Fastmap/IOF research says "integrate"

Key insights from the fastmap research into perceptions of engagement channels on behalf of the IOF UK 

The results suggest that:
• A multi-channel approach is likely to be most successful
• Those targeting 55+ females would be unwise to ignore traditional media
• Carefully-designed back-up material plays a key role in converting interest into support particularly collateral that links to other channels
• Some channels are more likely to generate low rather than high-value donations. This knowledge gives fundraisers the power to match their objectives with the media they select. Maximise recruitment versus immediate donations
• Viral fundraising activity such as the Ice Bucket Challenge and Movember have resulted in people engaging with channels in a different way by challenging and sponsoring friends and colleagues, texting photos and videos and spreading donation phone numbers

Download here:

Cost of Fundraising Infographic

For many NFPs in Australia, the cost of fundraising is a confusing topic. It can be frightening to many leaders who are new to fundraising. And it is difficult to determine an approach given the complexity of the subject and the often misunderstood perception of the donating public.

It's not surprising that organisations with smaller ambitions and less focus on individual giving fundraising will want to challenge the perceived high cost of fundraising among the public. They are quick to point out that gifts are largely going to the cause and they place more importance on communicating strong return on investment statistics and a cost effective approach to administration and fundraising.

Experienced fundraisers would point out that they are wrong to do so; organisations that go to great lengths to tell supporters and website visitors that they spend only 12c in every dollar on fundraising and administration are perpetuating a common misconception that charities should spend all the money they raise on the cause.

I was surprised, and a little dismayed when I started to look at cost of fundraising communication across NFP websites in Australia.

The cost of fundraising infographic is very attractive - and some organisations have created some eye-catching designs to express their penny-minding approach to improving lives or beating cancer. It is very disappointing that some of biggest larger charities - with huge acquisition budgets, large in-house teams, greater efficiencies of scale and larger media buying power - are touting the same cost of fundraising messages as those that have less understanding of what's at stake.

Let's open up some more constructive dialogue on the topic.
Please comment if you have an opinion.

There's nothing emotive about Tax.

It's that time again. Fundraising managers phone their counterparts to try and gauge the success of their Tax appeal as the June 30 deadline draws near. And as the opportunities to change the course of the campaign are whittled down to the last two days of the financial year, the flip of the coin is to send a desperate appeal email in a last ditch attempt to improve success - or avoid disaster.

And most organisations are getting it wrong.

Tax deductibility is a rational concept and it isn't a strong reason to give. Reading the multitude of emails that arrived today and will inevitably arrive tomorrow makes me feel we have completely dismissed so much of what we have learned as fundraisers.

- people give to people
- emotional engagement with the cause will convince people to donate over any rational reason
- the biggest motivating factor is engagement or proximity to the cause

In the last attempt to encourage donations before the deadline, it doesn't seem the best strategy to forget what we have learned. Tax deductibility might be a secondary, rational reason in support of the main argument. But we shouldn't lead on it. Let's hope there is some stronger, more motivating content next year.

More asks to high-value donors = more income

I don't suggest that asking for large gifts by mail is the right approach. However, this blog, published by everybody's friends at Future Fundraising Now references a study discussed on Grizzly Blog and points to the importance of frequent communication and asks for donations of our higher value supporters in much the same way as standard mail responders. 

Future Fundraising Now: More mail, more money

More mail, more money

Posted: 03 Dec 2014 04:59 AM PST

The Grizzard Blog shares one of those scary pieces of knowledge that live in the major donor world: Stop Mailing The Major Donors!

Actually, don't stop mailing the major donors.

The post reports on a test where five hundred $500+ donors were sent a list of the 12 direct mail appeals they were scheduled to receive in the coming year. They were given the chance to opt out of as many of those 12 as they liked. If they didn't respond, they'd get all 12.

37%, of those donors returned instructions. The highest number of appeals any of them selected was 3.

At the end of the year, they compared the group that received all 12 mailings to the group that had identified those mailings they wanted. 

