Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Guest blog post by Sarah Tite

As a One of Many™ certified leadership coach and trainer, Sarah Tite brings together many years of leadership experience with tools and techniques that help people face challenges with confidence. She is Director of  Sarah Tite Coaching Ltd.

I don’t have anything to say!

Funny way to start a blog you might think. But maybe not if this is why you haven’t yet taken up the opportunity to try out coaching with the funded session that comes as part of your membership with Fundraising Everywhere. 

You may also be telling yourself that…

⏰ I don’t have time. 

🎯 I have no big challenge to bring to my session.

😞 I am worried I might get upset. 

❓ I don’t know what to expect.

💸 I am going to save my session for something important!

However, they say prevention is better than cure, in fact it is a fundamental principle of modern health care. It’s better to stop something before it happens, instead of having to deal with its consequences after the problem has already happened or the damage already done. And by the way your coach will share with you information about what to expect, and answer any questions you may have.

So, are you ready to talk. Ready to plan for the unexpected?

Not quite yet. 


Maybe I have made you a little curious about coaching, and how it may be of benefit to you.

Julie, Head of Fundraising was curious and so she booked her funded coaching session with me recently and this is what she said:

“I have always been interested in exploring the benefits of coaching, but I wasn’t quite sure what it would entail. The initial session was the perfect introduction to understanding coaching and gave me a full insight into how it could work for me. I would highly recommend!”

Highly recommended, praise indeed.

What could you expect from your coaching session?

  • Different experiences and perspectives to a challenge, problem, or idea.
  • Space to pause, to talk, think and explore with someone not involved day to day.
  • You may get some new insights and ideas because all the coaching team having worked in the charity sector.
  • Maybe now you come to think of it you do have something to say, a challenge to consider and unpick – we are ready to hold a space just for you – what are you waiting for?

When we feel more confident in ourselves, we are better able to deal with conflict, to communicate clearly, take feedback as learning rather than evidence of failure and help create happier workplaces where people can thrive not just survive.

Can I just check that you are not thinking this offer is only for leaders because it says so in the title!

Let me reassure you that leadership is not just a job title, it’s a mind-set too. It’s a way of thinking, behaving, and acting, so in reality you don’t always need a team or a project to lead, you can lead with your ideas, insights, and inspiration to create change and open minds to new ways of thinking.

What we need are people who think, or lead in new ways, with new ways of looking at things to create the change we want to see in this world. I am inviting you to consider that ‘leadership programmes’ like this one: are not just for those who have leader in their job title!

Are you ready to step into your healthy, happy and harmonious leadership, to focus on what you need to thrive at work, home and beyond then don’t wait until you know what to say because you can be sure that each of the coaching team will help you find your voice!

Let the last word be from a Fundraising Everywhere Member, Hannah who was coached by Judith:

“Judith embodies a transformative force. I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to participate in coaching. Thanks to Judith’s guidance and expertise, I was able to pause and gain a broader understanding of my goals. Her motivation and encouragement have truly been invaluable on my journey towards achieving my personal and professional goals.”

Voice Your Thoughts 🗣️

Our platform is open to anyone and everyone in the sector that has an opinion, idea, or resource they would like to share. If you would like write and share something, email [email protected] and we will support you every step of the way to share your voice.

Guest blog post by Daniel Servante

I have always really enjoyed collaborating with others, be it the many bands I started as teenager, group research projects at university, co-op gaming online in the evenings or building a career in face to face fundraising give me people, and I am happy. Having the confidence to try something new isn’t always easy, but the best punt I ever took was knocking on a stranger’s door, aged 21, and saying “Hello, have you got a moment to talk?”

I immediately fell in love with fundraising; the incredible causes I was able to represent, the inspiring impact of each conversation I had, the soft skills I was rapidly developing without even noticing. All this immeasurably built my confidence both professionally and personally. Of course, more than anything, I stuck with fundraising for the incredible people who gave me these opportunities and put their all into doing a very difficult yet vital job every day.

Collaboration and Confidence

Fast forward 5 years, I’m at a major fundraising agency managing sites and I saw a few key problems that needed urgent attention. One was sustainability of access, as we often saw the plug pulled on charity bookings after a single piece of negative feedback from customer or staff member. Sometimes the complaints were fair, often they were not, but either way the site management usually saw no option but to ban all charities until further notice they did not have any monitoring or quality control processes in place, and did not seek to implement them.

The second problem was a lack of accountability for the quality of private sites and rates being charged. When I discussed private sites with peers in the sector we often found we had all been sold the same unworkable site one after another, all being told how popular it was. We also found that rates were being inflated at the most in demand sites as we were played off against each other for bids to secure them. All in all, we were navigating quite choppy waters.

We set up Green Light Sites with two goals in mind; to build collaboration and inspire confidence. We shared anecdotal feedback on sites between our clients, and developed an in depth team auditing process (Unicef told us this led to a team achieving their highest sign up rate in 4 weeks). We gained access to new and exciting sites such as Westfield shopping centres, while pushing rates down in other key locations UK wide. Overall we offered huge value to both sides by creating much more sustainable and mutually beneficial booking agreements.

