Are They Unregistered and Fundraising

Have only come across this a couple of times, but it may happen more than I’ve seen.

Actually, from memory there have been times where people have been seen out on the street with buckets or clipboards asking for support for some charitable cause; only for it to be later discovered that it was for a group/organisation that had no charitable status (they stated that they were a registered charity).

If you’re approached by someone saying they’re fundraising or seeking support in other ways for a charitable cause; make sure they are registered, ask for proof, if they’re out in public they are meant to have certain information with them – and one piece of information should be proof of their charitable status i.e. charity number. If they don’t have this – walk away.

Recently I have seen an organisation seeking support and, also talking about the support that have gained; in their “storytelling” they have said that they are a Charitable Trust, but in looking they have no charitable status with Charity Services.

I know that this organisation has no registration, they applied to be registered but withdrew or cancelled their registration for some reason.

Not only can “organisations” acting in this way have the potential to impact negatively on the charity sector as a whole, it can impact on those who “endorse” them.

When an organisation trots out people or businesses saying that they are ambassadors or the like; and have those people front for it, the potential for them to have their “brand” tarnished is real.

So, if a word of or two of caution:

Check the charitable status of any organisation that approaches you for support.

Ask for details about how your support will help, who benefits, what it costs for them to administer their organisation.

If you’re approached to be an ambassador, or show your support for an organisation, do the above, but also check what visibility the organisation has, do some background checks.

What’s been in the media about the organisation, has there been any negative articles published?

Check the Trustees, who are they, what do they do apart from being a name with the organisation, you can easily use LinkedIn, Facebook etc for this.

Ask around, ask people you know if they know anything about the organisation, it’s Trustees etc.

So, keep alert, ask questions before supporting.

Remember it only takes one bad apple to ruin the lot.

Tell Me Why …

The last couple of months have been a challenge, a contract I was enjoying being part of ceased and since then I have been looking at what I have been doing, whether it’s what I should continue – or perhaps, now is the time to look for another avenue.

But, today I rediscovered a song I hadn’t heard for some time; the words of this young man made me rediscover the passion for what I want – nah, need to be doing …

Take the time and listen, yes, you’ve probably heard it umpteen times but, perhaps like me, it may reignite a flickering passion …

Thank you Declan …

On The Hunt

Ok, so this job hunt isn’t easy, called, emailed and sent smoke signals to people in the sector saying I’m available; sadly there appears to be not much on offer at the moment.

So, here’s my plea; if you know anyone looking for someone to join their team with experience in

  • Donor acquisition
  • Donor retention
  • Donor communication
  • Social Media for non-profits

or anything akin to these skills – could you please, pretty please let me know or let them know I’m looking, my email is on my homepage as is my mobile number.

Thanks in advance.

Wake Up

Ok, I have talked previously about knowing what’s going on the sector, what others in your same field are doing. But are you watching what people in general are talking about, issues, news items, documentaries and so on that have relevance to the work of your organisation?

It astounds me that there people in the sector who go to their office each day, do the work they feel needs doing; but aren’t aware of what people are talking about, what’s being shown and how this could be useful for their work.

Monitoring what’s happening is part of your job, well, I think it is. And for staff to only see their job as 9 to 5 is a little short sighted, especially when there’s so much competition for the charity dollar.

Staff should be encouraged to spend some part of their day looking at what people are talking about, someone in the organisation should be keeping an eye out for tv programmes etc that have some relevance to the work of your organisation. And, yes, someone should be monitoring FaceBook and the likes to see what others are talking and sharing that’s of relevance; and no cats are not really relevant unless they are at the core of what your organisation does.

So, who in your organisation is responsible for sharing news items, discussion papers etc? No one, tut tut, get someone onto this pronto, there’s likely gems you’re missing out on that could help you with your next fundraising campaign.

Remember, the people you are trying to gain as supporters are likely to have seen, read or talked about something that relates to your organisation, if you have seen something recently you can drop into a conversation or email; it could swing them to support you.

Who’s monitoring the social channels, again no one; no tuts this time, but please get someone to monitor, it won’t take them all day, just a few minutes each day is all that’s needed.

Ok, that’s a wee rant with some suggestions; so when you get back to your office, work out what you need to monitor and who the best person is to do this; unsure who – ask who would be interested, maybe someone is really keen but have been too shy to suggest that this is what you should be doing.

Now, get back to looking at what people are talking about in your sector.

Need People at Your Event?

We all struggle to get the number of people we want at events; we send invite after invited, make the calls yet we’re don’t get the numbers.

There’s all manner of way to get people to attend, but having just re-read

3 WAYS TO BUILD AN INVITE LIST… AND GET PEOPLE TO COME ALONG by Lou of Loud in Public, I thought it worth sharing.

I’m not going to say any more than – READ it …

You will gain some good tips and hey what you got to lose, your time spent reading is an investment in your next event …

They already support, Now What?

You’ve just done the best pitch, only to find out they already support your organisation, now what?

Firstly, shouldn’t you have talked with them and ascertained if they already know you and/or support you?

Fundraising, supporter acquisition time is precious – you need to be making the most of it and to not “qualify” who you are speaking with, pitching at the outset can waste precious resources.

But, having said that; when we do end up speaking with someone who already supports, we should be taking the opportunity to thank them, to encourage them to continue their support and, to also ask if they could help spread the word about the work being carried out.