The result was interesting: The donors who received all 12 mailings gave 35% more than those who restricted their appeals. 

This is a bit of a surprise to me. It's normal for a group getting less mail to give less. But usually, giving donors choice -- any kind of choice -- results in more giving. I'd have expected the positive impact of choice to outweigh the negative impact of less contact. Silly me.

There may have been something about the nature of this choice that pointed the donors in the wrong direction. If you think about it, those donors said no over and over again. Nine times or more. That sets a pattern.

But there's an important lesson here: Less mail, less giving. That's true in nearly every situation. Including major donors.

Never assume donors will give more or retain longer if they get less contact. It almost never works that way.


Innovative Greens Direct Mail Campaign - Victorian State Election

Fantastic campaign arrived in my letter-box yesterday. It stood out among the hate-inspiring anti-labor leaflets and multitude of Liberal propaganda that I've received in the last two months. Good stuff - keep it up @Greens #Vicvotes

4 insights from 2 top donors

As Published - fpadmin | 04 November 2014 
The key role of the chief executive officer and board in gift-making decisions was elaborated on two of Australia's most generous philanthropists – Simon Mordant AM and John Grill AO – at F&P's recent major gifts seminar, Liz Henderson reveals.
John Grill and Simon Mordant smallerA nonprofit’s chief executive officer and board have a central role to play in the process of major donors deciding to make a significant gift.
This was just one point made by John Grill (left) and Simon Mordant (right) – Australian philanthropists who between them have donated more than $35 million – in a candid interview at F&P’s recent Art & Science of Major Gifts Seminar in Sydney.
Mordant also stated that lack of engagement by a chief executive officer had been a factor in him ending his involvement with an organisation. While Grill said “too small” a vision of what he could help to achieve had prevented him committing large gifts in the past, and that he believes nonprofits should be prepared to cater to donors’ say in where their money goes.
The pair have plenty of experience in both major gift-giving and big business. Mordant is a long-time corporate advisor and recently retired managing director of the global investment banking company Greenhill, who with his wife Catriona started making significant charity gifts 15 years ago after they resolved to give away all their wealth during their lifetime. In 2010 they gave $15 million to support a major re-development at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
As for Grill, in 2012 he supported excellence in industry through a $20 million gift to establish the John Grill Centre for Project Leadership at the University of Sydney, where he studied himself before going on to become chief executive officer of international resources and energy company WorleyParsons.
Here are four of their insights:
1. Nonprofit leadership has a key role in major giving 
SM: We've got to believe in the governance, the chair, the board. We've got to feel very passionate about the CEO and the vision the CEO has. We want to spend time with the CEO’s team and make sure it is cohesive. With institutions we feel passionate about and where we believe in the CEO and the board, we're very comfortable to support core overheads.
JG: I think if you’re going to get major gifts or major projects being undertaken for your charity or nonprofit organisation, unless the CEO is involved it’s very unlikely to happen. Because you’re very unlikely to satisfy the demands of the donor and make them feel they are contributing to a worthwhile part of what you’re doing.
2. Lack of executive engagement can end relationships 
SM: I’ve had a couple of experiences with institutions we’ve supported where we’ve drifted apart – either because the CEO hasn’t wanted the level of engagement that we’ve sought, or there’s been a change in CEO and the incoming CEO has taken a different approach. Catriona and I have both been on boards, contributed meaningfully, served for years and at the appropriate time come off the boards - and never heard from the institution again. And you scratch your head a little bit.
3. Big vision inspires big gifts
JG: I’ve looked at giving a donation and really haven’t been able to sort out an arrangement that I was prepared to support – and in some cases, because the charity, in my view, weren’t thinking in a large enough manner. They had too small a view of what I might do, I suppose. And I think if they’d be prepared to come up with a bigger plan in the area I thought of, I probably would have supported it.
4. Charities should try to meet donor requests
JG: Sometimes, if they want to get that donation, they have to change what they are doing in an area. I think that, increasingly, donors will want to have a say in how the money is used: not directly, but certainly in how it’s streamed and if there is a particular project they think should be developed with their money. The charity should work with that donor to try to achieve that aim. And if they can, they get the money. If they can’t, they won’t.
 Liz Henderson is the editor of Fundraising & Philanthropy Magazine.

