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

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.

30th IFC – the build up

It looks like this years IFC is going to be another fantastic event, would love to get there (if only my boss read my blog!!).

I really like their plan for the build up….

In the lead up to the event, a series of 30 weekly e-videos (Vismails) will be released by the Resource Alliance, each featuring a sector expert and his or her individual prediction of what is the next big development / thing for fundraising. The series begins with Bryan Miller of Strategy Refresh highlighting the potential for mobile phone technology, followed by Ruth Ruderham of Christian Aid, on the need to break down silo cultures, taking a more integrated approach to fundraising. The next Vismail to come is the legendary Geoff Peters of Creative Direct Response in the US.

Resource Alliance Reveals Shortlisted Entries for International DRTV Award

The Resource Alliance,  has unveiled the top four entries shortlisted for the International DRTV Award for charities and NGOs – the Gold Star Award for Non-Profit Video Advertising 2009.  The shortlisted videos will be presented at the International Fundraising Congress (IFC) in Holland on 21 October, where delegates will vote live for the winning entry.
The Gold Star Award, now in its third year – sponsored by RAPP – is an internationally recognised award for best practice in charity and NGO DRTV advertising. The 2009 shortlisted entries are:

  • Help Fred’s Work Shine On, Fred Hollows Foundation, developed in-house (Australia)
  • What if? Action Aid, developed by Watson Phillips Norman / Mike Colling & Company (UK)
  • Biggest Animal Rescue 2, RSPCA, developed by Whitewater (UK)
  • Atifase, Operation Smile, developed by RAPP (UK)

Theshortlisted adverts are available to view on the website of the Resource Alliance, which stages the IFC, at:

Last year’s competition for the best DRTV appeal was won in a popular vote by the UK charity NSPCC, which beat off challenges from Canadian, Mexican and other UK NGOs.
“This Award not only recognises excellence in fundraising videos but gives NGOs the opportunity to compare and learn from others doing the same thing.  The DRTV adverts are to such a great standard this year and I’m looking forward to finding out which one wins on the night.” says Alan Bird, Marketing and Communications Director of the Resource Alliance.
For the first time, the Gold Star Award scheme was extended in 2009 to include online fundraising videos, not just DRTV.  This Award category had been introduced to recognise innovation in the use of new media platforms and to establish a ‘gold standard’ for the sector.  Most of the entries submitted for the category of online fundraising videos were DRTV adverts that had also been run online, rather than fundraising videos developed specifically for online use.  Therefore, the judges decided not to shortlist any of the entries for the online category this year.
Graham Page, RAPP’s Media Director, adds: “Online continues to be a challenging area for fundraisers. The key challenges being how do we create intriguing and compelling creative content and how we fully exploit the channels accountability.”

 I was delighted to be part of the judging panel along with some fantastic people. The shortlist was selected by a judging panel, featuring:

  • Brad Bell, Head of Video, Whitewater
  • Alan Bird, Marketing and Communications Director, Resource Alliance
  • Conor Byrne, Director of Development UK & Ireland, Children’s Miracle Network, and Fundraising Blogger
  • Kristina Fitzpatrick, Marketing Manager, Resource Alliance
  • Graham Page, Media Director, RAPP
  • Fabienne Pouyadou, Directrice des partenariats, CARE France
  • Kaye Wiggins, Fundraising Reporter, Third Sector

Hunt for the Best Fundraising Video in the World

The Resource Alliance is seeking out the best fundraising video from across the world with the launch of the Gold Star Award for Non-Profit Video Advertising 2009.  For the first time, the Award scheme has been extended to include online fundraising videos, not just DRTV. 
Sponsored by Rapp, the Gold Star Award will be presented to the best fundraising video advert submitted from across the globe, selected by a live audience at the annual International Fundraising Congress (IFC) in Holland (20-23 October). 

To make a submission, fundraising videos must be uploaded to YouTube and an online application form completed online at The judging panel will select a short list of the top entries, which will then be displayed at the IFC, where delegates will again get the chance to vote for the advert they think best.
Last year’s competition for the best DRTV appeal was won in a popular vote by the UK charity NSPCC, which beat off challenges from Canadian, Mexican and other UK NGOs.
Entry Details – Gold Star Award for Non-Profit Video Advertising
Upload fundraising videos at:
Submit your applications at:
Deadline for submissions: 25 September 2009

International Fundraising Congress annouces line-up

IFC 2009 takes place from 20-23 October 2009 at NH Leeuwenhorst Hotel in Holland.
This year the IFC will address challenges of fundraising in a global recession . The 2009 conference comprises an opening and closing plenary, 14 master classes, 5 IFC Live! sessions (following a popular TV news or discussion show format) and over 40 workshops.

