Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Australians gave more to charity in 2011 than ever before

The latest Pareto Benchmarking figures - derived from looking at actual transactions across 45 charities in Australia and New Zealand - revealed that Australians gave more money to charity in 2011 than ever before. Double checking annual reports of the largest fundraising organisations not in benchmarking confirms it was a good year.

Regular giving (automatic debits) has grown enormously over the past ten years. In fact, for professional fundraising organisations such as Cancer Council NSW and WWF regular giving accounts for more income than 'one-off' donations.

As you can see from the chart above, across the group, around a third of individual gifts came from bequests, a third from regular giving and a third from occasional donations such as those sent in response to direct mail.

Direct mail had been pretty flat over the last few years, but has begun a new resurgence in growth as new creative approaches lift response rates from around 1% to over 4% for many charities. This is from sending letters to people who had not previously donated to the charity.

We expect this growth to accelerate as more and more charities have recently succeeded with their early tests. However, it can take a long time for them to accelerate their programs so the growth will most likely be reflected in 2013 data (to be presented in 2014).

Face to face (people on the street and knocking door to door and asking for monthly pledges) goes from strength to strength, with these 45 charities acquiring more donors through face to face last year than any previous. The only thing holding back further growth in this area is capacity from the face to face providers - they are mostly full up.

But it is not all rosy on the face to face front - one charity in the group lost 60% of its new face to face donors within one year. The average is around 45% but the best manages to keep most of its donors, with only 36% attrition.

Australian and New Zealand charities can join Pareto Benchmarking for free - email bm@paretofundraising.com.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

The funniest ad campaign analysis since Stupid Non Profit Ads

"Advertising campaign reaches Mrs. Betty Turner, 93, and 17,678 people who don’t care..."

An agency spokesperson said she hopes "the 17,000 people who saw the ads and really don’t care about the Foundation will change their minds when they begin a new series of ads costing tens of thousands more in a few weeks.". See full article here.

Thanks to Jeff Brooks for this lead...He is the master of knocking waste of money (and time) advertising campaigns. You may recall his 'Stupid non profit ads'.

If you dont already I suggest you Subscribe to Jeff's Future Fundraising Now.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Life You Can Save

As his mobile phone disappeared into his pocket a huge smile crept across Mark's face.  He had to hold himself back from punching the air and whooping with delight.  Just nine months ago, things hadn't looked so rosy.  

His business had grown really well until then - especially with one, blue chip client.  But ten months ago a new marketing director had turned up in that client and within a month had swept in a new agency.

He knew it had been a mistake to rely on just one client for half his business, but how could he have turned them down?  He had struggled over the past nine months - cut his salary to the bone even though Marcia was expecting.  Now little Toby had entered their lives, money was very very tight and the board insisted on redundancies - unless he won this new client he'd been wooing. 

The call was confirming the contract.  Business was back to booming - but a condition from the new client was that he had to personally oversee the account; without him there was no deal.

Whooping aside he noticed people dodging a street fundraiser - one of those earnest young people banging on about saving the world.  This one was representing Oxfam.  Well, representing Oxfam today Mark thought - tomorrow it will be Amnesty or Greenpeace.

Earnest World Saver caught Mark's eye.  Before Mark could escape he was caught, dazzled into inaction.

"Hello sir, how are you today?!" began Earnest.  "I'm good but..." began Mark, looking for an escape route.

"That's great! I hope you can spare me a few moments on this fair day.  I am working for Oxfam to help alleviate poverty and literally save kids lives around the world.  You see, in Africa right now, countless kids are suffering from easily curable diseases.  A million of them will die this year from  diarrhea alone.  For just $35 a month - a little over a dollar a day - you can directly help save lives..."

Earnest clearly believed in what he was saying; he probably passionately believes in human rights and tying himself to nuclear subs as well thought Mark.  But Mark had more on his mind right now.

"Thanks, I'm sorry - I don't have time right now" he said, making a beeline for a pedestrian crossing where a young mother watched, relived at not being Earnest's victim.  Her child, maybe five years old and dressed in a cliche pretty red dress,  looked fascinated by something in the road gutter.

The young mum caught his eye and they both knowingly smiled as he quickly sloped off towards the crossing, willing the lights to change.

Earnest was casting about for his next victim when Mark saw something dart out of the gutter - a rat perhaps.  It shot across the road, daring the traffic and startled Mark.

Then things slowed down - it was like a movie; he saw the red dress move after the rat, and the red mass of a bus coming in from the nearside. Without thinking he was moving - instinct kicked in and he leapt across the front of the mum, dragging the kid backwards and towards the gutter.  The change in direction, the speed - everything was working against him as he saw the terrified face of the child falling into the gutter ahead of him.

He felt the bus - the wind, the noise and he knew it was over.  Marcia and Toby - what about them?  He heard the screeching - the tyres and the mother and felt an arm grab him, pulling him up.  The bus had come to a rest - the shocked faces of passengers staring out.

Young mum embraced Little Red Dress as he realised it was Earnest helping  him up.  Earnest had tears in his eyes.  "Mate, you're a hero."


Our job as fundraisers is to make people care enough about children (or equivalent cause) a long away away, as much as they do for someone close.  Most of us would hope we reacted like Mark did, but he risked everything - not just his clothes, a meal or a new iPhone - everything - to save the life of a stranger.

