Tag Archive | "Fundraising"

Cancer Research UK Show Donors Where It Spends Their Money

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Cancer Research UK Show Donors Where It Spends Their Money


Web-Video has the potential to be a powerful & effective format and financial transparency is quite a hot topic right now so it’s no surprise that Cancer Research UK has used launched a new video-led website to drive donations.

At  http://www.seewhereyourmoneygoes.org.uk/ donors can see where the Cancer Research UK spends it’s donations with an interactive map featuring videos and stories of the real people affected by Cancer Research’s work.

We like stories, and Cancer research UK has used them to persuasive  effect on this site.

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Drilling Down into Donor Data

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Drilling Down into Donor Data


Nonprofit Business Intelligence by: Robin Fisk, Charity Technology Specialist, Advanced Solutions International with the help of Shadan Malik, President and CEO, iDashboards

Nonprofit organizations have long struggled with donor data-managing multiple databases, manually inputting the information into spreadsheets and developing static graphs.  It has been a complex undertaking to achieve full transparency of donor demographics and fundraising activities-until now.

Designed to provide the visual insight needed to analyze, track and drill down through complex data sets, dashboarding technology is now a viable option for nonprofits.  Organizations can be more nimble with fundraising programs and better manage their donor communities through the deployment of personalized, real-time dashboard tools and a single, comprehensive database system.  The technology empowers nonprofit organizations to measure performance and monitor staff, while optimizing time and resources. Drilling into and better managing donor data will open up new doors for fundraising-ensuring the health of an organization.

Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).  Since many nonprofits are without established best practices for the use of dashboards, they first need to get a clear understanding of the metrics that best illustrate progress toward objectives.  For example, do donors prefer to attend events to contribute in-person, or are online donations the most effective way to obtain funds?  Measurements to determine if the staff is effectively managing the donor pipeline will also help to gain actionable insight.  For dashboards to provide the visual intelligence needed, it is critical that an accurate assessment of the organization’s goals and the elements needed to achieve them are clearly mapped out.

Monitor performance trends from different perspectives. Dashboards provide visibility into the full scope a nonprofit’s fundraising initiatives.  With this technology, organizations can attain clarity at the overall, tactical and operational levels, accurately gauging performance by comparing donor habits, gift sizes, volunteer times and other metrics.  At the overall level, or mile-high view, nonprofit executives might want to see a broad picture of what is actually going on within a campaign at any time.  Are donations on pace to hit the target?  Are the events running over budget?  How many donors are being targeted, and is it an increase from the last campaign?  Visualization tools like dashboards enable executives to see this information anytime they choose without having to wait for manual reports to be run, compared and refined.

At the tactical level, or campaign management view, users can narrow in to monitor different program segments and determine how each is performing in its entirety.  For example, a campaign’s e-mail marketing segment might include five separate mailing periods, comprised of an e-mail flight each week for one month.  Using dashboards, a nonprofit can easily determine how each flight is performing in terms of open rates, donations collected, etc.

At the operational level, more specific details about the campaign are provided.  How many e-mails were sent?  When were the e-mails sent?  At what time were they distributed?  With a real-time view to this level of detail, a nonprofit can spot a problem as it’s happening, such as learning that the first half of the month is the best time to send an appeal, and ensure a postive affect on the donation goal.

The value of donor data is directly proportionate to how fast nonprofits can react to it.  In today’s economic climate, organizations of all sizes need to be responsive to game-changing information in order to make timely, well-informed decisions.  It is more critical than ever for fundraising departments-as well as the entire staff-to have access to the tools needed to identify how donor demographics and performance data can be leveraged.  Better understanding of the state of their donors today will help nonprofits make better decisions for tomorrow.

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Does 5% make Justgiving a digital friend or foe for Charity

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Does 5% make Justgiving a digital friend or foe for Charity


I have always considered justgiving to be one of those truly inspired and yet oh-so -simple, ideas that the Internet brought with it and one that has become fairly synonymous with its sector i.e. charity.

