Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fundraising Basics: 6 - Fundraising events

Fundraising events
As an ex events fundraiser, I used to love it - but the bottom line is that for most charities, fundraising events are useful tactical boosters but there are much easier ways to get long term strategic growth.

There are rare, superb examples of events that work, like Australia's Biggest Morning Tea put on by the Cancer Council in Australia, and the Race For Life another big cancer charity event.

Some charities have grown through events and it is interesting to note that the most successful tend to be direct marketed events like the two above.

My company, Pareto Fundraising, is doing a lot to make events work even better and be more effective for our clients, but when you look at where growth is coming from across the sector in every country I have worked in or researched, it ain’t events.

Sean Triner

Saturday, December 27, 2008

SOFII Saturday Showcase X: Giving Scotland

With donations at an all time low, agencies and companies worked together in this campaign, led by Fiona Duncan of Think Consulting. For more exhibits like this, check out SOFII, register and search for 'Giving Scotland' for more information about this campaign.

Oh, and Happy new year!

Sean Triner

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas if you are celebrating today! I hope you have a wonderful one.

I am hopefully enjoying my holiday in South Africa right now, but looking forward to more blogging in the new year.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Sean Triner

Saturday, December 20, 2008

SOFII Saturday Showcase IX: Polish scouts

Every taxpayer in Poland is entitled to choose a non-governmental organisation that can benefit from one per cent of his or her personal income tax.

How cool is that!?
Well, pretty cool, except charities still have to compete to get people to choose them.
Check out the Polish Scouts exhibit on SOFII (register then search for MM51 or Polish Scouts).
Oh, and for those who will be celebrating Christmas - Happy Christmas! Happy holidays for those who have a holiday and, well, all the best to the rest of you.

Sean Triner

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fundraising Basics: 5 - Corporate fundraising

Corporate fundraising
Often very tempting, and for those without data seems to be the obvious place to go next. But corporates contribute around 5% of total (non-government) fundraised income in most of the mature fundraising markets and are very, very hard work.

A recession doesn't help, with Australian data showing corporates slashing their charity budgets.

But for small charities, local small and medium sized private businesses can be a saviour.

Overall, generally speaking corporates are NOT a good source for most charities to achieve strategic growth.

For more on this see The Inconvient Truth of Corporate Fundraising.

Sean Triner

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fundraisers - Free money!

Following my blog last week, please get on the phone this week to your donors one night this week.

Look at my previous blog 'Urgent - fundraisers, read this and act!' below for instructions.

In it you will see I say that many potential donors intend to give but don't get around to it. Well I know of lots of fundraisers that intend to call their donors but don't get around to it.

Just by calling your top donors this week, you can have some lovely conversations and add a wad of cash to your bottom line.

Please call them, please - it will make extra money and is a high yield activity.

Happy holidays!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

SOFII Saturday Showcase VIII: Bollocks to Poverty

It's just silly, but I actually felt good when 'Bollocks to Poverty' inspired 'Dave' and 'Ricky' to break the world air guitar record.

SOFII features video content and more information about Action Aid's Bollocks to Poverty campaign aimed at motivating British youth. It is cool. Now let's rock.

Check out more multi-media fundraising ideas like this on SOFII.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fundraising Basics: 4 - Trusts and Foundations

The 'easiest' source of funding is trusts and foundations.

The economic downturn won't be especially helpful on this front, since many trusts make their money from investments.

There are huge obvious ones like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation but most are smaller. Although in most countries there is not as much money and less growth than fundraising from individuals, the good thing about trusts and foundations is that they exist to give money to charities.

They are only there to give you money - if you meet their criteria and they have enough. There are lots of resources to find out where they are for example, The Directory of Social Change in the UK. If you know of any foreign trust directories, please post a comment below for other people.


Sean Triner

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fundraising Basics: 3 - Government


In most countries, the biggest 'donor' worldwide is government. Local, Federal/National, International, EU, UN etc.

Whatever you are doing, research whether you want, and whether you can get, government money. Here are some development examples.

Canadian International Development Agency
The Swedish International Development Corporation Agency's (SIDA)
Norad (Norway)
Finland's Ministry for Foreign Affairs Development Cooperation
Irish Aid
Ausaid (Australia)
UN Development Program

There are very likely to be local funding opportunities from your own Government too - but try and use your imagination to go beyond the obvious.

Sean Triner

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Urgent - fundraisers, read this and act!

This multiple bullet point plan is for all fundraisers who work in countries that celebrate Christmas and have a holiday or Christmas appeal mailing (or emailing) out there.

Regardless of how the appeal is doing, follow these simple tips and you will add 5% to 40% onto your income - extra money for helping beneficiaries in 2009.

There is a barrier though, and a difficult one for most fundraisers. You need to talk to some donors - I mean actually speak with them. But the telephone gives us one of the most powerful fundraising tools ever.

This plan is built on three premises:

  1. The Pareto Principle. 80% of your appeal income is likely to come from just 20% of your donors. And over 50% is likely to come from just 5% of your donors.

  2. Your past donors are lovely people, who care a lot about you and they like to be thanked and appreciated.

  3. Inertia. More donors intend to give that actually give. After receiving your mailing they may become distracted or forget - they simply don't get around to it.
Here is the plan:
Part I: Immediate action required

  1. Organise a team of people (if you can't get anyone else, still crack on with it yourself) and invite them for one or two evenings next week to stay late (or come in late) and join you from about 5pm to 8pm. The team does not have to just be fundraisers, get CEO, board members, sevice providers, your mum and their mums.

