Making a Business case for a new CRM

Getting buy-in from trustees and colleagues can be difficult when it comes to selecting a new CRM. Everyone needs to be on the same page, and in some cases, you aren’t even reading from the same book. The best way to understand others’ needs and to appeal to them is by putting yourself in their position.


Once you’ve done this, you’ll have a good understanding of what you and your other stakeholders need. Now is the time to make a solid case for it. First and foremost, you must stick to your objectives. It may sound obvious, but this is easily overlooked once you’re down into the detail of software functionality! In this infographic, we explore the three main challenges when it comes to investing in technology: Data migration, managing cost and achieving buy-in from your board.


Infographic teaser



Staying laser-focused on your non-profit’s mission is the best way to keep the interest of your senior colleagues and trustees. Think about your key stakeholders and what’s in it for them. What do they stand to gain from a new CRM solution? What about your trustees? What are their drivers and objectives? With any new purchase, the return on investment (ROI) will rightly be scrutinised. In order to keep your project on track, you’ll need to be able to effectively answer any questions that your CEO, trustees and others will have regarding the value of your new investment.


A good vendor will take you through a fully consultative sales process and help you demonstrate how the solution achieves a positive ROI for your organisation. At this point, you should be asking for references to build a clear picture of how the potential technology partner has helped non-profits that are similar to yours.



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Follow the step-by-step guide to selecting fundraising and donor management software. Identify your technology requirements, build a business case and find a solution that meets your specific needs.

Commission on the Donor Experience


2015 was a year of challenges for the sector, with charities being branded as ‘vultures’ and ‘immoral’ by some sections of the mainstream media. So the charity sector banded together to create the Commission on the Donor Experience with one goal in mind, making meaningful changes to the way that fundraisers work with donors, and create an improved experience for them. The aim of the Commission is to support the transformation of fundraising into a donor-first approach.


The Commission states that donors should be placed at the heart of fundraising. After all, without the generosity of committed donors, where would we be? As an impartial initiative, the Commission is helping this to happen by training and equipping fundraisers to deliver the best practical donor experience.


Split into 28 working groups, the focus is on bringing fundraisers and donors together to make the donor experience better. Blackbaud is thrilled to be a partner and has supported the Commission from the get-go.


Blackbaud has invested in supporting the Commission because we agree that fundraising needs to put donors at the heart of fundraising. As a leading partner of non-profits and a company that is genuinely invested in the success of the sector, Blackbaud will continue to support the initiative throughout.


Recently, the Commission released its beta findings, which give free insight to the 28 areas of fundraising. The community forum encompasses the hard work from all of the Commission’s projects, and rest assured, they have been scrutinised by the most experience of fundraisers to give you accurate, actionable advice.


The recommendations come from some amazing fundraisers; hundreds of people who have contributed to the Commission; people who work for charities and who understand what it takes to make an extraordinary donor experience.


Now, the Commission is broadening its request for feedback. It wants to hear from individuals across the sector ahead of the main launch at IoF Convetion, so take a look now and let them know what you think.

Measuring Outcomes & Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

“We can end hunger around the world by 2030.”

Let that sink in for a moment. It’s a big statement, a big goal. When you consider a goal of ending hunger, you have a couple of choices. You could either think, ‘That is way too big for me to wrap my mind around,’ or you can say, ‘That’s a big goal, and I can do something to move the needle, even by one tick.’


Let’s take a step back. Why are we discussing big goals?


In 2015, the United Nations launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—also known as the Global Goals—to change the world for the better and leave no one behind by 2030. This 15-year initiative aims to tackle 17 areas of need across the world, from eradicating hunger to fostering responsible production and consumption to ensuring everyone has access to a quality education.

Across these 17 goals are 232 targets and indicators designed to be guideposts, acting as gauges to tell us how well we’re making progress toward achieving the goals. Translation: outcomes measurement. This is so much more than the UN pointing at a North Star – with the emphasis on outcomes tracking baked into the SDGs framework, we have the indicators to see if we’re on track to achieving social change with a ready-made formula to measure success.


Do the SDGs Apply in the United Kingdom?


Now, back to our big “end hunger” goal. If that feels too daunting, and almost like you’re trying to change the world all at once, what if we said this instead:


We can end hunger in your city by 2030.


That feels different, doesn’t it? One of the sentiments I have been hearing from funders over the past several months is how hard it is to align your mind with something when it’s presented as such a huge global issue. Instead of tackling an issue for the whole world, what if we thought about it in a closer context? The SDGs have to do with achieving social change around the corner just as much as they do with achieving social change around the world.

There’s plenty to do to make change ‘around the corner.’ Something like ending hunger isn’t a challenge that’s confined to developing nations. In fact, in 2016 600,000, including more than 150,000 children, lived in food-insecure households.

If we look at some of the other goals, we begin to see that “global” doesn’t have to mean “across the globe.” Ending poverty on a global level doesn’t have to start someplace else – there were over 4.6 million people living in persistent poverty in the UK between 2010-13. Or, with the goal of supporting good health and well-being, the UN isn’t restricting this to certain nations or areas in the world. When we consider that Cancer Research UK projected that there would be 350,000+ new cases of cancer diagnosed in 2014 as just one health-centric data point in the UK, it’s clear we have so much more progress to make right here at home.


At this point, you may be thinking, ‘The SDGs are worthy goals, but I can’t veer away from what I’m already doing in my work.’

As you’re reading this, you may be leading a health foundation striving to provide greater access to quality healthcare for the people you serve. You may be a grant maker sitting in a community foundation, convening local change-makers to address issues like ending hunger, addressing inequality, or creating economic opportunities. You may be reading this in between reviewing grant applications to support responsible production and consumption or to take action against climate change. You may be part of a non-profit running a local food bank, doing your part to make sure no one goes hungry in your city.


Here’s the kicker: if any of those descriptions scratch the surface of what you’re doing in your work, you are already supporting the SDGs.


The only adjustment I’d encourage you to make – if you haven’t done so already – is to acknowledge that your change-making work is fundamentally part of this global effort. What the SDGs have given us is a way to recognise that these big goals apply in our own backyard as much as anywhere else in the world. The Global Goals are everyone’s goals.


2030 is Around the Corner


When I say that the SDGs apply “around the corner,” I mean locality as much as I mean the clock is ticking. 2030 may sound like a far-off date, but it’s closer than you might think. We’re already in the third year of the SDGs, and we still have lots of progress to make.

While we don’t yet have an exact format or collection mechanism at the global level to capture and share SDGs progress data, there is no time to waste in ensuring you are as prepared as possible to provide your results data to contribute to the emerging global impact story.


Unless we have the data to depict our progress, how will we know if we’re making a dent in achieving the goals?


At the same time, as you bolster your ability to track and measure the results of your funding and investments against the SDGs targets, you’ll set yourself up to be a better collaborator for change. As more and more individuals and organisations recognise a shared commitment to achieving the SDGs, it will be crucial that each participant across the spectrum of social good speaks the same language. A goal of ending hunger could never rest on one set of shoulders alone. Big issues like the ones the Global Goals are addressing require multi-sector, multi-stakeholder input and effort. With multiple stakeholders across sectors, there’s incredible opportunity to collaborate for change.


However, if each participant talks about and measures the results of their giving in a different way, you may dilute the power of what you can achieve together. When we speak a common language of giving, we set ourselves up to share apples-to-apples results data of how we’re making progress on some of the world’s biggest issues.

The clock is ticking – the more we can bring people together to truly collaborate toward achieving the goals based on a shared understanding of success indicators, the more we’ll be able to do as the calendar approaches 2030.


How to Act on the SDGs (Hint: You Already Are) 


The SDGs present a unique opportunity for the entire giving sector to get aligned on achieving a better tomorrow for our world. Never have we had a formal platform that so clearly outlines goals and targets to achieve social change with the ability to foster cross-sector and worldwide collaboration.

If you are inspired to act, the good news is that you are already well on your way. The good work you do each day to invest in making change is already inherently supportive of the SDGs. Now it’s up to you to make sure you’re positioning that good work to align with the worldwide effort to create a better world for all, near and far, today and into the future.


4 Steps to act on the 2030 Agenda:


  1. Get informed. There are lots of resources available to get acquainted with the SDGs, what they seek to achieve, and what’s being done to make progress on the 2030 Agenda. Visit the UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform or try taking our SDGs true/false quiz to explore the goals.


  1. Familiarise yourself with the SDGs indicators. Spend some time reviewing the SDGs targets within the goals that align with your focus areas to see how the work you’re already doing could be contributing to achieving SDGs results. Speak with your partners and colleagues about the indicators relevant to you to ensure you’re on the same page about measuring progress from your work.


  1. Evaluate your ability to measure outcomes, not just outputs. It is more critical than ever to ensure you can measure outcomes and assess results data stemming from your investments in social good. With the enormity of the issues the SDGs seek to address, no one change-maker can achieve the goals alone. We will be best positioned to answer the question, “Are we making progress?” when each participant is speaking the same language and measuring results in an apples-to-apples way.


  1. Share your impact story.If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Likewise, if your organisation is making progress toward one of the SDGs and no one knows your impact story, did your change-making work move the needle? While the answer, of course, is yes, now is the time to share your results as widely as possible to build a global story of impact. As Matt Stevenson-Dodd, CEO of Street League recently said at a Blackbaud Event, “The best advice I could offer is to remind foundations to talk about the incredible work they do.”


Still wondering how the SDGs apply to you or curious about how foundations can actually measure outcomes and impact in the SDGs framework? Ask away. When it comes to achieving these big goals, the more we connect and share ideas, the more we’ll be able to accomplish.

GDPR + Technology + Data = Mission Success

by Dan Keyworth, Director for Customer Engagement – Education and Foundations
Blackbaud (International Markets Group)

GDPR, recent ICO fines, the Fundraising Regulator and the Fundraising Preference Service have collectively focused the attention of the non-profit community on compliance – to an extent not seen before.  The purpose is clear: organisations must respect the ownership that individuals have over their own data.  At the same time, it is essential that institutions can champion advancement and tie this information processing closely to their missions.


Technology and data play a key role as enablers of great relationships, by helping us to understand, to excite, to ask and to steward.  This becomes even more relevant in the GDPR world.  You understandably need to review your CRM databases and digital technology solutions to ensure you comply, and any changes inevitably involve work for the back-office.

The changing regulatory landscape is also creating lots of noise, some of it contradictory.  To deliver a joined-up approach, Blackbaud is channelling its efforts into providing detailed, informed guidance in conjunction with CASE and other partners, through initiatives such as CASE’s GDPR technology workstream.

Recent introspection across the sector has prompted more of us to explain why our profession does what it does and how it supports the fulfilment of institutions’ missions.  This self-analysis, though time-consuming, will serve us well in the future. And the impact that advancement can have over the coming decades remains truly inspiring.


Opt-In, Opt-Out

Institutions’ priorities, their audiences and their paths along the advancement journey are diverse. So there is a need for our technology, and the data it holds, to be flexible enough to underpin a range of different approaches around opt -in and -out.

Alongside consent, it looks likely that legitimate interests (and performance of public tasks) will remain a strong ground for institutions processing personal data.  Of course, this doesn’t diminish the importance of adhering to existing opt-in obligations under ePrivacy regulation for channels such as email and SMS.

Where legitimate interests are the legal basis, then it is still imperative that technology solutions help make it clear to individuals how their data is processed, and how they can opt-out of specific communications or activities.  And for those who do pursue unambiguous opt-in consent, then we need to help make that journey successful.

