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September 2016

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    Raising a mug in ‘solidari-tea’ with survivors of domestic abuse

Raising a mug in ‘solidari-tea’ with survivors of domestic abuse

By |September 22nd, 2016

This week Facebook and Twitter feeds have been filled with people raising mugs in #solidaritea with Helen in The Archers. The court room climax of the domestic abuse storyline has gripped listeners of the soap and captured the nation’s imagination.

The storyline, which has been building over many months, has revealed the psychological grip of emotional abuse, as Helen struggled under Rob’s increasing controlling behaviour. The storyline was devised in association with domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid and shines a light on the issues faced by many people experiencing domestic abuse. The slow build up has helped shake off many common assumptions and judgements made about people experiencing domestic abuse, as listeners were able to put themselves in Helen’s shoes.

What’s remarkable is how this increased understanding has manifested itself on social media, breaking down the taboos around domestic abuse. By taking a quick selfie with a cuppa on social media and using the hashtag #solidaritea, you are joining an army of Helen supporters and reaching out in support of women like Helen in real life.

It’s not just raising awareness via social media either. An avid listener launched a JustGiving campaign in February 2016 in support of Refuge, a charity helping real-life Helens, which has so-far raised £169,000 and still counting. It’s a powerful message. Unlocking empathy via a radio drama has prompted a huge surge in awareness and support for domestic abuse charities.

But is this #FreeHelen viral campaign a one-off? Are there lessons here that charities can learn and apply to their cause? Awareness around ‘issues’ have been raised in dramas and soaps before, such as AIDS awareness, addiction etc, but these haven’t been harnessed effectively with a social media and fundraising campaigns. The slow-burn of the […]

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    Christmas is coming (sorry) – are you ready to maximise your fundraising?

Christmas is coming (sorry) – are you ready to maximise your fundraising?

By |September 21st, 2016

With Christmas fast approaching (only 95 days to go!), it’s time to start thinking of how you can maximise fundraising during the season of goodwill. This time of year sees people embracing the festive spirit and offering their support to charities in many different ways, much more so than at other times of the year. December is the  month that fundraisers can expect to generate a higher amount of income through individual giving than any other month of the year.

If as a fundraiser, you are finding yourself thinking “Oh no, Christmas! I don’t want to dress up as Santa and stand in the town centre freezing with a bucket again!”, fear not! For here we have some alternative methods to fundraising at Christmas. While Christmas Markets and Carol Services are very effective and festive, there are other ways to maximise the Christmas spirit in terms of fundraising. Here are 5 Christmas tips for alternative fundraising methods:

  1. Corporate Partners – I know from my own experience in the Corporate Sector that December is often the month of ‘festive fun’ at work. This month see’s fundraising days and events such as ‘Christmas Jumper Day’. Having a relationship with a Corporate Partner can be very useful to charities at Christmas time. There are many ways they can help with fundraising, from fundraising events to asking their employees to donate their last hour of pay for the year. You could even ask that they have donating buckets at their Christmas parties, as we all know people are more charitable after a few drinks!
  1. Search Engines – The technology era is upon us, and we are spending more and more time online to do our shopping than we […]

August 2016

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    Individual Giving – How can small charities compete with the bigger household names?

Individual Giving – How can small charities compete with the bigger household names?

By |August 24th, 2016

Many of our clients are small charities (with an annual income of under £1m) and when it comes to Individual Giving fundraising we know that there is often a feeling that there is no point in competing with the ‘big boy’ household name charities. With their bigger budgets, bigger teams, better marketing they are able to reach infinitely more people and generate millions every year through Individual Giving. This reluctance sounds reasonable when you look at it like that – all of those facts are true.

However, research has shown that donors prefer to give to smaller local charities.

Smaller charities feel that they can’t be successful with individual donors as they can’t afford direct marketing, telephone agencies, face-to-face fundraisers. The reality is that donors are sick of these methods – they find them intrusive and often view them as an example of a charity wasting money.

Many small charities support local causes and this again is an advantage, as people like to see the benefit of their donation within their local community. However, a community can go beyond a geographical area and can be a shared interest, action, practice or circumstance.

One study found that donors preferred to support local charities through workplace giving, social media, local media partnerships and events that encourage community participation and connectedness. They preferred raising funds for specific items and stressed the importance of regular communication with donors regarding positive achievements. Social media is a useful tool for small charities as it enables regular communication and allows for responsive interactions.

We know that trust in charities is at an all-time low and that donors are looking to see that their support is having an impact. If you know a donor […]

Trust in Charities – what do the public want to know?

