Polly Neate: If you work for a charity you are a fundraiser – and that includes the CEO
Published by Institute of Fundraising
This guest blog by the Chief Executive of Shelter has been widely praised across social media and it's something that fundraisers have been crying out to hear for years. Polly says that the last thing ambitious causes need is an isolated fundraising department, particularly as “voluntary income is what we buy our freedom and independence with”. We're always talking about the importance of developing a whole-organisation commitment to fundraising, so to hear this from a prominent CEO was music to our ears!
Ian MacQuillin: Could it be unethical not to ask for a sufficiently high gift?
Published by 101Fundraising
Curiously, this article isn’t specifically about what the title suggests, but it is a thought-provoking debate on how you balance the ethical duties to your donors and your beneficiaries. For years, fashionable concepts like ‘donorcentrism’ and ‘relationship fundraising’ have encouraged fundraisers to put the donor at the centre of everything they do. But has the resultant ‘donor dominance’ led to recent fundraising scandals like the Presidents Club dinner, and what can we do about it?
Rosie Walworth: #YouMadeItHappen – why it always pays off to thank your supporters
Published by NCVO
One of the best - but most under-used - tools in a fundraiser's armoury is the thank you message. It's always easier to keep building relationships with your existing supporters than to acquire new ones, something that often gets forgotten in the daily rush to meet growth targets. This year, charities paused on 19 November to celebrate the vital contribution made by their supporters, volunteers, donors and campaigners, using the hashtag #YouMadeItHappen. Here's a lovely round-up of the day's most creative and inspiring thank yous.
Nikki Bell: Social Media & Professional Development; Little Digital Steps to Make Big Career Moves
Published by CharityNikki
Many people will be familiar with using social media to boost fundraising and raise awareness for their cause, but how can it help you with career development too? Inspired by how it's advanced her career, Nikki Bell has put together this advice for others. We like how this is divided into three handy sections: getting started, getting going and expert level. Drink in these tips, then come and say hi to us on social media!
Kate Lee: Time to go big or go home
Published by CLIC Sargent
In a tough climate for charities, celebrating your successes is important - but what about embracing your failures? The CEO of CLIC Sargent did just that, firstly acknowledging one of their biggest failings (not reaching one third of children diagnosed with cancer) publicly in their impact report, then launching an organisation-wide drive to understand why and take action. Committing to addressing your failings can be tough but, as Kate describes, the long-term impact on your work can be amazing.
Ann Christiano & Annie Neimand: The Science of What Makes People Care
Published by Stanford Social Innovation Review
Let's kick off with a dose of science - we love this fascinating in-depth study into how you can make people care more about your social purpose without spending more money. Ann and Annie share five principles to help you inspire engagement, belief, and behaviour change in your supporters, rather than just focusing on "awareness-raising". From one of the world's first social justice campaigns to abolish the slave trade, to Greenpeace's switch of focus to hope rather than guilt and fear - this is a long read, but well worth it.
Alastair Wilson: The myth of sustainability is damaging the social enterprise sector
Published by Thomas Reuter's Foundation
We couldn't agree more with this - why should organisations attempting to generate their own income through trading be expected to become entirely self-sustaining? We've spoken to many frustrated social enterprises who are struggling to meet the unrealistic expectations placed on them, or excluded from grant opportunities because of their status. Here's a passionate argument about why social enterprises that trade in deprived communities, or give job opportunities to people who are disadvantaged in the labour market, need a little helping hand along the way...
Lisa Weaks: Building resilience and sustainability – tips for charity leaders
Published by The King's Fund
The King’s Fund has run the GSK IMPACT Awards for 20 years, visited more than 400 smaller charities and reviewed thousands of applications. So they're well-placed to offer ten tips for charity leaders - while you'll have heard many of these before, the occasional reminder never does any harm. If you're short on time, the article also has a handy visual summary of the ten tips. From careful data analysis to writing an excellent trustees' report, via succession planning - how many of these can you tick off?
