Who or what inspires you?

I’m sure there are many people in your life who inspire you – on a personal or professional level. Some may not actually be *in* your life – like Michele Obama – but their words and (more importantly) their actions light a fire inside you and motivate you to do more, learn more, be more.

Michelle Obama

On a professional level, I have many people who I look up to and aspire to be like – many of whom I can learn from and who motivate me to be the best that I can be.

Luckily for me the Institute of Fundraising is bringing many people in the sector who I admire all together in one place, under one roof at Fundraising Convention 2017. And I’m delighted to announce that once again, I will be a Blogger Supporter.

Fundraising Convention, for me, is a unique opportunity to hear from a multitude of people within various roles and working for different causes across the sector who will be sharing their knowledge and expertise in a warm, friendly and open environment. There are plenty of opportunities to meet fellow fundraisers at socials, at workshops, evening events and during lunch – so make the most of it! Although this is from last year, these tips by Craig Linton to make the most of Convention still ring true.

I don’t think that we talk about failure enough (and what we’ve learnt from it) so I’m really excited for the Failure Swop Shop (note to self: no tweeting about it though!). I may be a digital communications consultant but I’m always learning so I’m looking forward to the Social Media Masterclass  as well as testing whether what I know about digital is all wrong.

As a trustee of the Small Charities Coalition I’m well aware of the importance of a strong, effective and diverse board and how rewarding being a trustee can be. If you have ever considered becoming a trustee yourself, go along to the Charity boards: why change matters session.

Over the last couple of years, the sector has faced some really tough challenges – and there are more to come. Fundraising Convention offers us the opportunity to tackle these challenges – together. If you want to be involved and be inspired, make sure you book your place. And if you book by 21 April, you’ll receive the Early Bird price.

Do something good this #GivingTuesday

It’s #GivingTuesday – a day where the public is urged to ‘do good stuff’ for charity as it falls after the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

#GivingTuesday is by the team at Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and this is only its third year – but the stats are impressive:

  • in 2015 £6,000 a minute was raised for UK charities
  • A World Record was broken for the most money donated online in 24 hours
  • #GivingTuesday is run in over 70 countries around the world.

#GivingTuesday is not just about raising money.

Here are a few ideas for how you can take part in #GivingTuesday that doesn’t involve money:

  1. Write for Amnesty – send some words of comfort to Nazanin, a charity worker imprisoned in Iran (the charges remain a secret) and sign the petition to free her.
  2. Simply tweet  – tweet using #TweetForShelter and British Gas will donate £1 to Shelter (up to £25,000).
  3. Become a volunteer – Beanstalk is just one charity calling for people to volunteer their time to make a difference.

4. Give the gift of listening – this is a lovely idea from Samaritans. Do you have a friend, family member or colleague who needs a friendly ear? Take the time to listen to them. It could save a life.

5. Nominate a local cause – supermarkets, such as The Co-op are looking for local causes to support so nominate a local charity.

6. Become a trustee – charities need strong and effective boards so make a huge difference by becoming a trustee for a cause you care about. Find opportunities on Trustee Finder.

7. Spread the word – if you support charities, why not tweet or share on Facebook why you support them and help raise awareness of their cause.

The top 30 Social CEOs and a free guide

Last night I attended the Social CEO Awards, hosted by JustGiving. Set up by Zoe Amar and Matt Collins, and now in its third year, the awards celebrate CEOs who are using Twitter to actively engage with their supporters and beneficiaries, discussing key issues and raising awareness of their charity.

The full top 30 are listed in this Guardian Voluntary article.

This year there were three new categories: Senior Leader, Trustee and Rising Star. Congratulations to all the winners!

If you are a CEO wanting to get started on Twitter, or improve your social skills, then download this free guide: Digital Leadership: how to survive and thrive as a social CEO.

The guide has been produced by Zoe Amar and Matt Collins and features advice and tips from Zoe, Matt, Rob Hayter of TPP Recruitment and myself. I offer tips on how CEOs can fundraise on social media and share examples of CEOs who are using Twitter brilliantly to fundraise – like Polly Neate, CEO of Women’s Aid who took part in the Mont Ventoux Climb and raised over £2,000 for her charity.

If your CEO is not convinced about the benefits of being on social media, download the guide and leave it on their desk!

Facebook rolls out new Donate Button

This week, Facebook rolled out a new call-to-action button for charities – Donate Now. The beauty of this is that you can link it to any URL – whether it’s your Donate landing page on your website or, if you’re on JustGiving you can link it straight into the one-touch donate flow or even to a specific Campaign page.

I covered how to use it over on JustGiving’s blog.

Here are a few charities who have already incorporated the Donate Now button onto their Facebook page:

Dogs Trust

dogs trust FB

Make a Wish Ireland

Make a Wish Ireland

Teenage Cancer Trust

Teenage Cancer Trust FB

Blue Cross

Blue Cross FB

Have you incorporated it yet?

War has been declared on the charity sector – why aren’t we fighting back?

UPDATE: The Drum picked up on my post. Read it here.

