Guest blog post by Henry Astley, Digital Strategy Director at Open.
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?
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Guest blog post by Rachel Erskine, Fundraising and Communications Consultant working primarily for Nairobi-based public health NGO Amref Health Africa.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Written by Simon Scriver
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).
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.
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.
Corporate Partnerships Everywhere is brought to you in partnership with Remarkable Partnerships (of course!)
Written by Nikki Bell
We’re big on building things in the open and including you in our decisions. So this is our honest review of 2022 before we kick off things for 2023.
This might not be the most exciting read for many of you. But, for transparency, I want it to exist somewhere so you can see behind the curtain.
Before I get into the stats though, I want to say ‘thank you’.
We couldn’t have achieved any of this without you.
Whether you’ve joined as an attendee, have chosen to push your professional development forward with us as a member, shown your support on social media, or partnered with us as a sponsor; it’s all noticed and appreciated.
This is something we’ve kept a close eye on in 2022, especially as we’ve handed over more of our event curation to our community.
I’m so happy that we overachieved on our goals to represent people of colour (+15%), people from the LGBTQIA+ community (+24%) and gender representation (63% female / 32% male / 5% trans and non-binary split).
However, there is more to do.
We didn’t meet our goals for representation of disabled speakers* (-11%) and I would love to platform more new-to-the-sector fundraisers to make sure we’re hearing more new ideas.
I’m also embarrassed to say that we only started tracking EDI information for attendees in 2022. Considering this is a core reason why Fundraising Everywhere was created, I can’t believe it took over 2 years for this requirement to click and I take full responsibility for that.
The data we do have on attendees is promising and reflects much of what we see in our speakers, with the exception of young people that are better represented within our attendees.
Similar to our speakers, however, our reach to attendees with disabilities is low with just 9% of the 444 responses given* saying they’d consider themselves to be disabled. Our current goal is to reach 19% so there is work here to be done.
A priority for 2023 is to understand more about the disabled community within our own and what more we can do to support disabled people to engage with our work.
How we plan to do this:
For those of you that have been with us since 2019, you may have noticed the amount we have paid out to speakers has gone down. This is a combination of fewer speakers in 2022 compared to 2021, and many speakers choosing to waive their fees to provide bursaries to events.
*our EDI form is not compulsory. Data reviewed and reported are from people that chose to tell us about their experience.
We’re a team of only three people so I don’t want to go into specifics to protect the privacy of my colleagues, but I will confirm that non-visible diversity is strong on team FE.
However, we need to improve visible diversity in the team.
I worked with the belief that using our networks and platform to support the growth of people in our sector was working in an equitable way to create opportunities. However, I understand and recognise that without that representation in the team itself, we are missing out on big talent opportunities - as well as the insight that helps us approach our projects and marketing in an inclusive way. We want to improve this in 2023 and it’s a big priority for us.
In January 2023 we will be reviewing our EDI goals and updating them where needed.
2022 was a varied year for Fundraising Everywhere events and we’re constantly learning and adapting. Your needs as a fundraiser are constantly changing and it’s important we don’t churn out the same topics and speakers every year for the sake of fitting into a calendar.
It’s exciting to see attendee numbers go up (and that you’re coming back to re-watch after event day!), so we want to make sure that you’re getting what you need at the right time.
Feedback and acting on that feedback will continue throughout 2023 and we’re excited to have you on that journey with us.
Our top three conferences* in 2022 (in no particular order) were the:
Top webinar topics in 2022 (in no particular order) were:
Our full programme of 2023 conferences are up on our website so you can book onto those right away. We have kept a couple of conference gaps for anything responsive that pops up and our free monthly webinars are available on a rolling monthly basis.
*based on attendee numbers.
We tested the very first ‘open mic’ fundraising conference, Over To You, in July 2022 to give a platform without ‘rules’ to people that had something they wanted to say. The content was exceptional, with challenges made and solutions given for improving pathways and inclusivity in our sector. But, attendance was really low. I’m talking under 20 people low.
