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.
World Environment Day. What are we celebrating?
World Environment Day (WED) celebrations are happening around the country and around the world to acknowledge our progress and to encourage further action to protect our blue planet. There are lots of dinners and other celebrations but… what are we trying to achieve? Saving the rainforest, saving the whales, fighting palm oil plantation owners, reducing the hole in the ozone layer…. Is it all too big? Too hard to get a clear indication of what we want to see happen?
Goals like the Millennium Development Goals around Environmental Sustainability do help us. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a set of eight goals set by United Nations member countries with the goal of halving world poverty by 2015. Goal number 7 is about Ensuring Environmental Sustainability Under these they have specific targets:
• Target 9: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources.
• Target 10: Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.
• Target 11: Achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.
Oxfam and other international aid organizations are working hard to help achieve the Millennium goals. And they do a better job of spelling out what is needed. Read here on Oxfam’s website: ‘What are the Millennium Goals?’
According to the World Health Organisation, we have made some progress. In 2010, “the world met the United Nations Millennium Development Goals target on access to safe drinking-water, as measured by the proxy indicator of access to improved drinking-water sources, but more needs to be done to achieve the sanitation target.” I think this means we’re doing something right but still have a way to go. So this is something to celebrate this World Environment Day.
And what are we doing in Australia? With one of the highest extinction rates on the planet and the most cryptic, unique and enigmatic of species under our protection, we also have plenty of work to do if we want to hold up our end of workload that is protecting our planet. The appointment of an Australian Threatened Species Commissioner in July 2014 was a good step. After almost a year in the job, it will be interesting to see what he has and can achieve.
In the Commissioner’s report after his first 6 months he states: “Australia’s extinction history is unacceptable. Australia has lost 29 mammals since European settlement. According to the Action Plan for Australian Mammals, another 56 land-based mammals are at risk of extinction, and 11 of these are critically endangered. The total list of threatened species has grown to over 1750 plants and animals. The Threatened Species Commissioner model brings a new national focus and effort to secure our threatened flora and fauna.”
He has invested in feral control and some specific projects for some of Victoria’s critically endangered species but the jury is still out.
More information about the Threatened Species Commissioner’s role is available on the department’s website and on the Commissioner’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.
The investigation in to non-profit conservation organisations and a threat to remove their tax-deductible status is NOT a good step. According to a report on the ABC’s website by Conor Duffy, a parliamentary inquiry into the Register of Environmental organisations has asked for submissions, with some Government MPs agitating for a reduction in of the register of more than 600 environmental orgs. There is a suggestion the list should only include those orgs which do ‘practical’ environmental work. Putting more pressure on to orgs. with limited resources will not assist the cause of environmental protection in Australia.
So. The various dinners, events, festivals and awards will acknowledge the great work being done by our green community around Australia and around the world. It will highlight the work still to be done and the need, now more than ever, to Act Local and Think Global.
World Environment Day Festival on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, which has some fantastic workshops and activities. . The United Nations with its “Think Global; Act Local” slogan has WED Awards for the best performers (perhaps they should consider some ‘must do better’ awards too?) The Wilderness Society is launching a new campaign on WED with an event at the Provincial Hotel in Fitzroy.
May we have even more to celebrate next year.
Follow Louis Vuitton: Connect with community, increase brand loyalty … and sales.
Today I see Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) is investing more than A$155m in a contemporary art museum and performance space via the Fondation Louis Vuitton. A little grand, I’ll admit but essentially it confirms the adage: connect with your community and your sales will benefit. CEO of LVMH Monseiur Bernard Arnault commented that the new museum in Paris is about sharing its values with the public. It’s certainly saying ‘we’re nice people, you would do well to do business with us’. And if Louis Vuitton sees the benefit of it, a brand that is synonymous with luxurious style and good taste, it would seem a good idea for us all to consider.
For instance, I’m delighted to see that Macy’s in the US raised more than US$3m with their Shop for a Cause promotion. Shop For A Cause is an all-day shopping pass for 25% off regular, sale and clearance merchandise throughout the store. Money raised helps many US charities.
As many of you may know, I believe corporate philanthropy is an oxymoron: I’m very keen on the idea that when companies help charities it’s a two-way arrangement – i.e. both sides benefit. After all, its their shareholders’ money that they are contributing so share holders usually want some kind of return on their investment. So I like the Macy’s model. I’d guess LVMH is not just in it for the continuing respect it creates for their brand but for the ongoing sales which may ensue.