My first words last weekend, when my sister asked me to sponsor her to do a fun run, were ‘just email me your justgiving page details’. Imagine my surprise when she said she would ‘put my name on the form’…yes, believe it or not, she actually had a piece of paper and a pen and, horror of all horrors, NO JUSTGIVING page! I had no idea that people still did that and if I my memories of calling in the debts on those forms are anything to go by, she will be years collecting up her pledges, just as I was when I attempted my sponsored silence about 25 years ago.
However, collect her cash or not, what I hadn’t thought about until a recent chat with a charity who shall remain nameless – and why would I, I usually simply tick the ‘Gift Aid’ box and move on, was the 5%. I guess if I had thought about it I would have known and indeed felt it fair enough that justgiving received some kind of admin fee for their trouble and enterprising idea, but 5%? This seemed to be a bit of a hornets nest.

5 % of the circa £25 million donated via justgiving in this year’s London Marathon is, now, let me see… yes, £1,250,000. That is quite a lot of money diverted from charity even before we move onto the admin costs of the charities themselves. And, it seems that the normal card transaction fees are outside of this charge, making the 5%, or 5.75% if you include VAT, quite a hefty sum.

So, my question is this, is it wrong? justgiving are set up as a profit making private enterprise an d in answer to their critics state that “Fundraising costs in the UK [...] between 15% and 25% (source: www.charityfacts.org). So Justgiving’s 5% represents excellent value, especially for smaller charities with limited resources.”

I don’t know what to think about this. It is a dilemma and if I am honest, if I had thought of it, I would a) be fairly well off and b) doubtless be justifying my fee on the basis that some 5000 registered charities benefit from the £340million or so channelled through justgiving.

However, it seems that the gripe from charities is that not only do they have to pay the 5%, they also have to accept the rise and rise of justgiving as a charity brand in its own right, taking limelight from their own brands and marketing efforts. A whisper tells me that there are a couple of new entrants who are charging less than justgiving and allowing charities the option of white labelling their online fundraising tools.. so who are they, does anyone know? will they be the ones to level the playingfield and is there really a problem here, or is this a storm in the charity digital tea-cup?

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He needs a kidney…

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He needs a kidney…

The finale of the US comedy show 30 Rock (created by Tina Fey that recently aired on NBC on Thursday nights) last week featured a collection of music stars including Sheryl Crow, Adam Levine, Mary J Blige, Elvis Costello and Norah Jones who got together in a “Live Aid” style music video called He Needs A Kidney (see above) Alan Alda, who plays Alec Baldwin’s dad Milton on the show – needs a kidney…

NBC says the music video featuring a video message from Tina Fey (the shows creator) is now available on itunes.com for $.99. NBC, Universal Media Studios and Apple will donate 100% of the proceeds to the US National Kidney Foundation.

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Three Keys to Successful Micro-Campaigns

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Three Keys to Successful Micro-Campaigns


With the advent of peer-to-peer fundraising, more charities are implementing micro-campaigns as an essential part of their fundraising strategy. A micro-campaign is any program conducted by an individual, over a short period of time, targeting a relatively small fundraising goal. As organizations realize the advantages peer-to-peer fundraising has over traditional charity-to-donor appeals, micro-campaigns are beginning to form an integral part of the “isosceles donor triangle.” Considering the nuances of this type of fundraising, there are three key elements to making sure your micro-campaign is as successful as it can possibly be.

Make it personal.
Micro-fundraising has one primary advantage over regular fundraising: you begin your campaign with existing relationships, to varying extents, with every donor. Whether or not they are passionate about contributing to a cause or an event, your donors are likely to have at least a passing interest in contributing to you. Therefore, a micro-campaign should begin and end with your story. Why do you care about this cause? What has been your experience with the organization you’re fundraising for? How has your participation in this organization or this campaign affected you? What are you going through to train for the race, compete in the dance-a-thon, or participate in the protest? A micro-campaign hinges on your relationships – you are the biggest draw for your donors at the outset, so make it personal.