We know it’s hard for fundraisers to justify taking time away from work when they’re not sure what they’re going to learn but it’s a real shame that an opportunity was missed to really dig into the problems in our sector and work collectively to fix them.
We still believe in this intention but we’ll change how we approach it in 2023 with more structure to support your decisions on where to spend your time.
You might also have noticed that the Small Charity Conference isn’t returning in 2023. This isn’t because we don’t cater for small charity employees - it’s because we don’t want to focus our support for these people into just one month.
Instead, every conference throughout 2023 will include support for small charities and there will be a specialist chat room for any representatives wanting to network and discuss the sessions. This is in addition to the exclusive free workshops held for Members every month throughout the year.
In short, we’re going to build on 2022’s successes and add more depth to make sure every fundraiser, everywhere, has everything they need to do their job.
In addition to training through our conferences, events and Membership, following extensive chats with our community, we will be launching projects to support our Manifesto.
Here are some other things to look forward to from team FE:
Attendance to virtual events have increased since 2021 and we want to make sure that every time you log onto a Fundraising Everywhere event you’re completely blown away.
In 2023 we will be:
We have already brought in ‘free-choice’ breakout rooms at our live events that enable you to chat with speakers and attendees after every session, certificates to track your progress, and in-person watch parties where you can network in real-life whilst enjoying the virtual conference together in a shared location. We’d love to see more of those in 2023!
As well as the above, we give you the opportunity to rate our conference sessions and give your feedback live so we can keep on improving after every event.
A large part of our community has hailed from North America even from the early days; but the sessions we host and the times we host them aren’t accessible for our Canadian and American friends.
In May 2023, we will be hosting the first North American-specific fundraising conference, using our popular Individual Giving Conference as the topic, with local speakers, partners, and in a North American-friendly timezone.
We’re still in talks with businesses and individuals about co-leading this project (we want the event to be led and represented by local people) so watch this space…
We launched our Manifesto in September 2022 and have spoken to many fundraisers and organisations since.
The final projects are yet to be finalised but it’s already clear that to build a better sector for fundraisers, not only do they have to be skilled and supported, they need to be led by leaders that know what they’re doing and do it in an ethical and empathetic way.
We’re planning a three-pronged approach that aims to support fundraisers through;
We’re big on collaboration so we’re working on bringing in external experts, partner organisations, and even fully funding other people to lead on this work. So if you’re reading this thinking, ‘I like the sound of that’, please get in touch.
What better way to get new and exciting ideas by growing our team!
We’re currently recruiting for a Growth Marketing Executive and have plans to expand with customer experience roles in the future.
We’re investing in our current team by increasing their pay by 10% and working towards full implementation of a 4-day week that sees staff working 30hrs on a full-time wage.
If you’d like to join our team, please get in touch!
We encourage people from all communities to apply for jobs with us. We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, disabled, male identifying, trans and young people because we want to improve representation of these groups in our workforce.
In 2022 we trained 212 fresh to the sector employees for free, curating a programme of training from our events and webinars that covered the fundraising fundamentals.
We also held free 1:1 coaching calls and Q&A sessions to anyone that needed a bit of adhoc help.
We’re keen to continue this support into 2023 and want to make sure that what we offer and when is right for charities. Your feedback and ideas are much appreciated!
We listen to our attendees and Members. You are our eyes and ears of the sector.
What you tell us shapes what do do, who we platform, and what we provide.
To make sure we include as many voices as possible in these conversations we want to grow our Fundraising Everywhere community and weave you into our activity and curation at every opportunity.
There are many ways you can do this,
Thank you again for everything. Now, onwards to 2023!
The deadline for this role has passed and we are no longer accepting applications.
