Christmas – the most wonderful time of the year!

christmas tree with baubles

Trees are twinkling under lights and tinsel. Turkey dinners are being planned and prepped. Family and friends are gathering for the holiday festivities.

Unfortunately, Christmas may not be as wonderful if you are one of the estimated 1.3 million women affected by domestic abuse in the last twelve months. Domestic abuse doesn’t stop just because it is Christmas. For those recovering from the trauma of abuse, it can be a dark and difficult time.

Women staying at The Haven often worry about how they will buy gifts for their child, having fled their own homes with nothing, and children can often feel sad that their Christmas looks very different to that of their classmates at school. For many of the families at The Haven, it is the first Christmas they have spent away from their home and family; making it even more difficult.

pexels-photo-257910.jpegAt The Haven we try to provide an authentic Christmas experience for the women and children we support.  At each of our refuges we create a magical grotto, where Mum’s and children can come to choose gifts to take away and wrap for one another. We encourage lots of festive activities too; from Santa visits, to cookie making.

We also like to provide Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. The most important part is that Mum’s and children have the opportunity to spend quality time together, making happy memories over the festive period as they move forward into a life free from abuse.

On most women’s Christmas list are the common things like perfume or pyjamas but for the women we support their list is often very different; they hope for safety and a new start. It’s something that many are looking for as we start a new decade, but it is particularly important for women and children who have been affected by domestic abuse. The Haven every year tries to make Christmas feel special and magical to every woman and child that asks us for help.

glass of milk near christmas present

This Christmas is even more poignant; as we move into a new decade, we start to think about what we want from the future. Women and children in The Haven want a future free from domestic abuse and the trauma they have experienced. So, this Christmas as you tuck into your dinner and pull crackers laughing at the terrible jokes with your family and friends – please take a moment to think about the women and children settling in for a Christmas in refuge.

The Haven takes over 1000 helpline calls every month. Just £2 cover the cost of each call from a woman and her children in dire need. This Christmas, can you spare £2 to help ensure support is available for those who’s festive period may not look as bright?

Donate here www.havenrefuge.org.uk/donate-to-the-haven

 

So…they hired another white man.

by Mandy Johnson

This Thursday was one of those complicated days for me. In the morning I took part in a panel discussion at the “Women in Civil Society Leadership Conference”, hosted by Inclusive Boards. It was an inspiring morning full of speakers who had an interest in inclusion and diversity. I wanted to stay all day to soak up the wisdom of the people in the room. Sadly, I was not afforded that luxury.

EXPERT SPEAKER TO “MUMMY” IN ONE TRAIN RIDE

I snuck out of the conference early so that I could take my son to an appointment. I scoffed down a sandwich on the train and went from “Mandy Johnson” back to “Mummy”. Later that evening I received a message from a friend of mine,

So NCVO has announced its new CEO… Lots of gushing tweets but also some surprise behind the scenes and talk about missed opportunities.”

I turned straight to Twitter to see what they were talking about and there it was…

NCVO announcement

Karl Wilding has been appointed as the new CEO of NCVO. The sector’s largest infrastructure body has chosen another white man as its leader. I couldn’t ignore the irony; I had missed the announcement because I’d been tied up with “mummy duties” and a conference about increasing female leadership in the sector.

ANOTHER WHITE MAN

Over the last two days I’ve had more messages from more people questioning NCVO’s choice. One friend wrote the following to me,

“…with all due respect to Karl Wilding, it’s incredibly disappointing that the largest support body in the UK did not place diversity at the heart of the CEO search. While they have published their process in order to claim transparency, Karl was hired by white male institution in 1998 and was virtually groomed to take Stuart’s place. What an incredible waste of resources and opportunities. Am I nuts to think this??”

 Of course, I reassured her that I didn’t think she was nuts… yet there was something stopping me from outrightly agreeing with her.

THE BEST PERSON FOR THE JOB?

