Blog

Thinking of investing in segmentation? Be careful of these common and costly mistakes

Fundraising has never been easy. But it’s never been this hard. So, in an effort to fix the acquisition and retention problem the sectors looking for new/better ways to profile and segment prospects and supporters. But (with a handful of exceptions that I’ll share in the next post) no one’s been successful. The mindset is […]

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What dirty tricks lie in wait for your fundraising behind these doors?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Halloween! And while I know that it’s celebrated differently and has different origins and meanings throughout the world (where it’s even celebrated at all), I’m here in the US, and here it’s a whole lot about trick-or-treating. So let’s knock on a few scary doors and see […]

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The 4 best ways to find new prospects for your non-profit

Prospects are the lifeblood of your non-profits fundraising program. Without a steady stream of new donor prospects, your non-profit will not be able to raise the money it needs to thrive. Yet, when it comes to prospecting, many organizations try far too many strategies, never able to focus on the few that will succeed in […]

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Fundraisers: Stop being oil & water. Be gin & tonic instead

  Imagine this: You (a fundraiser) go into a meeting with marketing and they have a BIG IDEA. It’s a good one. And then they say, “You can fundraise with this, right?” Integration This is not what we would call integration of marketing and fundraising – not at all. Sometimes trying to get marketing and […]

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Are you ready for some Major Giving Bullsh*t Bingo?

The potential for large gifts is huge in almost all types and sizes of organisation. But too often, the program is never allowed to reach it’s full potential. Here’s why. Lack of institutional readiness The problem is that in an estimated eight out of ten cases, internal people and obstacles prevent success. Just recently we […]

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The day Mr. Toilet changed my life

IFC Asia, which took place in Bangkok in June, was my first IFC, full stop. Now, I’m not what you’d consider your typical fundraiser. In fact, there were many moments I felt a bit of a fraud as I don’t work at a “charity”. But if I took one thing away from this conference, it […]

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There is no 'average conversion rate'

A question that I get asked all the time is, “What is the average conversion rate on a non-profit website?”. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had this discussion. And my view is always the same — there is no such thing! I get it, the wish for a standard to compare your […]

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Technology is changing how people give after a disaster

The recent response to the hurricanes that have caused such devastation in the US and the Caribbean is a reminder of the role charitable giving plays in disaster response efforts. Individuals responding to the needs of others is not new, but how people give is changing in many ways. Surprise — the Internet and technology […]

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Blue Ocean Strategy: Identifying your 3 tiers of non-supporters

Blue Ocean strategy captured the imagination of the for-profit world almost as soon as the book of the same name by W. Chan Kim and Rene Mauborgne was first published in 2005. An expanded edition was republished in 2015. The book offers a framework and set of tools designed to enable agencies to identify how […]

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Why it's almost impossible to fix your stubborn fundraising problems

Every charity has its own stubborn fundraising problem – one it’s never been able to solve. What’s yours? Perhaps it’s: All channels: falling response rates? DM: a struggling banker pack? F2F/D2D/private site: low engagement? Cash: second gift rate consistently low? Online: poor open and click rates? TM: high hard no rates? Or…? The list could […]

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4 signs you are a burned-out nonprofit fundraiser – and what to do about it

You’ve smiled through back-to-back-to-back-to-back meetings with donors all day. You just got an email that your best prospect cancelled on you. It’s late in the day, but you’ve got to finish that grant report before you can leave the office. After the work day ends, you pack up and decide to go home, eat dinner, […]

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What are the challenges of innovating in the non-profit sector?

