Collaboration Pays

So I have spoken a lot about mergers…you know where I stand!

Here is a great initiative that I saw on Jason Dicks blog a while back and recently an article on AFP reminded me to post about it.

The Lodestar Foundation is funding a competition called The Collaboration Challenge.

[They are] awarding $250,000 to the collaboration (two or more nonprofits) that present the most compelling evidence as to how business was streamlined, a cause advanced or a group’s quality of life was improved by virtue of the collaboration.

The money will be split between the organizations involved in the collaboration. 30 semi-finalists have been selected from a pool of over 644 U.S.-based nominations.

An analysis of the top 176 qualifying collaborations demonstrates that:

  • Most were formed to maximize funds and/or improve services
  • 40% of collaborations were administrative consolidations
  • 35% of collaborations were joint programs
  • 25% of collaborations were mergers
  • Most mergers were recent (18 months to 3 years old)
  • Most were in the areas of health (25%) and community development and housing (12%).
  • 72% were local in nature

Lodestar will announce the winner on March 5, 2009

Send a Singer

I actually came across this idea last year, and it looks like they have changed the campaign this year to another great idea (I have a link at the end of this post). I still really like this one.


Its a nice twist on a Christmas Card campaign. Donors are asked to

  1. Select a tune (depending on price)
  2. You then get sent a personalised E-Card which you send to your customers/clients
  3. You get your logo in an ad in the Financial Times

Selling Christmas Cards, I always find, is a time consuming and pretty expensive way of raising money. I think there is certainly a place for it, I certainly think individual supporters will still look for cards and you should have a supply. But when it comes to corporates I think they are looking for easier ways to send out Christmas greetings and are also looking to show at Christmas that they support charities.

This is a great way of doing that. I know when I spoke with companies they were happy enough to just have something that they could add to the end of an email to say that they have made a donation, but this takes it to the next level.

The technology is there so I think it should be used. Im sure filming the songs didnt cost much and the site cant have cost a lot to put together either. Great campaign. They have developed on it for this year, check out what they are doing…


R. F. S. Part 13: HMA Report

Harvey over at 2 into 3 sent me through a report from Harvey McKinnon Associates on the implications to fundraising of the financial downturn.

There isn’t much new in it and there are no firm stats or data (still probably too early for anything we can stand over).

There were a couple of interesting points. The first was one I have been telling people about, because its how I feel

People feel poorer, even when they are not. This phenomenon has sometimes been termed “psychic poverty”

 They also point out that:

 Emotions like fear and anxiety are driving investments, investor behaviour and also fundraising.

I think this is an interesting point as we tend to tap into peoples emotions as fundraisers so we need to look at the emotions we are targeting. If people are anxious and fearful, well we shouldn’t focus on that, we need to give them hope and a belief in their ablilty to make an impact.

 The report goes on to state what we have been told before that

Historically, non-profits have done fairly well in most recessions – on average.

This isn’t going to help anyone going to their Board or CEO with reduced revenue! But they do highlight 18 steps we can take to minimise the impact, again nothing really new in there, donor care, looking at lapsed donors, working harder and smarter etc….ie being a good fundraiser!

As with most of the posts in this series we need to remember that all is not lost and I agree with this point.

People will still want to give money to great causes. And they will give when they feel that it makes a difference, that there is the sense of urgency, and that it will make a difference to their emotional lives. It is critical that, as fundraisers, we continue to ask.

Chuggers – Part 2

I posted earlier this week about The Intelligent Giving post about their research around on street fundraising. Its led to some interesting responses, here are some:

  1. Adam Rothwell defends his research in a video with Howard Lake, check it out here
  2. Dan Fletcher on the Professional Fundraising Blog has his say, suggesting that Intelligent Giving just crave publicity, check that piece here
  3. Here is the official response from the PFRA, you need to scroll down to the comment titled “Intelligent Giving criticisms of face-to-face”
  4. Adam Rothwell back defending his position again, and applauding charities that have reacted well to the research stating they will take action, you can read that post here

My position still stands on this issue. It is a controversial method of fundraising, it works, but if a charity engages in it they need to remember that it is the public face of their organisation. I had an incredibly negative experience where a chugger told me, after I politely declined stopping to talk to them (I always try to be nice about it, i know what its like), they said “You should it would make you feel good”.

