Gaming for Good

This is a nice programme from my old colleagues at Children’s Miracle Network. They are tapping into the incredibly big and lucrative gaming community to raise funds. Clever to be piggy-backing on something that people are already doing. I know nothing about gaming, but I know how popular it is, and if you look at some of the top fundraisers on the site, they are raising some serious money.

Here is how it works:

Play your favorite Xbox 360® games on October 1 and raise money for children’s hospitals. Sign up to participate and gather donations from friends and family — the more you play, the more they give.

It’s easy:

Click on the Register Now! button to register and create your personal fundraising page.

Raise money by asking your friends and family to donate money for each hour you plan on playing Xbox 360 games on October 1.

Play video games on Xbox LIVE on October 1 for the number of hours you promised.

So start gathering donations from friends and family today!

G3 begins at exactly 8 a.m. in your local time zone on Saturday, Oct. 1, and ends at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2

Simple! Clever and taps into a market that lots of people arent looking at. Well done CMN. Find out more here

PS. Hospitals in Cork, Belfast and Edinburgh are benefitting from this too




Early Interventions: An Economic Approach to Charitable Giving

I read the recent Barclays Wealth report with interest. In it the report suggests that philantrhopists should take an alternative view to their giving strategy and start to look at some of the less traditional routes and instead look at more innovative routes to solving issues.

I found this interesting in isolation but then a conversation I had with someone last week about corporate charity giving suggested to me that this approach could move beyond this report into other areas of philanthropy. The conversation I had revolved around a companies charitable activity. It was suggested that companies could be or are already fed up with the traditional routes of supporting causes and in many ways they are just going through the motions. But if they were to stop and think about it they would really like to be making an impact, a real impact (yes Im back to talking impact!). The person I spoke to suggested things that are similar to this report (although on a different scale).

So with that in mind, it is well worth looking at this summary of the report and if you have time to look at the full report (here) do. I think this could really start to penetrate into broader thinking on charitable giving over the coming months and years…so how can you be a leader in this thinking?


New report highlights £100bn impact of major social issues and emphasises importance of early intervention

  • New report analyses three of society’s most difficult issues with costs approaching £100bn each year
  • Research shows early interventions can help improve economic well-being of society
  • Private funders are well placed to invest in innovative approaches to help tackle social problems
  • Early-stage preventative approaches can cost a fifth of current social support

A groundbreaking new report, published on Monday, September 19th 2011 by Barclays Wealth, highlights some of the most expensive social issues in the UK – with the combined costs identified in the report approaching £100bn each year. Taking a ‘return-on-investment’ approach to philanthropy and applying economic analysis to UK charitable giving, the report explores how private funders are well placed to help tackle the root causes of these issues. Such efforts can bring significant savings to public finance, as well as improving the lives of individuals and their economic prospects.

The report, entitled Early Interventions: An Economic Approach to Charitable Giving, was developed in association with charity think tank and consultancy New Philanthropy Capital (NPC). Using a prioritisation process to review 30 of the costliest social issues in the UK, researchers further analysed three issues in detail to understand causes and links, before looking at interventions. These three issues and their associated impact on the public purse are:

  • Children with conduct problems (£51bn)1
  • Adults out of work due to mental health problems (£45bn)
  • Chaotic families (£12bn)

Commenting on the research, Emma Turner, Director of Client Philanthropy at Barclays Wealth said: “It is clear that these three issues are proving a significant burden to the welfare state, from an economic as well as a social point of view. However, these issues don’t necessarily elicit the most generous response from private funders. The more light that is shone on these types of social issues and the impact of interventions – such as those highlighted in this research – the more chance there is of private funding being made available to help.”

Early intervention

The report argues that early intervention is vital in tackling those issues which can contribute to entrenched social problems at a later stage. Furthermore, funding early-stage, preventative approaches can bring about significant economic savings for the state.

The report identifies that there are currently 1.3 million young people in the UK with serious behavioural issues. According to one case study, the cost to society of dealing with just one individual with these problems could exceed £148,000 by the time they reach the age of 16. However, over the same time period, supporting an individual, via intensive family support, counselling in schools and Multisystemic Therapy2, could cost £32,000 – equating to nearly a fifth of the cost of current crisis services.

Iona Joy, Head of Charity Effectiveness at New Philanthropy Capital said: “A charity that helps to divert a young person from crime and into a job not only improves the lives of potential victims, members of the community, and indeed the young person in question, it can also reduce the costs of policing, courts and custody. It further helps the young person to earn a wage, pay tax and contribute to the economy. Many charities aim to improve people’s lives regardless of economic benefits, however taking an economic approach to allocating charitable funding helps us to understand the value of tackling some of the toughest social problems faced in the UK.”

