How charities can gather images ethically?

by Rachel Erskine

Amref Health Africa might be the biggest NGO you’ve never heard of. Headquartered in Nairobi, we’ve been around since 1957 and work in 35 African countries. When I joined the organisation’s UK arm in September 2017, I was struck by the breadth and variety of that work.

elephant.jpgIt’s like that school assembly staple, the parable of the blind-folded men and the elephant: if you asked my counterparts in Ethiopia or South Sudan what Amref does, their answers would bear little resemblance to each other’s, or my own. None of us would be wrong – but you’d need them all to see the truth.

The elephant in the Zoom

I soon came across another elephant; the one everyone avoided in in our bi-monthly video calls. While we had access to thousands of striking photos illustrating the impact of our work, we didn’t always have proof of informed consent from the people who featured. By missing out that stage of the image-making process, we had strayed from the principles that underpin our work. We had made ourselves vulnerable – and rendered much of our beautiful photography unusable.

Recognising the need for change, colleagues from across the organisation undertook a far-reaching review of consent-gathering. Eighteen months later, we’re at the stage of rolling out a new policy and toolkit. This is how we did it…

Assigning responsibility

globalWe started by creating a taskforce from across Canada, Kenya, the Netherlands, Tanzania, and the UK – all with the shared goal of establishing a global policy on image consent and a set of practical tools for implementation. At each stage we took our drafts back to a bigger working group representing every Amref office. Once we had achieved broad agreement as a group, we took it to senior management at global level.

It wasn’t easy – taskforce members were doing full-time jobs in parallel and many are one-person teams. Had we taken a more centralised approach, the work would have been finished much sooner but, as my Canadian colleague pointed out, it wouldn’t have made for such a rich and comprehensive policy.

Involving everyone

Informed consent protects the rights and dignity of those whose stories we have the privilege of sharing.  Although the ethical argument is by far the strongest one, it was crucial that everyone understood the potential repercussions (legal, financial, and reputational) when we don’t respect the process. Framed like this, it’s everyone’s business.team.jpg

We consulted the communities we work with to determine what they thought was reasonable and practical and sought advice from our Legal, HR, and Programmes colleagues, who often find themselves tasked with taking photos.

 It wasn’t always easy

This process forced us to have important, and sometimes uncomfortable, conversations. It has revealed other areas that require further attention and work. For example, the new policy needs to be backed up by, and reflected in, our safeguarding and child protection policies; our staff handbook and code of conduct; the contracts we ask freelance photographers to sign; our project feedback mechanisms; the way we’ve configured our online photo library. (All of this work is now underway, with clear deadlines for completion.)

Embracing complexity

Amref has offices in a dozen African countries, and another dozen in Europe and North America. Attitudes and expectations around the act of taking a photo vary from one context to another. Trying to reconcile these was complicated. There were times when conversations threw up more questions than they answered.

Camera.png

The charity sector is still smarting from recent, very public examples of what not to do. Our use of imagery ties into broader conversations about race, representation, and power dynamics; it was important not to shy away from this in our calls with colleagues from all over the world.

In the UK, the public demands increasingly better from NGOs and they’re willing to hold us to account when we fall short.

Letting it take up time and space

This work is important. Developing and implementing a thoughtful, rigorous consent process says a lot about who we want to be as an organisation.

midwifery-students-gambela-crop_999x784-743330914-1568711270433.jpgLike many things, it all comes back to relationships: between NGO and community members, between photographer and subject. At Amref, we’re lucky to have strong relationships with the communities we work with; many of them built and maintained over several decades. Whilst these relationships don’t allow us to ever assume consent, they do enable us to have frank and open conversations.

Thinking ahead

Our next step is to develop guidance on the ethical use of imagery. In reality, much of the groundwork for this has already been done. If you’ve already had those conversations by the time the picture is taken and the person is clear on what their image might be used for, where it might appear, how it might be framed and who might see it – you can be reasonably confident that your use of it will align with their wishes. This being so, we do try to ask people for feedback once they’re ready for publication. They can revoke consent at any time.

Zooming out

When it comes to representation – stories, films, photography – it’s not about us. It’s about the people who allow us to share their stories; the people our organisations exist for. Their needs should always come before our own. It’s part of a broader commitment to putting respect for the rights, dignity and preferences of the people we work with above everything else: a principle that guides our project work and should underpin our communications, too.

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Resources we’ve found useful

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Rachel Erskine is Communications Manager at Amref Health Africa UK. The views expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

www.amrefuk.org / @amref_uk / @erskinerachel

 

Don’t run alone – useful advice for women or a continuation of victim blaming?

by Jade Secker

thisgirlcan
Image from #ThisGirlCan 

How many people run in the UK? Whether as a means of stress relief, to get fit or as part of a running club; the numbers are in their millions. Especially with the warmer weather on the way and the London Marathon sprinkling inspiration across the nation. Furthermore, with thanks to campaigns such as “This Girl Can”, a record number of women are now putting on their trainers and heading for the outdoors. This is great news; not only for the nations physical health but exercise is also known to reduce stress and anxiety and so could have a positive impact on mental health too.

