Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Still dying to give?

Been on my travels to Cornwall, Worcester, Norwich and Scotland in the last few weeks, hence no blogs so sorry about that. However in conducting my research, I've been asking people (regular charity supporters) about their charitable intentions, if they've made a charitable will and if so, who is mentioned and why.

As you can imagine I've been getting some very interesting answers and, whisper it very quietly,Richard Radcliffe might just have a point when he says people lie! I don't think they knowingly lie about charitable bequests but I get the feeling that they don't tell the whole truth and unless a charity can maintain a close relationship they will never know or understand changed circumstances and feelings.

In my last post I mentioned that two charities, both in my wife's will had not responded well to my requests for changed status etc. One of them, The National Trust cocked up big time and certainly will not be mentioned in my updated will. The other? Well let's wait and see how they respond in the medium term!

What I'm finding is people do write new wills changing bequests but they never tell the charities, who generally, never find an appropriate way to ask anyway.

I'm doing a talk for the DSC fundraising fair on Friday about, "Marketing Strategy for Effective Fundraising" and have been revising my notes. One of the definitions I cite is worth repeating here for anybody thinking about their communications strategy. It's from Tom Peters and talking about relationship marketing says it needs to be about, "The relentless pursuit of an almost familial bond between customer and product." That's where we need to be at.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Dying to give?

My wife died four weeks ago. Six months from diagnosis to death from Bile Duct Cancer. All too much, too soon. The pain doesn't go away but the process of dealing with everything keeps one occupied.

It is very interesting to see how different organisations deal with the notification of death and how different some of the responses are. The banks were both very professional, sympathetic and did what they promised. Two charities, of whom she was a member, promised a call back and failed to respond. Think they'll be on my giving list?

My research shows that the death of a loved one - parent, partner or child, is probably the single most powerful trigger for charitable gifts. It is the reason people form charities and make endowments. The Princess Alice Hospice, who had been great in the last few weeks of her life, benefited from more than £1,000 of donations in lieu of flowers and will probably, in the fullness of time benefit from a gift in my will. The two I've mentioned who with four other charities were in her will for a conditional bequest, are now rather unlikely to benefit from my new will.

Those regular readers amongst you will know that I do bang on about the boomers, but with good reason. We are dying in increasing numbers and are still writing charitable wills. I suspect however we are far quicker to write charities out of our wills when they upset us. So how do we keep those existing supporters happy enough to become legators?

More of that later.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Why the England team lost

So Stephen Gerrard thinks that by telling the England team how painful not qualifying is, he is going to motivate them to win? Well that worked well didn't it? Sports Psychologists know (or ought to) that to improve your winning edge you visualize, not failure but success! Did Johnny Wilkinson line up his penalty kicks thinking, " this one might veer left?" Not in a month of Sundays. He visualized the ball sailing between the posts. Over and over again. Similarly penalty takers are taught to see the ball in the back of the net, not sailing over the crossbar.

The England team were ranked 8th but conspicously under achieved, at least in part, because they were filled with the fear of failure instead of being given the licence to play to their strengths and visualize the taste of success.

So how do we apply these lessons to fundraising? Simples. Give your fundraisers the license to fail, don't make taking risks a blame game. Allow them to take chances (carefully calculated of course). Encourage an atmosphere that celebrates success and learns from failure. We generally learn much more from something going wrong, provided that we allow people to analyse and reflect in a non-judgemental environment.

Try it sometime and see the difference in performance.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

How to raise more money?

That's the holy grail or the question to the answer 42 (sorry Douglas Adams) yes?

Well, perhaps not. I did an interview with John Bingham at the Daily Telegraph about the latest OECD report discussing the question of whether, "are we in the UK becoming more generous?" There is some evidence, but my take based on the research and personal observations is that the jury is still out. Consequently any increase in generosity is much more likely to be a legacy of the recession. After all, how many of you really feel better off now than 12 months ago?

So maybe we need to be thinking more about those crucial questions of capacity to give and propensity to give before we try to home our fundraising techniques. Just because somebody appears in the Sunday Times Rich List and so is worth at least £85m (used to be around £10m)does not mean that they are interested in, or will ever be interested in your case for support no matter how potent or powerful your ask. That said, recent experiences of Crowd Fundraising (Claire Squires and Steven Sutton) show that asks can go viral if everything fits. Though how do you make it fit?

I think therefore that my session at the DSC fair next Friday "Marketing Strategy for Effective Fundraising" is going to pose some particularly jucy, pertinant questions and what's more I'm going to have a go at winkling out some of the answers! So I do hope to see some of you there. Meanwhile what are your thoughts on the question of whether we are indeed becoming more generous? After all, if it is true, it's sure going to make fundraising even more effective.

To the regulars, I'm sorry that I've been away for some time with family problems but hope to be updating regularly from now on.

Monday, 13 January 2014

What's philanthropy got to do with fundraising?

Seriously, I'm seeing an increasing use of fundraising technique with little regard for the basis case for support. Am I alone in worrying that we are really in danger of alienating potential supporters with repeated, inappropriate demands for money, time and involvement without paying any attention to what the supporters really would like to see? Hands up those of you who have talked to or heard committed supporters moaning about endless appeals, inappropriate asks, six figure salaries and the like? The media will always be ready with a pop but I am not alone in detecting a very worrying rise in the number of serious givers who are variously changing their giving habits.
It's one of the reasons we're asking the question at a round table session on 29th January. Come along if you've got something to add, or would just like to hear some informed comment. You can book a place through Eventbrite.

And, please add your five eggs worth here. I think it could be the big question for 2014. Are we losing givers faster than we're recruiting them?