Friday, September 19, 2014

Surprise helps video sharing

Good learning at Pareto staff conference today.  
Cameron Pratt 'Content Consultant' showing us some neat tactics that can increase chance of your video going viral. 
Good fun, but even when these videos (like the one below) went viral (3m) what did they achieve?  Ice bucket challenge went viral and had a clear call to action.

Here is another good one but with a better call to action.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Public Brand Awareness: Useful for charity?

Jeff Brooks' brilliant book on branding The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand is an essential read for all fundraisers.

But while you wait for it to arrive after you just ordered it on Amazon, check our my little two penneth on 101fundraising.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mythbusters and story telling FINZ 360

My second New Zealand conference of the week was in Christchurch, where I presented a short Mythbusters session and a longer session about story telling.

Story telling is here.

And Mythbusting below...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Soi Dog case study: Facebook in action

I have just finished presenting at the MA Conference (Inspire) in Auckland.

Thanks to the chaps at Soi Dog and James Herlihy at Pareto, I pulled together an interesting (I hope) and useful (ditto) case study of how Soi Dog has used Facebook well.
Next year from their regular givers and online donors, they should raise NZ$4m (US$3.3m) from donors.

Here is how.

Creative from commerical world at MA Inspire conference in Auckland

Notes from Wayne Pick from ColensoBBDO/Proximity and Kim Pick from &Pick; a husband and wife presentation here at the MA:Inspire conference in Auckland.

I love this, the creative process:

This going to be awesome
This is hard
This is shit
I am shit
Its going to work
This is awesome

Some good stuff they shared.  Product truths from Volvo...

And Van Damme doing the splits to show their stability.

Bu it is important that your video actually makes sense if it is get circulated.

Here is another company trying to create a product truth.  Chewing gum and the social stigma associated with it...trying to explain the social benefit of chewing gum.

A Guatemela shoe store (MeatPack(!?) tracks its customers' phones - if they walk into a competitor shop they get offered 99% off shoes at MeatPack.  The discount ticks down 1% per second.  They run to buy from their MeatPack.

I have to say the Picks got the audience with this awesome GoPro cat movie.

And a last one, Target/Missoni fashion cut through - online and offline.

Well done Picks, kept us entertained after lunch.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Why the Ice Bucket Challenge is bad for fundraising

A fundraising event that goes viral internationally, will raise probably $26m and raise awareness for a little known condition ALS.

How can anyone but a killjoy think it is bad fundraising!?

Well, it isn't bad fundraising.  It raised lots of money - which is the point of fundraising.

And the success clearly took MND Australia by surprise - from their CEO taking the challenge thousands of Aussies have taken the challenge...

Yet today when I went to donate, after the initial introduction there is no follow up on the challenge - not even a place to select the challenge as the reason I donated.

The form was standard...

And the thank you doesn't mention the challenge...

You can't blame MND. I imagine they posted it expecting a bit of fun and a bit of cash - they couldn't (and shouldn't) have bet on a massive success. Spending loads loads of money or time lining things up properly is like spending your lottery ticket winnings before you have won the lottery.

Which is my segue as to why the thing could be bad for fundraising.

Pretty much every client I met with this week (and there were many) wants their own Ice Bucket Challenge, Movember or no make-up selfie.  They are all great causes, and I want them to have one too but for every successful one there are countless failures.  You simply can't bet on virality. You'd be better off buying lottery tickets.

The priority for a fundraiser is maximising ongoing net revenue through sustainable means. If MND can follow up the participants well and fast, this event could revolutionise their fundraising.  Their website says they raise around $400,000 at the moment so this could be transformational. But they now need to build ongoing regular giving, one off donor, major donor and legacy streams thanks to this unlikely boost.

PS - I loved the challenge, though regretted being challenged whilst visiting penguins in the Southern Ocean rather than being at home in the sub-tropics.

PPS - Jeff Brooks on Ice Bucket Challenge here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Great tips on Landing Pages

See some of the best digital marketers critiqued for failings on their landing pages.
Once understood, each point will help you improve your landing page - usually at a cost of $0.00. Free money!
Thanks to Jeff Brooks and his Future Fundraising Now blog, the best there is.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Half a million likes on facebook!

