We need to upskill the sector

Yesterday was the last day of Fundraising Convention and before I delve in to what I learned, I just want to say a big ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’ to everyone involved – from IoF staff to the Convention Board, Chairs, Speakers and all the amazing volunteers!

For me, the recurring theme of the day was the need to upskill – whether that’s personal development or building  and developing your colleagues’ skills.

Digital leadership

My first session of the day was on digital leadership and it was great to see three female speakers: Clare Moriarty,  Permanent Secretary at Defra, Claire Horton, CEO at Battersea and Lara Burns, Chief Digital and Technology Officer at Age UK.

Clare talked about how digital is about people and connections and connecting them to services. She talked about all the digital changes happening at Defra because ‘that’s the world we live in now’ where people expect to be able to renew a licence online.

Claire talked us through how important it is that everyone at Battersea understands the role that digital plays and how technology can improve efficiency, help them reach more people and better serve their beneficiaries.

She shared their virtuous circle of insight, innovation, implementation and impact and talked us through each stage.

 

The virtuous circle

Insight is about the value of context – both inward and outward. It’s about how you bring people together and how everyone works towards the same goal. Everyone really needs to understand the strategy, challenges and landscape.

To innovate, you need to be an organisational change agent who sees talent in people and pushes them to be brave, agile and adaptive. But innovation mustn’t be for Innovation’s sake. It must have a real purpose.

The implementation stage is about connecting ‘digital natives’ with ‘digital immigrants’ to get buy-in, understanding and trust. And digital must always be linked back to strategy goals.

To create impact, you must be rigorous in what you’re measuring and use that insight to feed that back into your strategy.

Claire then ended with 5 Golden Digital Rules:

  1. Go where your audience is
  2. Invest in digital skills (incl people)
  3. Aim for quality
  4. Plan ahead
  5. Track performance

Last to speak was Lara who talked us through how digital innovation kick-started service delivery and fundraising at Age UK.

At Age UK, digital is not a bolt-on. It’s fundamental to how they are changing service delivery and enabling conversations with older people. Together with CAST, they developed an app called Steps, which helps them create action plans with older people. The success of the app, as a proof of concept, has led to 3 funders now funding digital transformation.

But a step-change in service delivery has not been without its challenges, one of which was the gaps in infrastructure that were exposed.

Step change in service delivery

The Steps story opened up lots of questions, such as how to secure funding for digital innovation at different stages and can we collaborate on funding tech solutions across the sector?

It was a fascinating session.

Click to read my Twitter thread of the session:

How to develop a personal brand

For my second session of the day, I went along to hear Joe Jenkins, Director of Supporter Impact and Income at The Children’s Society and Liz Tait, Director of Fundraising at Battersea, talk about building a personal brand.

Joe started with saying that your personal brand is what people think about you, not what you think about yourself.

Liz shared some top tips:

  • Daily interactions – be kind, it’s a small sector!
  • Spread the kindness
  • Start close to home – what opportunities are there at your own charity?
  • Volunteer – put yourself forward to volunteer for an IoF regional group, for example
  • Talk at events
  • Get writing – start a blog or write for others
  • Embrace networking
  • Recognise others – don’t always speak about yourself. It’s good to publicly recognise the achievements of others
  • Keep learning
  • Seek feedback

Joe then shared some Do’s and Don’ts:

Do:

  • Get social, particularly on Twitter and Fundraising Chat
  • Be yourself – whatever the channel
  • Be consistent
  • Be brave
  • Make choices (say yes to lots, but not everything is right & worth your time)
  • Do fewer things better
  • Plan ahead
  • Value & recognise personal brand & then prioritise it
  • Be brilliant (at your day job)!

Don’ts:

  • Be anti-social (don’t be negative and critical of others)
  • Fake it – you’ll soon be found out
  • Stay in your box
  • Over-stretch yourself
  • Don’t stop having fun!