REACTIONS ARE DISTURBING

JogOn.png
Imagery from the #JogOn campaign

However, disturbingly, I recently came across the #JogOn campaign released by Avon and Somerset Police Force urging women to only run in pairs or groups to help prevent sexual abuse and threatening behaviour from men. This goes hand in hand with other statements from police forces advising women to not wear headphones whilst out walking or running, again, to avoid becoming the prey of sexual predators lurking in society.

 

FUELLING A VICTIM BLAMING CULTURE

Now whilst this may be seen by many as simple advice to try and tackle a growing issue, for me it is fuelling a victim blaming culture that puts the responsibility on women to change very normal behaviours and avoids the real problem.

Jessica Eaton, a campaigner against sexual violence commented saying,

“Headphones don’t rape women, nor do skirts, or dark streets, or clubs, or alcohol, or parties, or sleepovers, or school uniforms. Name the perpetrators. Name the problem. We can’t help if we can’t even name it.”

And I could not agree more.

IT IS CATEGORICALLY WRONG

How many reports of sexual assault do we see where the article will comment on what a woman was wearing or where she was walking alone when an attack took place. Why does this matter? Wording like this adds to a belief that ‘she was asking for it,’ and this is categorically wrong. It is not illegal to walk alone, wear headphones, or wear a short skirt. However, it IS illegal to physically assault, harass or rape someone.

WE NEED TO REJECT THE NOTION

crime scene do not cross signage

As a society we need to stop putting the onus on women to change their behaviour – behaviours that we all exhibit and should be free to, without having to worry whether we may or may not get attacked.  Instead we need to turn our attention to the crimes taking place on a daily basis and reject any notion of this being acceptable behaviour.

LET’S STOP PRETENDING

Unfortunately, we do live in a scary world and so there is a level of personal care and safety that everyone should undertake; this I understand. However, if we stand any sort of chance to tackling the breadth of these crimes, we need to see a major shift in focus and stop turning a blind eye to what is truly going on.

pexels-photo-531970.jpeg

Let’s stop suggesting changes women need to make to prevent attacks happening to them and shift our attention to putting firmer laws and punishments into place to stop attacks happening in the first place; fundamentally, this is much closer to the core of the problem and the only thing that will ever make violent individuals accountable for their actions.

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Jade Secker is the senior community fundraiser at The Haven Wolverhampton. You can connect with Jade Secker on LinkedIn hereThe Haven Wolverhampton is a charity that supporting women and dependent children who are vulnerable to domestic violence, homelessness and abuse. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, or visit there website here.

Fostering a feedback-friendly culture could save your charity from extinction

by Susheila Juggapah

Hearing feedback is hard. It’s challenging to hear what other people think about our work, the way we operate or our ideas. But feedback fuels change. It super powers creativity and speeds up impact. Yes, it can be uncomfortable at times. But it keeps us accountable to the people we serve. 

The third sector already knows transparency is important, particularly for building donor confidence. Organisations can use transparency to improve trust with staff. They can also use it to create more inclusive organisations. But this only works with a commitment to openness.

It’s time for charity leaders to harness this superpower for all aspects of charity business. To do it successfully, charities should aim to create an open and transparent culture that embraces giving feedback, receiving feedback, and making it part of the organisation’s culture.

Listening is our only option

We now live in a world that simply won’t tolerate products that don’t suit our specific needs.

Tales of Blockbusters and Kodak are frequently used to remind us that even household names cannot rely on their legacy. They must deliver products customers want.

We’ve also have enough of inauthentic brands that don’t walk the walk because we can see right through them. This goes for charities too. The Charity Commission’s 2018 Trust in charities report says,

“The public want greater authenticity not just more transparency, they want to know that charities are what they say they are.”

And it’s not just your external audiences. Staff have had enough too. For example, on pay transparency, a YouGov poll found the majority of Brits (56%) would back pay transparency measures to tackle income inequality

There are also indications younger people expect to be able to see what’s going on inside organisations before joining. In a survey by PwC of millennials in the workplace, 76% of those in the financial services sector said they considered the employer’s record on equality and diversity when accepting their current role. 

Critically, people really want to know their opinion is valued. Former Baxter International CEO and now a clinical professor of leadership at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management Harry Kraemer believes good leaders listen to the people around them. Leaders, he says, “establish trust because they demonstrate they really care about what each person has to say.” Without trust, the people around you will not give you honest feedback. 

The technology is there. It’s only a matter of time before users, supporters, staff and volunteers give up on established charities to set up their own campaigns, movements and networks. If charities don’t become more inclusive, they risk becoming redundant. 

How to do it: lessons from a bank 

Like a conversation, open cultures need someone to listen and ideally act on the feedback. One way to show you’re listening to be honest about what you’ve heard. 

The fastest growing companies are putting transparency at the heart of their business. Take the digital challenger bank Monzo which has seen phenomenal growth recently. In 2016, it set the record for quickest crowd-funding campaign in history when it raised £1m in 96 seconds on Crowdcube.

