Nell Edgington shared an interesting perspective on how to get Boards better engaged and working more effectively in her blog at Social Velocity. The premise was around five questions to ask the Board which made them think about what they were doing to actively support the charity.
I agree with her suggestions but want to add some more as I believe we need to be a bit more specific with our Board members and try to align their thinking with what it feels like everyday to try and deliver the strategies they come up with.
In all the successful charities I work with, there is a tangible link between the Board and the charity teams (including volunteers) and a shared empathy. This is cultivated and nurtured over time as genuine relationships are built between the groups and each feels they are both listening and leading in their own ways.
With that in mind, here are my suggestions for questions to ask your Board – or more appropriately, questions to ask your Board to ask themselves in an honest and reflective moment: Read more…
Here’s the final instalment of the 12 tips of Christmas series we’ve been doing with Craig Linton the Fundraising Detective - click on the links for part 1, part 2 and part 3. I hope the tips have given you some food for thought. We’d love to hear your feedback…
Tip 10: Personalise as much as possible – though make sure it’s cost effective!
One of my colleagues asked me the other day why I bothered writing a personal message in each of the Christmas cards I was sending to donors. She wanted to know “Why don’t you just sign them?”
My answer was if I just signed them, then it would make me the same as everyone else. By adding a little note and personal message it would make my card stand out from others and show the donor we cared.
Similarly, I’ve received lots of Christmas cards from agencies and suppliers. I won’t name names, but the ones that I remember are those who’ve gone the extra mile and added a personal note. It definitely makes me feel valued.
There’s an important caveat to this though. As much as I would love to write a personalised card to every donor, it would take over my life and in the end wouldn’t be cost effective. You need to make a judgement call of when it stops being a good use of time and stick to it. Read more…
Here’s the third instalment of our 12 tips of Christmas for fundraisers and charity marketing folks. Lovingly deliberated over and shared by Kevin Baughen of Bottom Line Ideas and the Fundraising Detective, Craig Linton
7. Brands don’t belong to the marketing or communications teams!
To be useful, our brands need to be understood, the emotional content felt by everyone in the organisation and most importantly, they have to be utilised consistently and frequently so that the end audiences feel that emotional engagement too.
Therefore, we should look for ways to help every member of staff and volunteer ‘get’ what our brands are all about and how to communicate the key messages therein. Try quick and easy tactics like creating a brand cheatsheet for staff which is much simpler than brand guidelines. It needs to outline just the core values and the high level aspects of what teams should be saying. It should include some useful templates and examples and written for non-marketers.
More strategically, we should aim to align our brands directly to what we’re trying to achieve and communicate them in this context. For example, Cancer Research UK’s recent re-brand was driven by their need to support their new, more focused strategy in their marketing and communications.
8. Do your homework before picking up the phone
When you’re calling a supporter, donor or potential supporter, make sure you know as much as you need to in order to have a productive conversation. Tailor your call accordingly and if you don’t have much information, avoid calling these contacts until you’ve exhausted all the contacts where you do!
Head of Direct Marketing at Sense, Amanda Santer shared a cracking example of a sales call she received which simply started with: “Are you the marketing lady?” Clearly everything that followed about how aligned the service was to Amanda’s needs was just untenable.
Perhaps worse is the ‘specialist’ telephone fundraising agency that called my in-laws three times in one week in November, in spite being told after the first call not to call again. AND the well-known animal charity employing the agency already knows that my in-laws don’t want phone calls from them.
Guess who’s direct debit is now under consideration?
9. Creative trickery, bells and whistles don’t make your message effective
Well, not on their own anyway. There are so many examples of people using creative techniques that I’m sure they think are awesome but very few drive responses if the underlying message isn’t strong enough.
We receive a fair few examples of these kinds of campaigns (thanks in particular for Rebekah Hah-Dwyer’s multi-coloured text… wish I could share this) and there are lots of other blogs and forums devoted to the topic. Check out Future Fundraising Now for example.
But when we need a good laugh, there is one place we go first: webpagesthatsuck.com… just to prove that whether you are a charity, a not-for-profit organisation or a business, directionless creativity isn’t that helpful.
Don’t try any of the things you see!
Our last instalment will be here later in the week.
As promised, here’s the second installment of our 12 Tips for Christmas, fresh from the keyboard of Craig Linton, the Fundraising Detective (You can read the first three tips here if you missed them!):
4. Review your processes to make sure they are donor focussed
When was the last time you checked your processes from a donor perspective? It’s something that’s been on my to do list all year and I’ve finally got round to doing it in the last few weeks. Read more…
Kevin Baughen and Craig Linton
In the run up to Christmas, we’ve decided to put our heads together with Craig Linton, The Fundraising Detective to work through some of the examples of various charity and fundraising communications we’ve seen recently and try to share the 12 tips we think they’ve taught us.
Some will be new and we expect some will be downright obvious, but it’s always worth being reminded of the things that work or that can scupper our results, right. We also want to try and put some thought around the examples to help folks put the ideas into practices (rather than just share an image of a direct mail pack).
So here goes with our first three tips
1. Get the timing and the context of your messages right Read more…
I recently blogged about the need to confound expectations every now and again in how we deliver our brand to our target audiences. It goes without saying that we need to make good on the promises we make by also doing what we say we’re going to do… and hopefully exceed rather than meet those expectations.
So with this in mind, I’m sitting in the middle of a good example right now. About 20 minutes ago I arrived at Esher Rugby Club in plenty of time to watch this evening’s women’s rugby international between England and New Zealand. Here’s the story so far:
- Meeting finishes early so I get here an hour earlier than anticipated. Security guards on the gate not quite ready for the public but chap apologises to me for appearing a little (and only a very little) disorganised.
- I have to pay for parking but, unlike other sporting occasions, the cost is actually reasonable.
- I collect my tickets from the ticket office where I’m one of only two people in line but the team still open another window and invite me along so I don’t have to queue… and then apologise for the wait (must have been at least 30 seconds up to that point).
- I go back to the security staff to ask if there is a coffee shop locally to be told that it’s closed but, when I explain I was after somewhere to sit down and do a bit of work before the game, they start to think on their feet. I’m invited into the clubhouse where the players are gathering and there is a friendly atmosphere.
- The bar isn’t open yet so the security guy asks if I mind instant coffee and then promptly goes to the staff kitchen, makes me one and won’t take any money for it.
- I’m invited to sit at a table near the open fire and use their guest WiFi network.
- And here I am… typing away in sight of the England team and wondering how I’m going to find an excuse to go and say hello.
This is my first time at Esher Rugby club and to say I’m impressed with how they treat customers – not paying members, mind – is a very pleasant surprise. They don’t know me from Adam but the fact that I have a shared interest and a common reason for being here tonight is underpinning how they are treating me.
Donors and supporters have a shared interest with our causes but how many of us are leveraging these to our organisation’s advantage and using this knowledge to consistently go the extra mile for them? I don’t think Esher Rugby has moved heaven and earth for me, I just think they’ve done a few little things very well and exceeded my expectations into the bargain.
Now let’s just hope the game is as good!