  2. Organise pizza / curry / snacks / drinks / treats / nice things for the evenings that have been agreed
Part II: Next week - preparation

  1. Do a selection from your database of people that were mailed. Use this criteria:
    - Gave last Christmas, but not this Christmas
    - They have a phone number, and have not forbidden you from calling

  2. 'Rank' them by size of gift last Christmas

  3. Print out the list, in order, of the top 200. Make sure you include in the printout any additional donations made by each of those donors in 2008

Part III: Next week - the brief

Brief your team (or if by yourself, use a mirror) on the following

  1. The three premises above (Pareto Principle, donors are nice, and more intend to give than actually give)

  2. The fact that we are now going to call all the best donors that gave last Christmas, but not this Christmas.

    In the call you need to get across these points:

  1. Thank you. You are wonderful. Your most recent gift of x was really appreciated.

  2. A short story about someone or something that benefited from their last gift NOT statistics, but an actual story and preferable in first person. "I met a young man with cancer called Phillipe and this is what it meant to him" is better than "Let me tell you about a young man with cancer called Phillipe and..." but the latter is better than statistics. If you are not a people charity, then use your imagination but talk about the beneficiary of their donation.

  3. Ask them if they recall your Christmas appeal sent recently.

  4. Remind them about the case study in the appeal (if there wasn't a case study, there should have been so you really need to do these calls right now - and you need to hire someone who can make sure next appeal has one).

  5. Ask them what they thought about the appeal, if they read it.

  6. Ask them if they were going to donate (nearly all will say they intend or intended to) - if they say they have already given, thank them and tell them you will look out for it.

  7. If they don't say they have already donated, then thank them and tell them that you can take the donation by credit card now on the phone if convenient. Most will decline.

  8. Obviously, if they say OK, process the donation but for those who don't pay by credit card don't worry, just say you will look out for their donation.

  9. Sit back and wait for a big boost to your response rate and average donation from your best donors.

  10. The best, long term thinking strategic fundraisers will then call donors again when they receive the donation.
To hear how a call can and should be done, click on the video link below.

Happy Christmas!

Sean Triner

Saturday, December 6, 2008

SOFII Saturday Showcase VII: White papers and working groups

Another feature of SOFII is the 'Top Tips from Leading Fundraisers' bit.

Gordon Michie from Relationship Marketing wrote a whitepaper all about Stewardship, available on SOFII.

In it he covers all sorts of things about what is stewardship, differences between UK and US definitions, barriers to adoption and what happens next.

In a tremendously exciting climax, the white paper concludes by calling on the Institute of Fundraising to set up a working party to develop a code of practice on fundraising stewardship.

If working parties and White Papers float your boat, I am sorry - there are not too many of them on SOFII. But there are tons of great exhibits, and Gordon's Stewardship paper is useful for fundraisers either side of the pond - and beyond UK/USA too.

To find it on SOFII, register and search for Gordon Michie.

Sean Triner

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fundraising Basics: 2 - Board Commitment

Board commitment / understanding

A board that doesn't understand fundraising will cripple you.

There is no point embarking on a fundraising strategy without some fundamental basics.
  1. Fundraising is expensive. The the most important variable for how much a charity raises is how much it spends.
  2. Most fundraised income in most countries comes from donations from individuals.
  3. It can take well over a year to generate net contribution - ie income you spend on services - from most fundraising programs.
  4. Fundraising works best when there is a clear need, and your organisation is good at addressing that need.
  5. Fundraising works best when you are able to demonstrate that need and ASK the prospect to help. Hinting, or implying they should help does not work as well as asking. "Please, send $50 to reach me by 20 January so that I can..." is a proper ask.
  6. There is no room for hope or luck in fundraising. Plan and make things happen - including making sure the ask happens.
  7. Skimping on expenditure usually holds things back - just like anything in life, you get what you pay for. It is more expensive to get an experienced fundraiser than an enthusiastic new graduate, but the time taken training the new person will cost you more in lost opportunity than paying for a more expensive person. The same goes for volunteers. Asking volunteers to be in charge of your fundraising, is like asking a volunteer to be a pilot. It is cheaper but I wouldn't want to be on that plane.
  8. The board should set key measures and delegate authority to the fundraiser. They should not interfere in day to day decisions, writing copy, discussing design etc, this is not the job of the board.
  9. If board members are not prepared to ask people for money, they have to let their staff do it without interference.
  10. Net income is more important than cost of fundraising.
  11. There is no magic pill. It is not easy!
Even though it was produced in response to fundraising in difficult economic times, my whitepaper illustrating the top tips for fundraising in a recession is a useful paper to give boards as a bit of a reality check for fundraising in general. It can be requested by signing up on our website here.

Sean Triner

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ask the digital guru

This month the Resource Alliance has Marcelo Iniarra as guru of the month.

Marcelo is a genius, so make sure you take this opportunity to ask him a question, and flick through others questions.

Although well known for his digital work with charities, he is an amazing innovator beyond digital media and a great communicator.

Don't miss the opportunity to tap his brain. Click here to get to the website.

Sean Triner
Disaster Fundraising Guide download it here