Happy Christmas… The answers

It’s nearly Christmas, and the draw has been made.

Congratulations to George Overton of the Pilgrimage Trust who was the first all correct entry out of the hat. He wins £50 for his favourite charity. And thanks also to all the other entries – £200 is on it’s way to SOFII.

There were a lot more correct entries this year, but to put some of you out of your misery here are the answers. (From top and left to right):

Noel – there’s no L in there. Geddit? For those who guessed ‘Christmas Alphabet’ I can see where you were coming from, but it wasn’t quite the whole alphabet.

12 days of Christmas. Again, I liked a couple of entries that suggested ‘I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday’ if only because it’s a great song!

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

All I want for Christmas is You

(Walking in a) Winter Wonderland

The First Noel

All that remains is to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a successful and healthy 2015. I’ll be planning next year’s quiz!

Roger

Happy Christmas

I hope 2014 has been successful and happy and that you are looking forward to 2015.

I’d like to wish you and yours a very happy Christmas and New Year.

You may know that every year I run a little Christmas Quiz with my Christmas card and best wishes. Apparently I made it a little difficult last year so I hope this year’s is a little easier. All you have to do is work out the clues which loosely lead to six Christmas songs.

Christmas card 2014

When you think you know the answers, email them to me. For every entry I will donate £1 to SOFII (because it is a brilliant resource for fundraisers – up to £200). In addition, on Christmas Eve I will draw one name out of a hat from those that get all six right and they will win £50 to donate to a charity of their choice. So please do pass this on to your colleagues and friends.

Enjoy the puzzle and good luck!

And make sure you’re signed up to this blog to be the first to have the answers delivered to your in-box in time for Christmas.

With very best wishes for a very merry Christmas and a happy and successful new year.

Roger

Loyalty driver 1: Personal connection (pt 2)

In the first part of this blog I wrote about how important increasing a donor’s loyalty is – the way they feel about your charity. This is the ultimate goal in relationship fundraising and to do it we need to know what drives loyalty. As a starting point I wrote about how important personal connection is to that.

That’s all well and good if you’re a university, a health related charity or a local cause. But what, I have been asked, can you do if you’re not one of these? Is it still relevant?

Yes!

Because your job is to create a connection between the donor and your cause or, better still, your organisation – an emotional link to give them a reason to believe that your charity is important to them personally.

Of course, you can’t just create a new cause, but can you present your work differently?

Can you make your appeal local?
Macmillan London appealRecently I received two appeals from national charities. Macmillan Cancer Support asked me to support their services in London. Now I don’t live in London, so I have to question their targeting, but if I did then they would have an appeal that is relevant for my family and my community – the people that I love.

Woodland Trust making it local to meAt a similar time the Woodland Trust proved they have better targeting by asking me to support the creation of a new Centenary Wood (to commemorate the centenary of the start of World War 1) just up the road from me. I enjoy walking outdoors, love woodland and (although they didn’t know this) earlier this year I visited the WW1 battle fields in The Somme and Ypres. For a national charity, I now have a local connection. And when I’ve visited the Centenary Wood (as I certainly will) I will have a personal experience.

Can you create a connection between the donor and the beneficiary?
I’ve talked before about the Baby Boxes for Bosnia campaign I ran for Feed the Children in the 1990’s. Besides being a brilliant ask, we gave people the chance to write a message of support – messages that we read.

Some of the most touching were from mums, writing to other mums that they’ll never meet or know. “I don’t know what it’s like to live in a war zone, but I do know what it’s like to have a young baby” started one mum on her message. This wasn’t just an international aid charity helping people in a far away country, she felt a personal connection to the mum receiving the box.

Be creative
Not everyone has the direct experience of ill-health, abuse or poverty (or whatever your cause is), but I’ve been involved in successful appeals asking farmers and teachers in the UK to give to farmers and teachers in Africa and medical professionals to provide medical kits for flying doctors.

Or maybe you need to create a product that links something we all do every day to your cause. I love the fact that I can twin my toilet with one in Burundi or Bangladesh.