Exercising Self-Control - an interesting insight

As published by Lumosity.

You could train your self-control with a technique that’s so easy, you can do it while you eat, flip channels, or brush your teeth. It might just be possible according to a new research study in which 70 college students went through 2 weeks of self-control training that involved using their non-dominant hands in everyday life. 
The strength theory of self-control
Many scientists liken self-control to a muscle: the more you use it, the more fatigued it becomes. If you’ve lifted weights until you’re sore, you’re more likely to drop a heavy bag of groceries; and if you’ve used your self-control until it’s drained, you might snap at a well-meaning friend. 

According to the researchers who conducted this 2013 study, the strength model also has a theoretical upside. They hypothesized that the students in this study could strengthen self-control in the long run — in the way that a body builder eventually strengthens his muscles after weeks of training — by practicing self-control more often. In this case, students would train by resisting the urge to use their dominant hands. 
How the study exercised self-control and tested aggression
At the beginning of the study, each student answered an Aggression Questionnaire to help researchers understand their natural aggression and anger levels. 

The students were then split into two groups: a training group and a control group. Over the next two weeks, the training group was told to exert self-control by using their non-dominant hands as much as possible for everyday tasks. The trainers filled out online diaries and answered text messages from the researchers to help stay on track. The control group received generic texts and questions during this time period.
After two weeks, all students came back to the lab to take part in two experimental tasks designed to provoke anger and aggressive behavior — and to help researchers measure how successful training had been.
First, students were told to present their life goals to a stranger over video chat. As far as the students knew, this stranger was meant to give constructive feedback. In reality, the stranger’s goal was to provoke anger: instead of real feedback, students got a barrage of insults. Immediately afterwards students answered questions about their anger levels

Next came a disguised test of aggressive behavior: students were told to play a competitive game against the same insulting stranger. If they won, they could punish their opponent with a loud blast of white noise. In reality, the “games” were rigged so that the students won every time, and the length and loudness of their blasts gave researchers an opportunity to measure aggression levels.
Less anger linked to self-control training
In the survey administered after the students received insulting feedback, the training group reported feeling less angry than the control group.
And when researchers looked only at students with high Aggression Questionnaire scores, an even more striking difference came out. The naturally aggressive people who didn’t undergo self-control training tended to deliver more aggressive blasts of noise, as expected; but the naturally aggressive people who did train self-control showed no unusually aggressive behavior.
What’s next?
Self-control is one of the more fascinating aspects of human behavior. While this study examined practicing self-control in a very specific situation, this ability can have far-reaching effects on other aspects of everyday life. In a past study, for example, researchers found that people perceive coworkers with higher self-control as better at their jobs. And anecdotally, all of us can remember a time when self-control felt crucial to a task.
That’s why it’s so encouraging to see researchers explore such a simple, accessible technique for training self-control. While further research remains to be done, the non-dominant hand technique is yet another way you can challenge yourself during your regular routine. Next time you play a Lumosity impulse control game like Color Match, add to the challenge by using your non-dominant hand.

Could this be the worst use of survey information ever witnessed?

This is not good marketing. Someone at Australia Post has convinced this company to spend money on targeting potential art investors via the lifestyle survey. Below is how they think an email communication on this subject should look:

Let's bullet what is wrong:
  • Why is it branded from Australia Post?
  • I'm not their target audience (not CEO, not an investor, not old or wealthy)
  • Why is there a pen writing on a computer screen?
  • Why is Grace Kelly worth more than gold? 
  • Can I rent Andy Warhol?


