Monday, May 24, 2010

The importance of good writing

I have been asked to blog about a new post at Pareto Fundraising, to try and get the word out that we are recruiting, and hopefully interest you. But I also want to make my blog useful to people who may not be interested in applying, so here is my cheeky "not just a blatant ad blog."

Inspired by Anne Holland's Which Test Won I thought it would be useful to show you a standard ad and compare it with a much more thought through ad - using fundraising copy techniques such as being personal, inviting, easier to read and more interesting.

Unlike Which Test Won, I can't give you a definitive answer on the more successful one since we are just running the second one. Your feedback still welcome though!

AD One

We are an award winning data-led fundraising and communications agency dedicated to the not-for-profit
sector. Exciting growth and continuous success with our clients has resulted in us creating this new senior management role.

Is it the right job for you?

Reporting to the CEO, you will:

  • Have the opportunity to manage the teams that are growing income and strengthening supporter relationships for many of the world’s best-run causes
  • Help to ensure that we’re always giving our best and only accepting startlingly good results
  • Spend valuable time with our charity clients, ensuring that we truly understand their needs and how best we can meet them
  • Be rewarded well, materially and emotionally.
Are you just right for it?

You will need to be a senior fundraising professional with ten years relevant experience, a proven track record in directing and inspiring a diverse range of staff, the skill to negotiate and influence at all levels, and the ability to be the new fundraising face of our innovative and groundbreaking company.

Our staff are some of the most talented, committed and hardest-working people you’ll find anywhere. They all get a kick out of getting great results for great causes, because Pareto Fundraising’s mission is nothing less than to change the world.

To apply, email your cover letter addressing the selection criteria and your CV as well as an application coversheet to

Go to for the selection criteria, application coversheet and job description.

Applications close Friday 18th June 2010.


  • Senior role in international Fundraising and Communications Agency
  • High profile not-for-profit clients
  • Sydney Central location
  • Six figure salary
I need your help.

I need to find the right person for a new and critical role within Pareto Fundraising.

It’s a role that will ensure we do the very best for our clients and will drive great fundraising results for some of the most important charities in Australia and New Zealand for years to come.

If you are a senior fundraising professional keen on furthering your career in fundraising and direct marketing, challenging the status quo, and most importantly making a real difference to the world – then come and meet me. If this role isn’t for you – but you know who it’s for – have them meet me.

We are a team of dedicated professionals working together to help charities achieve outstanding results from their fundraising. I’m proud that our help has enabled these charities to raise record-breaking amounts for their beneficiaries. Now, following our growth and success, we need an expert fundraiser who is also a brilliant manager to help us lift our service level yet again.

This is a very senior role in Pareto Fundraising, reporting to me and managing the entire client service team. You will inspire great people to achieve their best ever work for wonderful causes and you will help charities across Australia and New Zealand.

It is a brilliant job. But it is challenging. To do such a big job you need to be mentally tough, analytical and have a great business brain, but also be outstanding with people. You’ll need an extensive track record in marketing and managing at a senior level (agency or charity) and, of course, you will also know fundraising intimately – especially direct marketing.

Your staff at Pareto Fundraising are some of the most talented, committed and hardest-working people you’ll find anywhere. They all get a kick out of getting great results for great causes, because Pareto Fundraising’s mission is nothing less than to change the world. Now they need your help to realise their full potential.


Jim Hungerford, CEO

PS. Applications close on Friday 18th June 2010. Please email me at with an application cover sheet, your  résumé and a letter addressing the selection criteria (go to for the selection criteria and cover sheet).

Comments welcome!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Allowing donors to donate the way they want to - priceless!

I have an annual budget I like to donate and I want it to all be on my AMEX card. It makes my tax return much easier. So I asked Everyday Hero if I could make my birthday donation by AMEX. Their initial reaction was ‘no', and they explained most of their charities didn't accept AMEX, it was more expensive than alternatives, and all AMEX card holders had other cards.

I then asked Marie Stopes if they would accept the donation direct on my AMEX. Same answer - which got me thinking. Refusing a relatively popular method of payment is not really putting the donor first.

Both parties saw the light after some quick dialogue. (To be fair, Everyday Hero was already in the process of sorting it out - but maybe I can take some credit for speeding it along!)

From the donor's point of view

I persuaded Everyday Hero and Marie Stopes by approaching the issue from a donor's point of view. Let's take a sample donor, ‘Sean'. Sean is forty years and one month old, a NIKE (no interest in kids, ever) earns about $100,000 per annum, is on the board of a charity and was recently appointed patron of another.