Monzo differs from traditional banks because it openly expresses the relationship it has with its users. It prides itself on transparency and community, aiming to meet the needs of the Monzo tribe in ways traditional banks have failed to do for so long. Referencing its community, Monzo, says: 

You hold us accountable and help us focus on what matters

Monzo has published a lot on its internal culture. The bank regularly publishes data on how representative and diverse it is internally, looking at things like gender identity, ethnicity, age, disability, caring responsibilities, education, religion, sexual orientation and more. It has also shown its progress over the years and laid out an action plan. 

The bank also uses lots of techniques to prioritise transparency. For example, meetings are open to everyone, even if you just want to listen. The organisation also has email transparency, which means by default, every email that is sent can be read by anyone in the company. They also give everyone access to documents and encourage everyone to question the decisions made in governance meetings with the board of directors and the executive committee. 

The result: Monzo isn’t just telling you it’s open and honest, it’s being open and honest. Its rapid growth is testament to the faith the community place in it. But ultimately, Monzo is a bank, not a campaign or movement. So if a bank can create a culture of openness and honesty, a charity certainly can. 

Tips for building feedback-friendly organisations

There are a lot of examples of how to make your organisation more open. Here are some easy reads:

The idea behind this, is that it prevents problems from staying hidden in one small part of the company, and makes sure everyone’s thinking about how to solve the problems we have.”

Embracing feedback could radically change your organisation. It could mean you recruit more diversely, get closer to your audience’s needs and build trust with all aspects of your organisation. Or you could wait for something like Monzo to swoop in and leave you obsolete. 

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Susheila Juggapah is a digital professional and former editor at CharityComms, the membership network for charity communicators. She writes about diversity and representation in the third sector. 

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)

My thoughts on a white, male diversity manager

by Kizzy Wardle

I’m not going to lie. When I first heard the news, I rolled my eyes. I have seen some really positive things recently from the Institute of Fundraising (the IOF). I love the change collective stuff and the manifesto. I’m enthused by the increasing conversation in the sector about gender imbalance in senior roles and the lack of ethnic diversity across the board. I’ve been in the sector for a long time and have had many a conversation about diversity and it feels like things might, just might, be starting to move from conversation to action. And so yes, I did sigh and roll my eyes when I found out that the one paid role whose focus is to look at diversity was filled by yet another white male.

Now, for the sake of context here are a few things I’d like you to know about me. I am a mixed-race woman and was raised in the UK. I have fairly light skin and am married to a white guy. I grew up in a very wealthy area, in a council flat. Neither of my parents have any school qualifications, but my aunt did a PHD at Oxford and my brother trained in contemporary dance. I have a four-year-old, white looking, disabled daughter and my dad is bisexual. I’m mixed race, but I’m also mixed in so many other ways having experienced a melting pot of cultures, classes and races. So, I have lived experience of some of the protected characteristics other than race. I know that diversity is not all about race and that true inclusion is, and should be, much wider than that conversation*. But having laid all that out I still can’t help but wonder about the message being sent that what we need to drive the diversity agenda is another white male.

I don’t know the person in the role at all. From what little information I do have it looks like he’s super qualified. The IOF have said he was ‘the best candidate for the job’, which I’m sure is true (there’s a whole blog post in that statement alone; that’s for another day). But, did they try to recruit more diversely? How was the selection panel constituted? Where did they advertise? What qualifications were outlined? Basically: how hard did they try? The premise of the role is that these questions are important for our sector. If the areas in which we are particularly underrepresented at senior levels are disability, race and gender*, it is hardly surprising that this appointment has raised some questions about how hard the IOF are trying. Maybe this has all been discussed and thought about. I would say that now is the perfect time for the IOF to share some of that thinking and model what excellence looks like. And to share how they’re engaging with underrepresented communities. I know that a white man can certainly work in diversity and do an excellent job, but he just might have to try a little harder to overcome the optics and to prove himself. And to that I say: welcome to the club.

*I am also not the first to say that just because I am not white, it doesn’t make me an expert on diversity. But I do think the increasing awareness of the validity of lived experience is an important shift if we are to start including unrepresented communities in the narrative. Also, the reality remains that throughout my career I have been asked to provide opinions, thoughts, strategies and my non white face to represent the diversity angle, so I’m giving myself a pass to have an opinion here.

* The Equality Act covers age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage & civil partnership, and pregnancy & maternity. The IOF Manifesto for Change doesn’t cover anything in relation to age, religion or belief, marriage & civil partnership or pregnancy & maternity.  It addresses disability as follows: ‘The low overall employment rate for disabled people is a society-wide issue, but is one that we should be committed to address within the fundraising community. It covers sex in terms of wanting to ‘aim for a better gender balance between men and women in the fundraising community’ and also states that ‘Women make up 70% of the profession but this is not matched at senior level, and issues of gender discrimination remain’. With regards to gender reassignment and sexual orientation is states ‘In relation to LGBT+, we do not have definitive data, but there is an assumption that there are senior LGBT+ fundraisers, but the fact that they are LGBT+ may not be widely known’.

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.

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.