Revolutionary design for people living on less than $4 a day

D-Rev's Krista Donaldson tells McKinsey about a radical approach to medical design that is changing the lives of the world's poorest people. To read the transcript visit here.

Interestingly D-Rev - which stands for Design Revolution - has found that their mission cannot end with innovative designs.

Experience has taught D-Rev that in order to ensure their products are reserved for the people who really need them, they have to be responsible for the manufacture and distribution. The goal is to make sure an $80 knee is distributed to prosthetic clinics around the world and sold for $80 to low income recipients. In the US, an equivalent item would cost $6,000 and without this level of logistical responsibility, D-Rev products might be provided to clinics and individuals at a greater cost than intended.

Australia Post reduced deliveries should be seen as a big threat to direct mail

Many charities have spoken about the impact of a saturated direct mail environment and there is a level of criticism of the industry for sending too much mail - much of which lands in letter boxes on the same day.

If you are of the opinion that charity mail is being lost in the clutter, imagine what the situation will be like if Australia Post is successful in it's campaign to reduce the number of delivery days from five to three. Visit this link to read my article last month which encouraged people to acknowledge the importance of daily mail delivery as a public service which is still necessary for thousands of Australians. 

If Australia Post is allowed to make this change, direct mail responses will be impacted. If a supporter is forced to receive a week's worth of mail in three days rather than five, or worse, if their mail is held at a post office to be picked up in person, the clutter will increase and individuals will be far less likely to respond and donate.

Already the most significant expense in any direct mail campaign is the postage and these costs are unlikely to decrease as a result of reduced delivery days. More certainly, the number of responses received by charities - and therefore the amount of funds raised - will shrink. 

Are charities concerned about the potential impact? Should the not-for-profit sector be involved in the debate? Let's start talking: #charitymail

Australia Post 'user-pays' model could hurt charities

As Australia Post struggles to adapt to a changing communications environment, floated solutions to a dire financial situation could be a serious threat to the not-for-profit sector.

Recently, Aus Post Chairman, John Stanhope, suggested that a service charge to receive daily deliveries could be implemented to help pay for a $218m deficit, which is largely the result of fewer letters being posted. The move would result in many Australians accepting a less frequent service, which would hurt businesses and charities as well as individuals.

Let’s look at it from Mr Stanhope’s point of view. As the volume of post shifts to parcels rather than letters, and the effectiveness and importance of online increases, surely mail is less important, right?
"If you want it fast, you pay for it," Mr Stanhope said. "You want it more related to the cost base, so if you are happy enough for your letter to be delivered less frequently then you pay less, if you want it more frequent you pay more”

Unfortunately this point of view is a generalisation and it ignores the function of mail as a service in the public interest.

Millions of Australians still rely on post to receive and pay bills, to be informed of government and community announcements or keep up to date with notices of local infrastructure and service changes. Most households aren’t aware when this information is coming or whether it’s important or not – so how can they be made responsible for it?

The risk is that the importance of the frequency of that communication might not be clear to the recipient; people who choose not to pay for daily mail might be negatively impacted.

The ABC makes an important argument about the negative impact on low-income earners and people living in regional areas. But the consequences of ‘user-pays mail’ could have significance across demographic and geographic boundaries.

Being someone who checks his post box once a week, I personally don’t see value in receiving daily deliveries – so I’m unlikely to pay for it – and I’m not motivated to look at the potential impact on my household financially or socially. I will almost certainly receive less frequent bill payment reminders or community information notices – this could cost me financially and limit opportunities for me to be involved with my local community.

While mail is still important to such a large proportion of the population; so long as individuals open and read almost all the mail they receive; Australia Post will remain a vital national provider of communication. This message needs to be communicated to Mr Stanhope and Australia Post to ensure this model, or approaches like it, are not adopted now or in the future.

