Fundraising is focussed on the bottom line. Hard, tangible cash. Facts and figures. Brand is about perception. The heart and mind of the audience. Intangible feelings.
OK, so I’m being purposefully black and white. But everyone of my friends in the sector feels that brand and fundraising teams need to work better together. And with the sector still suffering reputational damage and a new drop in voluntary income, it needs to be all hands to the pump.
And I’ve seen where this happens in perfect harmony. The case for support. I’ve worked on lots of cases for support for very different charities, and they always show me how close communication, brand and fundraising teams actually are, and how well they can work together.
Alexander Scott explains how the case for support is the core story that weaves together brand narrative with need, and the action you want your audience to take.
Five key figures in fundraising tech reflect on how technology has changed fundraising and what’s next. With contributions from Mike Gianoni (President and CEO, Blackbaud), Bill Strathmann (CEO, Network for Good), Mike Geiger, M.B.A., C.P.A. (President and CEO, Association of Fundraising Professionals), Steve Spinner (CEO, RevUp Software) and Jean-Paul Guilbault (President and CEO, Community Brands).
How to hold charity trustee and member meetings, including AGMs, so you can make decisions legally and your charity can run effectively.
Clear guidance from the Charity Commission for trustees.
The nonprofit sector has created a culture in which strategic work is seen as a necessary evil, a process to endure, something to suffer through. Executives often enter the process begrudgingly. They may insist there is no time, money, or support. They may say that the board adds little value, that a bold and expensive vision will be hard to “sell” to a board that must raise money. It’s pretty easy to see how an executive director could have an attitude problem.
When it comes to strategic planning, chief executives often feel sure they know the right answer and already have a sense of what needs to get done in the next few years. Board members will tell you their voices aren’t heard or valued. Precious few board members find making plans invigorating or enriching, nor are they excited to promote a new strategy to potential donors.
Some organizations get the planning process right, but in this blog Joan Garry discusses some of the strategic-planning problems and how to solve them.
Being a trustee feels like a weighty responsibility. There are so many important issues to get to grips with and fundraising is often one of the areas in which many trustees have little or no experience.
In fact, many of the skills and experiences they have from their business lives directly apply to fundraising: having a clear strategy, thinking long term, understanding the budget, checking out the competition, exploring the data, knowing your customers, and taking a leadership role.
Susie Hills poses six questions to help trustees explore these vital aspects of the fundraising health of their organisations.
Time and time again we see the critical role that leaders and trustees have on their charity’s major gift fundraising success.
If you are a Trustee or leader, how do you develop the skills that make you effective in either fundraising directly or supporting the executive team? What do you need to know about major gift fundraising in order to lead from the front?
Caroline Underwood shares 5 questions fundraising boards should ask themselves in this blog.
How many leaders really lead by example? How many go above and beyond to model the behaviours and values they espouse? People won’t believe or trust in someone who says one thing and then behaves in another way.
And if they don’t trust you how can you lead? How can you create psychological safety if you aren’t trustworthy?
Susie Hills shares her three top lessons in leadership from Greta Thunberg in her blog:
Stephanie Harvey, fundraising manager from Little Village, shares her thoughts on this year’s Status of UK Fundraising 2019 Benchmark Report.
One outcome is the decreased confidence in charities. Stephanie elaborates: “We have all seen the negative news with various stories being uncovered of late, and like others we were disappointed and angry about what was shared in the press. Just because we work in the sector, doesn’t mean that we are immune to the bad press – and perhaps it’s also shaken our trust in the sector.
“However, I also believe that we reflect the wider public view that whilst we might not like the current public face of charities, we still like the ones we know and support.
“So, what advice would I give to anyone who doesn’t feel confident, or feels their non-profit needs to do more?”
Read Stephanie’s advise below.
The cost of acquiring a pound of charitable income has grown swiftly since the start of the century.
The latest edition of the UK Civil Society almanac contains a section on the cost of generating funds, which shows that in the year to March 2001, adjusted for inflation, the charity sector spent a total of £3.1bn on generating funds. Now it’s £5.9bn. That’s an increase of 90 per cent.
The sector’s income, meanwhile, has grown by 50 per cent. So the cost of raising money has grown by around 33 per cent in real terms.
Each pound spent on raising income now yields around £4.16, down from somewhere around £5.50 per pound at the start of the century.
David Ainsworth examines the causes of the change.
Do you work for a Great Fundraising Organisation? Not any great fundraising organisation… but a Great Fundraising Organisation.
For the purpose of the academic study, “The Great Fundraising Report,” Profs. Adrian Sargeant and Jen Shang from the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at the University of Plymouth, defined Great Fundraising Organisations as those charities, NGOs and non-profits that:
- Achieved significant growth in voluntary income, typically 200 percent to 400 percent over the middle term, being five to ten years.
- Sustained the increased levels of income.