Sarah Carter: How to collaborate successfully for greater impact
Published by 101Fundraising
One of the ten leadership tips from The King's Fund is about careful partnership planning, so we were intrigued to spot this blog on the subject soon after. Partnerships can be an amazing leg-up for your organisation - both in terms of impact and profile - but when things go wrong, a bad partnership can drain your time and alienate your beneficiaries. Here's a checklist of vital things to consider when entering into a new partnership and trying to juggle different priorities, outcomes and working cultures...
Michael Connellan: Want more media coverage? Then buying journalists coffee is not your priority
Published by CharityComms
We always love an article that challenges old or established ways of thinking, and this article has 'old PR advice' in its sights. So ditch your little black book of contacts and don't even think getting to know journalists for the sake of it. Instead, understand what the evolving news media sector is really looking for, and go digging for real news - that means visiting your service users, spending time with frontline staff, and being imaginative enough to pose questions that you've never asked before.
Beate Sørum: Losing the donor relationship
Published on Beate In English
In our recent blog about 'Public Fundraising 2.0' after GDPR, we wrote how donor data was getting harder to come by, and choosing the right platforms would become vital. Beate takes this even further - we might soon have very little donor data at all! The rising use of digital channels could be the biggest cause of 'disruption' to fundraising, by causing us to lose ownership of our relationship with donors. So should we fight to keep our current business model and risk our sector's very own 'Kodak moment', or find ways to adapt?
James Clarke: The Civil Society Strategy - what it says about funding and finance
Published on NCVO
You might've seen that the Government has just published its long-awaited Civil Society Strategy, setting out how it plans to improve the ways in which public sector bodies interact with the charity sector in future. It's a crucial document but 120 pages long, so handily NCVO have published a series of blogs on what it means for the sector. This part is all about funding, including how charities will be encouraged to take ownership of community buildings, and unlocking money from inactive charitable trusts. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy...
Rob Preston: Paul Streets: ‘Grant-givers should fund core costs’
Published on Civil Society
This just missed the deadline for our July round-up, but it's so good we just had to include it now. Sound the trumpets! There are funders out there that genuinely trust and value smaller charities, and want to empower them with core funding. Paul Streets, who is always a brilliant advocate for the sector, explains the thinking behind Lloyds Bank Foundation's new five-year strategy and takes aim at 'projectitis' - in other words, the obsession with funding 'innovation' over tried-and-tested vital community work.
Ikhlaq Hussein: Actively listening helps to discover donors’ passion and raise more support
Published on UK Fundraising
Here's one for those of you who spend ages preparing for meetings with potential major donors, but aren't unlocking those big donations you dream about. You might be telling them what feels like important information, but are you asking the right questions? For those big meetings, curiosity and listening might be your most important skills. Ikhlaq explains how to build a picture about a potential donor's background, and their motivation for giving, before you even start thinking about making that all-important ask.
Marcus Missen: It's time for business unusual
Published on Third Sector
Encouraging different thinking and 'breaking the rules' is basically what our Unconventional Wisdom series is all about, so this article by Marcus Missen is just the ticket. Here are his thoughts on what innovation and 'trusting your team' are really all about, and how WaterAid did away with its fundraising strategy and developed a whole new vision in order to keep raising money in a tough environment.
Sophie Hobson: Do’s and don’ts of trading for social enterprises & charities
Published on Good Finance
And finally, here's another way to survive and thrive when funding is disappearing: turn to trading. Moving towards an earned income model can feel pretty daunting, so these ten tips from Sophie on how to get started could make all the difference. They include bringing your Board along on the journey, developing trading ideas around your existing expertise, and not expecting people to buy from you just because you’re social...
Melanie May: The Grand Appeal’s 2018 Gromit trail goes contactless
Published by UK Fundraising
First up, something local to Lime Green HQ - The Grand Appeal have just launched their third ever 'sculpture trail', featuring over 60 giant Wallace & Gromit sculptures designed by local artists in iconic spots around Bristol, all to raise money for Bristol Children's Hospital. This is fundraising innovation at its best - featuring its own app, contactless donation points on the sculptures, and corporate tie-ins with Rolls-Royce and the University of Bristol. This ticks many of our favourite fundraising boxes - it provides donors with a unique experience, makes excellent use of technology, and makes donating as convenient as possible.
