Last few places available on my IFC Integrated Digital Planning Masterclass in October

International Fundraising Congress 2012

If you’re thinking of attending the annual International Fundraising Congress over in Holland this October (along with hundreds of fundraisers from over 60 countries) and would like to give your digital fundraising a real strategic boost, then do book on to the Integrated Digital Fundraising Masterclass I’m running on the first two days (15th and 16th).

Combining planning theory with examples from projects I’ve worked on across a whole load of different countries, I’ll be covering everything from overall strategic planning approaches, stakeholder consultations and opportunity evaluation, to the details of integrated activity and resource planning – so it should be fun (if you like that sort of thing)!

It’s a charities/non-profits only Masterclass and to enable me to tailor the content as much as possible to the attendees the numbers are limited, but when I last heard from the convention organisers there were still a few places left. So, if you’re interested head over to their website and get yourself signed-up – and I’ll see you there.

The main Convention programme (16th, 17th, and 18th October) also has a whole lot of great digital fundraising sessions, as well as pretty well every other aspect of fundraising you can think of, and as a regular attendee I can guarantee it’s an event like no other for refreshing your fundraising fuel tank.

If you’re not able to make it to Holland, or to get a Masterclass place, but are interested in giving your online fundraising team a strategic boost then I do run equivalent tailored training workshops for in-house teams – just drop me a note via the contact form here and I’ll see what I can do.


If you think Facebook isn’t for fundraising you should perhaps think again about just what fundraising is

I’m just catching-up on a bit of an email backlog after spending a few days over in Holland at last week’s 30th Annual International Fundraising Congress (a great event with almost 1,000 attendees from over 50 countries taking part), and a headline in one email news bulletin happened to catch my eye…


That’s pretty eyecatching – so I read on to the subhead…

“Facebook is not a useful tool for fundraising but rather should be utilised for donor stewardship and building interest, according to a top Facebook Exec.”

You can read the whole article here (although I note the headline has now been changed following the comments you can read beneath it regarding its misleading nature). In short it’s a summary of the Convention session given by Elmer Sotto (@esotto), Facebook Canada’s ‘Head of Growth’ – which happens to be one of the sessions I attended.

However, I certainly didn’t come away with the message that “Facebook is not for fundraising”.

Perhaps that was because Sotto opened his session with the story of the We Day Facebook campaign which has raised over $350k for the Canadian charity Free The Children since launch just a few weeks ago, by leveraging Corporate donations – $1 is donated for everyone who clicks ‘Like’ on the We Day Facebook page – while also raising awareness of the Charity’s big ‘We Day’ events across Canada.

Or perhaps it’s because over the last year or so I’ve also heard other great Facebook fundraising stories like that of the 93 Dollar Club (now at $112k in just over a year) and reports of Facebook overtaking Google to become the primary driver of donors to the fundraising site JustGiving.

All of which kind of counter the “Facebook is not for fundraising” claim.

Admittedly, Elmer did talk about how Facebook is not primarily a ‘giving mechanism’ (in the way that JustGiving is a ‘giving mechanism’) but essentially a ‘consideration building mechanism’ – raising both awareness and positive consideration of causes as they are promoted through Facebook users’ newsfeeds. This positive consideration then has the potential to be turned into donations if a relevant and engaging giving mechanism is then presented – perhaps a Friend’s JustGiving page, a special interest group’s community fundraising page, or even a corporate funded ‘Like’ campaign as for We Day.

Thinking it through, perhaps it is the challenge of presenting a relevant and engaging giving mechanism that lies behind any concerns over Facebook’s place in the fundraisers toolkit. If someone has come to consider you because of a personal connection with another Facebook Friend but the giving mechanism offered is your standard, one size fits all, generic £3/mth regular gift ask – then I’d imagine the donation rate you’ll see is likely to leave you in the “it’s not for fundraising” camp. However, if you craft your giving mechanism to better fit the word of mouth-style consideration building seen on Facebook, then there is every chance that you’ll find the site has a very useful role to play in your online fundraising programme.

Getting excited about smartphone mobile fundraising

Back in October last year when I was over in Holland giving an online fundraising session at the International Fundraising Congress (IFC), I was asked to give a short comment to camera on what I was most excited about in terms of the future of digital fundraising.

At that time, I’d just started to research new ways for fundraisers to make use of the incredibly rich functionality becoming available on the latest generation of ‘smart’ mobile phones, so that’s what I chose to chat about. You can see the result in the video above, this being the first of 30 such short videos being used by The Resource Alliance to promote the 2010 IFC.