By |August 24th, 2016

After the events of last year, it’s not news to anyone that public trust in charities is at an all time low. Last month the Charity Commission published a blog covering key areas that charities need to work on to get the message across to the public that their time and money does make a difference. Of course, the focus is firmly rooted on engaging with the Charity Commission but they make some useful points:

1) Be clear about what you are aiming to do and how you make an impact – This is all about public benefit reporting. While you may be clear on what you aim to do, are you telling the story about what you have done and the difference it has made (the impact)?

2) What will you do with money you raise from the public or with the time and energy of volunteers? – What are your plans for the next year? Include these on your website and in your annual report so donors are clear what their money is needed for.

3) Clear, simple accounting that explains your support/ administration and fundraising costs – Accounts should be easy to read (believe us, sometimes they require an accountant to decipher the information).

4) File your accounts on time – Late accounts show up on the charity commission website as ‘overdue’ and may raise alarm bells.

5) Keep up to date with Charity Commission guidance – Ensure trustee emails are registered with the commission so they can send them updates directly.

For the full blog from the Charity Commission look here.

The Commission are also consulting with charities on what they can do to help build trust in charities. Let us know if you have any ideas – […]

July 2016

Future proof your organisation with a Fundraising Strategy!

By |July 24th, 2016

Today more than ever charities need to be able to meet the pressures of maintaining sufficient levels of income from a number of streams and remain agile, adapting strategies and introducing new income streams when needed. This is where a strong fundraising strategy is key.

When we are approached by organisations for support to develop a fundraising strategy they are usually looking to achieve one or more of the following aims:
• To continue current work
• To expand services into new areas of work
• To reduce the risk of over-reliance on a single source of income
• To build up reserves
• To raise more regular long-term funding

A well-developed fundraising strategy will help to provide clarity about your organisation’s aims and priorities while also providing a ‘reality check’ to ensure  these priorities are realistic and achievable. Through the careful research and scoping of opportunities, the strategy will introduce a more targeted approach, increasing the likelihood of success and most effective use of time.

Another, often overlooked benefit of the fundraising strategy is that it encourages a shared responsibility for fundraising across the organisation. This is increasingly important as the new CC20 guidelines from the Charity Commission emphasises that trustees have responsibility for fundraising and should be aware of the strategy and activities taking place.

The scope and depth of a fundraising strategy depends very much on the activity. For example, a three-year fundraising strategy aligned to a business plan will look quite different to fundraising for a one-off occurrence, such as a Capital appeal or a big event. It’s important to remember that while the strategy is a ‘road map’ it should be subject to change as external factors require.

If your organisation is thinking of producing a strategy in-house then […]

June 2016

What does Brexit mean for Charities?

By |June 28th, 2016

Of course the big news at the moment is the EU referendum, the outcome of which has left many reeling and wondering “what does Brexit mean for charities”? what the sector can expect and how we’ll deal with the implications of what many see as a drastic, unnecessary and ill-informed decision.

It’s very early days (at the time of writing, less than a week has passed) but the rallying cry seems to be that as a sector we have dealt with some ‘difficult times’ so we will be able to ride this storm. As the practical and financial implications will take time to unfold (MP’s are resigning, the pound is falling in value) what is already evident is that racial and class tensions are high and this is where heads of the sector have focused first.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, wrote in a blog:

“The referendum has thrown into sharper contrast than ever previously a division in the United Kingdom. Questions of social mobility will rightly now come to the fore again. And we can hope that the racial tensions stoked so crudely and cruelly during the campaigning do not linger, but the risk of this is clear. We must now play our role in healing these divisions. We can and must help people in the communities we work with to understand, respect and cherish each other.”

His views were echoed by Neil Cleevely of Navca who said:

“The ability of local charities and community groups to bring together people from different backgrounds and experiences for the common good is more vital than ever. I am sure that our members will do what they always do and unite people to tackle the economic and […]

Recruiting for a Fundraiser?

By |June 28th, 2016

We are often approached for help with recruiting a fundraiser or asked to provide interim support during times of recruitment to cover maternity leave, sabbaticals or restructure.

Our experience of support has highlighted how recruitment is a minefield! We know that for many, the costs of recruitment are off-putting – our recent research has shown that options range from around £80 for a simple advert through to the recruitment consultant route which can cost up 20% of the total salary.

Unfortunately it’s not as easy as simply going for the cheapest option. We know from our clients that it’s increasingly difficult to find the right people, so you need to make sure your advert reaches as many jobseekers as possible. You also need to think carefully about what you can offer them – it’s competitive out there and you need to make sure that your offer stands up against all the rest.