In both cases, technology should ease the collecting or updating of alumni and supporters’ preferences, be that online, by post, verbally or via any other means.  Recording such preferences and understanding changes over time should also be intuitive.  Critically, technology should empower you to best utilise those preferences, not just to comply, but to deliver progressively relevant, personalised and engaging communications that reflect each person’s interests and passions, and help you serve your mission.


Three key aspects of good data management

Beyond consent and preference management, three further factors hold true for all CASE members, for which technology should play a role:

  • To manage data effectively, we must share and adhere to clear and transparent Privacy Notices, covering each aspect of how data is processed. And, as part of that, saying not just what you do, but why you do it – and how this helps transform lives for individuals, communities and societies.
  • Leadership teams must be part of this conversation: not only to be accountable for complying with the GDPR, but to understand sufficiently – if they don’t already – the mechanics of successful development and alumni relations and how that contributes to the vision.
  • At any time, anyone can request to see a copy of the data held about them. Whilst providing this may occasionally surprise, if you feel comfortable with how you would explain that data to them, then you are a step forward.


Balancing risk vs outcomes

Ultimately, a balanced approach is key.  Whether the least risky course of action is to collect consent is a decision for each institution to make.  Such an assessment requires not only reviewing options for delivering compliance but also the impact of any changes on the ability of your advancement function to support your mission.  No course of action is entirely risk-free.  By analogy, one way to avoid food poisoning is to never eat anything, but that is not optimal!

Philanthropy is a wonderful thing.  The SDGs ultimately find many of their answers in the outputs of educational institutions, and regulation is not intended to stifle the amazing outcomes which CASE members serve.  Rather, it is aimed at driving the balanced protection of individuals and their data alongside your mission and delivering a better supporter experience overall.

It is yet to be seen whether change will centre around this aim.  Technology enables security of data by design, and that is crucial and necessary.  However, it can do far more.


GDPR presents new opportunities

This is a unique opportunity for the sector to revisit goals, and maximise the collective benefits for institutions, alumni and supporters.  It is vital to articulate precisely how and why you are contacting alumni, researching prospects, engaging volunteers, inviting guests to events, and more.  Being able to effectively tell this story and demonstrate impact will help you to reach greater fundraising goals and embed lifelong donor and alumni relationships.

We see alumni partnerships becoming increasingly central to institutional priorities, spurred by advancement.  Alongside funding, alumni can enhance recruitment, social mobility, employability, industry and cultural engagement, research application, lifelong learning, governance, advocacy and – perhaps above all – boost reputations via word of mouth.  Alumni are your largest constituency and best global ambassadors.

Likewise, we increasingly see the supporter experience touching all parts of institutions, aided by coordination.  Philanthropy helps many students and staff members today, stirring new conversations and opportunities across campuses, through academics and other staff, within departments and colleges, and via volunteers beyond your walls.  Backed by systems, your development office can be the conductor of this orchestra – ensuring the right notes are played and the experience augmented for everyone.

As the recent Ross-CASE survey showed, quality of relationships matter.  Despite fewer alumni donors, overall giving to UK universities surpassed £1bn for the first time.  There are mutual benefits to segmenting who you are contacting, based on why you are contacting them.  Here, at least in the long-term, the GDPR and institutions’ missions can align: a careful, targeted and focused approach to engagement, underpinned by CRM, will enable achieving your goals whilst minimising the unwanted contact that any individual receives.


What you can expect from Blackbaud

When it comes to clearly understanding what we do with data, the regulatory landscape has undoubtedly raised the bar for Blackbaud and our customers alike.  Your planning and execution needs to be crystal-clear organisationally, and the same is true for us.

At the end of June, we will publish our consent and preference management roadmap for the rest of 2017, detailing new feature development tailored to enable you to capture and evidence preferences and accommodate other data subject rights in accordance with the GDPR, FPS (where applicable) and ePrivacy regulation.  Blackbaud product webinars in July will provide greater detail, and we will also publish companion information to CASE guidance, setting out how Blackbaud solutions can help you towards technology, data management and wider recommendations.

We recognise that advanced preparation for the GDPR is critical for operational continuity, and more broadly to thrive in support of your missions in the future advancement landscape, and all new features and solutions will be available in time to prepare for compliance.

The CASE Regulatory and Compliance Conference on 14 June and the subsequent guidance will be a great launchpad to support institutions along this journey, and Blackbaud is proud to be part of that.  We will continue working closely with CASE Europe and other partners over the coming weeks and months to accompany you through the changing landscape and beyond.

Visit our GDPR hub for all Blackbaud updates on GDPR and FPS, including solution guides, videos and blogs.


Is My Data Safe – 5 Questions Your Charity Needs to Ask

  • Data security is important – being mindful of risks and mitigations can save you stress time and money
  • If you have responsibility for safeguarding other people’s data, security should be your number one priority – even if that makes your job harder to do. Being data secure is not complex, but for those with stressful jobs and limited time, it can feel like an onerous responsibility. We all have moments when the easiest way to complete a task is less data secure, so keep in mind these simple rules around data security.
    • If it feels wrong, if you have any doubts, don’t do it
    • Shortcuts are usually responsible for poor security, they will come back to bite you!
    • Don’t let other people pressure you into being less secure – take responsibility
    • Don’t let the prevailing culture of an organisation lull you into thinking insecure practices (see below for examples) are acceptable
    • Do be confident and vocal about the precautions you take and encourage others to do the same.


You can ask yourself the following questions:


How strong is my password?

Automated attempts to breach security often focus on cracking users passwords

  • Passphrases are better than passwords – easy to remember and more secure
  • Never share your password
  • Never leave a password on a laptop or PC
  • Check password strength here:

You could be surprised at the results!

  • Don’t re-use the same password for multiple resources
  • Never, ever use obvious passwords, such as variations of the word “Password” such as “P@ssword”, “P@ssw0rd” etc
  • Try as much as possible not to save passwords in your browser


Is my data backed up?

  • Ask yourself what would happen if my device was lost, stolen, compromised or was suddenly broken beyond repair
  • Important data should be backed up regularly to an external device or drive
  • Make sure you are aware how long it would take to recover your data in case of a disaster, so you can plan accordingly
  • Cloud storage can provide an ideal backup solution and can be a better way to store your data in the first place, meaning there is minimal risk of loss due to compromised local devices.


Is my software up to date?

  • Out of date software and frameworks are vulnerable to attack
  • Always ensure your machines are set to take the latest updates immediately
  • Never use software (such as XP) that is out of support to store or process data
  • Ensure you have up to date anti-virus and anti-malware programs on all of your devices, scheduled to scan regularly

There are many brilliant free solutions – see here:


Do I know my data?

Your data will not all be sensitive, and will not all be subject to the restrictions imposed by the data protection act. If you are not sure what constitutes personal or sensitive data you should check here:

  • Always be aware when data you are using or storing falls under these definitions
  • If you’re not sure, check!
  • Minimise sharing or using personal data as much as possible
  • Avoid retaining personal or sensitive data that is of no use to you, but could be to someone with nefarious intent
  • Obfuscate personal data when using for anything other than it’s intended purpose – ie testing or troubleshooting


Where is my data?

We are often required to share our own data and data we are responsible for with others as part of our work. Such data sharing presents a risk to data security and should only be done if absolutely justified, and you should always ensure you have the authority to do so.

When you share data:

  • Sensitive or identifying data should be obfuscated unless it is absolutely required
  • Files should be encrypted and password protected for transfer, here’s a guide to getting started:
  • Never send passwords or keys for encrypted files in the same or subsequent emails
  • Share as little as possible and always be aware where your data is going, be certain of the identity of the party receiving shared data.
  • Printed copies of identifying data should be destroyed securely after use


Is my data encrypted?

Modern tools and software freely available make it easy to encrypt your data to prevent it falling into the wrong hands. If your laptop or PC is likely to have sensitive data on it, you should consider taking advantage of these.  Such solutions will prevent a disaster the next time you leave your laptop on a bus, or have your premises burgled.

  • Windows users should consider using Microsoft’s built-in solution bit locker which offers the user the choice of full machine encryption, or encryption for a specific drive which can be used to store sensitive data
  • Apple’s OS X operating system has a similar facility called file vault.
  • Other programs are available for more selective encryption that are useful for transferring files and sharing sensitive data. See here:

4 Ways Your Non-Profit Can Stay On Top Of Data Security

Data security is an ongoing issue in the non-profit sector and is one that has been brought to the fore following the global ransomware attack on May 12. However, by getting the basics right, you can go a long way to protecting your organisation from attacks like WannaCry.


Here are four simple tips:

  • Have an organisation-wide password policy in place. At a minimum, it’s best practice that users change their passwords every six weeks and use a mixture of higher and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Passwords should never be written down, reused or shared. If, like me, you struggle to keep track of your ever-growing list of passwords, there are secure password management tools that can help you out. Find out more here.


  • Make sure you and staff can spot phishing emails. These are commonplace but easily handled. A phishing email is designed to look like an email that has been sent from an authoritative source, e.g. a bank. It will typically direct you to a website and ask for sensitive, personal and financial information. If an email raises your suspicions, do not open it and definitely don’t click on any links.


Phishing scams are usually easily spotted and unsophisticated. Recognising common phishing tactics can be done by training your staff using simple, free online programmes.

  • Make sure all PCs, laptops and servers have the most up-to-date version of their respective software installed. You should see reminders letting you know it’s time to update. But in case you don’t, it’s worth to check every six weeks or so.


Software updates aren’t trivial, they include regular security enhancements and improvements to software.

  • Make sure you are using the most up-to-date version of your CRM or database solution. This includes Raiser’s Edge for example. If you are hosted on a cloud -based system this will happen automatically – but if you are hosted on-premise, make sure you always update as soon as a new version becomes available.


If you have any concerns or would like to find out more on how Blackbaud is keeping your data safe, our Customer Support team is on hand to help. If you are currently hosting your Raiser’s Edge or Blackbaud CRM database on premise and you would like to find out more about Blackbaud hosting, please contact your Account Manager or

Brexit & GDPR

Just two years ago, the words ‘Brexit’ and ‘GDPR’ didn’t really exist in the non-profit sector’s vernacular. Google Trends now tells us the phrases are now trending at 100 (that’s the max score). The phrases are so popular that people are even Googling them at the same time.


So, Brexit and General Data Protection Reform; what do they have in common? And will Brexit affect GDPR? You asked Google, so here is the answer.


In a nutshell, Brexit will not affect GDPR at all. Not one bit.


What? Why? Well, the ICO (or Information Commissioner’s Office to you and I) is the UK’s regulatory body for everything to do with personal information. They’ve played a big part in providing guidance for the interpretation of GDPR in the UK and even input to its creation. They’re also in charge of enforcing it once it becomes live. They’re 100% behind GDPR.


But what about in the future after we are properly out of the EU? Well again, Brexit won’t affect GDPR. For starts, GDPR has worldwide implications. The EU represents about 750 million people and so most organisations around the world are having to assume that during day-to-day business, they’re eventually going to come into contact with an EU citizen’s personal information and therefore will need to be compliant (or at least have the relevant processes in place). So even if they don’t have a physical presence in the EU, the global scope means it’s not just EU originations that have to be compliant. It’s everyone.