For a rather more detailed introduction to the sort of new things fundraisers may be able to do as smartphone adoption continues to grow, I’ve also just written an article for the April edition of the Resource Alliance’s ‘Global Connections’ e-newsletter. Entitled ‘The emerging opportunities for smart fundraisers to use smartphones’, you can read the full article here.

This is a fascinating new area for digital fundraising, so you can be sure that I’ll be posting more about it over the coming months as well as talking about some of the latest examples at the UK Institute of Fundraising National Convention in July.

Meantime, if you are working on any smartphone fundraising yourself, do let me know by leaving a comment below or sending me a message through the ‘Hello and Welcome’ page.


The 93 Dollar Club – a fantastic example of online donors doing it for themselves

93 Dollar Club

I’ve had a manic few weeks since mid October, mostly related to my starting-up my own Marketing and Fundraising Consultancy (called Strategy Refresh – do take a look when you have a spare moment) with a bit of house moving thrown-in for good measure. All of which means that things have been very quiet on the Giving in a Digital World Front – so apologies for that. Normal service is close to being resumed as I’m starting to get into the swing of working as an independent consultant.

One think I’ve been meaning to post about but have only now had the opportunity to get to was the great response to the presentation Jonathan Waddingham from JustGiving and I gave at the International Fundraising Congress over in Holland last month. It was all about ‘The new breed of digital donor‘ and sparked all sorts of post presentation discussions – both online and offline – which was great. You can see the full presentation in the Slideshare embed below.

One part of the presentation that got a lot of folks interested was the story of the 93 Dollar Club – so I thought it worth repeating that here for anyone who hasn’t come across it before (you can see more about it in the presentation).

The 93 Dollar Club all began back in August this year through a chance meeting and act of personal kindness in a Trader Joes grocery store. Jenni Ware was shopping there when she realised that she had forgotten her purse. Fortunately, next in the line was Carolee Hazard who, on seeing Jenni’s situation, kindly offered to cover her $207 bill. Jenni gratefully accepted and as the two left the store she reassured Carolee that she would mail her a cheque later that day. However, as Carolee drove away she couldn’t help wondering if she would ever actually see her $207 again. Being an active Facebook user, on arriving home she shared the story with her online network of Friends and they started to add to it, reassuring her that she had done a good thing and that it was sure to be repaid.

And so it was – with a check arriving not just for $207 but for $300, including a $93 ‘thank you’ gift. Carolee was surprised by this and at first intended to return the $93. However her Facebook Friends, who were by now an active part of this story, proposed she donate it to a non-profit instead. They even suggested which – the local Second Harvest Food Bank. Carolee liked this idea so much that she decided to match the $93 windfall donation with $93 of her own. Then, as is the way with social networks, her Facebook Friends agreed to follow-suite and by the next morning they had together collected over $1,000.

Encouraged by this, Carolee set-up a Facebook Page – entitled the 93 Dollar Club – and so the story continued, not just on Facebook but being picked-up and given massively greater reach by traditional news media too. Indeed, so much did the story grow that if you take a look at Carolee’s 93 Dollar Club page today you’ll see that the total raised has now gone from $93 to over $23,000 – and they’ve now set themselves a target of $93,000!

Do take a moment to visit the 93 Dollar Club Facebook page. On it you’ll see contributions from an incredibly vibrant community of donors, sharing ideas for fundraising and plans to expand the whole 93 Dollar Club concept to help achieve their great $93,000 target. A true community, focused on fundraising yet entirely inspired and organised by the donors themselves – a fantastic example of just what the new breed of digital donors can achieve when they get to grips with doing it for themselves.



500+ attendees from 42 countries attend the first ever IFC Online eConference

Picture 1

It’s been an interesting three days this week, with the first ever IFC Online eConference taking place – bringing together an estimated 500+ attendees from 42 countries world-wide, through an entirely online conference.

Unlike traditional ‘real world’ conferences, it’s tricky to be sure just how many people are ‘attending’ an online conference. The IFC Online organisers at The Resource Alliance tell me that 387 ‘sites’ signed-up for the event, but the number of individuals at each ‘site’ who watch the sessions can vary massively – from one individual to, in this case, a group of more than 70 people who gathered together in Jerusalem to attend. So, I’m not sure exactly how many people attended the two sessions I presented, but I did spot around 160 ‘sites’ logged-on in places ranging from the US and Latin America, right across Europe, to Singapore, Korea, and Australia – which made for a good crowd.