  That was the big question we pondered when we gathered in an office overlooking London Bridge recently to plan Innovation Camp 2017 at this year’s IFC, coming up 17-20 October in the Netherlands. Innovation Camp premiered at IFC in 2016, conceived by the quirky and creative minds of Marcelo Iniarra and Nick Allen. Dozens […]

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Fundraising Code Changes, July 2017

Distilling 29 pages into 5 Following the Fundraising Regulator’s first consultation on the Code of Fundraising Practice, they have now released changes to the Code along with details of the sector and public consultation responses. Their document runs to 29 pages, so in about five pages, this blog summarises the main outcomes to help you identify key […]

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Creating and leading a Great Fundraising Organisation

Do you work for a Great Fundraising Organisation? Not any great fundraising organisation… but a Great Fundraising Organisation. For the purpose of the academic study, “The Great Fundraising Report,” Profs. Adrian Sargeant and Jen Shang from the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at the University of Plymouth, defined Great Fundraising Organisations as those charities, NGOs and […]

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Should there be more mergers in the NGO sector?

I remember a particularly lively IOF conference debate really clearly, even though it was 20 years ago. The argument thrust itself around the theme that “Charities exist to put themselves out of business”. It’s a compelling argument, but yet so much of our sector’s reporting is set against growth. Of course, growth (operational services, fundraising […]

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Shadow boxing with 'donor fatigue'

Often at non-profit forums, I get asked about ways to address “donor fatigue”. But I don’t believe that donor fatigue is a real thing. It is a diplomatic way the media devised for saying that donors are fed up with incessant appeals by charities! Many fundraisers have jumped on that bandwagon and used it as […]

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3 truths and 1 lie about online donors

New data from Target Analytics, a division of Blackbaud, reveals key insights into online donors. The findings are based on analysis of online and offline giving data from 16 large national nonprofits in the United States during 2016 and represents more than 6.5 million donors. These organizations participate in a donorCentrics Internet Benchmarking Group. The giving data […]

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Meet the donors: Some ‘who’d-have-thought-it?’ insights from listening to a few real supporters

At the UK Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention last week, I found myself chairing a big-room session called “Meet the Donors”. Tasked to address a massive subject – what do donors really think about fundraisers and how they ply their trade? – the five brave donors on our panel were obliged to face a large audience […]

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How to get from good intentions to a great supporter experience

The Commission on the Donor Experience (CDE) officially launched last week. Its premise is give supporters a great experience and they will give more and for longer. So: 1. Do we believe that? 2. Aren’t we already giving supporters great experiences? 3. What makes a great experience? Does a great experience equate to better performance, […]

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If you give donors a great experience, they will give more and give for longer

This, in my view, is self-evident. Launched earlier this week, The Commission on the Donor Experience is based on this premise. Its 28 detailed reports are available free online. I hope everyone in the sector will at least read the 6Ps document, the summary of the project summaries, for that sets out how fundraising will […]

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Elements of effective storytelling: Empathy, action and the message

The Resource Alliance team is in the throes of IFC Asia! The conference officially starts today, but most of us have been either traveling or hunkered down at the conference hotel since mid-week last week. It’s pretty amazing! We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming next week. Today, please enjoy this podcast from The […]

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Donor recognition should be more than you think it is

It’s not about the gift; it’s about the impact of their cumulative contribution. I’ve been pondering supporter recognition recently, and wondering whether we do this nearly enough, never mind well enough. And by recognition, I’m not talking thanking, which can be pretty transactional, in response to a gift (and about which I’ve written before – […]

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5 ways to build a positive culture at your organisation

I’m often asked how I created our culture at Blakely. I should probably take it as a compliment (since it’s usually a positive reference!), but I actually find it a perplexing question. I certainly didn’t do it alone, and every team member old and new helps to protect it and evolve it each and every […]

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Stop trying to attract great applicants with boring job adverts

It always strikes me as such a paradox: Those of us working in the charity sector find our jobs inspiring, meaningful and transformative. And yet, we as a sector struggle to attract high-calibre individuals to fill fundraising roles. How can this discrepancy exist? While there are lots of potential answers to this question, ranging from […]

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A message of hope and gratitude

Over the weekend came news of the attacks that took place at London Bridge and Borough Market, where terrorists eschewed bombs and guns but used knives and a van to kill seven people and injure scores of others. The attacks came close on the heels of the bombing at a concert in Manchester that killed […]