Click to read my Twitter thread of the session:

10 ways to become more digital for under a tenner

Next up was Mandy Johnson, CEO of Small Charities Coalition (of which I’m a trustee), to share how small charities can make the most of digital through free (or almost free) tools.

  1. Powtoon for a free animated video
  2. The camera on your smartphone for images or video
  3. YouTube to host your videos for free (it’s also a search engine)
  4. Amazon wishlist – create one for supporters to buy you office supplies and equipment
  5. Take contactless payments on the go for only £15
  6. QR Code and NFC stickers for just £2
  7. Closed Facebook groups to get closer to supporters and make them feel special
  8. Anchor to create free podcasts
  9. Mindset – research, test and iterate with your service users so that you create the services that they actually need. Are your donors, beneficiaries and service users at the heart of what you create?

As you can see… I seem to have missed one!

Click to read my Twitter thread of the session:

Diversity is an opportunity

The plenary was delivered by the amazing June Sarpong who spoke about the importance of diversity and how the charity sector could really lead and set the example of being a diverse and inclusive profession.

My favourite quote from June was, ‘You can’t be campaigning and fighting for equality when your own organisation doesn’t reflect society”.

Click to read my Twitter thread of the plenary:

I have to pay tribute to the IoF who really are working hard to increase diversity in the sector.

The big debate

Are charities where Blockbuster was 15 years ago? Is fundamental change needed in order for them to survive? Mandy Johnson, CEO of Small Charities Coalition and Yasmin Georgiou, Head of Digital Engagement at GOSH argued for the motion whilst Dr Adrian Salmon, Vice President of Grenzbach Glier & Associates and Lesley Pinder Head of Supporter Experience at British Red Cross argued against the motion. They were kept in check by David Hunt, Head of Digital at Breast Cancer Care.

The debate was quite intense so I’m not going to document it all, but read my Twitter thread to see the points raised – there were some really interesting ones.

And who won? Mandy and Yasmin! Although only marginally, it must be said.

Click to read my Twitter thread of the debate:

Digital Transformation in practice

The last session of the day (and of Convention) was all about digital transformation in practice. I was really keen to attend this as digital transformation is often spoken about in ‘big picture’ terms so I was interested to hear how charities are actually doing it.

It was a joint session of two charities: Tom Barker, Head of Digital at National Trust and Simon Honnor, Digital Marketing Manager and Katy Rouse, Digital Content Manager at NSPCC.

Tom spoke first about how National Trust is putting digital transformation into practice and offered 7 tips:

  1. It will only happen if you really want it to. He used a ‘quit smoking’ analogy – for anyone wanting to quit smoking there are apps, patches, services etc to help you yet it will not happen if you don’t really want to quit. You can have all the tools at your disposal but you have to really want to make the change.
  2. Have a single, clear objective – if you can’t explain it quickly to a senior manager or trustee, you’ll lose their attention and it won’t move forward.
  3. Chunk it up – it can be a big, scary, daunting task but it you break it up into smaller chunks, it’s more achievable.
  4. It’s a long haul, not a short fix – be honest with how long it will take so there are no unrealistic expectations.
  5. Have a big stick – aka, get senior management buy-in. Someone high up whose got your back.
  6. Invest in IT – and this means invest in relationships. Be friends with IT. Believe me, you’ll need them.
  7. Plan beyond delivery – need a new website? Build in a budget for beyond when the website is live. And not just to fix bugs but to test and iterate functionality.

Next up, Simon and Katy talked us through NSPPC’s email empowerment programme. They took three steps to upskill staff to allow them to create their own emails, thus freeing up time in the digital team to do more testing and optimizing.

  • Engage – get buy-in (from Senior managers and all staff who need to be involved) and co-create or it won’t work.
  • Educate – (or upskilling) they delivered face-to-face training as well as creating guides and putting together a quiz on the intranet. They also blog on the intranet and send out a monthly newsletter
  • Enhance – this is all about freeing up time to measure and test so that there is continual improvement.

