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  • 16 Jul 2018
    Localgiving’s Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report shows the amount of pressure that small charities are under. I was concerned to read that only 47% of the UK’s local charities and community groups are confident they will survive beyond 5 years. It is worrying to hear how these groups are stretched to breaking point, and how many of them are shouldering the burden of increased demand; 78% of groups reported an increase in the need for their services over the past 12 months. What could help local charities in this situation? As resources are stretched even more thinly, what could help them save money and time? I’m a passionate believer in the power of digital to help small charities, and that’s why we’ve created best practice specifically to help them in The Charity Digital Code of Practice. The Code aims to increase motivation and confidence in using digital for all charities. We’ve worked closely with the Charity Commission, Small Charities Coalition, NCVO, ACEVO, Office for Civil Society, Tech Trust and others to develop a framework for success. By following it we hope that charities will be able to increase their impact, grow skills and collaborate more with others We know from Lloyds Business Digital Index that highly digitally capable charities are twice as likely to save time and to see an increase in donations, and ten times as likely to save costs. A brilliant example of this is how NAVCA (themselves a small charity) ,rebuilt how they worked by putting digital at their core. The whole team now work remotely, and they use a number of online platforms such as Breathe HR, which helps them manage appraisals, leave and absence, and Xero, I’ve also seen where small, local charities can miss out if they don’t use digital. My kids go to a school just around the corner from us, where the PTA (who are a charity) are trying to raise funds from parents and the local community for a new library. They decided to put on a fundraising dinner. Great idea, right? Yet they didn’t offer a way for parents to donate to the library fundraising campaign online, which very sadly meant not enough people donated and the dinner needed to be cancelled. Local charities will need to find new ways to raise money amidst further cuts to public funding. Making it quick, easy and simple for people to give will help, or they could potentially miss out. I’ve worked with many local charities and support several in my area, and I have seen first-hand the difference they can make in their communities. Localgiving report’s shows how local charities need our support, and that their sustainability should be a priority or our communities will suffer. Digital could help them build on the amazing work they do, freeing up time and money so that they can do what they do best. The Charity Digital Code of Practice is open for consultation until 25 September 2018. Read the draft Code and get involved.  If you enjoyed this blog you will also like: Localgiving report highlights Brexit uncertainty Employee volunteering and Localgiving's report  
    2078 Posted by Zoe Amar
  • Localgiving’s Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report shows the amount of pressure that small charities are under. I was concerned to read that only 47% of the UK’s local charities and community groups are confident they will survive beyond 5 years. It is worrying to hear how these groups are stretched to breaking point, and how many of them are shouldering the burden of increased demand; 78% of groups reported an increase in the need for their services over the past 12 months. What could help local charities in this situation? As resources are stretched even more thinly, what could help them save money and time? I’m a passionate believer in the power of digital to help small charities, and that’s why we’ve created best practice specifically to help them in The Charity Digital Code of Practice. The Code aims to increase motivation and confidence in using digital for all charities. We’ve worked closely with the Charity Commission, Small Charities Coalition, NCVO, ACEVO, Office for Civil Society, Tech Trust and others to develop a framework for success. By following it we hope that charities will be able to increase their impact, grow skills and collaborate more with others We know from Lloyds Business Digital Index that highly digitally capable charities are twice as likely to save time and to see an increase in donations, and ten times as likely to save costs. A brilliant example of this is how NAVCA (themselves a small charity) ,rebuilt how they worked by putting digital at their core. The whole team now work remotely, and they use a number of online platforms such as Breathe HR, which helps them manage appraisals, leave and absence, and Xero, I’ve also seen where small, local charities can miss out if they don’t use digital. My kids go to a school just around the corner from us, where the PTA (who are a charity) are trying to raise funds from parents and the local community for a new library. They decided to put on a fundraising dinner. Great idea, right? Yet they didn’t offer a way for parents to donate to the library fundraising campaign online, which very sadly meant not enough people donated and the dinner needed to be cancelled. Local charities will need to find new ways to raise money amidst further cuts to public funding. Making it quick, easy and simple for people to give will help, or they could potentially miss out. I’ve worked with many local charities and support several in my area, and I have seen first-hand the difference they can make in their communities. Localgiving report’s shows how local charities need our support, and that their sustainability should be a priority or our communities will suffer. Digital could help them build on the amazing work they do, freeing up time and money so that they can do what they do best. The Charity Digital Code of Practice is open for consultation until 25 September 2018. Read the draft Code and get involved.  If you enjoyed this blog you will also like: Localgiving report highlights Brexit uncertainty Employee volunteering and Localgiving's report  
    Jul 16, 2018 2078
  • 20 Jun 2018
    Do the three lions have you purring with pride or are you primed for a month of watching paint dry?  Either way, football will be dominating the headlines until mid-July and your charity or community group should be making the most of the opportunities it brings. Whether you are looking to highlight serious human rights issues or simply making the most of the energy in the air – it’s worth taking the time to think about how the World Cup can be tied in with your cause or fundraising effort. 1) The sad reality is that many of the countries at this year’s World Cup suffer from serious human rights issues. For example, this year’s host, Russia, has seen as escalation in racism, homophobia and a crackdown on press freedoms in recent years. Leading human right groups have expressed fears that President Putin will use the World Cup to ‘sportswash’ Russia's image. The World Cup is a chance to show these issues the red card. Just a few social media posts can help bring these issues to the fore and encourage people in your community to get involved.  2) Every time there is a major sporting event there is a brief period in which we see a surge of kids out into the parks and playgrounds emulating their heroes.  Grassroots sports clubs should do their best to harness this energy and get these kids involved with their work long term. Why not set up a screening of a match, a mini world cup or penalty shoot out at your club and use it to distribute  information about your club, recruit new players or fundraise? 3) With a little thought, any charity or community group can find a way of using the World cup to promote their cause or help hit their fundraising goals. Whether you arrange a charity lunch of 'World Cup cuisines' or a 'wear your kit or colours' day – there are no end of possible ways you can turn this month’s football fever into a fundraising frenzy. We look forward to seeing the amazing ideas that your group come up with! When promoting your campaign or event on social media, remember to use one of the World Cup's official hastags ( #WorldCup, #Russia2018, #CM2018 or #Copa2018) and also include a hashtag relevent to your local area such as the name of your nearest city or town.  
    1478 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • Do the three lions have you purring with pride or are you primed for a month of watching paint dry?  Either way, football will be dominating the headlines until mid-July and your charity or community group should be making the most of the opportunities it brings. Whether you are looking to highlight serious human rights issues or simply making the most of the energy in the air – it’s worth taking the time to think about how the World Cup can be tied in with your cause or fundraising effort. 1) The sad reality is that many of the countries at this year’s World Cup suffer from serious human rights issues. For example, this year’s host, Russia, has seen as escalation in racism, homophobia and a crackdown on press freedoms in recent years. Leading human right groups have expressed fears that President Putin will use the World Cup to ‘sportswash’ Russia's image. The World Cup is a chance to show these issues the red card. Just a few social media posts can help bring these issues to the fore and encourage people in your community to get involved.  2) Every time there is a major sporting event there is a brief period in which we see a surge of kids out into the parks and playgrounds emulating their heroes.  Grassroots sports clubs should do their best to harness this energy and get these kids involved with their work long term. Why not set up a screening of a match, a mini world cup or penalty shoot out at your club and use it to distribute  information about your club, recruit new players or fundraise? 3) With a little thought, any charity or community group can find a way of using the World cup to promote their cause or help hit their fundraising goals. Whether you arrange a charity lunch of 'World Cup cuisines' or a 'wear your kit or colours' day – there are no end of possible ways you can turn this month’s football fever into a fundraising frenzy. We look forward to seeing the amazing ideas that your group come up with! When promoting your campaign or event on social media, remember to use one of the World Cup's official hastags ( #WorldCup, #Russia2018, #CM2018 or #Copa2018) and also include a hashtag relevent to your local area such as the name of your nearest city or town.  