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Give donors the respect they deserve

Many fundraisers are aware of relationship fundraising. Ken Burnett’s famous book Relationship Fundraising has opened many eyes over the last 25 years. There aren’t many fundraisers who haven’t read this book. However, its vision and core message have never been fully implemented in our sector. The central theme in Burnett’s work is that as fundraisers […]

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Global best practice grant-seeking

The question of grants success rate is a common one, universally. The fact is, no matter where you are working from, whether a grant application is successful or unsuccessful is not generally dependent on one contributing factor. It relies on a combination of all the elements of best practice grant-seeking coming together to achieve a […]

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The ABCD of an Asian philanthropist’s journey

Based on what I see as the evolution of giving habits within the high-net worth families in Asia, here are the four categories of philanthropists I have worked with: Altruistic  Usually the patriarch of the business family, who has seen poverty and life struggles during his early days, either as a migrant or during the […]

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Do-gooders take note: Capitalism is your friend!

Charities should be less squeamish and see private sector as an agent of change, not the enemy. There’s a distrust of business, big business in particular, that I’ve experienced in my time in the “for good” sector that has always slightly puzzled me. It’s not that charity-private sector collaborations don’t exist; they do and there are […]

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I am bored to death. Are you dying to be different?

Is this a tasteless headline or attention grabbing?  Does it matter if it’s tasteless? Let’s get legacy giving noticed How many legacy campaigns are noticed? In focus groups it is truly frightening to discover that most legacy articles, posters, leaflets and even bookmarks go unnoticed. There are two reasons for this message blindness: The blandness […]

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Intermediaries in an entirely new ecosystem of supply and demand

I have been having one of those ongoing conversations with Atallah Kuttab, the founder of Saaned, an organization devoted to growing philanthropy in the Middle East. In addition to being a charming person, I find him to be an outstanding thinker in the area of philanthropy, fundraising and, most importantly, new models of creating social […]

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The future of fundraising

Despite humanity’s best efforts, through technology or divination, we are yet to master the art of forecasting the future. This article has no ambition to improve on that record. The commentary to follow is a reflection on the changes taking place around us today – social, environmental and ethical. Its aim is to show how […]

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The joy of giving — and what it means to fundraisers: An interview with author and philanthropy advisor Jenny Santi

Jenny Santi is a philanthropy advisor to some of the world’s most generous givers, celebrity activists, and leading financial institutions in Europe and Asia, helping them channel their wealth, power and search for meaning toward social good. She also is the author of the acclaimed book, “The Giving Way to Happiness: Stories and Science Behind […]

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Go out of business, talk to a kindergartner and other steps for getting to WHY 

Budweiser is bringing friends together. Chevy is keeping America rolling. And we’re all trying to keep up with the Kardashians. For-profit brands just get it. Driving big sales is all about telling us on the most visceral level WHY we can’t live without them. It’s no different for nonprofits. If I’m going to invest my […]

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Building an effective supporter services function

For far too long, supporter services teams were considered to be a mere “back office” function, perhaps an extension of the individual giving department, and consigned to processing and administration. But a major transformation of that outdated image has been under way, as organisations prioritise supporter engagement and adopt a greater supporter-centric approach. Increasingly, supporter […]

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The physics of cultural transformation

While my work is focused almost entirely on helping social impact organizations create cultural transformation, it’s surprising how much comfort and insight can be found in the fundamental laws of physics that I learned in the early years of my engineering education. For example, it is compelling to think about how well organizational culture maps […]

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Why fundraising is so hard, and how ‘why’ can make it easier

May 2015 was a watershed month for our sector. The tragic death of Olive Cooke, and the subsequent media mauling, forced us (or at least some of us) to re-examine our “best” practise. In the midst of the chaos, conscientious fundraisers gathered to try and make sense of what was going on. They asked, “How […]

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4 simple steps toward retention, loyalty and better donor experience

Anyone who knows me, or has seen me speak at conferences, will probably be aware of my ongoing love/hate relationship with Audi. I feel the same way about a visit to the garage as I do about going to the dentist – it’s not something I look forward to, tends to be a painful experience, […]

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The five Rs of supporter-focused fundraising communications – any questions?