Congratulations, Soi Dog Foundation - 500,000 likes! Probably the most effective fundraising revenue generator from Facebook I have ever know.

Well done Leonard!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The best TV ad ever?

It is not often that a TV ad creates goose bumps like this one - especially one for headphones.

Imagine if your charity ad could create the same feeling.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Climate name change

Whilst this ad is USA focused it would be easy to add the names of many Australian politicians. 'Tropical Storm Tony Abbott wrecked homes across Northern Queensland today...'

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Latest face to face data - face to face still rocking the Australia not for profit world

Following up on my February article about face to face fundraising (Is face to face really worth it) I have now got some new data.
With 65 charities - including all but two of the top ten fundraising charities - this data is robust.
And so is face to face fundraising.
The charities in the study had just shy of a million people donate to them for the first time.

And finally...
Yup, face to face still number one for volume.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mood Killing Words

Working with a client recently I told them about Katya's blog about Fraser Greens' Book 3D Philanthropy which details. Mood Killing Words.

The client reckoned if they took these words out they would have nothing left to write.

So, these words are the sort of words NGOs write that almost certainly flatten fundraising.  And here they are...

See her article here.

1. Capacity
2. Empower
3. Enhance
4. Indigenous
5. Partnership
6. Development
7. Systemic
8. Community
9. Innovation
10. Superlative
11. Outcomes
12. Support
13. Sustainable
14. Resources
15. Dignity
16. Facilitate
17. Diversity
18. Fostering

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A simple tool that helps your copywriting

Hemingwayapp… in action Part One

A six word short story from Ernest Hemingway that will make you sad. 

For sale. Baby shoes. Never used.

Now, a short article about Hemingway that will make you happy.

It is not often that a truly amazing simple piece of software comes along that can really improve your fundraising dramatically.

Hemingway, flagged recently in Jeff Brooks’ Future Fundraising Now blog will change my writing – for the good.

Hemingwayapp doesn’t turn a bad copy into a good copy, but it makes good copy better.   If you write for fundraising, then you already know that you should be writing at a reading level of around grade eight (13 year olds).  Generally lower is better. 

This has nothing to do with perceived intelligence or sophistication of donors, it is purely down to making it easy for them.

Again, if you write regularly for fundraising, you should be familiar with Fleisch-Kincaid and how to use readability statistics that come built in to Microsoft Word.  (If not I would have said search Flesch Kincaid in YouTube but don’t bother – Hemingwayapp will make that action redundant).

If you have used Word’s readability statistics, you already know they are a bit of a pain, reflecting that your copy is not good enough but not telling you why.

Well, Hemingway tells you why.  If you write, use Hemingwayapp. It truly is genius.

Want to see the impact of Hemingwayapp?

I took the article above, pasted it into Hemingway (instead of getting my partner to edit it) and this is what it did for me... see if you can spot the differences.

Hemingwayapp… in action Part Two

A six word short story from Ernest Hemingway that will make you sad. 

For sale. Baby shoes. Never used.

Now, a short article about Hemingway that will make you happy.

It is rare that an amazing simple piece of software comes along that can improve your fundraising dramatically.

Hemingwayapp, flagged recently in Jeff Brooks’ Future Fundraising Now blog will change my writing – for the good.

Hemingwayapp doesn’t turn a bad copy into a good copy, but it makes good copy better.   If you write for fundraising, then you already know that you should be writing at a reading level of around grade eight (13 year olds).  Generally lower is better. 

This has nothing to do with perceived intelligence or sophistication of donors, it is down to making it easy for them.

If you write frequently for fundraising, you will be familiar with readability statistics.  These are  built in to Microsoft Word. 

If not I would have said search Flesch Kincaid in YouTube but don’t bother – Hemingwayapp will make that action redundant.

If you have used Word’s readability statistics, you already know they are a bit of a pain.  Unfortunately they inform you that your copy is not good enough but don't tell you why.

Well, Hemingwayapp tells you why.  If you write, use Hemingwayapp. It is genius.