Furthermore, it’s also highly unlikely that the ICO would want to reverse the tightened and updated data protection laws following the expected split in 2019. Organisations would already be compliant, the consumer is going to benefit from the tightened regulations and the 1998 Data Protection Act would be the fall-back – the current UK law written in dial-up internet days. Safe to say that it’s a bit out-of-date.


So overall despite GDRP being an EU framework, Brexit won’t have any bearing on its scope in the UK one little bit. Sorry to disappoint.

GDPR – April Update

What are the laws?

DPA: 1998

The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) is based on eight principles of good information handling. These give people specific rights in relation to their personal data and place certain obligations on organisations that use it.

Understatement alert: A lot has changed in the way data has been collected, processed and stored since 1998. To give it some context, in 1998 less than 10% of UK households had an Internet connection. Google, Linkedin and Facebook didn’t exist, nor did any of the other great personal data collectors we have today. ‘Big Data’ wasn’t a thing and the entire internet could easily have fitted onto a modern desktop hard drive.

PECR: 2003

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) provide rules about sending marketing and advertising by electronic means (telephone, fax, email, text and picture or video message, and by automated calling system). PECR also include other rules relating to cookies, telephone directories, traffic data, location data and security breaches.

GDPR: May 25 2018

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will apply in the UK from 25 May 2018 and will replace DPA. The government has confirmed that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR.


What’s the difference between DPA and GDPR?

  1. Scope: DPA applies only to individuals in the UK, whereas GDPR covers any organisation that holds or processes the personal data of EU citizens – regardless of whether the company is based in the EU or not. This means UK non-profits must comply, Brexit or no Brexit. Like the DPA, the GDPR applies to ‘personal data’. However, the GDPR’s definition is more detailed and makes it clear that information such as an online identifiers – eg an IP address – can count as personal data.
  1. Accountability: GDPR requires you to show howyou comply with the principles – eg. by documenting the decisions you take about a processing activity
  1. DPIA/PIA: You must carry out a Data Protection Impact when using new technologies and when the processing is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals.
  1. 72 hours to report a data breach: Breach notifications become mandatory within 72 hours (if the data breach is likely to result in a risk to an individual’s rights and freedoms)
  1. Fines: The current max fine of £500,000 increases to 20million euros or 4% of global revenue – whichever is higher.
  1. Individuals’ rights are strengthened e.g.
    1. Data access requests (free under GDPR)
    2. The right to be forgotten (erasure)
    3. The right to data portability
    4. CONSENT!



Consent is one of six conditions of legal basis for processing personal data. In other words, an organisation can process an individual’s personal data if one or more of the following conditions are met:

    1. Consent of the data subject
    2. Performance of a contract
    3. Compliance with a legal obligation
    4. Protect the vital interests of a data subject
    5. Necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest
    6. Legitimate interest (NB – excluding public authorities)


You need to check that consent is the most appropriate lawful basis for processing. (NB – if you rely on someone’s consent to process their data, they will generally have stronger rights.) Note that the Fundraising Regulator has set an expectation that consent should be the legal basis for Charity direct marketing (i.e. fundraising) going forward.

You must decide your legal basis for processing personal data for each activity, and document this.


Consent: DPA vs GDPR

GDPR sets a higher standard for consent:

  • Consent must be unambiguous and involve a clear affirmative action. In other words, it requires a positive opt-in
  • Consent must be separate from other terms and conditions
  • Consent must be specific and granular, ie. new consent given for each processing activity
  • It must be easy for people to withdraw consent
  • Consent must be evidenced and auditable: you must keep a record of when and how you got consent from the individual and what they were told at the time.
  • Dynamic: consent needs to be maintained and refreshed, not viewed as ‘open ended’.
  • Asking for consent must mean offering individuals genuine choice and control
  • Benefit: To quote the ICO: “Doing consent well should put individuals in control, build supporter trust and engagement, and enhance your reputation.”


What official guidance is available?



What should you be doing now?

  1. Engage Trustees: make them aware of the issue, and ensure they understand the impact this will have on your priorities leading up to May 2018. Does your Board own a set of principles about how their fundraising teams will operate?
  2. Fundraising Policy:
  3. Update Privacy Notices
  4. Appoint a Data Protection Officer
  5. Move now towards opt-in consent


What is Blackbaud doing?

For our part, we’re putting every effort into making sure our customers are comfortable with GDPR, and well-prepared well in advance. Some of our activities include:

  • Ongoing customer discovery
  • Ongoing consultation with governing bodies
  • Recommendations on how to use our solutions to manage consent
  • ICO consultation on opt-in consent
  • Reviewed draft in March – informing gap analysis in product
  • Awaiting final recommendations to ensure any product changes are compliant
  • Audit of our current products (Raiser’s Edge 7, eTapestry, Blackbaud CRM, Blackbaud NetCommunity).
  • Preparing our next generation solutions (Raiser’s Edge NXT)






While the information provided above is reliable, it does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.

What’s Really Driving the Increase in Online Giving?

If you’re like most non-profits and charitable organisations you’re seeing growth in online giving. How fast is your online giving growing? 5%? 10%? Maybe 25% or more?

The latest figures from the Blackbaud Index for charitable giving show that online giving continues to grow approximately 7% year over year, while overall giving remains relatively flat, growing only 1-3% per year.

So what’s driving this increase in online giving? Have charities been able to learn from e-commerce sites like Amazon to improve their online donor journey?  Have we finally broken through to millennials with our fundraising efforts?

I’d like to say yes, but unfortunately, I don’t believe that’s the case. Certainly, many non-profits and charitable organisations have made great improvements in the way they conduct their online fundraising. Online donation pages are much better today than they were even a few years ago.


Here are a few examples that indicate why non-profits and charitable organisations need to look a little deeper into online giving data to determine the true source of online donations:

  • For one international development organisation HMA discovered that 91% of their online donations were given by donors who were being mailed regularly in the direct mail program.
  • For a children’s charity, HMA found that 73% of online donations were received from donors who already existed in the direct mail program.
  • And for another national organization, HMA found that while only $12,000 had been given via the specific URL provided on the direct mail pack, an additional $190,000 was given by direct mail donors through the regular website.

You might think that this doesn’t add up. Direct mail donors are old and certainly not keen to give online. And online donors are young millennials— they wouldn’t give through the mail. Right? Well, that’s not what the numbers show us.

Older donors are online

The fastest growing age cohort on Facebook is 65+. In the last year, this group has seen a 30% increase in usage. 62% of online adults 65+ now use Facebook. 47% of online adults 65+ now do their banking online. (Source: Pew Research Center) And it’s these older donors who are also increasingly making donations online as they become more comfortable with technology.


What does this mean for your non-profit or charitable organisation’s fundraising strategy?

Most importantly, it means that to increase your online giving you need to continue to invest in direct mail and other traditional sources of fundraising revenue. Yes, you should be sending regular e-mails. And yes, you should post regular updates to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels. The more integrated the messaging across channels, the better fundraising results you will see. But you shouldn’t re-allocate all of your resources to online just because that’s your fastest growing revenue channel.

You should, however, test the usability of your online donation form. Your online donation form is used by many of your older, traditional donors because it’s convenient for them. Have you ever asked a parent or grandparent to test your online donation form for you? It’s a great exercise. Just ask them to sit down and make an online donation to your organisation. Resist the urge to help them if they struggle to complete the donation. But take notes and make changes if they had any challenges completing the form.

Millennial donors need to be cultivated

If most of the online revenue comes from older donors, how can you cultivate Millennial donors?

Millennials want to make an impact, but often times they don’t have the financial resources to do so. They’ll be happy to share your content through social media and participate in an event to raise money from their friends and family, but they may not yet have the financial resources to make a significant charitable donation.

So rather than focusing on trying to get money from this group, focus instead on engaging them in your cause—give them other ways to get involved. Connect with them through social media. Provide them with ways to share about your mission and the impact your nonprofit or charitable organisation makes. This could include providing a platform for them to create their own peer-to-peer fundraising page.

Most importantly – show them how their support (whether financial or not) has made an impact. Because if you’re able to engage them now and keep them interested in your cause, they’ll be more likely to donate to your organisation in the future.

3 tips to increase online donations from both older and younger donors?

1. Build a well-designed online donation form

Keep your online donation form to 10 fields or less. Ensure it works on mobile phones and tablets. Provide a variety of payment options. And test it on multiple devices to ensure every donor (especially your older donors) will be able to easily complete their online donation.


2. Continue to invest in off-line fundraising programs

Yes, there have been a few purely online campaigns that were successful. The Ice Bucket Challenge is one that I always get asked about. ‘How can we re-create that for our organisation?’ The short answer is that you can’t. ALS didn’t even create the ice bucket challenge, it was created by individuals who cared about the cause. Others got involved and it took off. But if your strategy is to create the next Ice Bucket Challenge you’re almost guaranteed to fail. Instead, brainstorm ways you can genuinely connect with your donors. Provide them with a platform to share content. If you do a good job with that, they’ll help you with your online fundraising.


3. Focus on donor stewardship

Whether it’s an online or offline donation, great donor stewardship is critical. Donors have more choices than ever to whom they can direct their donations, so it’s important that your organisation stands out. Thank donors for every gift they make. Send them their tax receipt promptly. Make thank you calls to ALL donors. And always be sure that donors know what impact their donation has made.

GDPR – The Basics for a Fundraiser

As an events or community fundraiser you’ve got a lot to juggle and a lot of hats to wear; from risk assessments, budgets and ROI plans to Gift Aid and donor stewardship – there’s always enough to keep you busy. The last thing you need is a soup of acronyms to confuse your day – but data consent is important and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is coming in May 2018. As a fundraiser, what does that mean for you?


The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) don’t have a fun job when it comes to issuing guidance around GDPR. They can’t seem to satisfy everyone. (Or anyone?) But one thing is clear – your donors’ data processing consent is of paramount importance, and with the introduction of the new Fundraising Regulator in the UK your processes need to be spot-on from the beginning.


What Can You Do Next?

Be patient. With all that is going on at the moment, there will be a lot of conflicting information thrown around. Trying to make sense of it can be frustrating and counterproductive. If you want the facts as they stand today, you can check the ICO’s pretty useful guide,  or the Blackbaud website.


Keep in touch. Regular contact with your donors is integral to successful event fundraising. Every party involved in these discussions understands the importance of good stewardship and a good donor journey online and offline. Being sensitive to your supporters and their needs will help you understand how they want to give consent.


Be passionate.  You should be obsessive about constantly improving the experience your supporters and donors have whilst engaging with you – putting your supporters at the heart of what you do will insulate against a lot of common errors. See consent capture as an avenue to understand your supporter base better – and how they want to interact with you, rather than a roadblock.


What is happening now?

In the meantime – be sure to look forward to June, when the ICO will be releasing an update on guidance surrounding the implementation of GDPR.


What you need to know.

With GDPR quickly approaching, as a fundraiser you need to know that the ICO wants to ensure non-profits are transparent in their processing of supporters’ personal data and that donors give informed consent to such activities. This consent requires “clear affirmative action”. Knowing what that consent looks like, and keeping an accurate record of when consent was given are the first steps towards compliance with GDPR.

(Note: Brexit will not affect GDPR –  although Brexit may be all we hear about at the moment, you need to know that it won’t affect GDPR’s implementation in the UK.)


Keep an eye out for more bitesize GDPR posts from Blackbaud. We’re right alongside you as the full impact becomes clear and more details come to light, and will keep up a steady stream of content to help you – and your data – get ready.



