Frozen Cinema

To let the privileged experience how homeless people feel during the winter, non-profit organization fiftyfifty turned the temperature down in cinemas across Germany.

There is something I like about this – but there is something that jars with me slightly. I think it might be a bit too intrusive and forced on people. Im actually not sure it needed the video on screen, feels a bit preachy to me. I think a simple explanation would have done the trick – maybe something like- “We turned the temperature down to 8 degrees – homeless people have to sleep in temperatures as low as minus 4 – please help” then knock the heat back u.p

Girls Can – Plan Finland

Great innovative campaign. Financially not a winner yet, but they are doing something to fix a problem and embracing new technology. I imagine they are on to a winner here in the longer term.

Small Denomination Transactions – with your credit card

I have mentioned my “issue” about bag packs in my local supermarket. I never go to the shops with loose change, I only ever go with cards. Every other weekend there is some local group that is doing a bag pack for a cause that I would be more than happy to give a couple of euros to, but I dont have the change.

This could be the solution


Its the DipJar. Targetted at customers who want to leave a tip in, lets say a coffee shop. It surely has a role to play in fundraising too? I came across it on springwise, and here is their summary:

The device is a cylinder containing a card slot that can be placed at the point of sale at venues where a tip may be expected, such as a restaurant or hotel. Users insert their card, take it out and wait for the confirmation sound to indicate that the transaction – which is always USD 1 – was successful. Since the sum is a small amount, no PIN is required. If the cardholder wants to leave a tip larger than USD 1, they need only to ‘dip’ their plastic the desired amount of times. Fees on debit and credit card transactions mean that staff actually see USD 0.80 of each dollar at the moment, but the company is working on getting that figure up to around USD 0.90.

DipJar enables service-based businesses to capture tips that otherwise might not be collected due to the difficult nature of charging small amounts to cards.

Why Can’t We Sell Charity Like We Sell Perfume?

Dan Pallotta‘s shook up the Fundraising/Non Profit world with his book Uncharitable and he is back now with a new book “Charity Case” which is “a blueprint for a brave national leadership movement to change the way the public thinks about charity”

In piece on the Wall Street Journal titled “Why can’t we sell charity like we sell perfume” Dan outlines some of his thinking. I hope that Dan can shake things up a bit and that some of the lazy comments that aren’t thought through by journalists and politicians get less airtime than these well thought through arguments. Below are some highlights from the Wall Street Journal piece, but click here to read the entire article:

Today, Americans are the world’s most generous contributors to philanthropic causes. Each year, we give about 2% of our GDP to nonprofit organizations, nearly twice as much as the U.K., the next closest nation, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Some 65% of all American households with an income of less than $100,000 donate to some type of charity, according to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, as does nearly every household with an income greater than $100,000. These contributions average out to about $732 a year for every man, woman and child in America.

Yet we cling to a puritan approach to how those donations are spent: Self-deprivation is our strategy for social change. The dysfunction at the heart of our approach is neatly captured by our narrow, negative label for the charitable sector: “not-for-profit.”

It’s time to change how society thinks about charity and social reform. The donating public is obsessed with restrictions—nonprofits shouldn’t pay executives too much, or spend a lot on overhead or take risks with donated dollars. The conventional wisdom is that low costs serve the higher good. But this view is killing the ability of nonprofits to make progress against our most pressing problems. Long-term solutions require investment in things that don’t show results in the short term.

He outlines 5 key areas of change:

First, we allow the for-profit sector to pay people competitive wages based on the value they produce. But we have a visceral reaction to the idea of anyone making very much money helping other people. Want to pay someone $5 million to develop a blockbuster videogame filled with violence? Go for it. Want to pay someone a half-million dollars to try to find a cure for pediatric leukemia? You’re considered a parasite.

A second area of discrimination is advertising and marketing. We tell the for-profit sector to spend on advertising until the last dollar no longer produces a penny of value, but we don’t like to see charitable donations spent on ads. We want our money to go directly to the needy—even though money spent on advertising dramatically increases the money available for the needy.

A third disadvantage for charities is the expectation of a home run on every at-bat. If Paramount Pictures makes a $200 million movie that flops, no one calls the attorney general. But if a nonprofit produces a $5 million community fundraising event that doesn’t result in a 70% profit for the cause, its character is called into question. So, naturally, nonprofit leaders tend to avoid daring new fundraising endeavors that might put them at risk.

