Saturday, November 29, 2008

SOFII Saturday Showcase VI: Bringing the sense of touch to fundraising

UK agency bluefrog are well know for their brilliant creativity. One of their clients Sense, who work with deaf and blind kids, use face-to-face (direct dialogue) to recruit regular givers. bluefrog worked with Sense to find a way for strangers to identify with the kids and motivate them to decide to help Sense.

Tim Longfoot, then a bluefrog director (now a director of Open) worked with a specialist face-to-face fundraising agency, Gift, and Sense to develop a unique approach to direct dialogue.

Close your eyes and just think for a moment about kids who are deaf and blind. How can you make that positive? It’s a tough cause, and quite difficult to put across in print.

Tim reckoned face-to-face was ideal. ‘Imagine the isolated world of a deaf/blind child…’ says Tim ‘Yet the most amazing things can be done to reach these children, with Sense’s help. Our fundraisers are trained to show this to potential donors in the most dramatic and involving way.’

How did they do this? When a passer-by is prepared to stop and listen, there and then on the pavement the fundraiser will create for them the imaginary silent world of a deaf/blind child. In one hand the fundraiser holds a length of chain, in the other a piece of soft cloth. ‘Touch is crucial communication for a deaf/blind child’ explains Tim. ‘We ask our potential donor to close her or his eyes and grasp the chain in their hand. They imagine the chain is from a child’s swing and can see immediately the pleasure of a child holding such a simple gift; how it reaches in to the child’s silent world. The piece of cloth represents the mother’s sleeve as she adopts the open-armed greeting that for these children symbolises ‘love’. In this simple, involving way people are able to touch and feel what it means to be a child with neither sound nor vision. Often, they are touched by this experience and many willingly agree to help.

Sign up through the SOFII home page and search for Sense to see the whole exhibit.

Sean Triner

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Superb use of personalisation - in a video

I loved this. It is out of date now, but just type in your name in the 'count me in' box and think of the possibilities for your organisation.


Monday, November 24, 2008

My definitive tips for any fundraiser

I often get asked '...please can you help my fundraising' from very small, brilliant organisations who simply haven't got a clue where to start.

It is really hard to know where to start, so I am posting the top ten tips for any organisation considering whether to fundraise, based on an answer I gave on the Resource Alliance's Ask the Guru section.

There is a lot of information, so I am going to blog ten short blogs on each of these points:
  1. Mission Clarity has already been posted

  2. Board commitment / understanding

  3. Government

  4. Trusts and Foundations

  5. Corporate Fundraising

  6. Fundraising Events

  7. The biggest growth is from individuals

  8. Regular giving / monthly giving / direct debit

  9. Major donors and legacies

  10. Non fundraising fundraising
It would be really good to get lots of comments on them as we go.

In the meantime, visit Resource Alliance's Ask the Guru section where US fundraiser Jennie Thompson is guru for November - post a question to her now!

Sean Triner

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fundraising Basics: 1 - Clarity of Mission

First part of a series for small organisations, and those new to fundraising.

Mission Clarity

You really need to understand your work. Why you are doing what you are doing, prove you are best placed, why are you not collaborating with others? What is your IMPACT or what are your OUTCOMES. Most charities measure outputs, but you really need to understand the actual difference your charity makes.

Outputs are the result the actions you are able to do, for example – distribute 500 mosquito nets. The outcome of your actions is about why. In this case, following distribution of the 500 nets, malaria was reduced in the village from 193 cases per annum to 27.

Before you do anything in terms of fundraising - before you work on a strategy, hire a fundraiser or spend a dollar make sure you take time to have your mission written and understood clearly.

Sean Triner

Saturday, November 22, 2008

SOFII Saturday Showcase V: The essential foundations of fundraising

As well as exhibits like last weeks, SOFII also includes pearls of wisdom from lots of different fundraisers in its 'Top Tips from Leading Fundraisers' section.

Ken Burnett, founder of SOFII tells us his 'Essential Foundations of Fundraising' which is a list of 29 'basic principles of our trade' ripped out from his book, Relationship Fundraising.

Here are a few to whet your appetite:

7. Fundraising is about needs as well as achievements. People applaud achievement, but will give to meet a need.

14. You don’t get if you don’t ask. Know whom to ask, how much to ask for, and when.

16. Successful fundraising involves storytelling. Fundraisers have great stories to tell and need to tell them with pace and passion so as to inspire action.

21. Great fundraising is getting great results. If your results are mediocre, your fundraising probably is too.

29. Always say ‘thank you’, properly and often. It’s also a good idea to be brilliant at saying ‘welcome!’.

Ken reckons you should click on his list, print it out and stick it above your monitor. Not a bad idea. Sign up to SOFII and search for 'Essential Foundations' to get the full list.

Relationship Fundraising by Ken Burnett, published © 2002 by Jossey-Bass Inc.

