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#IoFFC: Global fundraising, benefits of F2F, harnessing controversies and real stories

04 Jul 2019 Voices

Stephen Cotterill and Priya Kantaria share some of the things they found out over three days at the Institute of Fundraising's annual Convention this week.

They fundraise in the rest of the world too you know

One session held this week at the IoF's Fundraising Convention presented by Good Agency planner Jenna O'Keefe and fundraising campaign manager at MS International Federation Daniel Magson looked at research into fundraising trends around the world. 

The US is still leading the way in terms of charity engagement, with 76 per cent of survey respondents saying that they believe charities can make a real difference, this compares to 46 per cent in Germany. In Brazil though, 66 per cent of those surveyed believe that social issues are the responsibility of the government, with a further 46 per cent saying they do not trust charities at all.

As regards to fundraising channels, research across the charity sector in Australia shows that 45 per cent of donors do so through regular giving and there is massive growth in online acquisition of supporters. India proved to be the least efficient of the countries in terms of how donations are processed with 70 per cent of all gifts given in cash and taken by courier to the organisation's offices to be processed. On average, this takes 30 to 45 days to be completed.

Face-to-face is a minefield, but it's worth it

At NSPPC, face-to-face fundraising has been transformed from "a necessary risk to an integral part of its fundraising strategy", said Mark Kember associate head, direct fundraising at the organisation during a session co-hosted by the Fundraising Regulator. Working with the closely with the regulator to develop fundraising guidance, NSPCC has increased return on investment rates by 75 per cent, introducing strict codes of conduct for fundraisers and drastically reducing complaint rates. 

Fundraising Regulator CEO Gerald Oppenheim said that 25 per cent of the over 5,300 complaints the regulator received last year related to door-to-door fundraising, with 24 per cent of those relating to the time of the visit and 31 per cent about the behaviour of an individual fundraiser. Less than 2 per cent of complaints related to street fundraising.

Harnessing controversies

American Civil Liberities Union deputy director of membership described the "double-edged sword" of improved fundraising after the controversial election of Donald 
Trump to US president.

Michelle Ehrhardt made the comments during a convention session titled "Lessons from the frontline of the resistance" about how the ACLU harnessed the controversy around Trump’s Muslim ban, his divisive border control policies and the move to roll-back legitimacy of abortion in some states to raise funds. She described how ACLU saw a spike in fundraising after each controversy.

Ehrhardt said the chief executive at ACLU called on donors to “write a second cheque” to Planned Parenthood after abortion rights came under review in the US.

Capturing real stories 

Medecins Sans Frontiers direct television campaign team talked about moving away from manipulative fundraising campaigns to using real doctors and sensitive footage.

Shona Barnes, campaign manager at MSF described campaigns for its Yemen appeal and South Sudan appeal, which used real MSF doctors.

She said that capturing the real urgency from patient stories was important, but also to “think about your timing, and don’t get in the way”.

Maria Phillips, director of film and TV at WPN Chameleon, who co-hosted the session, talked about the particular sensitivities around filming in South Sudan.

She said: “We weren’t there to make a documentary” and said there was an emphasis on making stories compelling, but also authentic.

Phillips described how a DRTV campaign needed to make people recognise a need, see a solution and feel an urgency to donate.

She added that "manufacturing" such footage “would be morally wrong” and said that thankfully the days on running DRTV campaigns based on storyboards are gone.


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