Both the national newspapers and the Government seem to have declared war on the sector. It all started with the death of Olive Cooke. Then it moved on to charities ‘hounding vulnerable people on a no-call list’ before a, seemingly, very personal attack on fundraising directors. Now charities are being told to draw up written agreements showing how vulnerable people will be protected from ‘aggressive’ fundraising tactics. And then there was this article today about how 50% of Alzheimer’s Society’s funds are spent on staff.

Wait. You mean, charity staff get paid? Well blow me down.

Thank goodness CEO, Jeremy Hughes, commented in the Guardian.

Please read it. It is excellent.

Here is a highlight:

Alzheimer’s Society employs 2,500 staff, the vast majority of whom provide services to help people with dementia live their lives as well as they can. We do spend £42m of the £84m we raise on our staff. And they are worth every penny.

Now what I’d like to know is, what are we going to do about this?

Why is the sector not putting on their war paint and digging their trenches? We should and we MUST defend our sector.

Here’s what you can do

1. Read this excellent piece by Ian MacQuillin. 2. Stand up for our sector and show your support by leaving a comment on Jeremy Hughes’s Guardian article. 3. Get involved in CharityComms’s Understanding Charities Group. 4. Contribute to the Guardian Voluntary Sector’s open thread: Charity fundraising: how do we fix this mess? These are all things that we can do as individuals in the sector but what I’d really love to see are charities coming together and not just defending their staff’s pay but also showing their impact. How much have dementia charities saved the NHS? How many lives have been saved from charity helplines? How many people or families still have their homes and food to eat because of charities like Shelter, Crisis and The Trussell Trust? How many charity sector staff would be homeless if they were volunteers and unpaid? Oh but that’s ok – there are plenty of benefits to claim and council houses to go round.

Top charity sector resources

Working in the charity sector – whatever your role – it’s important to keep up to date. Whether that’s by subscribing to blogs, reading sector articles, joining groups, attending events or following people on Twitter.

fundraising

I asked the Third Sector PR and Communications Facebook network for their top charity resources and here they are (with some of my own):

Websites:

Guardian Voluntary Sector

CharityComms

UK Fundraising – run by Howard Lake

KnowHowNonProfit

Civil Society

Third Sector

SOFII – The showcase of fundraising innovation and inspiration

Media Trust

Small Charities Coalition 

Reason Digital

Blogs:

JustGiving (of course I’m biased though because I manage it)

Institute of Fundraising

Beth Kanter

Comms2Point0

Rob Mansfield 

Zoe Amar

CharityChap (Matt Collins)

Madeleine Sugden

Lucy Gower

3rd Sector Mission Control (Richard Sved)

101 Fundraising

Paul de Gregorio

Charity Chicks 

Tennyson Insurance

Events

CharityComms

NFPTweetup (run by Rachel Beer)

Institute of fundraising 

BarcampNFP (run by Sylwia Presley)

#FRTweets (Twitter fundraising chat run by Lesley Pinder and Lucy Caldicott)

Digital Fundraising Forum (hosted by British Red Cross)

Groups

Third Sector PR and Communications Network (Facebook)

Digital Charities Working Group (Facebook)

CharityComms Creatives Group (LinkedIn)

Institute of Fundraising (LinkedIn)

Digital Charities (Google Plus)

Twitter

Here are people/organisations to follow on Twitter who talk about charity, digital, comms, marketing and mobile.

If you have any others to add, please mention them in the comments.

Top tips for small charities

#FRTweets takes place every Friday on Twitter at 12 and it’s for those working in the charity sector with an emphasis on fundraising. This week’s topic was all about fundraising for small charities and as a Trustee of the Small Charities Coalition, I just had to get involved in the discussion.

There were six questions in total, the last of which needed an hour in itself to answer! I Storified the discussion and there is a list of resources at the bottom – not just for people working in small charities but for anyone who works in the sector.

FRTweets

Have you got any tips to offer that weren’t covered? Comment below!

What motivates me to give – an introspective blog post

Today was the last day of the Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention. During today’s sessions, I got to thinking WHY I support the charities I do because a recurring theme has been about understanding people’s motivations to give to your cause. So I’m going to share with you the charities I regularly give to and why. I have monthly direct debits for both Macmillan Cancer Support and for Cancer Research UK. Supporting these charities is mostly about the cause – cancer. That (insert swearword) of a disease that has stolen far too many of my loved ones. I support Macmillan because their nurses have helped my loved ones in their last weeks, days and hours. I support Cancer Research UK because they are saving lives. But it’s not just the cause. I like the way they talk to me: Tweet from Dryathlon And I like the way they make me feel, even if it’s difficult to watch:

I support Amnesty International with a monthly direct debit because collectively we can all be very loud about injustice and my voice alone is not enough. Amnesty is brilliant at keeping you informed throughout their campaigns. They also make it easy for me to share their campaigns with my friends. Best of all, they tell me outcomes of campaigns when they happen. I don’t have to wait for a weekly or monthly newsletter or go to their Facebook page. Amnesty International Text