Sean Triner

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Top tips for lottery donors

I don't know whether to be pleased or not, but my last blog with a video of me making a fool of myself doing stand up comedy (lots of swearing be wary before watching) is my record viewed blog. So let's bring you back to earth with some fundraising tips.

Just recently I was asked about 'what next' with lottery donors (based on a telephone operation selling lottery tickets over the phone. Here are my top tips.

My top tips on phone-based lotteries: Things are different in different places, but please don’t reject any of these or assume they are your magic pill – just TEST them. One of the best things about lotteries is that they are really easy to test on.
  1. Double dip. Call your best lottery donors first, then right at the end of the lottery period, shortly before the draw ring them again to offer the extra special chance of another go.
  2. Automatic entry. Get people on a monthly debit that gets them x number of entries PLUS gets them into an exclusive free annual lottery eligible only to such donors (in most countries you can’t discount ticket prices, but can have another draw). This is effectively Regular Giving for lottery donors.
  3. Ask for tips. During the lottery, put more emphasis than normal on your mission with your best prospects – and ask for a donation tip. The 3-10% that do become better prospects for RG calls
  4. Ring to get cash donations. Shortly after a lottery, you can use the phone to ask specifically for a donation. It won’t do as well as a pure lottery call but
    a. Creates a donor pool – sorts out ‘donors’ from ‘gamblers’
    b. Doesn’t harm subsequent lottery calls (if done well)
    c. Another filter for regular giving calls
  5. Ring to get regular gifts – better long term than cash donations
    a. Expect 3-10%; better than cold calling
    b. Will INCREASE people’s chance of taking part in a lottery if done well – even on ‘failed sales’

Hope that was useful, if not as funny.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Comedy and learning

I do a lot or presenting at conferences and the like. Of course much of this is about ego, being centre of attention, narcissism etc but I really genuinely want to give away my secrets. However, I do know that telling people stuff is not the right way to train or coach them - you need to engage them too.

In recent years, I have been trying to improve Pareto masterclasses and presentations by introducing 'Made to Stick' techniques into training. Lots of exercises, getting people to write stuff down etc.

However, in Washington this (northern) summer I did a presentation called 'Mythbusters' about fundraising myths with a new spin, I deliberately tried to make it funny. It seemed to work; got great 'marks'*, but also people I spoke to seemed to really take on some of the key points.

The highlight for me was seeing guru and friend Mal Warwick bent over double from laughing.

It got me thinking though, so I went on a stand up comedy course to try and improve engagement and learning. Graduation from the course, was a short stand up show at a comedy club, which you can watch if you want.

I can tell you though, if you do do any public speaking this course will help you. Not just for how to contruct funny stories or jokes but also the whole nerves / preparation / bright lights thing. Go on, give it a go.

So, the comedy course graduation was at a comedy club. I was one of five students and there were three 'real' comedians along, and my colleague Justine recorded a video of it.

You can see it here on You Tube if you like and if you do, I hope you enjoy the video. But, please DO NOT WATCH IT if you don't like swearwords - it is classic stand up and has nothing to do with fundraising, charities or social justice and is pretty rude.

(TIP: Press play, then pause and wait two or three minutes for the whole video to 'buffer' before pressing play again).

* For some thoughts about conference scoring, check out this blog.

(c) Pareto Fundraising 2008, All Rights Reserved

Saturday, November 15, 2008

SOFII Saturday Showcase IV: CCIA bequest pack

One of the great things about SOFII is the fact that the whole packages are often exhibited, sometimes - as with th LM38, 'Children’s Cancer Institute Australia bequest conversion pack'.

It is a great 'bequest conversion pack' for CCIA. It shows why SOFII is so great for you too; you can download and see the whole pack.

Yes, kids with cancer is a a great proposition, but the same tactics and ideas have worked for other charities just as effectively so don't be afraid of trying.

And the agency that did this piece is truly amazing - they get consistently fantasic results for many Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and Hong Kong charities - check out Pareto Fundraising's website for more information!

To see the whole exhibit, sign up for SOFII and search for CCIA.

Sean Triner (um, director at Pareto Fundraising in case you didn't spot the bias).

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Black swans, gamblers and selling

Wow, what a week. I have had three full day courses in one week and am immersed in a book teaching me about unpredictability. There is a reason I call myself 'Sean is always learning'.

One of the three courses was actually sales training which we had in-house. More about that later.

Within the book, Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, there is this bit about beginners luck. All gamblers - ie people who gamble regularly, and have being doing so for some time - believe in beginners luck. They remember it fondly because, with few exceptions, they seemed to do better when they started.

Nassim explains that this idea that they did better in the early days is probably true. The reason being, those who didn't do well in their first days of gambling are much less likely to be gambling years later than those who did well. If you lost straight away, you would be more likely to give up.

It is almost like natural selection, but actually more 'random' selection.

Now, Pareto Phoneand Pareto Fundraising exist to help charities raise more money and we are pretty damn good at it. And Paul Roberts and I set the up to genuinely help charities. I am very passionate about this, and very keen to help them.