While the information provided above is reliable, it does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is the practice by which businesses recruit a person of influence to share the organisation’s messages with the influencer’s own audience, often (but not always) in return for a financial incentive. I look at this as – empowering your advocates. This method is based a core principle of marketing: people are more likely to absorb and act on the recommendation of a friend or individual they trust than that of a brand or organisation.


The five rules of influencer marketing

Whether you’re considering dipping a toe in the waters of influencer marketing or simply want to add further rigour to your current influencer program, your timing couldn’t be better. As the channel matures, many of the challenges and teething problems of the last few years have been solved or improved upon. The relationships between brands and their influencers are becoming less murky and more sophisticated. Best practice approaches have been identified and perfected.

Here are a few rules of thumb to help you get the most out of your influencer marketing program:


  1. Be authentic.

Authenticity is the key to a successful influencer campaign.  Audiences have a nose for when something feels contrived or an influencer is ‘doing it for the money’ so it’s critical to work with people who have a genuine stake in your cause.  One of the reasons influencer marketing and charities are such a good fit is that influencers will often already be vocal about causes they support; this, in turn, makes them easier to identify, the relationship smoother to establish and your message a more natural fit.


  1. Don’t assume bigger is better.

Experience has taught us that going after big-name celebrities or digital influencers with huge fanbases to endorse your cause doesn’t always provide the best ROI. In fact, statistics have shown that niche social influencers with smaller followings tend to enjoy greater engagement with their audience and higher conversion rates, all of which is great news for charities with limited marketing budgets.  We call these individuals micro-influencers or long-tail influencers: their audiences are smaller but highly targeted and more active online.


Where it gets really interesting, however, is when you can start to search for these individuals within your existing donor database. is a social listening software provider created especially with nonprofits in mind. It reveals what people from your database are saying on social media, as well as which issues resonate and why allowing you to identify who your own micro-influencers are and build rich social profiles on those individuals. This offers charities the potential to radically increase the engagement and reach of campaigns by creating tailored outreach to influential and highly engaged individuals from within their own networks.


  1. Choose quality over quantity.

Influencers like to feel valued and expect to be treated as individuals. Even if they provide access to their fans in return for a financial reward, it’s still important that you invest time in the relationship to ensure they are emotionally committed to your cause.


  1. Be strategic.

Before committing to an influencer program, have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, how you’d like to achieve it and how you plan to measure success. Consider how best to use your influencers and what actions you want them to take: is the primary goal sharing your brand’s content with as many people as possible?


  1. Track & measure.

Measuring the success of influencer marketing campaigns has historically been problematic – and continues to be. According to a recent industry survey, 78 percent of marketers said measuring ROI for influencer marketing was their biggest challenge for 2017 – and it’s easy to see why.


So how should brands be measuring success? For starters, introducing a wider range of metrics, such as engagement, audience sentiment and conversions will help to level the playing field and ensure you are measuring more than just fan numbers.  Even easier to incorporate into your campaign are hashtags: they encourage others to join the conversation and make it easy to track.

9 Things to Look for When Evaluating a Grant Proposal

Ensuring that your foundation makes impactful grants to the right non-profit partners starts with a thorough proposal evaluation. A proposal should include more than just the organisation’s mission statement and program description.


To help you better evaluate submissions so that you are set up for success, here are nine items you should look for in any grant proposal:


  • Organisation Background & Experience: Has this organisation run similar programs in the past—similar budgets, focus area, geography? Does their previous experience set them up for success with this new program?


  • The financial health of your organisation: Make sure you take a look at the non-profit’s financial records and ensure that there are no red flags that could indicate this may be an unwise investment.


  • Program Partners: If the non-profit will be working with other partners (whether non-profit, academic, government, even other grantmakers), are these partners experienced in this type of program? Are they subject matter experts or invested in the target community? What specific roles will the partners play, and how will their activities be tracked? If there aren’t other partners, are you comfortable that the one organisation can fully implement the program on its own?


  • Program Description: This should be more than a few sentences with high-level goals. The proposal should include a detailed description of how the program will be executed, how exactly the pieces fit together to achieve the desired outcome, and of the different phases involved in implementing and running the program. Which leads us to number 5…


  • Program Timeline: Of course, even the best-laid plans are subject to change, but the proposal should include a general timeline of when the various parts of the program will be executed, how the program will ultimately come together. This timeline should serve to help you, as the grantmaker, to monitor the progress of the grant and ensure it’s on track with hitting various milestones.


  • Measurement Plan: Has an appropriate plan been laid out to monitor and measure the program outcomes? If appropriate for the grant size, is an experienced independent evaluator involved to administer the outcomes measurement plan? Or if being implemented internally, do the staff tasked with tracking results have the appropriate knowledge and experience to accurately do so?


  • Sustainability Plan: Has the organisation specified a plan to obtain continued funding and/or an ability to self-sustain the program after the grant period has ended? In other words, is the non-profit already thinking about what happens after this grant?


  • Communications Plan: Does the proposal outline an appropriate communications plan as part of the overall program, to promote awareness and gain buy-in from the target population? And separately, does the proposal outline how the organisation will publicise the program, share learnings at conferences and in publications, etc.?


  • Detailed Budget: Does the proposal include a detailed line-item budget? Does the line-item budget include reasonable costs (meaning neither inflated nor underestimated) for personnel and program-related expenses? A detailed budget enables you to be a good steward of your foundation’s grant funds.


In my experience as a former corporate grantmaker, if a grant proposal includes satisfactory responses to these nine elements, that’s a good indicator that the organisation has carefully thought the project through and will be a great grantee partner. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and have a two-way conversation about the application responses—some of my most successful grants resulted from working together to refine the proposal by sharing experience based on past learnings. And make sure that you have the right technology in place that allows you to easily ask for and collect this information in applications. A clear, easy-to-use application form will help set you and your partners up for success from the very beginning.

How to Make Your Mission Heard by the Masses


Advocacy is a way to showcase your organisation’s mission while solving a problem at the same time. With a plan and resources, you can arm your biggest supporters with the tools they need to be stewards for your cause.

But how do you create an advocacy program that actually works? Read our 6 Key Takeaways and start sharing your mission today.


Key Takeaways for Creating Your Own Advocacy Program

  • Identify: What is it that you want your supporters to help spread the word about? This could be anything from helping raise money for a new program, to showcasing a new exhibit.
  • Inform: It’s important that your advocates have all the facts. Those are going to be their strongest weapon. Prepare them with material that outlines the issue and provide any facts and figures.
  • Social: Create a social campaign and draft posts with relevant hashtags that people can easily share with their own networks.
  • Top of Mind: Create a one-pager that outlines your mission, the cause being advocated for, and how others can help.
  • Give Thanks: Without your supporters, sharing your mission can only go so far. It’s with their passion that the word spreads about causes that are important to your organization—and to them. Make sure they know you appreciate everything they do to help advance your cause.


Advocacy in action

If you’ve never had an advocacy program at your organisation, here are a few pointers from the event that you can use as inspiration.

Let’s say you’re a cultural organisation, and want to build advocacy for the institution you support – whether that’s a museum, gallery, theatre or leisure facility. You might want to prepare materials that empower your supporters.


Provide your supporters with:

  • Briefs that outline key issues, such as the economic and social impacts of your organisation. Identify your key concerns so your supporters can spread the word.
  • Snapshots of your fundraising figures, campaigns and initiatives. Inform your supporters about the acitvity your undertaking, and the success it’s having.
  • Tips for speaking with new prospective supporters and institutions. Help your advocates spread your message by writing role play scenarios.
  • Provide highlight packs about the impact your institution has on communities, both locally and further afield. Keep your institution top of your supporter’s minds.


Benefits to Tracking Outcomes

Tracking outcomes can offer an array of benefits, from improving your reports to driving collaboration between funders and grantees.

One additional benefit is improved decision-making. By tracking outcomes and indicators using an automated process and aggregating the data in one place, organisations are able to spend less time on ad-hoc data collection and analysis and more time on important decisions that drive operational effectiveness. With the power of knowledge derived from measuring outcomes, funders are able to make better decisions about projects and organisations to fund.


Outcomes = Opportunity

In our ongoing dialogue with thousands of members of the giving community, we’ve heard from hundreds of foundations that are either measuring outcomes or want to measure outcomes. And what do they want? Sure, they want to use outcomes to measure performance, but they also want to know which organisations can benefit from added capacity to achieve their shared social mission. Having a shared understanding of intended outcomes from the beginning of the grant, and tracking progress toward those outcomes, allows foundations to evaluate where their grantee partners need extra help. Depending on the programmatic area, we estimate that 20 to 40 percent of all foundation funding is in the service of expanding a well-intended non-profit’s capacity to change the world and make it a better place.


Transparent Outcomes, Improved Funding

There’s another benefit not necessarily associated with the improved transparency an organisation gains measuring, tracking and reporting on outcomes: improved funding. Philanthropists are looking for effective stewards of their social investment. The ability to better articulate the work, by both funder and grantee partner, ensures these new champions of philanthropy can be confident of the return on investment, in the form of specific and measurable impact. Indeed, through our extensive market research, we know of benefactors that will immediately increase funding if outcomes are established early on in the grant application process.


Additional Benefits for Corporate Philanthropists

All foundations and their non-profit partners can benefit from measuring, tracking and reporting on outcomes. But corporations can realise an additional benefit not available to foundations: that of commercial success.


Corporations can benefit in the areas of employee retention and customer loyalty, both of which have potentially advantageous effects.


Skillfully broadcasting your well-defined corporate philanthropic efforts across the organisation helps to boost employee engagement and pride. “Well defined” is important here; specificity matters. Employees are much more excited by statements like “Our corporation provided funding that resulted in 100 third-graders improving their reading achievement by two grade levels in 2015” rather than “We gave £100,000 to our local public school system.” The power of specificity triggers added pride in the organisation, which can lead to increased employee retention, especially amongst Millennials.


As we continue on our shared outcomes journey, we will uncover and share more about the key ways various philanthropists and their non-profit partners benefit not only from the crisp measuring, tracking and reporting of outcomes to stakeholders, but the ways in which their organisation’s effectiveness is improved. The fun is just beginning!

Lowering the Giving Barrier for Millennials

This Post Originally Appeared on NP Engage.

According to the Millennial Impact Report, 72 percent of Millennials are eager to join a non-profit and a little over 50 percent would like to give monthly to a charitable organisation.


When looking at these statistics, it’s clear that Millennials are eager, and would like to contribute. But what’s holding up the action? Why is the ‘Giving Barrier’ so high? Understanding that even small contributions can make an impact, why are we so hesitant to get involved?


Although millennials are clearly seeking a more meaningful life, my hypothesis is that we’d like to do so without seriously inconveniencing ourselves, more so than previous generations. Sound selfish and contradictory? Yes. But, our world of increased stimulation and increasingly instant gratification has taught us these behaviours. And non-profits don’t have to suffer the consequences of that mindset.


As a personal offender of the false ‘I have too much going on’ sentiment, I wondered why I don’t feel that way about the organisations I’m involved in, and why these organisations have my attention, my heart, my time, and my wallet. And most importantly, what the journey to full organisation immersion has looked like.

