Open Fundraising


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Birthday candles on colorful background


James usually writes the birthday blog post, but this year I asked if I could do it and he said yes. No pressure then…


Our world is tough at the moment. Rightly or wrongly the way charities fundraise has come under massive attack and intense scrutiny. Some once great fundraising agencies have disappeared and there is a lot of worry around how we will meet the needs of the beneficiaries we’re raising money for.


So it’s at times like this when we need to know that we’re in the right place. Doing the right things.


And I know I am.


At Open we have the privilege of working with incredible people at amazing organisations. We say it every year, but we can’t thank our clients enough for giving us the honour of helping them make the world a better place to be.


And we have amazing colleagues. I’ve been around the block a bit. And I’m biased. But I’m convinced that there isn’t a better agency to be in as we face the challenges ahead.


When I look around the agency I can see that Tim and James have brought together an incredible group of people who are as committed to this sector as our clients are. From the most junior designer to the most senior member of the account team and into the mobile team, Open is full of people who want nothing more than to be at the heart of developing the ideas, campaigns and technologies that will change the way our clients interact and communicate with an extremely generous public. A public, who like all of us, wants to change things for the better.


It makes me very proud.


We’re all out this afternoon to raise a glass and wish Open a happy eighth birthday. It’s a shame you can’t all join us.


Paul de Gregorio

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WhatsApp recently announced that it was going to be changing its privacy policy. It is going to start sharing data (including phone numbers) with its wider family – Facebook and Instagram.


Why? They claim to ‘want to explore ways for you to communicate with businesses that matter to you too, while still giving you an experience without third-party banner ads and spam’.


Hmm. What does that mean, exactly? It means businesses will be able to send messages directly to you. They will also be able to better target you with ads on Facebook and Instagram. Crucially, they will have access to your mobile number, your contacts’ mobile numbers and when and how you interact with WhatsApp. And you can’t stop it. You have 30 days to opt out of your information being used for ad targeting on Facebook but you can’t opt out of your data – and your contacts’ data – being shared.


The first time users were made aware of any of this was when an update to the app required them to click to ‘read more’. How many people didn’t click and gave access without their knowledge? Legislation to work out what’s best for the public lags behind.


In a space where charities are still being scrutinised over data privacy and targeting, and whilst discussions are still being had as to how charities need to obtain communication consent and what for, this is something we should be mindful of as we embark on ‘digital fundraising’.


Online and on social platforms is arguably where we need to be to raise vital funds, but we can’t entrust transparency about our supporters’ data privacy to third parties. We need to take the lead, and use segmentation and refine audiences with behavioral insights to help ensure that what we are offering is of interest to the people we’re putting it in front of.