Top tips for successful fundraising

If you are just about to plan a fundraiser for your non-profit organisation, then you might find that there are so many things to think about: how do you plan it, how do you find fundraisers, ways of advertising it, maintaining engagements and so on.
If anyone tells you it is easy or there are shortcuts, be very wary.

And remember that successful fundraising should embrace different forms (traditional grant making bodies, public sector tenders and service level agreements, social networking, corporates and individuals.)

So we can’t give you all the answers in a simple blog (it has taken years to learn what we now know), but we can give some pointers.

  1. Plan

There is nothing worse than going of “half-cock”. You lose any credibility and can lose the opportunity to bid for money or engage potential sponsors. So do your homework and research the potential funding sources, what they will fund, when they will fund, and for how much.

A strong fundraising campaign is built around SMART (specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-limited) goals. In order to do this you need to be able to:

  • Clearly articulate your specific monetary goal
  • Use historical data to make sure your specific goal is measurable
  • Decide and list the actions needed to meet that goal
  • Be realistic – based on past performance and the giving background of your target givers
  • Start early enough to raise the money required (many funding applications will take 4 – 9 months to reach fruition)

I’ll revisit some of these goals later in this blog.

  1. Know the “what” and the “why”

Imagine a situation where a funder is presented with 3 possible giving opportunities – yours and 23 others. Why should a donor give you money instead of another organisation? Why are you raising money? Why now? Why is it urgent? Why should I care?

  1. Understand the donor ecosystem

People want to give. The number of funders who tell me they love the organisation I am working with and they want to support it but………… We need stories (Case studies etc.) to further cement this need/desire.

People hear and respond to campaigns differently. It is important to create connections and tug on the heartstrings or offer concise proof of effectiveness.

That might also include using events and other methods to get people onside. Some folks love a great night out for a worthy cause, and that can be just as effective as a series of begging letters.

  1. Make the ask

All the planning in the world falls short if you don’t ask. Develop a template you can use again and again and copy and paste as required.

  1. Develop materials

There is a need for as much supporting materials and evidence as possible, including a briefing paper, a call to action, videos, case studies, etc.

  1. Multi-channel campaign (coordinated)

Combine website content, social media, traditional media like (radio, TV, leaflets) and emails – to reach as wide an audience as possible. Make sure that they are all coordinated and have the same message. Do not just post one Tweet or Facebook Post and think that is enough advertise it. Some of your followers may use Facebook, while others may be more likely to tweet – make sure you reach through all your channels.

Furthermore, ensure that the homepages of your channels and organisation feature the campaign.

  1. Sense of Urgency

Within reason, and bearing in mind that some capital appeals might be multi annula, make sure the campaign will not last for too long as it will lose its sense of urgency and momentum. If the campaign has an air of urgency around it, it will be more likely to attract people to pay attention and act.

  1. Send a clear message

The title or aim of the campaign should not be a long complicated story as to what you are campaigning for. Find a few words to describe what the campaign is about by looking for the cause and effect.  Tell a story too. People empathise more if the campaign will have a personal message, and not just a generic one. What is your story? What are you working to achieve? Make sure that you express these in the message.

  1. Set goals

Clear, realistic goals and not goals that are too high to achieve. Make sure your goal is specific, not just “eliminate unemployment in Glasgow” but “work with 200 individuals in areas of deprivation in Glasgow and support them into employment through a vocational programme that gives them skills and helps them gain employment”. Specific targets will make supporters more likely to donate.

  1. Receive donations in a few clicks

Where you are using crowdfunding or individual giving from supporters over the internet, make sure it is simple and obvious. People will be driven away if they decide to donate, but the process is long and complicated. Make sure the donation process is easy and very quick, mobile-friendly. You can even embed a “donate” button on your website, email, videos or a direct link on a leaflet that will take your supporters straight to the donation page. From then on, make sure it is quick and easy. Additional fields such as surveys or personal information could be collected at the end of the donation and not before *but remember the spectre of GDPR!).

An extra tip would be to make sure that your donation page is customised with the specific logo and branded to your organisation. People will be more attracted by a branded online donation page rather than a generic donation page.

And don’t confuse people. Those that know you will be more happy to give through a donate page on your website than through being driven to a crowdfunding website (but both can have their place).

  1. Attract through visual representation

It is much easier to comprehend and emphasise with a message if it is expressed through visual storytelling. Make sure to tell the story of your campaign through visual representation: videos, pictures etc. (and it doesn’t have to be too expensive). People will be more likely to empathise with the story and make a contribution if they will see, for example, stories of the people your campaign seeks to help.

You can also link donations with their relevant impact, for example make a visual representation of what difference a £10, £50, £250 donation will make to your campaign: will it support one individual, will it save 5 trees?