If you haven’t qualified who you are talking with, you’re most likely making needless pitches; which are most likely taking time away from nurturing new supporters, but yes, you can’t afford to neglect current ones either.

It can be a fine balance – how much time and effort is needed for both segments ?

We know supporters don’t stay forever, well mostly they don’t; so you do need to be out and about, being proactive to replenish your supporter pool. In my experience nurturing new supporters is about 40 percent of your work, the rest is on maintaining the relationships you already have.

If you are spending time (some of the 40%) talking to people already on board, that’s eating away at the time you have to spend with new prospects.

So, next time you set about trying to gain new supporters, ask if they know your organisation; if they do, move them to the donor nurturing quadrant, and move on to the next cold prospect.

What are you doing to ensure your energies are being focused in the right direction?

How have/do you handle it when doing a donor acquisition campaign and discover that some of the people you’re trying to get on board are already supporters?

What Makes a Charity a Charity

Talk to anyone in the street about charities and they’ll say “there’s too many” “I’m always being asked for money for something” – and that’s just from people who comment about the “visible” charities. Wait until you start talking about the Big Business Charities – the first to come to mind are Churches.

They’re registered as charities, have, in the main massive resources, they have charitable status which means they don’t pay taxes like you or I.

Then there’s the likes of Sanitarium which is exempt from paying tax on its business earnings, simply because it’s owned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, which is a registered charity.

When Big Business, yes, Sanitarium is a business, is exempt from paying taxes on earnings, it can make people question whether this is making a mockery of the whole charity sector.

I could write screeds about this, but having stumbled across Kate Russell’s (no relation) piece on LinkedIn, I see no point in repeating what she has to say.

I agree with what Kate has to say in “Is it time to reform the Charities Register?” and, it would seem those who have comment on her piece are of the same mind.

Have a read of what Kate has to say – do you agree that it is time to reform the Charities Register?

“In recent years, there have been various moves by Government to ensure that charities are more accountable and transparent in their financial management. The new accounting standards that come in shortly will ensure that charities are clear and open about investment returns and outcomes reporting.

“We as a sector should welcome these moves as adding credibility to what we do, but isn’t it time the Government attacked the more complex issues of what constitutes a ‘charity’ here in Godzone?

Read Kate’s full piece here

What do you think – is it time for reform?

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think, I’ll also gladly pass your comments onto Kate.

Know What You’re Good At

We all have strengths and weaknesses, the important thing is to recognise them and acknowledge that sometimes we need to call on others to help.

Asking and accepting help is a good thing and doesn’t mean you’re a lesser person for asking.

This is true not only in our personal lives, but also in our roles organisations, and perhaps even more so within some organisations in the non-profit sector.

Some people starting out with a non-profit will have the skills for the job they are doing, but they may not have the understanding of the sector, how things can be very different to the for-profit world. And, this can also be true for those overseeing an organisation.

If you have doubts about anything to do with your organisation, your role or the sector in general, don’t be afraid to put your hand up and ask for help. Something I remember being told years ago, was there’s only one dumb question – the one you didn’t ask.

So ask ask and ask some more if you have any doubts about your organisation, your role or your organisation. People will respect you for asking.


Did that get your attention?

Emailing marketing can be an effective tool in your fundraising arsenal, but unless you do it well it can leave a sour taste, or be completely ignored by your supporters.

Doing  it right is the key.

How do you do it right, well, the simplest way to say this is as Nike does “Just do it” – but, measure, measure and measure some more.

If you’re not prepared to measure from the outset, if you think this is a hard task; don’t even think about doing a campaign. You’d measure a postal campaign, so why not an email one?

From my experience you need to have a few examples of contents, subject line etc and test these on different segments of your supporter database; what works for some may not work for others, remember one style does not fit all when it comes to any marketing to your supporters.

Being personal, personable and letting supporters know how important they have been to your organisation is important, but don’t be overly gushy with this; you want recipients to keep reading, not dive for the vomit bag.

If you find that the content is more receptive, that you get higher click throughs to your website, your donate now page, than other samples; use this … but don’t be afraid to keep testing what works.

Often, the subject line is all that needs a tweak, if you find one segment of your audience is more receptive to something that really pulls on their heart strings, use this on another segment and look at what results  you’re getting.

As Kerri Karvetski says on the Nonprofit Marketing Guide – Want to squeeze more mileage from a great fundraising or advocacy email? Send it again.

Kerri also says “Sending a fundraising or advocacy email again to non-responders — subscribers who did not open, click, donate or take action the first time — can sometimes raise as much, or produce as many actions, as the original send.” Something I agree with, and something you should take heed of.

In the article Kerri also says “When it comes to resends, which is what Kerri’s article is about, think about the plan behind the resend; “Sending a fundraising or advocacy email again to non-responders — subscribers who did not open, click, donate or take action the first time — can sometimes raise as much, or produce as many actions, as the original send. “

The next time you sit down and plan your next email marketing campaign, don’t just think about the “core” message, think about how you will monitor the campaign, what you will do to grab the attention of those you’ve identified you haven’t “reached” … don’t just write one piece and send it to everyone and end it there, have a plan for what you will do next.

It’s only a short article, full of tips – so head to Nonprofit Marketing Guide and read the full article

Are you monitoring and changing your email marketing, subject, content and more, if not why not?