9 top tips on making Facebook ads work for fundraising

by Emily Casson

My digital team motto is ‘Think big, start small and scale quickly’ and Facebook advertising is a great tool to start, or grow, your digital fundraising. I started using Facebook advertising nearly three years ago and we now recruit over 10,000 new regular giving donors a year at a positive ROI, plus many more event participants, legacy pledgers and other supporters. So here’s some top tips that apply whatever your budget or cause.

  1. Think BIG about how digital can transform your fundraising.

What’s your aim? So you’ve decided to do embrace digital fundraising. Yey! But firstly stop and think why, how will Facebook advertising help you achieve your fundraising goals? And ultimately raise more money to achieve the aim of your charity. Set some clear goals and targets eg acquiring 1000 new regular givers or recruiting 3 Great North Run participants or 10 new fundraising volunteers. Don’t  forget the, harder to measure, secondary benefits eg raised awareness, impact on enquiries about the services your charity offers.

  • Plan your calendar.

Planning lots of different fundraising campaigns? Ensure you plan your calendar to maximise the chances of success eg retail ads at key times of year and appeal ads to tie into offline activity and legacy ads in Remember a Charity week. Seasonal ads often see an uplift, so get planning your Christmas campaign now. If running lots of fundraising ads at the same time keep an eye on frequency levels and serve to different audiences, to minimise potential of campaigns negatively impacting on each other.

  • Use  strong copy and creative.

Does your copy have a strong call to action? Remember people are scrolling past so it needs to be clear at a glance what action you want them to take. If using video in your creative mix then make sure it works with the sound off, as most people will be viewing it that way. Ads suffer from creative tire after a while, how long depends on frequency and length of your campaigns, so make sure you refresh your creative and ensure you have strong creative will a clear call to action. Use nudge theory to improve the performance of your ads eg a person looking at the button instead of straight ahead will prompt people to click.

  • Start small.

 Start with a pilot and I would recommend using a fundraising product you know works well offline for your charity  eg sponsorship or events. Don’t reinvent the wheel, yes digital donors can behave differently to your traditional supporter base (especially if your aim is to recruit a younger donor) but you know your charity best and you know what will go down well with supporters of your cause.

  • Test, learn, test, learn and then test some more.

I LOVE stats and Facebook allows you to test everything from creative to audience to see what converts better and Facebook insights are a goal mine. Even if you have a small budget and only have capacity to test a couple of things do it and question everything you think you know. Tried something and it didn’t work? Great news, that means you are innovating and not playing it safe and have potential for transformational growth.

  • Talk to your supporters.

My pet hate is seeing a Facebook advert with a load of comments underneath without replies from the charity. Someone comments to say they’ve donated/signed up/shared for you? Say thank you. Your supporter has asked you a question? Answer it! Getting lots of the same question? A comment handling bible is invaluable in dealing with a high volume of comments, the majority of which are likely to be nothing to do with the content of the ads or fundraising.

  • Don’t forget about conversion and retention.

Acquiring new supporters is great but have your optimised your landing page to improve conversion? If not you are missing out on potential income. Again testing is key here. Have you thought of what journey your supporters will go on? If time and budgets are limited even a simple thank you welcome email journey will help attrition rates (and more importantly delight your supporters!).

  • Measure your success.

Pixels are like little pieces of magic that let you track the performance of your campaigns and help optimise towards conversions. So if you haven’t already install them on your website. Make sure  you are checking back against your original goals and adjusting your campaigns based on the data. Also ensure your digital fundraising fits in with your ethical approach, there are some things you *could* do to improve results but don’t be afraid of saying no to anything your supporters wouldn’t be comfortable with.

  • Scale quickly and make your case for further investment.

So you’ve tried Facebook ads and it’s going well. You set your goals and measured your success, now it’s time to scale quickly. Make your case for investment to scale up Facebook activity and try new channels such as Instagram. Directors and trustees can sometimes see digital fundraising as a scary new world but facts and figures (and positive ROI!) can help convince them. If all else fails I’m always happy to share our success story and love hearing how other charities are scaling up their digital fundraising.

Case study: How I turned £10k into £110k and what you can learn from it

by Lizzi Hollis

One of my proudest moments as a fundraiser is a partnership I account managed with a large house-building company. They had made a £10,000 donation and chosen my charity as one of six partners. 18-months later they had raised nearly £200,000 and made a £113,000 donation towards a strategic partnership.

STEP ONE: HAVE A PLAN

I knew this partnership had the makings of something transformational for my organisation. My key contact shared this belief but recognised that the company was not ready to embrace it. Together, we had to maintain business as usual whilst drip-feeding the potential we both saw. I kept my vision for the partnership at the forefront and developed my comms around this.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Before starting a conversation with partner have a vision for what it could look like.  Ask yourself, “Where are we now? Where do I want to be?”