    Jun 20, 2018 1478
  • 11 Jun 2018
    Alex Swallow is Director of Communications at Ethical Angel which seeks to transform the relationship between the private and non-profit sectors. He has a long history of working at and for charities including as the Founder of Young Charity Trustees. I wanted to add my thoughts to Localgiving’s excellent Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2018- specifically with reference to volunteering and how working with businesses might be able to help. I have three key points to make and will reference the research with respect to each. They are: Volunteering is always going to be a key part of the charity sector; charity staff at local charities are being forced to be ‘jacks of all trades’; and many local charities currently miss out on the ‘accumulator effect’ of learning new skills. Volunteering is key ‘Local charities and community groups are largely led by volunteers and reliant on their skills, time and passion. 59% of Chief Executives in the sector are volunteers, as are 65% of fundraising staff and 63% of finance staff. We estimate that the financial value of volunteers in the local voluntary sector lies between £7.5 and £10.5 billion per year.... 82% of groups with an annual income under 10k are run entirely by volunteers’ The Report, as many other pieces of research have before it, provides incontrovertible evidence that volunteers make a fundamental difference to the life of the charity sector in this country. The smallest charities rely entirely on them, the biggest charities couldn’t do without them either. Despite the fact that so many people volunteer for charities, there are still so many others who don’t think of it as an option. One way to empower such people is through employee volunteering- where their employer encourages their volunteering effort through time off work and other support. Jacks of all trades ‘Paid staff in the sector are often asked to juggle multiple roles from project management to marketing to admin’ I know from my own time working at a small charity how many things you can sometimes be expected to juggle. In my very first role, for example, I could legitimately answer a phone request for ‘the Fundraising/Development/Communications Departments’ with the honest answer ‘You are speaking to him’. By necessity and through hard work, many paid people who work for small charities do find ways to be jacks of all trades and masters of at least some. However, it can be tiring, demoralizing and plain inefficient for people to have to cope on their own with so many competing areas. This is where skilled volunteers come in. As well as helping with specific areas, thus freeing up the paid staff to do other things, they can train and familiarize the staff with new skills so that previously daunting areas of their work hold less fear for them. Which brings me to my next point... The accumulator effect ‘Year on year, local charities have cited skills gaps as a major barrier to engaging with new technologies and opportunities. As addressed in the Fundraising and Marketing chapter, 71% of groups feel they lack the skills to run a successful marketing campaign’ By the accumulator effect I mean that if you are able to take advantage of certain areas - for example new technologies- then your growth and your impact can be exponential. Conversely if you engage with such technologies later than your peers (in this case, other charities, competing for attention and resources) you are more likely to be left behind. This is a key area in which private businesses- who have the money to invest in the latest equipment and training, have a lot to offer. In many cases businesses are very keen to engage with and support good causes- there are many benefits to them doing so- as we have outlined here - and their customers are becoming ever more demanding about their social engagement with the wider world. If we can match these businesses up with good causes that need their skills it will have a real impact. So, what does this all mean? It is clear that local charities are facing enormous pressures and that something needs to be done. As the report says: ‘Fewer than half of the local organisations surveyed are confident that they will survive beyond 5 years’ Employee volunteering can provide a key way to help with this. Recommendation 8 of the report is that Inter and intra-sector collaboration should be encouraged: ‘Collaborations not only help local groups financially (resource pooling etc.) but can also open doors to wider networks, strategic alliances and help amplify their voice’ Let’s make that happen! To learn how Ethical Angel can help you get more business volunteers, take a look at our site here. 
    2616 Posted by Alex Swallow
  • Alex Swallow is Director of Communications at Ethical Angel which seeks to transform the relationship between the private and non-profit sectors. He has a long history of working at and for charities including as the Founder of Young Charity Trustees. I wanted to add my thoughts to Localgiving’s excellent Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2018- specifically with reference to volunteering and how working with businesses might be able to help. I have three key points to make and will reference the research with respect to each. They are: Volunteering is always going to be a key part of the charity sector; charity staff at local charities are being forced to be ‘jacks of all trades’; and many local charities currently miss out on the ‘accumulator effect’ of learning new skills. Volunteering is key ‘Local charities and community groups are largely led by volunteers and reliant on their skills, time and passion. 59% of Chief Executives in the sector are volunteers, as are 65% of fundraising staff and 63% of finance staff. We estimate that the financial value of volunteers in the local voluntary sector lies between £7.5 and £10.5 billion per year.... 82% of groups with an annual income under 10k are run entirely by volunteers’ The Report, as many other pieces of research have before it, provides incontrovertible evidence that volunteers make a fundamental difference to the life of the charity sector in this country. The smallest charities rely entirely on them, the biggest charities couldn’t do without them either. Despite the fact that so many people volunteer for charities, there are still so many others who don’t think of it as an option. One way to empower such people is through employee volunteering- where their employer encourages their volunteering effort through time off work and other support. Jacks of all trades ‘Paid staff in the sector are often asked to juggle multiple roles from project management to marketing to admin’ I know from my own time working at a small charity how many things you can sometimes be expected to juggle. In my very first role, for example, I could legitimately answer a phone request for ‘the Fundraising/Development/Communications Departments’ with the honest answer ‘You are speaking to him’. By necessity and through hard work, many paid people who work for small charities do find ways to be jacks of all trades and masters of at least some. However, it can be tiring, demoralizing and plain inefficient for people to have to cope on their own with so many competing areas. This is where skilled volunteers come in. As well as helping with specific areas, thus freeing up the paid staff to do other things, they can train and familiarize the staff with new skills so that previously daunting areas of their work hold less fear for them. Which brings me to my next point... The accumulator effect ‘Year on year, local charities have cited skills gaps as a major barrier to engaging with new technologies and opportunities. As addressed in the Fundraising and Marketing chapter, 71% of groups feel they lack the skills to run a successful marketing campaign’ By the accumulator effect I mean that if you are able to take advantage of certain areas - for example new technologies- then your growth and your impact can be exponential. Conversely if you engage with such technologies later than your peers (in this case, other charities, competing for attention and resources) you are more likely to be left behind. This is a key area in which private businesses- who have the money to invest in the latest equipment and training, have a lot to offer. In many cases businesses are very keen to engage with and support good causes- there are many benefits to them doing so- as we have outlined here - and their customers are becoming ever more demanding about their social engagement with the wider world. If we can match these businesses up with good causes that need their skills it will have a real impact. So, what does this all mean? It is clear that local charities are facing enormous pressures and that something needs to be done. As the report says: ‘Fewer than half of the local organisations surveyed are confident that they will survive beyond 5 years’ Employee volunteering can provide a key way to help with this. Recommendation 8 of the report is that Inter and intra-sector collaboration should be encouraged: ‘Collaborations not only help local groups financially (resource pooling etc.) but can also open doors to wider networks, strategic alliances and help amplify their voice’ Let’s make that happen! To learn how Ethical Angel can help you get more business volunteers, take a look at our site here. 