Another costly issue examined in the report is adults facing employment challenges due to mental health problems. Mental health problems affect one in six adults at any one time, with costs of £45bn per year due to related unemployment and reduced productivity.

At present, there are 1.3 million people with mental health problems who rely on benefits, yet many of this group would like to return to employment. The report argues that early workplace intervention by employers could reduce this number greatly. Specialist employment support for those out of work with mental health issues, as well as supporting employers to make workplaces more conducive to good mental health, have been shown to deliver savings of up to £2.50 for every £1 invested.

A further key issue analysed in the report is chaotic families. The report estimates that 140,000 families cost society £12bn each year through reliance on public sector services and wider social costs. This figure could be greatly reduced by employing proven methods of intervention, for example, targeted support for families has an estimated cost of £19,500 for each family per year – an average saving of £40,000 annually per family. Moreover, these savings are dramatically increased in the case of the most problematic families, with savings reaching over £130,000 per year in some cases.

A compelling case for private funders

Whilst the report shows that funders can vary greatly in their style of charitable giving – in terms of time, involvement and funds at their disposal – they are now in an increasingly advantageous position to ensure the funds they invest in a philanthropic cause can make a difference. However, there are also many considerations private funders must think about when making decisions about the charitable sectors they want to fund, such as their level of ambition, their willingness to engage with other partners and their attitudes to risk.

In order to help funders decide how they are best suited to approach issues and interventions and what level of risk – or return – they are looking to take, the report outlines a framework to help donors make these decisions, based on their own ambitions and risk appetite. In addition, the report refers to distinct funder profiles, which range from the time-poor “Gift Givers” to the “Change Makers” – committed philanthropists willing to take risks on new initiatives.

Emma Turner commented: “Private funders have an unrivalled capacity to fund initiatives that the government cannot. It is now clear that there is a growing group of enlightened funders, defined as Change Makers, who understand that the current method of responding to social problems only once they reach crisis point has limited success. This group of funders is willing to take risks on new philanthropic initiatives that address the root cause of problems, rather than just the visible symptoms.

“In bringing these difficult issues, which are often neglected, to the attention of funders – we need to provide powerful reasons for why they should invest in these interventions and what they can achieve by doing so.” Emma Turner continued, “If we want to tackle some of society’s biggest problems, and persuade funders to choose routes such as early intervention funding, we have to find new and better ways of making the argument more compelling.”

1 £51bn relates to the cost of crime committed by adults who are estimated to have had conduct disorder in childhood. 80% of crime is committed by adults who had conduct problems as children, equating to around £51bn a year.
2 Multisystemic Therapy involves intensive whole-family support by a dedicated worker who visits several times a week for several months. The worker also liaises with schools and other agencies (youth offending teams, mental health services) to help solve problems in a holistic way.

Source: Barclays Wealth

Irish Examiner’s big charity expose!

The dramatic headline reads:

Charity bosses’ salaries exceed €100k

Oooooooooh. To think that people running organisations that turn over tens of millions of euros would get such excessive salaries! 

The article starts with its dramatic headline and then progresses into nothing-ness when it reveals shocking stats like these:

  • Charities have generally not granted a pay increase in the past year.
  • Three chiefs executive have a company car.
  • Expenses are vouched and relate mainly to travel.

Honestly what was Catherine Shanahan thinking? What was her editor thinking? What was the purpose of this article?

I am actually almost annoyed at myself for talking about it here but the Irish Examiner dont like you commenting on their site (no facility) and they dont engage on social networks. So it really is the only place to vent my frustration!.

One thing I would say is….slap on the wrist to the 6 charities that didnt provide information…What were you thinking? You are helping no one by being secretive about your cost base. Stand up and defend your salaries, they are no doubt well deserved. Don’t hide behind No Comment. You can’t and shouldnt!

But a bigger shame on you to the examiner and Catherine Shanahan. What a waste of time, resources and print.

Own the Game

Adidas are promoting their new adipower Predator with this brilliant app – Own The Game 

This is a great example of how to get your app right. This is relevant, its top quality, its good fun and its something that you want to share (although it could be more shareable, maybe sharing from the app would be an idea…I wanted to tell people about it but found it hard to).

As you play the game you are reminded in subtle ways about how the boot helps you perform.