Part of my dilemma was that, from my limited experience of Karl, whilst he lacks some of the characteristics some of us are so desperate to see represented in his sort of job, I think he’ll make an excellent CEO in many ways. He’s a man who cares deeply about the sector, is an active volunteer for local charities and keeps himself very well-informed. He’s also a nice bloke, without any airs and graces. He does his best to champion diversity and inclusion and he’s got twenty years of experience in navigating the complex world of NCVO – and doing it well. What if he really is the best person for the job?

SHOULD WHITE MEN BE STEPPING ASIDE?

A question from the conference earlier that morning has been reverberating round my head. A woman of colour asked the white, female CEO of the Charity Commission whether we should be encouraging white men to step aside to leave space for a different type of leader to be given a chance. Stephenson (the CEO) responded by saying that she didn’t think this was necessary. She suggested that, now the conversation about equality, diversity and inclusion in the charity sector has started, change would happen naturally over time.

IS CHANGE COMING?

As we were hearing that change is coming, on the notepad in front of me, were some of the stats that showed little evidence to support this:

  • 92% of all charity trustees in the UK are white[i]
  • 91% of charity sector employees are white[ii]
  • 3% of people in senior leadership teams are BAME[iii]
  • 64% of charity trustees are male [i]
  • 25% of senior leadership teams are female [iv].

With Karl’s appointment failing to contribute a change to those statistics, we remain the worst sector in the country in terms of racial diversity.

SHOULD WHITE MEN BE STEPPING ASIDE?

The second interview panel (who recommended Karl’s appointment to the Board) was an all-white panel. The charity’s Board didn’t recognise what they would miss out on by not have a more diverse range of people making recommendations to them at this point. So, if Karl had stepped aside, would it have really made any difference to the statistics above?

The reality is we will never know. But the chances are that, if Karl hadn’t put himself forward, another white man probably would…and he may have been less qualified. Perhaps an organisation that has twenty-five years’ experience of employing a white, male CEOs may need just one more, with an understanding of diversity and inclusion, in order for it to drive the change required to become a truly diverse and inclusive organisation.

I hope that Karl will be that man – and I believe he might be. But in order to truly to deliver on this goal, perhaps he should be willing to move on when he’s delivered the changes that will make it possible for a different type of leader to take the reins?

[i] Charity Commission Taken on trust: awareness and effectiveness of charity trustees in England and Wales (2017)

[ii] NCVO Civil Society Almanac (2018)

[iii] Inclusive boards, Charities: Inclusive Governance (2018)

[iv] Inclusive boards, Charities: Inclusive Governance (2018)

Goals Gone Wild – Women Strategically Helping Women Succeed

You’re strategic about your fundraising. You’re committed to your cause. But are you deeply invested in your career advancement?

If you answered yes, we applaud your dedication. But if the answer to the last question is no, why not? What is holding you back?

For most women discussions around gender equality and pay equity in our sector are difficult ones to have. The Association of Fundraising Professionals Women’s Impact Initiative (WII) recently highlighted a 2017 study demonstrating that gender accounts for a 10% pay gap between male and female fundraisers.   The source of this gap? It’s long been thought it’s because women don’t ask, but a 2018 McKinsey & Company Women in the Workplace study is tracking a different reality: women negotiate for raises and promotions as often as men, but they do not always get the same outcomes.

The reason we started Goals Gone Wild was as provocative as the title. As the famous feminist writer Roxanne Gay once wrote, “If you and your friends are in the same field and you can collaborate or help each other, do this without shame. Men invented nepotism and practically live by it. It’s okay for women to do it too.”  So that’s exactly what we did.

The group started socially. We were four women who without close ties who came together to teach a fundraising course. What started out as regular meetings to discuss course instruction slowly evolved into an informal networking group. What we came to realize is that we were at varying stages of professional development and had ambitions to grow in our careers. We wondered if other women in our sector felt the same way we did, and if so, how were they planning the next stages of their career advancement? It became an opportunity to lift one-another up and to see more women leading organizations in the non-profit sector in our region.