I recently had the chance to join a couple of The Resource Alliance’s IFC Pop-up conferences in South Africa to discuss putting your supporter at the heart of your fundraising communications. (By Skype, I hasten to add, joining for a live Q&A after the video of my IFC session). These pop-ups are an initiative of […]

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‘Opt in’ will be bad for donors and very bad for the causes they support

It should be resisted, vigorously and comprehensively. Here’s why. I’m no enthusiast for small print or screeds of regulations. Put the two together and I quickly lose the will to live. So, my response to the UK Information Commissioner’s recent request for consultation on its latest round of draft regulations is unlikely to be comprehensive. […]

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Fundraising AT people is all wrong. Here’s why.

The basic problem with much of fundraising today is that we fundraise AT people. Should we start by thinking of donors as existing to meet the charity’s needs? Or should we start by thinking about donors’ needs and aspirations? (And if we do, there’s every reason to believe we’ll raise more for the charity, too.) If […]

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Simply the Best: Top 10 blog posts! (Q1 2017)

Here we are, folks… the first Top 10 of 2017. Great stuff, as always! Looks like there’s a lot of interest in digital — as it should be! (1) 2017 Digital Outlook Report: 62 percent of nonprofits have no digital program – Meg Gardner (2) Resourcing out-of-hours social media – Kirsty Marrins (3) Podcast: Fundraising as a route […]

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Podcast: Fundraising as a route to peace building

Neichute Doulo, CEO of Entrepreneurs Associates, was named India’s 2016 Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. The Naga movement, one of the oldest unresolved armed conflicts in the world, has hampered economic development in the north-eastern region of India. As one of the main architects of EA, an organisation […]

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2017 Digital Outlook Report: 62 percent of nonprofits have no digital program

It seems kind of staggering, no? Nonetheless, that’s the finding from the third annual Digital Outlook Report, a joint effort of Care2, hjc, NTEN and The Resource Alliance. The theme of this year’s report is “Advance Your Nonprofit’s Game to the Next Level.” It very helpfully shapes its findings into strategic information for organisations no matter […]

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Resourcing out-of-hours social media

When I wrote about how charities are missing out on valuable conversations on Twitter that take place out of hours and that they need to be flexible when it comes to managing their social media accounts, what I didn’t address was how exactly charities should be doing this. I didn’t address it because there are […]

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Video: Innovative social entrepreneur talks about collaboration

No doubt, the power of consumer spending is undeniable. Aliza “Alice” Napartivaumnuay, co-founder of Socialgiver, has harnessed that power to create a movement to support social change around the world. Socialgiver is an online giving ecosystem that sells products and services from leading brands at exclusive rates. When consumers spend on Socialgiver, their money directly […]

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Is there plenty of room on your fundraising island?

A while back, Seth Godin wrote about there being plenty of room on the island. He observed that authors regularly recommend other authors even though an MBA program would call them “competitors.” It’s a great reminder that most of life is not a zero sum game. Competition isn’t really competition A new executive director I […]

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Hail the all-powerful Rock!

When I was a kid I had the fortune to grow up in the deserts of the Middle East. A place that was brilliantly interesting, but not particularly hospitable to life — especially the life of a pasty white kid. While living there I became a bit of a student of Bedouin culture, as I […]

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Arm(adillo) yourself to engage with donors

I made eye contact with an armadillo the other day. Well, I was staring at it, and I admit it might have been folly to think it was doing anything more than looking past me and thinking about whatever it is armadillos think about. Despite living in the deep south here in the US, I’d […]

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Walking a tight rope well: 5 ways progressive nonprofits can use risk management to succeed in uncertain times

“Organizations face internal and external actors and influences that make it uncertain whether, when, and the extent to which they will achieve or exceed their objectives. The effect this uncertainty has on the organization’s objectives is risk.” Like it or not, the year ahead will be risky for all nonprofits with a progressive vision for change. […]

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Do something different and try something… old!