Eight thousand hours later…

When lockdown hit we had the opportunity to reflect, and the necessity to innovate. Returning to face to face was going to be a challenge and we were determined to support the sector that gave us so much on this journey. In part we were well prepped for the new ways of working as we all already worked completely flexible hours from home. This is when our auditing became what it is today. By developing brand new processes we were able to offer our unique auditing product for street, telephone and even door to door teams. We added modules on team management, individual work rate, COVID safety and environmental impact to ensure these reports inspired as much confidence for the fundraisers as it did the venues.

It’s now 4 years later and we have gathered what we believe is the most in depth set of performance and compliance data face to face has yet seen. Overall we’ve observed over 8000 hours of fundraising since then (3300 of those last year) and the incredible ambition, professionalism and determination of fundraisers in the UK is plain to see. For example, last year our clients generated a third of the number of complaints per donor compared to the industry average. We can’t wait to share and celebrate all this and more with you all at Fundraising Everywhere’s Face to Face and Telephone conference on April 17th. If you’d like a copy of our 2023 benchmarking report please get in touch too.

ve always known F2F fundraisers are some of the most amazing people on the planet, and now I’m delighted to say we have the stats to prove it

Green Light Sites Ltd is a promotional sites and compliance consultancy and service provider, focused on fundraising and ethical marketing campaigns. We offer our clients access to premium space, strategy and planning, ROI modelling, auditing and mystery shopping services.

Voice Your Thoughts 🗣️

Our platform is open to anyone and everyone in the sector that has an opinion, idea, or resource they would like to share. If you would like write and share something, email [email protected] and we will support you every step of the way to share your voice.

Guest blog post by Chris O’Sullivan

Stress Awareness Day falls this week, and we will likely see content about stress, and coping strategies. 

Most of us are all too aware of stress, which the HSE defines as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’. 

Fundraisers are part of a charity ecosystem that has never had a greater need to innovate, adapt, and deliver. We need to ‘do more, with less’. We need to be ‘resilient’. Many fundraisers need to be and do that with little support and development, within existing, or dwindling resources, whilst facing structural discrimination, inequality, or harassment, and in the context of difficult workplace relationships. 

To solve the challenges that we face, we want to be at our best. 

We should be able to look up and out with confidence to see opportunities on the horizon, and able to support those we lead with directness and empathy.

Awareness days and ‘moments’ can be helpful in drawing attention to a topic, but when it comes to promoting good mental health and preventing psychological injury at work, there needs to be sustainable action year-round.

This is a different blog to many you might read. 

Yes, there are some tips for things you might do to build your resilience where you can, but it’s more about what organisations can and should be doing to change the nature of work to make our profession sustainable and successful. 

The things we can do ourselves. 

Social feeds always seem to be full of things we can do to change our world or live our best life. If we are powerless to change our circumstances, it can seem like this kind of content mocks our challenges or leans into a privilege we don’t have.  

That said, most of us can find small steps to take, both as acts of self-care in challenging times and as part of more sustainable habits to bring to our work and lives.

Getting the basics in place can make a big difference especially when things are hard. Could your sleep be better? How’s your diet? Are you drinking enough water? What about getting outside in the light, or getting some exercise? 

Recently the Mental Health Foundation published a new set of evidence-based tips for looking after your mental health and whilst some may seem obvious, it’s amazing how often we forget them. 

It can be hard to find time, or money to do the things we’d like, so where employers can support and incentivise these activities with employee benefits, it can be a big help. We also need to understand that not everybody can adopt these strategies without help and support.

Of course, when we are in it, and up against it, stress, burnout and overwhelm are awful things to experience and it can be hard to imagine how we can change things for ourselves. When our mental health is challenged our minds often take us away from things that might help but seem counter intuitive – like exercise. We can also judge ourselves very harshly, so working on self-compassion skills in better times can really help. The Overwhelm First Aid Kit is a good resource to have on hand if you often find that you don’t know what the next step could be.

You may find that your employer offers an employee assistance programme which can be helpful in accessing counselling, or that you have access to benefits like this through a spouse’s employer, insurance or health plan. Samaritans is open 24/7, every day of the year, and you can call for free on 116 123.

What do leaders and organisations need to consider?

Managers, leaders, and boards need to be aware of their duties under the law, and the wider implications for performance, staff engagement, recruitment, and retention of talent in not acting. 

As a sector, we often build out around the mission without the policies, systems and structures that enable organisations to function effectively when they grow. Passion and commitment often drive us forward and can help us cope with challenges – but dedication can also lead to our people going beyond or being pushed beyond their boundaries and into stress or burnout. 

Burnout itself is often seen as a personal issue, but it has been categorised by the World Health Organisation as a “syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Because so many of the factors that lead to workplace stress can’t be changed by individuals alone, or mitigated by simple solutions, burnout is very definitely an organisational challenge requiring organisational efforts to prevent

So where to start?

All strategy starts with a clear definition of where you want to get to – which for most charities will be sustainable delivery of the charitable objects and mission. 

Sustainability has often been about funding, and more recently also about environmental impact – but sustainability also includes supporting the major asset of most charities – the people who deliver the work.

Psychological safety is a term coined by Professor Amy Edmondson from Harvard Business School and it is key for fundraisers to succeed. Psychologically safe cultures create a space where people feel safe to speak up, take risks and learn from mistakes. 

If you think about it, that’s where the gold lies in terms of high performance – Edmondson calls this the learning zone – where we are pushed by high standards and accountability but balanced by the safety and security to speak up, be heard, and grow. 

