential friend by the West. The UN Arms Embargo had been lifted in 2003 and Libya was dropped from the list of “countries that sponsor terrorism” in 2007. The Colonel had met Tony Blair in 2007. By 2009, Libya was seen as progressing steadily in the right direction.

But just two years later the Colonel had become a reputational risk. The School’s reputation had been damaged, and the Director’s neck was on the block. (more…)

Are you really ready for TV fundraising?

This is just one of the questions I’ll be helping Master Class delegates to answer at the International Fundraising Congress.

If you’ve ever considered raising money through direct response television, you really need to make sure your organisation is ready for it. This was really brought home to me earlier this year, when Lucy Caldicott from CLIC Sargent explained to me the issues she’d had to think about before embarking on drtv fundraising with her cause.

So, with thanks to Lucy for the inspiration, here are some key issues for you to consider.

1. Are you televisual?

Sounds obvious really. But to work on TV you need to be able to tell your story in a way that is highly emotionally engaging. It’s not so much an appeal to the heart, head and spirit. It’s more an appeal that grabs you by the guts. Hmm, nice image.

Given the above, it’s no surprise that causes working with children and animals have a head start when it comes to drtv.

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Can Thank You Notes be BAD?

Just writing them is enough, right?

A few Sundays ago, I read an article in the Jobs section of my local newspaper, “The Journal News,”
“Don’t forget the ‘thank you.’”  The author, Susan Ricker of careerbuilder.com, was discussing the attributes of a good thank you note after a job interview and it got me thinking about our thank you notes, the ones we all write to donors, event attendees, volunteers, and colleagues inside and outside of our organizations.

Are we getting the job done? (more…)

BSC – the answer to the problem of integration

The International Fundraising Congress (IFC) is a great place to gain a whole host of ideas and inspiration. But the problem is how do you integrate these different ideas and create a joined up and understandable strategy?

For many organisations the answer is The Strategy Map and complementary Balanced Scorecard.  (We’ll call them BSC for short after this.) These are a set of contemporary planning tools created by US academics Norton and Kaplan as recently as 1992.

BSCs are now used by almost 50% of all large companies worldwide for strategy and are becoming increasingly popular among NGOs and INGOs for both service and fundraising strategy. Agencies using them for fundraising range from the giant International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to Terre des Hommes in Switzerland to a small Tanzanian health NGO, Maikanda. And this year at IFC there’s a specific session offering you an introduction to them. (more…)