It’s not easy being a fundraiser at the best of times. But in the current market, the pressures and expectations on fundraising organisations can have a huge impact on our workforce at all levels. What can charities do to help ease the burden and ensure a more positive working culture? Alongside workplaces from Google to […]

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Has fundraising moved forwards, or backwards, in the last 50 years? And where next?

Let me start with a short eulogy, then quote some of what I, and many others, believe are the wisest words ever said about fundraising, before leaving you with a question: How much of this is relevant now? November 2016 marked the centenary of Harold Sumption’s birth. Harold was, without doubt, the biggest influence on […]

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NEW research on fundraiser-donor relationships: What part of 'broken' don't we understand?

A new piece of research from Birkbeck/LSE highlights major issues with the “broken” contract between donor and humanitarian NGOs such as Oxfam, Save the Children and others. It asks big questions of fundraisers and calls into question the whole basis of our relationship with the public and with our supporters. It builds on previous work […]

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Resource mobilisation: the two most thrilling words I know

In an age of snappy slogans, it can be good to remind ourselves that the thrill of words should come from their meaning and not from their sound-bite superficiality. This was brought home to me last month when I was in Delhi, India, as a volunteer organiser and speaker at The Resource Alliance’s International Workshop […]

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Should charities invest in fundraising rather than in stocks, shares and bonds? Or is this really the wrong question?

A better thought-through approach to investment could be hugely beneficial for both donors and charities. Arguably it’s their blinkered, inconsistent and confused approach to fundraising investment that has got charities and fundraising into their current pickle. That one has to speculate to accumulate is, of course, simple economics. Charities need to raise ever more to […]

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Fundraisers, Meet the Millennials: The Top 3 Mistakes You’re Making

I got an Outlook invite to a “Millennial Pilot Project Brainstorming Session” once. For all the time spent stereotyping this generation, you’d think they wouldn’t have tried to cram so many buzzwords into one subject line; millennials are, after all, the post-Don-Drapers, the ones who see through the pandering, right? “Millennial? Ooh, that’s me!” “Pilot? First […]

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How to fix face-to-face fundraising

This graph shows face-to-face attrition, in the first three months, for an enormous UK charity. It’s more than likely a very familiar, and frustrating, image for you. In fact, it’s so familiar that a recent and extensive research project on face-to-face fundraising was unable to find a single charity that had significantly and sustainably changed […]

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5 Big Fundraising Trends — Are You Prepared?

The pace of change in our sector has never been greater. Social and technological trends bring new opportunities and threats. What are these trends and how can we, as non-profit and fundraising organisations, adapt to the continuously and ever more quickly changing reality? New technological opportunities are arriving at an increasing pace. This technology impacts […]

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12 insights from the crystal ball: Get your fundraising ready for the future  

Who’d have predicted the events of 2016? We’d all love a crystal ball to see what the next few years hold for us all. In relation to fundraising, here’s the next best thing. In autumn last year I had the opportunity to interview several fundraising and sector leaders, across different disciplines. This was for an […]

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Fundraisers in southern Africa facing tougher times

A new year and, for most of us new, often bigger fundraising targets to achieve. Whilst mostly rewarding, the job of finding new donors and keeping current ones loyal is always challenging and made that much harder when the outlook on economic growth is predicted to be slow, and political uncertainty abounds. In developing countries […]

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What Does Your Digital Strategy Look Like?