I sponsor a dog through Dogs Trust (it was a birthday present for my husband) and have done for about seven years. We both love dogs but we can’t have one of our own just yet so we do the next best thing and sponsor one. Our dog’s name is Shane and he is lovely. He also writes to us and sends us photos. We can even go and visit him if we like. The reason why we support Dogs Trust and why when we can have a dog we will go to our nearest rehoming centre is because they never put a healthy dog down. Our Dogs Trust dog Shane The final charity I support every month is Child’s i. Answering why for this charity is harder to explain. I have no personal connection to the cause but when I first heard their founder Lucy Buck speak, I just knew I had to help. The passion and conviction with which Lucy spoke, the stories she told of how the babies that had come to Malaika (the short term emergency care home in Uganda that they provide), how babies had thrived, how they had either been reunited with their families through the support of the charity or gone on to be placed with new, loving families – how could that not inspire me to want to help? And telling stories through video, email or even their Direct Debit text message is what they do so well.

  Child's i text message

They are not a big charity with a big budget so they make use of what they have. In fact, they are so brilliant at digital that they often present at sector conferences and events. They are a true lesson for fundraisers – be passionate about the cause you work for and tell your stories well. In fact, they inspired me so much that I started #100forChildsi and I hope this post has inspired you to join our team. So that’s who I support and why. Will you share with me the charities you support in the comments?

Small nudges, big results – Behaviour Economics in Fundraising

Day two of the Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention and this post is all about Behavioural Economics and what it means for fundraising.

What is Behavioural Economics?

Paul Vanangs, Head of Public Fundraising at Oxfam, explained that it is any repeatable, mass consumer behaviour which cannot be explained by, or is contradictory to, classical economics.

And as fundraisers, this is what is fascinating. Instead of asking ‘why do you not donate to us’ we should be asking ‘what barriers are stopping you from donating to us’.

It’s not about attitude, it’s about behaviour

Christopher Nield, Creative Director at On Agency, shared how he worked with the NSPCC to incorporate legacy asks into any inbound call that was answered by the team. They drew on insights from a similar exercise, below, undertaken by the Cabinet’s ‘nudge unit’ which tested a legacy ask on Cooperative Legal Services will-writing customers.

There were two different ‘nudges’:

Would you like to leave a gift to charity in your Will

Many of our customers like to leave a charitable gift in their Will. Are there any causes you are passionate about?

The second nudge had a response rate of 15.4% as opposed to 10.4% with the first.

How did NSPCC use this?

They created a Norm and Pasha mind map so that they could feel comfortable turning any call, even a complaint, into a legacy ask.

NSPCC Mind Map

So what impact did this have?

The results were 101 conversations in the first week and a conversion rate of 46%. More interestingly, there were no complaints. So in one year, this could mean up to 5,252 conversations with 2,415 new leads. By involving the team in the mind map process, they are now confident to talk about legacies when appropriate.

How can you change behaviours?

Mike Collings from MC&C shared a structured framework for running a workshop on behavioural change. There are two questions to ask:

1. What comparisons are people making?
2. What efforts are involved?

Structured framework

** My presentation of the day award goes to Mark Phillips from Bluefrog, who presented on Reverse Innovation. **

 

Did you hear the one about National Convention?

Today was the first day of the Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention. It was a day of many firsts for me: my first Convention, my first official blogger role, the first time I am representing JustGiving in my new job as Content and Community Manager and the first time I met some of my peers in real life. I could tell you a story about each of these ‘firsts’ but this blog post is not about me.

But it is about storytelling.

Storytelling was a recurring theme today. The plenary by Alan Clayton, Creative Director at Revolutionise, and Jayne George, Executive Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Guide Dogs, really brought storytelling to life. In fact, Guide Dogs, has invested in equipping everyone in the organisation to be able to tell a story. Why? Because real stories bring their cause to life, pulls on emotions and raises funds.

How do we tell a good story?

It’s imperative that you have an authentic voice. Alan shared the example of Jack’s story, whose family was helped by Claire House.

Jack's Story

His mother’s words demonstrate just how powerful storytelling is. So powerful that most of the audience was in tears. Give your supporters and people who use your services a voice and let them share their stories, in their own words.

Take your audience on a journey but make the story simple so that it can be understood by everyone, not just people who already know about your charity or your cause.

Make a story come to life

There’s no denying that words are powerful but in this age of sharing, stories also need to be brought to life. There are so many low cost ways to make your stories multi-dimensional, such as using Audioboo, Vine or Instagram. Look at this example from charitywater and how they’ve told a story in a few sentences with a 15 second video to illustrate their impact.

Give your story wings

Don’t just share your story with your audience, share it with your colleagues too. How many times has the fundraising or communications team created a video and then not told anyone about it? In order for your story to soar, everyone in the charity needs to hear it, read it, see it and believe it.

** My presentation of the day award has to go to Rob Mosley and James Barker’s presentation on What fundraisers can learn from rappers. **

Photo credit from Ken Burnett.