Published on September 16, 2013 by

Digital storytelling ideas for your charity

I’m going to say upfront, this is an ideas post. It’s based on AJ Leon’s digital storytelling case studies as told to the F&P Forum last week.

It’s about changing the traditional model of storytelling from polished, charity-generated print stories to raw, real-time beneficiary-generated digital content.

Because I think it’s easy to dismiss AJ Leon’s digital storytelling model, I wanted to offer some ideas on how it could be adapted to your non-profit.

I’m not making any guarantees on whether these ideas will work. I just want to get ...

Learn more
Published on September 11, 2013 by

Digital storytelling for charities – in the hands of beneficiaries

At last week’s F&P Forum, I heard two case studies from self-proclaimed professional troublemaker AJ Leon about digital storytelling.

One featured a tiny, tiny non-profit called Global Hope Network International. Using digital storytelling, a mobile phone and a $250 budget, they managed to raise $72,000 in three hours to fund community development work in the village of Ola Nagale in Kenya.

The other campaign was The Big Dig for WaterAid in the UK. It saw £2.2 million pouring in for water projects in Malawi.

I don’t want to describe the projects in great detail here. Suffice ...

Learn more
Published on September 5, 2013 by

Thoughts about retention

Some fantastic speakers after the first day at the Fundraising & Philanthropy Forum.

First up I wanted to share with you some thoughts from Martin Paul (from More Strategic) about retention.

Here's what he said:

1. Take retention seriously. Charities are obsessed with getting more donors and spend a fortune acquiring them. But what we spend on retention - keeping the relationship alive - is miniscule.

2. Acquisition is expensive and unpredictable... And the real measure of successful acquisition is how many donors you keep after 5 years.

Well, that blows away short-term thinking on ROI.

3. Donor engagement is ...

Learn more
Published on August 29, 2013 by

7 donation page features that cry out “Yes, we love donors like you!”

Thank you to the charities that made it easy for me to donate online. Especially since I left it to the last day before June 30. Even though some of you did send me letters and emails throughout May and June asking for gifts.

Despite my best intentions to give earlier, I found myself scrambling on June 29 to actually donate. (I also wondered whether I’d get a tax invoice dated appropriately to claim my tax deduction in that financial year).

That being the case, I was really, really grateful when I found charity websites that:

  • Removed frustration and ...
Learn more
Published on August 27, 2013 by

6 no-nos for online donation pages

In this post, I wanted to focus on charity online donation pages.

Right before the end of the financial year, I made online donations to 12 different charities. And with all the buzz about multichannel giving, digital donors and online engagement, I was surprised at how bad the online giving experience was in several cases.

While I won’t name and shame, I will outline some dos and don’ts when it comes to setting up your web donation pages.

After all, you probably spend a lot of effort getting prospective donors to come to your website to give. All those appeal ...

Learn more
Published on August 20, 2013 by

Donors need simple asks – Part 2

In Part 1, I talked about the problem of how to frame a double-barrelled offer.

That is, what to do if you have to develop a promotion where you have to work two benefits into a single offer.

Here are three ways to deal with this issue.

1. Bundle the benefits

I see this done a lot.

It basically involves looking at the two benefits and seeing if there’s a way to link them together under a single title.

I don’t favour this because it often results in watering down the offer. ...

Learn more
Published on August 19, 2013 by

Donors need simple asks – Part 1

I’m now working on a fundraising letter for a client that has a complicated offer. I’ve spent considerable time trying to whittle down the offer into something easy enough for donors to grasp when they scan the headline.

This problem often arises when your offer has multiple strong benefits. Note I say strong benefits that each could stand on their own as an offer.

For example, say your charity provides clean water wells to villages in developing countries. So the offer is something like:

Learn more