This is a feature that we previously ran between 2015 and 2019 to share a selection of unique perspectives, innovative ideas and inspiring insights published by other fundraisers and experts. Feel free to browse the archive of blogs and articles below...
Brigitte Stundner: Why cognitive diversity is crucial to your organisation
Published on LinkedIn Pulse
Diversity has rightly become a key topic in the charity sector in recent years – but while this often focuses on age, gender and ethnicity, what about cognitive diversity? People have very different styles of thinking and processing information, so they naturally have different perspectives and approaches to solving problems. Here’s what a cognitively diverse Board or workplace can mean for your organisation, and how to avoid being hampered by ‘groupthink’…
Zoe Allen: The Future of Fundraising: Influencer Marketing for Nonprofits
Published on 101Fundraising
We’re not sure exactly what’s going on at the moment, but there seem to be more articles about ‘the future of fundraising’ than ever before. We’ve read about four this week! Sorry for being sceptical, but there almost certainly isn’t a silver bullet for your fundraising: no single area or approach is going to completely revolutionise what you do. That said, this article about how to leverage the power of social media ‘influencers’ to attract new supporters and donations definitely provides some handy tips on an area of untapped potential for most charities.
Ben Swart and Rob Woods: Need to inspire a supporter? Three ways to WOW them!
Published on Bright Spot Fundraising
How do you achieve a good response rate from your donors and supporters, and really communicate the power and importance of your cause? Most fundraisers have been wrestling with this key challenge for years, and in a saturated world of communication it’s only getting harder to stand out from the crowd. So here’s some tasty food for thought on how to dazzle your corporate and major donor prospects, featuring a packet of Opal Fruits, some folded bubble wrap and a message in a (wine) bottle…
Reuben Turner: Fundraising’s other R word
Published on UKFundraising
A short and sweet blog here which takes issue with the age-old concept of relationship fundraising. How can donor relationships be the be all and end all when “when regulation prevents it, technology makes it unnecessary, and people don’t want or value it”? This isn’t about stopping thanking people and doing the basics of “donor stewardship” – which is good, because we think that’s crucial – but it’s worth considering whether a new approach is needed in a rapidly-changing world.
Rebecca Cooney: RNLI to drop opt-in-only communications policy this week
Published on Third Sector
And finally, news from the ever-murky world of GDPR, with one household name charity deciding this week to abandon its policy of only communicating with people who have explicitly opted in, and instead relying more on "legitimate interests". They've taken this action to give themselves more flexibility at a time of funding difficulties and unprecedented demand for their services. This is an interestimg development, with many large charities having jumped firmly into the opt-in camp ahead of GDPR, encouraging smaller organisations to follow suit.
Here's our latest digest of blogs and articles written by other people: a little collection of unique perspectives, innovative ideas and inspiring insights to get your brain ticking...
Kristian Downer: Reasons Your Business Should Post Less On Social Media
Published by DowSocial
Social media is changing, with users engaging with content differently and platforms developing new algorithms to decide what people see. It's therefore time to "reduce the noise" of your activity and instead focus on quality, consistency and audience targeting. That's the view of social media expert Kristian Downer, who gives five reasons why posting less on social media might actually help you to achieve better results. Kristian's blogs are targeted at start-ups, "solopreneurs" and small businesses, but there's plenty of food for thought here for charities and social enteprises too.
Gemma Pettman: Keeping the online buzz going after your event
Published by LinkedIn Pulse
When your big fundraising or awareness-raising event is finally over, it's tempting to lie low as you catch up on much-needed sleep or take time off in lieu. However the immediate aftermath of your event is a prime opportunity to build on your success and increase the likelihood of repeat participation. Lime Green associate Gemma Pettman explains why your online activity after your event is just as important as before and during it, and shares some great ideas for keeping the buzz going with thank you posts, user-generated content and video highlights.
Simon Scriver: Why fundraising is not all about asking for money
Published by 101Fundraising
Ask most people what fundraising involves and they'll look at you incredulously and say "asking for money". But there's so much important stuff that happens before and after the ask which can make or break your fundraising activity. So a big thank you to Simon Scriver for this reminder about the importance of "fundraising that doesn’t feel like fundraising". Here are eight important tasks that don't involve asking for money, including amazing thank yous, prospect research, supporter engagement and continuous learning.