  1. Make it “sexy”/Do not be boring

Make sure that your campaign will have an extra element that will differentiate you from the other campaigners. Find a clever gimmick that could make your campaign different and unique if possible/suitable.

  1. Engage with those who donate

The supporter must feel that they are engaged in the campaign and their contribution will make a difference. Do not just ask the supporters for money, but find different ways to engage with them. This might be volunteering, or other forms of long-term engagement.

  1. Focus

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • are these funds making a difference?
  • what impact will the funds have?
  • how much have we raised and how much more is needed to reach the goal?
  • have you met your goals so far?
  • what are your supporters doing to help you in the campaign?

By always asking and answering these questions through the campaign, you will make sure you are focused.

  1. Do not end abruptly

Make sure to let everyone know how the campaign went, what goals were met. Analyse your progress. How did the campaign go? How much have your raised and what was the return on investment? In order to improve for the next campaign, you should know the results of your fundraising activities. Try and see patterns – what made people donate more? What type of advertisement worked best and how did different people respond to your campaign? Knowing this information before you embark on subsequent fundraising campaigns will ensure that you learn from your mistakes, and even if you did perfectly in this one, then the next one will be even better!!

  1. Say “thank you”

Thank everyone and continue to be in touch with the supporters. This might allow you to build up your supporter base for the future. You will likely need it!

Choosing Fundraising Consultants for Your Not-for-Profit

Whether you’re looking to engage fundraising consultants to help you boost your fundraising activity, develop a strategy or to help you with developing grant applications, choosing the right people is very important. The right consultancy will be a good match for your organisation’s needs. So where do you start?

First of all, let’s define what a fundraising consultant is. They can be a skilled professional, or someone who is informed about certain trends and activities, or someone who has a specialisation in this field. Before reading further onto how to choose a fundraising consultant, you must keep in mind that engaging a consultant will not suddenly create a miracle for your organisation – you must also work as hard as possible together with the consultant to ensure success.

Before approaching a consultant, start by setting goals such as what is the purpose of choosing a consultant, what you are expecting from them and what you are trying to achieve for your organisation. Also consider the cost of hiring a consultant and if it’s feasible for your organisation. Knowing these things clearly before you choose a consultant will help you determine the type of consultant you need. These goals can be things like starting a capital campaign, planning a fundraising event, improving online donations, conducting a study, writing a grant application, etc.

The Consultants’ Group of the Institute of Fundraising identifies 3 types of fundraising consultants:

  1. Individuals who have part-time involvement in consultancy;
  2. sole-traders, firms, businesses that may not be VAT registered;
  3. firms or businesses that are VAT registered.

All three types are often members of the Institute of Fundraising.

After you have decided on the goals and what you would like to achieve, have a look at the type of work that fundraising consultants do. These can be tasks such as:          

  • fundraiser audits, reviews and strategies
  • develop a specific programme such as charitable trust, donor etc.
  • managing events
  • research
  • recruiting volunteers and fundraising staff
  • IT strategy and development
  • designing and managing fundraising database
  • managing crisis
  • studies on feasibility and resources
  • capital campaigns
  • applications for Trust, Grant or lottery

Once you have decided your goals and you have done some research to learn about what a fundraising consultant can do to assist you in achieving your plan, the next step is to decide the criteria for choosing the right consultant for your organisation. Questions that you may want to ask yourself include:

  • What’s the minimum experience that I want them to have?
  • Do I want to work with an organisation that employs a team of consultants or with a group of associate consultants?
  • Do they hold any industry or quality management certifications?
  • Does their profile align with my not-for-profit’s work?
  • Do they have successful track record?

Once you have decided on the type of consultant, create a list of a few consultants that match your criteria. To find them, you can ask for recommendations, look online, check the Association of Fundraising Consultants or browse the directory of the Institute of Fundraising to get some ideas. Once you have created the list with a few consultants, shortlist them down to 2-3 and start holding discussions with each of them.

At EDInet we believe in a relationship based on openness and trust. We always advise organisations looking to employ the services of a fundraising consultant to choose someone that shows an interest in your organisation and is open to your feedback and vice versa – these qualities will make sure you have a positive working relationship with the consultant. It is very important that you scrutinise every potential consultant. Inquire about their past success, learn about their strategies of working, ask whether they work independently or in a group. It is important that in this process you make sure you choose the best one for your organisation. After all, you will work together with the consultant towards a common goal so it is important that you choose one that is suitable to your expectations and goals.

Once you have assessed which one is most suitable to the needs of your not-for-profit, create a collaboration agreement and a plan for the future!