STEP TWO: UNDERSTAND THEIR PREFERRENCES

Early on I made sure I got to know my key contact within the company. She was based up in Scotland; face to face meetings were difficult. She would always call me, rather than email. I learnt that if I wanted her backing, I should first pick up the phone and follow up discussion points in writing.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Your counterpart’s preferred method of contact is a vital feature of stewardship. Often it’ll become clear to you and you can follow their lead.

STEP THREE: COMMUNICATION

If there was a new edition of our supporter magazine, an article in the news about our work, or something from the wider sector that was relevant, I would share this with the CSR committee.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Partners should be made to feel like activists, not cash cows. Keep your partner up to date with your charity’s news.  

STEP FOUR: MAKE IT PERSONAL

During winter, teams from the company participated in a “sock drive”. I responded to each office coordinator with a handwritten thank you card. It took about 90 minutes and gave me a cramped hand but I received lots of positive responses – I had engaged more staff across the organisation.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Never underestimate the value of a handwritten letter. Never be too busy to send a heartfelt, handwritten note.

STEP FIVE: REWARD

I invited my key contact along to a prestigious event as a thank you for her hard work. She told me it genuinely made her feel valued as a major component in the success of the partnership.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Understanding what recognition your contact wants is vital to a fruitful relationship.

STEP SIX: BE HONEST

During the partnership my organisation had some high-profile bad press. Despite my nervousness, I picked up the phone to inform my key contact of the news. She thanked me for my honesty and advance warning and reassured me that, as a large company, they were not unfamiliar with bad press. She confirmed their continued support and belief in our work. Yes, it was a difficult conversation to have, but people don’t like to be caught unawares and if they had found out another way, I could have lost her trust.

KEY TAKEAWAY: What do you do when the challenge is against your organisation and is resulting in bad press? Tell the truth.

STEP SEVEN: THINK LONG-TERM

We were given the opportunity to present an organisational challenge to a team of graduates for a project. I offered support and ideas to their project on topics that were not the focus of my role. You may wonder why I supported this with such gusto, here’s why…

Within six months I had a group of passionate advocates spread across the company. They were raising money, volunteering their time, and encouraging colleagues to engage with the partnership. I had also forged a relationship with the Group Director of HR – a vital decision maker on the CSR committee.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Consider long-term return on investment. Something that may seem like unnecessary work for you could secure further opportunities for success.

STEP EIGHT: DON’T BE SELFISH

The company wanted to encourage challenge events for employee fundraising. This seemed cumbersome and resource heavy…it also wouldn’t sit within my budget…but I could see the bigger picture. Yes, that employee’s abseil fundraising will fall into the “Events Team’s pot” rather than Corporate, but they also became more engaged in partnership activity and influenced their colleagues to do the same. It created better outcomes for my target as well as for our beneficiaries.

KEY TAKEAWAY: The biggest mistake we can make as fundraisers is to work in silos. All donors, including corporates, are not giving to your team, they’re giving to your beneficiaries.

STEP NINE: COLLABORATE

I arranged charity site visits and invited frontline colleagues to meetings, pitches and events. It was a vital part of bringing my vision for the partnership alive. Without the support of my colleagues I would not have been able to demonstrate the impact the company could have. I relied on them to get the information I needed for reports and proposals. Similarly, the finance team were a vital component when I needed to show the expenditure of our partner’s donation.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Recognise that internal stakeholders are as important as your external ones. It will build trust and respect with your external stakeholders.  

THE HAPPY ENDING

When the time came, I pitched the idea for the company to support us by expanding a service that could have a positive impact in one of their own challenges. I took along the head of the service and a client who shared his experience (the real hero of this story). They agreed to fund the expansion and support the project in its existing form.  It was a massive win for the partnership, but also confirmed my belief of what was possible. I also believe that, if you follow the steps above, you could do it too.

What I’ve Learned about being a Female Leader

by Zoe Amar

This morning I woke up to the news that fewer than half the UK’s biggest employers have succeeded in narrowing their gender pay gap. This is deeply worrying. Meanwhile Ruby Bayley-Pratt, fundraising policy and research manager at the British Red Cross, wrote an excellent piece recently for Civil Society about sexual harassment in the sector, leading to the Institute of Fundraising setting up a taskforce to tackle the issue. These stories show that initiatives such as Mandy Johnson’s wonderful Great Charity Speakers are needed now more than ever.