Sarah Gate: Where should I start with charity social media?
Published by JustGiving
It's that age-old dilemma for charities with limited resources - how to unlock the potential of engaging supporters on social media, without drowning in the potentially endless list of things to do and platforms to use? We love this overview, which covers topics such as which platforms to use, how to maximise charity hashtags, how often to post, and how to deal with negative comments.
Richard Sved: Graffiti on oak – when a fundraising idea catches fire!
Published by 3rd Sector Mission Control
Here's the latest offering from one of our all-time favourite bloggers Richard Sved, about a £400,000 fundraising campaign to restore the St Albans Museum & Gallery. This features an 'honours board' with a twist, with over 1,400 people donating £250 each to have their names carved graffiti-style into restored oak panels. If the Wallace & Gromit trail is all about innovation and technology, this is a fundraising campaign built on more traditional ingredients for success: relevance, beauty, permanence, emotional storytelling and listening to your supporters.
Emma Beeston: Is philanthropy safe from impact investment?
Published by Emma Beeston Consultancy
How much do you know about the rising trend of impact investment, where donors choose to invest in social good projects with the expectation of achieving a measurable social return and a financial return? Is this a welcome development for charities, or are wealthy people increasingly turning to impact investment instead of donations, grants and philanthropy? What type of causes are a good fit for the investment model? Click above for answers to all these questions and more.
Charles Orton-Jones: Why choose a smaller charity?
Published by Raconteur.net
Corporate fundraising can often feel impossibly tough for smaller charities. The 'big boys' seem to have it all sown up, with the top 1,000 charities soaking up 89% of all corporate donations in the UK. But are things changing? Smaller charities can help companies to have more local and visible impact, and offer more benefits to companies than you might imagine. With news of a new partnership between Deutsche Bank and Autistica, and a Southampton cardiac charity that engaged companies by offering their staff free health checks, here are some all-new tips for punching above your weight with corporate fundraising...
We like to spend time trawling through blogs and articles from the third sector, so we can bring you some unique ideas and perspectives that you might have missed. This month comes with a warning about neglecting the importance of digital communication - but, fortunately, plenty of ideas about how you can avoid doing just that...
Natasha Stone: Is gaming the hot new trend for charities?
Published by JustGiving
On the eve of one of the biggest charity gaming events of the year, Natasha from JustGiving delved into how online gaming could bring untapped potential for charities. Gaming has boomed into a £100 billion industry and some of the stats may surprise you – there are 1.5 billion gamers worldwide, the average age is 35 and an increasing number of women and families are gaming. Could you grab a piece of the potential by teaming up with a gaming influencer or creating a charity gaming event?
Austin Clark: Charities can ‘no longer afford to be digitally defiant’
Published by Charity Digital News
This stark warning comes after Tech Trust’s new Digital Charity Survey found that 58% of charities still don’t have a digital strategy. In our experience, many charities dabble with social media with moderate success, but see a digital strategy as ‘something we ought to get around to eventually’. As over 65s increasingly embrace social media, and younger generations grow up having never lived without smart phones, will charities soon be unable to survive unless they put technology at the heart of their comms?
Piper Hendricks: How To Avoid Harmful Stereotypes In Your Nonprofit Videos
Published by GlobalGiving
If digital communication is an increasingly important ‘weapon’ in your charity’s arsenal, then video storytelling should arguably be your ammunition of choice. Creating video content is a brilliant way to reach more people and raise awareness about your work, but with great power comes great responsibility. Piper explains why too much charity video content inadvertently perpetuates harmful stereotypes and one-dimension portrayals of helpless beneficiaries, and shares five questions you can ask to avoid falling into this trap.
Which fundraising techniques really annoy the public?
Published by nfpSynergy
We recently published a blog about the long-term impact of having so many fundraising methods that interrupt – rather than add value to – people’s everyday lives. They may be profitable, but the long-term impact on public opinion is unsustainable. This in-depth study by nfpSynergy adds some broader context to the same issue – and while it’s not a reason to change your fundraising methods overnight, it provides some fascinating food for thought about how those methods may be perceived by different audience demographics.
