Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

12 Tips of Christmas… part 3

12 Tips of Christmas… part 3


Here’s the third instalment of our 12 tips of for fundraisers and charity folks.  Lovingly deliberated over and shared by Kevin Baughen of Bottom Line Ideas and the Fundraising Detective, Craig Linton.

7.  Brands don’t belong to the marketing or communications teams!

To be useful, our brands need to be understood, the emotional content felt by everyone in the organisation and most importantly, they have to be utilised consistently and frequently so that the end audiences feel that emotional engagement too.

Therefore, we should look for ways to help every member of staff and volunteer ‘get’ what our brands are all about and how to communicate the key messages therein.  Try quick and easy tactics like creating a cheatsheet for staff which is much simpler than guidelines.  It needs to outline just the core values and the high level aspects of what teams should be saying.  It should include some useful templates and examples and written for non-marketers.

Check out Charity Bank’s communications and website to see how effective this can be across the whole range of their marketing and everyday communications.

More strategically, we should aim to align our brands directly to what we’re trying to achieve and communicate them in this context.  For example, Cancer Research UK’s recent re-brand was driven by their need to support their new, more focused strategy in their marketing and communications.

8.  Do your homework before picking up the phone

When you’re calling a supporter, donor or potential supporter, make sure you know as much as you need to in order to have a productive conversation.  Tailor your call accordingly and if you don’t have much information, avoid calling these contacts until you’ve exhausted all the contacts where you do!

Head of Direct Marketing at Sense, Amanda Santer shared a cracking example of a sales call she received which simply started with: “Are you the marketing lady?”  Clearly everything that followed about how aligned the service was to Amanda’s needs was just untenable.

Perhaps worse is the ‘specialist’ telephone fundraising agency that called my in-laws three times in one week in November, in spite being told after the first call not to call again.  AND the well-known animal charity employing the agency already knows that my in-laws don’t want phone calls from them.

Guess who’s direct debit is now under consideration?

9.  Creative trickery, bells and whistles don’t make your message effective 

Well, not on their own anyway.  There are so many examples of people using creative techniques that I’m sure they think are awesome but very few drive responses if the underlying message isn’t strong enough.

We receive a fair few examples of these kinds of campaigns (thanks in particular for Rebekah Hah-Dwyer’s multi-coloured text… wish I could share this) and there are lots of other blogs and forums devoted to the topic.  Check out Future Fundraising Now for example.

But when we need a good laugh, there is one place we go first:… just to prove that whether you are a charity, a not-for-profit organisation or a business, directionless creativity isn’t that helpful.

Don’t try any of the things you see!

Our last instalment will be here later in the week.


Kevin is the founder of Bottom Line Ideas and has a deep-rooted passion for ideas that actually work in the real world. Those ideas help charities of all shapes and sizes to get their stories and messages to the audiences they need to hear them. And then persuade them to act!

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