This year’s Opening Plenary will be hosted by Alan Clayton, Director of Innovation at The Good Agency and will feature a leading economist and anthropologist providing insights into the science of voluntary action. Meanwhile, Ingrid Srinath, newly confirmed Secretary General of CIVICUS, will provide the Closing Address.
Tackling the challenges facing fundraisers during the current global recession, this year’s programme has also been extended to reflect the sector’s expansion into digital media with more sessions looking into new technology and social media than ever before.  Relevant sessions include:
•             Masterclass: Surviving and thriving in an unpredictable market – Roberta Capella of SOS Children’s Villages Austria and Margaret Bennett of THINK explore the challenges of fundraising during the current global economic crisis. Find out what successful strategies were employed during previous recessions to help charities survive and – for some – come out the other end even stronger than before.
•             Workshop: Understanding the new breed of digital donors and how to maximise your fundraising through their networks – Bryan Miller of Cancer Research UK & Jonathan Waddingham of Justgiving, present a data-driven workshop showing how to maximise and measure the success of fundraising through social networks.
•             Workshop: How to build donor loyalty – Adrian Sargeant, Chair of Fundraising at Indiana University will unveil new research that reveals the three key drivers of donor loyalty and how fundraising programmes can be modified to affect them. Adrian will also lead a panel discussion about Fundraising In Times of Recession.
•             Workshop: Leading and managing people in times of change – Hanne Rasmussen of SOS-Children’s Villages Denmark will deliver this session, giving practical advice for designing and implementing successful change programmes small and large – through leadership and people management.

More info here

IFC Online – Using the Internet to Connect with Major Donors


This May (12-14) the IFC Online Conference is taking place. I am really excited about this event “the world’s first fully web-based international fundraising conference”. Over the 3 days the conference will explore digital and new media fundraising. 

There are some phenomenal speakers taking part including:

 Another is Vinay Bhagat, Founder of Convio USA, who will  speak about “Using the Internet to connect with middle and major donors

I thought this was a really interesting topic as I believe most non profits don’t think Online = Major Donors.

Vinay has carried out research in the area with donors who have contributed $1000+ to a single nonprofit  in the previous 18 months. He worked with  23 major nonprofits and collated a list of about 40,000 donors and through a web based survey had about 3,500 responses.



This week I had the chance to get in touch with Vinay and find out a bit more about his thoughts on the Web and Major Gifts and crucially what you should be doing to make the most of it. Here is how we got on…….


1.       Let’s start with you! Tell me a bit about Vinay and Convio?

 I spent the first three years of my career in management consulting in Europe and Asia and then attended business school at Harvard University.  After that I joined a software company where I was responsible for helping Fortune 500 companies implement their e-commerce strategies. 

While answering the phone at a pledge (fundraising) drive at our local public TV station, I was struck by how inefficient the whole process was, and how the Web and technology could really be leveraged to help this organization.   They were not managing relationships strategically, e.g. collecting information about people’s interests and aligning appeals to them.  They were certainly not leveraging the Web effectively. So, the idea for Convio was spawned.

I left my job and spent six months conducting several hundred interviews with nonprofits, and in November 1999, I raised venture capital and started to build the companyI served as the company’s CEO until July 2003.  I then recruited a seasoned operating executive to join us to help us scale and transitioned to serve as Chief Strategy Officer,

 Today, Convio is a leading provider of online solutions for nonprofits, we have about 1300 clients and helped our clients raise $780 million online last year.


 2.       Why did you decide to engage in this piece of research?

 About two years ago, I started to dig into the topic of major gifts.  Most people previously believed that the Internet didn’t play a meaningful role in securing major gifts outside of providing a venue to do donor research.  I believed that the Internet was actually already playing a role with major donors, and could be leveraged much more strategically by nonprofits.