Getting there is far from simple, but the reward can be huge.

A good place to start is with the fundamentals of good management. Line management relationships are crucial to workplace wellbeing, and it is crucial that people managers have the training and support they need to do that alongside the ‘delivery’ components that are asked of them.

As a supervisor, managing for good mental health might include ensuring that your team know what is expected of them, can see their efforts paying off, and sees you consistently applying the policies and processes in your organisation. It means receiving and acting on concerns and having difficult conversations directly but with kindness. It means building your self-awareness, setting boundaries, and committing to people management as a privilege and not a chore. 

As a senior manager, it could mean committing to assess and manage stress risk by using the HSE stress risk assessment framework, putting a wellbeing metric on your board dashboard, or ensuring that your policies and procedures are inclusive, applied, and create minimal drag or dependencies. It could mean introducing a coaching programme, or employee benefits.

Leadership is more about values – showing integrity, and inspiring trust. Leadership isn’t always about job titles that loads of amazing movements for change and improved wellbeing – like #showthesalary, #charitysowhite and #charitysostraight have come out of collaborations at all levels. 

As leaders, we need to understand our values, and how they blend with those of the organisation. If we commit to leading by example asking people to push themselves to new heights, then we must be prepared to grow and change and we must deliver what we say we will. We must also model the behaviour we want to see. We may even need to reimagine the way charities operate to truly meet the challenges people face – and therefore deliver sustainable impact to beneficiaries.

Wherever we are personally or organisationally, there’s a lot of good information, and good work happening in this field, and there are huge opportunities for peer networks and sharing of ideas.

Fundraising Everywhere also has an amazing new leadership programme for existing and aspiring leaders, which includes access to great content and free coaching taster sessions. Check it out.

Chris O’Sullivan is an experienced manager, fundraiser and leader with an interest in mental health and wellbeing in leadership. He previously led workplace mental health programmes for the Mental Health Foundation, developing and delivering evidence-based workplace mental health training and content across the UK.

Voice Your Thoughts 🗣️

Our platform is open to anyone and everyone in the sector that has an opinion, idea, or resource they would like to share. If you would like write and share something, email [email protected] and we will support you every step of the way to share your voice.

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

Guest blog post by Wayne Murray, Founder of Humanity Squared. 

The world (and the sector) is on fire.

Then there is also the cost of living crisis. It’s hitting society, and our sector hard. Charities (especially smaller ones) are on their knees, and many are closing. The sector is doing what it can, but it’s within the systems and structures we’ve built around ourselves. 

It isn’t joined up enough. We’re all trying to put out our individual fires whilst a volcano is erupting around us.

To solve systemic issues we need to work collaboratively, but we’re not. Not enough, anyway. Good people are shouldering this burden, burning out and leaving the sector forever. Who can blame them when the scale of the issues is so huge?

Why isn’t there more focus on that? #ProudFundraiser doesn’t really cut it, does it?


Why do we ask donors to do things we are not doing ourselves?

We constantly ask donors to mobilise. To come together and become more than the sum of their parts. To be a collective lightning rod for change. But what about the sector itself? How can we ask people to be collaborative when we as charities, funders, agencies and consultants don’t collaborate enough?

Most of the change we need to see in the world is system change. There isn’t a single charity on the planet that can change deeply rooted, structural systems on their own. We have to put cause before organisation. We have to work together.

Look at the hate, bile and division the Tories are pumping out now. Look at how they view the role of charities. How they want us to be either toothless and appreciative, or to just f*** off under a rock somewhere. Do you think this is going to get better?

Hate, that was once hinted at and alluded to, is now public. It’s platformed, celebrated and central to policy. We need to be as calculated and single minded as they are. We need to fight back.

This fight is beyond our roles, our remits and our salary bands. That’s why it needs all of us.


The sector needs to mobilise.

Working for a charity doesn’t necessarily make you a good person. But my God we need good people right now. Good people who are pulling together across the sector. Good people who can collectively push for change. Good people that see beyond the boundaries of their charity and want to tackle the root causes collectively. Not for brand, or ego, or a bullet point on your CV, but for society. For humanity.


It should start at the top, but we can’t wait that long.

Ideally, this would start with leaders. Senior charity people coming together and setting a mandate for change, for a new way of tackling system change. But we can’t wait that long. Some brilliant collaboration is happening, but it does need dialing up significantly, and it needs to be the default.

We all need to set the precedent for collaborative working. We just need to get on with it. At every level. In every organisation.


So what can we do?

We can start by celebrating cross sector collaboration. We can intentionally seek it out. We can learn from it. We can start it ourselves. We can get involved in as much of it as we can. We can have a collaborative mindset. We can take it seriously.

We can approach every single issue by asking ourselves “How do we solve this collaboratively?” We can make sure that every strategy we produce has partnership at its core. We can shift power to every example of it we see. We can amplify it. We can build it into how we all work.

The more we do, and the more learnings and success we have, the more others will get involved. We need to light the spark. This is how we push back.


Let’s practise what we preach.

We’ve spent years fine tuning our skills at mobilising the public at scale. Now we need to mobilise ourselves. 

Cross sector collaboration isn’t a ‘nice to have’ any more. It’s how we win.

If you would like to connect with Wayne Murray or get in touch, you can do so here.