  1. It was easy to get started: I had just moved to Austin, and wanted to get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas, but wasn’t sure I had the time. I was getting married, settling into a new life, etc. etc. BBBS offered an option to be a part of a continued giving program. £20/month, that’s it. Easy enough. A few cups of coffee at home as opposed to Starbucks. My monthly ‘thank you’ email served as a reminder of the importance of my gift, and I began to feel like an invaluable part of the organisation (there’s that instant gratification!). Over time, that good feeling remained at the front of my mind, and when I realised how great it felt to make a difference, I decided to take the next step and become a big sister.
  2. There’s always an opportunity to get involved more/in different ways: Whenever I feel the desire to get more involved, there’s always a way. Whether it’s a bowling tournament, joining an event planning committee, or simply sharing my experience with the volunteer management team, BBBS gives so many ways to continue to be involved, with varying levels of complexity/commitment. Whenever I’m ready, they’re ready, and it feels like a true partnership.
  3. Communication and support are consistent: from the beginning of my journey as a contributor and big sister, the communication and support received from this organisation have been consistent and professional. I’ve always clearly understood what my contribution is funding, and my Match Support Specialist is constantly checking in to ensure things are going well. BBBS has developed local partnerships all throughout town (making volunteering easy and more fun), and I consistently receive communications about what’s happening in the organisation. I feel involved, updated, and reminded of the cause I’m contributing to. Disclaimer: understand these communications cost money, and it is much easier said than done, but regardless is valued!
  4. I feel the organisation is invested in me. This organisation recognised that I have an interest in sharing my story and getting deeply involved, and has leveraged that opportunity to speak, build awareness about events, and encourage my friends to contribute, regardless on what level. I feel that they’re invested in me as a volunteer, and I’m certainly incredibly invested in them.


The end result of my experience with this organisation is that I appreciate them (and everyone who works there), I feel fulfilled in my life (check out that selfishness!) and I’m reminded that the contributions of time and money are making a difference.


Every organisation is different. What isn’t different is that it’s easier than we think to get involved. And while it’s not the responsibility of nonprofits to spoon-feed Millennials all the benefits of serving others, there are small things organisations can do to reach us in a more actionable way.


Millennials want to give with ease, but even more than that we crave a sense of purpose. If you can give us a reason to get out from behind our devices, you may help us realise that we have more time and resources to contribute than we think.


And then, true to form, we’ll pick up our devices and humble brag to our friends about our service-mindedness later—influencer marketing for you! A win for us both.

The Art of Impact

View and download the presentations here.


On March 1st, Blackbaud hosted the latest in its ‘The Art of…’ series of evening thought leadership events. ‘The Art of Impact’ was a fascinating evening focused on demonstrating impact and outcomes as a non-profit organisation. The audience of non-profit leaders heard talks from two experts, followed by a lively Q&A.
The speakers:
Matt Stevenson-Dodd has been CEO of Street League since 2010. He’s committed to total transparency in reporting the charities successes – and where they could have done better.
David Hounsell is Head of Impact at fundraising consultancy Aleron, and was formerly Evidence and Impact Director at The Children’s Society.
Here are are some of the highlights from our speakers’ talks:


1) The charity sector is brilliant at storytelling, but…

…many charities could tell their stories more powerfully. A good story needs a good ending – an outcome if you will – and it should be the tangible, real-life impact. Take Kids Company as an (overused) example. A charity that boasted a CEO so full of life she seemed like a fictional character; a charity which spread positive messages through powerful PR and high-profile relationships. But the ignominious collapse and lack of real results hit on an important point in the sector. Sure, we can all spin a story, but when the hard questions are being asked do we have the answers? Or as Warren Buffet once said, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who has been swimming naked.”

2) Is spreading the good news the same thing as spreading the right news?

Charities are quick to come to the conclusion that, for example, they have helped 80% of the people who went through Progamme X, or that over 1,000 16-25 year-olds were positively impacted by their work in the last 12 months. But what about the missing numbers? It’s great to share the positive stories we have, but can we really rebuild trust with the public by acting like all we do is good; that there is never anyone left behind? Street League took a seriously bold step with their last Annual Report, deciding to lead with their shortcomings. Instead of focussing on the hundreds of people they had placed into full-time employment, they led with the 109 people that they couldn’t help this past year. Admittedly, the board was nervous leading with this but agreed it was the right thing to do. Matt explained the consensus that “As a charity, it’s important to be open and honest, show the public that you can improve, and most importantly that you are trying to improve.”

3) ‘Outcomes to Impact’ is a journey

David advised the group to be under no illusions that the transition from storytelling to measuring impact is a long journey. But it’s something the private sector does well, continually reaping the benefits of being able to show their impact effectively; the stock market being an obvious example. This kind of thinking would be a significant change in mindset. At The Children’s Society, David was told it would be five years before he saw any real impact. He pointed out that this is what will scare some charities off – why invest valuable money, time and effort into leading a huge shift in mindset and processes to wait five years to see the results – particularly in the current media climate.
Matt gave us his own case study of this journey, at Street League. He explained that being able to show your impact is an ever-changing process, from measuring participation as ‘impact’ to moving onto measuring tangible outcomes. This was the real turning point for Street League, after which they were able to say with utter confidence that they had helped a specific number of people.
– Compare: “14,000 people were helped by Street League over three years, with:
– “14,000 people entered a Street League programme, of whom 11,000 completed the course, 6,000 went on to have a job for six months or longer, and 1,000 were unaccounted for.”
How much more compelling, transparent and – frankly – honest is that?
After ‘Outcomes’, naturally, comes ‘Impact’. This is when Street League really homed-in on who they were helping, to drive better decision making:
1) By researching various socio-economic factors across the UK they came up with measurements. For example, they applied different measurements of success to someone who stays in a job for three months as compared to someone still employed after 12.
2) Second was Big Data, already a buzzword in the jargon dictionary, but something that all non-profits need to harness. Big Data is often misunderstood, but it simply means being able to gather the data that you have and learn from the picture it presents. For example, a charity who focusses on youth unemployment may look at data from the region where they work, and learn whether unemployment has got better or worse. And from that, decide whether it is the right thing to continue to focus effort in that location.
After their talks, David and Matt led a Q&A during which the floor opened up to a discussion. One line from Matt really stood out: “If we as a sector want to see a real change in mindsets and being able to show our impact, we should invest as much money into our measurement teams as we do with our finance teams.” This provoked some debate of course, but the underlying point is a challenge to the whole sector. We aren’t holding impact in the same degree of importance as revenue. It’s all well-and-good to increase revenue by X% for the three years running – but has that actually made any difference?

6 Trends That Will Impact the Charity Sector in 2017

We’re just a few weeks in and already 2017 is shaping up to be a roller coaster of a year.

With the constant changes, innovations, and breaking news impacting the sector, staying focused on the work that matters will be key for all of us. To help us navigate, Blackbaud leaders and industry experts came together to weigh in on what’s coming for the sector and what’s needed to best steer our work through 2017 and beyond.

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7 Habits of Highly Successful Technology Partnerships

When you decide to integrate new technology in your organisation, you may have a good idea about what you want that technology to do, you may even have leads about who makes it – but how can you be sure you’ve found the perfect partner to initiate and implement new solutions for your organisation? In a sea full of options, the seven characteristics below will help you identify a reliable partner who will help you reach your goals.


  1. Stability – You can find a lot of pop-up shops on the market. You may really like what they have to sell – especially at that great price – but there is no guarantee that they will still be around in a few months. You may get started with this partner, but will your bargain partner be there to see the project through to the end? Make sure you take into consideration the stability and market longevity when you select vendors to work with.


  1. One-stop-shop – Some say that we can’t find everything we’re looking for in one person. That doesn’t have to be the case when looking for a partner to implement technology. Instead of a variety of siloed teams working independently – look for one cohesive team working together for you. When things go wrong you only have one number to call, and when things go right you only have one big hug to give.


  1. Invested in your success – Any good partnership is about give and take. When looking for someone to work with, make sure they are more invested in your success than they are in fulfilling their own sales quotas. Find a partner that looks at your success as a measure of their own.


  1. Proven track record – No one wants to get stood up. Make sure you are selecting a partner with a record of success. Don’t be afraid to do your homework to know who you’re associating with. Ask for references and look at their past project successes. Also look at their failures – this tells even more about how they’ve handled and resolved tough issues so you know what you’re getting when you enter into a partnership.


  1. Deep arsenal of best practices – Practice makes perfect; the longer you work on something, the better you get at doing it. The same is true when it comes to implementing technology solutions. You may only go through a project like this once or twice, but your implementation partner should have done it hundreds of times. Look for a partner who has refined their approach over time and brings a wide knowledge base informed by past successes. Your ideal partner should have a defined methodology and should be willing to adapt to the specifics of your organisation’s needs.


  1. Open to collaboration – If your organisation has a standing relationship with other vendors, it’s important for a new partner to know how to incorporate that relationship into their work with you. Find out if your potential partner is open and willing to collaborate when needed. They’ll need to be able to work with any additional partners that you may have to help make your organisation’s vision a success.


  1. Reliable and supportive – It’s easy to maintain a partnership when times are good, but the best relationships are those you can depend on even in the worst of times. You should expect that any vendor you purchase from will stand by and support their solution with an in-house body of experts. Then, you can rest easy knowing that you will get the support you need when you need it, from the very beginning. But most importantly, the relationship you build shouldn’t end when your project goes live. You need to feel confident that your partner is in it for the long haul and will be there for you as your needs change over time.


In your next search for a great partner, ensure a successful implementation by keeping these seven characteristics as benchmarks for a partnership that will be sure to please.

5 Years On: How #GivingTuesday Reached Ubiquity

By Susan McPherson, CEO of McPherson Strategies

#GivingTuesday, a global grassroots movement that started out as a mere napkin brainstorm, has reached ubiquity. And for once in my life, I was lucky enough to be in the “room where it happened”—or at least the moment the founders decided to start sharing their vision.

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7 New Year’s Resolutions for your Non-Profit

Well, it’s approaching another new year and we’ve all resolved to get fitter, read more, learn a foreign language or get PADI-certified and go scuba diving with manta rays off the coast of Ecuador.


So before January slips by completely, we thought we’d share with you Blackbaud’s top 7 New Year’s  resolutions that every non-profit should be keeping in order to make 2017 the best year yet for your organisation!

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How to say ‘Thank You’ to your donors

I admit words come easily to me; I’m comfortable talking or writing. (I won’t get into what I’m not so good at—some confessions are best left unsaid). Even though I constantly preach about the importance of the ability to say “thank you,” when I sit down to write another monthly receipt letter I sometimes wonder, “Am I just repeating the same things over and over? What can I say that feels brand new to the person reading it?”

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Are you maximising the potential of peer-to-peer donors?

John Bird explores how technology is innovating the Peer-to-Peer supporter journey.

“The word ‘integration’ is a dull one and turns off the less technical-minded fundraiser. But it belies an opportunity to allow data from every P2P campaign you run to automatically sync with your CRM, providing a near-instant 360-degree view of donor activity.”

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What is the Cloud?

“The ‘cloud’ is simply a metaphor for the internet. It originates from when the internet was drawn in manuals and graphics surrounded by a cloud shaped bubble.”


So what’s cloud computing then? Cloud computing is when you save and access your computer’s information or programmes over the internet instead of using the memory of your PC or office server. And a cloud based service is any programme you either log into or access over the web – think your Gmail account, Spotify or Netflix.

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3 Steps to Lasting Participant Retention in Peer-To-Peer Fundraising

If you’ve been in peer-to-peer fundraising for any length of time, you don’t need a study to tell you how valuable repeat participants are to your event and your non-profit. But from the looks of the data and the declining retention rates for walks and 5Ks, we all need a refresher on what matters when it comes to people coming back year after year.