In April 2006, I wrote an article on the topic to provoke debate (A great article which I will post later in the week).  Mark Rovner, of Sea Change Strategies wrote to me saying that he agreed and wanted to collaborate on a formal research effort.  He brought an audience research firm called Edge Research in to work with us and the three of our firms collaborated together on the research.


3.       What was the finding that surprised you the most ?

That there was a clear “psychographic” segmentation among donors ranging from “relationship seekers who want a highly communicative, engaged relationship with their nonprofits to “all-business” donors who prefer far less communications.  This was a particularly important insight as it told us that organizations cannot take a one size fits all approach.

Our key hypothesis that major donors are active online, and influenced by their online interactions with nonprofits was affirmed very strongly.


 4.       Would it be fair to say that a lot of fundraisers wouldn’t think Online = Major Gifts?

Absolutely.  Mainly because they think of online, as online donations and email solicitation, versus strategic engagement and communications.


5.       What can we or should we do to change that mindset?

I’ve actually found that major gift officers/leaders have been pretty receptive to the message.  I think the more people we can get to read the research, and start to embrace the recommendations, the better.  Online marketers need to include major gift/development people in their Internet strategy development, and major gift officers need to ask for a seat at the table.


6.       You speak about the Wired Wealthy’s online expectations not being met. What do organizations need to do to meet expectations?

Treat the Internet as a strategic channel and assess investments not just in terms of online revenue potential, but the potential of the Web to influence offline giving, and source new donors and prospects.  Make sure your Web presence represents your organization effectively.  Make it navigable, easy to find key financial and mission impact related information.  Make sure it’s adequately inspiring.  Let donors control their e-relationship with the organization – managing their email subscriptions in terms of frequency and content.  Make sure that email communications are well written, impactful and resonate.  Invite major donor feedback.


7.       After the online gift are donors being contacted in other ways, for example is the major gifts office contacting them over the phone?

Candidates are identified due to either making a large online gift (>$1000+), or a series of moderate gifts over a sustained period of time, followed by wealth screening to indicate capacity.


 8.       If this is happening is it ok with the donor?

 Yes, in a vast majority of cases.  Usually, the call is a thank you followed-up by an invitation to an event.


 9.       Did you come across any examples of donors who had been moved further up the donor pyramid?

 I don’t have many great examples to share yet as this is an emerging strategy.  A Red Cross chapter we work with received over one hundred $1000+ online gifts in response to Hurricane Katrina.  It followed-up with those donors in an integrated multi-channel fashion, encompassing tailored email outreach, phone contact and an invitation to tour their facility.  I don’t know what the strategy yielded in terms of subsequent larger gifts though.


 10.   Can this happen online?

 Online marketing can play a significant role in major donor cultivation and stewardship. Human contact will always be important, but a lot of donor engagement and intelligence gathering (learning what’s interesting to donors) can be done via the Web.  Doing so, leads to large efficiencies gains.


 11.   Who is doing the best job online in your opinion?

In terms of supporting their major gift operations via the Web, Conservation International is doing the best job I’ve seen.  I will be featuring a case study about them in my presentation.  Defenders of Wildlife is doing a great job of sourcing new major gift prospects online, and reports that 1/3 of all new major donor prospects are being sourced by their online marketing efforts.


12.   Do you think organizations can achieve their online objectives just as effectively with a blog instead of a website?

No.  A blog can be a good part of an online communications strategy that engages people in a cause and helps create a more personal connection, but donors expect a well structured, compelling website, coupled with well written email updates.


13.   If you had 3 top tips to give to a charity what would they be?

a)      Upgrade your Web presence.  Eighty-six percent of Wired Wealthy donors will visit a nonprofit to donate prior to making a gift to a new organization.  Make sure your Website adequately reflects your organization – clarity around your mission, your impact/ return on donor dollars invested.  Make sure it is easy to find key information in particular financials; to donate; to manage email subscriptions. 

b)      Focus on quality vs. quantity for email communications.  Don’t communicate for the sake of schedule.  Make sure what you send out is compelling, inspirational.

c)       Provide more control to donors.  For example, let them manage the frequency and type of content they receive via email.


14.   What can we expect to hear during your IFC Online session?

a)      A high level review of the key findings from our research. 

b)      Practical and actionable recommendations that nonprofits can immediately begin to implement.

c)       An early case study of one organization that’s embraced the key recommendations of the Wired Wealthy research.


Some Useful Links