Make it high-tech.
Perhaps as important as what you say, is how you say it… not to mention where and when! The Internet can be your best asset when it comes to engaging your donors. Peer-to-peer fundraising tools streamline your donation and appeal process, and using any of the wide variety of social media platforms can help make the appeal stronger, timelier, or more accessible. You can expand the reach and portability of your campaign by using an application on Facebook, posting notes, inviting friends to attend your event and keeping them updated on your progress through status updates. For more detailed progress reporting, you can keep a blog and allow donors to subscribe via RSS. An indirect but important way that social media can help your campaign is by connecting you with other micro-fundraisers and cause leaders to share inspiration, motivation, tools and tips for meeting your goals.

Make it matter.
By running a micro-campaign, you have the unique opportunity to cultivate not only donors, but fellow cause champions. Use your appeals to educate friends and family about the cause or the organization you’re supporting. When doing this online, you equip them with the resources they need to engage as deeply as you have. While the primary purpose of a micro-campaign is to generate funds, one of the largest influences you can have on your cause is to generate the type of passion that spurs others into action, allowing your micro-campaign to multiply organically and at no further cost to you. One evangelist is worth much more than one donation.

Though micro-fundraising takes place on a small scale, the difference between a good micro-campaign and a great one can become exponential when applied across a dedicated base of cause champions. Fundraisers need to recognize the tools at their disposal and work to make their communication with donors as personal as possible. Organizations should always be on the lookout for ways to give their volunteers technology that will increase the reach and convenience of their fundraising efforts. Ultimately, fundraisers should strive to create fellow fundraisers in parallel to creating donors. When participants craft their appeals with these principles in mind, micro-campaigns can have enormous impact on a nonprofit’s total fundraising strategy.

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Effective Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

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Effective Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Some best-practice suggestions for encouraging peer-to-peer fundraisng from Sarah Hoddinott, Fundraising Product Manager, Advanced Solutions International.

Integrate peer-to-peer fundraising into your current fundraising strategies. Inventory your current communications tactics (email, physical mailers, website, etc.) and examine the messaging. Has it been watered down to reach many different audiences? Through peer-to-peer campaigns, you maintain the core messaging but enable your donors to personalize the message for their own networking and recruitment efforts.

Introduce online events to the list of ways a donor can help. A-thon-based events can be launched and managed online far quicker, with less overhead cost, than multi-location physical events. Peer-to-peer Internet-based events eliminate the need to physically go to an event, allowing participation from across the globe, right from their computers.

Identify campaign ‘champions’ and give them the tools to rapidly expand the donor network. Take the time to find your top supporters, reach out to them first and show them how to use peer-to-peer tools. Once they understand how easy it is for them to create their own personalized campaign website, carrying their own messaging, they will be able to reach out to their networks far quicker, and with no added costs.

Understand, motivate and thank your donors. In peer-to-peer fundraising, you can easily focus on keeping your participants involved in the campaign by quickly sending them personalized automated emails that provide fundraising tips, solicitation reminders, encouragement and your gratitude. Traditional means of communicating with donors are costly, time intensive and slow.

Create friendly competition and build individual and team incentives into your campaigns. Create accurate, real-time responsive leader boards that allow campaign champions to see how their fundraising efforts stack up against fellow champions. Offer prizes to the top fundraisers and top teams. Encourage team captains to motivate their team members and offer them easy ways of communicating within their team.

Reduce unnecessary administrative efforts from each campaign. Peer-to-peer tools automate many administrative functions of fundraising programs. Donor communications becomes automated, personalized donor websites can be created by the donors themselves, tax records and receipts are automatically generated and distributed. By using online-based events, the costs and coordination associated with physical venues is eliminated. Automate your donor acquisition strategy. Peer-to-peer tools that fully integrate with your donor management systems will allow you to capture new donor information and donation habits. By allowing your donors to create their own online networks, all donors that interact with those personalized

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Ten Key Tips to Maximize Your Microsite

1. Make it personal. Why do you care about this cause? How has your participation in this organization or campaign affected you? Micro-campaign sites, such as the Colorectal Cancer Coalition’s Cover Your Butt (http://coveryourbutt.org), hinges on the type of passion you generate to spur others into action—so make it matter.