And be sure to join us at the Individual Giving Conference 2023 on October 19th, where Wayne will be one of our amazing hosts. 🙌

Voice Your Thoughts 🗣️

Our platform is open to anyone and everyone in the sector that has an opinion, idea, or resource they would like to share. If you would like write and share something, email [email protected] and we will support you every step of the way to share your voice.

Computer screen text that reads HTTP COOKIES

Guest blog post by Henry Astley, Digital Strategy Director at Open

Fundraising in the post cookie world

Third party cookies have been used in fundraising for as long as charities have been running digital campaigns. They track individuals by leaving a tag on a web browser. This way someone can be identified in one place (an ad), remembered and then observed taking an action in another place (leaving a donation on a website).

Cookies can measure this over long periods of time, if one person uses multiple devices and even if they view things but don’t click them. Cookies have been used to build retargeting audiences and power modelling for targeting new audiences. They’ve had lots of uses. And they’re about to disappear. 

This is a good thing. The move toward a privacy and transparency-centric web is behind this. It began with regulation in 2018, was followed by moves from tech companies like Apple’s iOS14.5 update and it’s looking like it will end with Google Chrome discontinuing cookies next year.

They are going – but what does this mean for charities? Well, some change and short term pain, but longer term opportunities for ethical and sustainable fundraising.

So what do you need to do to prepare?

Get ready for GA4

Google Analytics uses cookies. Google Analytics 4 has been built as a solution, which uses a combination of first party cookies in conjunction with AI which fills in gaps in the data. 

Google has provided all users of the old GA with GA4 accounts, and now is the time to check all is working ok. Old accounts won’t receive data at the end of June, so it’s important to see if your new account can report on the same information the old one did. You might need a developer or a Google Tag Manager user if you have a complicated setup. You should also download the data from your old GA, as that won’t move across.

New social tracking

Social media companies offer cookieless solutions for measurement and optimisations of ad campaigns. This has previously been done by pixels – code which uses third party identifiers like cookies. The major social networks now offer conversion APIs to do something similar, which use server to server connections rather than cookies. These will need setup work.

First party focus

First party data collected with appropriate consent will be a legitimate way to target individuals in the future and nurturing these databases will be a hugely important digital strategy for the cookieless future. First party data might include email address, phone number or postal address, all of which can be used online to target. As GA4 data is first party it can be used to segment digital audiences too.

Understanding the implications of the change 

We’ll need to accept that even with the best preparation things won’t be the same in the post-cookie world. The biggest change will be to the measurement of digital advertising campaigns. Fewer conversions will be counted by tracking tools, and the ad algorithms will receive fewer conversion signals, which may in turn lead to poorer optimisation. 

This will affect some channels more than others. Display relies a lot on cookies to track response as those ads aren’t very clicky, and often a conversion happens a long time after ad interaction. You may find that very few conversions are counted from display in the future, but other channels like PPC which are much more click based are still counted.

It will affect some campaigns more than others, too. Getting someone to sign up to a marathon involves a long decision making process which might take the runner 2 weeks to decide on. This will be harder to track than something like a petition sign ask, which can be responded to quickly.

It’s important to understand that not tracking a result may not mean a campaign isn’t performing. To analyse performance you might look at other metrics like viewability, clicks and quality of site traffic. We may even see more offline styles of measurement being reapplied online, like sending traffic to different pages, offer codes or A/B testing of locations. The offline world hasn’t ever used cookies but it gets by. 

Some methods of targeting will need to change, but not all of them. Remarketing won’t be possible in the same way in the future, as this has relied on third party cookies to build audiences. In terms of prospecting, programmatic display uses cookies to build audiences. In the post-cookie world we might see a rise in display using contextual targeting methods, like placing a challenge event ad in a sports article.

Social ad platforms will have less targeting data if it has been collected from the pixel outside of the social apps, but any interest data collected from people using apps like Instagram is considered first party to Meta and will still be available for use. This means that the tech giants like Meta and Google will continue to be leaders in personalised targeting.

Innovation and Integration

Strategies need to be future proof. It’s going to be harder to measure the responses from a big ask on a digital ad in the future. This might give the sector the opportunity to question whether this strategy was good in the first place. Should the majority of cold communications involve asking for money, a legacy or other large commitments? There is evidence to show this is damaging to charity brands in the long term.

Focusing on what can be measured effectively – for instance lower commitment actions like email subscriptions, campaigning actions and pledges will be both possible in the future and a better entry point into the supporter journey.

There will be other untapped engagement opportunities in digital and innovation here will be crucial. There will be value wherever we capture first party data for conversion at a later stage. This means that integration between charity silos will become more important than ever. It may not be people’s first interaction with us that drives the value – but gathering that first party data will be essential for growth.

There should be more emphasis on the quality of creative, consistency of message and supporter journey to ensure longer lasting and ethical relationships with donors in the post-cookie world.

For more great technology insight in the sector, check out our FundraisingTech 2023 Conference.

A neon sign with the words 'what's your story?'
Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

Guest blog post by Rachel Erskine, Fundraising and Communications Consultant working primarily for Nairobi-based public health NGO Amref Health Africa. 

In season two of Only Murders in the Building, Selena Gomez’s character, Mabel, says:

I don't want my life to be all about the worst parts of it. I have more to offer than that.