So far the results have been promising – they’ve even increased open rates by 3%. But what’s next? They are putting together a web content training programme, they’ve identified digital business partners who will upskill their team members, they’ve got a deal with Econsultancy for fast track online training and the digital team has started a blog, which you can read here.

So that’s the end of Fundraising Convention for another year. See you in 2019?

Be brave

Yesterday was day two of the Institute of Fundraising’s Fundraising Convention – although day one for me as I was on holiday on Monday (why, yes! I do have a bit of a tan, thanks for noticing!). For me, the recurring theme in all the sessions I attended, and one I spoke at, was : to be brave.

Wear It Pink

My first session of the day was by Lottie Barnden, Senior Products Fundraising Manager, and Joe Freeman, Assistant Director of Digital Engagement at Breast Cancer Now who talked about how they achieved mass participation success using relationship fundraising and digital innovation for Wear It Pink 2017.

In the past, Wear It Pink had been treated as a standalone product but there was clearly disconnect with the charity brand so in 2017 they made the (brave) decision to incorporate the Breast Cancer Now brand into it more. They involved more staff in the event, segmented their audiences, used personalised comms, combined digital with post, text and telephone calls to reach people in the way that they wanted to be reached, and aligned the brand – which all resulted in an increase in remittance by 6% and a 7% increase in average gift from the previous year.

Here are their four key takeaways:

  1. Principles – define your principles before your campaign and strive for depth and authenticity
  2. Inspire – be smart with your marketing plans and flex them for different audiences. Know how critical digital channels are (but don’t ignore post – which brought in over £300k)
  3. Engage – build a relationship with your audience and know what you want to say to them
  4. Own it – it’s your day, it’s your moment – so own it!

Click to read my Twitter thread of their session:

How to spot emerging digital tools and trends (no matter your size)

My second session was on spotting emerging digital tools and trends, with David Pearce, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Dignity in Dying.

This was an interactive session where delegates got to be brave and share their digital challenges. It was no surprise what most were – and David had already captured most in a slide. I always say that, no matter what size your charity is, the three challenges facing all charities is: time, money and resource.

David shared his reading list, which is how he keeps up with the latest digital and fundraising news. His top tips included:

  • Beware of the ‘shiny new thing’
  • If Facebook is looking to buy said ‘shiny new thing’ or trying to copy it – take note
  • If it’s mentioned in Parliament, listen up

Whenever you’re looking to use digital tools for fundraising, always remember to:

  • Go back to your organisational goals – can this digital tool help achieve them?
  • Test and learn but more importantly, learn from failure
  • Be agile
  • Have an innovation budget (or be creative in your digital budget)

Click to read my Twitter thread of the session here:

What fundraisers can learn from Tinder

My third session, which was packed both with people and top tips, was with Nikki Bell, Relationship Manager at British Heart Foundation and Victoria Ward, Head of Fundraising at British Youth Council to talk about donors and dating.

There was so much in this session, I recommend you read my Twitter thread below but the highlights for me were:

  • Stop chasing the people who don’t care about your cause and focus your attention on the ones who do
  • Use active listening when meeting with donors (don’t take notes!) and always use something personal in a follow-up (such as, I hope you managed to find those shoes you were looking for after our meeting)
  • When they’ve made a donation, break the dating ‘two day rule’ and say Thank You as soon as possible
  • Looking for potential new donors? Find them on Twitter using the Advanced Search function
  • Lastly, ‘self love is the very first romance’. You can’t be a great relationship fundraiser if you don’t look after yourself and love yourself first.

Click to read my Twitter thread of the session here: 

Find the pain and understand the culture

The plenary was by Fatima Bhutto, journalist, author and Young Global Leader for the World Economics Forum. Fatima urged us to ‘find where the pain is because that’s where there is the most need’ but not to just rush in to help but really take the time to ‘understand the culture’. Fatima also said that to make the biggest impact, go to the smallest communities because your work will really make a difference.

