Background investigations – Don’t skip the media report

Due diligence background investigations come in all flavors. They’re generally customised according to industry, level of risk, and time constraints.

There’s one component, though, that should be included in all background checks on people and companies – the media report. It’s the section of a background investigation that covers news and social media.

The media report complements public records findings, and it offers insights into both good and bad behavior that can help you decide whether or not this is the kind of person with whom you want to do business.

Marcy Phelps explains how “It provides the color.” Sometimes there’s nothing, and sometimes you strike gold…

http://marcyphelps.com/media-report/

What Donors Want When It Comes to Communication

The fine art of donor communications is a constant topic of study and analysis. But while nonprofits don’t always know what type of communications donors want, common sense would dictate that donors are looking for some kind of feedback about how their money is used. But what kind of contact do they want and how does this contact improve giving?

This data on evidence, updates and thanks seems aimed at nonprofit communicators who are afraid of bothering their constituents, which is a normal response to donor fatigue. Yet, donors also complain about the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am approach, in which nonprofits drag their heels with a timely thanks. So what’s a nonprofit to do?

Amy Butcher shares her thoughts in this blog.

https://nonprofitquarterly.org/what-donors-want-when-it-comes-to-communication/

Lessons in leadership from Greta Thunberg

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:

https://www.halpinpartnership.com/debate/lessons-leadership-greta-thurnberg

Three steps for Boosting your Fundraising Confidence

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.

https://hub.blackbaud.co.uk/blackbaud-europe/status-of-uk-fundraising-2019-three-steps-to-boosting-your-fundraising-confidence

Why is the cost of raising funds rising so fast?

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.

https://www.civilsociety.co.uk/voices/david-ainsworth-why-is-the-cost-of-raising-funds-rising-so-fast.html

Creating and leading a Great Fundraising Organisation

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.

https://101fundraising.org/2017/08/creating-leading-great-fundraising-organisation/

Fundraising Directors – Why is your job so hard?

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.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fundraising-directors-why-your-job-so-hard-michelle-benson

Data compliance officer: the next big role in fundraising?

Fundraising charities rely on information about their supporters to survive; such as names and addresses, financial information and other private data. Information such as this will always be integral to the fundraising process, and the storage and safety of this information will be too.

GDPR’s rules around proving consent necessitate new processes at the back and front ends of data collection – and it’s going to be hard work. The fundraising sector has a lot of fundamental changes to make in a short amount of time.

Jenny Daw, editor of The Fundraiser, wonders that with so much to learn and do, there may well be a need for organisations to take on new talent and skills to push these changes through.

https://www.charitychoice.co.uk/the-fundraiser/data-compliance-officer-the-next-big-role-in-fundraising/724

Giving Day – The Ultimate Guide to Success

A Giving Day is a 24 hour digitally driven fundraising and engagement campaign with the goal of rallying a university’s or nonprofit’s community behind a particular cause.

The original and most famous Giving Day is #GivingTuesday and has since been embraced by universites and nonprofits across the globe looking to run their own campaigns.

In this plan from Hubbub, you will gain a clear idea of the steps required to launch a successful Giving Day campaign. Much of this is targeted at universities, schools and colleges, but is applicable to the whole nonprofit sector.

https://www.hubbub.net/giving-day

An interview with Justin Coghlan, co-founder of the Movember Foundation

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…).

https://www.nursinginpractice.com/article/interview-justin-coghlan-co-founder-movember-foundation

Better to be kind, than to be right?

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.

https://www.halpinpartnership.com/debate/better-be-kind-be-right

Long Read: The philosophical dispute between fundraising and data protection

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.

https://criticalfundraising.wordpress.com/2016/12/21/opinion-the-philosophical-dispute-between-fundraising-and-data-protection/amp/

Long Read: 2020 Vision in Fundraising

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/

Long Read: Good asking

The Institute of Fundraising (IoF) recently launched Good Asking – a report on why charities research and process supporter information. They worked with leading academic Dr Beth Breeze from the University of Kent, to survey over 300 fundraisers to understand why they process and research information about their supporters, and what the benefits are for donors, charities and the wider public.

The purpose of this report is to shed light on the importance of fundraisers and their work. If they are to be successful, fundraisers need to conduct research to facilitate the efficient and accurate matching of donors and the causes they might wish to support, and to do so in a way that makes the experience as pleasurable as possible for the generous donor.

THE REPORT FINDINGS INCLUDE:

  • 90% of fundraisers believe that conducting research enables fundraisers to better communicate and tailor their work to the interests and priorities of donors
  • Most (88%) fundraisers believe that conducting research reduces the levels of unwanted or irrelevant mail sent out
  • A representative survey of the general UK population found that almost two-thirds (60%) of those who prefer charities to communicate in a tailored way with them, think that charities should be able to use information that is publicly available, for example doing Google searches or drawing on newspaper articles, in order to tailor their approach to their supporters.

The report also highlights that:

  • Two-thirds of major donors believe that a ‘more professional approach’ by fundraisers has been a key factor in the development of philanthropy in the UK

https://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/library/good-asking-report-2017/

Data Governance: 3 Key areas to focus your efforts

Data governance is needed to ensure your organisation can consume data which has integrity and quality.

But how do you focus your efforts so that your governance programme can deliver the results needed?

Toochukwu Philip Ibegbu MBA shares with us how he was able to successfully launch data governance initiatives that made the most impact.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/data-governance-3-key-areas-focus-your-efforts-philip-ibegbu/

How to Make Better Decisions with Less Data

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.

https://hbr.org/2016/11/how-to-make-better-decisions-with-less-data

Donor Retention: What Do We Know & What Can Nonprofits Do about It?

Retention is one of the Big 5 KPIs to measure, but why is it so important?

A 10 percent improvement in attrition can yield up to a 200 percent increase in projected value, as with lower attrition significantly more donors upgrade their giving, give in multiple ways, recommend others, and, ultimately, perhaps, pledge a planned gift to the organization.

In this sense the behavior of “customers” and the value they generate appear to mirror that reported in the for-profit consumer sector, where similar patterns of value and behavior emerge. Indeed, the marketing literature is replete with references to the benefits that a focus on customer retention can bring.

Adrian Sargeant explains more in this article.

https://nonprofitquarterly.org/donor-retention-nonprofit-donors/

The BIG 5 in fundraising performance metrics

Reinier Spruit discusses how we’re in the relationship building business and how we need to measure and register every response.

Ironically, we must quantify the relations with our donors, so we can improve the quality of the contact we have with them.

There are a ton of metrics we can track, and should track, like email open rates, sign-up rates per hour, one-off cash donations and appeal response rates. But there are 5 that are simply much more important. Mainly because they are the building blocks for making sensible decisions for the longer term.

I call them the Big Five. The Big Five are Volume, Expenditure, Income, Retention and Return on Investment.

Find out more by clicking the link below:

https://101fundraising.org/2014/05/big-5-fundraising-performance-metrics/

Charity governance, finance and resilience: 15 questions trustees should ask

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.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/charity-trustee-meetings-15-questions-you-should-ask/charity-trustee-meetings-15-questions-you-should-ask

What working on the easy-read Trustee Guide taught me about making trusteeship more accessible

Dan Francis from the NCVO shares key findings from the Good Trustee Guide.

Amongst the recommendations, Dan discusses how to make boards more diverse, accessible and make inductions less complex.

https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2016/12/09/what-working-on-the-easy-read-trustee-guide-taught-me-about-making-trusteeship-more-accessible/