RGWG Fund Development Conference notes

WBU Fund Development Seminar - Day 1
Monday 4 February RNIB Judd Street, London
Welcome & Introduction
Welcome from Arnt Holte, President, WBU and Wanda Hamilton, Group
Director of Fundraising, RNIB
 Everyone attending was identified so we would know who was in the
 Sharing good ideas amongst our organisations is a good way forward
 Is not competition between us
 Learn from each other
 Share knowledge & competence about Fundraising
The Joy of Giving to a Blind Association
Presentation by Stephen Pidgeon
He asked for the reasons behind donor’s give to blind associations.
 Supporters give due to their closeness to blindness
 Fear of losing sight more than any other sense
 Blind charities tend to use products to sell their cause (e.g. Guide
Dog puppies)
 Include a story of a person who has been helped
 39% increase in ROI by including puppy pictures
 Puppy pack response rate is 182% higher than Talking Books mailing
(Norges Blindeforbundet). Shows that cute outsells a good reason.
 Blind Veterans UK - story is about the soldier and how he been a
hero, not predominantly about the blindness
 RNIB Envelope - words on the back of the envelope blurred out, out
of focus to replicate eye condition – helps drive the message home.
 Remember that 'people give to people'
 Nobody is interested in what you do! Sell the benefits not the
features; charities tend to sell features
 What you do is the feature; what happens when you do it is the
 Explain the outcome rather than what you're going to do with the
money “You gift will result in # of people…”
 Fundraising proposition - Why should I give you £200?
 Loyalty depends on satisfaction with the service
 Key question: 'How likely are you to recommend this '…' to a friend?' a better question than 'Are you satisfied?'.
 Satisfaction - Thanking the donor. To start with…'Thank you for your
kind gift' - boring! Surprise them: “We were excited to see your
 Newsletters - mostly dull. Sense (deafblind charity) sent copy of a
newspaper article to supporters - much more personal and more
interesting to the supporter.
 Asking people for their views. Guide Dogs asked supporters for their
opinion on four advertisements on leaving a gift in their Will. This had
the effect of asking supporters four times to leave a gift in their Will.
 Talking to supporters. Do you telephone your supporters? Everybody
should be doing this. Invite your supporters to a meeting. Those who
give their opinions feel empowered and more closely affiliated with
the cause
 Make supporters feel that you care about them. Celebrate
anniversaries (letter or gift card from CEO on anniversary of first gift);
allow them control over how often they hear from you.
 Make supporter feel you care about them! Make them joyful!
Examples of our most successful Direct Mail campaigns to acquire
new donors pt.1
Richard Hill, RNIB
 Talked about donor acquisition at RNIB
 Face to Face campaign 'Every Action Creates a Reaction' - around
£6m per year raised
 25% cancelled before first gift; 50% cancelled by end of year one
 Donor acquisition materials (presenter cards, thank you cards, use of
QR codes) were refreshed. Results were that in the first three months
attrition fell by 13%. Financial impact of this is around £250k
additional income over five years
 Supporter Raffle - Telephone raffles historically raised over £8m per
year for RNIB. There has been a trend for data to perform less well
over time.
 Tested direct mail and digital (banner adverts). Generated traffic to
website but conversions could have been better.
 Rebuilt telephone raffle model
 The Gruffalo pack - RNIB direct mail. Highlights children missing out
on stories.
 10% uplift compared to the Cruel Sea pack. Cruel Sea pack was
RNIB's previous 'banker' pack (pack you can bank on to get the best
 The Gruffalo pack mailing has been nominated for a number of
 Samples of these DM packages were made available (and described
for those who could not see the details) on each table
Leif Jensen, NAPB
 In the late 1980's started recruiting donors by telephone, calling from
phone book
 Good at acquiring donors but not good at keeping them
 Half of population now opted out from receiving phone calls
 120k active supporters on database and need additional 10k per year
to maintain this, 15k to grow the database
 Looked into selling calendars/brochures
 14% response rate - not a huge success straight away. This has now
developed over 12 years. 1 million calendars produced last year and
response rate is 25%.
 Tried different methods of acquisition. Always looking for new
sources; this year had inserts in magazines.
 Need strong emotional connection with organisation for supporters to
give again.