Being a woman in 2019 comes with many challenges. But I’m very proud to be a female leader in the sector.

Like every woman who finds herself in a leadership position, it hasn’t been an easy journey. I’ve worked with many women and men who’ve been supportive. They have encouraged, supported, and challenged me along the way. However, I’ve had moments when it’s been tough. Thankfully this has happened rarely, but earlier in my career I’ve been talked over in meetings and had reports I’d written explained to me. I’ve spent over a decade as a charity trustee and I remember coming home from a meeting some years ago feeling disheartened as the only woman on the board I then sat on. I could name many more times when I felt that it was harder to be a woman than a man.

As I progressed up the career ladder, I spoke to many female leaders I admired in and outside of the sector. And what I realised is that I had to celebrate what set me apart, which was particularly important to me as a BAME woman. In short, I had to change my mindset.

Soon after I started my first job many years ago, I asked a colleague how I could develop my gravitas and presence. My colleague gave me one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever had. She said, “They will listen to you because you are different.” I really do believe that if you are different it can be powerful and disarming when you speak up. It’s authentic and makes people stop and listen.

Part of my job now is to go in and have difficult conversations with senior leaders about the future of their organisations, and what is and isn’t working. If I looked like the people I spoke to they might bristle at a tough message. As a BAME woman I have an alternative perspective on things and that can help charities think differently about what they do, but also gives me a licence to challenge and to speak truth to power. Once I started to think like that I felt liberated.

The charity as well as the tech world needs to do a lot more to improve diversity. Just 19% of the UK tech workforce is female, and 81% is male. Almost 80% of senior leadership teams at charities lack any ethnic minority professionals. This isn’t good enough and the sector needs to make it an urgent priority to change this. As a BAME woman I feel that I need to be more visible now, not less. Stats like these make me want to highlight who I am, not hide it. If you are different, you need to own it and you need to rock it. And the good thing is that if you automatically stand out, you are more likely to be remembered.

As a woman, there are always going to be people who judge you, including how you look. But you can choose how much time you give to other people’s opinions. In the early years of my career I wore navy pinstriped trouser suits to my job working in a City law firm, worrying a lot about whether I fitted in. The rules have changed now, and so have I. I’ve always loved colourful clothes, bold prints and dresses and high heels. That’s just who I am. If it makes you feel confident and comfortable, wear it.

At the social enterprise I run, I’m very proud that 92% of my team are women. I look out for other women in the sector because it’s the women who came before me who helped me achieve what I have today.

That’s why we need to see more women speaking at conferences and represented in leadership roles. And it’s exactly why we must keep challenging the sector and ourselves if we don’t see the change we want. Because if we don’t, who will?

by Zoe Amar MCIM
Founder and Director Zoe Amar Digital

Inclusion in the charity sector: why do we need it?

by Siobhan Corria

I didn’t think twice when I saw a shout out for contributors to ‘Great Charity Speakers’. When founder, Mandy Johnson suggested I write about inclusion and the charity sector, I jumped at the chance. Firstly, a bit of background as to who I am and why I am involved in championing equality, diversity and inclusive (EDI) practice in the charity sector.

A BIT ABOUT ME

I have been the Head of Inclusion for Action for Children for five years. Before taking up this post, I was a local councillor in Cardiff. Prior to that I did a degree in Criminal Justice and Policing, worked as a Case Manager in Youth Justice and a Social Worker for looked after children before entering politics (during which time I was Scrutiny Chair for Children’s Services and education and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services). My interests lie in social justice, inequality and social inclusion.

I have seen women struggle, I have seen that struggle made worse by working within some of the oppressive structures that exist within society.

It was during my two and a half years in politics that I experienced what it was like not to fit a stereotype, to experience a subtle culture of sexism and to not fit in. When I was appointed as Head of Inclusion for Action for Children, I couldn’t quite believe it. I could combine championing diversity and (indirectly) improving outcomes for children, young people and families by supporting colleagues to fully be themselves.

There are not many posts like mine within the charity sector and I don’t think there are any UK wide inclusion posts that are based outside of London. I am based in Cardiff. Diversity tick box #1.

WHY DOES THE CHARITY SECTOR NEED INCLUSION EXPERTS?

We are the charity sector. Surely our values and principles are sound, and we can sleep tight at night. Well, the sector may think its values and principles are sound, but what about its behaviour?

The sector can sleep tight at night because it doesn’t reflect on its behaviour.

It doesn’t have time to reflect, because it doesn’t factor in reflection as a key activity in ensuring excellent services, successful campaigning and lobbying are inclusive and representative of our diverse communities.

