Open Fundraising


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With Glastonbury over and the aftermath of Brexit sinking in, despite the lack of direction, it feels like time to draw some solace from a conscious focus on positivity.


In 2016, when charities are under a huge amount of scrutiny, Glastonbury provides an amazing opportunity to connect with people. When the festival first turned a profit in 1981 they donated £20,000 to CND. And that ethos remains true today, as the festival continues to provide a platform for charities to engage with people creatively.


It’s a time when people are lifted from their usual circumstances and supplanted to a muddy quagmire, with time to reflect on what matters. While waiting in line for the delights that are the festival toilets, it’s a great moment for WaterAid to raise awareness that not everyone has even this kind of access to basic facilities.


This year WaterAid presented a toilet with a glass door. From the outside the door looks like a mirror, but when you’re inside it you look out on to the festival and feel totally exposed. It’s a simple but clever way to convey the experience of not having a safe or private toilet.


For the likes of Greenpeace, it’s a chance to make characteristically bold statements to engage people. This year a giddying drop slide was attached to their 15 metre tall “no planet B rocket”, creating a spectacle to raise awareness of our environment’s fragility.


These charitable links are in the very fabric of the festival – from the Oxfam stewards to the long standing support for CND – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.




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Giveaway 2015


Six years ago, with three days notice, all seven Open employees sat in a little room and shared something very special. Laughter, tears, personal stories – it was the first annual Open giveaway, when we were each given £1,000 to give to the charities of our choice.


Fast forward six years and a lot has changed – not least the fact that there’s now over 60 of us (and therefore £60,000 to be given away) – but one of Open’s founding principles, that we would give away our own profits to the causes close to us, still remains.


So, tomorrow, 60+ fundraisers will sit in a circle in a very white room and share our choices. There’ll once again be laughter, a few heartfelt tears and no shortage of personal stories. Some things never change.



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Yesterday I got my first MSF WhatsApp message after signing up a week or so ago.


This made me very excited. As any regular reader of this blog will know – I’m a little obsessed by the potential of WhatsApp and other instant messaging apps.


I talk about it a lot at conferences and client meetings – so I will try to explain my obsession without the hand waving and swearing that accompanies me talking in those places.


In the UK, SMS volumes have stabilised at about 150 billion a year. But the use of instant messaging has exploded, with volumes hitting around 300 billion in 2014 – up from about 25 billion in 2010. Source here. So, if the people we want to inspire and communicate with are this obsessed with these messaging services, we should be too.


I have a theory about this mass adoption. It’s a theory, so feel free to disagree with it. It goes like this…


As people become more aware of the privacy concerns of social networks like Facebook, instant messaging is attractive because they can create their own private social networks by using groups. I’ve seen this happen with my family, friends and colleagues – where groups have been set up for specific events, groups of people or work projects. And just like in social media, pictures, video and links are quickly shared and chat ensues…


I’ve seen JustGiving use WhatsApp to drive sharing and it seems to create additional value.


I’ve seen add WhatsApp sharing to the post petition signing experience.


And now we see MSF using it to communicate with their supporter base.


In our opinion the growth and adoption of instant messaging is not ‘happening’ it has ‘happened. And we need to be thinking now about how we use the changing nature of messaging to our and our clients advantage.


Paul de Gregorio