I have never even considered donating to that organisation since then. That’s the danger of getting it wrong. But when you get it right…well the results speak for themselves.

CSR in SME’s

tina-roche-roofTina Roche from Business in the Community Ireland was interviewed in Owner Manager Magazine about CSR in smaller organisations. Here are some highlights of what she had to say.

when asked what exactly CSR means. “It’s really about how ethical you are and the integrity you display towards the people you work with and supply a service to.”

“Your staff members are part of everything you do. They should all be empowered to be the best they can be. Even if you employ just one other person, you should aim for that.”

“If you look at some of the big companies, like Johnson & Johnson, they are trying to cure diabetes and that’s a real social issue. It’s a completely different business paradigm.”

Roche points out such companies will want to associate with small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have the right corporate responsibility ethos.

“Companies can reap the full benefits if they see they can attract a diverse background of people by offering flexi- or part-time work or jobs suited around the school terms. There is a way of attracting people to your company, and it’s not just nine to five, Monday to Friday.”

“The companies we are involved with on an SME level are fantastic and are thinking this through. They may not be using the terminology, but they are doing it.”

“If you are saying you use recycled paper from sustainable forests, well then all of your suppliers have to know that. If you’re using renewable energy, then you want your energy supplier to supply you with green energy.” In other words, it’s not just coming from the big companies down, she says.

Crucial business advantages gained from being a responsible entrepreneur include reputation. “If you’re in the supply chain, it’s one of the things, apart from your price, that speaks volumes about you. If your business is putting in for tenders and everything is equal in price, what makes the difference? It’s that you’re trusted…”

Barriers affecting greater implementation of CSR are not that overwhelming, Roche believes. “The biggest one is failing to stand back and think strategically about CSR…if you start to measure and benchmark what you’re doing, simple things can lead to bigger and bigger things.”

As for the future of CSR, Roche sees more social issues being integrated into the fabric of business strategy. Companies will also start holding on to people with high-end knowledge because of the values they espouse.

Read the full article here.

Check out SOFII

SOFII is The Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration. Put simply it is Your free source of creative concepts worth copying.

Im all for that!

The idea of the site is to share fundraising ideas and campaigns and if there is one you like…copy it!  The site has various sections:

  1. Background to fundraising innovation
  2. SOFFI Showcases ; Some best fundraising practice
  3. Have your say on the site
  4. Well-Educate: Great resources to keep you on top of your game
  5. Top Tips from Top fundraisers
  6. Books etc..what you should be reading

It is a great resource and worth checking out.

Go Harvey Go!

harveynorman-300x01Any interactions I have had, as a fundraiser, with Harvey Norman have been positive ones. But it clearly hasn’t come from top down.

I actually can’t believe, as reported on the Mallen Baker Blog, that its founder Gerry Harvey has said that donating to charities such as homelessness charities is “just wasted”. More, he said that because homeless people “are not putting anything back into the community” it is just “helping a whole heap of no-hopers to survive for no good reason. They are just a drag on the community”.

Gerry Harvey is worth $1.6bn and in his opinion putting it to good use would  only go to help a bunch of no-hopers who don’t put anything into society.

Here’s an idea Gerry….you could offer jobs to people who are in this position and help that way. People become homeless for many reasons. As the Mallen Baker Blog states:

The most common reasons for homelessness in Australia include domestic and family violence, eviction from previous accommodation and relationships or family breakdown….in the UK quite a large number of homeless men are ex-servicemen, people who you might think have put quite a lot into society.

Gerry Harvey probably loves controversy, and the fact that we are talking about this probably makes his day. Look here’s the thing, its his money and he can do what he wants. But without spending a cent Gerry could make a difference. I would challenge Gerry to take a risk (I’m sure he has taken many) and allow us prove him wrong.