    Jun 11, 2018 2616
  • 08 May 2018
    As we are sure you are aware, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force on the 25th of May 2018. This will apply to all organisations that process and hold personal data of EU citizens residing in the European Union. Localgiving will be fully compliant with GDPR requirements by the 25th of May deadline. We will also ensure that the information you can access through your account is complaint. What is Localgiving doing? When a supporter donates to you, we currently ask them to opt-out if they do not wish to receive communications from us or Localgiving members. The consent wording on Localgiving.org is currently: “I do not wish to receive updates from the charity”. We will be changing this to an opt-in preference and seeking consent for all future communications from your supporters. We will also be removing all non-compliant data from your account and reports. What do you need to do with data obtained through Localgiving? Donor consent data collected by Localgiving before 25th May 2018 will not be GDPR compliant. All data you obtain, or have obtained through your Localgiving reports before 25th May 2018 must not be used after this date. You must seek fresh consent for all data collected through Localgiving reports before this date.We recommend that you login and download your Localgiving marketing reports as soon as possible. You should then contact your supporters before the 25th May 2018 and ask them to opt-in to your future communications. You will not be able to use this data to contact supporters after this date.Once you have downloaded this report, your charity is the data controller for this personal data and is solely responsible for compliance with GDPR. We strongly suggest conferring with your trustees/Data Protection Officer and other key stakeholders to decide your process for collecting this consent. We recommend that you: Login and download your Localgiving marketing reports today. This can be found within the My donations section, click on Reports within the menu on the left. Email all supporters whose data is included in these reports and ask them to opt in to your communications. After 25th May this data will no longer be accessible via Localgiving.     How to make sure your organisation is fully GDPR compliant?  Getting ready for GDPR is daunting. However, the fines for data breaches will be substantial and so, if you haven't already, it is essential you put your strategy in place now.The following guides provide the information you will need to ensure that you are GDPR compliant by 25th May 2018: ICO: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/charity/ NCVO: https://knowhownonprofit.org/how-to/how-to-prepare-for-gdpr-and-data-protection-reform IoF: https://secure.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/guidance/research/get-ready-for-gdpr/ FSI: http://www.thefsi.org/blog-post/gdpr-what-small-charities-can-do-now/  
  • As we are sure you are aware, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force on the 25th of May 2018. This will apply to all organisations that process and hold personal data of EU citizens residing in the European Union. Localgiving will be fully compliant with GDPR requirements by the 25th of May deadline. We will also ensure that the information you can access through your account is complaint. What is Localgiving doing? When a supporter donates to you, we currently ask them to opt-out if they do not wish to receive communications from us or Localgiving members. The consent wording on Localgiving.org is currently: “I do not wish to receive updates from the charity”. We will be changing this to an opt-in preference and seeking consent for all future communications from your supporters. We will also be removing all non-compliant data from your account and reports. What do you need to do with data obtained through Localgiving? Donor consent data collected by Localgiving before 25th May 2018 will not be GDPR compliant. All data you obtain, or have obtained through your Localgiving reports before 25th May 2018 must not be used after this date. You must seek fresh consent for all data collected through Localgiving reports before this date.We recommend that you login and download your Localgiving marketing reports as soon as possible. You should then contact your supporters before the 25th May 2018 and ask them to opt-in to your future communications. You will not be able to use this data to contact supporters after this date.Once you have downloaded this report, your charity is the data controller for this personal data and is solely responsible for compliance with GDPR. We strongly suggest conferring with your trustees/Data Protection Officer and other key stakeholders to decide your process for collecting this consent. We recommend that you: Login and download your Localgiving marketing reports today. This can be found within the My donations section, click on Reports within the menu on the left. Email all supporters whose data is included in these reports and ask them to opt in to your communications. After 25th May this data will no longer be accessible via Localgiving.     How to make sure your organisation is fully GDPR compliant?  Getting ready for GDPR is daunting. However, the fines for data breaches will be substantial and so, if you haven't already, it is essential you put your strategy in place now.The following guides provide the information you will need to ensure that you are GDPR compliant by 25th May 2018: ICO: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/charity/ NCVO: https://knowhownonprofit.org/how-to/how-to-prepare-for-gdpr-and-data-protection-reform IoF: https://secure.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/guidance/research/get-ready-for-gdpr/ FSI: http://www.thefsi.org/blog-post/gdpr-what-small-charities-can-do-now/  
    May 08, 2018 1794
  • 16 Apr 2018
    These days there are growing ways to give to charity that needn’t involve sticking your hand in your pocket. Look at it another way: there’s growing number of opportunities for charities to galvanise their supporters and raise cash without actually having to ask individuals for any more of theirs. It’s called ‘Zero Cost Giving’ to coin a phrase. So long as there is no additional cost to the individual - and there’s little effort involved - these are all easy consumer choices to make. A great example is For Good Causes which encourages members of the public to donate unspent loyalty rewards – which it has calculated are worth £7 billion – to any of the 12,000 charities signed up to the Charities Trust. Give As You Live is another. It pays a commission from any purchases made among 4,200 participating retailers and claims to have raised nearly £10 million among the 10,000 charities involved. Likewise, Amazon Smile is just getting going in the UK but pledges to donate 0.5% of its transactions and has over 2,000 charities already in line to benefit. Registration for these initiatives is free but does require a Charity Commission number and that can put smaller charities at a disadvantage. However, there is an alternative solution for both registered and unregistered charities. And, better still, it allows Joe Public to benefit financially from the choices they’re being encouraged to make - as well as the charity. A ‘Collective Energy Switch’ is unique in that it gives something back to a charity’s supporters (by cutting a fifth off their energy bills) whilst turning the commission - that would normally be pocketed by a price comparison website for doing roughly the same thing - into a donation. It can work for organisations of any size - whether a not-for-profit, charity or Community Amateur Sports Club… indeed having a strong local community presence is often better than having a formal structure. If you’ve never heard of them, Collective Energy Switches are a great way to get a group of people onto a cheaper tariff in one go, combining the buying power of the participants without everyone having to shop around themselves. The best known example is probably Martin Lewis’s Cheap Energy Club – the success of which was the main reason behind British Gas having to admit that it lost 650,000 customers in the third quarter of last year alone. So now charities - registered or not - can pool willing supporters into a Collective Energy Switch and receive £15 per household who take up the resulting cheap offer. Back of the Sofa does this through a partnership with iChoosr: a well-established collective switch organiser, running three ‘auctions’ a year among energy suppliers. Around 75,000 households take part in each one and - last time round - the winning tariff was £245 cheaper than the average annual ‘Big 6’ standard variable tariff of £1,149. Charities are able to pick and choose how regularly they participate. Offering a Collective Energy Switch opportunity to supporters once yearly, for example, means everyone has the opportunity to move on to another cheap deal as soon as the first one expires, not to mention guaranteeing a regular source of income for the charity. All the charity has to do is put a registration page under the noses of its supporters (ie via email or social media) and let common sense prevail. Those wishing to join the next one have until 22th May to apply for a registration page and garner their support. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    5 tips to avoid having your Google Grants account deactivated Back of the Sofa’s Alternative Guide to the Tax Year End  
    2670 Posted by Nick Heath