She has discovered that Alice, the woman she’s been dating, has used Mabel’s life as inspiration for a piece of art. Seeing her painful personal history played out by actors, Mabel feels like she’s been catapulted back in time. In reality, she’s moved on – but the artwork has frozen her in the past. Stripped of its context, filtered through Alice’s own experience, the story paints a portrait of Mabel that she doesn’t recognise.

Being trapped in time

When charities share the stories of those they support, this is sometimes what we do, too. Through words, film or pictures, we capture people in a particular set of circumstances: circumstances that, given the nature of our work, we hope will quickly change for the better. We reduce them to the challenge they are facing. We trap them in time.

As a sector, I think we are starting to acknowledge the damage we do when we treat people’s stories as our property. In recent years, there’s been a real shift in the way charities are approaching fundraising storytelling, particularly when it comes to the way we represent the people we serve. Organisations working internationally – the sub-sector I’m most familiar with – are coming to terms with the harm they’ve caused through decades of reductive storytelling that centres the charity rather than the contributor.

How do we change course?

There is broad consensus as to the direction we all need to move in: one that puts people – their rights, preferences, agency, and wellbeing – first. But from what I’ve seen, there’s less certainty when it comes to how to change course. So how do we begin to shift the balance? Here are some ideas.

  1. It sounds trite – but as an individual, all you can do is start where you are. Think about the decision-making processes you are part of or have access to. Is there anyone in your orbit you can influence, whether upwards, downwards, or horizontally?

  2. Examine your content production processes through the lens of power. Who has a say – and when? How can editorial control be shared so that the people telling their stories feel a sense of control over both process and product?

  3. Review your approach to consent. When people are giving you permission to share their stories, are they giving it freely and fully? Is that consent informed, and does it have an end-point? Do people know how to get in touch with you if they change their minds?

  4. When it comes to building consensus within your organisation, you might find it helpful to start with something concrete, like auditing your image library or reviewing your language guidance. A tangible task can serve as a springboard for broader conversations and more fundamental change.

  5. Alternatively, you might prefer to begin at a more abstract level. Why not start a book club, or organise a screening of a film that deals with some of the themes you’re thinking about?

  6. Rethink risk: As a sector, we can be very risk-averse. And yes, we must be conscious of financial and reputational risk in everything we do – but ultimately, the biggest risk we run is damaging our relationships with the people we support. Once lost, that trust is hard to get back.

  7. Set aside the assumption that stories told ethically won’t be as compelling. When we let contributors control the way they’re depicted, we can discover new creative possibilities: stories, and ways of telling them, that would never have occurred to us.

  8. Get people on board by framing storytelling as an extension of service-delivery: ideally, the way we talk about our work should be consistent with the way we approach that work. The two should be governed by the same values, and our beneficiaries should be able to hold us to account when we get things wrong.

  9. Start small. A/B test new messaging, maybe just on one channel. Measure the results, scale up what works – and share your findings.

  10. Ask! See this as an opportunity for engagement. Seek feedback on your storytelling from contributors, as well as from your supporters: they, too, are ready for change.


Final thoughts

There’s a strong argument to be made that to be truly meaningful – and sustainable – changes to our storytelling need to happen in parallel to, and as part of, broader and more fundamental shifts in the role charities occupy. I think that’s true. But I am also convinced that, when it comes to moving away from deeply embedded, decades-old ways of doing things, even small changes are worth pursuing – and we all have a part to play.

Rachel Erskine is a fundraising and communications consultant working primarily for Nairobi-based public health NGO Amref Health Africa. You can find her at @erskinerachel.

This blog was first shared in #FundraisingEveryWeek, our weekly email newsletter which provides fundraising tips, support, info and feel-good vibes.

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Photo of a person's hand writing the word "audience" on a whiteboard, with arrows.

Photo by Melanie Deziel on Unsplash

Guest blog post by Jasmin Hedger, creator of Happenin Studio

Are you looking for top tips on creating a charity paid ad that generates a great return on revenue?

Look no further! In this blog post, we’ll go over 7 of the best ways to create a charity paid social media ad that gets results. Whether you’re just starting or an experienced marketer, these tips will help you create an effective, successful paid ad for your charity. So let’s get started!

1) Keep your audience in mind.

When creating a paid ad for a charity or non-profit organisation, your target audience should be at the forefront of your mind. Think about your target audience and how you can best reach them. What kind of language will resonate with them? What types of visuals will grab their attention? What type of content do they find most engaging? Once you better understand your target audience, you can tailor your ad to fit their needs and interests. This will help you create an ad that stands out and resonates with your audience.

2) Use high-quality images and video.

You only have a few seconds to grab the viewers’ attention with your creative, so make it impactful with bold colours, simple text, and emotive images. Choose visuals to grab the viewer’s attention and make them feel something. Whether you choose a powerful image or an inspiring video, your goal should be to create an ad that will engage the viewer and drive them to take action.

Quality images and video can be the difference between an ad that works and one that doesn’t.

When selecting images or videos for your ad, choose visuals with a clear focus, good composition, and engaging content. Professional photography or video can help elevate your message and show viewers you care about delivering quality content.

If you can’t access professional photos or videos, look for stock libraries or image banks with great visuals.

Remember your audience when selecting an image or video for your charity ad. Think about what visuals will draw them in and help convey your message. If you are working with an image bank or stock library, consider looking for the visual that illustrates your desired narrative before writing the copy. This can help ensure you create an ad that resonates with your target audience and effectively communicates your message.