Role: Growth Marketing Exec (Fundraising Everywhere)
Salary: €30,000 / £26,500
Hours: 30 per week, worked at any time through the week between 7am – 7pm UK/Ireland time
Direct reports: None
Working alongside: Head of Growth Marketing, Community Manager
Reporting to: Head of Growth Marketing
Location: Remote – Must live in UK/Ireland
About the role
This person will support the marketing of Fundraising Everywhere (FE) including social media (paid and organic), email (emails and journey), content creation, reporting and PR support.
The purpose of the role is to support the existing marketing function to increase brand awareness and participation numbers to Fundraising Everywhere events/Membership, and supporting Fundraising Everywhere’s mission to create a better sector for fundraisers.
Our long-term goal is to grow the marketing team and dedicate a team of people to Fundraising Everywhere. The Growth Marketing Exec is the start of this growth and the start of an exciting new chapter for the organisation.
Below you’ll find a list of responsibilities for the role. We understand that you might not have experience in every detail, so if this is you and you think this role is right for you, please still get in touch.
Organic & paid social:
Affiliates, sponsors and marketing partners
What we offer
What we’re looking for
Don’t worry if you haven’t worked with virtual events before, we will provide full training.
Fundraising Everywhere was created out of a need for inclusive events in the charity sector and is a tech for good start-up working within the third sector.
Fundraising Everywhere: We care a lot about making professional and personal development accessible and affordable so all fundraisers have the skills and confidence to change the world. We do this through online events and Membership that puts the fundraiser at the heart of what we do.
You can find more about our values and how we work here.
For more information
If you have questions about us or the role, please contact [email protected].
To find out what we’re like to work with, please get in touch with our references who will be happy to send some details:
Referee (Alex): Tori Arthurs [email protected]
Referee (Nikki): Andy King [email protected]
Referee (Simon): Dana Segal [email protected]
Fill in this short application form: Growth Marketing Exec (Fundraising Everywhere) before 5pm on January 26th 2023.
We encourage people from all communities to apply for jobs with us. We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, disabled, male identifying, trans and young people because we want to improve representation of these groups in our workforce.
All applicants will be notified by email on the evening of January 27th 2023 and interviews will take place online (subtitled) the following week on January 31st 2023.
Written by Caroline Danks, Author at LarkOwl.
Early in May 2010, I remember staying up as late as I possibly could, watching the results of the general election.
Being a morning Lark, I think I made it to about 10:10pm. Nowadays my election watching tactics involve an early night and then setting the alarm for 5am…
Labour had been in power since 1997 and the prospect of them remaining in office was slim. People blamed them for the global financial crisis and for the decisions they took thereafter to rescue our banks and to retain funding for public services.
The next morning, I remember Gordon Brown’s desperate efforts to negotiate with members of smaller parties, before giving up and making room for the Conservative / Lib Dem coalition.
Incidentally, the week prior to that night, I had become pregnant (although I didn’t know it yet).
I had a new life on the way, and a new government which would shape the world into which she would be born.
I couldn’t escape a sense of gloom about my new child’s life chances.
Austerity felt like a low point and showed up in many painful and irreversible ways across society. I saw it in my own community too:
In 2016, Brexit happened.
A global pandemic followed (with different rules for MP’s and the general populous it turned out) and then war in Europe. Oh, and apparently there is ‘no credible path to preventing a global rise in temperature of 1.5 celsius.
We’re also on the cusp of an Autumn Statement which we’re told will include ‘tax rises for all and eye watering cuts’. Austerity mark 2?
My daughter is 11 now and it’s hard not to feel despairing about the state of our country and the wider world.
The slow descent of our political system into chaos and corruption and widening wealth inequalities have had a direct impact on the charitable sector – the place where those most in need come when there is no one else to turn to.
I don’t need to tell you how things have been of late.
Put simply, there is increasing need for the services which charities offer, combined with a reduction in the funding available to pay for them.
It is my personal belief that for the most part, the existence of charities represents a failure of the state (or course there are exceptions). And although many charities treasure their independence (which I totally get), things like:
really should be part of a modern and civilised society, not optional extras.