The model is simple. You spend some time considering the questions of fit and what’s important personally before you set your next three career goals. One that you could achieve right now, one that is slightly out of reach right now and a final goal that would be where you see yourself in 5-10 years. With those three goals in mind, you set out to build a plan that would position you for those changes. You consider the current gaps in your education, experience and relationships to decide what opportunities you need to embrace to be successful. The three-stage process is done independently with check-ins with your group to raise new ideas and solutions.

The process itself is simple and the goal is to push it out beyond our current community by helping other small groups embrace the Goals Gone Wild approach to career planning. We’ve learned along the path that there is some magic that you work to create. If you’re ready to give it a try you need the following:

  • a small group of four (4) to six (6) like-minded women with distinct networks.
  • to create an atmosphere of trust and compassion.
  • to make a commitment to move through the process and support each other in a timely method.

We want this model – or any model – that moves women upward on the career ladder in fundraising and non-profit. It’s important that we see gender equality at the most senior levels of our profession, on our boards, as the speakers at our conferences and the lead consultants in our industry. It’s time.

As stated by feminist G.D. Anderson: “feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.”  Help lift each other up and give each other a voice.

Are you interested in learning more about the Goals Gone Wild model?  Reach out and we will help you set up a similar network in your community!

 

Authors and Goals Gone Wild Founders:

Liz LeClair

In January 2019, Liz LeClair wrote an op-ed for CBC News about the MeToo crisis in the non-profit sector.  Liz brings more than 15 years of experience to her role as the Senior Development Officer at Dalhousie University. She has had the privilege of working and living coast-to-coast in Canada.  She has worked with a variety of non-profits, helping to build strong fundraising programs and extensive experience in managing and leading teams, the development of strategic plans, and a genuine passion for raising funds for important causes in her community.

Twitter: @liz_hallett

 

Sarah Lyon

Sarah was hired on the spot for the fundraising department at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia. Her previous fundraising experience being door to door cookie sales for Girl Guides. Since then she has studied the fundraising greats and earned a CFRE, became the ASNS Director of Philanthropy, spoken at the AFP Congress in Toronto and currently sits on the Association of Fundraising Professionals Canada Foundation for Philanthropy Board.

She is the founder of the Giving Tuesday Canada Civic Movement, Nova Scotia Gives More, just celebrated her ninth year at ASNS and, she continues to this day to sell Girl Guide cookies.

Twitter: @SAPL

 

Marni Tuttle

Marni Tuttle is invested in non-profit success. She believes philanthropy makes the impossible possible. Marni is a strategic fundraising professional skilled at partnering philanthropists and visionary ideas to make our world a better place. She has what a volunteer once described as 20-year ‘gold-plated’ fundraising resume with leadership roles in education, health care and environmental philanthropy.  She has built a career around progressive roles in annual giving, community engagement, major gift, campaign strategy, planned giving, prospect management and now focuses on helping charities grow. Marni is currently the Director of External Relations for the Nova Scotia SPCA.

Twitter: @marnituttle

 

Lisa Weatherhead

Lisa is the Regional Executive Director for the Atlantic Region of Cystic Fibrosis Canada. Based in Dartmouth, she and her team work with eight remarkable volunteer chapters and partners across the Region. Her career has led her from corporate sales and sales training to a career in the charitable sector, including roles at Xerox and Dalhousie University Faculties of Dentistry and Health Professions external relations team. She is also one of three Dale Carnegie Business Coaches in Nova Scotia. Lisa graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Commerce. In addition to board roles with Big Brothers Big Sisters and AFP NS, she has been an active volunteer for many years working with various events and organizations in the Halifax area including Big Brothers Big Sisters and Halifax Relay for Life as well as a facilitator for the Fundamentals of Fundraising.

Twitter: @officiallisaw

An anonymous letter from a charity CEO to the Board…

Foreword written by Mandy Johnson

I was recently contacted by the CEO of a small charity. Like so many other small charities, her organisation has been struggling financially – they have not been awarded grants they were expecting and contracts have been cut over time. To address these issues, she requested an extraordinary board meeting.