And yes I get it, its adidas and they have the cash for this kind of thing. But thats not the point. The point is this game is really relevant to the target market and if you are going to develop an app, make sure its worthwhile and relevant. Making it something I want to go back to again and again helps. Oh and the fact that its free is a total winner in my book! Download it here






Report on Fundraising in Ireland

2 into 3 launched a whopper of a report today, it is the 2nd Annual Report on Fundraising in Ireland. Very kind of them to release it on a Friday, gives everyone the weekend to get their heads around it! In case you missed any of the posts from earlier today about it you can download the report here.

Here is a summary (taken from the Irish Times)

IRISH CHARITIES are managing to increase fundraising despite the recession, according to a new study published yesterday. However, the improvement is not evenly spread with larger charities, especially those in the international development and health sectors, doing better than others.

Overall, there was a 24 per cent increase in the amount raised in 2010, compared to the previous year, according to the Second Annual Report on Fundraising in Ireland , compiled from data in accounts filed by not for profit groups at the Companies Office.

The figures in the survey, carried out by not for profit sector consultancy 2into3, relate to 171 groups. The author acknowledges that the survey sample is not statistically representative of the more than 9,000 groups in the not for profit sector in Ireland, but simply provides a snapshot of fundraising.

The report shows that organisations spent an average of 15.4 cent in fundraising costs for every euro raised. Stripping out two large international development groups, this figure almost doubles to 29.9 cent per €1 raised.

Of the money raised, according to the report, 17.5 per cent subsequently goes in salaries to charity staff. Again, this figures rises significantly – to 31.3 per cent – when the two large international aid groups are excluded.

Despite the reported increase in fundraising, the charities’ accounts show a squeeze on resources, with the gap between income and expenditure narrowing sharply over the past two years, except for international aid groups.

The State remains a key source of income for the sector, accounting for 34 per cent of total income, down slightly on 2009.

“The data presents a challenge for many charitable organisations, as the recovery is not uniform and is led by increased donations to a relatively small number of organisations,” said Dennis O’Connor, director of 2into3.

“The international development and health sectors dominate in terms of fundraising performance with increased donations of 30 per cent. Donations to organisations providing a range of services to domestic clients increased by a much smaller amount in the order of 5 per cent.”

The author of the study, Sinéad Kelleher, said the Haiti earthquake was a major factor in the increase in funding for international development groups.

Source: Dominic Coyle, Irish Times, Sept 23rd, 2011


You can download the report here

So what happened at F8

At the F8 conference yesterday Mark Zuckerberg announced some changes to Facebook. He started by poking a bit of fun at himself (a bit of an unintentional pun there!).

Then he got into the serious business of announcing changes, the main one seems to be to your timeline, this video shows how it will look (its still in beta)

Mashable posted this great summary of some of the other changes this morning:

1. You’re going to get a Timeline — a scrapbook of your life. In a complete overhaul of its ever-evolving profile page, Facebook is introducing Timeline. This is a stream of information about you — the photos you’ve posted, all your status updates, the apps you’ve used, even the places you’ve visited on a world map — that scrolls all the way back to your birth. It encourages you to post more stuff about your past, such as baby pictures, using Facebook as a scrapbook.

The further back in Timeline you go, the more Facebook will compress the information so that you’re only seeing the most interesting parts of your history. You can customize this by clicking on a star next to a status, say, or enlarging a picture.

Timeline is in beta now, and will be opt-in to start. In the long run, it will become the new default profile page.

2. You don’t have to just Like something — now you can [verb] any [noun]. Remember when all you could do to something on Facebook — a video, a comment, a product, a person — was Like it? Pretty soon that’s going to seem laughably antiquated. The social network has launched Facebook Gestures, which means that Facebook’s partners and developers can turn any verb into a button.

So you’ll start seeing the option to tell the world you’re Reading a particular book, for example, or Watching a given movie, or Listening to a certain tune. In turn, as many observers have pointed out, this is likely to lead to an explosion of oversharing — and far more information on your friends’ activities showing up in your news feed than you probably cared to know.

3. Facebook apps need only ask permission once to share stories on your behalf. Although not as big a deal as the Timeline, this tweak may be one of the more controversial. Previously, apps had to ask every time they shared information about you in your profile. Now, the first time you authorize the app, it will tell you what it’s going to share about you. If you’re cool with that, the app never has to ask you again.

But you don’t have to worry about this app stuff clogging your news feed, because …

4. All “lightweight” information is going to the Ticker. Status updates, photos from a wedding or a vacation, changes in relationship status: these are the kinds of things you want to see from your friends when you look at your news feed. Who killed whom in Mafia Wars? Who planted what in FarmVille? Not so much. So that kind of trivial detail has been banished to the Ticker, a real-time list of things your friends are posting now that scrolls down the side of your screen.

