Friday, December 24, 2010

Thank you from MSF

Just received this from Médecins Sans Frontières Canada and was compelled to share it.

A wonderful way to say thank you, through the use of a remarkable story.

Why is it so good?

- It wasn't about MSF, it was about me. And my partnership as a monthly donor. In fact 11 times, I heard the words you/you're.

- The timing was great. Just as we are winding down for the Holiday season, a timely reminder of why I support MSF. How do you think I go into 2011 feeling about the work they do?

- A story. Yes, a wonderful, warm and moving story about a beautiful little girl called Mirlanda. Shared by video.

- The email did all the things it should, and easily. All the good stuff before the fold, was viewable as a landing page if not through your email platform and I could share it with a friend.

- It bought me really close. Not just through Mirlanda's story, but by showing me the sign made by the people of Haiti. Love it.

- I was thanked six times in the email. And genuinely.

Hats off to the MSF team for inspiring me, and hopefully many others at the end of 2010. Keep up the amazing work helping people like Mirlanda.

For more thank you tips, check out an earlier post here.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Fundraising resolutions: version 2011

Not a big one for forlorn new years promises, but thought it would be a bit of fun (and a good checklist to look back on) to pen some fundraising resolutions for 2011.

Here goes. My plan to become a better fundraiser next year.

- Increase my thirst for knowledge. Read more (blogs, articles, papers), absorb as much as I can from the thought leaders in our sector, be a bigger sponge for learning.

- Stop putting things off. As a wise school teacher once told me, 'procrastination is the thief of time'. Smart man he was. I need to just get on with things.

- Listen more. To those who I agree with, to those who think differently. Pause more often and simply hear what others have to say.

- Be tenacious about testing. Challenge conventional thinking, test more than ever.

- Look outside. Not just outside the walls of the agency, but outside the sector. Most of the new stuff I learnt in 2010 was from the commercial sector. Not because they're smarter, but because I looked more than I normally would outside our own world.

- Empower others to do even better. My job is about changing the mindset and actions of others as well as my own. Spend more time on changing behavior than I did in 2010.

- Get the balance right between learning from what worked and learning from what didn't. Not too much back slapping (the road to failure is paved with success), not too much castigating your own work.

When I think I've done what I said I would do, read the list again from start to finish.

What are your 2011 fundraising resolutions?



Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday giving online

Here's some data showing the spread of gifts given online through the months of November and December, last year. The data is from Australia.

Of course this is linked to when push activity is happening, as you will see from the period around the 10th of November, and the same time in December. When many charities send their first and second waves of their Holiday appeal.

What's more enlightening however are the spikes in the days immediately prior to December 25.

Added to that is the following piece of data which shows an even more stark upward trend post December 25th.

It's important to note this is data from North America, and there is definitely some end of year tax sentiment attached.

So what does all of this mean?

For me there are two things:

- It indicates the tremendous value in end of year e-pushes attached to your other channels. If you're not incorporating multi layered approaches, you should be.

- It isn't too late to appeal immediately prior December 25 and December 31. Don't assume the Holiday period ends when the Christmas calendar tells you.

A final health warning attached: apply the same principles to your digital activity at this time as you would any offline approach. Be relevant, clear, compelling, and make the decision to donate and the action attached really, really easy to complete.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Conferences and sugar rushes

It's time for a rant about conferences.

Last week I attended our Aussie teams staff conference. The usual stuff: sharing what's happening in our offices, trying to tick off a few of the problems we face on a day to day basis, talking about exciting stuff to test, some socializing mixed in along the way.

I must admit as much as I enjoyed it, there were some moments of frustration when I realized that some of the discussed topics and matters arising had been regular points of interest for the last 6 years. Why hadn't we sorted these things yet I thought?

At the same time many friends and colleagues attended the AFP Toronto Chapter's Congress on the other side of the globe. I watched with interest at a raft of titillating tweets and great blogs began to surface.

So as I sit here a few days after both events, I ask the question to my friends and colleagues...

How many of the items on the 'to do' list, that you got SO fired up about last week have you ticked off as of today?

Because if you haven't put a line through them within a week, don't bother.


Not really. Think about it. Going to conferences is like having an almighty sugar rush. You catch up with friends, get inspired by some rock star presenters, promise to change the world. And then...... well usually, nothing.

I once spoke at the opening of a large fundraising conference on behalf of Pareto as a sponsor, and implored delegates to isolate three things they would do as a result of what they learnt over the coming days. And do it within the next week. Otherwise forget it.

Because if the conference itself is the rush, the following days are the post sugar come down.

Back to your desk. Loads of emails. Firefighting problems. Vowing you should never have gone to the conference in the first place. Your notes, written in the cheesy notepad supplied by one of the sponsors, is gathering grime and dust at the bottom of your bag.

Sound all too familiar?

Enough ranting. The solution? Here's my blueprint for post conference success.

1 At the end of the conference, limit yourself to 3 tangible actions that you plan to follow through on from your list of learning's. I.e. "Test the inclusion of a high value lift in my next appeal.."

2 Book in 20 minutes on your first day back in the office to map out how you'll make this happen. I.e. send meeting request to Tim about upcoming appeal testing.

3 Commit to sharing your conference learning's (and your 3 actions) with your colleagues. I.e. Make 'conference learning's an item on next weeks team meeting.

These are easy things to do. They're also essential to ensure you get darn good value for the organization that has sent you along to these events.

But if they don't happen within a week, they won't happen at all.