THE SECTOR IS COMPLACENT

Managing a diverse, creative, imaginative and innovative team is more demanding because breaking up the status quo is much more difficult than maintaining it. Sometimes, when individuals in the charity sector get where they want and/or need to be, they deviate from disrupting how things stand. Jobs like mine are the conscience in a comfortable sector.

WHY IS EQUALITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION ESSENTIAL WITHIN THE THIRD SECTOR?

Winning contracts, increasing supporters and recruiting and retaining the most talented staff are requirements across the sector, so why is inclusion so important?

An inclusive and diverse working environment is crucial within service delivery so that staff and volunteers feel inspired and supported to develop new ideas and concepts.

When working operationally, it can feel that the emphasis is on meeting key performance indicators, so imaginative, innovative and radical concepts from a diverse mix of employees must be encouraged.

FIVE REASONS WHY INCLUSION IS IMPORTANT

I believe there are five key points that needs to be considered when thinking about the importance of inclusion and improving outcomes for children and young people:

  1. The staff and volunteer complement need to reflect the backgrounds of the children, young people and parents who access the service. This will immediately assist in building trust between the service users and the practitioners.
  2. Practitioners who are supported to be themselves within the workplace will feel more motivated, supported and encouraged to develop creative interventions.
  3. Ensuring and championing the participation of children, young people and parents will create a relationship of confidence and help to ensure interventions meet the needs of individuals and groups within a service.
  4. Staff engagement within the sector must be meaningful and based on wanting to develop pioneering ways of working during the continued period of diminishing budgets. The practitioners on the ground not only know the work and how to make it effective and efficient, but they want to be involved in policy development and new ways of working.
  5. It’s not enough for practitioners who work in service delivery to say they understand equality, diversity and inclusion. Annual objective setting must include specific inclusion objectives, particularly with regards to raising awareness of equality issues within the organisation.

The structural inequality that exists throughout all organisations and society must be regularly highlighted and challenged by those who entered the sector with a passion for improving outcomes.

Siobhan Corria is Head of Inclusion at Action for Children. She is featured on the list of Great Charity Speakers. You can reach her directly via LinkedIn and Twitter.

Becoming Bombproof

By Anj Handa

You’re bombproof. Like one of those police horses trained not to flinch.

This was a comment made recently by someone I’ve worked with. It’s true that I’m able to hear shocking or harrowing news without reacting rashly. I know this is what makes me a great coach when it comes to people who want to move on from past trauma and transform their life. Helping to transmute pain to something positive is what I do best.

A bombproof horse approaches a variety of situations with confidence, making riders, other people, and the horse much safer. People I work with tell me that I help them feel safe – that’s crucial in a coaching relationship. For me, being bombproof is about being able to understand patterns and that people have stories but they don’t have to remain stuck in the narrative.

SOME STORIES THAT INFLUENCED ME

My life transformation began in 2012, following a close friend’s suicide. He, Danny, was found by our mutual friend, who called me from the police station to go comfort him. I did so, and broke the news to others but I was just in control mode..I’d been in that mode since the death of another friend in 2001 whom I reported missing when he failed to turn up to meet me. His body was discovered a fortnight later. In my mid twenties, I was alone when I had to speak at the inquest.So adept at controlling my emotions was I that, aside from the odd panic attack, I was successful in life and at work. But Danny’s death was a double whammy..For the first month, a friend came by every single night and waited until I fell asleep because I couldn’t sleep otherwise. In month two, I thought I was OK then it got to month three…then it did feel as if a bomb had exploded..I couldn’t get out of bed and I cried pretty much three days solid. Then I told myself I couldn’t continue like that and finally booked myself bereavement counselling sessions.There is *never* a good reason not to hope.CLICK TO TWEETThe counsellor identified my control issues by session three. I thanked him and didn’t bother taking up the remaining nine sessions. Instead I went off to discover how I could be more in flow.

ONE OF MY LIFE-CHANGING READS

As a voracious reader at the best of times, I took out library books rather than take out another mortgage to fund a self-development library of my own. One of the first books picked up was by Supercoach by Michael Neill. I transcribed the ten key teachings into my special bronze book which is kept in my bedside drawer. Here they are:

  1. The world is what you think it is. You are creating your experience of the world moment by moment.
  2. Wellbeing is not the fruit of something you do; it is the essence of who you are. There is nothing you need to change, do, be or have in order to be happy.
  3. There is nowhere for you to get to – you’re just here.
  4. Whatever you decide will never impact your life as much as how you handle the consequences of that decision.
  5. Every emotion you feel is a direct response to a thought, not to the world around you.
  6. No matter what seems to be going on in your life, you don’t have to do anything. Everything you do (or don’t do) is a choice.
  7. You create other people by how you listen to them.
  8. You can ask anyone for anything when you make it OK for them to say no.
  9. Financial security does not come from the amount of money you currently have, it comes from your ability to get more of it whenever you want. Master the art of serving others and you will secure your financial future.
  10. There is *never* a good reason not to hope.

