When the dust settles

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

My spirits have been lifted as I’ve watched the outpouring of advice, information and support on how to fundraise during these unprecedented times. We are all going to learn a lot about how to adapt and continue to do good in these times. 

This isn’t a blog with more advice though, this is a blog about what happens when the dust settles on this crisis and we hopefully all emerge safe and well on the other side. So much that we did last week or the week before suddenly feels distant, unimportant or even irrelevant. 

This applies particularly to planning work I’ve been doing around Open’s partnership with Allan Freeman, Charity Benchmarks

We created Charity Benchmarks to give fundraisers the information they need to make better decisions and, in doing so, raise more money and maximise the impact of the cause they fundraise for. Only two years in and we’ve been overwhelmed by the positive feedback and fascinating debate that it has caused. 

For the last few months we’ve been busy planning this year’s study, as well as welcoming new participants. However, in the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a lot of conversations about how to move forward in these uncertain times. 

At times we wobbled, but we concluded that we must push on with Benchmarks. 

Given the inevitable and already reported hit to everyone’s fundraising, it strikes me that having an understanding of your fundraising programme in relation to those of other charities will be vitally important when planning, reporting on performance and making sense of what is happening. 

Charity Benchmarks is unique in that it combines detailed analysis of the hard data behind your fundraising, but also incorporates perspectives on current and future performance through surveys and qualitative interviews with fundraising leaders. This means that you can benchmark and plan against not only performance, but reflect levels of optimism and focus for the future.So whilst it doesn’t feel important today, it will certainly be relevant as we return to our offices and another ’new normal’ sets in and we have to make sense of it all. 

That all said, we have certainly seen a slow down in new charities signing up in the last couple of weeks. To be pragmatic, we are extending the deadline for joining Charity Benchmarks until the end of April. We do this as hope it means it will give teams time to adapt to all the change, but then begin to consider what the world looks like in a few months time. 

If you’d like more information about Charity Benchmarks then please drop me an email. I can share a sample report to give you a flavour of what your charity would receive for participating. 

 

Mark

Strategic Partnerships Director


Good, fast and free. Soon you can pick all three!

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

At the heart of good fundraising is an intimate understanding of the supporter.

And I think we all know that as the world around us changes at ever increasing speed, public expectations, perceptions and passions for causes are changing, too.

How do you keep track of what the public thinks of your fundraising programme? How do you sense check whether that new fundraising idea actually has an audience willing to support it? How do you know you’re asking for support in the right channels at the right time?

The tools are there, but often they don’t come cheap. Or they don’t come quick. Or, sometimes, they simply aren’t very good.

Which is why we’re really excited to be working with GlobalWebIndex to bring their incredible skills to our sector – for free.

We love GlobalWebIndex

If you haven’t used it before, GlobalWebIndex is a super accurate, up-to-date and granular intelligence platform providing brands with detailed insight into the perceptions and digital behaviours of their consumers. And they do this in 44 countries around the world.

GlobalWebIndex has grown rapidly by providing commercial brands with genuinely useful and actionable insight and now they want to bring their skills to help fundraisers around the world.

The team at GlobalWebIndex has asked Open to help recruit a gang of willing fundraisers to help inform and participate in the development of a brand new charity dataset.

Together we want to ensure that the dataset (accessed via GlobalWebIndex’s super intuitive and informative online platform) will be as useful as possible in helping you better serve, and fundraise from, your supporters.

This is where you come in. We need volunteers to take part in a series of interviews and workshops with the folks at GlobalWebIndex to help them understand your needs and challenges.

In return, they will develop a charity dataset and make it available to the sector for FREE!

In my mind, that’s an amazing way to help us all.

Please do get involved by dropping them an email on: hello@globalwebindex.com

Mark


What does good look like?

Thursday, June 28th, 2018

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