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New fundraising ideas can work – we just have to try…


Any regular readers will know how I often lament the lack of great marketing and fundraising ideas making it to fruition.  All too often, decisions are made to bin new ideas because there is no proven track record of success or because it’s simply ‘different to the way things are always done around here…’

This week, I’ve had my faith restored by two approaches to fundraising that in one case is working and in the other, I hope works.  But both are trying something different to stand out from the plethora of charity messages we all receive at this time of the year.

The case of the missing collection box

Thieves stole a Marie Curie collecting box from a village café in Stanstead Abbotts and concerned citizen Steve Berry used his Just Giving page and various networks to set about replacing the contents of the box.

Steve’s campaign is on a small scale yes, but it shows what the power of collective positivity can achieve.  His appeal was not about revenge or guilting the thieves, it was about encouraging the positive side of our nature to help others when it’s needed.  Nothing to do with Marie Curie or the work they do at all.

Just take a look at his ask copy and his follow up… not sure many professionals could have done much better.  Bottom line; smashed fundraising targets and a genuine change of mood for the community concerned, towards the better side of human nature.

Give and we won’t bother you again

I received a seasonal mailing from Smile Train, the cleft palate correction charity, and on the envelope was the very bold statement;

Mr Baughen, make one gift and we’ll never ask again for another donation again.

This really piqued my curiosity so I opened the envelope and read the contents which explained that they would indeed honour recipients’ requests, after having explained what the donations are for, of course.  First job done – the pack gets through the hand-to-bin filter.

The letter goes on to explain that their approach to “giving children a second chance at life” is unique and they leverage this as a reason to support the charity.

I can hear fundraisers everywhere crying out that Smile Train is destroying its own future regular giving potential but I wonder….

This may be a temporary initiative so not impacting long-term opportunity.  It might only be a tactic employed to uplift response rates amongst cold prospects (where response rates are generally lower anyway).  And I would love to know how many people buy-in to the cause, give and then do actually remove themselves from future contact lists?

It would be great to see some figures but in the meantime, I applaud Smile Train’s efforts for trying something new to help their messages stand out.

What do you think?


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