Sarah Goddard summed up Fatima’s talk beautifully:

Click to read my Twitter thread of the plenary session:

Be brave on social media

After the amazing plenary, it was time to hear from Melissa Thermidor, Social Media Manager at NHS Blood and Transplant and Rebecca Sterry, Senior Communications Manager at Autistica to learn how their organisations are being brave on social media.

Melissa said that the conversation is shifting on social and that Twitter is becoming more of an advocacy platform. My top takeways were:

“There’s no conversion without conversation.”

Create a community by responding to people’s user-generated content and serve it back to them.

Melissa described how they had tweeted a call out for more black blood donors and received lots of racist tweets in return. Instead of just reporting and blocking (and essentially just ignoring it publicly), they fought back. The result, is quite simply, EPIC (click to read the thread):

This was a really brave step on their part, and one that paid off. But there’s still more battles to fight (and win).

Rebecca spoke about how they undertook their own research to really understand their audience so that they could create personas for them. Autism is incredibly emotive so it was essential to understand what matters to different people.

They choose to be quick to respond to news and to be opinionated. They then empowered staff to use Twitter to help build the brand, amplify the charity’s messages and to add a personal touch when they got things wrong:

What I took away from this session is to stop being so vanilla! Stand up for what’s right and don’t be afraid to admit if you got something wrong.

Last night I spotted this on Twitter and it really nails home to ‘be brave on social media’:

Click to read my Twitter thread of the session here:

How to be an excellent young trustee

The last session of the day was one that I was speaking at. Along with Neal Green, Strategy and Insight Manager at the Charity Commission and Leon Ward, Deputy Chair of Brook Young People.

I’ve been a proud trustee of Small Charities Coalition for five years and Leon has been a trustee of (previously) Plan International UK and now Brook Young People for around eight years so we have lots of experience in being a young trustee. Along with Neal, we shared how we found our roles, tips for applying, the interview process, how you need to make sure you do your due diligence and tips for board meetings and more.

It was a really interactive session with loads of great questions and I hope we inspired the young people in the room to be brave, go forth and become trustees. Looks like we definitely inspired at least one!

If you’re interested in becoming a young trustee, read this excellent guide by Leon and CAF. I’ve also written a post on three reasons to become a trustee.

So that was the end of day two. Were you there? What were your highlights? Tweet me at @LondonKirsty!

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?

Jo Wolfe.JPG

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.

Guardian Partnership.JPG

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.

Autism TMI results.JPG

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

Results.JPG

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.

Learnings.JPG

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

Top tips.JPG

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.

Behind the scenes.JPG

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!”

Make people jealous.JPG

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)

Results (2).JPG

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.

We need to talk about failure

It’s just over a month until the Institute of Fundraising’s Fundraising Convention and I for one am getting really excited! As an official blogger this year, I’ve been keeping an eye out for the sessions that I want to attend and the Failure Swop Shop is high on my list.

We don’t talk enough about failure

I’ve said this many times before, particularly in my column for Third Sector, that we don’t talk about failure enough. The recent State of the Sector report by think tank NPC brought this home even more. There is a major reluctance to take risks and potentially fail but the risk of never progressing is even more damaging. There was a quote in the digital chapter of the report that really stood out for me:

NPC

How can we ever achieve excellence – fundraising or otherwise – if we just do what we’ve always done? If we never push the boundaries? If we never take risks? One common theme emerging from every report produced this year (and there have been a few) is that if the sector doesn’t embrace digital – and understand what it means and its potential – it will get left behind. We cannot let this happen.

So I do hope that those speaking in the Failure Swop Shop will be honest and candid in their Fundraising Convention session – it is Chatham House rules after all – because I feel it’s so important to normalise failure. If you can learn from your failure and progress then have you actually failed?