If you write for fundraising, or blogs(!) I recommend putting everything through Hemingwayapp. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Not all brand people are the comms devil...*

The role of a communications or branding department within a charity sometimes seems to be:

"To make fundraising as challenging and difficult as possible for the fundraisers".

Whilst all us fundraisers will have hilariously tragic tales of this occurring, it is definitely not always the case.

Probably one of the least subtle but educational bloggers, Jeff Brooks, has released a new book to accompany his excellent The Fundraiser's Guide to Irresistible Communications.

The Money-Raising Non Profit Brand includes some amazing U Turns from Jeff.  He describes meeting brand-y type comms people who have helped charities raise more money.

But Brooks' fans don't despair.  He doesn't disappoint and takes time to explain why most 'brand' strategies harm fundraising efforts.

And then he goes on to explain some key techniques for branding work that boosts income.

I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy and I have to say you should buy a copy if you are a charity bod working in brand, comms or fundraising.

* See I am the Comms Devil

His book is available on Amazon etc of course.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The future of fundraising in Australia?

A recent post by Louise Williams on the Fundraising Institute Australia LinkedIn group recently asked the oft repeated question.  What will fundraising look like in ten years?

What do you think?

My thoughts....

Looking at the data, it really depends on the size of the charity.  Nearly all donations, statistically speaking, go to a couple of hundred charities, and the top 50 of them get the majority of that.

So, looking at those guys and ignoring government and sales of services, we see that by far and away the bulk of that money comes from direct mail, face to face, bequests and major donors.

Things like affinity deals (book a hotel and 3% goes to charity), fashion parades, fundraising events, fundraising offers and auctions can be very important fundraisers for smaller charities but despite a few outliers (eg Cancer Council NSW superb events program, Movember and Inspired Adventures trips abroad across several top charities) they don't add up to a massive slice of total fundraising.  Of course, if your charity makes all of its money from such events you may feel different, but it doesn't change the fact that the bulk of income comes from individuals giving through regular gifts and direct donations, and this is dominated by the biggies.

I don't see this shifting enormously in the next ten years - though I do see one area that will almost certainly give face to face a bit of competition:

Regular givers acquired by telephone, following lead generation techniques.  This is already huge in Australia, and is growing near exponentially.  Charities run surveys, campaigns, online and offline to generate leads and then they are called for regular giving.

A group convened by Pareto Fundraising, now run by the FIA and consisting of lots of charities, is working to encourage the telecommunication companies  to help include SMS lead generation in the mix.  This is massive in UK and Spain, leading to the London Underground building in a quota system to stop all ads on the Tube being charity 'please SMS this number to donate...' ads.  Note that the point of these ads is not the donation but the number to call to get a monthly donation.

Also, sensible charities are investing much more in bequest marketing these days; although the bulk of the income from that area won't be in the next ten years, enough will come in towards the end of the next decade to make significant impact.

Back in 2004, face to face began to provide more than half of all new regular givers, whilst direct mail plodded along.  By 2014, face to face provided nearly 90%(!) of all new regular givers and direct mail was providing twice as many 'classic' donors as it was in 2010 when it's recent growth spurt began.  I see continued growth for these two, despite the competition, for at least another half decade.

'Direct digital' donations - ie acquiring donors through online ads to online forms - currently provide a smidgen of donors (except for disasters) but this will definitely change.  How much in the next decade is hard to tell.

My thoughts... Anyone else?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

State of DoNation Australia

At this years FIA Conference, I was asked to deliver an overview of fundraising in Australia.  So the creative and data teams at Pareto got together and produced this video...

Let me know if it is useful!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Is face to face fundraising really worth it?

Before I start I should make two confessions:

1) I am biased - my companies analyse data, help donor retention programs, acquisition, legacies and major donors and regular giving conversions by phone, mail and online, mostly in NZ and Australia.  I don't 'do face to face'

2) I am not very good at face to face fundraising. The photo below is of me, as fundraising director at Mind (a mental health charity in the UK) giving it a go in London in the late 90s.  I was not very good.  The guy I am chatting to was French, and we couldn't get foreigners to sign up.  But we had a good chat.

