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November 2013

Fundraising reading round-up

Happy thanksgiving to all my American readers and a big hello to everyone else. I hope you enjoy this week's round-up. Thanks.

Pamela Grow hosts this month's non-profit blog carnival. The subject is 'giving thanks and gratitude' and there is a fine selection of articles and ideas on improving your thanking.

Kevin takes a look at some of the Christmas appeals that have come through his letterbox or e-mail.

Simon Scriver asks if on-line fundraising is snake oil?

Wild Woman Fundraising with eleven tips on how to write an original appeal.

Lucy Gower reports on the recent Ideas Lab conference and blogs about the importance of knowing your supporters.

There's been a lot of buzz around Zoe Amar and Matt Collin's report on the top 30 charity CEO's on social media. Read Zoe's summary here.

Agents of Good argue innovation is the dirty word.

Future Fundraising Now: fundraising starts with donors.

Gary Kernahan takes a closer look at how Scottish independence might impact on your charity.

Clairification with an in-depth analysis of the excellent TED talk by Simon Sinek "Start with the why" and tips on how to apply the learning.

On 101 Fundraising Margaux Smith asks if you are ignoring those who love you most?

Charlie Hulme from Pell & Bales asks what's really offensive?

Beyond thank you letters: on a scale of 1-5 how would you rate your giving experience?

I recently moved house. One of the major hassles of the experience was contacting my bank, utility providers, insurance company etc to update my details.

I had a real mixed bag of experiences from the good to the awful, but what was uniform across the companies I contacted was that within 24 hours of interacting with them I received a phone call, text or e-mail asking me to rate the experience.

These surveys happen all the time because companies know satisfaction is one of the key drivers of loyalty, yet I have never received a similar e-mail, text or call after donating to a charity. 

In fact, in all my research across the sector the only two examples I can find of people doing anything similar is a charity using phone calls to rate face to face fundraisers and in a mystery shopping exercise to rate a phone call. Both examples were done on an ad-hoc basis and I haven't seen any evidence that these scores were then used to measure attrition or lifetime value of donors*. 

At conferences, on blogs and in the sector media we're always told how important thank you letters are (and I believe this to be the case), but we need to do much more to provide the statistically robust evidence that backs these claims up.

If we really want to measure the impact of our thank you letters and service, shouldn't we be making this type of satisfaction survey the norm?

The Agitator and Donor Voice continue to bang the drum for greater insight and understanding of donor's attitudes to increase retention. Learning from the corporate world and starting to measure the giving experience in a consistent and measurable manner might help us to increase our appalling donor retention stats as a sector.

It's only then that we'll truly know the value of a great thank you and donor experience.

*If anyone is doing such feedback measurement, then I would love to learn more and discover how you apply the learning from it. I'm guessing that those organisations doing it are so far of everyone else in terms of retention that they probably want to keep it quiet!

This post is my contribution to the November non-profit blog carnival. This month the carnival is hosted by Pamela Grow and the theme is 'How are you saying thank you?'


Fundraising reading round-up

It's only the middle of November, but Christmas is looming large on the fundraising horizon and this week has seen the first appeals of the season land on my doorstep.  It always seems a bit too early, but I've generally found the earlier the better results wise (though a nice reminder closer to the big day always helps...)

Anyway, while I dust off my santa hat and favourite knitted jumper, here's my latest reading round up. Enjoy.

Mark Phillips with a considered piece on the value of fundraising based on interruption. 

Penelope Burk on the power and profitability of thank you letters.

Sean Triner explains how to write a thank you letter.

Tips from the Fundraising Authority blog on getting a second gift.

Amanda Santer with some thoughts on lapsed donors.

The Agitator shares the experiences of Francesco Ambrogetti and friends attempts to leave a legacy or make a gift.

As a Breaking Bad fan, I couldn't resist this infographic on it's storytelling style (shared by Nancy Schwartz at Getting Attention blog).

CFRE fundraising consultant Rachel Muir explains why she loves donor cultivation events.

The Fundraising Collective with five golden rules for writing a fundraising strategy.

Pell & Bales creative direct Charlie Hulme shares more of his thoughts on stories.

Future Fundraising Now with three ways to raise funds from boomer donors.

Good Works with five tips for better legacy website copy.

According to the Veritus Group donor centred means resting your brain.

Lucy Gower says quit with the gratitude for corporate partnerships.

Also on 101 Fundraising, Matthew Sherrington explains why asking and thanking donors is all wrong.

Freakonomics share the results of a research project into motives for giving. (Spoiler: incentives and pretty canvassers boost responses and average gifts!)

Fundraising Reading Round-Up

Enjoy the latest round up of articles I've been reading in the last couple of weeks.

Some great follow up from the IFC:

Stephen Thomas share their thoughts.

Reuben Thomas from the Good Agency on  loyalty and experience.

Paul de Gregorio on 101 Fundraising picks some themes from the conference.

Pell & Bales conference round up.


Part two of Tony Elischer's article on building a new fundraising lexicon.

The Clairifcation blog host this month's nonprofit blog carnival. It has a halloween flavour and the subject is major donors.

Future Fundraising Now on surveys and why they are a pack of lies most of the time.

Three reasons you should build a market research panel.

Fundraising trainer, Rob Woods at 101 Fundraising on the smartest way to guarantee mediocre results.

The Penguin blog on the law of uninteneded consequences.

The Veritus Group on handling the fear of rejection.

Beth's blog discusses how to use design thinking to improve your nonprofit's digital strategy.

A second Rob Woods article. This time on UK Fundraising where he reviews Malcolm Gladwell's latest book and it's implication for fundraisers.

Pamela Grow shares three lessons in nonprofit storytelling.

Fundraising Coach has a guest post from Lori Jacobwith who gives us seven tips for sharing stories.