A fourth problem is the time frame during which nonprofits are supposed to produce results: immediately. went for six years without returning a dime to investors, who stood by the company because they understood its long-term goals. But nonprofits are expected to send every donation immediately to the needy.

Finally, the for-profit sector is allowed to pay investors a financial return to attract their capital. The nonprofit sector, by definition, cannot.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal

5 seconds to change behaviour

This would work really well with a donate call to action I think

Can Livestrong Live on?

When I heard about the Lance Armstrong ban, I was kind of gutted. I am not alone in not knowing the detail of what has gone on and Im not going to give my opinion here (tempted as I am). One of the first things I wondered was what impact it would all have on his foundation Livestrong. The foundation was set up by Armstrong, who was already a well known cyclist, and it was inextricably linked to, not only his recovery, but his subsequent Tour wins. The two, in so many ways are one, just look at the name.

As with any “bad” news story around leadership, surely this would impact the brand? Apparently it has, but not in the way I would have expected. What happened? According to USA Today

  • By 3:30 p.m. Friday, Livestrong had received donations from 411 contributors, almost 10 times as many as Thursday, which had 42 donors.
  • Livestrong received $80,000 from online donors Friday, up from an average day of around $3,000. By the Saturday this had gone to  $148,950.
  • It had sold about $13,000 in merchandise, more than tripling the $4,000 total from Thursday.
  • The foundation needed three full-time workers to help respond to emails flooding its general mailbox. 98% of the messages were positive.

According to the foundations CEO the organisation is feeling a sense of relief that the whole thing is now behind them, which makes you wonder did Armstrong take his descision to help his foundation? Did he feel the foundations work and legacy was more important than his own? Well his statement gives a hint to this being the case:

“We have a lot of work to do and I’m looking forward to an end to this pointless distraction,” Armstrong, one of the world’s most famous cancer survivors, said in his statement. “I have a responsibility to all those who have stepped forward to devote their time and energy to the cancer cause.”

Armstrong has become more than a cyclist that broke records, he is an activist, he is a change maker. In many ways the foundation has actually become bigger than the man who founded it. Maybe that is why it and he will survive this “crisis”

There have been financial impact to the foundation, and this is to be expected. Armstrong is banned from cycling, so this means he can’t compete in Triathlons, so the deal he had with the World Triathlon Corporation, in which Armstrong would compete in WTC events in exchange for $1 million for the foundation, is off the table, because he cannot compete in Triathlons. But Nike have come out and said they are standing behind Armstrong and the Foundation.

I think this quote from The Roar kind of sums up how a lot of people feel towards Armstrong and more importantly the foundation.

For what its worth, I own a framed cycling jersey that is signed by Lance Armstrong. It will continue to hang proudly on my office wall. In my eyes his signature represents excellence and the fight against cancer. 

And the figures cited above seem to back that up.





For what its worth, I own a framed cycling jersey that is signed by Lance Armstrong. It will continue to hang proudly on my office wall. In my eyes his signature represents excellence and the fight against cancer. We, the fans, will ultimately decide the value of the Lance Armstrong brand.

Who says one person can’t make a difference

The power of one, told brilliantly by Charity:Water.

Fundraising Ireland looking for a CEO

Fundraising Ireland has come so far in 5 short years and especially in the past three years with Ed working as Business Development Manager. I think it would be fair to say they have done a lot to professionalise the sector, in terms of training and development but also in terms of its perception as being a profession.

The hard work of the Board and Ed has been rewarded by funding that will see the organisation develop even further. That is why they are now looking for a CEO to lead them into their next phase of growth.

If you want to find out more or apply, check out the Fundraising Ireland site.

Begging for Likes

I was asked this week to post about a company that was going to donate to a cause for every like they get and then over on Facebook I saw one of my favourite charities promoting the same thing, 1 like means €1 (up to a max of €2,000!).

I really question the logic of this approach. From the cause perspective I see the quick win….they get a potential 2k for not a whole lot of effort. But they are asking their own connections to take this action. Now perhaps the donors get the deal, in other words they dont mind the ask because the charity they like gets some cash and they don’t have to do a whole lot. I would question the entry level of this activity. To me 2k seems pretty low.

