Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2013 is going to be a great year for fundraising

Happy New Year!

On my holidays I read a few novels (all from retired fundraiser Mal Warwick's recommendations - but I also read a 'work' book.  It took a couple of hours to read it, but it really made me think 'If everyone fundraising from individuals reads this it will be a great year.'

The book is Jeff Brooks' The Fundraiser's Guide to Irresistible Communications.

Please buy it.

Then I got back to work to find that most charities here in Australia have had a pretty darn good Christmas, with a few donor acquisition mailings achieving over 10%.  That is amazing from people who have never donated before.

On top of that, great news that a record number of Australian and New Zealand charities have decided to pool their transactional data and make sure that they really understand what is happening to our market - answering questions such as:

* Is face to face still working?
* What is an acceptable attrition rate for my regular givers?
* Are average donations changing?
* What are the main media used to actually get donors?
* Is digital fundraising working yet!?
* Are richer donors giving more or less?

With a couple more massive charities joining for the first time (Smith Family and Red Cross) this data set keeps getting better.  Fundraisers from Italy and Ireland were so impressed by the Kiwi and Aussie charities' attitude they are trying to do something similar.

Full list (regularly updated) and more info here....  There is still a little time and space for New Zealand and Aussie charities to sign up too (as long as you can get the data to us this month).

More charities are learning the rules for digital fundraising and finding that actually, the rules are not dissimilar to offline.  In his book, Jeff Brooks points out that everyone in the know accepts that longer copy in warm direct mail tends to work better (he says 75% of the time).  But also longer copy in emails tends to work better too (two thirds of the time anyway) despite all the nonsense about digital audience wanting short, quick and to the point copy.

Thai-based animal rescue charity Soi Dog Foundation continues to lead the way in digital fundraising - showing a charity can grow from hardly anything to around $2m a year from regular gifts, nearly all through Facebook - but using good old fashioned direct marketing tactics no different to off the page ads in the 80s.  Ogilvy would be proud.

Finally, the line-ups for the big conferences of the year are awesome - although IFC and F&P are not finalised I have a little insider information and you won't be disappointed.

FIA (Sydney, March), FINZ (May, Wellington), AFP (April, San Diego), F&P (Sydney, September) and IFC (October, Netherlands) - all are worth attending.  Charity bosses - don't be tight now.  Access to so many great minds for the price of a day of a senior consultant (plus travel) is a bargain.

At the FIA, for example, we have inspirational and world-renowned ethicist Peter Singer, major donor expert Tony Myers, regular giving leading light Harvey McKinnon and communications guru Bill Toliver.  (Hurry though - early bird rates finish on 25 January!)

After such a good start in 2013, and with all that learning available, this year is going to be a good one for charity income, for sure!

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