50 Great Ideas from 11 Experts

The Network for Good do these great free E-Books and the latest is a great (short) read. Click on the picture below and just fill in your email address etc…and you can download it. A great way to start the week. As a taster here are the first five from Jeff Brooks

  1. Don’t ask your donors to solve hugeproblems; ask them to solve solvableproblems.
  2. Replace at least one sentence that’sabout you with one that’s about yourdonor.
  3. Ignore your brand guidelines. They areall about you, not about your donors, and that will hurt yourfundraising.
  4. Overdo it. Be too dramatic. Too emotional. Too strong. It’s a loteasier to tone it down than it is to pump up weak and underdonecopy.
  5. The best fundraisers are also donors; giving isn’t theoretical tothem – they know how good it feels to give

Make your ‘boring news’ an event

Emily Tully posted this on Wednesday and has kindly agreed to allow me re-post here. We are all faced with the conundrum she presents below, and she gives a great real life example of how to get around the problems:

Got Something Boring Coming Up? Make your news an event

by Emily Tully

Here’s the conundrum:

  • You’re launching something good…and on further inspection interesting, but not unique or ‘groundbreaking’
  • Lots of other people in the same field are launching similar things at exactly the same time
  • There is very little you can do in the way of offering the media ’something different’ or newsy with this one
  • You know you need to get people ‘in’ to see what its all about but you really can’t see them going out of their way to attend another boring launch

The answer?

Hold an event around your launch that WILL interest people, get noticed, create news, benefit others and create a tremendous amount of goodwill once people interact with you and your peeps = National College of Ireland’s Dot Conf, July 22nd 2010.

I first heard of it weeks ago…


And with an invite like that how could anyone say no?  Actually I forgot to sign up immediately if I’m honest, but there were lots of little gentle reminders from Emma, who completely understands how to use Twitter effectively.


Not to mention this gem

I knew what Dot Conf was about, and I knew I wanted to go to it.  I didn’t know that actually I was being invited to check out the NCI, get a feel for the place and consider whether I’d be interested in their brand spanking new MSc in Web Technologies.  I didn’t know that until I arrived on Thursday and got my lovely welcome pack full of info, some crucial (like the times of the deep dives) and some additional (like the NCI prospectus).

The conference itself was great – some excellent presentations. My favourites wereKeith Maycock and Des Traynor who, to be honest, were the less ’sales pitchy’ ones.  That said I also enjoyed Martha Rotter’Pivot presentation which was really something considering I’m a Mac user!

There was a free lunch, which I didn’t get because I was meeting with some potential customers.

Then there were the aptly named  ’deep dives’ – I went to eCourgettes and Wired Potatoes (very deep) and the Usable Content one.  (I have to say I was distracted throughout the latter ‘dive’ by the shiny, pretty, ipad beside me.)

Then it was back for more sales pitches (well you have to offer some incentives to sponsors – don’t you?), more interesting presentations and then….free refreshments and a chance to win an XBOX – also known as the ‘MSc launch party’.

Confession time – I couldn’t stay for it.  But, I did, for a split second, think about abandoning my son and heir for the array of really naughty sweets on offer.

I’m not sure how many people stayed for the launch bit, but I’ll betcha’ it was more then NCI would have gotten in had they just released a “Another boring event is happening this Thursday” invite to media and token ’so hot right now’ bloggers.

  by the dot conf.

The new NCI MSc course also got a lot more media coverage then other similar post graduate courses launched the same day (or that week).

Dot Conf also brought in new friends for National College of Ireland.  I’d never been there before and as I was walking around, especially through the stair well with pictures of past students, I got a really nice feel for the place.  I reckon if I did want to go back to studying, I would like to give them my money.

Without wishing to sound patronising, well done Emma and Co. A clever idea, a PR stroke of genius and a great day.

(Check out #dotconf to read up on people’s impressions of the day)

Discussion on ‘internationalising’ F2F best practice

I received this information earlier today and certainly think that anyone involved in Face to Face fundraising who is attending the IFC should certainly try find the time to be at this. Im all for idea sharing and learning from eachother, so think this would be a great session for people to attend.