It’s up to you. Don’t just give up and say my cause isn’t relevant. Think about your donors, your cause and your beneficiaries. Find what they have in common and get creative.

Your donors’ loyalty depends on it!

Christmas challenge – the answers

 

So Christmas is over. And if you spent it wondering what the answers were for the challenge then apologies. As one of 10’s of thousands of people who had 48 hours with no power and no phone signal until Christmas Day evening, I couldn’t get the answers out.

But I hope you all had a fantastic day, and now I can put you out of your misery.

The 10 worst Christmas songs ever are…

Christmas In Blobbyland
OK, the easy one. Everyone got this. I couldn’t find the lyrics anywhere online so I listened to it over and over on Youtube writing down the lyrics as it played. A horrible way to spend an afternoon.

All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
Another easy one.

Mistletoe and Wine
We’re spoilt for choice with Cliff Richard songs, but I limited myself to one to stay on the right side of my wife’s mum – the world’s biggest Cliff fan. (She’s never forgiven me missing Cliff sing on a rainy day at Wimbledon when, instead of being in my Centre Court seats, I was in the bar.)

Feed the World / Do They Know It’s Christmas?
How can a fundraiser hate the song that changed the way music can raise money? One, it kept Wham! (Last Christmas) off the number one spot. Two, I just don’t like it!

White Christmas
A classic, but I’ve heard it too many times. And what’s with the whistling in the middle?

All I Want for Christmas Is You
Last year I put this in my top 10 songs as, although it’s sung by Mariah Carey, it’s a great pop song. This year it’s in my worst 10 as, although it’s a great pop song, it’s sung by Mariah Carey! Harsh, but true.

Peace On Earth / Little Drummer Boy
This also made my favourite 10 last year. As I put my worst 10 list together a few weeks ago, I decided I didn’t like it. And a few weeks later I think I do. I can’t make up my mind, but well done on everyone getting it right!

Walking in the Air
The Snowman. It’s beautiful, but I’m afraid I just never really got it.

Do You Hear What I Hear?
The tricky one. My teenage daughter, with the help of Google, was the only person to get this right.

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
Mel Smith was a fantastic comedian, and sadly died too young this year. I’m sorry to say this wasn’t his finest hour. Another charity record (Comic Relief) record condemned! Funky pie, anyone?

Actually, in researching this list I discovered many truly dreadful songs that I’d never even heard of before: John Denver with the wise words, “Please Daddy (Don’t get drunk this Christmas)”; Elmo and Patsy singing “Granny Got Run Over by a Reindeer” and other contributions by The Cheeky Girls, Crazy Frog and Alvin and the Chipmunks. They almost make Mr Blobby sound OK.

Thank you so much for everyone who entered, and for all the comments and fun that was had. A donation for £200 is on its way to Sofii.

And massive congratulations to everyone who got 8 out of 10 as you had the highest scores (except my daughter who spent far too long on it and cheated, so is disqualified!) The first to be selected at random from these people was Duncan Batty, Head of Fundraising & Development at Sheffield Hospitals Charity who now has £50 to give to the charity of his choice.

Well done Duncan!

So that’s it for another year. But don’t worry, I’m already thinking of something fiendish for Christmas 2014!

Loyalty driver 1: Personal connection pt 1

Building donor loyalty is, I believe, one of the most pressing challenges our sector faces. As the cost of finding new donors gets higher and higher, it is about time we did something about the shockingly low retention rates that we all have.

And if we’re serious about growing retention then we have to grow donor loyalty. But how do we do this? How do we change the way they feel about us to create that “feeling of support or allegiance” (as loyalty is defined)?

We know a lot about the drivers of loyalty and in this, my first post in a series looking at these drivers, I’m focussing on arguably the most important of these (at least for some charities) personal connection.

We know that often people give to you because of something that has happened in the donor’s life which means that your cause or your charity is particularly important to them. It’s why people give to their local air ambulance or the university they went to or the hospital where their daughter was treated; it’s why people who have lost someone they loved to cancer give to cancer research charities; it’s why older people tend to give to elderly charities and why Christians give to Christian charities. The experience has created an affinity.