Karl Wilding: Charities change the world. Why isn't that message getting through?
Published by The Guardian
There’s evidently a widening chasm between what charities think and what the public (and, often, their own supporter bases) think – whether that’s about things like Brexit, or how the sector is run. This article argues that we need to do more ourselves to close that gap, starting by cutting the jargon and relying less on obscure financial information. It’s clearly easier said than done, but could we be more honest and open about the issues we’re facing, and the importance of things like investing in staff and digital tools?
Sophie Hobson: Five New Year’s resolutions for social entrepreneurs
Published by the School for Social Entrepreneurs
You’ve now only got 11 months left to put these into practice, but better late than never hey? Working to bring about social change can be a lonely and relentless rollercoaster ride, but Sophie’s excellent tips for 2018 will help you to maximise productivity, stay strategic amidst the daily grind, and keep developing as a leader.
Gillian Murray: Times will be tough for charities in 2018. A solid strategy is more vital than ever
Published by The Guardian
This recent article from the CEO of Pilotlight – who help charities to sharpen their business planning skills – also highlights the need for a more strategic approach in 2018. With resources tighter than ever, three out of five smaller charities feel they do not have the skills required to prosper in the future. But sometimes even identifying the right skills gaps is tricky – so it’s vital to first understand what your biggest strategic challenges are, and how to address them.
Fiona Wallace: CSR for the charity sector? We need a system where charities can acknowledge their wider benefits on society
Published by nfpSynergy
This thought-provoking piece explores why Corporate Social Responsibility isn’t just important for companies, but for charities too. How much does your organisation go beyond your core remit to support the broader community? How important is it to encourage workforce diversity and create opportunities for payroll giving and volunteering? Or, in these times of austerity, is the charitable nature of your work enough of a focus?
Rebecca Cooney: Small Charities Coalition launches online GDPR tool
Published by Third Sector
It seems like we’ve been talking about GDPR forever, but Data Protection changes are rumbling closer than ever and non-compliance simply isn’t an option. However, for many people this is a minefield of policies, processes and legal jargon. We’re delighted that the Small Charities Coalition has launched an interactive GDPR portal, enabling you to make the necessary changes in an affordable and time-effective way, then display a ‘GDPR compliant’ green tick.
Simon George: Making the most of charities’ anniversaries
Published by UK Fundraising
Is 2018 a landmark year for your charity? Anniversaries are a great opportunity to raise your profile and generate some much-needed funds. We’ve seen many charities try to do exactly this, only to be hamstrung by a lack of capacity, planning or ability to answer that “so what?” question. This article is a huge help in making sure the big opportunity doesn’t slip through your grasp – so if 2018 marks a key anniversary for your organisation, keep these eight tips in mind.
Here's our final edition of 'Unconventional Wisdom' for 2017 - featuring some unique insights and innovative ideas recently published by people from across the charity sector...
Joe Saxton: Is fundraising f***ked?
Published on nfpSynergy
Joe Saxton is a real authority on fundraising - his 'Gimme Gimme Gimme' introductory guide is still the first resource we point charities towards. So when he chooses such an eye-catching headline, it's for good reason. Ahead of nfpSynergy's forthcoming report into the political, economic, social and technological factors affecting fundraising, this article provides a quick summary of the situation. It's worrying to hear but important to know - and fortunately, there's a chirpier follow-up piece coming soon on the positive developments and opportunities for charities!
Does it cost £60 to build a toilet?
Published on Toilet Twinning
Great fundraising campaigns can be a brilliant antidote to the concerns currently surrounding fundraising. This Toilet Twinning campaign by Tearfund has drawn plenty of well-deserved praise from fundraisers - here's a charity translating a complex issue into a simple and compelling ask, not hiding away from the true costs of its work, and making donors feel excited about the impact of a relatively modest contribution. Well worth checking out for some inspiration!