- Drove this income from a database of donors who were mission driven.
The object of the study was to identify behavioural factors that created a Great Fundraising Organisation. The project is supported by ongoing, informal action research on over 300 case studies worldwide. We particularly studied organisations that outperformed organisations with similar markets, missions and projects.
Alan Clayton found three key areas in which the Great Fundraising Organisations out-perform their competitors.
Find out what they were in the blog below.
The majority of Development Directors are hired to grow income. In keeping with the ads and job descriptions, the charities are poised for growth and keen to hire an experienced fundraiser to lead the charge. The job interviews focus on a DD’s ability to raise funds, lead a team and be a senior team player internally.
BUT then they start the job – and slowly the extent of THEIR “problem” unfolds: “I have been hired to grow the income, but I can’t do my job because…”
It’s not that recruiters are being purposefully misleading or doing anything wrong per se, they are genuinely trying to recruit good people, and if asked at interview stage they will answer questions honestly. But they are not proactively hiring to solve a problem.
Hire to solve your problem
Michelle Benson describes common problems during recruitment of Development Directors and provides guidance on how to solve them.
Raising money is hard work, and sometimes, just sometimes, we need some great facts to help remind ourselves that we are doing great work to help society and the world improve.
#NGOFACTS is an ongoing online campaign that highlights important data about non-governmental organizations (NGOs), nonprofits, and charities worldwide.
You can join the campaign by sharing facts and stats about the NGO sector in your country using the #NGOFACTS hashtag on social media.
Nearly one in three (31.5%) people worldwide donated to charity in 2015 and one in four (24%) volunteered.
Click the link below to read 24 more and feel inspires.
What does Jennifer Coleman-Peers mean by ‘radical transparency’?
It’s about pushing beyond the norms of honest and open practice to be open to the extreme, to share all the most important aspects – both the good and the bad – and in doing so to build trust in who we are and what we do because everything is there to see.
It tells your supporter that you have confidence in the commitment, vision and expertise of your organisation, and that despite its inevitable failings (because we’re all only human) it is working in the best way it knows how to make the biggest possible difference to your cause.
For more information on how radical transparency can make your charity and your leadership become more authentic, please read Jennifer’s blog below:
Good fundraising ideas don’t come around that often, but every now and again an idea comes around that transforms the sector. Here is the story of how the Movember Foundation started in 2003 and turned into a major event raising over £400m.
Be inspired and perhaps try that idea in the back of your head (or under your nose…).
In this leadership blog, Shaun Horan discusses how the need to be “right” holds some leaders back: “you can’t bring people with you if you are only focused on yourself.”
Shaun continues: “Kindness should be seen as an antidote to this. We all know being kind makes us, and everyone around us, feel better. So why don’t we use it more often? Probably because it can also make us a little vulnerable – what if someone takes advantage?”
For more on how kindness can have a positive impact on fundraising, follow the link below.
An exploration of the intersection of compliance and ethics programmes and behavioural science may not immediately strike you as a top candidate for your summer reading list – especially a fundraising reading list – but it would be a mistake to miss out on this review of a research paper by Meredith Niles. She considers how the learnings could be applied to fundraising to provide us with some well considered new perspectives.
At the end of 2016, when the ICO fined several charities for breaching the Data Protection Act 1998, Ian MacQuillin, wrote a fascinating philosophical piece on how charities are perceived by different types of people.
Even though this feels like a long time ago, it’s still as relevant today as it was back then. Whenever you feel that GDPR and data protection are not your friend, have a read of this.
This long read by John Baguley from International Fundraising Consultancy is split into several parts and what the team has learnt as they gear up to the firms 20th anniversary. focus on their top 20 tips to help us fundraise more effectively.
These 20 key facts every fundraiser should know: some are basic and some are outside any box we have ever found. None should be forgotten as we seek to grow our income and influence.
Part 1: https://groupifc.com/blog/2020-vision-in-fundraising/
Part 2: https://groupifc.com/blog/2020-vision-in-fundraising-part-ii/
Part 3: https://groupifc.com/blog/2020-vision-in-fundraising-part-iii/
Part 4: https://groupifc.com/blog/2020-vision-in-fundraising-part-iv/
Are you drowning in analysis paralysis? Having data to back up your decision making is good, but sometimes there is just too much!
Sometimes people often struggle to convert data into effective solutions to problems. The problem isn’t lack of data; the vast amount of data means managers struggle to prioritise what’s important. In the end, they end up applying arbitrary data toward new problems, reaching a subpar solution.
Here, Tanya Menon and Leigh Thompson discuss how you can make better decisions with less data.
To deliver against their duties, charity trustees need to be able to identify the critical issues – the charity’s purposes and plans, its solvency, its resilience and quality of governance – and to be able to review these at regular intervals.
In this post, the Charity Commission has designed 15 questions to help charity trustees carry out such a review and decide what they need to focus on.