COACHES COACH COACHES

Michael’s words have helped me over the years but I’m not in the financial position to hire him as my own coach. But I know a man who is! And I’m so delighted and grateful that Peter Sleigh, who is being coached by Michael himself, will nudge me forward at the start of the third year of Inspiring Women Changemakers..And if you are ready, truly ready, to change your life, to get go of your attachments to your limiting stories and to move forward to a lighter, brighter future, then check out my signature coaching programme, LOVE (You). It stands for Liberation, Optimism, Values and Energy and I promise you I will help to bring all of those things into your life.

Source:
www.inspiringwomenchangemakers.co.uk

List of charity speakers ‘who are not white and male’ published


First published: 10 Apr 2018

Mandy Johnson, the chief executive of the Small Charities Coalition, has published a list of non-male charity sector conference speakers.

Johnson drew up her initial list last Friday, after posting on Twitter that it had “come to my attention that we need to provide conference organisers with a list of brilliant speakers from the charity sector who are not white and male”.

At the time of publishing the list features over 150 speakers divided between those “who do not identify themselves as white or male” and “white people who do not identify as male”.

The list is further sub-divided into area of expertise, including “academic experts”, “chief execs, exec directors and founders”, “fundraising experts” and “service delivery experts”.

In the preface to the list, Johnson wrote: “Too many times I am told that it is hard to find good speakers in the charity sector who aren’t male and/or white. I want to rid conference organisers of that excuse.”

Johnson has continued to ask for more recommendations from people from the sector on Twitter, tweeting a link to a form that people can complete.

The list is currently hosted on a free WordPress site, but Johnson has also launched a GoFundMe fundraising page to “upgrade” the site, which she said would allow her to “add a few features to the website and use it to continue to engage people with this conversation”.

The page has now raised £320 of its stated £400 goal. Johnson said that if more than £480 is raised, “any additional funds will be donated to the Small Charities Coalition”.

Speaking to Civil Society News, Johnson said: “The list is far from perfect at the moment. There are lots of great people missing from it and many more ways it could be developed to make it better but it is a start. I am also aware that there have been requests for changes to highlight people for different reasons, such as all of the brilliant disabled speakers who are often absent from charity conferences.

“I have been overwhelmed by the response that I have received to this list and apologise that I haven’t been able to respond to everyone who has contacted me so far. I really appreciate everyone’s support and would welcome offers from anyone who would like to volunteer to support the list’s development and maintenance.”

Source: civilsociety.co.uk

Why am I doing this?

A little while ago I made the difficult decision to step down from the Committee of Charity Women. Charity Women is a brilliant group of people who are trying to address the gender inequalities that exist in the charity sector. I absolutely believe in their mission but didn’t feel like I had enough time for my family, my job, my trustee roles whilst giving Charity Women the time and attention it deserves.

I learnt a lot by being part of the group. One thing that really stayed with me was the importance of asking who else is going to be on the panel ,or on the speaker list, when I am asked to speak at events. I have got into the habit of saying “as long as I’m not the only woman” and/or “I will speak if you can make sure that there are people who are not-white speaking at the event”.

I have nothing against white men, I have learnt a lot from my Dad, my husband, my male friends and peers. I am also a huge fan of Johnny Depp and Postman Pat. Yet I believe that I cannot become the best I can be unless I am exposed to the knowledge, skills and expertise of a diverse range of people with different views, experiences, cultures, perspectives and ways of working. I also know that if all we see are white men speaking at conferences, then it is harder for people who aren’t male and/or white to recognise that they can and should be thought-leaders too. That is why I ask the awkward questions when I am asked to speak at an event.

The response that I get is mixed. Most people see me as a pain for asking the question. I get excuses for why the conference organiser believes it’s not possible, sometimes I never hear anything back, more frequently I am asked for recommendations of great female, non-white experts in the field. Essentially, because the conference speakers do not have a pool of people who aren’t male and/or white to reach out to, I have made their life harder. As a result, my ridiculous request is delivered back to me as something I need to help with.

The good news is, I am happy to help. I want conference organisers to be aware that there is a huge pool of talented speakers across the charity sector who aren’t male and are not all white.

That is why I have created this website. I want to provide a place that conference organisers from the charity sector can discover the brilliant speakers who deserve to have their voices heard.

“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.” – Ani DiFranco