Backing up the case for doing DM.

This time the case is more to do with sustained giving/regular giving. But two are linked (or should be). So just in case you needed more convincing after Mondays post from Damian,  Jonathon from Pareto posted something very similar on his blog last week. Combined the two make a compelling case.

I hope they are useful to you as you make your case…you are making a case for doing DM and regular giving arent you???

Cash is King.

…. let’s face it, when it comes to generating new charitable direct response donors, cash really doesn’t stack up anymore.

Consider this: when we look at the balance of cash versus monthly givers recruited through the benchmarking we undertake at Pareto Fundraising invariably we find the balance stacked heavily towards more cash donors recruited.

Often up to five times as many cash donors are recruited in a period than ongoing, monthly donors.

Yet when you compare the retention rates, even those channels delivering the lowest retention rates (typically street/door recruited donors, followed by DRTV) still retain around 75%-80% of monthly donors per year.

Contrast this with cash recruitment. When we recently looked at this the average 2nd gift rate (I.e. those donors who gave a cash gift and then gave a subsequent cash gift) it was as low as 30%. In other words, around 70% never gave again.

Of course the obvious rebuttal is that monthly donors are much harder to recruit and the cost per acquisition is higher, but the pay off long term is a no brainer.

In other words, you might pay more for a monthly donor upfront, and it may be bloody hard work finding them, but when you do, it’s difficult to find a case for recruiting onetime cash donors through your direct response program.

So cash might be king when balancing the books, but it ain’t when finding your next group of donors.

P.S. I hope Jonathon dosent mind me re-posting, I tried to comment on his blog asking if its ok, but couldnt submit the comment…sorry!

Astral Media’s Radiothons – Canada

astralmap-enToday is Astral Media’s Day of Caring for Kids. With one-day radiothons for children’s health in 28 cities and on 50 radio stations across Canada, in support of 15 children’s hospitals and health care facilities.

In the next few minutes the Radiothons will start broadcasting live from children’s hospitals. Its well worth tuning in. All this is being done as part of Children’s Miracle Network’s Radiothon programme (yes the, by now mandatory, declaration of a vested interest!)

Astralare hoping to make a difference in the health and lives of children and parents who need this care. I expect millions of dollars will be raised today.

Check it out here. Also Sick Kids in Toronto has a Blog today, check it out here

The Official Sponsor of Birthdays


This is genius….I saw it on Damian’s twitter page and just had to post about it. The American Cancer Society wants to be the Official Sponsor of your Birthday! Here is the idea behind it, from their site.

Creating a world with more birthdays

To most people, birthdays are just a reminder that they’re getting older. But at the American Cancer Society, “Happy Birthday” is a victory song, because a world with less cancer is a world with more birthdays. And that’s definitely something to celebrate.

More than 11 million Americans who have survived cancer-and countless others who have avoided it-will celebrate a birthday this year, thanks to the progress we’re making together to help people stay well and get well, to find cures, and fight back.

Join the movement for more birthdays-declare the American Cancer Society the official sponsor of your birthday-and together we can save lives and give people more candles to light.

Didnt I say it was Genius!! 

Great Ad too….

Free Wills Month

freewillsThis is a good idea. I knew there was a Legacy Promotion group started in Ireland, although I havent seen much of them and Im not sure if this is part of the same?

Free Wills Month Ireland brings together seven Irish charities that provide vital services to the community to offer members of the public aged 55 and over the opportunity to have their Will written or updated free of charge by using the services of local solicitors in five towns and cities.

Between 1-30 April 2009 participating firms of solicitors in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Waterford and Wexford will be offering their specialist Will-writing services to members of the public, with the seven Free Wills Month charities paying for the work to be done.

Shame the solicitors arent waiving fees! Hope they are doing a good deal on fees. I wonder will they extend the scheme, its almost the end of April and its the 1st I have heard of it (thanks to Paul Artherton)

The 7 charities sponsoring Free Wills Month Ireland are Age Action Ireland, The Children’s Medical & Research Foundation, Irish Heart Foundation, Irish Hospice Foundation, MS Society Ireland and Oxfam Ireland and the RNLI.