  • These days there are growing ways to give to charity that needn’t involve sticking your hand in your pocket. Look at it another way: there’s growing number of opportunities for charities to galvanise their supporters and raise cash without actually having to ask individuals for any more of theirs. It’s called ‘Zero Cost Giving’ to coin a phrase. So long as there is no additional cost to the individual - and there’s little effort involved - these are all easy consumer choices to make. A great example is For Good Causes which encourages members of the public to donate unspent loyalty rewards – which it has calculated are worth £7 billion – to any of the 12,000 charities signed up to the Charities Trust. Give As You Live is another. It pays a commission from any purchases made among 4,200 participating retailers and claims to have raised nearly £10 million among the 10,000 charities involved. Likewise, Amazon Smile is just getting going in the UK but pledges to donate 0.5% of its transactions and has over 2,000 charities already in line to benefit. Registration for these initiatives is free but does require a Charity Commission number and that can put smaller charities at a disadvantage. However, there is an alternative solution for both registered and unregistered charities. And, better still, it allows Joe Public to benefit financially from the choices they’re being encouraged to make - as well as the charity. A ‘Collective Energy Switch’ is unique in that it gives something back to a charity’s supporters (by cutting a fifth off their energy bills) whilst turning the commission - that would normally be pocketed by a price comparison website for doing roughly the same thing - into a donation. It can work for organisations of any size - whether a not-for-profit, charity or Community Amateur Sports Club… indeed having a strong local community presence is often better than having a formal structure. If you’ve never heard of them, Collective Energy Switches are a great way to get a group of people onto a cheaper tariff in one go, combining the buying power of the participants without everyone having to shop around themselves. The best known example is probably Martin Lewis’s Cheap Energy Club – the success of which was the main reason behind British Gas having to admit that it lost 650,000 customers in the third quarter of last year alone. So now charities - registered or not - can pool willing supporters into a Collective Energy Switch and receive £15 per household who take up the resulting cheap offer. Back of the Sofa does this through a partnership with iChoosr: a well-established collective switch organiser, running three ‘auctions’ a year among energy suppliers. Around 75,000 households take part in each one and - last time round - the winning tariff was £245 cheaper than the average annual ‘Big 6’ standard variable tariff of £1,149. Charities are able to pick and choose how regularly they participate. Offering a Collective Energy Switch opportunity to supporters once yearly, for example, means everyone has the opportunity to move on to another cheap deal as soon as the first one expires, not to mention guaranteeing a regular source of income for the charity. All the charity has to do is put a registration page under the noses of its supporters (ie via email or social media) and let common sense prevail. Those wishing to join the next one have until 22th May to apply for a registration page and garner their support. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    5 tips to avoid having your Google Grants account deactivated Back of the Sofa’s Alternative Guide to the Tax Year End  
    Apr 16, 2018 2670
  • 04 Apr 2018
    The Google Grants programme is an incredible free resource for charities. Many charities use the free advertising spend (which equates to around £85,000 per year) to drive website traffic, help raise awareness of their organisations and also to reach new audiences online. However several updates were recently announced to the Google Grants program policies, these changes could have a huge impact on charities access to the funding. Google has stated that ‘any account found in violation of (the updated) programme policies is subject to automatic suspension without notification.’ The following checklist can be used by Google Grants account managers, to understand what changes may need to be made to avoid account deactivation. We hope you find this checklist useful to check the current health of your Adwords account! 1) Remove single keywords from current accounts Make sure there are no single keywords in your account like ‘donate’. Expand these to be more specific such as ‘donate to an animal charity’. Google wants accounts to target highly related terms, which are specific to your charity. 2) Remove low performing keywords Google wants all accounts to have an account level click through rate (CTR) of 5% or above. This means low performing keywords need to go, as they will be driving down your account level click through rate and not providing good value. When logged into AdWords go to ‘Ads & keywords’ to view all current keywords and then sort by CTR. Once done, you can see your keywords ordered by CTR and remove or pause terms which have a CTR of lower than 5%. Also remove keywords with a quality score of 2 or lower. 3) Focus on branded terms Make sure there are branded keywords in your AdWords account, as this will drive up your account wide CTR level. This will also help to push down competitors ads in paid search, who may be bidding on your brand or organisation name. 4) Add location targeting Make sure your ads target your relevant location or locations. This can be set to United Kingdom and doesn’t need to be more specific than that. Setting geo targeting will be a great way to improve the relevance of your account and will ensure ads are only shown to your target audience. 5) Minimum 2x Ad Groups and 2x sitelink extensions Check that you have the minimum required 2x ad groups and 2x sitelink extensions in your account. It is advisable to have ad groups organised by keyword theme, as this will increase the relevance and authority of your Google Grants account. We hope that Google Grants account managers can use these 5 tips to double check compliance with the new policy terms and also to help improve their Google Adwords account setup. --- Luke is one of the co-founders of Add10, a fresh new digital marketing and branding agency, which works with charities and nonprofits of all sizes.Luke has been lucky enough to have worked with a lot of inspiring charitable organisations, and hopes to work with more in the future to help raise money for great causes!  Was this blog useful? You may also like: Back of the Sofa’s Alternative Guide to the Tax Year End  
    1687 Posted by Luke Masters
  • The Google Grants programme is an incredible free resource for charities. Many charities use the free advertising spend (which equates to around £85,000 per year) to drive website traffic, help raise awareness of their organisations and also to reach new audiences online. However several updates were recently announced to the Google Grants program policies, these changes could have a huge impact on charities access to the funding. Google has stated that ‘any account found in violation of (the updated) programme policies is subject to automatic suspension without notification.’ The following checklist can be used by Google Grants account managers, to understand what changes may need to be made to avoid account deactivation. We hope you find this checklist useful to check the current health of your Adwords account! 1) Remove single keywords from current accounts Make sure there are no single keywords in your account like ‘donate’. Expand these to be more specific such as ‘donate to an animal charity’. Google wants accounts to target highly related terms, which are specific to your charity. 2) Remove low performing keywords Google wants all accounts to have an account level click through rate (CTR) of 5% or above. This means low performing keywords need to go, as they will be driving down your account level click through rate and not providing good value. When logged into AdWords go to ‘Ads & keywords’ to view all current keywords and then sort by CTR. Once done, you can see your keywords ordered by CTR and remove or pause terms which have a CTR of lower than 5%. Also remove keywords with a quality score of 2 or lower. 3) Focus on branded terms Make sure there are branded keywords in your AdWords account, as this will drive up your account wide CTR level. This will also help to push down competitors ads in paid search, who may be bidding on your brand or organisation name. 4) Add location targeting Make sure your ads target your relevant location or locations. This can be set to United Kingdom and doesn’t need to be more specific than that. Setting geo targeting will be a great way to improve the relevance of your account and will ensure ads are only shown to your target audience. 5) Minimum 2x Ad Groups and 2x sitelink extensions Check that you have the minimum required 2x ad groups and 2x sitelink extensions in your account. It is advisable to have ad groups organised by keyword theme, as this will increase the relevance and authority of your Google Grants account. We hope that Google Grants account managers can use these 5 tips to double check compliance with the new policy terms and also to help improve their Google Adwords account setup. --- Luke is one of the co-founders of Add10, a fresh new digital marketing and branding agency, which works with charities and nonprofits of all sizes.Luke has been lucky enough to have worked with a lot of inspiring charitable organisations, and hopes to work with more in the future to help raise money for great causes!  Was this blog useful? You may also like: Back of the Sofa’s Alternative Guide to the Tax Year End  
    Apr 04, 2018 1687
  • 12 Mar 2018