Each organization has a unique approach to how it funds its digital strategy, builds digital teams, and sets its digital strategy goals. We want to know about it! For the last two years, Care2, hjc, NTEN, and Resource Alliance have conducted a study that uncovers trends in digital approaches for fundraising, marketing and communications. Based […]

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Making assumptions – a fast track for failure

Have you ever, in your first few months of a new job, asked a question and been told, “That’s just the way we do things here”? Have you ever been the person frantically multitasking to stay on top of things who responded to the keen newcomer, “That’s just the way we do things here”? I […]

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Donor loyalty takes time and effort, but it's essential

A good grasp of the basics of relationship building is the place to start. Donor loyalty should be valued by non-profit organizations. There is always room for getting new donors, but what about the ones who have been donating all along or have donated in the past? You can’t just let them slip by, can […]

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101fundraising scholarship to IFC 2017

We wanted to take a moment to thank those of you who so generously have donated funds to 101fundraising over the years. We’ve been entrusted with that cash and have come up with a cool way to use it! You know that The Resource Alliance is the curator of the IFC, which takes place each October […]

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A fundraising fairy tale …

Two women walk down a busy street in London, deep in conversation. Amongst the swathes of people, they are approached by an engaging young man eager to tell them about the charity he represents. They smile, appreciate what he is trying to do, but won’t be setting up a direct debit today. He beams back […]

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Please allow us to introduce ourselves

(Don’t worry, we’ll be back to real blogs next week.) Funny how things sometimes come full circle. As we’re working on transitioning the 101fundraising site to reflect The Resource Alliance’s new role as its caretakers, I was reminded that in 2013, the then 2-year-old 101 was given the Editor’s Choice award for Best Fundraising Blog […]

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The Top 50 blog posts of 2016!

  Happy New Year, everyone! Here’s to a year full of hope and promise, dreams fulfilled, goals met and new ones set. As you know, the original 101fundraising team has passed the considerably weighty baton to us here at The Resource Alliance. Many of you know us and have been part of our International Fundraising […]

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We bid you farewell. Mic drop.

Dear readers. This is the last blog post from the original 101 team. As per 1 January 2017 The Resource Alliance will take over ownership and management of our beloved 101 community. It has been the most wonderful journey anyone can imagine. Since the launch 6 years ago we’ve read so many terrific blog posts. […]

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Simply the Best: Top 10 blog posts! (Q4 2016)

The final Top 10 of 2016. Simply an awesome list again. Superb content by great fundraisers. We have nothing to add. Read them all… Congrats to Matthew with the #1 position in the 4th quarter! (The first post of 2017 will give you an overview of the best posts of 2016.) Don’t forget: tomorrow is the final […]

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Open Source Fundraising

2016 is ending not completely without marvel for me. Two great things happened last week. First, on December 16, the family of Canadian philanthropists Larry and Judy Tanenbaum donated $20 million to create the Tanenbaum Open Institute at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. Inspired by open science, these donors understand that researchers will be able […]

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Online charity benchmark 2016 – compare your website

Ever wondered how your online fundraising is doing? And how that compares to other organizations? Do you need numbers that can help you to set your goals? This online marketing charity benchmark tool will kickstart that process. We have analysed close to 12 million sessions, looked at more than 40.000 donations and checked out 148.000 […]

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Thank you Wally!

Although I’m proud of my own 16 years in fundraising I am fully aware that I’m just a rookie compared to some old-timers out there. This post is a short tribute to one of the greatest fundraisers of his generation: Gerhard Wallmeyer, also known as “Wally”. At the end of the year Wally retires after […]

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Backs to the wall or Back to The Future?

The Charity Sector is allowing itself to be bullied by the same media that championed Trump and Brexit. Our failure to mount a serious challenge to this agenda threatens to destroy decades of astonishing progress. In October 2015, the small Dublin – based fundraising agency I ran was at the centre of a 6 page […]

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Make fundraising great again!

I’d be shocked if there were any, or many, Trump supporters among this community of fundraising hipsters. But how many otherwise great people inadvertently emulate him as fundraising practitioners? What do I mean? Well, if I (as ‘the Donald’ is wont to do) let fly a barrage of sweeping generalisations about gender, what would you […]

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Changing fundraising. For good.