Having said that, I will be as unbiased as I can, just concentrating on the data.

What data? Every year, loads of charities* get together to share information so that they can understand the market and maximise efficiency.  This is an amazing collaboration.  They do not share any data that could compromise individuals privacy, but they are able to look at millions of transactions.  We look at a decade of data - and the volumes are huge.  This is truly how people behave, not how they say they behave.

First thing first - statistically speaking, with the exception of media friendly disasters (tsunamis, floods, fires, earthquakes and other tragic events), people don't give without being asked.  They say they intend to, but they just don't.  If fundraising charities didn't ask, they would save an absolute fortune on salaries, post, creative fees, print, TV ads, phone calls... but would save even more as they blink out of existence.  The good they do wouldn't be done.

One of the greatest fundraising channels in the history of fundraising is 'face to face'.  By this I mean those dudes that knock on your door or chat to you on the street or the shopping mall and ask for a regular gift.

Face to face has achieved something that no other channel has - getting younger people to donate in strategic numbers.  By younger, I mean under 60.  Most donors are over 60 - but face to face has an average age of signups less than 40.  This is remarkable, and the volumes have been huge.

Like any high impact marketing product, face to face is not without controversy.  It is, literally, in your face. Constantly reminding you of the inequities of our society.  Also, there are occasional reports of rude or pushy canvassers - though these are rare now, given that they are pretty much summarily dismissed if they get complaints. Most canvassers passionately believe in the cause, and love the idea that they are able to make a living, fund their travel or whatever - and do good at the same time.  Some canvassers may work for several charities over a period of time, exposing them to different causes.

But it is expensive - travel, salaries, materials, databases, follow up systems, SMSs, email, videos, welcome packs, welcome videos, admin processes and systems, stamps... none of these are free.

A while back we looked at 'in house' v 'outsourced'; on the face of it, it looked like in house would be cheaper and have more passionate canvassers.  The study found that in some cases, that was true but on balance, over five years, there was little in the overall net result for the charity whether it was in house or out of house.  Given the challenges of setting up in house (different pay structures, space, getting and retaining direct sales management expertise etc) most charities actually out source.

Like any marketing, expensive doesn't mean bad - the most important thing for a company is "What is our profit margin?"  Charities don't call it that, but they need 'profit' because this funds their good work.

But does it work?

Firstly - what is 'working'?  For me, it has to make a net return in a reasonable time frame and not cause damage to the  brand of the charity.  These are relatively easy to measure.

Net return is obvious.  But damage to brand is harder - in my view, looking at a charity's impact (the work it does) and its overall income - beyond face to face, and over many years - are the best objective measures.

Also, 'working' would be influenced by how well it 'works' compared to other methodologies, such as digital, mail, phone, outdoor, TV, radio etc.

So, let's start with volume.  Of 230,000 donors acquired in 2012 by the charities in the study a whopping 90% were through face to face. And face to face provided the largest growth too.  Gulp.  In the chart below 'RG' is regular givers - ie people who sign onto an automatic debit, usually monthly.

This is so great, that if you are serious about growing regular giving, you kind of have to do face to face.

But do these donors stay with you?

Looking at 2006 to 2011 recruits of new donors we see that, after one year, more than half are still giving - about 57% of new regular donors to all the charities doing face to face, were still giving 12 months later (the 'attrition' - number of people who stop giving - is about 43%, hence retention is 57%).

Imagine if you worked in a company where you get people to give you a monthly debit in return for, well, nothing (except a good feeling), and over half were still giving a year later.

You can see as volumes increased over these years, attrition has increased the increase is in line with what you would expect from larger volumes.

Remarkably, of the people who lasted a year, only 15-17% would drop out in year two and 5-10% per year afterwards- within the realms of 'natural attrition'

But how does this attrition compare to other methods?  Well, because only a small proportion of the donors acquired in 2011 were from sources other than face to face, it is best to group them together to compare against face to face.

You may have noticed I have written face to face in red.  Now I am going to introduce non face to face donors.  When reading, the word 'non' can somehow disappear, so I am going to highlight that phrase blue.  This will help I promise.