We spoke to some job seekers via social media and here’s what they told us:

Where they are looking for jobs

The main place people are looking for a fundraising job is online and via the following sites:

What they are looking for

  • Clarity on who the organisation is and what they do – they wanted to know whether the organisation mission was something they could get behind.
  • Job title – people are naturally looking to progress, […]

Charity fundraising for trustees – 6 principles at a glance

By |June 9th, 2016

The Charity Commission’s new Fundraising Guidance for Trustees (CC20) was published earlier this week. This latest version comes after a period of consultation and amidst much speculation and criticism. There are concerns amongst the sector that the new guidance has come too soon as it will need to be amended again once the code of practice passes from the Institute of Fundraising to the new Fundraising regulator but for now, here are the 6 key principles of taking responsibility for your charities fundraising, trustees need to be aware of:

1.Planning effectively

This is about you and your co-trustees agreeing or setting, and then monitoring, your charity’s overall approach to fundraising. Your fundraising plan should also take account of risks, your charity’s values and its relationship with donors and the wider public, as well as its income needs and expectations. See section 4.

2.Supervising your fundraisers

This is about you and your co-trustees having systems in place to oversee the fundraising which others carry out for your charity, so that you can be satisfied that it is, and remains, in your charity’s best interests. It means delegating responsibly so that your charity’s in-house and volunteer fundraisers, and any connected companies, know what is expected of them. If you employ a commercial partner to raise funds for your charity, the arrangement must be in the charity’s best interests and comply with any specific legal rules and standards that apply. See section 5.

3.Protecting your charity’s reputation, money and other assets

This means ensuring that there is strong management of your charity’s assets and resources so that you can meet your legal trustee duty to act in your charity’s best interests and protect it from undue risk. It includes ensuring that […]

Capital Fundraising – planning your campaign

By |June 1st, 2016

Last month we were delighted to be invited to attend the opening of the Chris Bryant Centre in Erdington and to meet HRH Princess Anne! The multi-million pound project has taken over 10 years from concept to completion and we have been involved in capital fundraising for 5 of those, securing funding from a range of Trust and Foundations.

The project spanned the build of Phase 1: The Orchard (83 supported flats), Phase 2: The Coppice (Hand in Hand nursery and training rooms), and Phase 3: The Vineyard. 34 new affordable self-contained flats, complete with kitchen and ensuite bathroom facilities, as well as a brand new community sports hall (The Chris Bryant Centre), modern training and conferencing facilities, and Eden-more than coffee, YMCA Birmingham’s social enterprise scheme that employs residents and people from the local community.

Capital Fundraising can be tough – and it can take a long time. But we’ve done enough of it to know that what’s required is planning, preparation and perseverance!

Every capital fundraising campaign is different and therefore the level of detail, its impact on the organisation and the amount of time it will take to achieve funding will vary. However, there are some basic steps which apply to all:

  1. Define Goals – What are you raising the money for and roughly how much will it cost? Each goal of the campaign will have an associated cost, at this stage this will be rough figures but it helps to build a picture of the scale of your fundraising requirements.
  1. Identify Resources – Ensuring you have the necessary resources to meet your goals. This can include trustees and staff members with experience or skills relevant to the task, the potential donor base, new donors, […]
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    Five questions to ask before you start your crowdfunding campaign

Five questions to ask before you start your crowdfunding campaign

By |June 1st, 2016

Since the word ‘crowdfunding’ entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015, it has become a buzzword in the charity and non-profit sector, with more and more organisations turning to crowdfunding to hit their fundraising targets. But there’s more to crowdfunding than just creating a project online and hoping for the best – a successful campaign requires a great deal of thought, planning and a robust digital communication strategy.

Social Misfits Media spoke to experts in the field and recently shared what successful campaigns have in common. They identified five questions that organisations need to ask themselves before starting a crowdfunding campaign.

  1. Do you have a clear goal?

Have you set out exactly what you want the campaign to achieve? Having a clearly set target will be more likely to attract donors. Crowdfunding is better suited to a specific project, rather than larger-scale fundraising goals. The ask should be very clearly defined, so that potential donors know exactly what they are investing in.

  1. Will your project have wide appeal?

Not sure whether your campaign has the ‘it’ factor? Before you take the plunge and embark on the campaign do some market research to avoid a waste of your time, money and energy.

  1. Do you have the resources?

You can’t sit back and wait for your campaign to hit your target by itself. Investing time and energy in social media is essential to the success of a crowdfunding campaign. Creating your project page on a crowdfunding platform is only the first step – social media provides the platforms to extend the reach of your message and communicate with a wide audience. But take care to be strategic with your activity – careful planning, posting and responding can cultivate relationships […]