He aims to give 10% of his income away. He likes to keep all his donations on one card to make filing a tax return easier. As he flies a lot, that one card is AMEX (so he can bag free flights). With so many great charities to choose from, whether or not a charity accepts AMEX is often a crude technique which ‘narrows the field'.

Three reasons why charities don't want to accept AMEX

1. AMEX usually charges more than its rivals for the merchant fee, which can reduce the value of the donation by up to 3%.

2. AMEX card holders have back up cards they can use, such as Visa and MasterCard.

3. Someone at your organisation has to get around to facilitating AMEX transactions, and there are other priorities. Charities are often understaffed, and this seems a lot of effort for small return.


Ten (seven more than three) reasons why charities should accept AMEX

1. AMEX donors give up to 50% more than non AMEX donors*. This negates the first reason why charities may not want to accept AMEX.

2. AMEX donors who give the same as non AMEX donors are identifying themselves as higher value prospects*. Accepting Visa instead of AMEX removes the ‘rich prospect' flag from your database.

3. Many AMEX charge cards have no credit limits, which reduces bounces.

4. AMEX regular givers give slightly higher monthly donations on regular gift programs but have a significantly higher retention rate*.

5. Richer people - i.e. best donor prospects - tend to have AMEX cards.

6. AMEX holders pay for their cards, so they want to use them. They self-justify with great insurance, a free return flight, frequent flyer points, free lounge access etc, but some of them are just poor people made good who can't accept they actually qualify for one.

7. Explaining why you accept AMEX is a useful example for customer focused training putting donors ahead of admin.

8. AMEX donors like to keep donations on one card as it is easier for tax returns.

9. AMEX donors may say that it is fine when you ask for Visa instead, but you are creating a barrier. They wouldn't have offered AMEX first if they wanted the donation on a different card.

10. You need to think about donors first!

*AMEX's own research backs this up here, but below is a table from Pareto's research, looking at appeal type gifts for one charity with a large enough sample set:

Diners should be accepted too, for the same reasons.

The point here is not that you should necessarily accept AMEX (and I assure you, they are not paying me to write this article!). The point is that a tiny decision, such as whether or not to accept AMEX, says a lot about how an organisation values a donor-centric model.

Staff from Marie Stopes told me they will be able to accept AMEX soon, which is great - it gives me time to save the unexpected higher sum of $5,000 I have to match.

Put donors first.

[Every month I write a column 'The Agitator' for Fundraising and Philanthropy magazine and this post is my most recent entry!]

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fundraising debate is a fundraiser itself

I am enjoying myself in 'Sunny Nelson' at the FINZ  fundraising conference in New Zealand.  Last night we had welcome drinks and I hosted a 'Pareto hot potato debate' on the subject of online social media.  The motion was “Investment of time or money in [online] social media is a distraction for fundraisers”. 

A bit of fun was had, along with a 'worm' giving instant feedback as people voted (and changed their votes) on the fly.  But we tried a unique voting system based entirely on 'bribes'.  The two sides had Dianne Armstrong (Arthritis NZ) and Errol Pike (Bible Soc) arguing against the motion and Steve Bramley (SGL Group) and Brendon Veale (Wellington Zoo) arguing for it.

To 'vote' people had to put money into buckets, and the bucket with the most money would win - and would get a bonus of extra cash.  The prize money would go to a nominated charity (Wellington Zoo or Arthritis).

The arguments were interesting, and fun - pretty mean about each other too (Kiwis have a very thick skin, it would appear) but boiled down to:

For motion:

•             Online giving  is still tiny compared to offline (3% v 97% according to Brendon, with no quote for his source but it is comparable to what Pareto Benchmarking finds).
•             Online social media-ites are the wrong audience
•             Online social media is not really building real relationships

 Against motion

•             It is huge and 'I want a slice'
•             It is the fastest growing method of fundraising
•             We have brought a dog who will get you with his tail if you don't vote for us (they really did bring a cute guide dog training puppy)

So, not a lot of substance in the arguments - but more important was the fact that it was fun - and a very interesting fundraiser.  You see, the votes were really, really close - there was just $9 difference which allowed me to get another $50 in donations by asking for extra, but not telling people which charity was leading.  In the end we raised about $580 - not bad from 80 fundraisers just throwing in a bit of cash.  And there is something liberating and motivating about good old fashioned fundraising, face to face!

(Oh dear, I am beginning to  sound like an events fundraiser again).


Disaster Fundraising Guide download it here