Donor loving tips from the Nether-region: Stewardship Ideas

Those of you lucky enough to have attended an international fundraising conference will hopefully agree with me: despite facing unique environmental challenges in our respective markets; despite having a very different understanding of what constitutes food; despite speaking different languages – including our American friends who are yet to discover English – we find it immensely valuable to share our fundraising learnings. I’ve gleaned much more from this experience than I expected. I really didn’t expect so much information to be transferable across borders.
I’d like to share some of the donor stewardship take-aways. None of them are new, but it’s very helpful to be reminded of their potential and to know that their effectiveness is universal. With any luck you will see some value in these. I’d be keen to hear your thoughts.
1.   Encourage charities to collect all data – including complaints and questions
o   Donors who phone or mail with a grievance or question are often passionate supporters and details of their communication with the charity should be recorded and used
o   For example, preferences for particular premiums, areas of the charity’s work, reasons for supporting, a grandchild’s name etc.
o   Complaints and questions can and should be followed-up with a low involvement action designed to engage them further with the cause
o   We could design an off-the-shelf survey with questions about their satisfaction with the experience and thank them for their concern
2.   Encourage response by re-sending the donor the premium they were recruited on
o   This is the premium that is most likely to motivate them – particularly true with lower value donors who are more likely to be those most incentivised
o   Use as an anti-attrition tactic – perhaps on the anniversary of their recruitment
o   Premiums are consumable items which need to be replaced after a period of time
3.   Use the welcome pack to outline what the mailing cycle will be
o   If a donor understands the process and is encouraged to be part of it, will it increase loyalty?
o   It might make donors feel that they’re not obligated to respond. If they don’t feel obliged they might be less likely to feel harassed and therefore more encouraged to read the letter (and subsequently donate)
o   Would this strategy improve long-term value?
Very keen to hear your thoughts.

Tidbits from the Nether-side - "don't just say thank you"

Fundraising law says “keep the proposition single minded”. This applies to the response mech which usually has a straight, uncomplicated ask. It certainly applies to the letter which will include ask after ask – each denoting the same value, need and target etc. 

However, there isn’t such a rule for thank you letters.
Why is “thank you” the only thing we are allowed to say in a thank you communication? Why can’t we use the letter to say other things too? 

The answer is we can. There is no evidence to suggest that it’s the wrong thing to do.
Yes, we should produce strategic tests. Lots of them. So I would like to challenge everyone to turn the humble, single purposed thank you letter into a stewardship device, income generator or conversion tool.
1.   Bequests - Include a bequest reference in the PS of the thank you letter
                                              i.     A cost effective reminder for the most loyal donors (i.e. the ones who respond) to include the charity when they next review their will: “Please remember to include us in your Will”.

2.   Survey – ask the donor questions. Engagement = loyalty
                                              i.     Ask the donor what they think. Use that information next time you communicate with them
                                             ii.     Ask them what inspires them and encourage involvement with the cause on a non-financial level
                                           iii.     Collect information for hyper-personalisation opportunities

3.   RG Conversion - Include a conversion ask
                                              i.     We’ve employed this strategy sparingly – one example was at Peter Mac – but we need to do more to show its effectiveness (or ineffectiveness)

4.   Donation forms – include a form and BRE
                                              i.     Including a form will raise more income.
                                             ii.     It doesn’t need to be overt to elicit response. One suggestion is to include an explanation in the PS: “many supporters call my colleagues to ask us to send them a donation form. We’ve included one here for you so you can make a donation and its cheaper for us to do it this way.”
                                           iii.     The form need not be large because the objective is different. It might be effective as DL.
                                           iv.     The form could be generic looking – something off the shelf which the charity already uses.
                                            v.     The PS could reference a feedback form that sits on the reverse of the donation form. The donation form might not even be referenced.
                                           vi.     The emphasis of the donation ask can be dialed up or down depending on the objective and appetite for risk. For instance, the form not have a donation capture, but rather a feedback form which people can send back in the BRE. This will raise income.