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An open letter to the FPS

By John Bird, Managing Director of Blackbaud Europe.


As a provider of fundraising CRM software specifically for the not for profit sector, Blackbaud Europe has specifically technical concerns regarding the workability of the FPS proposal. This is a summary of the key points we raised with George Kidd, Chair of the FPS working group.

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Data Protection Reform – What it means for you

GDPR, DPA, FPS, ICO… confused?

Over the last two years, enquiries, reviews, a media frenzy around over-communicating, a new fundraising regulatory body and a perceived public mistrust of the sector all mean that the next two years will see significant changes that affect us all.

Organisations close to the centre like Blackbaud are well placed to support and inform you every step of the way.

Take 3 minutes and digest our handy guide to what’s going on:


The key bodies, laws and acronyms to be aware of:

  • Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 – EU law
  • Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) 2003 – EU law
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018 – EU law
  • Information Commissioners Office (ICO) – UK regulator responsible for interpreting and enforcing GDPR
  • Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) – now replaced by Fundraising Regulator
  • Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) – now replaced by Fundraising Regulator
  • The Fundraising Regulator (FR)



General Data Protection Regulation

An EU law passed by Council of the European Union on 27th April 2016.

What is it?

Replaces the DPA (1998) and PECR (2003)

Who is impacted?

All organisations that process personal data. It affects both non-profit and for-profit organisations, big and small.


What about Brexit?

Brexit will not change the UK’s compliance requirements.  Any negotiations as we leave the EU will include equivalency with EU law on data protection.



GDPR “enters into application” (becomes active law) on May 25th 2018. For the UK, the ICO will release its interpretation of the law in November 2016. Unlike a European Directive, GDPR is a Regulation that does not require any enabling legislation to be passed by national governments.


What’s changed from the Data Protection Act 1998?

Some of the key differences to be aware of are:

  • Increased enforcement powers:g. maximum fines of up to €20 million or 4% of total annual worldwide turnover of the preceding year (whichever is higher).
  • Extended geographical scope: non-EU businesses will be subject to the regulation if they provide their service to EU organisations, or monitor the behaviour of EU residents.
  • Consent: More rigorous criteria will be applied to obtaining individuals’ consent: it must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. E.g. fundraising consent may not be valid if it is given when grouped with non-fundraising matters.
  • Opt-in: Crucially, where consent is involved, non-profits must gain explicit, ‘opt-in’ consent. (See below.)
  • Profiling: Individuals will have the right to object to profiling, which includes most forms of online tracking and wealth screening.
  • The right to be forgotten: Individuals will have the right to request that an organisation delete all their personal data.


Opt-In, instead of Opt-Out

This is one of the most significant changes: data can only be legally ‘held and used’ if a person has actively and positively opted in. Consent under the GDPR requires some form of “clear affirmative action”.

  • Silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity does not constitute consent.
  • Consent must be verifiable. This means that some form of record must be kept of how and when consent was given.
  • Individuals have a right to withdraw consent at any time.
  • Explicit permission to contact through different channels, e.g. phone / text / email/ post.
  • The consent must be “informed consent”.

Note that the ICO’s November interpretation of GDPR will give us all greater clarity around ‘legitimate interest’ – i.e. do we need to get a supporter’s opt-in consent if we have a legitimate interest to market to them? This was allowed under DPA – it’s not so clear now.


Fundraising Regulator and Fundraising Preference Service

Following Sir Stuart Etherington’s 2015 review into the self-regulation of charities, he made two key recommendations to Parliament:

  1. One single regulator should replace IOF Guidelines + PFRA + FRSB: ‘The Fundraising Regulator’

Chair: Lord Michael Grade

CEO: Stephen Dunmore (interim)

  1. There should be a fundraising equivalent to the Mail Preference Service (MPS) and the Telephone Preference Service (TPS): the ‘Fundraising Preference Service’ (FPS).


The Fundraising Regulator

What is it?

  • New, voluntary and independent regulator
  • Set fundraising practice code for UK
  • Charity-funded (48 of the largest charities)
  • Responsible for fundraising preference service
  • Investigates donor complaints

Who is impacted?

  • UK non-profits


  • Active immediately – the Fundraising Regulator came into being on 7th July 2016.


Fundraising Preference Service

What is it?

  • An ‘opt-out’ mechanism that will be introduced in the first half of 2017, to address donor frustration over how and when they are solicited
  • Allow individuals a “complete opt-out from receipt of future specified fundraising communications” from a single place – the so-called “large red button”.
  • Also allow individuals to opt-out of fundraising selectively, by registering with FPS but exempting specified organisations of their choosing.
  • The FPS works in conjunction with the TPS and MPS. It “should not be seen as some form of over-ride to the TPS and MPS”. Charities must “respect the preferences expressed by individuals under these schemes”.
  • An individual’s registration with the FPS is for two years, and will lapse if not renewed.
  • A charity with a pre-existing relationship with an individual who registers with the FPS will be permitted to contact them once within 28 days of their registration to confirm the individuals’ intent was to exclude them.

Who is impacted?

  • UK non-profits
  • Due to necessary operational costs of adhering to the FPS, it has been deemed “necessary to initially limit the scope of the FPS” as regards the size of organisation to which is applies. The threshold has not yet been set, though is expected to be organisations whose expenditure on direct marketing exceeds £100,000 per year.


  • Due to launch in the first half of 2017

Quotes taken from the Fundraising Regulator’s final report, issued September 2016.


Remember the Upcoming key dates:

  • November 2016: ICO to release its interpretation of GPDR. (ICO is the regulator, they interpret the GDPR and have the power to audit and fine organisations.)
  • 2017: Launch of FPS (exact date TBC, but likely to be before June.)
  • May 2018: GDPR becomes law


We’ll be keeping our Data Protection Form page updated whenever new information is released.




While the information provided above is reliable, it does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.

The No Filter Truth About #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is entering its fifth year as a global social media movement inspired by the purpose of giving. According to, “#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges.”

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Your End-of-Year Giving Plan Starts Today

By Erin Duff

In 2015, the percentage of giving that happened in December held steady for the second straight year at 17.4%, by far the largest month in terms of distribution of giving. Online giving in December increased from 17.8% in 2014 to 19% in 2015, potentially showing the influence of online giving days like #GivingTuesday. Summer may just be wrapping up, but is your organization positioned to make the most of December giving and the feelings of generosity that the holiday season brings?

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Gotta Catch ‘Em All: Attracting Millennials to Your Organisation with Pokémon Go

Chances are you’ve heard of Pokémon Go – maybe you’re even playing it right now! In the few weeks since the public release of the app, an estimated 75 million downloads have occurred! Trendswatch 2016 predicts that augmented and virtual realities are going to provide arts and cultural organizations with new ways to make exhibits more accessible. Pokémon Go’s popularity is proof that virtual reality technology isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

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How to build trust, be playful and achieve more

Do you ever feel that when you arrive at work, you leave a bit of you at the door that you collect on your way out at the end of the day?


In our desire to be professional, successful and climb the career ladder we have a tendency to leave our authentic selves at the door. And in my experience, the majority of the organisations we work for perpetuate that overly professional culture with the expectation that we do serious work at our desks to achieve serious target-driven KPIs.

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Arts Industry – Why get a fundraising CRM?

Constituent Relationship Management systems (CRMs) are vital to all non-profit organisations. They help you segment your data, allow you to see your ‘star’ donors and surface opportunities that you never knew existed. That’s why it’s imperative to choose the right CRM for you. At Blackbaud, we hear of many charities in the Arts and Cultural space who are not making full use of their existing CRMs or who are just ‘getting by’. With that in mind, let’s delve into the compelling reasons to invest in a fundraising CRM.

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Summary of the 2016 Public Trust and Confidence in Charities Report

The 2016 Public Trust and Confidence in Charities report, commissioned by the Charity Commission, was released last week (downloadable here) and makes for interesting reading.

The report, published every two years, focuses closely on the public’s trust in charities and comes at probably the most important time in its 10-year history. The report systematically explores the root causes of the (mis)trust of charities, comparisons between charities of different size, sector and mission; and awareness of the work that charities do.  It is, however, a little long. So we’ve done the hard miles for you and Given you a nice little summary of the headline findings below…

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How to Build Meaningful Relationships on Social Media Using the 80/20 Rule

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about social media it’s this: It’s all about human connection. Virtually every social media platform was first created for and because of human connections. Facebook was started to connect friends in college and grew to connect families and friends. Twitter began as a way to connect with influencers. Social media gives us the opportunity to show up, be seen, and connect with other people.

However, the question remains, how does a nonprofit connect with real people on social media?

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How to let it go – Embracing the Change

Automating manual or complex processes can involve substantial organisational change. Be it the efficiency saving which allows you to save on staff costs, or the increase in effectiveness which allows your team to reach even more supports with the same effort.


Our previous article, From Manual to Automatic talked about some of the advantages and gave an example where change was going to be particularly tough.

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Fundraisers – Be Positive!

Blackbaud’s Rob Gethen Smith gives his thoughts following this year’s IoF Convention.


The headline message from this year’s IoF convention was, “Let’s be positive!” It’s been a tough year and significant challenges lie ahead, but the fundraising community remains strong and resolved to grow income through creativity, tenacity and by nurturing talent –  and of course by putting our donors first. Indeed these were the key themes of the opening plenary. In memory of Tony Elischer, the panel lead by Ken Burnett gave us 27 great things we could learn from Tony.  Ken summarised the future neatly:  “It’s been a tough year for fundraisers but it is Donors and Fundraisers together who will drive fundraising growth.

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Unlock the Door to the Right Funders with a Powerful Grant Strategy| Part 2

This blog is the second in a three part series that will focus on the tools you need in order to build a comprehensive grants seeking program. Today’s topic will outline a 6 step process to grants research.

You need to fund a project. But, first, you have to identify the right grant maker for the project. Developing a set of project descriptions to guide your funding research can help with this process. With this information, you can also establish an overall grant strategy which will, in turn, guide you in setting up your grants calendar for the next 18 months.

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How to say ‘no’ to rubbish fundraising ideas

If you work for a charity and are involved in supporting fundraising in any way, then you are a fundraiser and an awesome one at that.

In order to know what fundraising awesomeness looks like, and when you have achieved it, you must have clear measures.

All fundraisers need to know and agree what they are measured on. For example it could be a combination of response rate, average gift, cost to raise a £, $ or €, lifetime value, retention rate … and the list goes on.

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Most People Don’t Care About Your Cause


As the Marketing Manager at Blackbaud, I have to keep my ear close to the ground when it comes to the latest trends and innovations in the world of marketing. However, anyone – from marketing professionals through to the general consumer – would have had to have been living on Saturn’s smallest moon (Mimas, if you’re wondering) for the last couple of years not to notice the most significant shift in the way that marketing is done these days.

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How Can Your Charity Demonstrate Its Impact?

Over the past few years the terms ‘outcomes’ and ‘impact’ have been heard increasingly across the charity sector and being able to demonstrate them is now vital. Funders, supporters, volunteers, trustees, and a numerous other stakeholders are now, more than ever, interested in the impact your charity has.

Not just what you do but what changes you make as an organisation. So, how do charities demonstrate their impact and why is it important?

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Managing a Volunteer Programme

The Community Life Survey tells us that 29% of adults in England said that they had formally volunteered at least once a month in the previous year, and 44% said that they had volunteered at least once in that year. If applied across the UK, this equates to 15.2 million people volunteering at least once a month.  Volunteers come from a range of backgrounds and lifestyles; they will bring different benefits to your charity and will have different needs.

