Its ok to have different objectives



Companies and charities should have different objectives when they work together…this is ok. I recently heard about a company who said their objective for working with charity X was to raise a certain amount of money.

This, in my mind, should be the objective of the Fundraising Director of the charity, not of the corporate partner. Surely their objective is to sell more product. I know one of the most successful partnerships I worked on grew because our corporate partner sold more of their product around the time of the partnership. And we raised more money.

The company of course benefitted from a halo effect working with us, but ultimately their revenues increased.

I would love to start seeing companies being open to the fact that its ok to engage in a partnership with a charity to generate revenue and sell more products. I think if this reluctance was removed we could start to see charitable partnerships sit firmly within marketing departments and actually become even more effective. If you look at an organisations objectives behind a major sponsorship it isnt simply to do the right thing. They are very clear about why they engage in the partnership and what they want to get out of it and one of the main points will be…to shift more of their products.

If there was a change in this direction I believe we would start to see even more successful charitable partnerships, even greater alignment between companies and charities and longer term more sustainable partnerships.

This then may leave the door open for even purer philanthropy, with companies are giving a % of their profits to causes….then there will be some great sponsorship partnerships and philanthropy, not one dressed up as the other. The first couple of pages of this paper by Network For Good offers some great tips on this topic…download it here

What do you think? Am I off the mark here?

Facebook Vomit!

I have been talking to people a lot about Facebook Vomit lately. Sounds gross…but its more annoying that gross. Facebook Vomit is where your brand over posts on facebook….or spews information out onto your news feed like a technicolour yawn!

I have been of the opinion that knee jerk posting (ie “sure stick that up on Facebook”) leads to facebook vomit. And now research has come out to back it up. DDB carried out research across six countries and found that:

“Thirty-six percent of the respondents said they’ve unsubscribed from a brand page. Why? Because they lost interest in the brand, the page’s content came too frequently…” (source AdWeek)

So don’t just go onto Facebook because you think you have to be there and when you are there don’t just post content for the sake of it or too often. Have a content strategy and publishing schedule (contact me if you would like some help developing one).

Follow some of the big brands and see what they are doing and read the DDB report article from AdWeek

World’s Richest Man Says: “Charity Doesn’t Solve Anything”

Source: Good: Business, Oct 17th 2010

Carlos Slim is the Mexican billionaire listed by Forbes as the world’s richest man. Although he has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to his own charities and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, his signature has not appeared on Gates and Warren Buffett’s  “Giving Pledge,” in which billionaires promise to donate half their fortunes to charity.

As the Wall Street Journalreports, while Slim was speaking at a conference in Sydney last month, he offered the following sentiment:

The only way to fight poverty is with employment. Trillions of dollars have been given to charity in the last 50 years, and they don’t solve anything. … To give 50 percent, 40 percent, that does nothing. There is a saying that we should leave a better country to our children. But it’s more important to leave better children to our country.Slim’s sentiments echo those of the Dead Aid author and economist Dambisa Moyo, who argues that the half century or so of foreign aid to African nations has failed to address root problems. Although neither Moyo nor Slim believe aid should be eliminated altogether, they both suggest prioritizing job creation over throwing money at problems.


Simple Feelgood Idea – The Thank You Project

I was invited to attend the launch of the Thank You book by the Irish Hospice Foundation yesterday. When I got the invitation I thought, interesting, but just another charity book launch. I was wrong.

This is a wonderful feelgood project that goes way beyond the book, in fact this has the potential to become a Movement. The idea is simple the Irish Hospice Foundation are launching a National Day of Thank You, they want people to stop and say thank you to someone, for something, anything. As Bill Hughes said at the launch “imagine if everyone in Ireland woke up that day to a thank you card in their post”. Thats a really nice idea.

And of course the foundation are selling you cards  (and e-cards) which you can send your thank yous on (so yes it hopes to raise money from this). The book is also part of the campaign and they are encouraging people to buy the book and then take the time to capture things they feel grateful about.

As someone who is doing a degree in the area I really enjoyed listening to Psychologist Marie Murray. She pointed out at the launch that there are health benefits to being grateful, scientific research shows that people who express their gratitude daily are 25% happier and healthier than those who dont!

I tend not to post about specific fundraising projects, so why this one? Well I like that its a really simple idea. As I listened to the explanation of the project unfold and the background to it, I couldnt stop thinking about the add-ons to the campaign. I also liked the idea of the Thank You Day, a day that focuses the mind is always good, and this is also piggy-backing on something that people tend to do (maybe not as much as we should). There is also an incredibly good feeling about this campaign, in fact I think there is so much that can be done around this that could really create an incredible  movement.