Another session I am looking forward to is Digital. Are we doing it wrong? In this session, Reuben Turner and Pete Grant from GOOD Agency will be challenging the view that digital is just about convenience. They will be sharing examples where digital is used to build meaning, emotion and belief. Excellent. I loved being challenged and I hope this session will make me come away with a different view. If you work in digital and you’re going to Convention, this is a session you won’t want to miss.

Join me and the fundraising community at the UK’s biggest event for fundraisers!

Charities should keep digital innovation at the heart of their approach

Ahead of the Institute of Fundraising’s Innovative Fundraising in a Digital World’ conference on Monday 3rd October Michael Docherty, Director of Digital and Supporter Experience, Cancer Research UK blogs about how charities should keep digital innovation at the heart of their approach. Having worked on Cancer Chat, I can attest that CRUK definitely has their finger on the digital innovation pulse. 

Over the past five years we’ve seen drastic changes in how people interact with digital things. The average person now checks their smartphone 85 times a day, spending five hours browsing the web and using apps. Google processes a mind blowing 40,000 searches a second; it’s fair to say we live in a digital world.

The third sector is as impacted by this digital world as any other sector. In just the last year Cancer Research UK has seen a 30% increase in single donations being taken through our online payment platform and mobile traffic has grown 35% and now makes up over half of all visits to our website.

This is a world where the pace of change is very fast, changes can bring upside or downside, and occasionally those upsides/downsides can be sudden and spectacular. #Nomakeupselfie and Google’s Panda Update are examples of both which have affected CRUK.

To keep pace with the digital world and to deliver the types of experiences that people expect, we’re organising ourselves to put our focus on the main things our audiences need to do with us. Through this focus we’ve been developing capabilities that can be utilised across the organisation in serving our audiences’ needs. Some examples of our capabilities include our ecommerce , online fundraising and online communities platforms, and our new schema enabled approach to content management.

Through our audience led approach, through our new digital capabilities and by working to up skill the organisation, we’re building an environment that allows our teams to be digital first. It’s this approach and framework that lets us be innovative, giving our teams the tools to quickly try different things whilst easily measuring impact and success.

Innovation is at the heart of our approach, and to ensure we are preparing ourselves for the future we’re exploring cutting-edge technologies and experimenting with them to understand how they can support the outcomes we are trying to achieve.

We keep track of new behavioural trends driven by technology in any sector, and we look for ways to apply trends to our objectives – particularly fundraising growth. As an example, given the decline of cash on the high street we’ve explored contactless payments. We’ve also seen market-leading digital organisations invest significantly in virtual reality and have subsequently been actively exploring how we can utilise the technology. These are just two examples of future income and engagement drivers that we believe charities must explore in order to keep meeting their audiences’ needs and remain relevant.

Keeping up with the digital world requires a culture where it’s possible to test and learn, and crucially, acceptable (and dare I say it, desirable) to fail. The way we make it OK for us to fail is to do it cheaply, and ensure we learn quickly so that we aren’t making the same mistake twice. This is helping us grow towards becoming a more digitally mature organisation, where everyone has a responsibility and commitment to be innovative and put their audiences first – and we think that’s helping us keep pace with the ever changing digital world.

Michael will be chairing the Institute of Fundraising ‘Innovative Fundraising in a Digital World’ conference on 3rd October – are you on board with the changing digital world?

How crowdfunding is changing the face of social action

I am very proud to be on the panel of this year’s #FRO16 by The Resource Alliance, which is a global two-day online conference aimed at helping charities and social enterprises have access to case studies, new thinking and best practice – for free.

If you register now for #FRO16, you’ll be able to watch all the sessions for one month. Sessions include speakers from JustGiving, Storythings, Indiegogo, SolarAid, Platypus Digital, Dignity in Dying, HOME fundraising, Change.org and many more.

In association with The Resource Alliance, I’ve produced a whitepaper which looks at how crowdfunding is changing the face of social action. Download if for free, here. Follow the hashtag, #FRo16, to see what people are saying!

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.