 Used two inserts - a couple of weeks before inserted a magazine with
stories prior to inserting the calendar.
 2.6% and 2.1% returned donation. Was between 1% - 1.4% the
previous year.
 Supported with 15 second TV slot during campaign. Text to donate.
 Used a market research company. 48% good impression before, 60%
 Digital Activity - TV spot to increase awareness and to remind people
to send in donation for calendar. Banner ads on websites did not
work, even with cute puppies! Google Ads didn't work either,
however, Google search words did work.
 Facebook worked well as can be used to target demographic
precisely. As the campaign went on looked at what was working well.
Conversion rates went up as the campaign progressed. Targeted
800k individuals. 1214 orders received via Facebook. Could precisely
segment using Facebook.
 Targeted bloggers – asked Norway's biggest blogger to mention
calendars - produced video which went on her blog. This exposed
campaign to younger donors.
 SMS worked first year, but not the next year
 Calendar was copied by another organisation using landscape
pictures - same size/layout!
 Magnifier glass - costs around 20p to produce. Target people 60+
with this. Response rate not very high.
 Calendar performance increases year on year. 12k new donors.
 Timing of mailing? Been tested and best time is end November with
follow-up between Christmas and New Year.
 In Brazil, book distribution. Letter from Blind person to Education
Minister in Braille. Letter said if he wanted to know what letter was
about he would need to find a blind person to read the letter to him.
Or he could invest in education for blind people so everyone more
aware of communication with blind people. Could this work as a way
of acquisition? Leif responded that it would be effective to raise
awareness, but not sure how this would gain supporters.
Jan Chisholm, Vision Australia
 Two brands - Vision Australia & Seeing Eye Dogs
 Two different types of donors who support the two organisations
 Two different tones of voice & stories
 The challenge was to make the Vision Australia story as compelling
as puppy sponsorship
 Found that including items in the pack increased the response (reusable carrier bags) - doubles the response rate to 5%
 48% give a second gift; conversion to regular givers
 Mailing about the impact the dog has on a person's life. Included
cards, notepaper, envelopes and address labels
 Vision Australia pack - no branding/logo on the envelope encourages people to open the envelope. Pack includes a stationery
pack and a pen. Will be testing a magnifier in next pack.
 Vision Australia changes something in the pack every time it is sent
out to test.
 Seeing Eye Dogs pack - less than 10 complaints and send this to
200k people
 Vision Australia pack - 19k supporters recruited last time and
received 70 complaints. These 70 people were called to explain why
they are doing this.
 Focus on recruiting single donors then go back and ask for a second
 Recruit around 50k people per year through the two packs
 Investing in acquisition at the moment
 Packs successful in converting a small number of people to
regular/committed givers
 Invested in face to face fundraising
 Finding that both brands are equally successful with this method.
Making the story about the impact Vision Australia has on peoples'
lives compelling.
 Raffle - phoned people about lottery which supports the Seeing Eye
dog programme. Supporters were asked to sponsor a dog as well as
play lottery. Supporters gave 16 gifts per year if they signed up to do
 A two-stage online & telephone programme was successful. 20%
converted to regular givers after completing a survey in which they
said would be willing to support the work of the charity.
 Face to Face - use staff or volunteers? Are they trained? Partnership
agencies are used in Australia to recruit donors on the street.
Fundraisers are trained beforehand. This would be hard to do with
volunteers as it is a very tough job.
 There is a minimum ask. Ask for $25, and average given is $23
 Pitching the monthly ask - in UK started at £2 month (too low!). In UK
have sold charities cheap - should start with a higher amount. May
eventually become a large legacy gift.
 Lack of resources in Latin America. Smaller organisations with
smaller teams. Can these strategies still be applied?
 Other packages for warm donors, to maintain contact? About being
as personal as you can be; acknowledge their support.
Santosh Rungta, WBU President, Asia
 Reporting on fund raising for an Indian organization.
 Issue re lack of funds and how to get into fundraising
 Initially difficult to get donations
 Funds were activity-specific; needed to keep doing these to get
money from them
 Small number of staff
 Had a very large membership with big expectations
 Decided to experiment with a fundraising programme
 Looked at other success in the market with raising funds
 Wrote a policy - targeted medium level income group. Did not target
high income groups.
