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April 2013

Quality not quantity is fundraising's greatest problem

I was going to blog about the decision of KBH Media to limit the amount of charity advertising on trains in London and the south east. However, Paul at Open beat me to it and made many of the points I was going to make.

However, there is one main observation that I would still like to share, which backs the point Charlie Hulme made on 101 Fundraising earlier this week.

Quality over quantity

For me the problem is not one of over supply, it's one of quality. As this channel is increasingly popular, it means that charities will have to work harder to stand out and innovate. What worked six months ago, may not work now.

KBH say that some charities have asked for a limit to be imposed on the number of ads per carriage. I'd wager a fair amount it is charities that have seen disappointing results and not those who have made a big success of train ads.

I've seen this first hand. With our first two attempts at train ads we got some great results. On roll-out we had a part disaster/part qualified success. I don't blame too much competition for this; I blame us for not improving between campaigns.

When fundraising fails, people normally blame external factors rather looking at the quality of their work. High quality fundraising works regardless of the competition.

Unintended consequences

What will be the impact of limiting the supply?

Based on classic economic theory, whenever you limit supply price goes up. 

KBH insist that isn't their intention, but I do worry that many smaller and medium sized charities will be squeezed out of using this medium as the big charities hoover up the capacity.

We've seen this happen with face to face fundraising with many smaller charities unable to meet supplier minimums for recruiting donors as larger charities buy up much of the capacity.

This has led to an issue of quantity over quality (with a race to the bottom on cost), which is one of the reasons for face to face has had such a bad press. It's still a great way to recruit donors, but it's becoming increasingly important to stand out and engage donors in different ways - see how Oxfam have used a bucket to improve their street results.

I hope KBH’s offer of dialogue is genuine and fundraiser’s can work together to make the most of mobile and train advertising.


Weekend Reading Round-Up

It's been a manic few weeks with having a number of new team members starting, a couple of events to attend and (seemingly) a million and one other things to do -  this means the blogging has had to take a bit of a backseat. I'm hoping next week will bring a bit more time to get back into the swing of things, in the meantime, here is the latest reading round-up. Enjoy.

Clayton Burnett have released a fantastic report called 'Great Fundraising'. You can request a copy here or read some of the key points over at the Agitator.

Another report that is worth a look is this guide to visual storytelling from Visual Story Lab.

The Clarification blog with five things to do to sustain donor relationships.

Kev on the differences between leadership and management.

Kirsty shares some of her favourite thank-you's on UK Fundraising.

Kivi with the best nonprofit videos of the past year. I think the winner is fab and worth watching.

Agents of Good ask 'Are you really social?'

Return on (fundraising) talent on 101 Fundraising.

Nonprofit storytelling: what it is and what it isn't - from Karen Zapp's blog.

Sean looks at the myth of donor fatigue.

What are the 20 best films for fundraising inspiration? Stephen George proposes some of his favourites.

Seth on branding: The brand is a story. But it is a story about you, not about the brand.

Adrian Sargeant critiques the Money for Good UK report. Great reading for anyone interested in fundraising research and an important warning about believing everything you read.

Finally, I wanted to share a new blog that may be of interest to fundraiser's in small UK charities -  Lostandfoundfundraising. This post on learning to speak to your audience has some good practical advice.

Fundraising Reading Round-Up

I hope you had a good Easter. I've been away on my hols, but had time to put together some fundraising reading for you to enjoy.

The Agitator present the 10 dumbest words used by fundraising consultants.

Good Works asks if you're still acquiring new donors?

Bacon & chocolate & nonprofit storytelling by Pamela Grow.

101 Fundraising on community fundraising.

Branding + direct response fundraising = Love, actually (HT Jeff Brooks)

The Fundraising Collective give reasons not to ask Elton John for a fiver.

Ken Burnett on the 'less cost is best' fallacy.

Queer Ideas: Give donors what they want and they will reward you.

Agents of Good with a case study with 50 things (at least) not to do in your direct mail appeal.

Karen Zapp looks at how you can improve your online thank you page.

A two parter on the power of video from Jonathon Grapsas at 101 Fundraising. Part one here.

The Donor Dreams blog discuss multi-channel fundraising approaches.

Cause 4 Opinion ask if it is time to turn CSR on it's head?

The winner's daily dozen from Tom Peters.