If you’ve never attended a big web-based conference like this, and it was my first time – both as an attendee and a speaker, then the screengrab above will give you a bit of a feel for how it works. Presenters speak over VoIP and use Powerpoint presentations just as if they were in a convention centre with people infront of them, and throughout the session people can ask questions and make comments by typing into the Chat/Q&A box. Must admit, when I kicked-off my session it felt a bit odd sitting all alone talking to my Mac – but once the questions started coming-in onscreen the whole thing came to life and it was great fun.

Some really interesting speakers too, including Scott Goodstein, External Online Director for Obama for America, and Premal Shah, President of Kiva. And what was particularly handy is that all sessions are recorded, so attendees can catch-up on any they missed or re-watch any session they found especially useful. (Except for Scott Goodstein’s session, apparently – which is a pain, as I missed that one myself).

So, all-in all, a very interesting and, by the looks of it, successful event – and a great extension to the Resource Alliance’s annual ‘real world’ International Fundraising Congress held each October in Holland.

One other thing that struck me was just how much more Twitter activity was going-on amongst the attendees at this event than at the main IFC just last October – when there were a lone two folks Tweeting for all they were worth. This time, there was a pretty constant stream of Twitter commentary coming through under #ifconline – and even a degree of consternation when Twitter went down for maintenance right in the middle of a session yesterday evening (London time).

Three more Online Community Fundraising conference sessions coming up


Time seems to be flying by this year. It seems like just the other day we kicked-off the new year and now it’s pretty well the end of March already. All of which means that I really need to get down to work on three conference sessions that I’m scheduled to present over the next few months.

It’s always great to meet folks who read Giving in a Digital World at conferences, and I’m also always on the look-out for new case studies to help illustrate them – so I thought I’d share the details here to see if anyone can suggest any great new examples of nonprofit online community activity for me to include.

First-up will be a couple of workshops for the recently announced IFC Online conference in May. Described as “the world’s first global, virtual fundraising conference”, IFC Online will take place completely on the internet and comprise three days of live, interactive sessions from 12th to 14th May. To provide as close to a truly global conference as possible, the live sessions are being presented twice, at times selected to make them as convenient as possible wherever you log-on from. I’m scheduled to present on ‘The future of fundraising in our networked society’ at 6pm London time on Wednesday 13th and again 11am London time on Thursday 14th (you can see the full conference session timetable for different timezones here). Should be an interesting experience presenting via an online platform and Skype, although not having any visible audience reactions is going to be a bit odd. For full details of the conference check-out the main IFC Online website here.

From 6th to 8th July it’s the 2009 National Fundraising Convention in London, where I’ll be presenting one of the ‘Big Picture’ sessions, again looking at the challenges and opportunities we face when fundraising with today’s networked society consumers.

Then, in October it’s the International Fundraising Congress in Holland where I’m co-presenting a session with Jonathan Waddingham from Justgiving, sharing some new insights into online community fundraising from an analysis of the million or so individual donors using Justgiving and Firstgiving.

So, if you’re attending any of these conferences and get along to one of my sessions do come and say hello (or IM me, or whatever, if you log on to IFC online). And don’t forget, I’m always on the hunt for new case studies – so if you’ve seen anything that’s particularly impressed you do let me know by leaving a comment.

Kiva founder to speak at first IFC Online fundraising conference in May


The Resource Alliance, organisers of the annual International Fundraising Congress that last year attracted some 900 fundraisers from all around the world, has today announced that it is to host what it describes as “the world’s first virtual fundraising conference”, from May 12-14 this year.

The organisation trialled a series of webinars last year and the success of these led to the development of ‘IFC Online’, which it hopes to make an annual event.

For its first year IFC Online will be focusing exclusively on new media fundraising because the organisers, probably rightly, believe that it will be the online fundraisers who will be the most comfortable with an online conference format. However, the plan is to expand the programme in future years to attract fundraisers from all disciplines.

The conference programme will comprise ten one-hour practical workshops (including 30 minutes q&a) delivered twice over the three day conference, plus three 45-minute plenaries (including 15 minutes q&a). The full programme has yet to be finalised, but the plenary speakers will be Kiva founder Premal Shah and YouTube’s Ramya Raghavan.

As well as the main conference sessions, there will also be an online community space with topic discussion areas, downloadable materials, etc. The organisers say that “the site will take on the buzz and frenzied pace of the best offline conferences” – which should make for an interesting experience.

Conference registration will cost US$275 (£190). For more details just go to