Captivating, tailored content gets results

The last day of Fundraising Convention is always tinged with a bit of sadness because, who wants it to end? However, it’s also exciting because the next day you get to go back in to the office and put in to practice what you’ve learnt! So what where the highlights of day three?

I was back in the digital stream for the first sessions of the day (actually…. every session apart from the plenary. Sorry, not sorry) for the Big debate: This house believes that our donor base is too old for digital.

For the motion was Simon Scriver, professional fundraising consultant and Jen Love, Partner at Agents of Good. Against the motion were the two Jo(e)s, both from breast cancer charities – believe me, that got confusing! Jo Wolfe, Assistant Director of Digital at Breast Cancer Care and Joe Freeman, Assistant Director of Digital Engagement at Breast Cancer Now.

Simon took to the lectern first to deliver the fact that 7% of charities’ income comes from online. Meaning, 93% is offline and often that 7% that gives online have been driven by something offline, such as a chat with a friend who is running a marathon and fundraising for a charity.

So, do you spend most of your time on the 93% or waste your time on the 7% in the digital fantasy world?

With that bombshell, Jo Wolfe delivered her argument and that was that it’s charities that are old in their ways, not donors. In fact, 78% of over 65s are on digital and yes, we are not our users but let’s not make assumptions about them. Let’s talk to them instead and find out just how digitally savvy they are.

Jo argues that it’s not until charities invest more in digital that we will see a shift in how people donate. Although not fundraising related, Breast Cancer Care’s online forum has 1.2 million women around the world who connect with other women in meaningful ways. They can go on the forum anytime – not on a set day, at a set time like in a face-to-face group. Isn’t that pretty powerful?

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Jen then explained how her mom is 70 and spends 99% of her time online. liking her Facebook posts and playing Candy Crush but this has nothing to do with online fundraising. Why? Because it’s not her story.

93% of donors are experiencing your charity on the street, in their mail box and on Facebook but they are not part of your conversation.

With that, Joe Freeman argued that the world is changing – we have computers in our pocket. We were always told, ‘don’t talk to strangers and don’t get in a stranger’s car’ but now we talk to strangers online and get into ubers. Rather bluntly (although it’s true) Dorothy Donor is going to die. Who is going to replace her? With FPS and GDPR fast approaching, it is going to be even harder to communicate with supporters so social channels are going to be even more important.

There were of course, lots of other very interesting and valid points but I especially liked this from Joe:

So who won? It was put to a vote (although we had to raise our hands and not vote through an app….) and the winners were….

Jo and Joe! Not sure if the fact that this was run in the digital stream had anything to do with it….

The next session I went to was #AutismTMI – how to get 56 million views without traditional advertising.

Chrystyna Chymera-Holloway, Head of Insight and Strategic Marketing and Tom Purser, Head of Campaigns and Community Engagement at the National Autistic Society presented on their #AutisimTMI campaign, which has been running for around two years. TMI stands for ‘too much information’.

99.5% of people in the UK have heard of autism, however only 16% of autistic people and their families said the public understands how autism affects behaviour. When asked, parents said their child’s autism was misinterpreted as ‘naughty’, ‘strange’ or ‘funny’. The aim of the campaign was to improve the lives of people with autism, and their families, by increasing the public’s understanding of autism and their perceptions, attitude and behaviour toward them. Their target was:

  • To increase a real understanding of autism by 5%
  • Behavioural change (5%)

5% may seem small, but it is in fact millions when referring to the UK population. So, how did they do it?

The campaign

The campaign centred around authentic content as it had to resonate with supporters and be true to autism. They used a survey, which gave stats on things like which areas were the worst, e.g. shopping centres, buses and also what autistic people and their families wanted the public to know to create their content. All they really wanted was a little bit of kindness – to associate certain behaviours with autism and to not stare but, rather be kind and show empathy. Every piece of content was 100% genuine and stemmed from actual experiences.

