Charity Muggers – Skills Shortage

After reading “‘Charity muggers’ offered free flights” – I got to thinking about a couple of things here.

Firstly, how can this “group” be seen as having a skills shortage, in essence it’s a sales function – and secondly, does this reflect badly on the companies employing and training “chuggers”?

A skills shortage, I don’t see how – this is a role that with the right training, coaching and support that could be undertaken by almost anyone with an outgoing personality.

Those employing and training “chuggers” need now to look at the way they are doing this.

“Charity marketers and industry watchdogs believe there are not enough experienced bucket rattlers in New Zealand and are asking Immigration NZ for street fundraisers to be added to the immediate skills-shortage list, to make it easier for them to enter the country for work”.

Having done bucket collections, coached people to do this, and having also done “subscription” style supporter acquisition, I will say it’s not for the faint hearted. But, for people with an outgoing attitude, who enjoying talking with others and want to see others helped it can be a rewarding job.

What’s needed is adequate training before people hit the streets, then ongoing coaching on how to interact with others to gain the “sale”.

Give me a team of passionate people who have never done any form of fundraising before and I’ll give you a team of passionate people ready to hit the streets. Immigration doesn’t need to change criteria to “allow” others in to the country to do this work.

What about those organisations who use the likes of “chuggers” through agencies such as Cornucopia – how do they feel about the perceived needs for Immigration to relax it’s rules?

This could easily turn into a PR disaster not only for agencies such as Cornucopia  who supply collectors, but also for those organisations who use these services.

Would you sooner support a kiwi who is doing their bit (for pay) to raise funds and awareness of local organisations, and give locals jobs, or would you sooner locals sidestepped for people arriving – temporarily – to fill vacancies?


Fundraising Manners

Fundraising can be hard enough without your fundraisers alienated themselves from the very people they’re trying to gain support from.

How often have you come across a fundraiser, either face-to-face or over the phone who has talked at you – not with you, has cut you short when you’re speaking, or perhaps just don’t seem interested in any dialogue – they’re just going through the motions?

It would appear that this happens all to often; why, there’s no need for it, it all comes down to selecting the right people to “front” your organisation, the right and timely coaching and training and, then it’s up to you to monitor how they are doing.

If you’re organisation undertakes tele-fundraising, do you have the ability to either listen into calls while they’re happening or to listen to recorded calls? Are you reviewing calls with those on the phones?

Doing face-to-face fundraising, do you have people who can act as “mystery shoppers” – people who can listen to what the fundraiser is saying, their actions, manners – it’s worth getting some “unknowns” to monitor on your behalf.

It’s vital that you know what your fundraisers are saying, how they’re interacted and most importantly – how they are representing your organisation.

It only takes a few disgruntled people to start talking openly about their experience with your organisation to cast doubt in the minds of others. They could be thinking – if that’s how those on the “front line” – they’re quite possibly the only people supporters have regular contact with – any bad experiences can quickly turn support off.

You owe it to your supporters and your organisation to be monitoring your fundraisers, even where you’re using an external agency you need to have monitoring in place.

If you support and organisation, what are your experiences and expectation of fundraisers?

Our Population is Changing

It doesn’t matter where you are, the population around you is changing, therefore your donor catchment is also changing; are you changing with your catchment?

If you aren’t changing with your catchment you are likely to be missing out on gaining new support, new opportunities to grow your organisation.

Often I hear people in organisations say that a certain “new” segment of the area won’t support them, that they won’t understand what it is the organisation is aiming to do.

This can be changed quite simply – communicate with, introduce yourself  and get to know them and in turn they’ll get to know you.

Growing new support from a new immigrant community needed be any harder than growing support from any other sector of the community.

If we take a look at Auckland, a population of 1.3 million – of that there’s a mix made up of … (the data below is from Statistic NZ – Census Map 2013)


European percentage of total people stated 59.3
Maori percentage of total people stated 10.7
Pacific peoples percentage of total people stated 14.6
Asian percentage of total people stated 23.1
Mid Eastn Latin American African percent of total people stated 1.9
New Zealander percentage of total people stated 1.1
Other ethnicity nec percentage of total people stated 0.1
Total people other ethnicity percentage of total people stated 1.2


It’s not hard to see that if your organisation is only tailoring your marketing, donor support, donor acquisition communication to the ‘population’ you are used to – that you are missing out.