A good case for doing more DM

Damian at Ask Direct did a great post a while back making the case for doing more DM. Ok its his business but what Damian is actually doing is reporting the results he has seen and its a really useful post.  Even more so becuase what he is saying is true!

If you are making the case for DM in your organisation take a read why Damian thinks now is the time to do more:

In short, because it will make you money. Today and into the future. In fact, it may be the most secure method of fundraising to invest in during a downturn.

But I would say that, wouldn’t I? I run a direct marketing agency.

Well let’s look at the data.

Of the five donor mailings we produced for clients last Christmas for which we have results and a valid comparator, four did better than in 2007 in terms of response rate and income. Average gifts varied – some steady, some up, some down. But overall income for the four in question was up on 2007.

OK, so donors are still giving. What about recruitment?

If anything, the picture is even better. Each of the four campaigns where we can benchmark against a previous campaign show better results for Christmas 2008 than 12 months previously.

Ah, you say, but the economy is deteriorating at such a pace that last Christmas isn’t relevant anymore. There’s another 100,000 people out of work. We’ve been battered, bludgeoned and budgeted by bad news. And anyway, Christmas was a last hurrah, the celtic tiger donors dispensing the last of their alms before battening down the hatches and canceling their foreign holidays, kitchen extensions and charity direct debits.

Actually, no. The sky hasn’t fallen in in 2009. It’s early days yet, but we’ve got initial results in from two campaigns so far and both are up – significantly – on 2008. And that’s for donor mailings and cold recruitment.

Donors are still giving. New donors are still signing up. While many of us are understandably trimming back it seems clear that, for ordinary people, the desire to help others is as strong – or stronger – than ever. Philanthropy is not the first thing go. Far from it.

Sunday Times Rich List 2009


You probably know that The Rich List was published in today’s Sunday Times. 


Everyone likes to look at the list. They like to read about people, whose names they recognise, and see what they are really worth and how others, who we may not have heard of, have made their millions. Im sure a lot of professions look at the list and wonder how they can engage these wealthy individals and families in their business. It is no different for the charity sector. I imagine nearly every fundraiser in the UK and Ireland has gone out today to buy the list and is thinking … can we get them engaged in our organisation! Its a good question to ask but bear in mind every other fundraiser in the country is asking it! Aside from being a good read it is a useful resource to have and worth having.

The list is going to be online on Tuesday, you can check it out here.

Once again it is great to see they have written about Philanthropy. And while the data in the report relates to financial year ending on April 5, 2008 , it makes for good reading. Here is some of what they had to say:

  • the talk in the economy is on providing ‘fiscal stimulus’ those in the list seem to have taken a similar approach to their charitable activities
  • the top 100 philanthropists have brought their charitable spend up 8% on 2008
  • The top 30 givers have donated at least 4.5% of their wealth
  • Dr. John Low of CAF says “Poeple value charity more in a severe downturn”
  • Low also remarks that while income may fall in some areas but “mechanisms such as trust funds will keep the flow of cash going”
  • Mark Evans, head of Philanthropy at Coutts & Co. makes an important point, he says “I have been bullish about the state of philanthropy through the recession. People might be worth less now than before, but they still want to give”
  • Karin Jestin of Lombard Odier believes there will be a shift in focus away from the arts and culture and more towards causes that address human and social needs

My favourite quote in the whole article comes from Dr. John Low of CAF. I couldnt agree more with him so I am going to end with it:

“It is important that charities do not talk themselves into recession”

Original reporting from Sunday Times by Alastair McCall

Asking is Key


No matter what type of fundraising you are doing making an ask is key.

I was just in my local shop and there were people there collecting for a charity. They each had a big bucket with nice big stickers on them. But neither one of them actually asked me to donate!

I just reminded me of the importance of actually asking for donations