A fire today in Footscray at Little Saigon Market has destroyed the offices of the Les Twentyman Foundation destroying hundreds of Christmas gifts, including 6,000 donated school books, intended for children of poor families.
The Foundation has been a part of the Western suburbs of Melbourne for over 30 years and Les Twentyman has been the major driver.
It’s refreshing to see some solid benchmarking on the trends in the NFP sector.
In this 10th edition M+R Benchmarks has created some highly useful data on trends in online fundraising. It involved 105 participants in eight sectors.
Interestingly, it shows a decline in response rates to emails; revenue growth increased by growth in email lists.
The report shows an increased trend in monthly giving which is very positive as this is a great way to provide sustainable revenue for organisations.
You can read the whole report here and I’ve quoted some highlights below. By the way, the report includes some useful and illuminating graphs particularly about which sectors are growing and which are declining.
“13% of online gifts came from mobile devices
For every 1,000 email subscribers, nonprofits have 355 Facebook fans, 132; Twitter followers, and 19 Instagram followers. In 2006, those numbers were basically zero, zero, and zero: Facebook was limited to .edu email addresses, Twitter was just about to launch, and Instagram’s founders were still in college.
Nonprofits invested $0.04 in digital advertising for every $1 of online revenue. This might not seem like much, but considering that overall online revenue grew by 19% in the last year, digital advertising is an increasingly important market for acquisition, conversion, and retention.
The volume has been turned way up: the average nonprofit in our study sent the average subscriber on its list 49 email messages in 2015.
Monthly giving accounts for 17% of all online revenue – monthly giving is growing quite a bit faster than one-time revenue. In the first Benchmarks Study, only about half of the participants had a recurring giving program at all.”
It’s been raining up here in Castlemaine. Full on flooding plains type of rain. First time I’ve been up this way when it wasn’t hot enough to crisp your eyelashes. It seems to be raining quite a bit when I go travelling at the moment – I’m sure it’s not true that I bring rain wherever I go. It’s just a coincidence.
I’m here for the Fryerstown Antiques Fair (22-24 Jan) located in a now muddy field surrounded by giant gums raising money for the Fryerstown historic hall. There’s often a fundraising angle to much of the things I’m doing. I’m in search of good 1930’s Australian pottery and whatever treasures I can find (I’ve developed a bit of a button fetish but let’s not go there yet).
If you’re wondering about the writer in transit tag it’s an idea I can up with when I was listening to someone on the ABC talk about their time as a writer in residence at the V&A in London. I was feeling a bit green-eyed that they’d probably get unprecedented access to all the lovely things held there. I got to wondering what really was a Writer in Residence and thought perhaps I could be one and how you apply and so on. It then occurred to me (I was doing the washing up at the time and looking out the window admiring the rainbow lorikeets which just goes to prove that, seriously, women really can multi-task but that’s another post) that one could just turn up at the V&A (or the NGV or Castlemaine) and start writing what occurred to you there as you passed through it without needing anyone’s permission. So. possibly I would be a writer in transit?
As I transit, I am actually staying up here in a wonderful bed and breakfast ‘Clevedon Manor‘ which is on the main road in Castlemaine. It’s a Victorian mansion filled with period- appropriate furniture, lots of horse pictures and a cuckoo clock. They’ve given me a lovely room with a bay window overlooking the hedge-enclosed garden. The bedroom has a great big silver-grey coloured metal bed with crisp white cotton sheets facing the tiled fireplace over which a gilded mirror hangs. There is a massive 2 meter tall wardrobe with a full length oval mirror in the door. My very clean private bathroom is just down the hall.
Last night as I sat up in bed reading, I felt it would be appropriate to be wearing a pink silk, feather-trimmed bed jacket with my matching slippers at the side of my bed on the small rug, having just been served warm tea in a china cup by my personal maid. Beautiful rooms have this kind of Vivien Leigh effect on me. It is so reassuring to visit a new place and feel, well, at home. Just at the right moment, 1st Dibs released this collection of beautiful images of gorgeous bedrooms. Lust on these as I continue my journey through the gold-mining towns around Castlemaine.
A little addendum to my last post. BirdLife has just put out their formal Christmas campaign and given how much I like birds and want to protect them, I’m giving them an extra plug. They have some really lovely bird-related products in their online store. And who can resist a baby bird in a santa hat?!
Each year the sudden festooning of lampposts with Christmas decorations, mince pies in the supermarket and Christmas carols at my local cafe take me by surprise! “It’s Christmas!”, they yell! “Already?” I want to yell back!
This year is no exception .. perhaps because while I was visiting Sydney I was amazed to see – before Halloween was even over – some bright spark had already installed a 6.5 tonne Swarovski crystal-decorated tree in the Queen Victoria Buildings ! Now I think that’s really a bit early! It was very beautiful though.