This is one of the best performers made whilst working with Friends of the Earth. Watch with the sound on.


3) Use persuasive copy.

Using persuasive copy can make or break a paid ad. When writing copy for your paid ad, it’s important to keep it clear, simple, and to the point. Avoid jargon and technical terms that could confuse your audience. Instead, focus on making an emotional connection with your audience by being specific about the results they can achieve if they act on your call to action.

Tell stories, use facts and figures, and provide information about their action’s impact. Focus on what the user will gain from action and highlight the benefits of donating to your charity.

Show that you understand their needs and why they should care about your cause.

Additionally, you want to ensure your ad resonates with the target audience. Consider your tone of voice and other current affairs, such as the cost of living crisis, as the ad might reach people who cannot donate and create a negative impact if the message is too forceful.

Include a strong call to action at the end of your ad to encourage people to act. You want to create urgency in your message and tell people why they should act now instead of later. Use language that grabs attention, such as Donate Now or Take Action Today.

4) Use a strong call-to-action.

When creating a paid ad for your charity non-profit, it’s important to ensure that the ad has a clear and concise call to action. Your CTA should be short, easy to understand, and clearly state what the user needs to do next. It should also be strategically placed in an area of the ad where users are more likely to take action.

You can use language like Donate now or Help us help those in need to encourage people to act.

Alternatively, you could direct them to a specific webpage or link where they can find out more information. Consider adding urgency to your CTA using phrases like Act now! or Time is running out!”

Your CTA should evoke a sense of empathy and remind people why they should be supporting your charity.

Remember that your ad should create a connection between the audience and your cause, which will drive them to take action.

5) Set a clear budget.

When setting a budget for a paid media ad, it’s important to be mindful of how much you want to spend. It’s important to be realistic with your budget and ensure that the amount you set is one that you can follow through with.

A good starting point is to allocate an initial budget for a few days or weeks of testing, then scale up if you see success.

Additionally, it’s important to consider other factors, such as the duration and placement of the ads.

It’s also essential to determine your campaign’s cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-impression (CPM). Once these are calculated, you can use them to predict the potential success of the ad and decide whether or not it’s worth investing in.

In addition, try to track ROI from the start. This will help you determine whether or not you’re getting a return on investment. A good practice is to evaluate your campaigns every month and make changes as needed.

Finally, it’s important to stay organised and create systems that allow you to track progress, adjust your budgets as needed, and make the most out of your ad campaigns. When done right, a well-planned budget can lead to an effective and successful charity paid media campaign.

6) Test, test, test!

Testing different variants of your ad are the key to finding what works best. Experiment with different combinations of visuals, copy and placements to see what resonates most with your audience.

You may find that using video instead of stills or adding a new opening line to your ad helps to draw more attention and get better results.

Don’t be afraid to try something new and see how it works – after all, that’s why you’re testing!

You should also experiment with different placements for your ads, such as running them on the feed and in stories, as well as different running time lengths.

By testing these variables, you’ll be able to determine which ones work best for your target audience and generate the best return on investment for your non-profit.

7) Keep it simple.

When creating a charity paid social media ad, it’s important to keep it simple. If the message is too complicated or convoluted, viewers won’t take the time to understand it.

Focus on a single message and ensure that it is clear and concise. Your copy should be direct and unambiguous, using language that is easy for your target audience to comprehend.

Keep your visuals consistent; avoid using too many elements that could confuse viewers. Stick to one main concept per ad and use simple, recognisable images and text.

Avoid the common pitfalls of over-complicating the message with too many details or including irrelevant information.

A straightforward approach is the best way to grab viewers’ attention and interest them in learning more about your cause.

When in doubt, keep it simple. Think of the main message you want to get across and focus on conveying that in the most straightforward way possible. Doing so will help ensure that your ad is effective and successful.

The fab Jasmin Hedger, creator of Happenin Studio, is a designer, award-winning video editor, animator, and photographer with a specialty in creating content for social media, websites, and marketing. Want more content like this? Check out more from the Happenin Studio

We’ll be talking about paid social, digital fundraising and more in October’s Individual Giving Conference. Learn more.

Photo of a laptop with the words: word hard anywhere. A plant is in the background
Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash

Written by Jo McGuinness MInstF(Dip), Head of Philanthropy & Partnerships at Children 1st

A year ago, I was 2 months into my current role after almost a full year of redundancy, job hunting, interim work and a general feeling of being unsettled and unsafe. I had finally been fortunate to find a role that provided me with familiarity – working with people I had worked with previously so I could feel safe, whilst doing what I loved.

My experience of intensive and stressful job hunting has stuck with me, and in my current role I feel a responsibility and desire to improve the recruitment process as much as is within my power – because, why not?

At Children 1st, we hadn’t been able to successfully recruit for a few roles before I started, so took time to review the existing process and consider what improvements could be made. We then went out in April 2022 with seven roles and filled them all.

Six of the post holders are still in post, with one who left retraining as a teacher. Before Christmas we refilled that post, using much of the same improvements to the process which have become standard within the Fundraising team.

Deciding what to change

When reviewing the current process, I spent time reflecting on what had been the main points of frustration for me as a job seeker.