 Incentivised a group of staff to solicit donations ( it was pointed out
that this is a practice that would be controversial in other countries)
 Has been successful in recruiting and retaining donor base.
 Recruited 30k people working for the organisation in India
First year - £500k and plan to grow to £1 million
Limited expenses
Meet face to face with donors
Get feedback from donors
Involve donors in activities which are being run by the organisation in
the area where the donor lives
Donor database has been strengthened
Donors bring their friends in to support too
Highlighted importance of involving more people to group small
organisations, particularly in developing countries
Dependent on government grants prior to starting this project
No longer receiving government grants or foreign funds but have
increased the services offered to blind people with greater
geographical coverage
Our most successful campaigns to acquire new donors by other
means pt.2
Desmond Kenny, NCBI
 Challenge about how to describe sight loss in words and pictures
 Balancing service needs against fundraising requirements
 Need to highlight how disastrous blindness can be
 High attrition rate on face to face fundraising
 Have successful charity shops - 69 of these
 Direct cash system in charity shops
 Shops were kept separate from the organisation previously, but are
now rebranded as NCBI retail
 Shops helped with visibility of the brand
 Two golf competitions are organised per year and looking to involve
well known golfing names in this
 Continue to build on the brand of the organisation
 More difficult in smaller organisations; Board tends to be risk averse
so difficult to gain investment in fundraising
 Run a variety of activities to raise funds
 70% of funds from State contributions; 30% from Fundraising
(doubled from 15%)
 Tools to fundraise can still be applied in a smaller organisation
Enrique Perez, ONCE
 Majority of income through lottery
 Use of CSR (working with corporates) which has benefits to both
 Sponsorship of events - exhibition of contemporary art in Madrid A
prestigious event, therefore able to get 70% sponsorship from
corporations. Support from Vodafone and Orange mobile phone
 Getting new Trustees on board - offered an important private
company a place on the Board
 Donations in favour of employment to comply with the law. 2% of jobs
should be filled by staff with disabilities. Includes making donations to
projects that get disabled people into employment.
 Spanish career services company; policy that supports blind and
partially sighted as well as other disabled people.
 Company voted as Spain's favourite company after becoming
involved in social activity with charities. The company had a TV
advertising campaign costing 600k Euros, but this had minimal impact
and so the company became involved with charities.
Fred Schroeder, NFB
 From National Federation of the Blind, USA
 Grass roots organisation comprised of blind people, established in
 Direct Mail campaigns are one of the most significant sources of
income for NFB but is becoming difficult to maintain: cost of bulk mail,
size and packaging restrictions
 Premium Items (gifts) get stale over time (personalised items,
patriotic items)
 Fundraising to reinforce message about blindness as well as
generate funds
 Use a hopeful message that with training and opportunity blind people
can lead fulfilled life
 Income from Direct Mail has halved - less profitable, so looking for
other ways of sustaining funding
 NFB not primarily a service provider but developed a telephone
newspaper listening service 'Newsline for the Blind'
 Would like to expand this service and also generate funds
 In 2009 the NFB got Congress to issue a Louis Braille 200th birthday
coin. NFB received $10 from the sale of each coin and funds to go
towards Braille production services. This project brought the
organisation's name to the attention of coin collectors
 $500k per year in direct donations from members. Gives stable
 Bequests - about 10% of annual budget. Investing in legacy
 Telephone fundraising becoming less profitable in US
Hannah Burnet, RNIB
 RNIB's Core Value Strategy which began about 18 months ago
 Supporters typically older (70+)
 Large raffle programme with 500k people giving to raffle each year,
mainly contacted by telephone
 Fundraising Insight Team gather intelligence to assist campaigns
 Sharing knowledge between teams to develop a core value strategy
 Raffle programme is a growth area for us (by direct mail as well as
 Converting raffle players to become committed givers
 Cross selling to raffle players and this is generating around £1 million
per year. Attrition rates are low where we have done cross-selling
 Anticipate recruiting 20k new donors per year
What did we learn today about improving donor acquisition?
 Real money comes from Legacies
 For income from legacies we need to have loyal committed
 Everyone is now asking for legacies in UK, not just charities. Need to
ask to ensure that you will still receive these.
