Thursday, July 24, 2014

Raise More Money On-Line Tomorrow

I just read The loveable Agitator's latest post on raising more money on-line. They suggest:

1. Make our fundraising emails ‘mobile friendly’.
2. Take a fresh look at our Facebook and other social media presence.
3. Improve the conversion rate on our website (and generate more traffic to same).

I'm going to add to the list, (and I'd also move their #2 waaaaaayyyyy down)...

4. Add an on-line donation 'upgrade'. Us agencies are doing it so why can't you?

5. Optimise your donation forms. Reading all of this from Beate Sorum is probably the most productive thing you can do today.

6. Write a better auto-thank you e-mail. These are usually put together as an afterthought. Can you improve yours? I'm not talking about prettier, I'm talking about good writing. And it needs to look like and sound like it comes from a human.

7. Add subtitles to your videos. YouTube makes that really easy and it means people with no speakers and people who are pretending to work in an office can watch them.

8. Bring them off-line. Follow up with a call if you can. Follow up with a letter if you can.

9. Make sure your donation button works. Seriously, in the last month I have visited 3 different charity websites where the donation button was a broken link. On top of that I've seen others where the donation button is well and truly hidden, or at least camouflaged as an 'Add to Shopping Basket'.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Updated Irish Code Of Practice For Face to Face Fundraising

This month sees the roll-out of the Code of Practice for Face to Face Fundraising (Ireland edition 2014). It has been created by Ireland's Face To Face Forum (formerly the IFFDR - the Irish Fundraising Forum for Direct Recruitment).

As part of Total Fundraising I am proud to be part of the forum, alongside the respectable charities and agencies who put time and resources in to being involved.

Code of Practice for Face to Face Fundraising

This Code of Practice applies to Face to Face fundraising to secure committed regular gifts for charity and non-profit organisations in the Irish market. This code applies to unsolicited personal approaches to members of the public in public places and should be understood in the context of “non-cash collections” in the Charities Act 2009, and when implemented, amendments to the Street and House to House Collections Act 1962.

The purpose of face to face fundraising is to secure vital regular and committed donations for the good work of charities. Face to face fundraising provides effective, secure and appropriate means by which the public can demonstrate their committed support to a charity, through their bank account, credit card, mobile phone or other means of electronic giving.

The Code of Practice for Face to Face Fundraising aims to ensure the highest standard of face to face fundraising in an effective and sympathetic manner for a charity without causing public nuisance or disturbance.

Professional Conduct

As organisers of face to face fundraising, we undertake to:
  1. Manage fundraising activity to ensure that approaches are undertaken in compliance with legal requirements (including employment law), and with this Code of Practice.
  2. Respect the dignity of our profession and ensure that our actions enhance the reputation of ourselves and the profession of fundraising.
  3. Ensure our fundraisers understand the emphasis on the charity’s reputation, and the nonaggressive nature of all approaches.
  4. Provide adequate procedures to protect the health and safety of our fundraisers and the public (including procedures when a fundraiser is invited into a premises).
  5. Seek to ensure that all who work with us have appropriate levels of competence and training to represent charity and carry out their fundraising duties.
  6. Work with all other organisers operating a location management group, to avoid overburdening the public with face to face approaches, to ensure fair and equal access to fundraising sites, and to liaise with any future authority for permissions.
  7. Ensure fundraising will only occur in the time and place agreed by the site location management group. All issues or changes, and any breach of agreement will be reported to the site location management group.
  8. Comply with data protection law and have procedures to ensure there is appropriate care and protection of confidential data.
  9. Ensure that any form being used clearly displays confirmation outlining recipient details and donation schedule prior to the first gift.
  10. Have a feedback and complaints procedure for addressing questions and complaints associated with our face to face fundraising.
As face to face fundraisers, we undertake to:
  1. Comply with, and encourage colleagues to embrace and practice this Code of Practice.
  2. Bring credit to charity and the fundraising profession by our public demeanour, conducting ourselves at all times with complete integrity, honesty and trustworthiness.
  3. Verbally inform the donor that we are paid professional fundraisers, including who we are employed by, and who we represent. This must be done by the fundraiser before the donor completes the form.
  4. Wear ID badges, visible at all times, with the charity’s name, CHY number, the fundraiser’s name, who we are working for and on whose behalf we are fundraising.
  5. Never knowingly or maliciously give false or misleading information to the public about any other charity or our employer.
  6. Never follow members of the public to engage them in conversation. Never cause obstruction or congestion in a public or private place, or to a doorway or passageway.
  7. Be sensitive in conversation and not put undue pressure on the public to donate. Fundraisers will politely terminate a conversation at any stage, if asked to do so.
  8. Never approach a member of the public with more than two fundraisers at a time. This includes supervisors and trainee fundraisers.
  9. Exercise caution and sensitive judgement if confronted with potentially vulnerable people. Face to face fundraisers will not knowingly sign up any person who we reasonably conclude may be incapable of informed consent.
  10. Never enter a premises or household unless invited, and exercise caution and sensitive judgement if invited to enter a household or premises.
  11. Make sure the donor is not under 18 years of age and that all donors understand that the purpose of this fundraising is to secure recurring, long-term donations.
  12. Accept no cash, cheques, or property. Cash collections can only be accepted by fundraisers if they have a valid cash collection permit.
  13. Inform the donor how the charity will communicate with them after subscribing, and that they will receive confirmation of any direct debit with advance notice of the payment schedule.
  14. Comply with data protection law and confidentiality agreements with the organiser. Fundraisers will ensure donor information and charity branded material are kept secure at all times.
  15. Never fundraise after 9pm (unless specifically requested by a member of the public, and agreed by the organiser).
  16. Provide a clear point of contact for the general public, if they have complaints or feedback. Fundraisers will comply with the complaints procedure as instructed by the organiser of the face to face fundraising.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Is Your Charity More Important Than Netflix?