Jo Fischl & Tim Harrison: GDPR: The change that charity donors want
Published on nfpSynergy
We know what you're thinking: another report about Data Protection... But this excellent free download looks at GDPR from a different and important angle - what's the current public mood towards charities and data protection? And how are donors likely to respond to the coming changes? While the conclusions are worrying - donors often feel bombarded, and welcome GDPR as a way of taking control - nfpSynergy also provide plenty of constructive advice on how charities can adapt.
Rosie Ifould: 'Would you be willing?': words to turn a conversation around (and those to avoid)
Published on The Guardian
Research shows that we're all far more influenced by the language people use than we'd like to admit. Professors at Loughborough University have analysed thousands of hours of recorded conversations - from customer services calls to police crisis negotiation - to identify certain words and phrases with the power to change the course of a conversation both positively and negatively. While this isn't specific to the sector, it provides plenty of food for thought for charities and fundraisers. So...would you be willing to have a quick read to find out more?
Claire Axelrad: Key Issues in Effective Nonprofit Board Decision-Making
Published on Clairification
"Many nonprofits are stuck. They’re tethered to their early decisions. Often made by others who came before them." It's a bold opening to an article all about the factors that hold trustee boards back from making complex decisions such as investing in fundraising. These include confirmation bias, emotional attachment and fear of failure - do you recognise any of these? Could this article help your trustees to become more aware of some of the common challenges?
Tereza Litsa: How to bring social media into your fundraising strategy
Published on Hubbub
Charities have known for years that social media is an excellent opportunity to reach new supporters and start meaningful conversations with them. However, turning followers into donors is particularly tricky, making it hard for smaller organisations to decide how much time to dedicate to social media. Tereza's blog provides some handy pointers on this, including some great examples from charities who have got it right.
Sarah Finley: Is 'tap and go' a better way to give to charity?
Published on BBC News
Ten years after contactless payments reached the UK, more than half of all transactions up to £30 are now made made using 'tap and go' technology. Various trials by charities have shown that contactless collection boxes attract higher average donations than traditional tins. Contactless payment ports have even popped up in winter coats, 'smart benches' and a charity car! Sarah explores some of these successful trials, and why 'tap and go' donations are set to grow and grow...
Kate Ferguson: How to create a diverse Board of Trustees
Published on NCVO Knowhow Nonprofit
Board diversity has been a hot topic for charities for many years, but creating a truly diverse board - and attracting the right trustees - is easier said than done. It's a task that Kate Ferguson, Chair of The Advocacy Project, has dedicated a lot of time to, so it's well worth reading her seven top tips here - including the importance of transparency, accessible decision-making and consistent feedback from your Chair.
Caroline Fiennes: Good charities spend more on administration than less good charities spend
Published on Giving Evidence
After so much media scrutiny of their spending, charities have never felt more under pressure to keep their administrative costs to a minimum. However, this can often be really counter-productive - we come across far more charities facing challenges due to under-investment than wasteful organisations. This study of the relationship between 'quality' and admin costs popped up again on social media recently - it was written several years ago, but we feel it's never been more relevant.
Laura Hannan: Christmas is coming for Charities
Published on LinkedIn Pulse
Is it too early to mention the C-word yet? Not for Laura, who thinks that the huge uplift in donations during December means that charities need to get planning for Christmas now. Laura's blog provides some great tips on how to maximise the festive pounds and make best use of a range of digital platforms. Yes, we know it's not even November yet but go on, have a read...
Smaller charities do an amazing job, working with limited resources and under more pressure than ever. However, inevitably there'll be some things further down your priority list that could benefit from a fresh approach. That's this month's theme for Unconventional Wisdom - our feature rounding up some of the best charity blogs and articles we've read recently...
Fran Swaine: Five easy ways small charities can improve their email marketing
Published on LinkedIn SlideShare
Regular readers will remember us blogging about why small charities need to improve their email marketing, so we were delighted to come across this easily digestible slide deck from Fran Swaine. Fran's top five tips include choosing the right tools, cutting your content in half and coming up with killer subject lines. Emails consistently get better reach and engagement than social media updates - so are you putting enough time into your email newsletters?