To conclude, here are some final tips to remember when working with a fundraising consultants:

  1. Be committed: it is extremely important to commit to working with the consultant. Keep them updated on any events that could have an impact on their work, inform them of negative (and positive) feedback from your clients and always let them know of any changes. The consultants must be aware of any problems that could escalate into something bigger if not dealt with in order to do their job properly.
  2. Maintain good communication: this is an important part of your relationship with the consultant. Try and have regular catch ups with the consultant. Moreover, if your consultant is local, then they are more likely to know the area and build connections with people from your area.
  3. Let the consultant do their job: do not be too prescriptive on the services you want and let the consultant do their job of coming up with the best plan for your organisation; after all, this is why you are engaging their services. Give them as much information as possible about you organisation, financial position, income, challenges and expectations, but let them come up with the best plan suitable for you.
  4. Most importantly, build trust: you are working together with the consultant to achieve the best result for your organisation. The more you will work together and build a relationship of trust, the more success it will bring to your organisation. You must trust your consultant and that’s exactly why you must make sure you choose the right one for you!

Upcoming Changes in Data Protection – how do they affect us?

 

In May 2018, the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) designed to protect personal data will be replaced by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (hereafter, GDPR).

The GDPR was approved and adopted by the EU Parliament in April 2016. The regulation takes effect after a two-year transition period and, unlike a Directive it does not require any enabling legislation to be passed by government, which means that it definitely comes into effect on 25 May 2018. The aim is to give people more control over how their personal data is used because the current legislation was enacted before the internet and cloud technology created new ways of manipulating data.

Despite the fact that UK is in the process of leaving the EU, this regulation is likely to be converted into British law by introducing a new Data Protection Act which will mirror the GDPR. In fact, “if you process data about individuals in the context of selling goods or services to citizens in other EU countries then you will need to comply with the GDPR, irrespective as to whether or not you the UK retains the GDPR post-Brexit” (EU GDPR, Feb 2018).

Personal data is used in everything and by everyone including the sales sector, customer relationship management and marketing and therefore all businesses, charities and organisations that deal with any personal information will be affected. The changes brought by GDPR are not to be taken lightly, and businesses must realise the impact of processing personal data and the importance of ensuring safety and security towards someone’s privacy.

This article will discuss the most important things that you and your business, charity or any other type of organisation must know before GDPR comes into force.

 

What counts as personal data?

Personal data is any information that makes a person identifiable, such as name, identification number, location data, telephone number or online identifier (e.g. IP addresses).

If you think that you don’t process any personal information, then think again! Visitors to your website, people on your emailing list, the contacts you have on your phone or in your email system, clients in your CRM system, etc. they all count as personal information.

 

Who must comply with GDPR?

Everyone who deals with personal information, which is actually everyone.

The GDPR not only applies to organisations located within the EU but it will also apply to organisations located outside of the EU if they offer goods or services to, or have EU individuals on their emailing list. It applies to all companies processing and holding the personal data of people residing in the EU, regardless of the company’s location.

 

Does GDPR apply to charities and other not-for-profit organisations?

Oh, yes. As said above, any organisation whatsoever that processes personal information (and that includes email addresses and phone numbers) need to. All charities will have to ensure they are GDPR compliant by 25 May 2018, in the same way that they have to currently comply with the Data Protection Act (DPA).

 

What will be new under the GDPR?

  •  Consent and the Right to be Forgotten

 Under the new regulations, companies will have to keep a record of every single time an individual will give consent to store and use their personal data. However, consent is not enough to be through a pre-ticked box, but it will have to be through an active agreement, for example having the individual to sign a consent form. Note that withdrawing consent is also the right of the individual and in the case of a withdrawal of consent, the information stored must be permanently erased, and not merely deleted from the system. This is the right to be forgotten and an individual will also have the right to be informed of the reason why their data requires to be processed.

  • Data Breach Notification

If a data breach is detected, then it must be informed by the organisation to the relevant supervising authorities within 72 hours. Information about the breach as well as a solution on how to alleviate the effects of the breach must be provided by the organisation where the breach took place. The organisation must also inform their customer about the breach.

Personal data does not include only names and addresses. The new regulation will include IP addresses, internet cookies and DNA.

  • Data Protection Officer (DPO)

 It is recommended that organisations will appoint a DPO and that will be an effective way of being accountable. The DPO must be independent and will have the responsibility to address any possible issues with regards to data protection and the organisation’s compliance to the GDPR. The DPO will report directly to management if there are any concerns.

  • Data Controller & Data Processor

The Data Controller is the organisation that decides why and what data to collect and process in their own company, while the Data Process is the one that processes personal data on behalf of the Data Controller. Following the new rules, now the Data Processor is also responsible for the data processed for the client, not just the client. So you’ll need to know the source of personal data you’re working with and how any data service providers are storing it on your behalf.

  • Storage Systems

From May 2018 sensitive data will be known as ‘special category data’ and you won’t be allowed to store an EU citizen’s ‘special category data’ outside of the EU. Special category data includes information pertaining to health, political or religious beliefs, so if you work with medical or health practitioners then you can’t store this data in Dropbox for example (Dropbox holds the data in the US).