Volunteers are amazing people who bring new skill sets, life experience, energy and perspective to an organisation.  Since they give an irreplaceable gift of time, it is only fair to plan a programme of exciting and meaningful projects for them. 

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Why are you an awesome fundraiser?

A recurring question in our sector is: what makes fundraising truly great?

Professors Adrian Sargeant and Jen Shang looked to answer this question in their report, Great Fundraising, and what they discovered is still very relevant.

Adrian and Jen examined the differences between charities which significantly increased their income year-on-year compared to ones that flat-lined or whose income increased only incrementally.

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The Millenial Running Study: Turning Their Miles Logged into Your Mission Spread

By Marssie Versola

Last month, a fascinating study was released called the Millennial Running Study.  Well, fascinating to me anyhow – being that I fit in both categories, and have made it my life’s work to encourage people to turn their passion for running into a catalyst for doing good in the world.

Something powerful happens when you connect fitness with fundraising.

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8 Tips for Approaching Major Donors – Failure to Prepare is Preparing to Fail

Most major donor prospects will have many calls on their time, but equally we know asking for a major donation isn’t something that can be rushed. How do we manage that tightrope? That’s the magic, the art, the science practiced by Major Gift fundraisers. But of course, lots of organisations aren’t in the position to employ a dedicated Major Gifts fundraising team. With a long and varied to-do list, some will rush in and waste an important opportunity, where others may unintentionally keep a prospect forever at arm’s length for fear of doing just that, while still others may never even spot the prospect in the first place.

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6 Tips for Legacy Fundraising

Gifts in wills should be a part of every fundraising strategy for several key reasons:

  • The return-on-investment is enormous. Occasional correspondence and a few event attendances could lead to a four- or five-figure bequest.
  • People in the UK are often worth more than they think when they pass away. That residuary legacy could turn out to be worth more than they (or your legator) expect.
  • Maintaining a portfolio of legacy pledges can help ensure a long-term pipeline of income for your organisation


So how do you go about setting up a legacy fundraising programme?

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Emerging Technologies You Should Keep an Eye On!

Year on year we’re amazed at all of the innovative and ground-breaking advances technology brings to the charity sector. Having the right tools in hand can make or break a campaign, and with the speed at which new methods appear it’s as important as ever to try and stay ahead of the curve.

Here are some of the exciting new technologies that we believe will make an impact throughout the rest of 2016.

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How for-profit companies are helping non-profits in the digital age

By Ted Decareau

Technological advances over the last 10 years have changed the way we do everything–from banking to booking our vacations, so it is not surprising that the way we choose to raise and donate money has changed too. New methods such as crowdfunding and social media apps offer a means of utilising the collective power of the public to raise support and funding for projects, no matter how big or small.

Many established non-profit organisations are struggling to stay relevant and gain traction in the modern age due to the extra noise and competition that has arisen through these new forms of fundraising. People today are constantly bombarded with causes and projects that want and need their money. Some are worthy, like saving the oceans or curing malaria, whereas others are a bit silly.

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Changes to Safe Harbor – What’s going on?

Changes to Safe Harbor

As the leading provider of specialist software to the non-profit sector in the UK, Blackbaud Europe takes data privacy extremely seriously. Our customers place their trust in us, and as a responsible supplier we are committed to ensuring we treat the data they hold within our software solutions with the greatest sensitivity. In October 2015, this was impacted when the European Union invalidated the Safe Harbor framework. Because the replacement for Safe Harbor – the ‘Privacy Shield’ – has not yet been implemented, the below information is intended to be a plain-English response to the questions you may still have.

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3 Reasons You’re About to Love Outcomes Measurement

By Michelle DiSabato

As a corporate funder turned consultant, I’ve spent the last decade helping funders make the shift from philanthropy to social, or impact investing.

What is impact investing?

Impact investing means more than simply “doing good.” It means investing with purpose to achieve specific, measurable outcomes and impact. In the impact investing model, when we give to a cause, we should see specific and measureable return in the form of social change.

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The art of networking

By Lucy Gower

Pause for a moment and think about what you do when you are deciding to buy something. It might be which smartphone to get, or the best place to eat in your area, where to go on holiday, or which charity to support.

Most of us either ask other people or go online and look at reviews. Whether it’s online, face-to-face or most likely a combination of both, marketers know that a personal recommendation from a trusted source is far more valuable than a company asking customers to ‘Buy the new phone – it’s great!’ or a charity saying ‘We do great work – give to us.’

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Smartphones: blessing or drawback for charitable giving?

By Maria Lamagna

There may be some upside to our smartphone addictions.

Charitable giving has hit record highs in recent years, with Americans giving more than $358 billion in 2014, a 7% increase from 2013, according to National Philanthropic Trust, a public charity that supports donors, foundations and financial institutions, and the numbers for 2015 are on track to be even higher.

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What charities can learn from Airbnb

By Lucy Gower

Fundraising is going to get tougher. It is becoming more important than ever to nurture your supporters and provide them with an exceptional experience so that they are inspired to continue to support your charity. Quite simply, without them you can’t deliver your services.

Successful commercial businesses understand the value of, and invest in, keeping their customers. Their customers are also your supporters. This means that the benchmark for exemplary service and experience is not only set by the best of the charities, it is set by the likes of Amazon, Apple and Zappos – and emerging business models like Uber and Airbnb. The organisations that are known for providing the best products and services in the world.

I recently booked a property via Airbnb. I emailed several hosts who all replied to me straight away, the very longest response took 45 minutes. The best properties have eloquent descriptions, lots of information on the local area and beautiful images. Airbnb even send a free professional photographer to photograph properties because it drives more business. Professionally photographed places are booked 2.5 times more frequently, and on an average, the images brought in $1,025 a month.*

I booked a beautiful place with sea views at an excellent price. The next week I noticed that Airbnb had charged me twice on my credit card. One of my first ever jobs was in the customer service team at a large travel company, during which time I spent several hours a day being shouted at by angry holiday makers. This has upped both my expectations and my cynicism when it comes to complaints being dealt with swiftly and satisfactorily.

I trawled grumpily through the Airbnb site trying to find a way to contact a human being. There wasn’t anything so I filled in a standard enquiry form and waited, half expecting my message to fall into the usual black hole of a customer service inbox.

I got a predictable automated response by return and mentally prepared myself for battle.

Then less than an hour later I received an email from a real, actual person. They apologised, asked for more information and promised that this was getting their upmost attention and they would sort it out as soon as possible. I was pleasantly surprised.

I sent the information they requested and they replied straight away!  Now I was verging on impressed.

The very next day they instructed that the additional payment that had I had been mistakenly charged be refunded into my bank.  Not only that, but they also gave me a £20 voucher for the inconvenience.

Now my story has changed. Instead of another tale of poor customer service, I’m telling lots of people (including the readers of this blog) how brilliant Airbnb are and how they should use them.

So, what can we learn from Airbnb?

  • The benchmark for your supporters’ experience is set by the best commercial customer service experiences in the world; not just the best non-profit supporter experiences.
  • Murphy’s Law tells us that something that can go wrong, probably will. But get this: when something goes wrong it is an opportunity to exceed expectations.
  • Speed is important; the days of a 28-day response time being acceptable are long gone. You must provide people with immediate responses.
  • Automation is expected, but then access to a real person must be possible where required to deal with some enquiries.
  • Ditch the scripts. Instead, equip people with the skills, information and autonomy to take initiative and to do a good job of customer service.
  • Add value for you and your supporter – what is your equivalent of the free professional photographer?
  • Surprise and delight – I didn’t expect a £20 voucher but very much appreciated it. You won’t want to be giving away hard-won donations, but think about what else you could give that would set the right tone? Is it a free ticket to your next event? Or a reduced membership fee?
  • The rules of marketing have changed, what your supporters say about you is more important that ever before so give them every reason to say something great.


7 New Year’s Resolutions for your non-profit

Well, it’s another new year and we’ve all resolved to get fitter, read more, learn a foreign language or get PADI-certified and go scuba diving with manta rays off the cost of Ecuador.

So before January slips by completely, we thought we’d share with you our top 7 New Year’s  resolutions that every non-profit should be keeping in order to make 2016 the best year yet for your organisation!

1. Focus on your supporters’ preferences

With a big mood for change in donor preferences, Opt-Out pages will be THE area on your website where donors build trust with an organisation. Charities are under scrutiny to prove they can respect donors’ wishes by synchronising opt-outs with their CRM database.

For loyalty across all kinds of brands, the buzzword is “transparency” – the organisations that handle this well this year will come out with more loyal donors. Read our blog post to find out how to partner with donors rather than simply market at them.

2. Keep your existing donors happy

Each year, organisations watch as up to 80% of new donors fail to support them in Year 2. Why have we become accustomed to losing so many existing donors while spending so much on finding new ones?

Make 2016 the year you commit to retaining the supporters you already have. Make sure your data is accurate, ensure you’re not overloading donors with too many emails, focus on making them feel appreciated, connected to your organisation and informed about how their gift has been used. Read our blog post for some great tips.

3. Improve the health of your data

The start of a new year is the perfect time for a health check on your database. Having clean data can help you to sustain and strengthen relationships with donors, not to mention save on unnecessary costs.

Your donor engagement strategies are only as good as your data, so it’s vital to run updates to determine whether donors have moved, passed away or changed contact information.

Blackbaud can not only clean-up you your data, but also enhance it. Contact us today to get your free data audit!

4. Stop procrastinating – Set up Gift Aid

It is estimated that around £750million in Gift Aid is left unclaimed each year as it can be a complicated process. Make your New Year’s resolution to invest the worthwhile time into setting it up and reap the benefits in the future by claiming 25% more in donations!

And if you can’t find the time in your busy January calendar, let us do the work for you! Watch our pre-recorded webinar to find out about our Gift Aid service or read about it in our Gift Aid blog post.

5. Get your marketing activities in shape with better analytics

‘Analytics’ has become the phrase at the centre of all technology innovation. By analysing your marketing activities, you can set bespoke emails to automatically send based on previous engagement.

So when an individual watches your video, or browses your website for 20 minutes, or fills out a donation form but doesn’t click submit, you know you have an engaged potential donor to target with a well-planned communication. You should also be using Analytics to test email results. Learn about A/B testing in our blog post.

6. Be more social

Research consistently shows that people donate because of the influence of peers, and social media plays a vital role in this.

Building an online brand presence takes time. It’s a two-way tool for communication, finding and building relationships, and ‘overhearing’ what others are saying about themselves and subjects that are important to them. Focus on your relationship goals and over time, if used correctly, social media will be one of your most valued assets.

Read our blog post to find out more about the importance of investing in social media.

7. Learn a new skill – become a blogger!

Blogging is a great way to build expertise, boost SEO and provide useful thought leadership information to your donors and prospects which in time will increase brand loyalty.

Don’t know where to start? Google has the search function to be able to search only ‘blogs’ so take a look at a few that exist in your organisation’s mission space and see what others are discussing. Read our short blog post for some more great tips on starting your non-profit’s first blog.

Have you thought about Gift Aid?

Have you thought about Gift Aid?

It’s estimated that around £750m in Gift Aid is left unclaimed each year in the UK, so it’s clear that more advice is needed to help charities claim the money they are entitled to.   Over half of charities in the UK do not claim Gift Aid, as it can be a complicated process.