When there is less to go around and more people to help, it’s difficult not to feel like the work we do as fundraisers is nothing more than a sticking plaster.
And not even a good waterproof sticking plaster with a fun cartoon character on it.
I’m talking one of those useless sticking plasters which peels off at the first sign of a single bead of sweat.
And what happens when the plaster falls off? It just doesn’t bear thinking about…
I think I’m in a bit of a rut – obsessing over the news and feeling more and more like I’m in a minority of people in this country who think that Boris Johnson looks like ‘he’d be a laugh down the pub’ and that David Cameron was a great Prime Minister because ‘looked good in a suit’.
It is not my intention to write a piece which focuses entirely on negativity and I promise not to leave you this way. I’m not convinced I have any answers, but I routinely advise fundraisers that they focus their energies firmly on the things they can’t control (rather than things which sit outside of it) so maybe it’s time I took my own advice.
It’s important to remember that as individuals, we can’t throw all the starfish back into the water.
But those we can throw, will appreciate it. Not only will they appreciate it. They will survive and (with any luck) thrive.
And all the while the system degrades, we will just keep on keeping on, forging partnerships with those who have both the means and the inclination to reject the individualistic / capitalist / growth for growth’s sake and to strive for something fairer.
In the podcast ‘The Rest is Politics’ Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart were asked (a much more eloquent and better-worded version of) the following question:
How do you not despair when everything’s really depressing?
I stopped and really listened carefully to the answer because it was the question I’d been asking myself:
The answer was simple:
‘You have to find hope.’
It’s really simple isn’t it.
You have to find hope.
Alongside the daily joys of seeing small differences made as a direct result of the fundraising I’ve done, I feel determined to see hope and inspiration (and to shift myself away from the sad sticking plaster metaphor I’d got, well stuck on).
My session is a journey from anger to hope. It's a (short) rant about the state of the world followed by some practical advice for continuing a successful fundraising practice, despite the challenges in the world around us.
It’s for tired fundraisers, who still have the spark of a flame inside them and want to do the best they can with what they have.
- Some practical tips for working with trusts and major donors in tough times
- An exercise in identifying what you can control (and what you can't)
- Ideas for wellbeing and not getting caught up in the storm
* This post contains my affiliate link and when you purchase a ticket through my link I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Written by Simon Scriver
When Nikki and I launched Fundraising Everywhere in 2019 we wanted to create a fundraising community and training events that were affordable, accessible, engaging and human.
We wanted to elevate speakers to new audiences and give them the same opportunities we had been so fortunate to have had ourselves.
All of the speakers at our first conference were paid.
We did this by securing sponsors and by offering a profit share to everyone involved.
Ever since then we've been very vocal about speaker payments and our belief that conferences should always value the time of the people that make their event a success.
Your speakers need to be paid. If you can't afford to pay people fairly then you can't afford to do it.
Speakers of course don't have to accept payment, but a standard policy of no payment or putting speakers in the awkward position of having to ask for financial support is an outdate practice.
Let me share the journey I've been through as a professional speaker...
After several years as a successful fundraiser, I had learnings to share.
My good friends at The Wheel came to me with a chance to share my wins, mistakes and learnings with a room full of charity staff and volunteers.
I was fortunate enough to be paid by The Wheel. I was privileged enough to be in a job where could take time to work on my training session. I had a supportive partner and a supportive board who saw the benefit of my doing this.
I was privileged. I worked hard to create an opportunity for myself...but I'm aware no matter how hard some people worked they would never have that same opportunity.
I put the time, money and effort into trying to be a better speaker. I started Toastmasters...a life-changing experience you're probably sick of hearing me talk about. It cost me €5 and a few hours each week.
I continued to deliver training. The majority of the time it was unpaid.
Often there would be a personal cost.
I had to cover my own time.
My own travel and my own expenses.