 Acquisition is the start of legacy gifts
Any questions from today's sessions?
 Only one charity spoke about CSR - why is this? Did other
organisations not find any value in this?
 Australia - Not affected by recession as much as some other
countries. Although corporate donations declining. CSR is a real
opportunity to engage with corporations: employment, accessibility.
As a fundraiser can help other colleagues in the organisation forge
useful relationships with companies.
 Norway - Only been working with corporate market for past two years.
Appeal to the company’s CSR policy. Offer some services to the
company, e.g. how they can make their products accessible and have
a competitive advantage. Charity has knowledge that can be useful to
 Ireland - Companies want their employees to volunteer. Difference
between CSR and companies donating. Companies donating
products to be sold in charity shops. 600 volunteers to run charity
Canada - Difference between corporate donation and CSR. Has been
successful only in part. CSR is a way to create a relationship and can
lead to receiving donations.
Spain - Big money when dealing with large companies. Also about
creating new links and networks, working together and utilising their
support. Good for company’s image. Saves the charity from needing
to use own resources.
Brazil - Use volunteers on the street but there are issues with
regulation and what they can do. Issue with CSR - some companies
in Brazil have set up their own social organisation. Distinguishing
between social marketing and social responsibility. A lot of companies
concentrating on environmental rather than social issues. Most
successful donors are private donors and small companies; not major
companies. Face to face volunteers and selling 'products' are most
UK - Companies in UK are mean! Companies only give donations if
there's something in it for them. For reputation, to increase market
share and footfall etc.
Smaller charities - would large charities use Direct Mail if starting
again from scratch?
 Norway - Need awareness of the cause before you can get donors.
Direct mail is cheap, don’t need to use big agencies, just need a good
story. Needs to be personal.
 Define the need and then show what the goal is. Proposition needs to
be right! Needs to inspire people about how they can make a
difference. Best stories told by the people who are losing their sight.
Start with a small target market.
 If you believe that sight loss should not stop a person from leading a
good and worthy life then give us a donation today.
 Australia - focus on why someone should give you money. Would not
start with direct mail. Focus on a few areas - look at large sources of
income - Trusts and Foundations. Look for who are the individuals
who are already close to us (major donors, corporates). Ask the
people who have been supported. Start with closest friends - those
who you can start a conversation with. Use your network to find
something that has worked before.
 UK - good stewardship. Minimise risk. Acquisition can be done for a
set amount of money. Look at your community; what's around you?
Good infrastructure and processes.
 Arnt Holt - Need to have a group convinced that they want to do
fundraising. Raise awareness of what is the intention of fundraising.
Need to find out what is the attitude of the organisation.
 Writing own appeal letters or giving out to an agency?
 Can convey message and thoughts better than an agency to small
number of donors. Not sure would be best writing for a mass mailing.
 Write themselves so it comes across with meaning. Letter is about
the donor. Need to master the technique; don't brag.
 Ireland - uses external copywriter. Gift of insight into simplicity. Too
easy to use jargon if writing yourself. Experts at simplifying
messages. Direct Mail takes considerable investment.
 Stephen Pidgeon has never written copy - incredibly difficult! Difficult
to write about something that you know a lot about. Copy is about
connecting the donor to the person who is blind, not about the
 A mixture of in-house and external? Can use consultants to give
ideas. Still want to have control of the quality and ensure that not
upsetting the rest of the organisation.
 If using external person then they need to be well briefed. Need to be
able to convey your fundraising proposition.
 Often a lot of time is spent crafting the ask letters, and then dull thank
you letters sent out from an administration team. Need to spend as
much time and care on thank you letters.
 Need to update donors on the success of what they are supporting.
 Getting difficult to find stories to include
 How can an organisation that doesn't provide services raise funds?
E.g. WBU
 We have a service co-ordinator at RNIB who is responsible for
knowledge transfer between services and fundraising and liaises
directly with services. To keep track of what stories we use.
Communications team keep a 'treasure chest' of case studies.
 Start with yourself and your colleagues when looking for stories about
the organisation.
 Brazil - Wrote to business leader and told him his personal story and
that want other blind people to have the same opportunities as he
had. Received email back asking to arrange meeting to tell the story.