    If you’re juggling the finances of a charity - bravo! - it can be a thankless and often un-rewarded task. You won’t need reminding (it’s been on the same day since 1800) that the end of the Tax Year is fast approaching, ahead of which there are a few ‘left-field’ areas it’s well worth looking into. If you have a spare hour between now and 5th April, here’s a checklist you might find handy and - who knows - could even earn you an unexpected accolade… as well as extra funds.   VAT on Energy Bills Charities can apply to reduce the VAT on their energy bills from 20% to 5% and - if you’ve paid 20% in the past – can ask for a rebate for the past four years. This is the maximum period of time that HMRC will allow and it counts in Tax Years so, by submitting a form to your supplier now, means your rebate could include VAT payments as far back as the tax year 2013-2014. A successful reduction in VAT also removes the Climate Change Levy element from your bills too. If your energy bill has 20% VAT in the calculations and want to know what to do next, head over to Back of the Sofa.    Business Rates Discretionary Relief As you know, most charities are also entitled to some form of relief on their Business Rates. And, like VAT discounts, if you don’t ask... you don’t get. Some pay 20% while others pay nothing at all because they have been granted Discretionary Relief. These could be churches, charities or clubs that benefit the local community - even organisations to do with social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts. Each of the UK’s 420 or so Councils has their own rules and guidelines but, like HMRC, they work in Financial Years and so relief will often be back-dated to the start of April in the Tax Year that you are applying. To see how your Council does it, use this search tool. Tax on Savings Interest In 2016, banks started paying interest gross on savings accounts but prior to that they would often deduct tax at source and that would automatically remove 20% from any interest earned. This was common among charities that hold ‘business accounts’ – even though charities are exempt from paying tax on bank interest. Again, the period of time allowed to reverse any incorrect deductions is four Tax Years. That means charities now only have a rapidly diminishing window of opportunity to claim back the tax their bank incorrectly removed in the 2013-2014 period as well as up to 2016. If your bank statements show that tax was paid, you need to tell HMRC via Charities Online or ask for a ChR1 form. If you are successful in these or other – alternative – ways, please let me know! Nick Heath is founder of Back of the Sofa, a free resource to help charities find cash they didn’t know about. www.BackoftheSofa.com (Twitter and Facebook)   Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    7 digital tactics for small charities in volatile times 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha The Subconscious Effects of Storytelling in Charity Marketing  
    1816 Posted by Nick Heath
  • If you’re juggling the finances of a charity - bravo! - it can be a thankless and often un-rewarded task. You won’t need reminding (it’s been on the same day since 1800) that the end of the Tax Year is fast approaching, ahead of which there are a few ‘left-field’ areas it’s well worth looking into. If you have a spare hour between now and 5th April, here’s a checklist you might find handy and - who knows - could even earn you an unexpected accolade… as well as extra funds.   VAT on Energy Bills Charities can apply to reduce the VAT on their energy bills from 20% to 5% and - if you’ve paid 20% in the past – can ask for a rebate for the past four years. This is the maximum period of time that HMRC will allow and it counts in Tax Years so, by submitting a form to your supplier now, means your rebate could include VAT payments as far back as the tax year 2013-2014. A successful reduction in VAT also removes the Climate Change Levy element from your bills too. If your energy bill has 20% VAT in the calculations and want to know what to do next, head over to Back of the Sofa.    Business Rates Discretionary Relief As you know, most charities are also entitled to some form of relief on their Business Rates. And, like VAT discounts, if you don’t ask... you don’t get. Some pay 20% while others pay nothing at all because they have been granted Discretionary Relief. These could be churches, charities or clubs that benefit the local community - even organisations to do with social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts. Each of the UK’s 420 or so Councils has their own rules and guidelines but, like HMRC, they work in Financial Years and so relief will often be back-dated to the start of April in the Tax Year that you are applying. To see how your Council does it, use this search tool. Tax on Savings Interest In 2016, banks started paying interest gross on savings accounts but prior to that they would often deduct tax at source and that would automatically remove 20% from any interest earned. This was common among charities that hold ‘business accounts’ – even though charities are exempt from paying tax on bank interest. Again, the period of time allowed to reverse any incorrect deductions is four Tax Years. That means charities now only have a rapidly diminishing window of opportunity to claim back the tax their bank incorrectly removed in the 2013-2014 period as well as up to 2016. If your bank statements show that tax was paid, you need to tell HMRC via Charities Online or ask for a ChR1 form. If you are successful in these or other – alternative – ways, please let me know! Nick Heath is founder of Back of the Sofa, a free resource to help charities find cash they didn’t know about. www.BackoftheSofa.com (Twitter and Facebook)   Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    7 digital tactics for small charities in volatile times 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha The Subconscious Effects of Storytelling in Charity Marketing  
    Mar 12, 2018 1816
  • 08 Feb 2018
    We need to build an emotional connection with a donor before they’ll give. That’s Fundraising 101 right there. But what if your work is complex, sensitive or misunderstood? There’s little hope of building an emotional connection with a potential donor if they don’t even understand what you do. Welsh group Fair Treatment for the Women of Wales (FTWW) came up with a novel idea to both help people to understand their work, and encourage donations in support of it. FTWW was set up to address health inequalities for women in Wales. The group also raises awareness of Endometriosis, and provides support for patients living with the disease. Endometriosis is a chronic and debilitating condition that causes painful or heavy periods. It may also lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems. Around 1.5 million women in the UK are currently living with the condition. Endometriosis can affect all women and girls of a childbearing age, regardless of race or ethnicity. Despite its prevalence and impact, it remains hidden and misunderstood - largely down to the taboo around periods and related pain. It is vital that people affected feel able to speak up about symptoms, challenge stereotypes and myths - and FTWW work hard to ensure women and girls are sufficiently empowered to seek early diagnosis and effective treatment. Seeking a fundraising challenge that was representative of their work and gave a nod to their local connection, FTWW decided on a sponsored walk up Snowdon - with a difference. “So many others have done a single walk up Snowdon - we felt that we needed to make ours a little different; something that would really raise the bar, as well as symbolise the challenges – or mountains – our members face and have to climb every day” - Deborah Shaffer, CEO of FTWW The group settled on a week-long effort, with fundraisers tackling a different path up Snowdon each day to represent both the huge variety of challenges faced by their members, and to make sure that their endeavour really stood out. They set up a Localgiving appeal page for the challenge, and set themselves a target of raising £500. The group used social media effectively to promote the fundraising activity, with photos of each walk being posted to twitter, facebook and instagram. The fundraisers wore specially designed t-shirts and hoodies on the climbs to promote the challenge and FTWW - these were great engagement tools during the walks, and encouraged people to come over and chat. “We talked a lot with different people, both on the mountain and in the café, and they would ask us about the organisation and what we did. We described our current campaign around the treatment of Endometriosis in Wales. Many of the people we met were women; some had heard of Endometriosis, some hadn’t. One woman had the disease herself and was really excited to hear of our work. Men were also interested in the challenge, because let’s face it, they are just as much affected by the health problems of the women in their lives as the sufferers themselves.” - Iona Wyn Roberts - FTWW Treasurer  The group set their sights high, and the grueling nature of the challenge generated a lot of interest from supporters and spectators. Snowdon is a mountain that many North Wales locals have scaled, so the challenge remained relatable - which meant supporters could picture how exhausting it would be to climb it multiple times in a row. By comparing living with Endometriosis with climbing Snowdon every day, it helped people to develop their understanding of the condition and how it might affect friends and loved ones. “The challenge went really well; on average, we were a group of 5 and, although we had to cancel 2 days due to bad weather, for the rest of the time we had an exhilarating time, in great company. It was hard going but totally worth it. We managed to reach the summit on four days out of the five we attempted – and it was a fantastic feeling of accomplishment, well worth the blisters and sore muscles!”