Back to the future

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018
Institute of Fundraising Awards - winning fundraising campaigns for Terrence Higgins Trust and Unicef

It’s been a funny year in fundraising. By which I mean it’s been difficult and often deeply unfunny. So, even more so than the previous event, the IOF Awards do last night started out feeling a bit like a much-needed support group meeting.

But, once the wine started flowing and Stephen K Amos found a way to make even the pre-records funny, everyone got a bit silly and our partners won some awards. Phew.

First up was some work that we all love and which has been a bit of a beacon at Open over the last couple of years – Terrence Higgins Trust’s Be Proud. Be Sexy. Be Safe. campaign.


Terrence Higgins Trusts' Be Proud. Be Sexy. Be Safe fundraising campaign tote bag
If you didn’t see our very own @fiona_pattison and @aliwalker84 presenting yesterday, this campaign uses laser-sharp targeting and Facebook Lead Ads to engage people with the cause and then seals the deal with a bit of (dare I say it) good old fashioned Direct Marketing. The end result of all this cleverness is a very, very cost-effective fundraising programme that’s brought a ton of new, engaged supporters to THT.

There was then (for team Open) a bit of a frustrating interlude where Scope’s much-lauded Mindful Monsters was pipped for three awards. Ouch.

But then, thankfully, Unicef bagged the award that, as a DM dinosaur, I’d really been hoping for – Best Use of Insight for its GDPR work.

Unicef's GDPR Consent campaign won at the Institute of Fundraising Awards and IoF Insight Awards


This project – which also won the IOF Insight Group Award – combined a bunch of data analysis, modelling and qualitative research to create a campaign that made sure a huge chunk of UNICEF’s supporters weren’t snatched away by GDPR. 

The whole thing was absolutely textbook in its conception and execution – and absolutely critical in its results. And as an agency that’s often known for its creative and/or tech, it’s nice to show that, at our heart, we’re all about the data and the audience.

So there you are. Old techniques, new channels and more ways forward.

Cheers!

James

 

 


What does good look like?

We work with a bunch of amazing organisations and, consequently, we hear this question a lot. Because while individual results are important – and fascinating – they mean more when you put them in context.

That’s why, in partnership with Allan Freeman of Freestyle Marketing, we decided to put together a sector benchmarking project that would deliver meaningful ‘apples to apples’ comparisons across a range of quantitative and qualitative KPIs.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? And, of course, it really wasn’t. So, before I say anything else, I want to say a huge thank-you to everyone at the twenty participating charities who made it happen.

Many of those people were there this morning when we finally unveiled our findings – and I hope that all the effort was worthwhile. We’ve certainly analysed the flow of a great deal of money and generosity – our study documents £2bn+ of donations, £200m of fundraising spend and the activity of 20 million donors, volunteers and social followers.

We’ve cut that data up in a whole bunch of ways and, with our partners’ permission, we’re hoping to share as many of our findings as possible over the coming weeks and months. But for the moment, I’m going to share just one chart.
Overall volume of Donors, Campaigners, Volunteers, Social Followers and Monthly Web Traffic
This shows – from left to right – the number of volunteers (98k), active donors (7.8m), campaigners (686k), social followers (11.7m) and monthly web visits (18m) on record with our participants in the past year.

Isn’t that exciting? The number people who actively ‘follow’ these twenty amazing causes in channels that barely existed ten years ago significantly exceeds the accumulated count of active supporters they’ve built up over decades. And that’s before you look at 200m+ web visits – any one of which could be the start of a new relationship.

Ironically, digital skills were the biggest area for development and the biggest recruitment challenge identified by our survey.

But now we know that, we can do something. Right? Because we know what good needs to look like.

If you’re keen to know more about what we’ve been up to and find out how your charity can get involved please get in touch.

James

Why Facebook Donate matters

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Back in March I spent the week helping the digital team of Open with the ACLU Stand For Rights telethon.

 

Before I logged into Facebook that night I hesitated. It was the first telethon held on Facebook Live. Tom Hanks was presenting. Everybody was excited. But I wasn’t convinced.

 

If there’s one thing my digital roles have taught me, it’s that when everyone else gets excited, you should get realistic. When everyone else is amazed, you should be critically evaluating whether or not this technological triumph / creative concept / viral video / hyperbolic headline is going to lower your cost-per-acquisition.

 

But after another few seconds, I gave into the impulse to open Facebook and this is what I saw:

 

media-20170922

My skepticism remained in-tact. Yes, 449 people had donated, but they had Alec Baldwin and Usher talking about a cause which could not be more topical.

 

It was entertaining and seeing other people’s donations and comments racking up was alluring, but I didn’t see how this was going to change the fundraising-game… until I hit the Donate button any my eyes bulged slightly, at this sight:

 

media-20170922 (1)

 

This was the entire donation process.

 

The effort required from a user (who albeit had given before on Facebook) was two thumb-taps.

 

Tap. Tap. Thanks for donating Adrian.

 

I stared at the Thank You screen for several minutes and arrived at the conclusion that this was going to reduce the cost of recruiting a new donor on Facebook by 50-80%. Why? Two reasons:

 

1) People don’t go “on Facebook” to leave Facebook

 

Every social campaign I’ve ever run has reminded of this infuriating truth. Facebook is a break from reality, a self-contained browsing experience. Even people who are engaged in a cause, don’t want to leave the social party to come hang out on a boring charity website. And that’s why conversion rates from Facebook are so low.

 

2) People let themselves off the hook if a donation process is complex

 

Giving your money to a charity isn’t like booking your holiday with Easyjet. If it’s a pain, you’ll just give up because there’s no carrot to motivate you. And better still, you can tell yourself you’re still a good person… at least you tried. Most charity donation forms involve over 100 thumb taps on mobile… by making the process 98% shorter, you can’t let yourself off the hook.

 

When I went back to Facebook Live and saw my name appearing beside the other donors. I was buzzing. It was so easy and yet, I felt like Tom and I were making a difference.

 

And then… I really got it.

 

This event made donating to charity a live and pleasant experience, which is what people in their twenties and thirties want. They don’t mind parting with cash, as long as there’s an experience and it involves them.

 

As a result, over $500,000 were donated in a few hours.

 

Forget SnapChat. Forget Twitter. Give some thought to how you can use the Facebook Donate Button. It already fundraised $6.8 million for other US charities on Giving Tuesday and now it’s here in the UK.

 

Adrian

Digital Media Strategist