 Norway - used to email people asking for stories and didn't get much
response. Tried asking the services and didn't get much back. If
raising money for a training course, go to the course and you see 10
stories. Need to actually go out and see the services. Fundraisers
should be spending 5% of their time with the services department to
see what is happening in order to shape their stories.
 Sense deaflind charity holds donor days which link supporters with
Digital & Email Channels
 Using email - easy, quick to read, for uncomplicated information. Start
stories by email and end them on the landing page. Email usually
compliments other activities.
 Pre and post email with mailshot in between. Mailshot is still what
raises the funds.
 Follow up email not as successful as direct mail follow up.
 Customer Relationship strategy at RNIB - recruit a new donor on face
to face. Materials include digital links through to website - welcome
and thank you. Subsequently then sent an email every month to
develop loyalty to the organisation. Can introduce other services and
friends of the original case study.
 Email - cheaper and more environmentally friendly. Can email out
annual reports.
 Try 'email - mailshot - email'. Can be effective. If getting in a pattern
of doing the same then donors anticipate it so vary it.
 Norway - tried a reminder email but didn't really have any effect.
 People receive a lot of email. A sales channel, seen as pushy. Use
email or SMS to deliver a positive surprise.
 Use email to ask questions about the calendar and response rate was
 12k recipients, 11% response rate. 12 questions. Staggering amount
of feedback received.
 Santosh, Asia - 30% maximum incentive for people who work on
continuous basis collecting donations. This is the maximum someone
can get. The percentage increases with the level of donation
collected. In many cases may be 20% or 10% - depends on the level
reached in collecting donations. No one else uses a percentage that
is part of the donation.
 Canada - telemarketers can receive a percentage of the donations.
Private companies not covered by fundraising ethics code.
 South Africa - Can offer 40% commission but donors find this
 ONCE - 90-95% of income comes from lottery. Started off as
providing employment to blind people. This year is the 75th
anniversary of the lottery. 9 million Euros ticket prize which competes
with the national lottery
 Australia - 16 gifts by cross selling raffle. Originally built database by
calling from phone book but this is no longer allowed. Builds donor
 Ontario big ticket lottery. Grand prize of $1million or $2million. Tickets
about $100 each. Marketed through a brochure sent in the mail, TV
and radio spots. High costs to put this on and high risk factor. Profits
about 10%. Net $1.5 million when last did this. Very large charities
could afford to take a loss to keep hold of their market share.
 Weekly lottery in the UK. Run by most hospices. £1 per week. Makes
£5k profit every week. Winners will often give winnings back to the
 Australia - reported back on people featured in appeals. Clients had
opportunity to thank the donors themselves. Feedback from the
people who have been helped by the donations.
 You have to find your champions to get your stories
 Ever ask your volunteers for money? In Canada it is an expectation
that Board members donate to CNIB.
 USA - people who sit on Boards expect to be asked for donations.
Part of the role is to contribute and to persuade others to contribute.
 UK - RNIB have spoken to each Trustee about their giving and have
been met with very warm support. Immense to know that trustee
board have left a legacy to their organisation. They don't need to say
how much.
Social Media
 Using social media for Fundraising. Difficult if you're using the same
Facebook page for your service users also.
 Norway - only ask through social media via ads (Facebook)
Debate - Font - As an agency fed up that we should always use 14pt
and use 18pt for headlines - discuss!
 We know that font and how text is written also has an impact on
campaign results. We know that getting money is the difference
between being able do or not do things.
 What kind of compromise we are willing to give? Lose money to make
it more accessible to the visually impaired or is the money more
important? A dilemma.
 Understand we need to have practicalities in place
 Show that marketing materials can be both accessible and attractive
 It is not the font size that's the issue. It's about colour and contrast,
and print over photographs. Font size can be magnified. Mainly the
design features that can be a problem.
 Look at the target group we are sending materials to. Issue of access
different from preparing internal resources. If you know potential
donor has low vision then should use appropriate materials.
 Would be easy if those groups were totally different. 130k people
have vision problems and some of best donors are elderly people.
 If large print then need to include less content to keep the letters the
same length. In South Africa previously 8-10 point font but have
moved to using 14 point font.
 Presentation is important whether sighted or partially sighted. Doesn't
mean you can send what you like to fully sighted supporters.