Options for internationalising face-to-face (F2F) fundraising professional and regulatory best practice are to be discussed in October at the 30th International Fundraising Congress (IFC). The session has been convened by the UK’s Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA), and will take over the afternoon of Thursday 21st of October.

The session – F2F United! Does F2F fundraising need to organise internationally – aims to discover whether there is an appetite among fundraisers around the world for sharing skills, experience and best practice and, if so, what form this co-operation could take.

Mick Aldridge, PFRA’s chief executive, says: “Face-to-face fundraising is a global fundraising ‘movement’ that is practised in various forms in upward of 50 countries. Yet it is a nascent one without leadership or sharing of professional or regulatory best practice.

“This means that knowledge in professional best practice, dealing with the media, complaints handling, stewardship and working with regulators and legislators is rarely shared beyond national boundaries and has to be rediscovered from scratch each time a problem is encountered.

“That’s why we are pleased to be working with the Resource Alliance on this extended session. I was at the IFC last year and my gut feeling is that there is demand for information and exploration in this area. The PFRA, as one of the leading self-regulatory bodies in the world, will be there with a lot of expertise and experience to contribute.”

Neelam Makhijani, chief executive of the Resource Alliance says: “This additional session on face-to-face fundraising is not only adding value to the programme but it is highlighting an area of fundraising that is widely used, and used successfully.

“As the IFC is about people coming together to form a fundraising community, to explore and develop all avenues of fundraising, it is an ideal platform for this discussion to take place. The Resource Alliance is also keen to share the findings from this session throughout the global south, through our workshops, where face-to-face fundraising is becoming very popular, especially in India and Brazil.

“With global leaders in face-to-face fundraising attending, this debate is one that should not be missed.”

The session will be hosted by Mick Aldridge (UK), CEO of the PFRA, and international F2F expert Daryl Upsall (Spain), and will feature contributions from Owen Watkins (Switzerland), global F2F specialist at Unicef, and PFRA’s head of communications Ian MacQuillin (UK), with other renowned F2F practitioners to be confirmed.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Do fundraisers want practical skills sharing, such as swapping case studies?
  • Could there be as central bank of information accessible by NGOs, such as case studies in dealing with the media or benchmarks for attrition?
  • Is there a need for a full international umbrella body?

Delegates will receive a full report of proceedings along with recommended next steps.The 30th IFC will take place at the NH Leeuwenhorst Hotel and Conference Centre in Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands on October 19-22, 2010.

Stand Out for What You Believe in

I was delighted to be asked to contribute to Personal Branding Magazines latest issue, The Philanthropy Issue. The magazine has some fantastic articles by the likes of Beth Kanter, Jason Dick and Laurie Pringle to name just a few. You can check out a free version of the magazine here, and the article I have written is on Page 21.

Here is the article as it appears in the magazine, I will post the extended version later in the week. If you find it hard to read this just click on the article above and below the middle picture to expand it.

100% donations from 100% Networks – Follow up

UK Fundraising have just Announced that:

From 1 August 2010, mobile operator O2 will pass on 100% of text donations that its customers make to charity using the five-digit shortcode starting with the number ’70’.

Since November 2009 O2 had been passing on 90p for every £1 donated, withholding 10p to cover network and third party costs. From August it will cover those costs itself.

Simon Davis, Head of Corporate Responsibility at O2, said: “Particularly in the current economic climate, it’s essential that we help charities gain as much income as they can. We’re glad to be able to help in this way.”

Congratulations O2

Can businesses learn more from Charities?

Mark Carrigan asked the question on Linkedin last week “Charities are being told they can and should learn from business. Is the reverse also true?” and there have been some interesting responses, here is a short summary of response, check out the conversation on Linkedin or join it here with your own comments

I made a brief comment that the for profit sector could “certainly learn how to operate in a more lean way, the ratios we work to are unheard of in the for profit sector. I also think that communication could be an area that we can teach in, the few charities who do it well, do it great and I can think of a few service industries who could certainly learn a thing or two!”

Mark replied that he

view(s) ratios and margins, along with organisation efficiency, as a particularly important point. Ultimately it is about getting the sector to represent a sound return on investment and better availability of sector statistics and data to benchmark against would help organisations and give the sector a better stick to wave.”