2. Encourage community participation. Visitors to your Web site have at least a passing interest in your cause. Micro-campaign sites should not only begin and end with your organization’s story but also encourage members or donors to share their own experiences. On FinancialPrivacyNow.org, Consumers Union asks individuals to submit their or loved ones’ identity theft stories, facilitating online communication and collaboration on this issue.

3. Take your event virtual. You can easily focus on keeping participants involved in micro-campaigns by quickly sending them personalized automated emails that provide fundraising tips, solicitation reminders, encouragement and your gratitude. This is especially true with virtual events, such as Goodwill of Greater Washington’s Virtual Fashion Show (http://www.fashionofgoodwill.org) and Amnesty International Canada’s Taste for Justice (http://www.amnesty.ca/tasteforjustice). You can mobilize more followers to logon to your microsite on a specific date, eliminating physical and travel costs.

4. Spotlight your current appeals. For its Red Kettle Campaign (http://www.redkettles.org), the Empire State Division of the Salvation Army used the main page of its microsite to inform potential donors and volunteers about its priorities and successes. Appeals bring visitors back to your micro-campaign site and also offer great content for keeping it fresh and topical.

5. Make it high-tech. Perhaps as important as what you say, is how you say it…not to mention where and when! You can expand the reach and portability of your campaign by using an application on Facebook, posting updates on your progress via Twitter and more. Amnesty International featured an interactive cell tour of Guantanamo via Flickr and a video blog on its microsite, TearItDown.org—sharing inspiration, motivation, social media tools and tips for meeting campaign goals.

6. Integrate peer-to-peer elements into your microsite. You can maintain the core messaging of your campaign while enabling constituents to personalize the message for their own networking and recruitment efforts. For example, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International’s Passport campaigns (http://passport.panda.org/tellafriend) allow microsite visitors to send e-cards to friends and family, educating them about the cause and how they can get involved and make a difference.

7. Ensure that your microsite is easily accessible from your organization’s homepage. The Nature Conservancy clearly displays the link to its Plant a Billion Trees (http://www.plantabillion.org/) micro-campaign site. You don’t want to lose visitors with each click it takes to get your microsite.

8. Take advantage of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Think about the key words potential donors or members associate with the cause you champion when they search online. You should feature those key words throughout your microsite and main Web page. For example, the terms “heart”, “health” and “awareness” bring visitors to The Heart Truth microsite (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/hearttruth) of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

9. Publicize your microsite. The Christian Aid Week Web page (http://www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/christianaidweek) provides the community will all of the tools it needs to promote the event. It even allows individuals to create their own presentations and develop localized campaigns. Allow your micro-campaign to multiply organically and at no further cost to you—one evangelist is worth much more than one donation.

10. Don’t forget about your content management system. The look and feel of your site should engage the target audience—not push them away. Make banner ads and graphics, like the Green Caps for Green Energy microsite (http://www.silkgreencaps.com) compelling; tailor Web content based on individual visitor interests. You can even have your online creative reflect the expertise and professionalism of your mail pieces.

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Use Technology to Thrive During a Credit Crunch

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Use Technology to Thrive During a Credit Crunch

Donors are trimming back their spending and choosing more carefully what they use their hard earned dollars for. This trickles down to non-profit organizations, requiring them to focus more on the donor than normal, and streamline overall operations. One area non-profits can look at to accomplish these goals is technology. 

1.     Use your website to personalize each donor’s experience

Donor’s will choose who to support based on many factors, including how easy that support is to give and understanding how their generosity is helping a cause. Make it easy for donors to get involved in your cause by creating social media-based groups available for them to participate in through your website. Invest in web technology to provide a personalized online experience for your donors, including feedback on the effect of their past gifts. 