 Research for general marketing has been done testing different fonts.
Too big font size can be as much of a problem to read. No smaller
than 8pt and no larger than 14pt. 12pt considered average. Font type
- body text - use serif, not sans serif. Research done says you will
lose your readers and they will read 85% less if using sans serif. Also
will remember less if using sans serif font.
 If presenting in 14pt then need to design in 14pt also. Prepare the
material for the recipient. Competing in a marketplace where we need
to get attention.
 One of the Vision Australia packs doesn’t meet the organisation's
accessibility guidelines as it is in handwriting font in blue on light blue
paper. If letters are 12pt font on white paper then the response rate
goes down. Audience in the main are not our clients. Pack was
tested. Clients have said they are not happy with how they have been
represented in fundraising materials. Make sure that showing the
positive impact. Have clients speaking for themselves rather than the
organisation speaking on their behalf.
 People read letters differently. Some just read headlines, some read
the whole thing. Use bold, underlined, italic text. Vary the style. Can
do this but makes it more difficult to read.
 Ask donors how they wanted to receive their letters, e.g. in large print.
What works for international giving and collaborating with WBU
members in Fundraising?
Taking the message overseas…
 In UK there is hot competition from the large charities
 Other charities doing what WBU could do, e.g. Sightsavers. Blinking
Hell advert was immensely powerful. Very good at this.
 Help the Aged mailpack included a piece of plastic which simulates
 Need to talk about single people, a family, not 10 million people
 Keep it simple
Leif - 2012 DM Project that NAPB did for WBU
 A mailing re education for blind children overseas included a brochure
to show the story
 Stories from different countries, but included one from Norway
 Target was to raise $100k for WBU and anything over that would go
to Norwegian projects. Raised $180k overall.
 Same people who responded to Norwegian asks for Norwegian
projects. 10% if not given support before. 34% if they have given
support before.
 Would like to do follow up in newsletter about the stories included in
the appeal
RNIB/WBU Collaboration
 RNIB are currently looking at a direct mail programme with WBU.
Need to find an on-the-ground programme to give us the ability to
present the human story. Will be a long term partnership.
 Anyone else looking to raise funds for WBU?
 Ireland - looked at working with Concern organisation.
 Needs to be trust in the end receiver that the work will be carried out.
Have own on the ground workers.
 WBU do not deliver direct programmes. A small administrative
 WBU does advocacy and lobbying. Fundraising for advocacy is
extremely difficult and is a challenge for WBU. Also a challenge to
cover the core costs of the business. Would like to have more staff
but need the funds to make this happen.
 How can WBU make fundraising activities?
 Allow WBU to tell the stories for us to do fundraising. The Fundraising
is done nationally in the countries, generally not done globally.
 Short term vs long term fundraising
 A win-win situation. Building up the reputation of the national
organisation by being active internationally. Showing solidarity with
 Could WBU learn from NFB and the monthly giving programme that
they set up?
 Should be potential for WBU to work with large corporations - gain
funds and offer advocacy.
 Would need a partnership with a member organisation as don’t
provide services and only four members.
 Combining disability and women's issues of current interest
 Has research been done to look at how other similar organisations
sustain themselves? E.g. world federation of the deaf. Seem to be in
the same situation as WBU. IDA - International Disability Alliance.
Has funding from six major donors but all project based money. Two
staff members funded by ONCE.
 How can we strengthen each other? So may skilled people in our
member organizations. Not just giving money, but also giving
resources to WBU. Building projects into member organisations.
WBU has opportunities. Strengthening WBU will also strengthen the
national organisations.
 WBU should try to avoid getting into project based fundraising.
Capacity building need. Need to build WBU foundation. Want to
extend our success to less advantaged countries.
Arnt Holt:
Does Fundraising harm the attitude towards blind people?
 Arnt believes if done in the proper way and in close connection with
blind people is good
 Through Fundraising can reach people
 Need to take part in the process. Allow blind people to read and
comment on direct mail.
 A way of raising awareness and connecting people, not just raising
 Planning a big campaign in Norway to focus on readable goods
package - something all people can read
 Make people interested in us
 Need to work on both global and national level
 A question - why are we here? Why are we members of WBU?
End of Day 1