  • Penalties

 Organisations can be fined up to 4% of the organisation’s worldwide annual turnover, or €20 million. These penalties are making businesses and organisations comply more with these regulations and offering individuals a tougher protection of their personal data.

 

Three Most Important Privacy Threats

Under GDPR, organisations must protect private data and any breach will be penalised even if it is simply accidental or malicious. The three most important threats that businesses must keep an eye on are:

  1. accidental data leaks: these could be simply sending an email to the wrong address or forgetting important paperwork on the bus. GDPR recommends strong internal security policy in order to tackle this.
  2. disloyal employees: it often happens that after they leave the firm, employees want to take revenge against the organisation and leak important information. GDPR recommends data-access policies, identity and access management controls and tools that restrict access by user profile.
  3. cyber crime: also known as theft of personal information, targeted malware etc. GDPR recommends that organisations make sure their cyber defences prevent data reaching the wrong hands.

 

So what do organisations have to do to comply with GDPR?

Firstly, organisations must raise awareness of this new Act and train all the employees in data protection. For organisations, the most important value to clients and individuals is that their privacy and personal data is protected. Employees and staff must be trained and businesses must make sure that all employees and volunteers understand how data moves around their organisation as well as the importance of data protection.

Secondly, even though the rules are not that clear yet and it may take a year before they are set in stone, start now by doing anything you can now as it will be one less thing you’ll have to do later.

Here are some recommendations:

  • If you haven’t registered with the Information Commissioner (ICO) yet, then you must do that as soon as possible. It costs just £35.
  • Encrypt your hard drive and mobile phone.
  • Don’t share logins.
  • Encrypt emails when sending information like passport details.
  • Check that the software you use for storing or processing information is compliant with GDPR; check what their privacy policy is and where they hold the data they store.
  • Enable double opt-in if using Mailchimp for your emailing list.
  • Develop a Data Privacy Policy and a Cookie Policy for your website if you haven’t already.
  • Disable ‘Reply to All’ in your email agent to avoid ‘sharing’ confidential information by mistake.
  • Stay informed.

 

Conclusion

Security of personal data is a most important thing to be considered by organisations. It is not only about complying with a few rules. It is about protecting and caring for the customers, as well as ensuring a good reputation of the company as trustworthy and professional, which in turn will protect the future of the organisation. The changes brought by the GDPR might seem frightening, but there is nothing to worry about. These changes are a good opportunity for re-organising and addressing any gaps in order to ensure that your organisation is fully protected against any leaks, threats and breaches of the law.

In fact data privacy is actually a good thing because that also means YOUR data and My data as individuals is being protected.

Grants for organisations working with women

The Feminist Review Trust is accepting applications until the 31 January 2018 for projects in the UK and internationally that support women. In 2018 the Trust will particularly welcome applications from non-OECD countries in the following areas:

  • Lesbian and transgender rights
  • Violence against women and girls
  • Disabled women and girls

The Feminist Review Trust will fund:

  • Hard to fund projects – for example  the Trust supported the writing and publication of the history of Rape Crisis in Scotland and the translation and updating sections of ‘Women and Their Bodies’ into Arabic and Hebrew.
  • Pump priming activities – this means that they will provide a small amount of funding to help start an activity in the hope that it will then be able attract sufficient funding to continue.
  • Interventionist projects which support feminist values – for example core feminist concerns such as abortion rights and domestic violence.
  • Training and development projects
  • One off events
  • Dissemination
  • Core funding

Grant size

The maximum value of any individual award is £15,000.

Deadline

31 January 2018

How to apply

In order to apply applicants need to download the application form here and email it to administrator@feminist-review-trust.com when completed.

Decisions about Awards are made by the Trustees. The Trustees meet three times each year.

For further details and to apply please visit the Feminist Review Trust.

Action Earth programme – grants for groups of volunteers

The Action Earth scheme by Volunteering Matters provides small grants of between £50-250 for local volunteer groups in Scotland to take action and improve their local environment through volunteering activities.

The funding is for volunteer groups that are creating or improving community gardens or wildflower areas, ponds, woodlands or local green areas.

Local Nature Reserve (LNR) grants of up to £500 are also available for volunteer activities taking place on LNRs such as wildlife recording or protecting and enhancing biodiversity.

Eligibility criteria

In order to be eligible, volunteer groups need to:

  • Implement the project in Scotland;
  • Work on sites that are accessible to the general public
  • Involve at least 15 volunteers who each should give a minimum of five hours.

Deadline

Applications may be submitted at any time.

How to apply

Applicants need to fill in an online form in order to be emailed a link the grant application form.

For further details and to apply please visit Volunteering Matters.