Look Beyond the Label

This is a great campaign by Red Cross, take a look. How can you adapt this?


The Big Switch




One of the most successful campaigns of recent times in Ireland has been The Big Switch. It was a campaign by a natural gas company trying to get people to switch to them for their electricity supply. They had hoped to get 100,000 people to switch by the end of the year and managed it in just a few months.

What struck me was the reaction of the market leader, the semi-state ESB, to the switch.

I switched (it was a great offer, 14% cheaper electricity). The ESB, who has had a monopoly for years, did nothing. They never once asked if we would like to stay with them, they never asked was there anything they could do to keep our business. Nothing. Not even a thank you for all the business.

There is a lot (an awful lot) of talk about attrition recently. PFRA are doing a survey about it.  What I am reading and hearing about it mostly blames the recession. But I have to wonder are we taking an ESB approach to donor attrition?

Are we just letting the donor go without communicating with them (phone call). Maybe they have come across another charity similar to ours that they feel is doing a better job, maybe they werent getting enough communication from us, maybe too much. If you talk to the donors who are cancelling regular gifts you may get a wealth of information that will make you better at what you do and you may also be able to encourage some to stay.

I can’t help feeling that there is opportunity in attrition.

Special Offers?

Everywhere I look I see special offers. Buy 1 coffee get 1 free, buy a scoop of ice cream get 1 free, 20% off, etc….

PR_ballroom_emptyI just wonder is there something in this for charities (and yes I tweeted about this during the week). Should we be trying this out. Would it work for a ball for example, buy 3 tickets get 1 free? I would rather get the 4th person there for free, chances are they will spend on the raffle. It would be better than an empty room, right?

Is anyone doing this or know of any examples?

Fundraising Ireland Board

If you are interested in joining the Fundraising Ireland board or know someone who is nomintaions close May 25th. They have been doing a fantastic job and there are some great fundraisers in the country whose expertise could be used to good effect on the board.

Nominate here

New Report on Charitable Fundraising


Irish Charities Tax Research and The Ireland Funds collaborated with the Centre for Nonprofit Management, Trinity College to conduct research to explore how nonprofits in Ireland are experiencing the impact of constrained economic circumstances. This research, which was carried out in February 2009, targeted CEOs, Financial Directors and Heads of Fundraising in order to examine how they are managing their voluntary income and their donor relationships. It also looked at how nonprofits are responding to the challenge in adjusting their strategies for 2009 and beyond. A total of 267 organisations participated in the study by completing an on-line survey.

I wonder will this report replicated later in the year, or at least a comparison done, as the information available in February would have been limited and would have mostly been projections of expected income levels. It would be great to see the projected V’s actual.

Today the results were released and I think it generally reflects what we have seen already, decrease in income, decrease in state funding (which I think is an important factor, did it affect results?), increase in demand, here are some highlights:

  • Three-quarters (74.9%) of 267 responding charities believed demand for their services would increase this year.
  • Almost two thirds (64%) expected a decrease in overall income in 2009.
  • Almost half (46.4%) of those who had volunteers working in their organisation stated that volunteer numbers had increased in the past two year.
  • Despite the Recession only a tiny fraction (6.7%) believed that volunteer numbers would decrease.  
  • 85% of responding organisations believed their organisations were threatened by the economic downturn, including the possibility that organisations would “either downsize or cease to exist as a result of the economic situation.”
  • The majority of organisations are planning to increase their fundraising activities in 2009, of which running fundraising events is the most popular choice, a case of more effort being required in order to stand still,

I like the part of this quote that says there are opportunities

“Charities clearly see difficult challenges ahead and whilst some believe that new opportunities may arise most are concerned that they will be unable to meet the new demands facing them in the current economic climate,” the Report states.

Here are what people saw as the opportunities:


I would agree about the need for charities having to be even more creative (let’s face it they can be pretty creative places0. The Report says …Charities “are going to have to become more creative and find new ways of dealing with increased demand for services on the one hand and declining income and staff numbers on the other,”

Download the Full Report Here

A seminar, Charitable Fundraising in an Economic Downturn, to present the findings of the survey and consider the implications for charities and explore possible responses, is being held by the Centre for Nonprofit Management in Trinity College Dublin, on Thursday, May 28th. Email nonprofit@tcd.ie for details

Marketing Awards

Its always  interesting to see who wins these awards and what they win for. In a follow up to yesterdays post I am especially interested in what won in the CSR category


Attack Yourself

It is so helpful to take yourself out of the charity bubble and listen to things from the client side. I did that today for an hour and it was such a kick in the behind for me.

Despite my rants and raves about needing to stop talking like non profits and focus on what corporates want, which I do so often here…I still found myself doing it in a meeting.  I could see the person I was talking to, their eyes were glazing over!!

I sometimes think Im on the right track and sometimes I am, but today reminded me that I need to step out more often and think of things from the other side of the fence. Not just say I am or think I am but really do it.

Essentially it boils down to attacking yourself and what you are doing, find the gaps and the holes and then plugging them.

Attack Yourself.