Much has changed since the Commission on the Donor Experience was initiated in mid 2015. Early in the process Giles Pegram and Ken Burnett each set themselves the task of listing 10 things they’d most like to see change. Now, as completed projects (the CDE has 30+ of them, see here) are beginning to be […]

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Men in Fundraising: We have a problem. And it’s you.

Only a few years ago a senior UK fundraiser was quoted in an article about staff development. He talked of getting his female staff mentors, to help them behave in a more ‘feminine’ way in their relationships at work and with donors. I’ve always remembered it, because I remember my jaw literally dropping. Women in […]

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Decisions leadership must make for fundraising to grow

It’s been three years now since we released the Great Fundraising research carried out by professors Sargeant and Shang.  In that time, we have had the privilege of observing many organisations put the findings into practice. One of the key recommendations was ‘whole organisation fundraising’:  those that succeeded in multiplying their income were the ones […]

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Major Gift End of the Year To-Do List

Major gift end of the year to dos are not the same as your annual giving big push and wrap up. For annual giving, your focus is on the final appeal for the year, working on getting the words just right and the letter out the door. You’ve reviewed all of your leadership donors ($1,000+) […]

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Are we managing a fundraising decline? Only if we let ourselves.

“The Daily Mail is not inherently anti fundraising”, I recently and naively posted on a chat forum on Facebook.   The response was vigorous, and almost universally in disagreement.   I stand corrected.   But some of the language surprised me. “Fundraising is currently being subjected to a concerted ideological attack by the state, certain sections of the […]

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Fundraising For Humans

I remember volunteering for Childline. Kids would phone, text or e-mail with all sorts of questions and stories – from horrific cases of abuse to completely nonsensical banter. Many calls were pranks…groups of kids phoning up to tease us, mock us and attempt to get a rise out of us. No matter what they said […]

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I can't thank you enough

Sometimes it’s the simple things that transform the relationship with a donor into something magic. As part of my quest for examples of the best donor-centric fundraising for The Commission on the Donor Experience I came across an inspiring story I’d like to share with you. This is the fantastic story from the talented Sarah Roberts, […]

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What do you need the money for?

It’s a straight forward question for any fundraiser, but you’d be surprised at how difficult it can be to answer. As a donor, I usually phone up charities to give them my money. I like to speak to a human being and have the chance to ask questions if I want to. I always ask […]

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From Rome, with love

When you are going back to your own country after twenty years abroad, it’s like you have never been there. You have to re-learn many rules, customs and social norms. You have to reconnect with a past that is already future. I thought having raised funds in so many markets and for many organizations around […]

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The Three Questions I’m Asking After #IFC2016

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in my pajamas, slowly adjusting back to Eastern Standard Time after a week in the Netherlands. I just had the incredible honour of attending the International Fundraising Congress (IFC) in Noordwijk. Not only that, I had the further honour of attending as one of IFC’s scholars as part of […]

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A donor relationship is not a trick

Rockstar Amanda Palmer said it in the opening plenary of the #IFC2016 : “A relationship is not a trick“. And it came back to me throughout the conference. The best donor relations are based on authenticity and reciprocity. If that’s our goal and we take a closer look at our fundraising results in recent years, we have to start asking the right questions. […]

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The Resource Alliance takes over 101fundraising!

International Fundraising Congress, The Netherlands – The Resource Alliance is pleased to announce that as of 1 January 2017, it will take over respected fundraising blog 101fundraising (www.101fundraising.org). The blog, which was created by Dutch fundraising advisor Reinier Spruit and online marketer Jeroen Beelen in 2011, will become part of the Resource Alliance’s new digital platform, […]

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The trouble with vanilla…

Over the years I’ve observed sparky, funny, passionate and clever people morph into vanilla shells of their former selves as they enter their office to get on with their professional job of being a fundraiser. It’s a strange phenomenon. Somehow through our drive to excel in what we do – to reach targets, climb a […]

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Continuous donor choice: fundraising’s best opportunity in ages

by Jackie Fowler, Ken Burnett and Tim Connor This article has been written as part of the preparations for project 13 of the Commission on the Donor Experience, ‘Giving donors choices and managing preferences’. In the UK, late September saw the publication of NCVO’s long awaited report, Charities’ relationships with donors: a vision for a […]

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Should fundraisers be feeling fine?