I was fortunate enough to be able to do that. It allowed me to get better and eventually I started to get more and more speaking opportunities.
I've been able to earn a living from presenting and speaking. Despite my overwhelming anxiety and insecurities, I love it. I'm so happy that I've had the chance to become a better speaker, even to the point that I represented UK & Ireland at Toastmaster's world speaking championship (I was disqualified because I went over time).
My first international conference was AFP Congress in Toronto. It's still probably my favourite conference. I'm grateful to the wonderful Amy Pawluk and committee for taking a chance on me, and every year at Congress for the rest of my life I will make a point of thanking Amy.
AFP paid for my travel and accommodation. The trip still cost me money, but I was privileged enough to have the means to cover it.
I've spoken at conferences such as ICON that don't even pay expenses. Their invitation for me to speak cost me approximately €3,000 plus the loss of billable hours.
The majority of people working in the nonprofit sector can not afford to pay hundreds let alone thousands for speaking opportunities.
As a result, the shareable skills and knowledge of our sector sits behind a gatekeeper.
Potential speakers who can teach us how to be more successful aren't heard because they can't afford to share.
Every once in a while, I'll post on LinkedIn that speakers need to be paid. Every once in a while, someone disagrees, dismisses or calls me naive. They always look like me. Their reasoning generally boils down to the idea that speakers should invest in themselves and that the exposure is invaluable.
Let me attempt to gather all my responses to that fallacy here:
Let's face it...expecting your speakers to offer unpaid labour is another outdated practice we've fallen into the trap of accepting because it's always been that way.
Our sector suffers because of it.
So let's change it:
Written by Emily Collins-Ellis, CEO of I.G. Advisors.
"Fellowship seeks to bring together fundraisers to #FixTheFlow of resources for good"Emily Collins-Ellis, CEO, I.G. Advisors
Recently, we at I.G. Advisors opened applications for our #FixTheFlow Fellowship, and I’m really grateful to Fundraising Everywhere for supporting what we’re doing, and inviting me to share a bit about why we’ve developed the programme.
To do that, I’d like to tell you a bit about my journey as a fundraiser, and as (what I call) a resource activist.
Like many of us, I accidentally got into fundraising.
It was my way of getting into the nonprofit sector, where I felt I would have purpose, and I spent years in Officer, Manager and Trustee roles across small, medium and large charities.
I’ve really seen it all! Unfortunately, I had an immediate ‘in the deep end’ introduction to the major challenges in the profession:
Even though I did well, I still wasn’t feeling very sure about my role as a fundraiser - I got into nonprofit work to feel connected to a purpose, but I felt stuck churning through transactional relationship building in a silo.
Then, the post-financial crisis austerity policies hit, and decimated the public funding for the work my charity was doing.
Suddenly, it wasn’t a matter of meeting targets for our work, but being part of a sector that was being actively deprioritised by government - it was a survival risk for us all.
And, the funding hole left by this couldn’t be filled by foundations alone - it was bigger than all their endowments put together.
This was the moment where I realised, this isn’t an ‘us and them’ sort of job - where I’m just trying to get money out of people on the other side of the table, and if I do that at enough tables, and do it better than everyone else, it will be fine.
This is when I zoomed out and realised that I was part of a funding system: a big, complex one, where my individual work, and my organisation, were just a part of the picture. I could work harder and do better on my bit of the pipeline, but if the flow of resources from wealth holders, businesses or government wasn’t there, or I was getting those limited resources at the expense of another vital organisation, what good would that do?
That is when I started to see myself as a resource activist. Someone whose job it was to organise giving, redistribute resources, and play a role within the funding system overall. I wanted to champion my causes and the practice of giving, as well as my organisation. And I knew I couldn’t do it alone.
And so, I joined I.G. Advisors. I.G. creates social and environmental change by working with the philanthropy, business and nonprofit sectors to develop impact and growth strategies.