What we see is that 79% of the non face to face donors were still giving in year two - much  more than the face to face acquired donors at 57%.  You may notice that subsequent years have little difference between face to face and non face to face.

It seems obvious - non face to face is better than face to face! Yaay!

Before you charity fundraisers drop plans for face to face and come rushing to me for help with non face to face acquisition, let's take a breath first and explore some more.

Firstly, why does face to face have worse attrition?

Any trained direct marketer will tell you that if you increase volumes of customers, you tend to decrease average positive indicators dramatically, so that will account for much of it, but there are also other factors.

I can't produce data about those signing up because they feel guilty, those who simply can't say no face to face, those who fancied the canvasser or those that got in trouble when they got home and their partner kicked their arse.

But I can produce some data which explains some of this difference.

First is volume - higher volume, worse attrition.

Second is age.  I am sorry to tell you this, but generally speaking younger people don't give,  Like I said earlier, face to face has got younger people giving in strategic numbers for the first time ever.  But when they do give, they are not as 'loyal' as older donors.

Breaking down face to face donors by age, we see about 130,000 of the 2011 recruits were under 44, and less than 50,000 over 44.  But those younger people were much more likely to stop giving.You can pretty much ignore the attrition of the 75+ donors, there are only a few hundred of them, so not statistically useful.

You can see half of the 90,000 under 34 year olds stopped giving after 12 months, but the truly remarkable thing is that a huge volume (45,000) Australian young people have entered into an ongoing relationship supporting a charity in 2012, after supporting it in 2011.  This had simply never happened until face to face was introduced around 2000.  How much better is the world going to be when these donors actually get to donor age!?

Ok, you believe me - face to face works in terms of number of sign ups.  But we need money, not just sign ups, and you probably still prefer those lower attrition non face to face donors.

The chart below shows the massive rise in income from 2003 to 2012.  For all you digital types who think digital can save the world - I think you are right, but not yet.  In fact, not for a very long time - look how much it has grown after tons of effort from the charities.  Online does work, but not on a large scale across many charities.  Yet.  (Happy to chat about some of our amazing online fundraising successes - but they are extraordinary, whereas face to face success is the norm).

Clearly, the big income driver is face to face.  And of the 70 charities in the study, not all engaged in face to face.

Another way of looking at the quality of a relationship with a donors is to look at the proportion of people who stick with their payments but actually increase their contributions.

The chart below shows that face to face donors are about as likely to upgrade over the years as any other method.  Phone is better, but if you consider that upgrading is best done on the phone, you can imagine the contact rate of people acquired by the phone is much better too; we know they are phone responsive.  If anything, it is remarkable the direct mail and face to face are so close to phone acquired donors upgrade rates.

Online upgrades look good, but it is just a big handful of donors comparatively speaking.

So face to face gets the volume, has good retention (but not as good as other regular giving acquisition methods), has good upgrade rates and provides lots of gross income.  But what about the net?

We know that the five year value of face to face donors varies by charity but averages around $760.  The average five year value of non face to face donors, mostly due to better retention, is over $900 -  a big difference.  Again, non face to face does better.

Average acquisition costs are estimated to be around $300 for face to face donors, and $350 non face to face, so non face to face seems to win again (yaay!) but the inconvenient truth is simply the volume - no matter how much money you throw at non face to face, you simply can't get volumes to compete with face to face. Yet.

Either are bloody good - that is lots of extra revenue for the charity that would otherwise not exist, and that, after all, is the goal of the fundraiser.

Of course, the accomplished marketer knows they need a balanced portfolio, and this is the correct approach.

But what of brand damage?  Seriously - Greenpeace, Heart Foundation, Amnesty, World Vision, WWF, Red Cross, UNHCR, Oxfam, Cancer Council NSW.... damaged brands? Come on, get real! Most have been doing this for many years with no negative impact on brand, donor relationships or their ability to do good.

Is face to face fundraising worth it for your charity?  Yes, but only if have good, tight automated admin, a need for money, good communication systems and a great monthly proposition.

* Click on this link to see the charities included in this study.

Disaster Fundraising Guide download it here