5. You can watch TV and movies, listen to music, and read news with your friends — all within Facebook. Starting today, thanks to a whole bunch of partnerships, there are a lot more things you can do without ever having to leave Facebook. You can watch a show on Hulu, listen to a song on Spotify, or check out a story on Yahoo News (or Mashable, via the Washington Post‘s Social Read app). The ticker will tell you what your friends are watching, listening to or reading, allowing you to share the experience with them by clicking on a link.

The upshot: a brand-new kind of media-based peer pressure. On stage, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings — a launch partner — revealed that he had only just decided to watch Breaking Bad because Facebook’s Ticker told him a colleague was watching it. Netflix’s own algorithm had been recommending the show to him for years, but that was never reason enough for Hastings.

6. Facebook has more users and more engagement than ever. We got two interesting nuggets of information out of Zuckerberg (and the Zuckerberg-impersonating Andy Samberg): Facebook has hit 800 million users, and most of them are active. The social network just saw a new record for the most visitors in one day: an eye-popping 500 million.

Indeed, the whole impression left by the event was that of a confident, fast-evolving company that is becoming ever more professional, and Zuckerberg’s stage show bore more than a little resemblance to an Apple keynote. It’s going to be interesting to see what Google+ can do to keep up.

Source: Chris Taylor, Mashable, Sept 2011

The Social Charity 100 Report

Short but sweet post this evening. This is a report that is well worth downloading if you you want to be a social organisation. Some great tips and then a list of organisations who are doing it well…so follow them!

Download the report here

This report is by Visceral Business 

Donor Care and Thank you magic

Sometimes when you look at presentations out of context (ie without the speaker) they aren’t great. This isn’t one of those!

Great information and insights from Damian O’Broin of Ask Direct. Well worth looking through and then putting into practice. If you arent sure how…call Damian!!

Nice Celeb Endorsement

The Irish Heart Foundation recently launched the ad below to increase awareness about what happens when you are having a heart attack. I know that when they did their stroke campaign they had great success with increasing awareness of the signs of stroke (I remember a story of a little boy who knew his parent or grandparent was having a stroke as a result of the ad). So this ad aims to do the same here around the idea of  “Don’t die of embarrassment”.

The campaign and the ad was actually instigated by Nicky Byrne of Westlife, who actually raised a couple of hundred thousand euros to put behind the campaign. Rothco did the creative work pro bono and the resulting ad is getting pretty good airtime.

I really like how this celeb endorsement has come about, it is a genuine human desire to help and Nicky Byrne just wants to use his high profile to make sure others dont go through what his family went through. Here is the message he has on the Irish Heart Foundation site:

“We all know someone who has had a heart attack and the symptoms are not always what you think. My dad had a pain in his lower stomach the day before he passed and we now know he was having a heart attack. At just 60 years old, he passed away in November 2009. My family want to spare other families the heartache and loss that we have gone through and if we can help save one more life through this campaign, it will be worth it.”

The support is so sincere that I think (and I could be wrong) Nicky Byrne has almost wanted to fade into the background, he possibly didnt want to detract from the campaign by being too much to the fore. Contrary to other situations where celebs are involved with charities (or put their names to a charity launch) I would feel that this story (Nicky Byrne’s) could actually have been used a bit more.

Anyway here is the ad they have ended up with…what do you think?

Making Laundry Interesting

Laundry is boring. FACT.

So well done Ariel for making it fun and interesting. This is really clever


Blue September

Mens Cancer is starting to own the colour blue. Some smart people in Irish cancer related charities spotted this clever campaign from the Southern Hemisphere and have jumped on board with it.

They are trying to own the month (similar I suppose to Movember) and get people to

“host a blue event, by either painting their faces blue one day in September, hosting a blue themed day in work or to create a completely new blue idea to raise vital funds”

(can we stop using the word vital in charity press releases and ads ….please!) 

I like that the folks here and in the UK are working with something that has clearly been a success in other territories. Smart not to try and re-invent the wheel. It is great also to see people working in partnership (ie charities working together). The face painting piece is quite childlike and would probably work well in schools, but not sure this campaign idea translates well into that market. So I wonder what the organisers are finding people doing (anyone reading that can shed any light, I would love to hear how it is going almost half way through year 1).

They seem pretty active on Twitter and Facebook which is good. (although the posts are the same on both sites!)

What are your thoughts on the campaign?