Take for example those who identified as Asian in the last census – 23.1 percent, if your organisation is not attempting to, or isn’t communicating effectively with this sector of the population; you are missing out and need to change your strategy.

If it means having your communications translated, explore it, perhaps there are people in the community who would be willing to help with translation services as a way of supporting your work.

When it comes to face-to-face or phone based communication, look at the possibility of employing on a fixed term contract people to do this for you, again, you may find you already have supporters who will assist in these areas.

Are you tapping into new communities, new segments of the population? If so, how have you gone about this? Please share you experiences in the comments below.



Tele-Fundraising isn’t Dead

Tele-Fundraising isn’t Dead

Recently I’ve heard people say “fundraising on the phone is irrelevant” “tele-fundraising isn’t needed today.”

Tele-fundraising is still relevant and is needed today, it should be part of your fundraising plan, it is also, or should be seen as a way to measure what people think about your organisation.

This article 3 Ways Fundraisers Can Leverage Telemarketing is a good read, if you are doubting the effectiveness, relevance of fundraising it will help you see that it still has a place in your fundraising arsenal.

If you only read the 3 ways the tele-fundraising can be used – do it …

  1. Message matters. Telemarketing is made for urgency. Nothing says “this is really important right now” quite like calling someone and saying those very words. Be specific, be timely and update the script as many times as it takes to keep the pitch as urgent as possible.
  2. Listen to the donors. A phone call can be a mini-focus group, giving an organization the opportunity to make the message work in the most compelling way possible. Take what you learn on the phone and apply it to other channels.
  3. No channel is an island. The value of telemarketing goes beyond the revenue raised on the phone. Receiving a phone call increases a donor’s likelihood to give a gift via mail or online by 20 percent over the next 30 days, even if the call results in a refusal. Bolster a call’s performance by integrating a pre-call email or a post-call pledge follow-up, making the approach truly multichannel.


Are there other ways you see tele-fundraising as beneficial to your organisation – please share in comments below.

See also:

ASKphobia – A Great Term

It’s not you they’re turning down

Tele-fundraising Tips

Fundraisng – Planning is Needed

Why you suck at fundraising


You need a Stable Board

Your board, like any other area in your organisation will need to replace or add new members; how you go about finding the right person, introducing them and helping them in their role will have an impact on how they do their ‘job’ and how long they’ll stay.

Like any other function in any organisation, a position description should be put together; outlining what the role is. From this you can’t write a person description, what type of person best suits the role – experience, contacts, abilities; what do they have to have?

Once you have done that, it’s time to start looking; your networks are the first place you should start. Ask around, someone knows someone.

And, like any other role you need to:

Introduce them to the organisation, whether this is possible face-to-face or through other means; ensure they are properly introduced.

Induct them into the organisation, explain the role and all expectations; meeting attendance, availability to attend events etc.

Bring them up-to-date, make sure make the time to tell them where things are at, mid-term goals etc; this will help them hit the ground running.

Some organisation team up a mentor, someone who has experience in the functions of the board and organisation; this is something worth considering especially in larger organisations.

Like all other roles in your organisation, you should be conducting reviews; these are an opportunity for two-way feedback on how the board member is doing, what their take on the role is, and what future plans, goals.

Keep all board members active, involved and encouraged to be part of the organisation; if you want to have a high turnover rate anywhere in the organisation, ignore their views, bore them with aimless tasks and ineffective meetings.

How do you manage new board members? Do you follow the above?

See also:

Does your board expect to be paid

Your board and trustees should be working

Are you supported by your board and staff?

Board Meetings – When do You hold them?

ASKphobia – A Great Term

When I first started out in fundraising, I wasn’t always comfortable making the “ask”. I was afraid of being turned down, and sometimes questioned the amount I was endeavouring to ask for.

Why – I guess in those days you could say I was Ask-phobic. I was afraid of the “no’s” and couldn’t understand how people could have the sums I was intended to ask for.

