Love can’t wait

Sunday, March 20th, 2016



Human Rights Campaign (HRC) are America’s largest civil rights organisation working to achieve equality for the LGBT community.

This time last year, they were gearing up to ‘own’ the moment when history would be made and the Supreme Court would grant marriage equality to the entire nation. Months in advance, they nailed their strategy, lined up every media channel and choreographed content to create as much noise as possible in the run up to the decision. It was impressive but, more importantly, it worked.

Here’s 5 things you can learn from it:

Be ambitious

The press and the public weren’t paying much attention to the issue initially, but HRC deliberately set out to push the marriage equality bill onto people’s agendas, drive awareness of their cause and recruit new supporters. Everything they did worked towards this objective. They even formed a decision-making ‘war room’ with people from across the organisation in the concluding weeks. No silos here, folks.

Loosen up (and get a personality)

They turned their famous blue and yellow logo red (the colour of love) for the duration. They created an evocative campaign name (#LoveCantWait) and gave click through buttons a facelift with the words “I Do” instead of “click here”. Engaging, relevant, creative.

Simplify the problem and give people eyes to look into

Using straight talking (and resonant) language to explain a complex political matter, they made sure people ‘got it’. Then they introduced people to Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the case. He told his story in his own words and people rallied around him.

You can read Jim’s story here.

Ask for more than words ­­

The campaign action was of huge importance, but so was getting people to publicly declare whose side they were on. Everything was easily shareable online, there were posters and address labels and badges and magnets and bracelets.

If you’re going to fire someone up, make sure you give them the means to shout about it.

Make everyone feel like they matter ­

Being part of a movement that has the potential to make history is hugely motivating for most. But HRC succeeded in making this feel personal, too.

You signed up for texts ‘so you could be the first to know the court’s decision’ and when the celebrations took place on the steps of the Supreme Court in the capital, they invited people to text a picture of themselves celebrating, wherever they were.

Thousands did; it was a brilliant idea.

One supporter received the verdict via text at the Opera House, and he jumped to his feet, phone held high and told the entire audience. A proud and moving moment for the HRC staff member who also happened to be there.

But did it raise any money, I hear you say? Yes, way beyond expectations. Partly because they had match funding which also applied to the first two regular gifts (clever).

High five, HRC.















A Rose by any Other Name…

Monday, March 14th, 2016



Today, we’re making a small but important change to our name.


When Tim and I set the company up, we wanted to be clear about what we planned to do and how we planned to do it. Calling ourselves Open Fundraising seemed like the perfect solution – and the URL was available!


Since then, the Open team has helped raise a lot of money in an open, collaborative way. But we’ve also moved beyond fundraising – working on campaigns, publishing, events, branding and technology. And we thought it was about time our name reflected that.


So as of now, we’re just plain Open. And our URL will be – which we hope continues to describe what we do and how we do it.


This doesn’t mean that we’re turning our back on fundraising. But it does mean that, over the coming months and years, we’ll be looking at ways to bring more ideas, expertise and technology to the sector – and do even more to realise our vision of bringing people together to change the world.




You need to innovate to innovate

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016



Unless you work in a market with no competition, sell to customers who have no choice and have a workforce who are happy to do the same thing day in and day out, then at some point you’ve probably talked about how to innovate.


You have, right?


We all know it’s important, but we all also know that finding the time to do it (when we’re all busy saving the world) can be really hard.


And something innovation really needs, is time.


We’re doing something new at Open to help us innovate more.


Now, when an Open staffer has a great idea, they can take a day out of the office, a few lovely colleagues and a modest budget to develop the idea into something fully formed, taking it from great to awesome.


It’s called the Open Lab. And we’ve got four Labs popping up over the next couple of months.


We’ve got high hopes, so watch this space.