If these are your donors then you have a huge responsibility to them. You have a cause that is very important to them and you will be talking to them about issues that will often be very personal. And, at the same time, you want to develop their support and giving over time.

But how do we do this? Here are seven points to help you to nurture these important donors and grow their loyalty to you:

1. Remember that every donor’s personal connection is unique

Don’t make assumptions. A donor’s connection may be with the cause (e.g. cancer), the organisation that they received support from (e.g. Macmillan) or maybe the individual part of the organisation they received support from (e.g. the nurse or a ward). The person with the experience may be the donor themselves or a loved one and the outcome could be extremely happy or desperately sad.

Everyone’s connection is unique to them because everyone’s experience is unique to them.Perhaps most importantly, everyone’s emotional response is also unique to them.

2. It’s not about you, it’s about the donor

It isn’t for you to tell these donors why they should support you – they have their own reasons. Prompt by all means, but remember that encouraging someone to think about why they support your work is far more powerful than telling them why they should.

3. Remind them why they give to you

If they have told you why they give then talk to them about this. Many Livability donors (a Christian disability charity) have told the charity that they give because of their Christian beliefs. And Livability mentions this in appeals because it increases response.

If they haven’t told you, create tools to enable them to think about it themselves. This could include writing down their story, either to share it as many do or to put in a private place and to look at in special moments (as Cancer Research UK did when people decided to leave them a legacy – the note sits with their will and will be a reminder should they ever look to re-write the will).

4. Use the sense of community

Bringing people together and creating a sense of belonging is incredibly powerful when people have a shared experience. Membership is obviously a fantastic tool for this but there are many other ways as well.

If the community doesn’t yet exist then create it yourself. When Addenbrooke’s Hospital launched an appeal to raise money for the Rosie (their maternity hospital) they created the Rosie Born facebook group. Anyone who had been born at the Rosie could join. And much of their fundraising was run from this group.

5. Make the donor feel needed

The number of people with this connection may be small and exclusive so you need to tell those donors who give to you just how important they are to both you and the cause. In research with lapsed donors I often hear the phrase, “I didn’t think they needed me anymore.” You have the chance to make your donors know just how needed (and how special) they are.

6. Let this drive your recruitment

I know we’re talking about retention, but part of this is about bringing in the right people in the first place.

Not everyone is going to give to you so don’t try to reach everyone. If you can target according to the personal connection (e.g. by location) then do. If you can’t then make sure that you are still writing for the connected audience – let those people who do have the relevant experience self-identify themselves to you.

7. Add emotion to the experience

Emotion is essential in fundraising. You can successfully fundraise by understanding the donor’s emotional reasons for giving even if there is no experiential connection, but you won’t be successful if you use their experience without understanding the emotions involved.

Personal experiences create a complex mix of emotions. People give to their former university because of pride and because of gratitude; in research I ran for Friends of the Elderly earlier this year I heard people talking about giving to elderly charities because they felt guilty about their own parents and grandparents; people give because of a sense of fear of what might happen when they get older; they might give because of the memory of someone they loved; they give in celebration of being given the all clear (and, again, from gratitude); and, of course, they give through sadness, or an angry determination that no one else should go through what they have.

In conclusion…
You have an immense responsibility in nurturing these donors’ giving. But if you do this in a way that allows the donor to feel that you are there to help them achieve something important to them then you will be as important to them as they are to you… they will feel tremendous loyalty to you… and they will stay giving to you for many years to come.

This is the first in a series of posts looking at the different drivers of loyalty. If you haven’t done so already, do please sign up in the top right corner to make sure you receive them all.

Christmas wishes and a Christmas challenge

 

I’d like to wish everyone who reads this blog a very happy Christmas, and a successful start to 2014

Merry Christmas 2013

Once again I’m not sending Christmas cards – instead I am donating money to SOFII. And once again, how much I give will be up to you.