Heartbeat and hero content

Hero content were the pieces of content they really invested in, such as their launch film, and were shown throughout the campaign. They also created two other films. The heartbeat content was done in-house and was about more about resonating with their own audience, rather than the public.

The launch film – Can you make it to the end?

The film took lots of real life experiences and the star, Alex, has autism himself. It aims to show what goes in inside the mind of a person with autism and how there is sometimes ‘too much information’, which then makes them act out.

They also launched a virtual reality experience of the film which took place in the shopping centre the film was shot in, which put people in Alex’s shoes.

Media Partnership

The Guardian partnership fitted their target audience, but more importantly it gave them the opportunity to tell lots of different stories and have different types of content, like video and quizzes as well as editorial over a sustained period of time.

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What were the results?
The launch film was seen 56 millions times! And the second film achieved over 1 million views with the third film achieving almost 10 million views. Their social channels grew by almost 25k on Twitter and 110k on Facebook in the first four months of the campaign.

The biggest result of all? That 5% increase in real understanding of autism actually achieved 17%. Wow.

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In terms of media results, almost 65k campaign sign-ups and 2 new corporate partners were secured.

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Top tips 

Top tip from Tom, was:

Start with a strategy and don’t be afraid to change it. The campaign is almost 2 years old so you need to adapt to keep people engaged.

Other tips or learnings are to invest in great content but great content is nothing if no one sees it so spend time in seeding that content and looking for appropriate media. For an awareness target, data capture isn’t crucial, internal buy-in and comms in essential.

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Use your existing audiences for case studies and stories but also to help you spread and amplify your message.

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Read more about how the campaign has performed, on the NAS website.

The plenary with the fabulous Kanya King MBE, founder and CEO of the MOBO awards was so inspiring. It was filmed, so be sure to keep an eye out for it.

My last session of the day (and of Fundraising Convention) was 100 nights at the Royal Albert Hall – using digital to engage concert goers by Dan Papworth Smyth, Digital Communications Manager at Teenage Cancer Trust.

This year the charity hit their 100th concert and every year the line-up is amazing so it’s easy to sell the tickets but how do you engage the audience as many aren’t even aware that it’s a charity event. They’re just there for Ed Sheeran!

Taking advantage of a captivated audience

After the first interval and just before the main act they always show a 5 minute video. It’s an incredible opportunity to explain a really complicated message in an easily digestible way, to a captivated audience. And of course they have a shorter version for social media too. For the concert they don’t use subtitles but they do for social media as we all know that most people are watching video without sound. Dan says it’s easy to add the subtitles yourself, and he shows you how in this blog post.

This was the video (grab some tissues)

Of course there are lots of clips that don’t make the final video so they looked at ways to still use them across social, during the week of the concerts. Be warned though, if you are using visually similar video (the clips all were shot in the same hospital), Facebook thinks it is the same clip. Dan said that because they were sharing them over that week, their reach dropped dramatically.

Filming behind the scenes

The content that really engages people are the behind the scenes films at the Royal Albert Hall. Most of the videos were filmed by the digital team on their phones, with an external microphone. They work well because they are less intrusive for the person you’re filming.

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Dan said, “The Royal Albert Hall only holds 5,000 so is actually a small venue. There are lots of people following it online, as they missed out on tickets, so we have to ensure that we make them jealous and try harder to get tickets next year! Our content is about live tweeting what’s happening at the concerts as well as interspersing it with our key messages. We have an insane content plan!”

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As the concerts are so amazing, they thought about how they could use new technology to try and  translate the experience to people not at the concert.  They tested using 360 degree video – you can read more on Dan’s blog.

Artist engagement

The charity works closely with the incredible artists (who play for free) to help make sure that they talk about the work of the charity and help amplify their messages to their audiences. On YouTube, their top four videos are all concert-related and have combined views of 620, 000. Dan’s top tip is that they piggyback off that by putting those videos in playlists with their own videos about their work.

