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February 2011

Time for another fundraising reading round up...

My post on fundraisers giving to the charity they work for prompted some great comments, Tweets and e-mails and I wanted to thank everyone who took the time to get in touch.  A really interesting debate (a good topic for a conference session?) and worth a read - even if I do say so myself!

Other articles that are worth checking out this week include:

Why techniques work in direct mail fundraising.

Mark on being local and relevant.

Advice for Good on how to attract donors without asking for money.

Bryan Miller on why he is loving the new Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior fundraising appeal.

Beth with some good tips on creating non-profit videos.

Eaon with details on an Australian bank marketing campaign that picks a fight with it's competitors.  Would a charity dare to be so bold?

The Agitator on finding stories for your fundraising.

Stephen with some interesting thoughts on legacies.

Alison explains why she loves the new Disney ads.

Lucy with some good and bad examples of customer service.

Jeff on putting your online donors into meaningful groups and donor focused copy.

Why Kevin is a proud slactivist.

101 Fundraising with some good website and donation button tips.

The 10th and 11th articles on the Science of Giving at Katya's blog.

People stories v thing stories (there is only one winner...)

David Meerman-Scott draws parallels between the uprising in Egypt and companies who ban Facebook in the workplace.

7 Deadly Sins of Business Storytelling from the authors of the Dragonfly Effect.

Chris Brogan on social media etiqutte.

This more for fellow bloggers and PR people than fundraisers, but if you've ever been sent an unsolicited and misguided pitch then you might find this interesting on the Empowered blog.



Should fundraisers give to the charity they work for?

Had an interesting debate with a friend and fellow fundraiser recently that I wanted to share.

We were talking about donating to the charity we work for.

For me, I couldn't imagine not donating to the charity I worked for.  Personally I'd find it a little bit hypocritical to ask others for money for my cause without giving myself.

My friend took a slightly different view and argued that they do extra (unpaid) hours, volunteer for the charity in their own time and so thought they already do their bit.  They argued that it's important for a fundraiser to donate to someone, but it doesn't necessarily have to be the charity you are working for.

I've previously worked with a couple of people who argued that the mere act of being a professional fundraiser negated the need to give elsewhere. They refused any request to give.  Unsurprisingly they weren't great fundraisers.

I'd be really interested to know which of the three positions you agree with and whether you donate to the charity you work for?

Has the fundraising profession failed?

It was disappointing to readthat despite the increased professionalisation of the fundraising sector over the last twenty years the percentage of household income given to charity has remained static at 0.4% of household spending.

Even more alarming, is the fact that over 65's now account for 35% of all donations, compared to just 25% in 1978. In other words, millions of non-pensioners do nothing to support good causes.

So does this mean that the fundraising profession has failed?

In one sense it has, as all the best fundraisers have managed to do is fundraise effectively for their own cause at the expense of other charities.  In effect we've just been shifting donations around rather than increasing the overall amount given.

I banged on about this last year, but reports like this show how much more needs to be done to promote donating and increasing the overall pool of philanthropic giving...


Reading Round-Up

I've just finished quite a gruelling recruitment process, but am delighted to have found a couple of talented people to join my team.  The downside is that I've had to turn down some excellent candidates, so if you are on the look out for any talented, up & coming fundraisers then let me know!

In the meantime, enjoy this week's reading round-up...

Kivi with three thank you letters she loves and adding urgency to appeals and marketing.

Good luck to 101 Fundraising who launched their crowdblog this week.  I enjoyed their first guest post on major donors.

Agents of Good on why small charities rock!

Stephne George on what makes a great fundraiser.

The second part of Kimberley's legacy fundraising masterclass.

Kev Baughen on retro marketing.  I've blogged before about how I think nostalgia is an under utilised fundraising technique.

I thought it was just me! Amanda Santer with some personal peeves that I completely agree with.

Mark summarises how to judge a fundraising letter.

Jeff on showing  donors what would happen if they didn't donate.

Tactical Philanthropy on Bill Gates' brilliant annual video.

Would any UK charities dare to try this approach to get goods for their shops?

Katya on becoming king of content.

Seth asks how you should treat your best customer?

10 cool David Oglivy quotes

Why I am loving the new Action for Children website...

I was lucky to enough to get a sneak preview of the new Action for Children website last week when their Director of Fundraising - and my old boss - Andy Harris, sent me a link and asked for my opinion.

I was really impressed and it takes the best elements of Cancer Research UK's My Projects and Care International's Lend With Care site and provides a truly donor-centred site and experience.

It's the first site I've seen from a charity working in the UK that has offered such a wide variety of projects that people can choose to fund and to promise specific feedback on that project.

It's all about connecting the donor with the beneficiaries and the site clearly shows what the donor can help achieve and promises to show them the difference they have made once the project is funded.


The other exciting part is that it promises to be a fully integrated on and off-line campaign. 

The site is being launched via direct mail, leaflets, some clever, cutting edge digital advertising and there are also plans to include corporate partners in the future.

There is also a campaigning side and they are also using Twitter/Facebook to also promote the site.

Any downside?

One of the hardest things will be delivering on the promises made.  They are going to need an excellent database and e-mail system to code everything up properly and then feedback as promised. 

There will also be pressure on the service delivery side and PR/marketing teams to generate the content needed to keep donors and the site up to date.  Knowing how large organisations work, I'm really impressed that they've already managed to get the whole charity to contribute to its launch.

The final point is how to kick start the funds.  If all the funds are at zero will donors be less inclined to give?

I'd also wager that those projects with a smaller fundraising target will attract most of the donations to begin with and giving will accelerate as projects get closer to their target.

Overall - raising the bar for personalised communications?

As you can tell, I'm impressed with the site and it will be interesting to watch how it all develops and to see how the funds donated grow.

As a donor I would like the choice and control being offered to me.  It's a great example of using the latest technology, but not forgetting the human side of things to provide a great donor experience.

The site captures lots of data - date of birth, mobile etc and I'm sure there must be plans afoot to use this to develop long term relationships.

I'm sure it will have cost a fortune, but it should secure long-term income for the charity and prove a good investment.

Does micro-giving pose a threat to genuine philanthropy?

I was reading through the latest Fundraising magazine the other day and noticed a number of new initiatives that encourage affiliate giving or micro-donations.

I’m in a bit of a quandry about such projects….

Should we be celebrating the fact that Pennies raised £39,000 in it’s first three months or be upset that it’s *only* £39,000? 

Do we risk inoculating donors against giving larger sums in the future through such schemes or does it help foster a culture of giving?

Similarily I was sent a link to a penny a day campaign for Cerebra via Ploink! – a simple and engaging idea,  but will people think they have done their bit and would they have been willing to give more if asked in the right way?

Can sites such as Give as you Live and CharityBox compete with the likes of  Greasypalm (which has returned over £22million to members) in the affiliate marketing world?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.