One of the biggest donations?

I posted after the election asking whether or not Barack Obama would stay in touch, and cynically I said I doubted he would. How wrong was I! He has, and pretty consistently.

I think his recent communication to me is one that is going to be worth following.

To me it seems like Obama is treating his rescue package as one massive big donation from the American people to the American Economy.In his email the President says things like:

  • Americans need to know how it will affect their lives — they need to know that help is on the way
  • Once it’s passed, you will be able to see how every penny in this plan is being spent.
  • You can help restore confidence in our economy by making sure your friends, family, and neighbors understand how the recovery plan will impact your community.

He is also mobilising people by asking them to:

Join thousands of people across the country by hosting or attending an Economic Recovery House Meeting this weekend.

This is great stuff, the communication is clear, the impact is being highlighted and he is trying to create Raving Fans for what he is doing.

You know as I write this I cant help thinking that Obama is really operating like a great not for profit and has taken from our industry. We have all asked how he has done what he has done, and the answers can be found in our industry. He has taken best practice from non profits and applied it to what he is doing, we should recognise that.The difference is he is doing it really well, and thats where we can learn some lessons.

Obama Fundraiser to speak at IFC Online


The Resource Alliance PR were in touch with some interesting news. The  line up for the IFC online conference has increased with one of President Obama’s election campaign fundraisers added to the bill.

Scott Goodstein, who ran mobile and social networks for the Obama campaign, is to present a third plenary. He has been asked to present on what he did with mobile and other organizing for the Obama campaign and how nonprofits could adapt it to their

He will join Premal Shah, the founder of the groundbreaking micro-finance website will also be a speaker at the first-ever global virtual fundraising conference this May. Ramya Raghavan, manager of nonprofits and activism at YouTube will also be a plenary speaker

Both are part of a roster of renowned international experts who will present a series of webinars on digital and new media fundraising to a predicted global audience of more than 1,000 fundraisers.

The Resource Alliance intends to make IFC Online an annual event to sit alongside the International Fundraising Congress and the International Workshop of Resource Mobilisation.

The tentative schedule is:

IFC Online programme

 The IFC Online programme consists of 10 60-minute practical ‘workshops’ (with an extra 30 minutes Q&A) and three 45-minute plenaries (with a 15-minute Q&A session).

 Each workshop will be delivered twice over the three-day period from 12-14 May, 2009; plenaries will be delivered once only.

 Plenary sessions (60 minutes)

  • Plenary 1: Using video to connect with your donors and prospects
    Ramya Raghavan, manager of nonprofits and activism at YouTube
  • Plenary 2: Getting inside the donor’s head to create effective online fundraising
    Premal Shah, president of

Workshops (90 minutes)

  • Developing a digital strategy for your organisation
    Jason Potts (UK) – THINK Consulting Solutions
  • Engaging the mobile and social network ‘trysumers’: converting web visitors and activists into donors
    Marcello Iniarra (Argentina)- consultant
  • Maximizing the value of your donors with an integrated direct response strategy – online, mail, phone, mobile, direct dialogue, and major donor  Mal Warwick (USA) – Mal Warwick Associates
  • Cultivating major donor relationships online  Nick Allen (USA) – Donordigital 
  • Making social media work, from walkathon personal pages to Facebook
    Mike Johnston (Canada) – HJC

The registration fee of $US275 (£190) Providing an NGO can hook up a computer to an LCD projector and run the audio through a speaker system in an auditorium, the entire organisation could attend the conference on a single registration.

For more information about IFC Online, visit or contact Alan Bird, marketing and communications director, at

Obama Style Fundraising

There has been a lot (an awful lot) written about how fundraisers can replicate the successes of President-Elect Obama’s fundraising. I still plan to summarise some of the interesting things that have been written, I just need to find the time to go through it all. In the meantime, here is a summary that Jeff Brooks posted taken from the Advertising Age. So what do you need to do?