Capitalise post-show

Post show, they take all the visual content they have and put together a blog post that same night so that the next day, when people are still buzzing and want to tell their friends about how awesome it was, they have a post packed full of photos that can then be shared. This method has helped increase visits to the website by 70% during that week. It also led to increased donations of 200% and the value of the donation by 320%.

Learnings

  • Start work on film and short clips sooner
  • A videographer is great but you need to direct them
  • Team rotation and rest

So what were the results?

  • Record breaking reach on Facebook
  • 16% of year on year increase in #TeenageCancerGigs
  • Successful first trial of contactless (there is always a text to give request but they wanted to offer something different)

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I thoroughly enjoyed Fundraising Convention this year. The sessions were interesting, packed full of tips and were ones I’d not been to before (they’ve not done the circuit yet!). Best of all is getting to see and chat with peers in the sector. The great thing about our sector is the passionate people.

Be more human and drop the jargon

As an official blogger for the Institute of Fundraising’s Fundraising Convention, I was back on day two, excited for the sessions ahead. This time I mixed it up a bit and didn’t spend the entire day in the digital stream sessions. Missed day one? Read my highlights here.

First session of the day, however, and I was back in the digital stream to hear Reuben  Turner, Creative Director of GOOD Agency present on Digital: are we doing it all wrong? Now, I’ve known Reuben for years and heard him speak many times. He tells it like it is, pulls no punches but also always has new and interesting things to say and share. And he didn’t disappoint.

Reuben urged us not to think like content marketers (but isn’t content King?), always in pursuit of that next click or like.

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Instead, be more human. More of us want to feel connected and part of a tribe and this is the beauty of digital as it can bring people who belong, together.

Take a look at how the Army now recruit. It’s less ‘come and drive a tank!’ and more ‘here is where you belong’.

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Although SEO, adwords, test and learn etc are your base, and are of course still important, they will only lead to incremental growth. This is more process than emotion.

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Instead, focus on being more human and bringing out these qualities in people:

1. Acknowledge me (I’m here)
2. I care about this too (I belong)
3. I can make a difference ( I matter)

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Quite frankly, no one cares about advertising, marketing or even fundraising (apart from those whose job it is) so we need to find that sweet spot and tap into culture. It’s less about what we WANT people to care about and more about tapping in to what they actually care about. That’s how we will win hearts and minds.

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For my second session I ventured out of the digital stream (to cries of ‘traitor!’ Only kidding) and joined the panel discussion on the Election 2017: What did it mean for charities and fundraising? The speakers included former BBC Newsnight reporter and NCVO chair Peter Kellner, Lucy Caldicott, CEO of UpRising and Fundraising Regulator board member, Vinay Nair, CEO and co-founder of Lightful and John Tizard, strategic advisor and commentator.

There were some really interesting points, summed up in the following tweets.

Ultimately, the key lesson was that we are in uncertain times but we must not let that distract us from our mission. We must still lobby for the causes we care about – we owe it to our beneficiaries.

My third session was on How to drive Digital transformation in practice by Yasmin Georgiou, Head of Digital Engagement at Great Ormond Street Hospital. This was such a good session! I loved how Yas made it seem so accessible and achievable. Digital transformation suddenly didn’t sound so scary! That’s not to say it’s easy though…

Yas started with the question ‘Why do we need to change?’ For GOSH, there were 3 reasons:

1. (a new) Organisational strategy
2. Outdated processes between digital and fundraising
3. ‘Digital’ had lost all meaning

No one at the charity was crying out for ‘transformation’ but rather for innovation. They wanted shiny things like VR, but without the foundation in place (what their supporters wanted, needed and expected from their digital channels) they couldn’t just step into innovation. It’s really refreshing to hear that Yas said ‘no’, rather than jump on the new, shiny things – tempting as they were.

Being Head of Digital is challenging, if digital has lost all meaning.

So get rid of the jargon, as internal stakeholders don’t understand it and it makes them feel intimidated and devalued. Ditch ‘transformation’ and just replace it with ‘the thing’ such as the website or new database or whatever the project is.