After the meeting she felt even more concerned than when she went into it. Her Board had interrogated her, rather than helped her find solutions. She stopped feeling part of a team and started feeling like a naughty school girl who needed to be reprimanded. I have heard similar stories so many times from other small charity CEOs.

This week, the same woman was kind enough to share the follow up letter that she wrote to her Board. I have changed a few of the details in order to anonymise the charity (and the CEO) but the bulk of the original letter is included below.

Her words articulate so well things that I know many of us have experienced at a Board meeting. I hope you find the letter therapeutic in the way that I did – it made me feel that I was not alone. It also left me with questions – Why does this happen? How can we change this? I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts…

“Dear Trustees

 First, I want to say thank you. I approached all of you individually and asked you to join the board of this organisation, and without hesitation, you all agreed and that for me was very humbling. You all joined because you strongly believe in the work we are trying to do. It doesn’t matter whether it affects you directly or indirectly; you connect with the people we serve and you gave your time and expertise to want to make a change. For that I will forever be indebted to everyone single person on the board, past and present.

 The journey of this charity has not been easy. It has been a struggle from day one and, with the support from the board, we have been able to weather the storm. We heard things, we have been called out on many things, some justifiable and others out of sheer pettiness, but we stayed focused on why we are here. As an organisation, we have operated on very small budget but have achieved things beyond our wildest dreams. We have capitalised on the passion of both the board and staff to drive a dream that sometimes is even scary for us, but we have also come out strong and determined.

 This is why the event of this week shocked me. I came to the board meeting last week expecting us to find a solution to the financial challenge that we have. I call it a “challenge” because I see it as just another hurdle that we need to find a way of jumping over.

 At last week’s Board meeting, what I needed was support, what I got was reproach.

 There was no acknowledgement of the work the staff and I have put into the charity. There were no words of encouragement whatsoever about where the organisation is currently. There was no concrete plan from the board on how to solve the challenges that we are faced with.

What I heard were people trying to save themselves as fast as possible.

 I have no objection to this, as I think it is important, but I felt I was being thrown under the bus.

 For two weeks, my mental health has taken a deep toll. Leading up to this meeting, I was having severe panic attacks. But I kept working. I kept the staff working.

 To be so unappreciated, was a big slap in the face. I have sacrificed good jobs for this organisation, because I don’t want what happened to me to happen to someone else. I always have the interest of this charity at heart. I strongly believe in the principles upon which it was founded. I will always be passionate about this issue.

Yesterday I sent an email to you all from an expert. I was expecting a response from the board but not a single person replied.

As the CEO of this charity, I face lot of struggles every day. I wish that, once in a while, someone from the board would touch base to ask how we are doing and coping. This rarely happens – some of you have never done it.

This email is not sent to lay blame, far from it. I will never do that. I know none of you have to serve on this board; you do it because you care. The intention of this email is to say that last week’s board meeting should not have gone the way it did. It has achieved very little and put all of us under stress. We are left with a challenge and no solutions. I just feel it should have been better.

I have learnt a lot from this experience and from working with the organisation. I now think it would be better for someone else to take charge. Someone who can do the work even better than I am doing but without the deep, emotional connection that I have.

I will be writing to the board officially to tender my resignation letter.

Once again, thank you for your support, your love, your service and your passion.

 Yours sincerely

A small charity CEO

Charity leadership in the age of populism

by Lucy Caldicott

With populist politicians taking power around the globe in recent years and a rise of extremes in politics, I’ve been thinking a lot about what effective leadership could and should look like at this time.

The divisive and turbulent political backdrop combined with the voluntary sector’s own challenges coping with rising demand for our services, competition for funds, issues of safeguarding, and a critical media landscape can feel overwhelming. But, whilst we can’t control what goes on around us, we do all have choices about how we behave and how we respond. We’re all leaders in our own spheres. Whether we’re young or old, black or white, we are all leaders. Just look at Greta Thunberg, leading the world’s conversation on climate change.

