Itch & Scratch

Friday, March 9th, 2012


About a year ago, I nicked this image off the internet and started telling everyone that it represents pretty much everything you need to know about the development of fundraising propositions.


As I hope you know, that’s Itchy & Scratchy from the Simpsons. And here, in a nutshell, is my theory.


To raise money, you need an itch and a scratch. An itch is something that upsets you, that stops you relaxing and compels you to act. A scratch is an action that not only relieves the itch but – and this is the vital bit – also feels good.


If you have a clear, uncomplicated itch and a clear, uncomplicated and appropriately priced scratch then you will get a good response.  Like this.



Conversely, if you have a vague, complex itch and a diffuse, non-specific scratch then you’ll get a poor response.


As is immediately evident, the world is full of itches – although some are itchier than others.


Simple, discrete and affordable scratches, however, are few and far between. Which means that we have to work very hard to find them and negotiate very hard to get them out in front of prospects.


Anyway, my stolen Itchy & Scratchy cartoon has now travelled far and wide with the Open team and others. Most recently, it went down quite well at the Greenpeace do in Amsterdam – prompting Paul DG to tell me that I should patent it.


So there you go – my Itch & Scratch spiel is recorded from posterity. I now look forward to hearing how George Smith was saying all this while I was still in short trousers.



All change

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

What better way to battle through a birthday-induced hangover than browsing the internet while sat at work? I cannot think of any either…

Whilst this may not be a super productive use of time, it did allow me to stumble across an article on the BBC website. It told the story of how Google was successfully lobbied to include South Sudan on its maps service. Now why is that relevant to fundraising and charities? Well the mobilisation took place on a website called which allows people to create petitions and for other people to lend support – these petitions are then used to lobby governments, businesses and organisations for change. People who sign petitions share their actions with friends on Facebook and the viral benefits of the internet really kick in. A lot of people are using this service. 400k joined last month.

How can charities use this service? How about engaging donors in non-financial actions? Allowing donors to promote charities’ messages to their friends? But mostly, making change.

Here is an example of a live petition

And here is an example of a successful petition

Paul S

My bank made me feel special

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011


I never thought I’d say that, but it’s true, so I’ll say it again – my bank made me feel special.


A few weeks ago, a big white envelope dropped through my door. This bit didn’t make me feel special – I assumed it was something boring like the Natwest magazine, or an update on some smallprint to do with my current account. But as soon as I got inside I was embarrassingly excited. For there, inside the envelope, was a very official looking ‘Personal Account Statement prepared for Richard Young’.


That’s what it said.


Now we work on projects all the time where we super-personalise things to make our donors feel special and important, but no-one’s ever done it to me. And guess what, it really works.


And it didn’t end there. Inside are 12-odd pages of personal data from the last year. Graphs and charts all about ME and MY money. When I spent the most (surprisingly, not December). Where I spent the most (unsurprisingly, Topman). When I’m richest and when I’m poorest. And it all looks alright. It’s not the most beautiful piece of design ever, but it’s in colour and it’s easy to read and understand.


And do you know what? I imagine in a year’s time I’m still going to be banking with Natwest, and looking forward to the arrival of my second personalised report.