Digital maturity is a gradual progression with realistic goal setting and is not about the digital team – it’s an organisation-wide view. This gradual process works particularly well for risk averse charities. Yas used, amongst other things, Third Sector’s Digital Maturity Matrix, developed by the digital team at Breast Cancer Care, to assess where they are now and where they want to be.

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It’s about evolution, not revolution. You might want to wrap up your project in a couple of months but you have to go at the pace of the organisation. Yas said that if she had gone any faster she would have lost people along the way. A top tip is when setting up departmental workshops, don’t forget about the HR team – the conversations with them were the most telling.

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Yas says that it’s important to look outwards and admit when you need external support so she got an agency involved, looked to her peers in the sector and went to events and had lots of coffees. She also accessed a CharityComms mentor, which helped immensely.

And this is their Digital Matrix.

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The to do list is the maturity index and the roadmap, which is now a living strategy. Conversations now are about meeting an organisational need rather than talking about channels and technology. The result of this new way of working has led to the One day at GOSH campaign, which was filmed over 24 hours at the hospital.

Yas’s four top tips for embarking on digital transformation are:

1. Work at the right pace (go too fast and you’ll alienate people)
2. Collaboration and empathy
3. Be clear on expertise
4. Be prepared to adapt

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After lunch I went along to the Women Leaders in Fundraising panel discussion, chaired by Lizzi Hollis. Lizzi set up Charity Women to tackle inequality in the sector. I urge you to join the Facebook group!

The panel consisted of:

  • Helen McEachern, Director of Fundraising at ActionAid UK
  • Carol Akiwumi, Fundraising Consultant and Trainer
  • Amanda Bringans, Interim Director of Fundraising at the British Heart Foundation and Chair of Institute of Fundraising
  • Meredith Niles, Fundraising Director at Marie Curie
  • Kerry Blackstock, Director of Public Fundraising at WWF UK

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It was a fascinating discussion and an important one too. Inequality and diversity are key issues that the sector needs to address – now.

My key learnings were:

  • speak up when you see or hear sexism, racism or inequality
  • we need to attract young, male talent into the sector because we don’t actually want it to become ‘women’s work’
  • leaders need to surround themselves with the best people and acknowledge and value their skills
  • it’s up to all of us (men and women) to fight inequality in the sector
  • as women, we need to stop ‘trying to have it all’. Decide what is important to you and work on that
  • we need to challenge the norms of what women are expected to do. The sector needs to allow for flexible working – for all parents, not just mothers
  • diversity needs to start at board level

It was a thought-provoking day at Fundraising Convention. On to day three!

Data is everything

Yesterday at the first day of the Institute of Fundraising’s Fundraising Convention, I found myself attending all the digital sessions, sponsored by JustGiving. As I work in digital – no surprise there, I guess!

For me, there was a recurring theme from all the sessions I attended and that was:

Data is everything

Metrics Mania – the numbers you just have to know with Digital Marketing Consultant Fran Swaine and Celine Boudier, Team Lead and Andreia Silva Cabecinhas, Data Scientist from Ocado drove home the point that we all need to demonstrate impact but many of us are not doing that and how data needs to drive your decision making.

Fran shared a digital fundraising funnel but beware of ‘likes’ at the Attract stage of the funnel – are they just vanity metrics?

Fran suggested using the ‘so what’ test to determine whether something is a vanity metric or not. Here’s a great post from Google Analytics Master Avinash Kaushik to help you put the ‘so what’ test in to practice.

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Fran shared three steps to setting up a measurement strategy:

  1. Defining objectives (make sure they are DUMB: Doable, Understandable, Measurable and Beneficial)
  2. Defining goals
  3. Dining KPIs

Download Fran’s free measurement strategy template on her website. Her three takeaways were:

  1. Create a measurement strategy
  2. Ensure your metrics are actionable
  3. Benchmark

The next session I attended was Failure swap shop – what you don’t hear in the blog posts (and don’t expect to hear it in this one because: Chatham House rules!). The speakers were Paul Weaver, Digital Innovation Manager at Cancer Research UK, Jessica Paz Jones, Senior Digital Manager at NSPCC and Amy Burton, Digital Engagement Manager at the Department of Health.