But we don’t all have the resources of an international brand so I thought I’d share a few ways I’ve come across for companies to give back to the community and build their own sales and brand. That’s also why I started my own retail trading website http://www.joynin.com to assist Australian corporates and NFPs work together to mutual advantage.
Here are 7 ways companies with great products to make more sales and support their favourite charity.
- Create an offer that benefits the charity and your brand. In Macy’s case, the charity sells discount vouchers for $5 each . The customer then uses those vouchers in store to obtain the Macy’s discount. Macy’s makes a sale (albeit discounted but they do that presumably with regular seasonal promotions) and the charity gets the $5.00. A good mutual benefit. And doesn’t Macy’s look good!? Balletonet in Australia will donate $5 from every pair of ballet flats purchased in October, to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. All ways to raise funds for charity and increase sales.
- Offer useful goods in kind to drive PR opportunities. This is a common way companies offer to help charities: by providing goods and services at no or very low cost instead of actual cash. Valuable goods in kind should replace something that the NFP would otherwise have paid for therefore saving them real cash they can apply elsewhere. So most NFPs need assistance with accounting, auditing, IT, advertising. Can you help them cover the costs of these services by providing measurable, reliable assistance that you can then leverage in PR?
- Skilled volunteering. This is a continuation of providing goods in kind but usually its called pro bono or skilled volunteering. By providing NFPs with skilled resources they would otherwise have to pay for, you do at least two things: You improve the knowledge and acumen of the NFP and you give your own staff members interesting opportunities to expand their business knowledge in new environments. A win:win.
- Joint promotion to each others’ customers and market segments. When you work with a NFP to promote your business and your relationship with them, you potentially open up new markets or deepen penetration into both of your primary target audience segments. In this way, you attract new potential donors (or visitors, stakeholders) for the NFP and your business grows by selling products to new customers. When you create an attractive offer, both sides benefit.
- Link to each others’ websites. A simple link and a profile of your charity partnerships on your website linking to theirs is a great way to promote their cause and show how much you care. It can enhance your brand equity.
- Donate your discount! Don’t like offering discounts? Consider offering your customers the choice of say, 10% off a product which you’ll donate to a worthy cause. Research has shown that consumers respond to this kind of cause related marketing.
- Make explicit your choice of charity or NFP partnership. By strategically considering and getting your staff involved with the decision on which organisation or cause you partner with, you are:
- much more likely to create a mutually beneficial relationship.
- able to do more good for that cause by focusing on it
- likely to reduce the number of generic solicitations you receive from other organisations requesting support
- able to build relationships with key business leaders and collaborate on more interesting and longer term projects
Joynin.com is a great new retail website that directs donations from sales of your products to your favourite cause. Help retain your brand values and raise much-needed funds for your favourite charity. To find out more visit www.joynin.com
I do hope this was helpful for you. I am always looking out for ways to help NFP organisations raise much-needed funds in the most economical and transparent way possible. Please do share your thoughts with me. And if you have a favourite NFP organisation (that includes sporting clubs, schools, hospitals etc.) that could use some donations, why not nominate them at www.joynin.com/ Happy shopping!
For more on the LVMH story, see Vanessa Friedman‘s story in the New York Times.
Just recently I decided to apply for certification as a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) Why? What? Did you know you could be such a thing? I was encouraged by my highly professional and effective fundraising colleague Stephen Mally of Fundraising Force that this was something that was considered highly important for all fundraisers and I do agree that it is important that we help recognise the skills and abilities required to be provide excellence in this challenging – and somewhat undervalued – field. It is not, as a lovely contact said to me the other day, just a matter of sending out a few ‘begging’ letters. He added: ‘Surely your assistant could do that?” I hope there’s more to fundraising than a few sporadic mailings no matter how well written?
For me, it was a choice to acknowledge the commitment I had made to my own career over these past 16 or more years. It was a way to promote the continuing professionalism of the sector and to encourage others to seek to further their own careers.
So I’ve signed up and will take the exam later this year. I had a look at the number of Australian ‘graduates’ to the certification and while there were a few there were not that many. So it made me ask? Do you think it’s worth the effort? Should it matter whether you’re a CFRE? I’m interested in your thoughts. And will let you know how I go with my study before the exam. It never hurts to brush up on your knowledge and I’m sure I’ll also learn a few things I didn’t know before. If you’d like to find out more about CFRE, visit www.cfre.org or go to the Fundraising Institute of Australia website for more information.