The choices we make are even more important in these fractious times so here are some thoughts.

Firstly, it’s important to be aware that against this challenging backdrop, it’s the more vulnerable among us who will feel even more vulnerable. The very people charities exist to serve. Whether we work in human rights, poverty alleviation, climate change, refugee support, humanitarian relief, we all know that it’s those people already living precarious existences or already facing discrimination who will suffer most from the policies implemented by the Trumps and Bolsanaros of this world.

Populist parties claim to represent the “people” not only against the establishment or elites, but also against immigrants, ethnic, sexual or religious minorities. So look out for the people around you who might need support, ask them what they need, and make sure they know they can count on you.

This requires us to put ourselves in other people’s shoes and to remember that while we might feel uncertain and worried about the future, there are always going to be people who feel more uncertain and more worried. Populism undermines the establishment but maybe that gives civil society a unique opportunity to occupy an important role during this time of vacuum of political leadership. Our colleagues in programme teams and service delivery roles can act as positive authority figures and offer alternative support structures. This is what we do every day anyway.

Our organisations are going to continue to be needed more than ever to solve problems and save lives. We must therefore ensure our organisations are fit for the future. Populism, however, beguiles people with easy solutions to difficult problems. Inconvenient facts are dismissed as “Project Fear” by people who say “we’ve had enough of experts”.

It’s important that charities mustn’t pander to this and think very carefully about our messaging so we’re not hoodwinking our supporters by making them believe change is simple, cheap, or quick. This means not relying on short term, narrow thinking but building relationships for the long term and adapting all the time. I would argue it’s worth considering radical transformations in our organisations to ensure they’re as effective as they can be.

In order to help us adapt I am absolutely convinced that we need to be brave enough to hear a wide range of points of view, including those we might not agree with and to do this we need different types of staff working at every level of our organisations. As organisations that exist to serve society, we need to represent society. Over recent years, I’ve done a lot of work on equality, diversity and inclusion in the charity sector, and every piece of evidence shows just how far we’ve got to go before we can claim to be representative.

We also need to ensure that we’re grounded in the reality of the issues that we’re working on. Ideally we should also be aiming for people with personal experience of those issues working at every level of our organisations, including at trustee level, to ensure the solutions we’re providing are the right ones.  

In extraordinary times, ordinary people, each one of us, need to be ready to step up and do extraordinary things. This really is no time to sit on the fence and this is why, as difficult as it has been, I applaud the women who’ve spoken out against wrongdoing in various parts of the charity sector so that we can all learn and do better for the future. It’s been difficult to hear these women’s truths without hearing them we can’t learn and do better.

In this era of populism, we’re going to be busy and we’re going to get tired and frustrated so we’re going to need to look after ourselves and each other. Self-care is hugely important, as is the care and support we can give and offer. Find your support networks. Find nourishing things to do. You’ll find me in the garden whenever I’ve got a spare moment.

Three challenges every charity faces

by Dana Kohava Segal (MInstF)

Big ones. Small ones. Local ones. International ones. Health, community, aid & arts ones. Ones with loads of Boards, and ones with no paid staff.

In all my experiences of working with charities of all shapes & sizes – from MSF to SSF – there are three challenges I’ve come across that each of them faces in one way or another:

CHALLENGE ONE: STORY TELLING

You’re not alone in dealing with this challenge. Because the nature of storytelling is an evolutionary one. As a species, we constantly evolve the way we share and receive stories… although some of those evolutions look strikingly like things from our past (hieroglyphics and emojis??? Not that different…).

