Saturday, June 27, 2009

Philanthrocapitalism and revolution: a controversial start to international fundraising conference

The opening session at the IWRM Conference got us off to an interesting start.

The session was a discussion entitled 'Can Philanthrocapitalism Save the World?', with four people representing Philanthrocapitalism (new word for big capitalists giving money, eg Bill Gates).

Chaired by the CEO of Resource Alliance, Lyndall Stein the four each made a short speech, pretty much agreeing with each other that the answer was no, not alone. But all agreed 'Philanthrocapitalism' (PC) was good.

Rory Tolentino, previous chair of the Ayala Foundation in the Philippines, was the last speaker who kind of agreed with the others.

But after a discussion about PCs needing to work and help create societal change, rather than just throwing money at the problem Rory piped up again.

She starting by talking about 'the elephant in the room' and went on to say '...but when it comes to transforming society it requires steps uncomfortable to Philanthrocapitalists... for example, looking at the distribution of wealth...what we need is a revolution...without bloodshed but we do need revolution.'

I gotta say, I was bowled over. A call for revolution - a member of the board of the Resource Alliance pointing out that philanthropy was pretty much wallpapering over the cracks.

Personally, I will still continue to wallpaper but I did feel pretty challenged - it is hard to argue against her point!

As well as Rory, the panel consisted of:
  • Rohini Nilekani, an Indian woman representing Infosys - which brands itself as an ethical capitalist company and had donated the venue.
  • Elizabeth Edwards, from Australia and CEO of The Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund.
  • Pesh Framjee, head of the non profit unit at accountants Horwarth Clark Whitehill in the UK.

Friday, June 26, 2009

International Fund for Red Cross appeal

Gurpreet Kaur, the author of this letter, had never written a fundraising letter before. She works at International Federation for Red Cross and Red Cresecent Societies. Along with 13 other fundraisers from seven other charities she went on a crash course on how to write a direct mail letter in one day.

This is her first draft - and it is brilliant. It needs a bit of editing but is still pretty darn good. I think this could be the start of a new way of running fundraising conference workshops...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Eight mailpacks in one day

Well, we pulled it off. A bit wobbly when trying to explain a strategic brief, but overall Anup Tiwari of UNICEF India and myself managed to squeeze eight direct mail letters out of people that had never done anything like this before. We even had field workers from Red Cross and UNICEF producing direct mail packs.

We ran a one day workshop at the International Workshop for Resource Mobilisation (basically, THE international fundraising conference for the Global South).

Charities from S Korea, Thailand, Kenya, Indonesia and India worked together to produce the main element for a direct mail pack - the letter.

Right at the end, participants read their letters out to unanimous approval. They were amazing.

I am going to get some of the letters up on this blog when they email them to me, so check this out later.


Produce DM packs in six hours...

I am just about to begin a session with Anup Tiwari of UNICEF India where we are going to try and work with 14 fundraisers to produce half a dozen actual mail packs in a single day workshop.

A lot of preparation, including a webinar, templates and the charities preparing case studies has occurred, but today we actually plunge in and train people to pull together a pack.

The webinar explained how important stories are, and how to go about getting your story.

You can watch the Webinar until the end of the month by downloading this file.

We thought this was a brand new approach to training at a conference, but apparantly a USA conference tried this 20 years ago. So this will be the first time with charities from the global south!

Watch this space - chances are we may be falling flat on our faces...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pareto Squared

Paul and I called our companies after Vilfredo Pareto because Pareto noticed a mathematical phenomena know as the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule.

He deduced that 80% of the land of Italy was owned by just 20% of the population.

Put another way, a minority of inputs is usually reponsible for the majority of outcomes in a data-set.

On a social justice level, less than 10% of the world's population own over 90% of wealth. Less than 20% of the population have access to over 80% of the world's food, medicine, computer power and more. Our businesses are trying to do a bit to change that.

On the other hand, from a marketing point of view, 80% of your trade usually comes from just 20% of your customers. On larger data sets it seems to get really close to 80/20. We compared data from 23 charities in Australia and together, 80% of their income came from just 19.4% of their donors.

This got me thinking - on a large enough data set, would the principle work twice?

So, if 20% of my donors give 80% of funds, would 20% of those donors give 80% of that money.

For example, I raise $1,000,000 from 10,000 donors.

$800,000 comes from 2,000 donors.

But does at least $640,000 (80% of $800,000) come from 400 or less donors (20% of 2,000)?

The answer, across most of the charities I have worked with is yes. I imagine this will apply to many non-charities too.

This is very, very important. It means that much more than half (80% of 80% = 64%) of a typical charities donations will come from just 4% of donors (20% of 20% = 4%).

I call this Pareto Squared..

To see this in action, look at this blog which tells you how to boost your mailing income by applying this principle post mailing.

Disaster Fundraising Guide download it here