Read more about the project here. Sinead O’Connor has also released a version of Thank You For Hearing Me for the campaign (cant find the link to the song on the site, but it will be there soon…in the meantime here is another version of it)

I’m looking for your advice

I am doing a bit of work with The Alzheimer Society of Ireland around an online campaign and we are looking to get together a small group of people to attend a preview of the campaign.

We would like to get some feedback from people on the campaign itself and also how we can best spread the word about it online.

We will be holding this event next Thursday October 28th from 8am (aim to start at 8.15am) and we will finish by 9am. Numbers are limited so if you think you can offer some insight and advice and are able to attend please email me conorsfundraisingblog at gmail dot com

Preview Details:

  • What: Preview of The Alzheimer Society of Ireland online appeal (looking for your thoughts on the campaign and also how we can spread word online)
  • Where: Morrison Hotel
  • When: 8am for 8.15 am start (aim to finish by 9am)
  • Contact: conorsfundraisingblog at gmail dot com

Want to Help Developing Countries? Sell Them Good Stuff

A friend of mine David Wolman wrote this really interesting piece in Wired (he has also written a book on left-handedness…i kid you not!)

Source: Wired Sept 27th 2010

The Tata Group, India’s version of Acme and maker of the supercheap Nano automobile, recently introduced a $22 water purifier that works without electricity or running water. (Every few months it needs a new $6 filter.) A big-hearted, philanthropic, and important effort? You bet—cue the somber stats about preventable waterborne diseases. But check out the size of the market for a product like that: Some 900 million people worldwide lack access to clean water, 200 million of them in India alone. Tata is saving lives and making a killing.

That’s why, at next year’s G-whatever meeting in France, world leaders would do well to rip up those big checks to tin-pot autocrats and channel the cash to startup companies instead. Help those companies make cheap, useful products to sell to the world’s poor, who will use them to become less poor, and everybody wins. Management guru C. K. Prahalad advocated this very idea six years ago in The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits, and now a few companies like Tata are putting it into action.

D.Light Design is a case in point. After witnessing the inefficiencies and harmful health effects of kerosene lamps as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, Sam Goldman returned to the US to earn an MBA and pursue a very specific agenda: Replace kerosene lighting, everywhere, with inexpensive solar-powered LED lamps. Three years ago, he launched D.light to produce such lamps and has already sold 250,000* to customers throughout the developing world at an average price of $20 apiece. The company hopes to light the homes of 50 million people by 2015.

Another example: Forty percent of humanity gets by on less than $2 a day, and most of those people are rural farmers. Efficient drip irrigation systems could triple or quadruple their yields while reducing their costs, but manufacturers haven’t bothered making drip systems for tiny farms. In 2004, a company called Global Easy Water Product began selling a setup that can be used for small plots. The price: $32.50 per quarter acre. In just two years as a for-profit venture, it has sold more than 250,000 units in India.

“Conventional development economics was always about increasing per capita income to a certain level before people become consumers,” says Vijay Govindarajan, a professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. The new view flips that logic on its head: Providing access to modern technologies by creating supercheap products may, in fact, be the best way to improve economic well-being. For entrepreneurs, the race is on to tap that massive population of penny-wielding consumers-in-waiting. Put another way, if Coke and Marlboro can sell to the world’s poor, companies whose products are actually useful should be able to do it, too.

But selling to subsistence farmers takes some reshuffled thinking. To simplify a bit, companies in traditional markets design a product, figure out what it costs to make, and then select a profit-maximizing price. That approach assumes, of course, that your market exists in the first place. When doing business in Burundi, you’re trying to conjure buyers out of thin air. To do that, you start by committing to a price as close as possible to nothing. The task, then, is to design a product that costs even less to make. Only with what Govindarajan calls “frugal engineering” can companies gain access to the masses at the bottom of the pyramid.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially for big firms that are already hardwired for other priorities (Tata is the exception here). But nimble startups can have a real advantage in this new environment because they aren’t trying to satisfy the tastes of existing first-world customers.

The trick is balancing affordability and quality. In a Harvard Business Review article last year, Govindarajan, together with Tuck colleague Chris Trimble and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, wrote that people in emerging markets “are more than happy with high-tech solutions that deliver decent performance at an ultralow cost—a 50 percent solution at a 15 percent price.” That’s not a green light for lame products, though. As in any market, what’s being sold has to fill an unmet need. The poor may be poor, but they’re not stupid.


Facebook and Bing

Source: TechCrunch Oct 13th 2010

Facebook and Microsoft deepened their existing relationship around search. At an event in Silicon Valley, both companies announced a new phase in their partnership, especially as it relates to social search. Bing will be adding more Facebook social data into its main search results.