We have worked with 170+ organisations and 2,000+ fundraising professionals in 60 different countries, and whilst we’d love to work with everyone on developing organisational strategies, we know not every fundraiser or organisation is in a place where they can access such comprehensive support.
We’ve already responded to that challenge by developing lots of free resources, such as our What Donors Want podcast and Field Guide to Relationship Based Fundraising, but we were hearing from hundreds of fundraisers who want more hands-on support, more ideas, more chances to connect with peers, and more ways to address the challenges of the funding system. And, in the current climate, we know our approach is more vital than ever.
And so, we have developed, our #FixTheFlow Fellowship programme. This fellowship programme will focus on four levels of impact:
Like any movement, this fellowship will be what we make of it. We have designed an experience that is not just educational, but transformational.
We feel that people and institutions should be giving more, and giving better. Resources don’t always flow where they are needed most and there are leakages, blockages and cracks across the funding system that are hampering true, long-lasting change.
If you agree, I really hope you will join us for the first cohort of this Fellowship. And I’m excited to meet you when you do.
Written by Simon Scriver, Co-Founder of Fundraising Everywhere
With both Facebook and Twitter finding themselves in precarious situations, we’ve all been reminded of the risk of relying on any social media platform to connect with your audience. It’s important that part of our ongoing communications strategy is to encourage followers to also connect and subscribe through other traditional channels such as email and telephone.
It’s not just about the risk of some tech bros destroying a platform you’ve grown to rely on. It’s also about controlling your own data and not leaving your brand’s visibility at the mercy of an algorithm you have no say in - social media notoriously has terrible response rates compared to other media.
We need to be attempting to connect with our audience elsewhere in an ongoing effort to diversify our marketing channels, add people to your database, and collect the data you need to build up a full view of your donors to steward them properly.
Downloadable resources such as fact sheets and helpful guides are a great way to bring value to your social media followers while capturing their contact details and consent. Think beyond your annual reports and consider what resources you have at your fingertips that will appeal to your audience.
Aim to help and educate. Infographics, cheat sheets, and ‘5 ways to…’ assets all do really well here.
Livestreams and pre-recorded video events allow you to engage supporters and bring them in to your organisation in a way that hasn’t previously been possible. Bring them behind-the-scenes, let them hear from beneficiaries and connect directly to your staff. Plus, they offer lots of touchpoints (ie. registration; before, during and after the event) to prompt your attendees to stay in touch through email, telephone and post.
Talk to our friends at everywhereplus.com to find out how easy this can be and what support is available to you.
Surveys aren’t just for learning about your audience and letting them know they have a say. They’re also super for moving people off of social media - people love sharing their opinions and a mailing list ‘ask’ fits nicely at the end of your survey questions.
They can be as simple as one quick question - it’s about getting your followers to take that step and allowing you to gather more details.
Like surveys…who doesn’t love a contest?
That gift-in-lieu you haven’t been able to use could make a great contest prize. (Don’t forget to check the rules and regulations in your country around the running of online contests).
It might even just be bragging rights…challenge your followers to get every quiz question right…and while they’re there, encourage them to subscribe.
You and your organisation are experts in your field.
If you’re not already, you should be sharing that expertise in regular blog posts. They show your worth and position you as a useful resource.
Blog posts sharing ‘how to’, explainers, FAQs and news/updates are all great ways to get social media followers to click a link and visit your website.
There’s then a great opportunity to suggest your email mailing list within your blog, at the end or through pop-ups.
Like all things in fundraising and marketing sometimes it’s as simple as just asking.
Share a direct link to a form to joining your mailing list regularly and give your followers a reason to join.
Make it sound appealing! Rather than joining a mailing list, share the benefits - such as early access, useful information, exclusive perks and a connection to community.
Discover what people care about by running ‘hand raiser’ campaigns; ask them what they care about, what changes they want to see in the world, or run fun polls.
Not only will your list grow from this light-touch and fun interaction, the answers they give help you build a picture of their motivations for that all-important stewardship work.