Lena Vizy: Time for action! Why we have to invest in sustainable legacy fundraising
Published by 101Fundraising
Here's a big call to arms from Dutch fundraiser Lena Vizy, who thinks that charities need to stop missing a trick and invest much more in legacy fundraising. Lena is looking ahead to "the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth in human history", with an estimated $46 trillion due to be passed down from the baby boomer generation. So why are so many charities failing to tap into this huge potential, and what they can do differently? Undoubtedly this article feels more geared towards larger charities, but there's something for everyone to ponder in here...
David Cain: How to Get Yourself to Do Things
Published by Raptitude
And finally, here's some tough-talking advice from self-confessed proscratinator David Cain on something which we know can be a challenge particularly if you spend a lot of time working alone or as part of a small team. Procrastination leads to people "creating trouble out of nothing, essentially volunteering for penalties, embarrassment and regret" - but David thinks he's made a recent breakthrough and has shared some top tips with fellow sufferers.
We didn't write any of these blogs and articles, but we definitely recommend that you take a look...
Louisa McLellan: Looking out of the sector: Donor Journey
Published by More Than Bucket Collections
Building a strong connection with your donors, fundraisers and volunteers has never been more vital. With so many competing good causes, and with GDPR and digital fundraising platforms making it harder to build your own supporter database, you need to make the most of the supporters that you do have. And when it comes to creating a fantastic donor journey, sometimes it helps to look beyond the world of fundraising. Over to Louisa to explain all about her experience as a regular blood donor, and why this is so relevant for community fundraising...
Joe Saxton: What can Domino’s pizza teach charities about looking after donors?
Published by nfpSynergy
And while you're taking inspiration from giving blood, why not making pizzas too? Is there some hitherto secret link between mozzarella and fundraising? Well, no - it's all about transparency of course. Domino's Pizza is one of many companies to increase sales and customer satisfaction through increased transparency (in this case, an app showing staff making the pizzas). And Joe thinks that charities could learn a thing or two when it comes to talking to the public about fundraising costs, CEO pay, and whether their money is well spent.
CAF UK Giving 2019
Published by CAF
Keeping abreast of the big picture giving trends is really important, so a big thank you to CAF for compiling this report based on 12,000 individual interviews on who gives to charity, what causes they support and how they like to support them. We'd be lying if we said it was a cheery read though. Spoiler alert: fewer people are donating or participating in charitable activities, and public trust is still decreasing. Thankfully, it's not all bad news, with average donations actually increasing and volunteering rates holding steadily. These headlines really are the tip of the iceberg though, so settle down and delve into the report now.
Louise Corden: What is Voice Tech and why should you care?
Published by 101Fundraising
I've never understood the appeal of Alexa and her voice-operated pals. The non-stop listening is creepy, and I'm actually pretty happy to exercise my legs and smartphone thumb when I need something, thank you very much. I like to pretend Lime Green HQ is a voice tech free zone, provided I completely ignore my phone doing the exact same thing. But plenty of people do seem very excited by voice technology, and it could bring massive opportunities for charities in terms of how they connect with service users and supporters. Here's an excellent summary of the latest developments and what they mean for the voluntary sector.
And finally...a shout-out for the excellent #NonGraduatesWelcome campaign on Twitter!
Many organisations include 'degree level qualifications' in the essential criteria of their job descriptions without considering how this excludes great candidates and discourages diversity in the sector. Many organisations have already made positive changes to their recruitment processes after admitting that degrees are an automatic and unnecessary requirement. This is the perfect example of a grassroots online campaign which challenges people in a constructive way and brings about real change. We'd urge you to take a look and consider whether your own recruitment efforts are as accessible and effective as they could be.
Here's our round-up of some great recent charity sector blogs and articles - featuring unique insights and innovative ideas that you might've missed...
Tom Crowe: 12 Highly Effective SEO Tips For Nonprofits
Published by Tom Crowe Digital
First up, here's an amazingly useful guide explaining 12 search engine optimisation 'quick wins' for small charities and social enterprises. Tom, an SEO specialist, recently audited a number of charity websites and concluded that with a few simple SEO fixes, many charities could quickly rescue a declining website and significantly boost their traffic and donations. Packed full of practical tips and clear explanations, this article could really transform you online game...
5 Years of Funder Plus, 5 Things We’ve Learned
Published by Lloyds Bank Foundation
Lloyds Bank Foundation do an amazing job of supporting the small charity sector, from their valuable core funding grants, in-kind support and vocal advocacy and opinion pieces. So we were very interested to read their new report reflecting on what they've learned from five years of delivering their Funder Plus programme, which explains why funders should strive to truly empower charities, invest in leadership and build their long-term capabilities. If other funders can put this advice into practice, it'll be a big boost for the sector.
