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The Facebook ‘On this Day’ feature reminded me last week of this blog from July 2012, where James announced the launch of Mobilise – our regular giving by PSMS platform.

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I can’t believe that it’s five years since we launched! In that time nearly 350,000 donors have been recruited and they’ve given close to £15 million pounds.

 

In its first month we paid out £9 to the first charity on board. That was Tim, Fiona and me signing up for £3 a month! I’m still giving. Can’t speak for the other two :).

 

Last month we paid out close to £500,000 to the 30+ active Mobilise clients.

 

I’m really proud of the growth of Mobilise as a fundraising tool. Every year since we launched Mobilise the charities that use it have between them recruited more Mobilise donors than the previous year. The most donors recruited in a single month was close to 19,000 and 1,700 is the most donors we’ve ever seen recruited in a single day.

 

When we first launched Mobilise it’s fair to say that telemarketing was the place where most donors were recruited as a ‘drop ask’ in a conversion call. But as our sector has changed, so has the way in which Mobilise donors have been recruited, with clients recruiting direct to Mobilise rather than converting PSMS donors. 2016 was the first year in which more donors were recruited on TV than all other channels combined. And 2017 is seeing the continued importance of TV, with digital recruitment sources fast becoming important to our Mobilise clients.

 

We have worked with our clients to do so much with the platform, whether that’s trialling regular giving for the DEC, creating products for Diabetes UK or integrating a Mobilise offer into Stand Up to Cancer activity for CRUK.

 

And we’ve learnt so much along the way about how donors interact with content. I think it’s fair to say that in the beginning we got it wrong and tried to reflect offline/print communications in the content we sent donors – which is the entirely the wrong thing to do. Donors want light, bite-sized bits of content with clear signposting to more information if they want it. It’s no more complicated than that.

 

Mobilise is all about the power of fusing payment, control and content into your mobile phone. Which is why we’ve been working so hard recently with our colleagues at Open Mobile Global to add in additional payment options all controlled via your mobile: credit & debit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay and, coming soon, Direct Debit.

 

The future is far more exciting that the past. We continue to be obsessed by the potential of the mobile phone for fundraising, activism and campaigning. And our ambition for Mobilise has always been for it to be more than an SMS and PSMS platform.

 

We can’t wait to see where the next five years take us.

 

Paul de Gregorio

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We’ve had a busy few days here at Open.

 

Last Tuesday evening we got the call from the British Red Cross, telling us about the One Love Manchester benefit concert for those affected by the terrorist attacks in Manchester and asking for our help with the fundraising. Of course we said yes.

 

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Before I knew it, it was Sunday morning and I was heading to Manchester to be Open’s representative in the stadium. The atmosphere was incredible, very emotional but unbelievably positive. Ariana Grande and her team got the tone of the event spot on. And we worked with the British Red Cross to position the fundraising as an opportunity to give, rather than a direct call to action. By the end of the night we’d helped to raise more than £2 million from over 400,000 people who sent a text.

 

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Thanks to the amazing teams at the British Red Cross and Open, we did in days what usually takes weeks. And we’re incredibly proud to have been part of it.

 

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So the last couple of weeks have been a bit of an Open America whirlwind.

 

It began with a meeting at the end of February with a group of big shot TV producers who had the big idea to ask their A-list celebrity friends (the likes of Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey and Tom Hanks), to take part in a telethon to raise money for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

 

It was going to be the first major telethon to be broadcast on Facebook using Facebook Live and it was going to be the first telethon that used brand new Facebook Donate functionality, that’s currently only available in the USA.

 

Plus they wanted to do it quickly. The live date was fixed for four weeks later on March 31st.

 

While the producers and writers are brilliant at comedy and putting on a live show, they recognised that they needed some help with the fundraising. That’s where Open America came in. A team of Open staff, (Fiona, Ali, James Dawe and me) travelled to New York and set up base in the studio where the telethon was going to be hosted.

 

I asked a friend who works in TV for advice before we left. She said “show no fear” and “anything is possible”. How right she was. In the ten days between landing and the show starting the team achieved an incredible amount.

 

  • We rebranded the event.
  • We created the fundraising proposition.
  • We wrote all of the on screen calls to action.
  • We created and executed a social media strategy.
  • We planned and managed the deployment of all the payments methods used.
  • We created and executed a celebrity outreach strategy.
  • We planned a series of post event journeys to transition telethon donors to ACLU supporters.
  • We were the first to fuse Facebook Live and Facebook Donate in a major telethon.

 

But that’s just a list. What we actually did was..

 

  • Created a fundraising proposition that without edit became the framework that the writers wrapped the comedy around.
  • Worked with Facebook, the Huffington Post, Donor Services Group, the Mobile Giving Foundation and a bunch of other partners to make the fundraising real.
  • Wrote tweets and status updates for Tom Hanks, Usher, Katy Perry and so many more…
  • Wrote all the calls to action for all the A-list talent to deliver – hearing James Briggs’ words being read by Tom Hanks will live with me for a long time.
  • Conceived, produced, executed and optimised all paid social activity for the week (but actually achieved incredible amounts through organic sharing).
  • Managed the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter communities.
  • Grew the Facebook page from 1,000 likes to 26,000 likes in days – getting a reach of over 4 million people.
  • Directed the fundraising when the show was live in terms of what to ask for and when, responding in real time to the show and fundraising results.
  • Learnt a huge amount about the potential for Facebook Live as a fundraising tool and not just for a telethon – the experience in NYC opened all our eyes to the phenomenal tool that Facebook have created.
  • Got experience in using Facebook Donate. The version live in the USA and coming to Europe at some point in the future is incredible. The user experience is amazing, the possibilities are endless – fusing Donate with Live felt like a real fundraising privilege.

 

But the main thing I learned is that if you put the right team together, and give them the accountability and responsibility required to deliver, they will deliver a high volume of high quality work that gets results. And it will be a lot of fun.

 

We’re convinced that we’ll be doing more campaigns that fuse community building and fundraising over the coming months. So if you want to know more about what we did, what we learnt and how we can apply our learnings in the UK, let me know.

 

Paul de Gregorio