It may sound it, but I’m not a cynic and I actually really like celebrating the end of the year, cooking Christmas cake, eating Christmas cake…
This prompted me to consider the various fundraising appeals and campaigns that are attempting to encourage us each to think about someone or something that needs the gift even more.
Here are a few that caught my attention:
Chairity begins at home
Each beautifully designed chair will be auctioned off for chairity… sorry, charity… a great idea and a wonderful way to combine art, creativity and heartfelt innovation. For more info visit Cult Design.
If you’ve already started shopping and perhaps like me you have a ‘gift drawer’ where you put things you’ve taken a fancy to but you’re not sure who they’re for (ok, that might just be me), how about buying a toy for a boy or girl you’ll probably never meet. Berry Street is a wonderful children’s organisation which since 1877 has focused on the rights of children to have a safe and happy home. With their Christmas appeal, you can buy a gift on line, make a donation or get gift tags for your own choice of gift. They only accept new toys and really need gifts for children aged 11-16+
Raining Cats and Dogs!
If you have a cat, budgie, fish or a dog, give them an extra squeeze of affection (maybe not the fish) this festive season when so many cats and dogs are abandoned. Hard to believe I know but some owners find the cost of kennels or catteries to onerous and just leave their pets to fend for themselves. And definitely please DO NOT give pets as gifts – these are often the unfortunate creatures that end up at lost dogs and cat shelters when their new owners find they cannot look after them. Consider this story in the Daily Telegraph last year but this sad story is the same every year. If you’d like to support your favourite animal shelter, they often need blankets and financial donations are usually well received. Lort Smith had a great event ‘Pause for a cause‘ to raise money for the hospital, walking around Melbourne’s ‘Tan’ at the Botanical Gardens with over 100 dogs! What a great sight that would have been! Woof!
Cockatoos need you too!
Let’s not forget our feathered friends this Christmas. As a bird-lover I’m biased but it is easy to forget that we have so many beautiful native birds on the edge of extinction. Visit BirdLife.org.au and see what you can do to help. You can become a BirdLife member for just $1.50 a week! Seems a small amount to help save beautiful birds like our waders, or the amazing Red Tailed Black Cockatoos. What’s your favourite bird? Perhaps make a donation instead of a bought present for a friend. I know they’d love it 🙂 (And keep your cat in at night, also a good gift to our feathered friends!)
Finally, this time of year can bring up a range of different and conflicting emotions. If you need someone to talk to, consider the Samaritans. They have a help line for anyone needing a bit of support. Reach out if you need to. Or consider Lifeline who are there to help with many difficult situations.
Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and happy Festive Season. And if you think it’s too early to be saying this, blame Swarovski! 🙂
@DryJuly, which raises money for adults living with cancer by supporting organisations involved with cancer research, equipment and treatment, raised over $4m this year through its online and social media marketing. See their beneficiaries here.
It’s a very cool annual campaign with very low effort on the part of the participants and I suggest it has the benefit of growing involvement year on year.
The campaign asks its participants to give up drinking alcohol for a month. They can just stop there if they like – a great way to have a healthy month. Most people however would make a donation to get involved and then perhaps raise money from their friends, family and colleagues.
It has a positive benefit for the participants who have an AFM – an alcohol free month – who basically could donate what they would have spent on alcohol during July to the Dry July campaign.
It would be interesting to see how many participants a) join again after the first year – ie their retention rate and then b) whether they raise or donate more money in subsequent years. I’d like to know what their retention rates are given it is hard for many charities to attract regular donors via online channels.
It may also be a good way to involve men in fundraising – notoriously difficult. Movember is another annual campaign (the participation requirement I like less as it involves my husband growing even more facial hair!) But I’m sure its successful in this time of trending beards! This was a fantastic idea started in 2003 by Adam Garone (who sports a most impressive mo’) and the other three co-founders inspired 30 guys to grow a moustache or beard and fundraise for men’s health during the month of November. Now, 10 years later, the campaign runs in 21 countries and in 2012, over a million ‘Mo Bros’ and ‘Mo Sistas’ took part. Some very hairy people out there! Barbers everywhere rejoice!
I love these innovative, fun and joyful ideas. They focus very much on the user, the customer, the donor and do not rely on doleful images and sad stories. Certainly, there is a need for that type of marketing (and many will tell you how well these elements help) but I do love the fun and happiness created by campaigns such as Movember and DryJuly.
Giving up the grog for July made me reflect on my own drinking habits – and that is a good thing. Perhaps its having a similar effect on others – another interesting piece of analysis to consider.
I encourage all of us in the fundraising and NFP sector to look for joyful ways to engage with our ‘customers’ and stakeholders – make them the hero, give them ways to engage that THEY like and watch how they get involved and even show off their participation. Well done to DryJuly. Great result.