The key message was that it is OK to fail as long as you learn from it and you use those learnings to make decisions or to make a case. Jessica summed it up beautifully when she said,

Failures and lessons learned are all part of my arsenal.

What she meant by that is when she is asked to do something and she knows it won’t work based on previous testing, she shows the data to prove that it would be an inefficient use of time and money. You can’t argue with the data!

After lunch I was back in Auditorium 1, Level 4 for Sarah Crowhurst’s presentation on how Plan International UK digitised their Sponsor a Child offer – transitioning it from offline to online.

Sarah spoke about how they optimised their website to convert people who had seen their DRTV adverts to then sign up to sponsor a child. She took us through everything they did and offered lots of tips – such as ensuring that your Google Ads and organic keywords match the keywords in your DRTV script and that even if you give people a specific URL, they’ll no doubt still land up on your homepage so make sure you showcase your campaign prominently.

In most cases, give people a choice and they don’t know what to do but in Plan’s case for child sponsorship, this isn’t true. People want to choose which continent, age and gender the child is that they want to sponsor – much fewer people click the default ‘wherever the need is greatest’.

Sarah’s summary points, which also serve as top tips are:

  1. TV drives our online conversion
  2. Supporters want to be in control (they want choice)
  3. Track their behaviour on your website
  4. Ensure paid search is set up (use keywords from the DRTV script)
  5. Track conversions over time and look for trends
  6. Test, test, test

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Next up (yes, in the same room) was Fiona Pattison, Account Director and Paul de Gregorio, Director of Digital Engagement at Open. They spoke on ‘Taking UK fundraising approaches overseas and bringing back learnings to deliver even better fundraising at home’, which even they admitted was a snappy title.

The session looked at examples and case studies of campaigns they have worked on from  Australia to the US, which was really refreshing to see as I’m so used to only seeing and hearing about UK campaigns.

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As Fiona put it, with mobile everything from ideas to reputations can spread – globally and quickly.

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Paul shared that messenger apps are taking over social channels are there is more trust and no ads. This is really interesting and something charities need to pay attention to.

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What was really exciting about this session was their Stand for Rights campaign for American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Facebook Live campaign. I won’t go in to detail as there is an excellent post on their own blog, which you can read. Basically they worked with a bunch of famous, funny people to deliver a modern ‘telethon’, using Facebook Live and integrating it with Facebook Donate (not available YET in the EU).

Their top takeaways were:

  1. Create your own global network (the ACLU Facebook Page had less than 1,000 Likes prior to the Stand Up to Rights Facebook Live. They grew it to 26,000 in one week)
  2. Steal the best ideas (why reinvent the wheel?)
  3. Make them relevant for the UK
  4. Get your email programme working (US political campaigns are a great example of this)
  5. Focus on things with impact
  6. Focus on payment technology (it’s all about making giving as easy as possible)

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The last session of the day was a Social Media masterclass with Jon Ware, Digital Content Lead at Anthony Nolan, Amy Burton, Digital Engagement Manager from Department of Health and Melissa Thermidore, Social Media Manager at NHS Blood and Transplant.

Jon spoke about how they developed a content strategy for Facebook, which you can read in detail on Madeleine Sugden’s blog. But these slides really resonated with me:

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We got some rare insight into how social media managers have to sometimes fight fake news from Melissa’s presentation where she shared stats from the Manchester Attack.

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Melissa recommended using the linear model in Google Analytics rather than first or last click to get a better idea of how social media has contributed to a conversion.

Melissa left us with this great quote,

Make moments from metrics.

I learnt so much from the first day of the Institute of Fundraising’s Fundraising Convention – roll on the second! Not there? Follow all the tweets with #IoFCC.