Yes, my Christmas Challenge is back again this year! You may recall that last year I asked you to work out my favourite 10 Christmas songs of all time. This year, can you work out the worst 10 Christmas songs ever?

My card (above – click on it to see a larger version) is a word cloud of the lyrics from the 10 songs that I think are the worst Christmas songs ever recorded. If you think you can work out which 10 I have selected, email me your guesses.

For every entry I receive I will donate £1 to SOFII*. And at midday on Christmas Eve I will draw, at random, one entry from those that have got all 10 right (or those nearest if, like last year, no-one manages it) and they will win a £50 donation for the charity of their choice.

Good luck with the challenge. And please do pass this on to colleagues and friends to increase their chances of winning too.

With very best wishes for Christmas and the new year.

Roger

PS For those of you that don’t get all 10, I will blog the answers on Christmas Eve.

* I have chosen SOFII again this year as they provide an invaluable resource to all us fundraisers. Our job is to inspire donors and SOFII makes this a little easier for all of us. Much as I love them, I need to limit my donation to them to £200, but please do enter to make sure we get there.

Our 3 top priorities: retention, retention, retention!

Apparently retention is the new acquisition. All I can say is it’s about time too!

The 2013 Fundraising Effectiveness Report (download here) found that for every 100 donors gained by the sector in 2012, we lost 105. In any commercial setting a company that was losing more customers than it was winning would be shut down.

OK, that’s a US figure, but it’s not going to be very different in the UK.

Perhaps the worst thing is that we’ve come to think that the high cost of acquisition, low retention rates and long payback periods are acceptable. As long as it pays in the end, all is OK.

Our answer to fixing retention is to think about the mechanics. “If only we can get them onto Direct Debit” we cry, so we send them more and more DD asks. Or a strategy of, “Surely they’ll give more often if we send them more appeals” leads to more and more appeals, regardless of the quality.

Of course both these strategies work. A donor paying by Direct Debit will give more and for longer than one that isn’t. And by sending out more appeals you’ll generate more donations. For all I’m about to say, don’t forget the basics.

But there is something missing from this. Research shows that even satisfied donors lapse. They simply decide that they will support another organisation without you ever having done anything wrong.

The issue is loyalty. Loyalty not defined as whether someone gives again, but defined as how they feel about you. My favourite definition is ‘a strong feeling of support or allegiance.’

Read that again. Strong feeling… support… allegiance!

We need to change the way we think about donors. We concentrate too much on how much money they will give us before the financial year ends and not enough on how we are making the donor feel. We are excellent at measuring the effectiveness of our campaigns but we don’t measure the long term impact.

From the comments I had after my talk with Nick Mason at this year’s IOF Convention, I struck a chord with many people. All I did was exhort people to measure the donor not the activity. To really understand not just the response rate to a campaign, but the impact that the campaign will have on the donor and their long-term giving. On their loyalty!

Understanding the drivers of loyalty is key to creating a communications programme that grows loyalty and therefore value to the charity. I’ve been looking at this a lot recently. No-one has done more about this in our sector than Adrian Sargeant, and there is some fascinating and valuable research from the commercial sector too.

Personal connection is vital, as is what Adrian Sargeant calls identification (whether the charity shares my goals or values). Research we ran at Cascaid showed the increasing importance of giving a donor a sense of belonging and there is the growing issue of offering a donor social capital or status.

The list goes on. What’s important for one donor will be different for another. What’s important for one charity will be different for another.

Retention of our donors is the most important issue that we face as a sector and building donor loyalty is the most important aspect of that. Over the next few weeks I am going to share my findings of what the drivers of loyalty are and show some of the best examples of how charities are tapping into this knowledge to build their donors’ loyalty. There are some brilliant examples.

Watch this space. And if you haven’t signed up then please do to make sure you get them all.

Campaigning and fundraising – 38 Degrees getting it right

I love the NHS. For me it’s been the place where life starts as our four children were all born in the local NHS hospital, it’s where life is extended as it gave us all extra time with my mum before she eventually lost her fight with cancer and it’s where the quality of life is improved as the NHS repaired my knee and got me playing tennis and football again.