Somehow, one day I shook the fears I had and asked. Sure I was rejected, but at least I was asking, and the more asks got me more “yes’s”

This article on 101Fundraising is a must read if you’re involved in any level of fundraising.

The tips offered are great, and are the types I offer when coaching people in fundraising.

Read ASKphobia: How to Overcome Ask Aversion and see what you think, can you add any more tips to help people with an ask aversion?

See also:

It’s not you they’re turning down

Tele-fundraising Tips

Fundraisng – Planning is Needed

Why you suck at fundraising

Are You Stale – Have you Stagnated?

Do you feel your organisation is struggling to grow support as a result of stagnation?

You’re still striving to grow your supporter base, you’re segmenting your database to make the most of what you have already; yet nothing changes, no growth in support either by the number of supporters or amounts able to be raised?

What can be done? Perhaps you are too close and need to take a more birds eye view of what is happening.

Maybe it is not the “market” – not your supporters but you that is the problem for not growing support.

This blog on 101 Fundraising is an interesting read, and something anyone involved in fundraising for your organisation should read

Have you questioned yourself, they way you are approaching and managing the “ask”?

What are your thoughts, are you struggling to grow your supporter base, your monetary support?

Volunteering – a WINZ Option

After I posted “WINZ not doing it’s job” a few people got in touch to say that WINZ had suggested that while looking for work that they do some volunteer work in the community.

Great idea.

We can all do something more in the community.

One person said that when they approached a community organisation and said that they were currently looking for work and on the jobseekers allowance; the organisation said something on the lines of – oh, we need dedicated people, people who can commit to x hours a week … we can’t have people coming and going when they feel like it.

Yes, organisations need to know what their staffing levels are, no different to how a commercial enterprise. But, this situations does make me wonder if organisations and WINZ are in dialogue, whether WINZ has a handle on the needs of organisations in the community.

If WINZ don’t know the needs and expectations of community groups, then they could be causing undue pressure on them, and yes, to the “client” (beneficiary) trying to do what WINZ are suggesting.

Tell it like it is

How often do you send something out, an email, letter, appeal or thank you letter full of terms that are vague, jargon only known by those in the “know”?

It happens too often, we’re all guilty of it, we all use terms and phrases we’re familiar and, comfortable with.

Often the terms and phrases use are too broad and often meaningless to the reader – your supporter.

How often have you sent something out using phrases like “we help at risk teens …” or “we support people in need …” These phrases mean a lot to you, but without a story to back up what you’re saying they can be absolutely meaningless to the reader.

Many terms you may use internally and they may be in your mission statement, but they should be limited in communications with your donors.

Kids –  Youth

If you work with kids – youth, children, say kids, most people identify their children as kids, they will remember what things were like when they were kids; so say kids.

Kids does sound warm, it has a recall; say kids and your supporters will likely relate better.

Having worked with organisations who assist children/youth, I’ve had the discussion about saying “Kids”; but it seems many feel that it’s ok to say children and youth but not kids because it’s seen as too informal and, perhaps demeaning.

But why can’t we just say kids?  Surely most of the people in your organisation and your supporters refer to their own children as kids – so why not say what people relate to when it comes to children and youth – Kids.

What sounds better, what gives you a warm feeling – kids or youth?

Being hit by a Bus

Ok, know one would actually say this, but, they would say “At risk”. It’s vague, walking down the street someone could be hit by a bus, there’s the possibility something bad could happen, that’s all “at risk” is saying. Be specific.

Tell a story to say how you work with people in certain situations so something won’t happen.

Something like “Our programmes help kids deal with … and help them grow and develop into … ”

“Since James came to us, his parents and teachers have seen …”

Turning lives around, making a difference

Well if you’re not making a difference why do you exist.

Yes, it’s important that supporters know you are making a difference, but you need to be saying more than that.

If you can show what you’re doing, what you’ve done – your supporters will relate more to the work you’re doing.

Again, tell stories, show what you’re doing … “in the last six months we’ve helped x families into new homes …”

Cognitive dissonance


If you use terms or phrases that cause confusion, you’ll have less impact from your communications. Stay on topic.

Say it as it is, avoid using any term, phrase or reference that causes confusion “we help kids see their potential”

Any other ideas you’d add?