Consequently my sales 'technique' has been very forthright. Very quickly in a relationship with someone from a charity I start telling them how we can help. A poor victim of this approach from UNICEF sat next to me at dinner at IFC two weeks ago, and has probably not recovered since.

I am very passionate about it, and have the evidence to back it up - and when the charity agrees to work with us they find out it was true. I am also impatient, and really believe that by not persuading the charity to make as much money as possible (ie hire Pareto) I am letting the charity's beneficiaries down!

This 'full-on' approach has served us well in that most of the charities we have long term relationships with were brought together with us following such a meeting. So, when looking at the best sales 'technique' it is easy for me to say 'Well, being honest upfront and presenting our credentials / ideas has worked in the past - so this is how we should do it in the future'.

Hopefully you can see the flaw in this thinking. It is identical to the gambler's mistake. The gambler doesn't see that some people didn't have beginners luck - because they are no longer there.

The absence of contrary evidence leads the gambler to the wrong assumption. All the gamblers he or she knows also had beginners luck.

So, for Pareto we don't see all the charities we don't work with - and we don't have the same evidence of how they didn't become partners. So my theory (carrying on doing it the same way) is clearly flawed. Of course the answer is to have more than one approach. Luckily, the new boss of Pareto Fundraising (Martin Paul) is Ying to my Yang so that should be right.

Looking at charities - or other businesses, it is easy to see the same pattern emerging. A charity that has done well from lottery fundraising, or a technique based around corporate fundraising will find it really hard to see what it is not doing.

This is brilliant, mind expanding stuff which is going to have profound impact on my approach and therefore allow me to help more charities (through Pareto companies).

I can't resist though, we do pretty much double charity appeal income within 12 months so if you want... ow, Martin leave me alone!

Check out the book for a better explanation.

Sean Triner

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Make your story personal

Who is Anne Nixon-Cooper? A 106 year old Atlantan. When she was born she couldn't look forward to voting because she was a she, and because of the colour of her skin.

Wow, good on ya Obama! Gets a personal story into his acceptance speech. The power of the story - it is what I will remember about this moment: the story of that single voter.

We know that in our appeals and mailings - anything where we are trying to get people involved emotionally - we should personalise the story. I was amazed to see the new American President get such a story in his speech.


Where were you when Obama won the election?

I am in my hotel room, watching on TV with a bottle of bubbly in the fridge. I took the day off for this moment! And I will remember it for the rest of my life.

It is fantastic news that the Republicans have been booted out of the Whitehouse, and likely that we will have a friendly Congress.

Why is this good news? We have a President of the worlds biggest polluter, and the country which - until Bush with his oil pals came along - was leading action on climate change.

Even though McCain was saying some good things about climate change, the fact is that we lost eight crucial years in fighting climate change under his party and he is so disproportionally funded by the biggest polluters he would have struggled to put in real change.

Obama's fundraising income coming from so many people empowers him to make real decisions, and with a friendly congress we can hope he will use this power for tackling climate change.

OK, he will be acting for America but there is little we can do here in Australia about climate change - China and India are not going to swayed by us, but America can really lead the way.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, security issues and the economy are almost irrelevant compared to the long term impact of climate change. This recession would be insignicant compared to what is going to happen to civilisation in a hotter, hungry, less watered world - except the fact that it may effect how much we invest in combatting climate change.

Now is a time we can hope - if America leads the way on climate change (again) our future civilisation has more chance of surviving.

Check out Climate Wars by Gwynne Dyer. Fantastic (but scary) book.

Sean is hoping

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Me, funny?

Pressure is on. I am in the middle of a stand up comedian course and by writing this blog I am making a scary commitment.

I finish the course next Saturday and then I do my own stand up show. It will be on 17th November, in Sydney. So, if you are in Australia and nothing else to do except come and take the piss out of me, then please come along!

I have seven minutes to present my routine. There will three or four of my fellow students and two professional comedians along to save the night too. It is $12 and kicks off at 730pm sharp. At only seven minutes, don't be late or you will miss me as I hope to be up first.

What: I humilate myself as a stand-up comedian
Where: The Roxbury Hotel182 St Johns Rd, Glebe, NSW 2037, (02) 9692 0822. Just off Glebe Point Road.
When: Monday 17 November, 730pm (sharp!)

Check out Comedy at the Rox (we are not listed as this is a private function, invitation only - just mention my name and it will OK to come in ;)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

SOFII Saturday Showcase II: Bob Monkhouse from beyond the grave

Bob Monkhouse. Brits aged 30-100 will be familiar with him. Maybe a few young 'uns and a few foreigners too.

Bob was pretty funny, if pretty mainstream. But he is being funny now, despite being dead, in his latest campaign for prostate Cancer.

Here he is, pointing out how he doesn't want you to die like him.

Visit SOFII for more on this campaign (search for MM199), and tons more brilliant ideas to nick to make more money for your cause. The Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration.

Sean Triner
Disaster Fundraising Guide download it here