Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention – three days of inspiration!

I am very excited to announce that I am an official blogger for the Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention, taking place from 7-9 July at the Hilton London Metropole. I will be joined in my blogging duties by Matt Collins and Lisa Clavering – so in good company indeed!

The theme this year is ‘Proud to be a fundraiser’ and along with presentations there will also be social events, such as speed networking, and masterclasses. As a Trustee of the Small Charities Coalition, I am beyond delighted that one of the masterclasses is Focus on Small Charities. Guess which one I’ll be going to!

Sessions that have particularly caught my eye are ‘What fundraisers can learn from rappers’, ‘Small charities – how to use your size to your advantage’ and ‘Living the dream with mobile’.

Take a look at the programme for the three days here and if you would like to come along, book by 25 April to receive the Early Bird discount. Hope to see you there!

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How will you use Facebook hashtags?

This week Facebook rolled out clickable hashtags – the ability to search conversations on Facebook and become part of a wider public discussion. Much like Twitter.

At the moment the service is not available to everyone and, like all of Facebook’s features, people will have the ability to set the privacy of their hashtags to Friends, Friends of Friends, Public and Custom.

So what does it mean for charities? 

As this is a new feature for Facebook, many charities are choosing to see how others will use it before jumping in themselves. Here is an example of how the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) are using hashtags for their Syria campaign:

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Although it is early days for Facebook, hashtags are nothing new. However, I think Facebook hashtags will be highly useful for:

Integrating campaigns – a hashtag is part and parcel of the marketing mix in any campaign. Now, instead of being used just for Twitter and Instagram, you’ll be able to monitor, track and engage with people using that hashtag on Facebook. Facebook adverts for your campaign could include the hashtag, helping to spread your campaign further.

Social TV- think about Paul O’Grady’s For the love of dogs (#pogdogs) for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home on ITV. How many people tweet while they watch the show? Thousands!
According to Thinkbox in a 2012 report, 31% of people have chatted about TV shows or adverts in a second screen but this rose to 56% for 16 to 24 year olds. Now, those people who are not on Twitter will be able to take part in social TV conversations on Facebook. Of course this brings up resource issues (headaches) for charities already struggling with monitoring conversations on Twitter alone.

Targeting – using hashtags will enable you to better target your audience and make it easier for your audience to discover you and your services.

Trending – we all know how Facebook loves to change their Edgerank algorithm (how Facebook calculates where and what posts will show up on your news feed) and just when you think you have it sussed, they change it again…
I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before you will be able to pay for hashtags to trend, much in the way you can pay to promote tweets on Twitter. This will help ensure that your content will show up on your target audience’s news feed.

Have you tested Facebook hashtags yet?

Takeaways from the Institute of Fundraising’s Technology conference

Last week I was very lucky to attend the Institute of Fundraising’s Technology conference as a guest of The Access Group.

IoF Technology Conference

IoF Technology Conference

It was a jam packed conference with excellent sessions including a keynote from Dan Sutch from Nominet on What does social tech innovation look like?

If you know me at all, you will know that I love to Storify so here it is:
View the story “The Institute of Fundraising Technology Conference” on Storify

My Top Takeaways were:

1. Creativity and risk taking, entrepreneurship and willingness are what we need to redesign how we use technology for good. Cancer Research UK’s Cell Slider is a great example of this in action.

2. Anticipated value of mobile transaction in 2013 is $600 billion yet how many charity websites do you know who can’t take a mobile payment? The time to optimise your website for mobile is now!

3. The mobile environment is difficult, ever changing and crowded but charities can not afford to ignore it – 25% of Save the Children’s donations are made through mobile.

4. Google Adwords should be part of an integrated marketing campaign. It’s about quality, not quantity. Get the basics right – structure, relevance and targeting – as it will drive more relevant traffic to your website and drive the costs down.

5. Be Digital First, focus on visual storytelling and engagement and maximise the potential of technology.

Mobile Giving and why we should all be doing it

I had been meaning to set up a regular gift to the wonderful charity Child’s i for a while. I first heard about them when founder Lucy Buck spoke at a CharityComms conference. I was so inspired by the work that they do to find families for orphans in Uganda, but also by the fact that the charity was run entirely by volunteers. And these volunteers were making huge social media waves. And I was impressed and a little bit in awe.

Now I honestly have no idea why it took me so long to set up a regular donation but today was the day I was going to do it. (It may have been this image on my Facebook newsfeed that helped)

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I went to their website and clicked on the big Donate Now button which took me to a page with a range of options, including regular giving, one off donations and fundraising. I clicked on regular giving and LO AND BEHOLD  there was a donate using your mobile phone option:

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It was so ridiculously easy to set up. All I had to do was:

1. enter my mobile number and hit the button

2. wait two seconds for a text

3. reply YES

4. job done

What I really liked, apart from the ease and speed at which it took to set up, is the fact that I can cancel at any time just by replying STOP. Or, if money is a bit tight one month, I can reply with SKIP to miss a payment. Perhaps not great for the charity but good for me. Another thing perhaps not great for the charity was that I didn’t receive a Gift Aid option.

I do believe that by making regular giving as easy as possible for the donor, you will increase your regular giving overall and this is why more charities should be incorporating mobile giving into their donation mix. That and the fact that 60% of people surveyed by Open Fundraising, on behalf of UK mobile payments regulator PayPhonePlus, said that donating by text was their favourite way of giving to a charity.

Well done to Open Fundraising  for setting this mobile regular giving up for Child’s i.

Oh yes, and there was an AWESOME ‘thank you’ video delivered by text but you will just have to sign up yourself to see it.