You need to keep it

  1. Simple
  2. Consistent
  3. Relevant

The article goes into more detail (click need to register) on all these points…but for now I would print them off, enlarge them and hang them in the office for everyone to see.

Yes You Can

I have heard this on the radio again this morning I dont know how many times. I know I have given out about celebrity before, but thats not really what this is about. This piece goes to show how an inspirational leader can mobilise people to change the status quo.  There are lots of lessons to be taken from this US election and I will try do a round up of some of the best posts in the next while but for today the lesson is: One person can make a difference, its a time to remember that and be inspired by it.

This thank you email was a nice touch too….does it answer the question I asked about Obama staying in touch?


Another email from Barack Obama

Barack Obama hasnt stopped emailing me.

He always addresses me personally, he always tells me how important I am, he sends me links to videos, and always tells me what he is doing and what I can do to help him. Its been great, I have enjoyed being in such close contact with Barack (Im sure he wont mind me calling him Barack, its how he signs off on all his emails to me).

So if Barack gets elected President in November, will he stay in touch?

My gut is that he wont. Ok so he will be planning to run a pretty big country and Im sure thats a pretty busy job. But why would he stop? Why should he stop?

If I voted (and I do vote but Im not American so I cant in this election) I would have been one of the reasons he got into the White House. So why does he need me less now than he did when he was on the road.

Obama’s campaign was run on a grass roots level, it had a really personal feel to it. I even thought the ask for donations, as little as $5 was great, it made me feel like I can help, no matter what my financial situation is. I was a part of this movement of change.

So it looks like he is going to win (although as he reminds me often, the job is not done yet, I still need to get out and vote). So why would he stop contacting me. I, as far as he is concerned, am one of the reasons he succeeded. Would I care less about what he is doing now….NO….I probably care more now than ever.

I have emailed the Obama campaign to ask them about this, what their intention is once the election is over. I havent heard back…a worrying sign!

Whats the point?

Well I think as fundraisers we often communicate with people only when we need them, and then drop them. I think we spend so often asking that we don’t spend enough time talking, communicating, informing. People want to be a part of something successful, so talk about the successes. This all comes down to donor care. You need to care for your donors not just before and immediately after their donation but all the time. Because here’s the thing they care about your organisation. Don’t be like Barack (or how I suspect he will be if he gets to the white house).

Don’t just talk to me when you need me and then ignore me when you don’t.

here is a similarly themed post from Nancy E. Schwartz

Obama needs to ask for Votes as well as $

I signed up to Barack Obamas site a few weeks back after I heard he was going to text the name of his VP to everyone. 

I thought this was fascinating and what a great way to engage people…Did I want to be one of the 1st to know…of course I did. We all want to be the first to know something and Obama’s team have tapped into that.

Since then I have recieved almost daily communications from the Obama camp, well written pieces that are appropriate and of interest to me. As I have been getting these I have been thinking about all the lessons we fundraisers, and all marketing professioals too can learn from the campaign. For a great Direct Mail lesson check out what Damian over at Ask Direct has to say in his piece..Does your direct mail sound like Bill Clinton

Anyway aside from the good lessons we can learn there are other lessons we can learn as my good friend (and great fundraiser) Katie Schrier pointed out when she wrote to me and said:

Hey Conor: Heard something really interesting on the news yesterday that I thought was a great reminder for the non-profit sector in general.  As you know, in the states we are prepping to elect our next president (thank God).  A democrat was being interviewed about Obama and whether or not she was going to vote for him, and she said, “He [Obama] has asked me for my money, but not my vote.”  I thought that was such a fascinating statement when considered from a fundraising perspective. As fundraisers our job is certainly to ask people to support a cause that we believe they will or should be passionate about.  But this statement is such a vital reminder that we must first always be doing the groundwork of getting the donor on board “emotionally” before we ever ask them to make a commitment financially.

Great point Katie, thanks.