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How chocolate can improve your fundraising

05 May 2010 Voices

Improving your minimum standards across a range of activities by just a small amount could have a massive effect on your fundraising, says Tom Eeles.

Improving your minimum standards across a range of activities by just a small amount could have a massive effect on your fundraising, says Tom Eeles.

Ok so in this three-part series “Chocolate cheese clock anyone?” I promised to save my personal favourite, chocolate, to last. But as ever for me, chocolate had the last laugh and just had to be written about in blog number two, as I couldn’t resist its lures. Partly because in every conversation I have with friends and colleagues back home about moving to Switzerland they ask about the chocolate.

So here it is: Swiss chocolate rocks. It’s everywhere and it’s excellent. During the build-up to Easter when walking into my lunchtime supermarket of choice to buy a sandwich I was greeted by a ten-foot high Easter bunny, in pure chocolate (just under £1,000 if you’re wondering). Behind it 20 square metres of chocolate retailing heaven. They’re still selling off the Easter leftovers (hot weather hit sales?) and the latest feast on offer was a Mont Blanc-sized pile of giant Toblerone bars. As a self confessed chocolate addict, I have to walk through this maze of temptation every day.

Problem is, moving country is expensive and I’m on a strictly own-brand chocolate ration at the moment. Except here that’s no issue. The own-brand chocolate is better than anything I’ve had from the UK’s best chocolate makers. It’s sublime. Is there a real commitment to high minimum standards to protect the Swiss chocolate brand? Or is the Swiss chocolate customer so discerning that they wouldn’t accept anything else?

This sublime own-brand chocolate got me thinking about Clive Woodward and the 2003 Rugby World Cup Campaign. Woodward introduced business acumen to England Rugby, vowing to improve 100 elements of the team set up and performance by 1 per cent, giving a 100 per cent improvement. That last-minute Jonny Wilkinson drop-kick to win the World Cup - genius? Individual brilliance? Or a planned series of moves, running over two minutes that delivered the ball to Jonny at the right time, in the right place, to fulfil his boyhood dream? The move was called zig zag, and the team had rehearsed it until it could be executed automatically under pressure.

Should we look at our fundraising this way? How much more change could you enable if you improved 100 aspects of your fundraising set-up by 1 per cent? Would the impression your donors have of your cause improve if you had the same relentless minimum standards that make Swiss chocolate world-renowned and irresistible? Do you plan phone calls with funders? Rehearse them with your colleagues and practise overcoming their objections?

Have a think today about your minimum standards and vow to improve everything by 1 per cent, then go buy yourself a hard-earned bar of your favourite chocolate.

Next time: cheese.

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