Feeling safe

Being honest about the current external climate and how that might be affecting candidates was a huge consideration. When I was job hunting it was against the background of easing out of the pandemic and whilst we aren’t back there, the cost-of-living crisis and general bin-fire state of things around us does cause feelings of insecurity for job hunters.

There are simple things recruiting managers can do to help entice job seekers to take the leap, and mainly its by being a bit more human…

Embracing flexibility

One key factor when overhauling our recruitment process was really looking critically at what we could be flexible on. We have to appreciate that societies expectations have shifted since the pandemic, we aren’t returning to the old way of working, ever.

We must embrace flexibility such as remote-based working (and FYI, that isn’t new) and ensure we aren’t viewing pre-pandemic times with rose-tinted glasses. I feel concerned when I hear leaders make comments like ‘we were much more connected before 2020’ or ‘our culture has suffered because of remote working’.

Creating connection and culture are things you can do regardless of location – you just need to be intentional about it. Make time. Expend effort. We can’t rely on water cooler chats or shouting across desks to form culture – because that wasn’t good enough back then, and now a lot of fundraisers have woken up to the fact there’s another way. Organisations need to wake up too.

If you must have an office presence, be clear with candidates on:

Understand that if hybrid working or being office based is essential, it will limit your pool of candidates and affect existing workers in terms of personal preference, accessibility, cost and more.

Influencing upwards

Suggesting change can be tricky, especially if the powers that be above you aren’t convinced things need changing in the first instance. We are hearing from across the sector that recruiting fundraisers is tough. Many organisations are having to go out to recruit more than once for the same role, so we may find leaders with even the firmest of views start to be open to tweaks if it might help secure candidates.

Remember, sometimes you might need to undertake small acts of quiet rebellion and seek forgiveness not permission!

From our experience, if you only do three things to make your recruitment practise more candidate friendly, please make it these:

As recruiting managers let's not forget that we are being interviewed, too, and candidates are clearer than ever on what they want and need. We have to change, or we will be left behind.

This blog was part of an exclusive Members Clinic that Jo ran for Fundraising Everywhere Members. We hold Members Clinics every month with sector experts.

Want access to exclusive content like this, plus all our conferences & webinars to watch Live or On Demand?

Join charities like WWF, Scope, Friends of the Earth, Alzheimer's Research UK & The Children's Society and become a Member.


Photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash

Guest blogger Caroline Danks of LarkOwl talks foul-mouthed Christian rock bands and sleepouts…

In my first ever fundraising role, I was part of a team of four focused on trusts and statutory fundraising.  I loved it!  The research and writing elements felt like an easy segue from my degree coursework.  Phoning people felt like a big and scary (but do-able) challenge. My colleagues were generous in sharing their wisdom and my charity had invested in me and in my development.

At the same charity, there was also a corporate and major gifts team of four and an individual giving team, also of four. 

When looking back and comparing the personalities of those in each team, I think we all fitted the stereotypes relatively closely.

The trust fundraisers were quiet, studious and reserved.  We brought lots of money in, never shouted about it and occasionally went for a civilised lunch together of sausage, egg and chips at our favourite East End pub (so wild…).

The corporate team were a different breed.   They were warm, personable, fun and energetic (not that we weren’t but, you know…).   They were always the first to put the radio on and crank up the music (I can’t listen to Hey Ya by Outkast without thinking back to that magical time).

Their section of the office was colourful, there were always banners, balloons, mascots and t shirts hanging around.  Very different to the trust office with our neat files, well stocked pen pots and private ‘touch it and you die’ non-communal tea mugs.

They were always roping people into volunteer at evenings and weekends or take on ambitious running / sleepout challenges.

It was through them that I got out of my comfort zone and experienced some of the most enjoyable and memorable times representing my charity within my local community.

These included:

  • A gig by a Christian rock band in a nasty upstairs room at a ropey pub on the Walworth Road.  The lyrics comprising bad language like I’d NEVER heard in my LIFE.  Not very Christian…
  • A drinks reception at a large city bank.  I’d literally been in my job two weeks and knew NOTHING but there were free drinks!!!  Twenty-one year old Caroline was THERE.
  • The opening of a swanky new bar in West London.  The celeb host was lovely, her assistant was not and my boyfriend and best mate who tagged along ended up getting terrible food poisoning from the canapes!
  • The London Marathon.  Just wow.  Watching it is game-changing.  I ended up running it for the following three years.

Here were the best things that I learned from that corporate team and how those learnings influenced my trust fundraising practice.

1. Creativity in buckets

I was conscious early on about how much harder their work was compared with ours (and have become more so since having actually done corporate fundraising in subsequent roles). 

They couldn’t just write a letter and wait for the cheque.  They had to do presentations, meetings, organise team building activities etc.  The publicity and praise their donors were after was different to the requirements from trusts.  Alongside project visits, they were often found posing with giant cheques, writing content for our website and for the corporate supporters too.

They were building partnerships through multiple touchpoints.

Not just a one-off request for money with a yes / no response.

Because of this, they seemed to be more on more intimate terms with their donors.  Regular contact enabled them to build relationships in a way that we trust fundraisers never needed to.

Maybe charitable trusts don’t ask this of us but conversely, many will welcome it if we offer it.

Anything we can do to strengthen relationships in this competitive funding environment is a win.

2. Always on the phone

The corporate team ALWAYS seemed to be on the phone.  They were never off it.  And they chatted to their donors like they were friends.  They seemed to know each other really well.