Andrew Purkis: An ‘inconvenient truth’ for the Charity Commission
Published by Civil Society
The Charity Commission has repeatedly said that its job is to tell charities what the public expects from them, not to educate the public about charities. But how reliable are those public expectations? When 2,000 members of the public were asked what the word 'charities' brought to mind, they only named nine charities between them (all household names) and showed virtually no awareness of local charities. This fascinating article questions how much charities should be expected to change their behaviour in response to criticism, when that criticism is based on such a limited and skewed understanding of the sector.
Dave Lee: GoFundMe: Hope, but no solution, for the needy
Published by BBC News
Proof of humanity's innate desire to help each other, or a monument to inequality? Crowdfunding has undoubtedly brought hope and relief to many people, but in the US, you could argue that it essentially props up a broken healthcare system. So can we allow generosity to become a substitute for justice? We'd argue not - particularly when crowdfunding is so patchy in terms of who it benefits, with this likely to be skewed by things like ethnicity and social class. This is a great reminder that however good our fundraising efforts are, they're only one part of the work we need to do to change the world.
Young Trustees – Are We Really Doing Enough?
Published by Cause4
This month, Tate appointed a 28-year-old as the youngest serving Trustee of a national UK museum or gallery. Great news for them, but it also puts the spotlight on how few young trustees there are in the sector - just 0.5% of serving trustees are aged 18-24, despite 450,000 people in this age group running their own business. This a timely reminder of some of the benefits of appointing young trustees, and of how far we still have to go as a sector in order to be fully representative of the people we serve.
David Burgess: Making your Thank Yous SUPER
Published by Flight of the Fundraiser
We love this guest blog on why receiving a donation is a bit like being told "I love you", and how many charities fluff their lines in response. It can be easy to blame lack of time for sending mediocre thank yous, but you might be missing out on a lot more support as a result, and getting this right doesn't need to take very long at all. Here's how to dazzle your donors with a few minutes' extra effort, with a couple of real-life examples from Solar Aid and a small local music charity...
Matt Chittock: Why CEO letters suck (and how to make them better)
Published by CharityComms
You know when you've written or read something so many times that you take it for granted there's only one way of doing it? Well this month it's not only the mediocre thank you letter being deconstructed, oh no. Not when CEO letters are often where plain English goes to die - Matt's brave words, not ours. A letter from your CEO might feel like the crowning glory of your annual report, but it's often a missed opportunity to write something engaging and memorable for your supporters. And since there's no point deconstructing something if you're not going to make it better, here are five tips from Matt on how to do exactly that.
Beth Clarke: Six characteristics of a resilient charity
Published by Charities Aid Foundation
I met the founder of a local youth charity recently who told me he despised the word 'resilience'. Who creates a society where so many young people face such a struggle to get a good education, good healthcare etc, then puts the emphasis on them to be resilient enough to cope? You could say the same about smaller charities, who are often tasked with so much to do in their local communities yet left to battle so hard to even stay afloat. Yet here we are - organisational resilience is a key buzzword, so thank you Beth for sharing six ways in which a charity can be resilient, inspired by CAF's Resilience programme.
David Floyd: Can't get there from here
Published by Beanbags and Bullsh!t
On a related note, social enterprises have the odds stacked against them too, with the expectation that they'll be able to scale up into established household names despite the lack of sizeable grants available. Here, David argues that we need to develop a different funding landscape that gives social enterprises a genuine chance of thriving in consumer markets - because the few social enterprises that have managed to do this, like The Big Issue and Cafedirect, have actually benefitted from millions of pounds of private investment.
Emily Zulz: Daniel Kahneman - Your Intuition Is Wrong, Unless These 3 Conditions Are Met
Published by ThinkAdvisor
And finally, this caught my eye recently despite having nothing to do with the charity sector. How many times have you relied on your intuition to make a big decision? Do you trust that deep down you've got a good reason for 'knowing' the right thing to do, even if you can't explain it? According to Daniel Kahneman, an award-winning behavioural economist, unless you're able to meet these three conditions, relying on your intuition might actually be a huge risk. In our experience, intuition often plays a key role in decisions made by trustees and CEOs with varying results, so this is worth two minutes of your time.
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...
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