Starting today, if you do a search on Bing, it will try to recognize your Facebook account through instant personalization, and you will automatically start to see links that your friends have “liked.” These will appear in a separate module, with related social links called out. The example Microsoft gives is if you are searching for San Francisco steak houses and one of your friends liked Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco, that would appear as a result along with the name of your friend.

The same thing could happen for movie results or news articles. Not every search will show social results, and when they do show up, the Facebook module will move up and down the page depending on Bing’s ranking algorithms. In the future, these Facebook likes will appear under related links, and not just within a separate module grouping all “liked” results together.

Bing will warn searchers the first few times it starts pulling liked links from their Facebook friends with a pop-up window allowing people to opt-out. You can also disable Bing in your Facebook privacy settings.

Along with adding Facebook likes into search results, Bing is also using Facebook data to do better people search. When you start looking for a person, Bing will analyze the people you know and the people they know through Facebook and return those who are most closely linked to you socially. Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi says that 4 percent of searches are people search, but results are only satisfying 20 percent of the time. He hopes Facebook can improve on that.

Soon, Bing will also looking at social signals on Faceboom to identify experts related to various searches. So when you search for a restuarant, if someone you know has checked in there through Facebook Places or tagged a lot of photos there, or someone you don’t know who has done so publicly, they might show up as an expert

Another nice Facebook Landing Page

Yesterday I posted about the Aware Ireland Facebook Fan page, which is one of the best examples of a non profit landing page I have seen.

Today I’d like to share my favourite page non charity page. Its  from Carl’s Jr (fast food company in America). When you go to the page first you see this,

So they want you to Like the page before you do anything. Once you do you see this:

A great game where you win free stuff.

Very good Facebook Landing Pages

I’ve been looking a lot at Facebook Landing Pages lately and these are  the best charity ones I have seen (tomorrow I will post my favourite non charity page). Well done Aware and DSPCA (in fact check out all DSPCA tabs…they are all pretty great…and capture data!)


Do you have any great examples? Please leave a comment with a link as I would love to post more examples like this

Landmark day for Fundraising Profession in Ireland


Fundraising Ireland, the association for professional fundraisers in Ireland, is launching its membership programme on the 13th October 2010 at the new Convention Centre Dublin (CCD).

This development represents a significant milestone for both the organisation and all those engaged in charitable fundraising in Ireland. There are 7,400 organisations operating in Ireland with a charitable status, 10% of which account for the 90% of funds raised in any year.

Speaking in advance of the launch Mary O’Kennedy, Chair of Fundraising Ireland, said “The launch of our membership programme will support Fundraising Ireland in delivering its mission to foster excellence in fundraising and promote best practice across the sector. Membership will ensure that Ireland has a vigorous, professional and well-networked national body to represent and support those engaged in fundraising within the not-for-profit sector by providing them with the education, training, mentoring and guidance they need to maximise their fundraising potential.”

In addition to the launch of membership, Fundraising Ireland will also be launching a new website and a new brand identity.

‘Fundraising Ireland – The Association of Professional Fundraisers in Ireland’

Best Pink Campaign

So October is the month of Pink. There is always lots of debate about Pink campaigns, some people like them, some dont, others think there isnt enough money going to breast cancer, is it just pink washing? Either way it is one of the biggest fundraising campaigns/months.

I havent seen anything all that innovative so far…what is the best pink campaign you have seen?

Should RNID have re-branded?

On Tuesday RNID announced that they are to go through a £260,000 rebrand next June and will become known as Action on Hearing Loss.

The charity says that the change is to reflect that they work with people with differing levels of hearing loss, not deafness alone. Third Sector reported that: Jackie Ballard, its chief executive, said the new name “had more relevance and more reach”. She conceeded that some profoundly deaf people would be upset about losing the word ‘deaf’ from the name. (remember the trouble the Parkinsons UK had with its name change….did RNID consult its stakeholders I wonder?)

The name change, according to Jackie Ballard  (again quoted in Third Sector) came about as a result of  research on a new brand identity last year. This research showed that it was not as well known as other major charities, such as the NSPCC, Oxfam and the British Red Cross, and was frequently confused with other charities.

But when your research proposition is to look at a new brand identity, are you not going to come to those kinds of conclusions?

The charity will use the new name “Action on hearing loss” as a tagine until the re-brand. I just wonder would a tagline have been enough on its own to explain their new relevance?

I can think of lots of organisations, for profit and not for profit, that have names that dont necessarily immediately allow me to understand what they do. But they dont all rebrand. They choose other ways to tell people about what they do.

I do wish them the best of luck with this, don’t get me wrong, and I am all for charities spending money on communicating their message. I just wonder is a rebrand always the way to go?