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November 2011

Why do mystery shopping results always shame fundraisers?

Last week I had the pleasure of listening to Mark Phillips and Damian O'Broin present the results of a mystery shopping exercise they've recently undertaken in the UK, Ireland, U.S.A, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

I'm sure they will be blogging about the results in due course and I don't want to steal their thunder, but if you've ever read any fundraising mystery shopping survey, then you can probably guess the results.

With a few notable exceptions most charities they tested are lousy at thanking, welcoming and keeping in touch with donors.

As a profession it simply isn't good enough and the end result is that it costs more and more to recruit new donors, people get fed up with giving and fundraisers get tarred with the same brush as banks and utility companies in the bad service stakes.

We owe it our beneficiaries and our profession to be better than that, so ask yourself - if my team was mystery shopped how would we do?  If it's anything less than first class, then you have a duty to make things better.  Starting now.

So while the bad practices of others gives an opportunity to impress donors with our competence and personalisation, it is only a small consolation. 

Wouldn't it be great if next time one of these mystery shopping exercises is completed people are wowed into saying what a good service we are providing as a profession... 

 07/12/11: Update

Mark and Damian have the following posts up about the research:

Online donors have letter boxes too

Who sends your emails?

Seeing what the donors sees

Weekend Fundraising Round-Up

Thanks to everyone who entered my competition to win tickets to this week's IoF London Conference.  Congratulations to Vasileios and Helen.  I'll be writing up some thoughts on the conference next week.

In the meantime, here are some of the articles that have caught my eye recently...

Kimberley goes for a walk in the mountains and meets a great fundraiser

Mark makes the case against the case for support.

Dear Joan on saying thank you.

Karen with some tips on thanking as well.

Aline on personalisation and showing donors love.

Kevin on effective fundraising and marketing.

Agents for Good stand up for donors.

Paul with a moo-ving Facebook campaign.

Beth with a case study on how the Humane Society of the US use their 1 million Facebook fans.

The Agitator asks if your donors would miss you?

A Twitter PR disaster from Quantas to learn from.  Articles by Eaon and Web Ink Now.

Competition: Free #IoFLondon Conference Passes

I'm delighted to be able to offer some free day passes to the IoF London Conference next week, courtesy of the Institute of Fundraising London Region.

To put your name forward simply do one of the following:

All names will be put in a random draw and the winners will be announced on Friday 18 November at noon.

Tickets are for a one day pass to either day of the conference.

VIP Draw - Two Day Pass Prize

To win a two-day pass we want to work you a bit harder, so we’ll award the prize to the person who comes up with the best answer (as judged by myself and IoF London Committee Member Kathy Allen - @kathyallen) to the following question:

Which session would you most like to attend and why? 

Answers can be serious, amusing, in-depth or just downright silly.  You can find a full conference programme here.

Again, you can enter in one of three ways:

  • Add your answer to the comments below
  • Tweet it to @ioflondon
  • E-mail me at craig[at]

Three reasons to attend

Even if you don’t win then you can still get tickets for the event and here are three reasons it will be worth your while attending:

  1. It is a general conference and so there are sessions covering all aspects of fundraising.  Most one day conferences specialise in one area, which can give a narrow focus, but here you can improve your all round fundraising skills.  Great for Heads of Fundraising (or aspiring ones!)

  2. There are some top speakers to learn from including Alan Clayton, Mark Phillips, Damian O’Broin and Howard Lake. There is also a good mix of workshops, presentations and plenaries.

  3. Great value for money.  With day rates from £65, the conference offers an affordable training and development opportunity for charities of all sizes and budgets.

Fundraising Reading Round-Up

Time for another round-up of articles that have caught my eye lately. Enjoy.

I've enjoyed reading Blackbaud and Adrian Sargeant's report on growing philanthropy in the U.S.  It's been featured on a few blogs, but this comprehensive summary on the Agitator is my favourite.

Katya on the importance of focus and another great post on 7 surprising brain tricks you can use.

Stephen George with seven lessons from a door to door collection.

Alan Sharpe on direct mail v e-mail.

Paul on video and mobile.

101 Fundraising on measuring lifetime value.

Advice for Good on the growth of Movember.

Karen Zapp on fundraising silver bullets.

Pamela's one secret to winning foundation grants.

Jeff on when editing your copy makes it worse.

Kevin on charity fundraising and marketing truths (or not).  I'm currently reading Drayton's book on direct marketing, so enjoyed this.

Ask Direct have been doing some mystery shopping.  They'll announce the results soon, but this post gives you a taster...

Beth on Giving 2.0 and empowering your charity champions.

p.s. ten top tips for writing the perfect p.s. from Dear Joan.

8 things you can learn from the $300,000 fundraising t-shirt

$300,000 TShirt

The $300,000 t-shirt - buy it and you'll pay for a cargo flight for UNICEF

I thought this fundraising campaign between UNICEF and Threadless was fantastic when I saw it last week and had it down to blog about it.  They've produced 12 t-shirts with various prices so people of all means can donate.

Before I got round to it, Andy Sernovitz has produced this great post on why the campaign is worth talking about.

He's come up with eight lessons you can learn from the campaign and apply in your organisation.

1. Make it outrageous
2. Make it easy to participate
3. Make it interesting for big talkers
4. Make it naturally viral
5. Make it match your core business
6. Make it fun
7. Make it forwardable
8. Make it 100%

Thanks for doing my work for me Andy!  It will be interesting to see if anyone buys the $300,000 t-shirt...