Saturday, 28 February 2015

A reminder about timing

A little while ago I wrote a post about the importance of good timing in fundraising. I recently received a DM piece that reminded me of this.

In December I made a donation to a homeless charity appeal. Donate to support their Christmas centres, Christmas dinners for residents and so on. The centres would be open over the Christmas week.

Last week - at the end of February - I received a stewardship direct mail about my Christmas gift.

Now I don't know about you, but Christmas seems quite a long time ago to me. And this letter jarred with me as a donor. It felt too late to be telling me this.

As a fundraiser, and a donor, I was glad to know what my gift had done, and appreciated the reference to the appeal I supported. But I also feel that it should have arrived six weeks ago - when making the gift and the Christmas season was fresh in my mind.

So when you're planning your mailings - will they make sense to your donor? Will the stewardship  link with the gift? Will it be likely to encourage the next donation?

Perhaps the charity had to wait for design companies, copywriters and printers to put the pack together? We all know about that. But the centres closed on the 27th December.

Good stewardship links directly to the gift, is timely, and encourages the next donation.

Unfortunately, on this occasion, the momentum had been lost.

Want to learn more about Direct Mail? Join the Institute of Fundraising' Scotland's Direct Mail Day on 19 March 2015 in Edinburgh.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Forecasting Voluntary Income - Comparing Sectors

For many years I worked in higher education fundraising, which I loved with the fiery passion of 10,000 suns. Now I work in the voluntary sector and I adore it too. There is nothing - NOTHING - better than coming home at the end of the day having worked with amazing committed donors who are helping amazing commited colleagues to make the world a better place.

But anyone who has made that jump - either way - knows that it's a massive culture shock. Things are different in the voluntary sector.

A friend who is considering making the same jump asked me to articulate the main differences. "What has the biggest challenge been?" she asked. Immediately this infographic from Targeting Fundraising Talent sprang to mind:

But on reflection I said, "Planning." 

Thursday, 5 February 2015

How [not] to make friends and alienate people

In the UK, May 2015 will bring a General Election. That means RIGHT now political parties across the country are gearing up to get folks out canvassing on their behalf, because if there's one thing that the recent Scottish Independence Referendum campaign showed it was that people power is, well, powerful. Nothing is more persuasive than someone talking to you face-to-face. 

Well, we already knew that didn't we? We're fundraisers. 

Engaging and motivating people is what fundraisers do

That's because from major multi-million pound capital campaigns through to church fetes and bakes sales, volunteers are at the heart of successful fundraising. They might be getting you a spot in the boardroom. They might be running a marathon. They might be asking their friends to join them in donating. But one thing is for sure: without volunteers, charities would be dead in the water. Where fundraising is concerned, they are what makes the world go round. 

I think most good fundraisers know this. They know when you talk about your charity, you have to tell the donor what they are helping you to achieve. They know that you inspire and motivate people by letting them feel ownership over their cause. They know that you get engagement by listening, asking and discussing - not hectoring. 

This evening I stumbled across a political meeting in a local cafe: the first meeting of a candidate for Westminster, his campaign manager and the people who were interested in campaigning on his behalf in the local area. Fascinating - if you wanted a lesson in What Not To Do

In the ten minutes I observed the room turn frosty before my eyes, I clocked at least five six cardinal errors from Mr Campaign Manager. In the spirit of sharing....