- Heidi Burrows - FTWW Fundraising Officer The total amount raised during the challenge was £855, which will be used to create and print a range of awareness-raising resources. It will also go towards covering the costs associated with travelling the length and breadth of Wales to conferences and meetings, where FTWW represents women with chronic illness. As a Community Interest Company, the £60 of Gift Aid claimed by Localgiving on their behalf gave their total a welcome boost. Here are FTWW’s 5 Top Tips for causes who want to raise awareness of what they do in order to build relationships with donors: Persevere and don’t be put off by others thinking your ideas sound crazy! The feeling of accomplishment is well worth the effort Think about the nature of the issues faced by your members or the people for whom you’re fundraising, and try to come up with something that symbolises those issues It’s a really good idea to have someone in the organisation who is completely focused upon publicising the endeavour, who will write the tweets and blurb for other social media Take lots of pictures on the day! Use the photos you take to create engaging social media posts, to tell the story in a way that has a lot of impact Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    'Disrupting’ fundraising by minimising disruption  How charities can use images to appeal to donors and supporters  
    1724 Posted by Emma Jones
  • We need to build an emotional connection with a donor before they’ll give. That’s Fundraising 101 right there. But what if your work is complex, sensitive or misunderstood? There’s little hope of building an emotional connection with a potential donor if they don’t even understand what you do. Welsh group Fair Treatment for the Women of Wales (FTWW) came up with a novel idea to both help people to understand their work, and encourage donations in support of it. FTWW was set up to address health inequalities for women in Wales. The group also raises awareness of Endometriosis, and provides support for patients living with the disease. Endometriosis is a chronic and debilitating condition that causes painful or heavy periods. It may also lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems. Around 1.5 million women in the UK are currently living with the condition. Endometriosis can affect all women and girls of a childbearing age, regardless of race or ethnicity. Despite its prevalence and impact, it remains hidden and misunderstood - largely down to the taboo around periods and related pain. It is vital that people affected feel able to speak up about symptoms, challenge stereotypes and myths - and FTWW work hard to ensure women and girls are sufficiently empowered to seek early diagnosis and effective treatment. Seeking a fundraising challenge that was representative of their work and gave a nod to their local connection, FTWW decided on a sponsored walk up Snowdon - with a difference. “So many others have done a single walk up Snowdon - we felt that we needed to make ours a little different; something that would really raise the bar, as well as symbolise the challenges – or mountains – our members face and have to climb every day” - Deborah Shaffer, CEO of FTWW The group settled on a week-long effort, with fundraisers tackling a different path up Snowdon each day to represent both the huge variety of challenges faced by their members, and to make sure that their endeavour really stood out. They set up a Localgiving appeal page for the challenge, and set themselves a target of raising £500. The group used social media effectively to promote the fundraising activity, with photos of each walk being posted to twitter, facebook and instagram. The fundraisers wore specially designed t-shirts and hoodies on the climbs to promote the challenge and FTWW - these were great engagement tools during the walks, and encouraged people to come over and chat. “We talked a lot with different people, both on the mountain and in the café, and they would ask us about the organisation and what we did. We described our current campaign around the treatment of Endometriosis in Wales. Many of the people we met were women; some had heard of Endometriosis, some hadn’t. One woman had the disease herself and was really excited to hear of our work. Men were also interested in the challenge, because let’s face it, they are just as much affected by the health problems of the women in their lives as the sufferers themselves.” - Iona Wyn Roberts - FTWW Treasurer  The group set their sights high, and the grueling nature of the challenge generated a lot of interest from supporters and spectators. Snowdon is a mountain that many North Wales locals have scaled, so the challenge remained relatable - which meant supporters could picture how exhausting it would be to climb it multiple times in a row. By comparing living with Endometriosis with climbing Snowdon every day, it helped people to develop their understanding of the condition and how it might affect friends and loved ones. “The challenge went really well; on average, we were a group of 5 and, although we had to cancel 2 days due to bad weather, for the rest of the time we had an exhilarating time, in great company. It was hard going but totally worth it. We managed to reach the summit on four days out of the five we attempted – and it was a fantastic feeling of accomplishment, well worth the blisters and sore muscles!”- Heidi Burrows - FTWW Fundraising Officer The total amount raised during the challenge was £855, which will be used to create and print a range of awareness-raising resources. It will also go towards covering the costs associated with travelling the length and breadth of Wales to conferences and meetings, where FTWW represents women with chronic illness. As a Community Interest Company, the £60 of Gift Aid claimed by Localgiving on their behalf gave their total a welcome boost. Here are FTWW’s 5 Top Tips for causes who want to raise awareness of what they do in order to build relationships with donors: Persevere and don’t be put off by others thinking your ideas sound crazy! The feeling of accomplishment is well worth the effort Think about the nature of the issues faced by your members or the people for whom you’re fundraising, and try to come up with something that symbolises those issues It’s a really good idea to have someone in the organisation who is completely focused upon publicising the endeavour, who will write the tweets and blurb for other social media Take lots of pictures on the day! Use the photos you take to create engaging social media posts, to tell the story in a way that has a lot of impact Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    'Disrupting’ fundraising by minimising disruption  How charities can use images to appeal to donors and supporters  
    Feb 08, 2018 1724
  • 22 Jan 2018
    It’s tempting to think that the recent fundraising crisis came out of nowhere – with public resentment whipped up by the media and a few horror stories – but the reality is quite different. Frustration and dissatisfaction had actually been simmering away for a long time. In 2016, nfpSynergy reported that the charity sector had one of the lowest complaint rates across seven sectors, but the highest level of people wanting to complain but not doing so. Given that the other sectors included pensions, mortgages and broadband providers, that’s a sobering statistic. So why have people been growing increasingly unhappy with charities? Specific cases of bad practice haven’t helped, but I think there’s a broader issue. Most public fundraising methods seem to rely on interrupting – rather than complementing – our everyday lives. We get stopped in the street. People knock on our doors. Charity appeals pop up on TV and through our letterboxes. In a world marred by spending cuts and growing inequality, this may feel inevitable. More and more people are being denied happy and healthy lives, and charities are stepping in to pick up the slack. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and if these fundraising methods work and people have the money to donate, what’s the problem? The issue is that so many fundraising methods feel incompatible with a changing society. Digital technology has given people an unprecedented level of choice and flexibility. We stream music that we want to listen to, rather than sitting through songs we don’t like on the radio. We watch our favourite programmes on-demand on Catch Up TV, instead of “seeing what’s on”. We increasingly live in our own bubble where we do things on our own terms. So when we perceive that we’re being interrupted unnecessarily – whether by a company, a charity or an individual – we can feel harassed or angry. So street, door-to-door and television fundraising – while hugely successful financially, particularly for household name charities – are often negative experiences for the public, stirring up feelings of pressure and guilt. I’m not saying that ‘traditional’ forms of fundraising are fundamentally wrong, or that the negative media coverage is all justified. However, in these tough times, many charities will need to raise increasing amounts from the public to keep supporting their beneficiaries. For this to be sustainable for the sector, we need to be more creative and varied in our fundraising efforts. A popular buzzword today is ‘disruption’ – the concept (originating in Silicon Valley) of smaller companies unseating market leaders in an industry with an innovative or simpler solution. But perhaps the most effective way of ‘disrupting’ fundraising is actually to be as non-disruptive as possible. We need to find more ways to fundraise that fit in with or add value to people’s lives, rather than interrupting them. I’ve seen a few great examples recently – and while many are being implemented by large charities, there’s plenty for all of us to learn: 1) Rounding up in shops Last autumn, staff in my local Tesco in Bristol were fundraising for Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation. To support their efforts, Tesco added a prompt to their self-service machines asking customers to make a small donation to round up their bills: Over about a month, I must have donated ten times (I’m not a very strategic shopper, and Tesco is a one-minute walk around the corner). Never more than 10p – but with so many customers and transactions, you can imagine how this small but frequent giving can add up. While this did involve adding an extra screen to the self-service process, I could choose to donate or decline within two seconds. It didn’t feel obtrusive at all, and there was no awkwardness in saying no. Many people supported two charities that they might not have thought of giving to before. Smaller charities may find it near-impossible to forge a partnership with a major supermarket. However that doesn’t stop you approaching local shops or restaurants about a similar arrangement, or applying to supermarket community schemes like Waitrose’s green token scheme. You can also look at joining nationwide schemes like Pennies. 2) Good old-fashioned community fundraising Community fundraising is brilliant because it performs a social function as well as raising money. It gives people something positive to do and the opportunity to meet new people, which can be really important for some. While most people immediately think of the Macmillan Coffee Morning – which raises almost £30million annually – personally I love Mind’s Crafternoon fundraiser. This promotes mental health and mindfulness, encouraging people to come together and focus on making something. Any charity – no matter what size – can design an attractive community fundraising idea for their own supporters, whether that means a database of a thousand people or a small group of friends and family. The key is to develop your idea in consultation with your target audience, start small, gather feedback and gradually scale it up. Ultimately, community fundraising works best when it’s led by volunteers, with minimal input and support from paid staff. 3) Social media collaboration Building an audience for fundraising is tough for smaller charities, so catching a leg-up makes a huge difference. I’ve always loved this example of how the popular Humans of New York photoblog raised over $100,000 in less than an hour, by weaving a powerful ask for a local cause into an inspiring story. Founder Brandon Stanton had already built a huge audience that enjoyed glimpsing other people’s lives and hearing their stories, so appealing for help was a logical and unobtrusive next step. Winning the trust of an audience that are already passionate about something, and making a related ask on the platform they already use, is another great way of weaving fundraising into the fabric of everyday life. Building a relationship with a blogger or YouTube star isn’t easy, but might be a better bet than approaching major companies, particularly if there’s a reason why they’d support your cause. Try looking out for rising stars and make contact with them before they hit the big time. 4) Gamification Ever been through Stockholm Airport and seen these charity arcade machines? I love this for two reasons. Firstly, it takes something that’s already popular and adds a fundraising twist. If people like arcade machines in airports, why wouldn’t they love using them for a good cause? Secondly, this is a brilliant example of the gamification of fundraising. This increasing trend uses games, challenges and adventures to give people an added incentive to support a cause – and it really works. You’ll probably struggle to get arcade machines placed in major airports. However, you can still use this as inspiration:  can you ‘gamify’ any of your existing fundraising efforts, or add a fundraising twist to something your local supporters already enjoy doing? 5) Making donating easy When people decide they want to donate to you – no matter how or where – it’s not the end of the story. The physical act of donating has to be intuitive and convenient – if it’s too complicated, you’ll lose donors. As technology moves on, people expect the organisations they interact with to keep pace. The use of contactless cards is booming – contactless payments now account for a third of all card purchases, up from 10% just two years ago. Cash is a fading force, and charities are losing out by still relying too much on it – by as much as £80million per year, according to this report. It’s worth exploring options now for taking card and contactless payments, as the cost and barriers to entry will continue to come down for smaller charities. Also, make sure your donation and registration forms (both online and paper) are as simple as possible. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina  
    2994 Posted by Mike Zywina
  • It’s tempting to think that the recent fundraising crisis came out of nowhere – with public resentment whipped up by the media and a few horror stories – but the reality is quite different. Frustration and dissatisfaction had actually been simmering away for a long time. In 2016, nfpSynergy reported that the charity sector had one of the lowest complaint rates across seven sectors, but the highest level of people wanting to complain but not doing so. Given that the other sectors included pensions, mortgages and broadband providers, that’s a sobering statistic. So why have people been growing increasingly unhappy with charities? Specific cases of bad practice haven’t helped, but I think there’s a broader issue. Most public fundraising methods seem to rely on interrupting – rather than complementing – our everyday lives. We get stopped in the street. People knock on our doors. Charity appeals pop up on TV and through our letterboxes. In a world marred by spending cuts and growing inequality, this may feel inevitable. More and more people are being denied happy and healthy lives, and charities are stepping in to pick up the slack. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and if these fundraising methods work and people have the money to donate, what’s the problem? The issue is that so many fundraising methods feel incompatible with a changing society. Digital technology has given people an unprecedented level of choice and flexibility. We stream music that we want to listen to, rather than sitting through songs we don’t like on the radio. We watch our favourite programmes on-demand on Catch Up TV, instead of “seeing what’s on”. We increasingly live in our own bubble where we do things on our own terms. So when we perceive that we’re being interrupted unnecessarily – whether by a company, a charity or an individual – we can feel harassed or angry. So street, door-to-door and television fundraising – while hugely successful financially, particularly for household name charities – are often negative experiences for the public, stirring up feelings of pressure and guilt. I’m not saying that ‘traditional’ forms of fundraising are fundamentally wrong, or that the negative media coverage is all justified. However, in these tough times, many charities will need to raise increasing amounts from the public to keep supporting their beneficiaries. For this to be sustainable for the sector, we need to be more creative and varied in our fundraising efforts. A popular buzzword today is ‘disruption’ – the concept (originating in Silicon Valley) of smaller companies unseating market leaders in an industry with an innovative or simpler solution. But perhaps the most effective way of ‘disrupting’ fundraising is actually to be as non-disruptive as possible. We need to find more ways to fundraise that fit in with or add value to people’s lives, rather than interrupting them. I’ve seen a few great examples recently – and while many are being implemented by large charities, there’s plenty for all of us to learn: 1) Rounding up in shops Last autumn, staff in my local Tesco in Bristol were fundraising for Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation. To support their efforts, Tesco added a prompt to their self-service machines asking customers to make a small donation to round up their bills: Over about a month, I must have donated ten times (I’m not a very strategic shopper, and Tesco is a one-minute walk around the corner). Never more than 10p – but with so many customers and transactions, you can imagine how this small but frequent giving can add up. While this did involve adding an extra screen to the self-service process, I could choose to donate or decline within two seconds. It didn’t feel obtrusive at all, and there was no awkwardness in saying no. Many people supported two charities that they might not have thought of giving to before. Smaller charities may find it near-impossible to forge a partnership with a major supermarket. However that doesn’t stop you approaching local shops or restaurants about a similar arrangement, or applying to supermarket community schemes like Waitrose’s green token scheme. You can also look at joining nationwide schemes like Pennies. 