2.     Make sure the donor’s experience is truly one of a kind

Donors want to feel important to a cause and giving them access to their own history with your organization through your website will help accomplish this. Let them easily access their giving history, event support, social media group interaction and control over their profile, and contact settings. Tightly integrate your website with your database.


3.     Reduce operational overhead through web services

Lessen the administrative burden of records updating, report generation and other resource-draining activities by moving to a web services-based platform. This technology can be extended to enable online donor self-service – handling the basics such as change of address, opting into a newsletter or upgrading a committed giving plan.


Non-profit organizations need to think about new ways of interacting with their supporters and web-based technology offers numerous ways to engage with people and remind them why their generosity is so important.  By using technology of this nature it can keep you close to supporters and you’ll also be in good shape to scale up when the economy turns around.

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Google & YouTube anounce Non Profit Program

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Google & YouTube anounce Non Profit Program

Online video has emerged as a key tool for grassroots organizing on the Internet and now YouTube is offering US not for profits a chance to capitalise on their video content via thier YouTube NonProfit Program . They have put up a video (see below) with a bunch of useful tips on using their platform for outreach, awareness and fundraising.

Google, the owners of yotube, have tied in their new  Checkout for Non-Profits payment system (with more info on Google’s blog.)

The free service is currently US only with no indication if or when it may be extended but Google aren’t silly. They will, most likely, be using the non-profit route to test and  evaluate the popularity of the service and grab market share. If it takes-off, it would make sense for them to open the integrated video/transaction service to everyone using Google Checkout which means charities won’t have the edge for long!

The video below is taken from the YouTube charity channel and is full of ideas on how to use the platform.

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Targeted Fundraising & Social Networks

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Targeted Fundraising & Social Networks

One of the scariest things about social media is that it happens with or without your permission. While a lot of NGOs and businesses are leaving digital on their to-do list, the public are out there actively looking for information, sharing views and discoveries on social networks and blogs. This isn’t a bad thing, and often it’s for the greater good, as in the case of Intelligent Giving, a website given over to Independent ratings and reviews of charities.

According to the Intelligent Giving, there are 180,000 charities in England and Wales, 20,000 in Scotland and 5000 in Northern Ireland. Of these, I estimate that most are niche or dormant with only around 5000 charities fighting for a share of the public interest. When it comes down to an individual level (a specific donor), depending on their personal interests, there might be fewer than 20 charities that are of special interest to them. 

This makes finding targeted donors for fundraising even more important and original approaches essential to differentiate your organisation. So how and where do you find them?

This is where social media can really come into it’s own. Thousands of Facebook groups are unofficially given over to supporting charities and thousands more social destinations and blogs are only to happy to evangelise on behalf of their favourite charities to their readers. These are people publicly stating their willingness to help you. Not all will give donations, but some will and others will lend support.

Google can help find them and so can addictomatic.com or search.twitter.com or numerous others. But if you’re not already a participant in social networks, don’t just charge in – that would be like walking up a to a group fo people and interrupting their conversation. This is no place for pushy face-to-face fundraising techniques. Watch for a while, get a feel for what’s going on and judge if the people will be receptive and decide what to ask them for (support, idea, donations, action, volunteers…).

Social Media allows you to reach out to your grass-roots supporters on various networks, so you might want to look at nurturing relationships within those networks, giving them news ahead of other places and asking them for the right kind of help.

One obvious, cheap and easy route would be to seek out the popular bloggers with interests that align with yours and ask them if they’ll add a link or promote a fundraising campaign. Remember you’re dealing with a person, not necessarily a business, so be polite and not too pushy – if they are willing they’ll be flattered and agree quickly without a big sales pitch. Bloggers tend to work on a more personal level so you’ll need to nurture and manage the relationship, keeping them informed so they get scoops and news or exclusives. If they convert just a small percentage of their readership to act, you’ll have just completed you’re first bit of digital fundraising ROI.

And if you do it right, with a transparent, coherent digital / social strategy, the right people will start to find you.

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