Madeleine Sugden: Say no to giant cheque pictures
Published on madlinsudn blog
Madeleine isn't a fan of using giant cheques to celebrate fundraising achievements - they're overused and not engaging enough for social media. Fortunately, she's also on hand to demonstrate a better way of doing things, courtesy of some great promotional images used by a number of savvy charities. Next time you want to say thank you, here's how to do it with a splash.
Beate Sørum: There is no "average conversion rate"
Published on Beate In English
Another blog, another opportunity to re-think how you do things. Beate thinks our obsession with the (donation) conversion rate of charity websites is wrong, and could lead you to spend money in the wrong area. Here's what to do instead, and why lower conversion rates can sometimes be a good thing.
How to become a data-driven charity
Published on NCVO Knowhow Nonprofit
We live in a world where high quality data is more readily available than ever, and charities have the opportunity to harness this to measure their effectiveness and design innovative new services. However, this is only possible if you can reach a higher level of 'data maturity' - which involves getting buy-in from leadership, developing skills in-house and investing in the right tools.
Rodger Holden: Why are CSR departments getting fed up with charities?
Published on Civil Society
We've worked with several charities who were keen to focus on corporate fundraising, and our message is always the same: it's a difficult and competitive area that's not for everyone. Maybe that's because too many charities are getting it wrong - Rodger Holden from Crimestoppers says a lot of corporate fundraising isn't working, and charities must take a more commercial approach. It's time to focus on sustainability and employee engagement, not CSR agendas and Big Ideas...
Emma Beeston: Charity workers: We need you…to go on holiday
Published on LinkedIn Pulse
And finally, a timely reminder before the summer is over: if you're feeling jaded, take a break so you can come back 'excited and hopeful'. Emma explains that burnout is a major issue, not just for charity staff but for the sector as a whole. Lime Green Consulting was actually born out of a much-needed holiday and we wholeheartedly agree with this - so be kind to yourself and swap your laptop for a bucket and spade!
Here's our latest 'recommended reading list' of unique perspectives, innovative ideas and inspiring insights from across the charity sector...
Mags Rivett: 4 lessons for charities as we prepare for GDPR
Published on JustGiving
May 2018 sees a major change for charities, with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect. Most charities we've spoken to are aware this will have an impact, but far from confident about what they can do to prepare. In this short and clear blog, Mags Rivett shares four ways in which charities can get GDPR-ready, as well as some handy links to other material. GDPR is coming - make sure you get up to speed now.
Peter Panepento: Are Virtual Events the Next Big P2P Trend?
Published on PeerToPeer Professional Forum
Fundraising events thrive on a sense of community and togetherness, but there may be plenty of reasons why your supporters can't be in the same place at the same time. This explains the growing trend towards virtual events, fuelled by the increasing popularity of wearable fitness tracking devices. This article features four great examples of virtual events that combine all the benefits of flexibility and organised fun - is it time for you to embrace this?
Leon Ward: Top tips - how to be the best charity trustee
Published by The Guardian
This is a great piece to read if you've recently become a trustee, or work for a charity that would like to do more to build a strong and healthy Board. Leon Ward has been a trustee for several charities as well as an ambassador for Young Charity Trustees, and has written many great articles about being a charity trustee. His five top tips include finding a mentor, getting some training and insisting on being visible to staff.
Alex Swallow: My First Viral Article Online- How To Have One Too!
Published by The Influence Expert
Making your content go viral is the holy grail for many small charities, but Alex's story shows that it's possible with a bit of persistence, marketing effort and luck. His recent LinkedIn article is about to top 2,500 likes, including one from LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner - congratulations Alex! All this means that Alex is very well placed to advise how you can make your content go viral, and how to react if it does.
24 Must-Read Fundraising and Social Media Reports for Nonprofits
Published by Nonprofit Tech for Good
Finally, we recently came across this treasure trove of reports about online fundraising and social media that's well worth sharing. There's a huge range of handy insights here for charities across the world, about topics including online giving, digital skills and benchmark data. Bookmark this page now - it's great to dip in and out of!