We fundraisers bring our causes closer to our donors through stories and personalisation, though relationships and demonstrating consequences of not giving.

Facts and stats don't make things closer, stories do.

By the way, I am doing a story telling master class at the FINZ conference May 10-12, book here.

Peter Singer does a similar analogy in his superb book "The Life You Can Save" (hence the title)- I thoroughly recommend it, available on Amazon etc. 

You can make the world a much better place without putting your life and your family welfare at risk by donating to Oxfam here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Who are the rich people on your database?

Those lovely people at Fundraising Research & Consulting (FR&C) have decided to give a massive gift to all you fundraisers wondering where the money is in Australia.

For years they have been trawling the web and building a database of the richest people around, who they give to, how much (where known) and anything else in the public domain.

This information helps charities save lots of money on targeting but also FR&C offer a service where they have a look at the people who are already donating to you and match that to this database of big givers.  You may well have someone who donated $1m to another charity giving you $100 every Christmas.  That doesn't mean they will suddenly give you a million, but you certainly should be talking to them differently.

You have to pay for this service but there are a load of free resources available too, and this is the gift FR&C are  giving to you:  A full list of all those resources.  Now you could go and find them yourself, but using this free list will save you over a hundred hours of work (and you would probably not have found them all anyway!)

Check out http://www.fundraisingresearch.com.au/oz_resources_16.html


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Communicate TODAY about the non-disaster earthquake

Millions of people woke up to relief that the two massive earthquakes last night did not cause devastating loss of life and damage to property.

The British PM was visiting Indonesia at the time, and immediately pledged the UK's support if it turned into a disaster (I am no Tory, but believe this was not an empty promise) and International NGOs around the world were on high alert.

As hundreds of thousands evacuees return safe and sound to their own homes and beds, the whole world can join them in relief, with sad memories of what happens when the earth shifts in a different way.

So a non-disaster happened.  Fundraisers around the globe were also on alert, but also can relax now and get on with their fundraising programs as planned.  Except...

I would like to throw a spanner in the works.  The near disaster was big news, but all the media will have all but disappeared over the next 48 hours.  Fundraisers:  Be quick but if you act now, right now, you may be able to help your charity with a very quick, very cheap fundraiser.  All international aid charities will have  some wonderful people who have made gifts after disasters, but never donated since.

I suggest getting an email out to them, right now - no delay, it must be today and ask them to contribute to a monthly donation program to help in disaster preparedness.  It won't revolutionise your fundraising but will definitely add a few new regular givers to your file, very cheaply.

Bullet points for the email below the video...

* Personalise it
* Explain what happened, reference local news reports
* Explain it is all good news now BUT
* Thank them for their support when disasters happened before
* You had teams on standby (better to say something like "I have just heard that our Indonesia alert team has stood down now...") - point out this was only possible because of support in the past
 * BUT we still need funds to be ready for disasters, as well as during disasters so you have a disaster preparedness fund (or say something similar)
* So please will you help by signing up to just (local equivalent of ) 50c per day, taken as a convenient monthly donation of $15..
* A link to a monthly sign up landing page, with "Thank you for helping YOURCHARITY be ready for the next disaster".

If you do it, please let me know how it goes.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

AFP Joy of Story telling

Just finishing a session in Vancouver on story telling.
Here is the presentation....
Some other brilliant people on fundraising...
And Tom Ahern...
And Jeff Brooks...
A great letter is here...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Premium v non premium mailings

I am currently in Canada, being overwhelmed with premium data from Italy, Belgium, France and US. It is wonderful! All that data :)

The US data sometimes goes back decades, the European 5 to 7 years and some fascinating stuff.

As per my previous blog, premium acquired donors are shown to respond to non premium mailings - like we found in Australia.  At slightly lower levels than than non premium donors, but there are so many more of them it all works out quite nicely.

But, and it is a big BUT, they respond better to premiums.  Also rather fascinating is that the results all these direct mail agencies' clients get from their non-premium donors - they tend to respond to premiums better too.

In Australia mailing warm donors premium mailings is more challenging than cold for logistical reasons but we are trying to test these findings in the New Zealand and Australian market too.

I do wonder if things will be different here - the other countries are much more 'mature' (ie more charities have been mailing more premiums for longer).  In the US the premium acquired donors really don't seem to do anywhere near as well when sent non premium packs (as per Data Monkey's recent blog) but the level of activity there is massive compared to over here.  The Europeans seem to be somewhere in the middle.

However, Data Monkey also recently quoted  David Hazeltine saying that if premium donors only respond to premiums then send them premiums.  I reckon in ten years or so that could be the case in Australia and New Zealand, but it appears that is not an issue yet.

The Belgians told me that generally, because of the smaller sizes there, they tend to acquire using premiums but then send a mix of 'high value' premiums, 'medium value' premiums and non premium mailings; they have found that increasing the frequency of mailings makes more money.  Their current clients send ten to thirteen warm mailings per annum.

It takes years to test the right combination of premium to non premium warm, and the number of those mailings because of small population and donor pools.  In lieu of a better idea, I wonder if the Belgian approach is the right way to go in Australia and New Zealand too.

Disaster Fundraising Guide download it here