A couple of years ago Netflix raised their prices by about 50% and they lost about 800,000 customers. That sounds bad until you realise it was only about 4% of their customer base and the move saw the Netflix executives riding their golden Segways all the way to the bank.

I started thinking...What would happen if your charity decided to increase all of its monthly donors' gifts by 50%? would be bad. Sure, a good upgrade call would do it, but I don't think anyone would be stupid enough to make the increase without asking their donors first.

But hang on...Is it fair to compare Netflix and your charity?

Netflix provides entertainment when their customers want it. Some of the stories are sad, some are harrowing (OMG...Owen in the crate in Boardwalk Empire!), some are funny and inspirational. Strong characters, twists and turns, cliffhangers. So many tears. And at the end of every story they guide you towards the next one...and they know just what you like.

Wait a minute...isn't that what your charity's fundraising department does? Or what it should be doing?

'Storytelling' is the word most likely to be beaten to death at this year's fundraising conferences (Move over 'donor-centric'. Get lost 'innovation'.)

There's a reason for that. You love stories. You respond to them. You can't get enough of them...if they're good. If your donor communications were great you could send a newsletter every day. If the way you tell your charity's stories suck then even one newsletter a year is too much.

Imagine your donors hanging on your every word. Imagine if they anticipated your next YouTube video they way they anticipate the next season of True Detectives. Imagine if they binged on your website like the time I watched 18 episodes of the US Office in a single day.

It's not far-fetched.

You can compete with Netflix because your cause is infinitely more important.

So tell me - if one of your monthly donor decides to cancel a direct debit then which would be the first to go: You or Netflix?

And let's not even broach the subject of Potato Salad being more entertaining than you...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Notes From A London Fundraising Conference #IoFNC

I've been at the Institute of Fundraising National Convention all this week. Interestingly, people have moved away from the trend of making notes on iPads and are back to pen and paper.

Me? I take my notes on Twitter and this here they are:

Website Donation Optimisation
You read bits and pieces about improving donation forms but Beate Sorum and Ida Aalen put it all together nice and succinctly. And they were realists - usually when you see people presenting on digital they imply that simply doing digital stuff drives donations. But the #NorseGoddessesOfFundraising know that it's still real, human emotion that makes people want to click your donation button.

Anyway, the main points:
Be mobile friendly, get rid of unnecessary extras, role-play your form as if it's a conversation, "Nobody comes to look at your homepage", don't ask for something unless you absolutely need it.

Too Much Fundraising Advice Is Too Vague
You know what sessions I like? When fundraisers present what they actually did and show you actual results - good or bad.

JustGiving's Care Button
God, I hope they've tested this before they've rolled it out to every single charity. JustGiving are usually so good (although...sales is so much cheaper) but to me this new Care button seems like the only thing it's going to do for charities and donors is reduce donations. Will be interesting to track what it does for my lovely clients.

Ireland Needs More Pro-Fundraising Marketing
As someone suggested to me, Ireland needs a week long pro-fundraiser/pro-charity week. A mix between, #ProudFundraiser and Charity Defense Council's ads.

Good Seminars
Really enjoyed seminars from...
Matthew Sherrington: "E-mail subject lines should always have a verb".
Adrian Salmon: Must download his slides and have a closer look at the 'blank post-it' idea.
Mark Phillips: Always entertaining.

That's it for another year...