2) Good old-fashioned community fundraising Community fundraising is brilliant because it performs a social function as well as raising money. It gives people something positive to do and the opportunity to meet new people, which can be really important for some. While most people immediately think of the Macmillan Coffee Morning – which raises almost £30million annually – personally I love Mind’s Crafternoon fundraiser. This promotes mental health and mindfulness, encouraging people to come together and focus on making something. Any charity – no matter what size – can design an attractive community fundraising idea for their own supporters, whether that means a database of a thousand people or a small group of friends and family. The key is to develop your idea in consultation with your target audience, start small, gather feedback and gradually scale it up. Ultimately, community fundraising works best when it’s led by volunteers, with minimal input and support from paid staff. 3) Social media collaboration Building an audience for fundraising is tough for smaller charities, so catching a leg-up makes a huge difference. I’ve always loved this example of how the popular Humans of New York photoblog raised over $100,000 in less than an hour, by weaving a powerful ask for a local cause into an inspiring story. Founder Brandon Stanton had already built a huge audience that enjoyed glimpsing other people’s lives and hearing their stories, so appealing for help was a logical and unobtrusive next step. Winning the trust of an audience that are already passionate about something, and making a related ask on the platform they already use, is another great way of weaving fundraising into the fabric of everyday life. Building a relationship with a blogger or YouTube star isn’t easy, but might be a better bet than approaching major companies, particularly if there’s a reason why they’d support your cause. Try looking out for rising stars and make contact with them before they hit the big time. 4) Gamification Ever been through Stockholm Airport and seen these charity arcade machines? I love this for two reasons. Firstly, it takes something that’s already popular and adds a fundraising twist. If people like arcade machines in airports, why wouldn’t they love using them for a good cause? Secondly, this is a brilliant example of the gamification of fundraising. This increasing trend uses games, challenges and adventures to give people an added incentive to support a cause – and it really works. You’ll probably struggle to get arcade machines placed in major airports. However, you can still use this as inspiration:  can you ‘gamify’ any of your existing fundraising efforts, or add a fundraising twist to something your local supporters already enjoy doing? 5) Making donating easy When people decide they want to donate to you – no matter how or where – it’s not the end of the story. The physical act of donating has to be intuitive and convenient – if it’s too complicated, you’ll lose donors. As technology moves on, people expect the organisations they interact with to keep pace. The use of contactless cards is booming – contactless payments now account for a third of all card purchases, up from 10% just two years ago. Cash is a fading force, and charities are losing out by still relying too much on it – by as much as £80million per year, according to this report. It’s worth exploring options now for taking card and contactless payments, as the cost and barriers to entry will continue to come down for smaller charities. Also, make sure your donation and registration forms (both online and paper) are as simple as possible. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina  
    Jan 22, 2018 2994
  • 12 Dec 2017
    The power of imagery is undeniable, research has found that people are much more responsive to charitable pleas that feature a single, identifiable beneficiary than they are to statistical information about the scale of the problem being faced. Information in images are more readily understood and retained. Images engage audiences and support your written points. The right image can affect what a user thinks, feels or does and make your website or social media page more engaging. Visual content allows you to emphasize important messages and motivates the viewer to take action. According to Zabisco, 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. So, how can you use imagery to reach and engage new and existing supporters? For many charities the answer lies in online and social media campaigns. Most charitable organisations now incorporate online strategies into their awareness, PR, and fundraising campaigns. Through email, blogging and social media, charitable organizations now have the potential to deliver information about their cause to a much larger audience. As seen in the rise of Snapchat and Instagram Stories, social media users strive for the “in the moment” feeling. As charitable organizations the use of real and appropriate imagery can connect with followers on an emotional level and drive positive action. These images are memorable and stay in the minds of social media followers so that the next time they see your charity’s logo or image they can more easily take in the information you need them to know. Seeing others taking action makes an individual more likely to take action. Including images and testimonials from real life supporters in your social media posts can have a positive effect on donations and awareness. When you encourage people to take action, it will spread into their social networks where people will feel the urge to follow and take action too. It’s not just online, using imagery in printed flyers, posters and adverts can have a dramatic effect on the success of charitable events. But as a charitable organisation with limited resources, how do you create high quality designs for social media and print?  Design Wizard is an online graphic design tool suitable for beginners that makes it easy to create digital and print designs in seconds. You can upload your own images, logo, colors and fonts to create custom graphics for every platform. The company offers access to over 1.2 million images and 17,000 templates including a range of fundraising templates, flyers, posters and social media posts. It’s premium version, Design Wizard Pro, is offered free to registered nonprofits on application. Claire O'Brien is the Marketing Manager at Design Wizard. Claire has more than 10 years experience in content creation including visual content, digital marketing, email marketing, social media and advertising. She has an avid interest in all things digital and software related. Found this blog useful? You may also like: 7 digital tactics for small charities in volatile times  
    2102 Posted by Claire O'Brien
  • The power of imagery is undeniable, research has found that people are much more responsive to charitable pleas that feature a single, identifiable beneficiary than they are to statistical information about the scale of the problem being faced. Information in images are more readily understood and retained. Images engage audiences and support your written points. The right image can affect what a user thinks, feels or does and make your website or social media page more engaging. Visual content allows you to emphasize important messages and motivates the viewer to take action. According to Zabisco, 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. So, how can you use imagery to reach and engage new and existing supporters? For many charities the answer lies in online and social media campaigns. Most charitable organisations now incorporate online strategies into their awareness, PR, and fundraising campaigns. Through email, blogging and social media, charitable organizations now have the potential to deliver information about their cause to a much larger audience. As seen in the rise of Snapchat and Instagram Stories, social media users strive for the “in the moment” feeling. As charitable organizations the use of real and appropriate imagery can connect with followers on an emotional level and drive positive action. These images are memorable and stay in the minds of social media followers so that the next time they see your charity’s logo or image they can more easily take in the information you need them to know. Seeing others taking action makes an individual more likely to take action. Including images and testimonials from real life supporters in your social media posts can have a positive effect on donations and awareness. When you encourage people to take action, it will spread into their social networks where people will feel the urge to follow and take action too. It’s not just online, using imagery in printed flyers, posters and adverts can have a dramatic effect on the success of charitable events. But as a charitable organisation with limited resources, how do you create high quality designs for social media and print?  Design Wizard is an online graphic design tool suitable for beginners that makes it easy to create digital and print designs in seconds. You can upload your own images, logo, colors and fonts to create custom graphics for every platform. The company offers access to over 1.2 million images and 17,000 templates including a range of fundraising templates, flyers, posters and social media posts. It’s premium version, Design Wizard Pro, is offered free to registered nonprofits on application. Claire O'Brien is the Marketing Manager at Design Wizard. Claire has more than 10 years experience in content creation including visual content, digital marketing, email marketing, social media and advertising. She has an avid interest in all things digital and software related. Found this blog useful? You may also like: 7 digital tactics for small charities in volatile times  
    Dec 12, 2017 2102