It’s an institution that I am passionate about, that I am grateful for and that I am immensely proud of.

So when Jeremy Hunt, who happens to be my local MP, was given the role of Health Secretary last year, I was worried. Of course the NHS isn’t perfect, but I don’t agree that parts of it would work better under private ownership and I don’t want to see him, or any government, selling it off.

It was at that point the 38 Degrees contacted me. They had a plan:

Will you tell Jeremy Hunt that we're watching him?

Will you tell Jeremy Hunt that we’re watching him?

“From day one, let’s make sure he knows how important our NHS is. Let’s deliver him a huge open letter, signed by thousands of us, telling him that we’ll stand strong to protect our NHS. Let’s make it clear we’ll challenge him every step of the way if we need to. Can you add your name today?”

You bet I could.

So far, so good. I felt better (I’d done something) and I wasn’t on my own. But it’s what followed that I think was brilliant.

38 Degrees is a campaigning organisation, but if asking for donations sits slightly uncomfortably it doesn’t show. With great timing, they followed up with a donation ask.

But this wasn’t any ordinary ask. 38 Degrees’ plan was to buy some advertising space in ‘The Times – Hunt’s favourite newspaper’. To ‘prove we really mean business, and put our message where he really won’t want to see it. Can you chip in to splash our warning to Jeremy Hunt across a full-page advert in The Telegraph or The Times?’

Will you help pay for an advert that Hunt can't miss?

Will you help pay for an advert that Hunt can’t miss?

Of course I gave.

And four days later, my ad was in the paper. How great did I feel?

I did this!

I did this!

It’s a great story which I share because it’s a great example of how campaigning and fundraising can work together.

For all the lessons we can take, I think the most important thing they got right was the ask. They didn’t just assume that because I take part in campaigns with them that I’d be happy to fund their campaigning infrastructure, they gave me an opportunity to pay towards saving the NHS, something they knew I really cared about.

And they didn’t simply assume that because I had taken part in an NHS campaign through 38 Degrees, that I was ready to jump straight to an unrestricted direct debit.

They realised that the thing I cared about was the NHS, not 38 Degrees. And because of that they got my money, they developed my ‘supporter journey’ and, at the same time, they increased my commitment to the organisation.

Greenpeace IceClimb pt 2. At last, an ask.

On Friday I blogged about my frustration about Greenpeace’s failure to follow up the brilliant IceClimb campaign with any asks for those people who had engaged with it. Whilst I loved the IceClimb, Greenpeace has missed a tremendous opportunity to develop my support, and that of others immediately following then.

Two hours later, I received an emailed ask from Victoria Henry (one of the climbers). I’d love to think that everyone at Greenpeace read my blog and that it changed their approach to integrating fundraising into their campaigns, but maybe it was just a coincidence. But I thought it only fair to update my thoughts here.

The ask email - click on it to read it in full

The ask email – click on it for a larger image

The first point, that it was too late, was made last week. Enough said.

I love the fact that the email was from Victoria (or Victo, as she signed off) rather than some faceless job title. I love the fact that she shared her fears, her sleepless night, her aspirations and the way she felt what she read the tweets from people like me. It was very personal, added emotion to the email and allowed me to feel part of it again.

I wish there had been an image… of Victoria at the top of the Shard to remind me of the drama. Or a video, that would really have brought it back to me?

I liked the fact that it reminded me of the main issue – Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic and Greenpeace’s determination to keep the campaign going for as long as it takes. But maybe there was a bit too much of that.

But my biggest disappointment is the ask. It simply asks: “Can you chip in with whatever you can afford to help fight Shell’s dangerous plan for Arctic oil?”

The email alludes to the fact that they need ropes, slings and karabiners, so let me buy one. Or use the asks that Greenpeace already has including asking me to Save the Arctic by becoming a Life Supporter.

Greenpeace ask for donations for a survival pod to stop drilling in the Arctic

Buy a Survival Pod to occupy a drilling rig in the Arctic

Or, best of all, ask me to help buy a Survival Pod that will be used in the Arctic to occupy an oil rig. That would be drama. That would take my relationship on. That would really keep me engaged.