5.   Other ideas?
It would be great to hear your thoughts and opinions.

A systematic approach to emotionally engaging supporters

As humans we like to be acknowledged and there is no doubt that referring to me as an individual trumps being treated like a number. But can we do better? Can we connect with supporters and engage them beyond the rational - references like the date I first donated - or more personal than using the name of my dog or cat?

Maybe we could learn a thing or two from the commercial sector – specifically the hotel industry. At a recent stay in a boutique hotel (which I could afford based on a special rate) a handwritten note was waiting for me in my room.

My emotional response was to feel special and a little bit important. The gesture differentiated my experience of this hotel from others I had stayed in. It’s clearly a better choice than the hotel with the moldy shower and the concierge with tomato sauce stains on his tie. And in such a comparison – assuming similar price points – it’s the clear winner.

However, does this hotel compare favourably to hotels of a similar calibre; boutique hotels which also employ tried and tested tactics to engage customers with a personal touch? How does that handwritten note - and the ethically sourced, Fairtrade chocolate sitting on my pillow - compare to my experience in a competitor’s hotel?

Let’s bring it back to fundraising: how will the handwritten with-comps-slip from CEO ‘A’ compare to the note from CEO ‘B’? Both organisations are sophisticated enough to know that I’ve supported their cause for three years and they each know the name of my dog (Rover). Each CEO is profoundly grateful for my support and hopes that I’ll donate again today. What will differentiate my experience of one organisation from the other?

What if CEO ‘A’ had notes from every conversation I’d ever had with the charity and those notes were used to inspire a more engaging message or a more valuable phone call? If we knew a grandchild’s name or the age of their children would we use that information? Knowledge of a changed address or Rover’s visit to the vet might provide a good conversation topic or an opportunity to ask further questions. Undoubtedly supporter service teams speak to people everyday who share such information and who would be more deeply engaged with a signatory who treated them like a person – not a donor.

When I checked out of the hotel I had the welcome note in my hand with the intention to ask the concierge how the process worked. Before I was able to broach the subject he asked me: “were you happy with the window in your room, Mr Bailey?” Apparently in a phone conversation three weeks earlier I had mentioned that I prefer a room with a window and this information was available to him the moment I told him my room number. On my third stay I was asked if I needed anything printed ahead of my presentation and if the busy tax appeal workload had eased up yet.

The point to this discussion isn’t that personal engagement is important. For me, the lesson we can learn is in the system employed by the hotel. An emotionally engaging approach needs to be systematically structured to ensure information is collected and used effectively. Team members need to be trained to engage supporters and to intuitively record conversations. And a CEO needs to subscribe to the approach and embrace it.

Most organisations use personalisation in their fundraising - many are very good at it. However, as more charities move into the boutique bracket of emotional engagement, the difference between charity A and charity B will be the information they collect and the way it’s used. If you want a supporter’s experience to stand out from the sauce-stained ties, or for your CEO to mention more than Rover’s name, develop a systematic approach to emotional engagement.

Watching a couple in a cafe on a Sunday morning

He is in absolute command; listening, but waiting for her to finish. The palm of his hand leaves a red impression on his face before it is his turn to tell a story, to share another interesting anecdote. Having already eaten that morning, he orders a slice of cherry pie. She orders a sandwich. Not a good sign for the balance, or indeed the health of this early relationship - he didn’t care enough about the date to avoid spoiling his appetite. She laughs without restraint at the one liners that burgeon from his unkempt face between forkfuls of pie, while she has barely touched her sandwich.

She has been playing out the occasion in her head for the past week: vetting the location, deciding what to eat and what to wear; rehearsing how she would laugh, the stories she would share and at what point in the meeting she would invite him to join her at a beer garden she knows, where they can get to know each other better.

One half of her sandwich will be left, pieces of a torn sugar sachet will be in a neat little pile on his side of the table. At the beer garden, the afternoon sun will go to their heads like champagne as they fuel their inhibitions, and show each other their cards in a game that will end with a proposition, an assertion of their values, intoxicated and vulgar. Her cards are naïve, his deceitful.