Ever heard the joke about the statistician who put his head in an oven, feet in a freezer and confidently claimed “On average, I feel fine”? It came to mind as I read the recent UK report from the NCVO, ‘Charities relationships with donors – a vision for a better future’. Along with fundraisers from […]

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Simply the Best: Top 10 blog posts! (Q3 2016)

And that was the third quarter already. You know what that means, right? The IFC is almost starting! Will we see you there? Congrats to Charlie with the #1 position this quarter. But there are more beauties in this list. In fact, they are all awesome! Read, like and share! (1) What are the Two […]

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Authentic Fundraising: The Clark Kent Approach

When I introduced the Authentic Fundraiser I talked about the need for a less traditional sales approach. In this post I’m going to dig a little deeper into how “professional” fundraising professionals should be? People have been practicing acts of philanthropy to address social needs for thousands of years. It is only in the last […]

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Leadership in Fundraising Innovation

For more than a decade there have been no radical changes to our fundraising strategies and techniques. Recent developments, in and outside our sector, will force us to develop new ways to engage with our supporters and innovations that go beyond the fundraising departments. Next to the impact of regulatory changes (such as taking place […]

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Asking the right questions

The theme of this year’s IFC conference is ‘Asking the Right Questions’. As someone who spends most of his time working with UK charities I don’t think there has ever been a better time to pause, breathe and think about the things we can do to drive real change in the way we inspire and […]

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Why are we fundraising and how can we do it better?

Another year, another IFC. Another round of presentations ranging from the transformative (none more so than this masterclass, ‘Reinventing the Donor Experience’ by Kevin Schulman and Adrian Sargeant) to the tawdry (tempting but unfair to name but, like any conference, always plenty of choice). And of course another jaunty slogan. So what is it this […]

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Who likes change?

Several years ago I went through a hefty psychometric evaluation for a role I was interviewing for. It was a great experience that left me with a fifty page document all about me and how I behave. I still refer to that document at times, just to remind myself who I am! After completing pages […]

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Feeling Good about Feelings, Facts and Fundraising

“What the heart knows today the head will understand tomorrow.” – James Stephens, Poet, 1880 – 1950 When I was a kid coming to terms with the insignificance of self, it was the infinity of the big wide universe that was my un-doing. If, post-Big Bang, the universe was ever-expanding, what was it expanding into? What was […]

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Transformative change depends on a new kind of leader

Non-profits are no longer guaranteed a free lunch. We have to work harder than ever to raise the funds we need, which — as we have seen in many instances around the world — leaves us vulnerable to accusations of hard selling. The potential impact of this on trust and confidence — and therefore our […]

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Fundraising in the Middle East: How, Why and What

What image do you have of the Middle East? Watch the television or read the news and you are likely to see bombs and bullets, injured children and the shifting sands of multiple war zones. But there is another place in the sophisticated cities of the Middle East where a well-educated, courteous, skilled, entrepreneurial population […]

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Reset, revive, refresh – Breathing new life into F2F

On a sunny afternoon in 1998, my progress along a central Brighton street was interrupted in a way that ended up changing the course of my own life, as well as heralding a step change for the fundraising sector. A friendly greeting was followed by an engaging and genuine dialogue. Yes, I agreed, of course […]

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The upcoming IFC will be challenging presenters and participants as never before

There will be hard questions asked about our sector and I wanted to take a crack at one of them: “If it’s true that one size does NOT fit all donors, and we have limited resources, are there ways for us to give donors a personalized, yet mass marketing, experience?” I believe there is an […]

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