Every charity I have worked with has had to, at some point, question their story. So if I had to offer some top tips to tackle this challenge, that would be the same for all charities, they would be:

  • Are you actually articulating the problem? By that I mean not about you, the work you do, why you are important… but the story of the problem you are there to change and ultimately end. We’re often so absorbed in the thing we are doing that we forget to communicate why we are doing it. Make this the number one thing you do when you read copy about your charity – ask yourself: has this talked about the problem you are trying to solve?
  • Are you making it human? Big problems can be super abstract. Abstract means we have to engage our thinking brain, and you know what we don’t do when we are busy thinking? TAKE ACTION. If you want supporters to take action, don’t make them overthink about the problem. Make the problem as human as you can – by that I mean simple, and relatable as one story. This great example from Save the Children has applications to so many charities (this also applies to animal charities!!!).
  • Are you making it urgent? Stop reading this blog and take a look at the news. It’s kinda crazy, isn’t it? Global warming, refugee crisis, poverty… it just doesn’t stop. And the thing is, it all needs attention. This is where communicating urgency comes in – you have to explain why someone has to take action NOW, rather than later. Otherwise, as compelling as that grant application is, it will get moved to the next meeting. So make sure you communicate this urgency in relation to the reader – not just you (needing it before the end of the financial year won’t cut it!). It’s important to also say that urgency can also be positive – perhaps it’s an unmissable opportunity you need support for. This can also work well for the right cause.

CHALLENGE TWO: GROWING THEIR FUNDRAISING INCOME

Again – you’re not alone in this. Because the truth is, that income from individual giving has remained relatively stable for the last 10 years. Even in the USA, the largest fundraising market in the world, although it is growing in terms of cash donated, it actually has less people donating year on year. So the world isn’t getting more charitable, folks…

This means that competition increases to grow your income from those who are willing and able to give. So what can you do? Well – I have a few nuggets of advice:

  • Do less, but better: is more income the only way you’ll be able to solve the problem you need to solve? Or are there some internal changes and efficiencies that could save you money, thereby increasing your income in a different way? We often look outside for solutions, when sometimes, they’re actually inside the charity.
  • Start from where you are: this epic tweet from Rory Green says it all:
  • It’s easier to get someone who cares to give you money, than to get someone who has money to care. Start from the people who care. Your board, your volunteers, your service users – I’m not saying it will be all of them, all of the time… but start with the people who get it, rather than tying yourself in knots trying to attract the attention of Richard Branson.
  • If you’re already doing well at one thing, focus on it: charities often say they need to diversify their income because that’s what others say. Sometimes, they’ll do that at the expense of the thing they do really well, but stopped doing so well at because they took their eye of the ball and got distracted by a new, shiny thing. Don’t be that charity. Focus on your good thing. Do more of that.

CHALLENGE THREE: THANKING DONORS

If I hear one more person at a training session say “yeah, but what about the people who don’t want to be thanked?” I’m probably gonna turn into that little red swearing emoji. So many charities assume the best when it comes to fundraising, and the worst when it comes to thanking. WHY?! Thanking is the best part… so how do you make it count?

  • Be authentic: like my fellow Great Charity Speaker Nikki Bell articulates in this awesome tweet…

…the best voice to talk in is your own. That’s true for thanking too. Find a way that’s genuine beyond the standard ‘I’m writing to say thank you for your kind donation of….’. My favourite example of late is from the brilliant American political candidate, Beto O’Rourke who sent the most epic, person and genuine thank you email to his supporters for a race that he lost.

  • Roll your R’s: credit to my colleague Philly Graham here, who always reminds me to roll my R’s – Receiving (as in, actually saying you got the gift), Recognising (giving people a personal touch) and Reporting (making sure you explain the outcome / impact of their donation). This can’t be done in one hit, overnight. So plan it out and make sure you’re maintaining that contact over a period of time, to give it an extra boost of goodness.
  • You don’t have to spend loads of money, to make it feel good: My favourite thoughts on the quality of an effective thank you comes from this blog by David Burgess, who talks about making your thank you’s SUPER – Speedy,Unique, Passionate, Engaging and Repeated. We know this is the number one reason people don’t give again… so don’t do all that hard work to get them involved, and then let them slip away from you!

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.