From the companies perspective, I get the perceived win, they get their name in front of a wider audience, they dont have to really donate a whole lot and they are seen to be doing a great thing. But what happens when they get those new likes? What are they going to do with the new likes, they have come through to you for one reason, so a charity gets cash….not because they like who you are or what you are doing.

What I would love to know is after the deadline passes, how many of those people stay on liking your page.

In my view, giving cash to charity and driving people to your Facebook page are two different activities that should be treated differently, don’t muddy the waters.


Charity Miles

Have asked before what role apps have for charities, so why would someone download a charity donation app to make a donation. I dont see the role. This is a great idea to mobilise a charity partnership. Nice idea

Money Words (guest post)

By Perry Esler, Childrens Miracle Network Hospitals:

Tell a story – give the number. That’s the simple, best-practise, message we share with hundreds of radio people every year at stations across North America. It works. $450M raised since 1998 for our partner children’s hospitals. Great stories with a great pitch means lots of calls to the donor hot line.

Now there’s research that shows we might be able to increase pledges off those calls by how we greet the donor. Philanthropic psychologist Jen Shang has released a study that shows five words tied to moral qualities prompt larger donations.






The Indiana University Professor tested her theory at an appeal of public radio station WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana. The phone volunteers answered by thanking the caller and then they would randomly pick two of the five words to describe the caller. It sounded something like this: ‘Thanks for calling. You’re a caring and compassionate donor.’ In the end female donors gave, on average, 10% more.  By contrast the use of these adjectives had no impact on men.  Suffice to say since most donors to our radiothons are women this may be worth a try.

Many events still don’t script their phone volunteers, but this study should be enough to convince you otherwise.

Here is a recent interview we at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals conducted with Professor Shang about the study.  It concludes that a focus on the connection between moral identity and an individuals cause might create a higher ROI than focusing solely on the cause

Click here to listen to an interview Perry did with Prof. Shang.
Follow Perry on twitter here 

Fundraising Awards

It is great to see the Fundraising Ireland awards in their 3rd year (I will be corrected by Ed if thats not right!). The awards are another great development by Fundraising Ireland and in my humble opinion helps professionalise the sector even more.  Fundraisers are notoriously bashful and shy! “Oh I couldn’t possibly nominate myself” – but you sure can and should. Winning awards gives the entire team a boost, your corporate partners a boost. It demonstrates you know your stuff when it comes to Fundraising.
So nominate today:

I want to go #winnersbreakfast Ticket Giveaway

An Post have been in touch and have given me two pairs of tickets to this years Winners Breakfast on Wednesday to give away to Irish non profits. At €25 a ticket it’s a seminar well worth going to, and it’s great value, but a couple of freebies is not a bad way to start the week.

What do you have to do?

Just RT this post (use the #winnersbreakfast hash tag) and you are in. I’ll contact the two winners (a pair of tickets each) tomorrow am

At the An Post Integrated Direct Marketing Awards, Winners Breakfast, Wesdnesday 23rd May, you’ll hear 4 x 20 minute presentations of these winning campaigns!

  • Acorn Marketing & PrePay Power – For the person who hates getting bills in this home. Gold for Best Unaddressed Mail and Best Acquisition
  • Direct Marketing Campaign Management & Neopost Ireland – Mailroom Emergency. Gold for Best IT and Technology
  • Ignition – integrated ideas people & Musgrave Retail Partners – SuperValu Real Rewards Spend Less this Christmas. Gold for Best Direct Mail High Volume
  • RMG & The National Lottery  – EuroMillions Peggy & Ted. Gold for Best Integrated Campaign  
So tweet away!

Digital Fundraising Conference at your desk

Conferences are often hard to get to, a few days out of the office, then there is the expense of travel and hotels. That is one of the things that makes the Resource Alliance Fundraising Online Conference so clever! You can attend an amazing conference, with presentations on the latest ideas and initiatives in digital fundraising by top global speakers, from your own desk!

The conference takes place on May 15th & 16th.

The cast of presenters will include

  • Jonathon Grapsas of flat earth direct (Australia) inspiring delegates to “Think Mobile’
  • Marcelo Iniarra, one of the global pioneers of digital mobilisation within the social sector who will share fundraising concepts for new media
  • Leah Eustace from Good Works (Canada) who will talk on the use of narrative to increase fundraising online.

All the sessions can be attended live (with the opportunity for questions) or watched as video recordings to allow for the different time zones of worldwide delegates. Find out more here