I’ve blogged before about the ‘ask’, and spoke at the IOF convention earlier this month about them. The ask is the most important part of fundraising. So let’s get them right.

.

PS If you want to ‘chip in’ you can do it here. It may not be the best phrased ask ever, but we can help Greenpeace run more campaigns like this.

Or if you want to help buy the survival pod, that’s here.

Greenpeace IceClimb, one week on

This time last week I sat riveted in front of the live-stream of Greenpeace’s IceClimb. Much has been written about what a fantastic campaign it was. And it certainly was.

Greenpeace celebrates six climbers scaling The Shard

Greenpeace celebrates six climbers scaling The Shard

The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe and had never been climbed, guaranteeing coverage. It was also designed and named after a shard of ice and sits right in the middle of Shell’s London offices – so perfect for Greenpeace’s core message of the need to protect the Arctic from Shell.

It captured the news around the world and it captivated individuals like me. At its peak, 13,000 people were viewing the live stream; over 65,000 signed to show their support; an estimated 3 million people engaged with it through social media.

And I was one of them. I watched the live-stream for hours, on my laptop and even on my phone as I walked the kids to school. I signed the list to show my support, I tweeted about it and I told people that I spoke to.

I got no work done!

It was, I believe, Greenpeace’s best campaign in many years. In fact, maybe the best campaign anyone has done in many years!

But… now what?

To be honest, I haven’t given it much thought since then. I’ve been working in London, preparing for a big workshop yesterday, I’ve been running the kids to tennis, cricket, cubs, scouts, guides etc, I’ve been out with friends and much more. A typical week, and the IceClimb hasn’t been my highest priority. It was a moment in time that, for me, has been overtaken by many more moments.

But that’s the point isn’t it? The challenge Greenpeace, and others, have is to keep me and everyone else engaged – with the issue and with the organisation. To turn that moment when I am completely connected to Greenpeace into long term support and long term value.

And on that score, Greenpeace has failed miserably.

  • Greenpeace has my postal address, but I haven’t received anything through the post.
  • They have my mobile number but I haven’t had a text since last Friday morning (by which time I’d already been watching it for nearly two hours). And no phone call at all.
  • They have my email address from when I signed up last Friday (and opted in to communications) but I haven’t had an email (apart from the one confirming my sign-up).
  • They know that I’ve tweeted about them, but nothing there either.

Last week I was really warm – I’d have said yes to anything they asked. Today… well I’m a bit warmer than I was before the IceClimb, but not much. Life has moved on.

Campaigning and fundraising

Many of you will know that I am passionate about how charities integrate their fundraising and their campaigning and that I’ve written about this, spoken about it and worked with many organisations to achieve it. So I am frustrated that Greenpeace, who really should be the best of the best at this, can get it so wrong and miss this amazing opportunity.

A simple supporter journey that updated me on the six climbers since their arrest, on Shell’s attitudes since the campaign or on the other work that Greenpeace is doing to protect the Arctic would have maintained my interest and my enthusiasm.

And a simple ask for money to support more of their work in the Arctic (Greenpeace has great fundraising asks related to the IceClimb – from becoming a ‘Life Supporter’ to save the Arctic to helping buy a Survival Pod to stop the drilling) could not have failed.

Greenpeace ask for donations to protect the Arctic from Shell...

Greenpeace ask for donations to protect the Arctic from Shell…

Greenpeace ask for donations for a survival pod to stop drilling in the Arctic

… or to fund a Survival Pod

Instead nothing. Even the website hasn’t been updated with the latest news having been posted before the IceClimb and not even a mention of it on Greenpeace’s ‘Save the Arctic’ pages.

What a waste. Yes I’ll continue to support Greenpeace, and I’ll feel a bit better about it after last week than before. But I’m sorry guys, you missed a real chance last week.

PS Come back next week and I’ll blog about two organisations that I think have done this really well in recent years.