This was one of many tools they used to build meaningful, long term partnerships.

I am a massive proponent of getting to know trusts over the phone before you write to them.  My top tips are:

  • Do your research.  Ask questions which demonstrate this.
  • Write a script before you start
  • Find a quiet room and stand up to make the call!

3. Usually absent

Whilst the trust fundraisers sat dutifully at our desks squirrelling away (bar the occasional visit to a project with a trust representative of course – we weren’t total hermits), the corporate team were ALWAYS out and about.

To a new fundraiser, I was suddenly aware that there were so many more steps to developing a corporate partnership than there were to securing a gift from a trust.

Additionally, individual donors journeys appeared very different. Clearly each corporate was being taken on their own, very bespoke journey and it was one which they had engineered and concocted alongside my colleagues.

If the team didn’t rock up in the mornings like the rest of us, then it was an indicator that they’d been working the night before or hosting an event at the weekend.

Pandemic or not, I reckon trust fundraisers could all probably get out a bit more if push came to shove.

Ideas to get you out of the office a bit more:

  • Go through your list of donors
  • Who is local to you?  Have you met them?
  • Phone them up to say thank you and invite them out for a coffee to show your gratitude and update them on the amazing difference their gift is making.

Thank you corporate colleagues!

THANK YOU corporate colleagues for showing me that there is SO much more to fundraising than researching like a boss and writing like a dream. 

You have inspired me to make my trust relationships into genuine partnerships and in doing so, have improved lives, protected special places and made my working day a hell of a lot more fun.

Caroline is an expert in trusts and foundations, major gifts and capital appeals and has raised millions for good causes and runs LarkOwl with her partner Tony which supports charities with income generation from fundraising and commercial sources.

She writes a weekly blog which she shares with over 2,000 fundraisers every week via LarkOwl’s Nest Egg newsletter.  Her writing has been featured in Fundraising Magazine.

For the past three years, LarkOwl have published research on the Return on Investment for different areas of fundraising.  Their recent report published in September 2021 can be downloaded for free from their website.


Want to learn more about corporate fundraising?

Join us at Corporate Partnerships Everywhere Conference 2023.

Photo by Vardan Papikyan on Unsplash

Written by Simon Scriver

The end of AmazonSmile

Amazon has recently announced that it will end its charity donation scheme, AmazonSmile.

It will end by February 20th with some financial assistance given by Amazon to help with the transition.

For the last 10 years, organisations have been able to link to Amazon and earn a small commission on any spending that came through your link.

Like an affiliate scheme, exclusively for charities. There’s no additional cost to you or the customer - it’s just a ‘reward’ that Amazon offers you for bringing them more business.

In theory, Amazon would also bring you new donors - those who found you by searching AmazonSmile - but in reality the chances of this happening were pretty slim.

While Amazon would have you think they’re super generous, the payment comes from their advertising budget - 0.5% is a cheap ad.

It’s one of the lowest-paying affiliate schemes out there.

Still, for many organisations, it’s been an easy win - a steady stream of commission earned from product links (think, for example, recommended books or suggested groceries).

Is this a good opportunity for charities to break up with these kinds of programmes?

Or can a well-used affiliate scheme provide a steady stream of additional income?

Where do you go from here? Even if you haven’t been using AmazonSmile, are the alternatives something you should be exploring?

Well, like everything in fundraising, it depends.

Personally, I think all charities can benefit from a smart partnership with a supplier that brings value to your audience. My first website, a Traveling Wilburys fansite when I was 17, generated a decent amount of monthly income by linking to a couple of music stores that stocked their then-hard-to-find music.

I would earn up to 20% of what people spent - an amount that spiked when George Harrison died and when Roy Orbison’s widow recommended my site.

These days, even Fundraising Everywhere has an affiliate scheme.

A well-placed link to a relevant product is what makes the virtual world go round.

As charities, we’re mindful of our ‘call-to-action’ within any writings, presentations and posts.

What is the logical next step our supporter is going to want to take after this interaction?

A request to donate or volunteer or subscribe is something we’re used to peppering into our communications, and those direct actions should always take priority.

But if that’s not appropriate or relevant enough, an affiliate link can be a perfect win-win-win.

This might be a link to purchase a book one your event speakers just recommended.

It might be a pet food of choice that you recommend to adopting families.

It might be a handy tool that so many of your service users have benefitted from.

It could even be Christmas cards.

Affiliate schemes are a fantastic source of income when the transaction sits logically within the work you’re already doing.

So where to now?

As we say goodbye to AmazonSmile, remember there are more generous solutions out there, like Give As You Live and easyfundraising.

And please do let us know if there are any particular platforms you’d like to see showcased at our FundraisingTech conference.

Also consider Amazon’s regular affiliate scheme Amazon Associates. This offers similar benefits to AmazonSmile but often pays more!

Or negotiate agreements directly with suppliers. These might even include exclusive discounts that you pass on to your audience.

Affiliate schemes can make for a good starter corporate partnership with no initial cost to the company. A relevant, transparent partnership can benefit everyone.

We think that the right partnership can change the world.

If you want to learn more about partnerships that can elevate your charity missions, join us at Corporate Partnerships Everywhere on March 16th 2023.

Corporate Partnerships Everywhere is brought to you in partnership with Remarkable Partnerships (of course!)