Eugene Flynn said that

“… business efficiencies can often be achieved by mergers & collaboration, I expect more NGOs will have to look at this as an option due to current duplication within the sector. Non profits have more of a focus on social ROI rather than monetary profit & tend to be better at customer/constituent focus.. I believe business can learn a lot from this, for example; in the field of social media I’ve already observed some large corporates observing and mimicking NGO activity”

Joe Quinsey said that  having just moved from the private sector to the non profit sector he believes that

“…both sectors can learn from each other. My immediate reaction, when I compare my past and present environments, is that the private sector has more formal structures and processes and is more strategic and visionary with clear roadmaps to future goals etc. However, where the non profit environment excels is in the whole area of values and commitment. I observe deeply embedded values, passion and commitment to the cause” in the dna” of the folk that work in our charity.”

Aidan Stacey points out that

“There are few economic sectors in Ireland with as little data as the NGO sector. I moved from weekly sales figures per store per line per rep vs target vs last year vs previous 3 years – you get the picture. Even within the relatively numeric area of fundraising – there is a significant dearth of data. This allows less than passionate fundraisers fudge bad results to their management teams” Second – the key learning for Private sector in my view is the focus on “customer retention”. As conor points out the few who do things well in the ngo sector- do it really well and are continuously focused on retaining donors through good informative communication (Action Aid RedBee). I’m still astounded that in todays tough market I’ve yet to experience “retention” marketing from any of my service providers (work) or in my personal business world”

Shiela Nordon commented that the

Irish Non-profit Knowledge Exchange (INKEx) http://www.inkex.ie has been set up to specifically address the issue of providing ongoing reliable information on charities and nonprofits in Ireland and will over time give us the type of trend data we need drawn from regulatory reporting, currently to the Companies Registration Office but once the Charities Act has been fully commenced from the new Charities Regulatory Authority. Yes, we do operate from deeply embedded values and bring passion and commitment to our work but we also need to demonstrate accountability to those who support us by measuring and demonstrating the real impact of what we do, it’s no longer good enough to rely on people believing we are “doing good””

What are your thoughts? Who can learn what from who? Join the conversation on Linkedin (here) or post a comment below.

So should we use the word Chugger?

Well the PFRA have released a position statement on the use of the word ‘chugger’ (charity mugger). The statement issued notes that the phrase ‘was coined in 2002 by journalist Keith Barker-Main – compiler of the ‘Say What: News Words About Town’ column in the Metro free newspaper – and was intended from the very start to be a negative and insulting term.’

The statement goes on to say that:

After several years of prohibition of the use of the word, the PFRA has begun, over the past six months or so, to use it in official communications, culminating with a section entitled ‘Do you object to chuggers?’ on our revamped website, which was relaunched in June 2010.

They have decided to do this for the following reasons (which I have abbreviated here)

1) Use of the word ‘chugger’ is now growing exponentially and, if usage follows a classic product life cycle, then we have only just left the ‘early adopters’ stage and are entering the ‘growth’ phase. This suggests that peak usage of ‘chugger’ is therefore probably two or three years away.

2) Although fundraisers perceive that ‘chugger’ is predominantly used pejoratively, probably because this is how most of them encounter the use of the word, PFRA has detected a shift in its usage.  If use of the word ‘chugger’ continues to grow at this exponential rate, although the proportions of 1:2 negative:neutral usage might continue, in absolute terms, there will be far more people than ever before using ‘chugger’ as a neutral, non-value laden word.

3) Until a quite recently, PFRA endorsed a total prohibition on the use of ‘chugger’ in our day-to-day operations. . However, it is now clear to us that many people do not use it as an insult. Our view is that it matters less how people refer to street fundraisers; what’s more important is that they have a good understanding about how street fundraising operates and why charities use it. With so many more people now using the word ‘chugger’, PFRA believes we will be fighting a losing battle if we maintain our prohibition on its use.

4) Many people are unaware of the word or what it means (we often have to explain it to them). If ‘chugger’ is to become a more widely adopted term, then PFRA feels we need to be able to use the word in discussions with our regional stakeholders before they become more familiar with its minority pejorative usage.

5) However, we will only use ‘chugger’ where we consider it appropriate. We will not be adopting ‘chugger’ as our default term for a street F2F fundraiser.

You can read the full position statement here