According to a report by nfpSynergy, since Gift Aid was introduced in 1990, only 2% of charitable income is currently made up of Gift Aid Donations.

The report also states that one of the biggest concerns for people signing off on Gift Aid when they make a donation is that they don’t know if they pay enough tax and are scared HMRC could reclaim the gift aid amount directly from them.

But now, to make things easier, charities can register for Gift Aid and can now make claims online.

Out of the 70,000 charities registered for Gift Aid, over 50,000 charities have signed up to Charities Online, HMRC’s web-based facility to claim back tax on donations. The biggest claim made online so far by a single charity has been for £3.7m.
Here at Blackbaud, we also have a  Gift Aid Service to help charities when it comes to making Gift Aid declarations. The service includes:

  • Creating a clear audit trail for peace of mind, allowing easy access to valid Gift Aid Declarations
  • Protecting Gift Aid income received over the years, with minimum exposure with HMRC for repayments or penalties
  • Uncovering missed opportunities
  • Expert advice on how to implement, manage and leverage Gift Aid

The software we use was designed in collaboration with HMRC, and along with our expert team this gives you full confidence in making your Gift Aid claims.

You can read more about our Gift Aid Services by clicking here.


Lesson 1: Running a telethon at an independent school

By Dan Keyworth

Why telethons?

red_phone_for_TelethonTelephone fundraising works: if organised smartly, telethons may become your institution’s main source of recurring income. They are one of the most effective tools for raising donor participation levels, and an invaluable way of building relationships and gathering prospect information for the future. Telethons also have a surprisingly inexpensive cost-to-benefit ratio.

Central to every successful telethon are the callers – the students or recent alumni who embody the raison d’être of your school. It is precisely because they are not professional fundraisers, nor tele-salespersons, that they deliver formidable results. Students make the need for financial support direct, real and alive.

Nearly every call should deliver a positive result, whether financial or otherwise. In a well-run telethon, 30-75% of those reached may make a gift, compared to 0.5-7.5% from a carefully written appeal letter. Good telethon calls allow for much more flexible, personalised conversations: they can inspire non-donors to make their first ever gifts and motivate existing contributors to give more.

Telethons also deliver positive non-financial results. They help engender community among alumni, parents and the student body and provide a platform for stewarding existing supporters and bringing distant alumni closer to the school.

Telethons should not induce guilt – instead they succeed by making it as easy and compelling as possible for each contact to donate. Unlike a mailing campaign, there is the opportunity for dialogue, where the caller can discuss the case for support, answer any queries, and learn if and why the contact may have concerns, before responding personally.

A final result of any telethon is the key new information that can be gathered. Calls help to: improve relationships with your school; identify new prospects; update details and communication preferences; elicit career support and mentoring; identify interest in your legacy programme, and more. Above all, they empower your school with insights into the passions and interests of future major donors and highlight factors that will need to be addressed to fully harness their support.

Resourcing the telethon – and whether to have external support

Many schools decide to hire external consultants to assist in running their telethons. Established consultants know how to train enthusiastic and motivated callers and provide vital extra manpower and specific soft/hardware to aid telethon data management: both may alleviate the risk of your development office becoming over-stretched.

Good consultants can, however, cost upwards of £10,000, depending on the extent of their involvement and their reputation. As a middle option, some schools elect to have just the telethon software component provided externally. Each institution is different: determine the right balance of external support and internal investment required to deliver success at your school.

Telethons require meticulous data management and can create a large amount of paperwork. The right software and hardware can help your telethon to run smoothly and efficiently, whilst also providing you with more real-time insights into progress and areas of growing risk and/or opportunity.

Regardless of the method used, each piece of data requires careful checking before migrating into your primary CRM/contact database.

Crucially, the questions of both software and consultants are a matter of determining whether your school has sufficient resources, manpower and experience to manage all of the aspects of a successful telethon internally.

Whatever options you select, remember that a successful telethon will necessarily generate a substantial demand on your team. You will ultimately be responsible for the cleanliness and utility of the data you hold, and for guiding your institution to the need for a high-quality case for support. Do not hire consultants thinking that they will remove your administration altogether: instead, an excellent consultant will provide you with very useful support and software for your training and calling, share from experience what approaches most commonly work best, and help you to understand and meet the timelines and deadlines involved.

Continue reading with Lesson 2

Lesson 2: Running a telethon at an independent school

By Dan Keyworth

Click here for Lesson 1

Preparing for the telethon
At the outset, determine your goals for the telethon. Sensible planning will ensure that benefits are maximised and expectations are clear. You require the full backing of your school in order to succeed, so bring everyone on board very early on in the planning process.

Make it as straightforward as possible for contacts to give to your school, minimising the time and resources needed for chasing pledge fulfilment and keeping down the unfulfilled pledges at campaign end. Set up the capacity to process credit/debit card donations, either by obtaining a Merchant Service directly from an Acquiring Bank or by registering to a third-party online provider, such as Charities Aid Foundation. In both cases, for a minimal fee you will be able to take single gifts immediately over the phone. You may even be able to process credit/debit card donations directly through your database. Ensure that any payment solutions are certified compliant to PCI DSS standards.

Just as importantly, your office should acquire the facility to accept Paperless Direct Debits (PDD). These enable you to sign up customers for Direct Debit collections over the telephone, internet or face to face. This procedure can take several months but once authorised you will be able to accept regular gift instructions, removing the need to send standing order gift forms in the post to pledgers. To receive Originator status, Automated Direct Debit Instruction Service (AUDDIS) authorisation and PDD authorisation you require a sponsor: if you have BACS to administer your school’s transactions, then your bank may sponsor you to run PDDs through the same software. You will also need to agree wording of your call script, advance notice confirmation letters and giving forms, and to demonstrate that your database is capable of producing the required electronic files to process Direct Debits in this manner. An alternative to BACS, favoured by some schools, is to appoint CAF or another external provider to set up, process and manage PDDs on your behalf.

Once you have a timetable for your telethon, it is imperative to prepare thoroughly. Firstly, ensure that your CRM database is in excellent condition. You require accurate contact details and the ability to effectively segment data. Data cleansing can be time-consuming for many schools, but there are external data enrichment services available which can advance this process.

The next step is to select your contacts. Include a good proportion of your top prospects and previous donors to give your telethon the best chance of success. Aim to contact a relatively consistent mix of donors and non-donors between years, so that you are including some previously unengaged contacts to cultivate new relationships. The benefit of year-on-year consistency also aids reporting post-telethon, so that accurate comparisons can be made between campaigns to determine the most successful techniques.

It is similarly important to know whom to exclude from calling. It is not permissible under law for a school, or any other charity, to make marketing telephone calls to numbers registered with the UK Telephone Preference Scheme (TPS) – a UK-wide ‘do not call’ register – without explicit opt-in consent from an individual for the specific method and purpose for which you wish to contact them.

Ideally, pre-determine ask amounts for each contact. One of the strengths of a telephone call is the ability to negotiate and, to do this, the initial ask amount should be ambitious. Teachers may willingly give £25 per month and investment bankers £1,000 or more per year, but if your callers start with lower ask levels and the contact says yes right away, the callers cannot easily then switch to a higher ask. Unless a contact is in a profession with irregular income, the initial ask should nearly always be for a regular gift.

When determining ask amounts, in addition to obvious employment indicators, try to consider each contact’s wider picture. The ask should reflect both determinants: age, career and residence, but also previous giving history, attachment to specific appeals, previous responses, whether they have made many visits back to the school, and any other relevant factors.

Since your callers will be at the heart of your success, it is important to select the right people. Outstanding callers have been known to raise as much as £30,000+ over a two-week period. What typically works well is to have a balance of loud, outgoing, bubbly ‘chatterers’ and quieter, more reserved and sensitive ‘listeners’. After all, no two contacts are the same and different people prefer different types of conversation.

The final task is preparing the two types of post or email communications (each with variations) that contacts should typically receive as part of a telethon. The first is the notification sent shortly before the telethon to inform contacts that they can expect to receive a call from the school, both to share news and to invite their support. This pre-telethon notification can be a letter, email, postcard etc. The second set of communications are those to be sent to each contact immediately after their telephone call takes place, to follow up what was agreed. Segment these according to the response – e.g. tailoring based on whether the result was a paperless Direct Debit, donation by credit/debit card, pledged regular gift, etc. It is well worth accompanying any letter directly from the school with a tailored thank you card from the individual caller.

Unless they have already made their gift and just need to be thanked, it is usually preferable to enclose a donation form with every follow-up package. Together, the form and follow-up communication should encourage people who said ‘yes’ over the telephone to fulfil pledges; people who were unsure or said ‘no’ to reconsider; and people who did not pick up to add their support to the telethon.

The training

Training will be the most important days in the process. There is a great deal of ground to cover and it will require an attentive group of callers, and informed and well-versed trainers who can create excitement about the campaign.

Perhaps the first task in the training is to address the taboo – to shake out any misconception that this is unwanted cold-calling or telesales and to inspire belief and confidence in the callers. Explain why calling works. If the callers believe they can be successful and have an enjoyable time in the process, then they probably will.

Callers need to be fully aware from the start of the wider picture and they should fully understand exactly why there is a need to fundraise for the school. It is important that the callers understand the telethon’s broad aims. Emphasising the importance of pledges should help to minimise the occurrence of callers missing out on impactful gifts by conceding too readily. Similarly, minimise the likelihood of calls concluding with a maybe by getting them to focus on persuading each contact to pledge an exact/minimum gift amount that is more likely to be fulfilled.

Next, the training should move to the stages of a good call. There is no such thing as a perfect ‘script’ but some key phrases provided by the development office might stand the callers in good stead. Take callers carefully through each stage:

1. The greeting and the reasons for the call
2. Rapport and intelligent listening: Identify possible conversation topics and discuss useful open questions. The callers’ aim is to help contacts to remember that their school is a living, thriving place with real people in it.
3. Building the case for support and making the ask: By listening carefully the callers should be able to match the school’s case for support to the contact’s interests and make the ask in a very natural way that flows on from this rapport.
4. Negotiation and tackling common objections
5. Thank you and closure: Emphasise the need to repeat everything clearly so that neither person is in any doubt as to what has been agreed. This includes confirming the amount and the details of their donation, whether Gift Aid can be applied, whether they are happy for their name to be listed as a donor, and any payment details.

The training should bring out the importance of listening to and understanding why a contact might be saying no and then addressing their concerns thoughtfully and confidently. Each contact should ideally be asked three times – typically at decreasing levels, without ever being rude or forceful. They should not, unless prompted by the contact, ask more than three times within a call.

Finally, conclude training by getting in as much practice as possible. Here is your chance to see how each of the callers copes under pressure – with the supervisors and/or other callers watching them take on a typical call. The primary purpose of these practice conversations should be to inspire confidence and fluency in the pupils, so it is important to give encouragement to them as well as to highlight areas to improve. The more practice calls a caller makes, the better prepared they will be for the real thing.

Click here for Lesson 3

Lesson 3: Running a telethon at an independent school

By Dan Keyworth

Click here for Lesson 1
Click here for Lesson 2

The calling

If the preparation and training have been rigorous, then the calling period itself, whilst busy, should be very enjoyable. Your role will primarily be to supervise the callers, to ensure gifts are processed appropriately and securely, to administer data entry/transfer onto your CRM database, and to ensure that any problems are quickly resolved.

Assign a number of alumni or parents to each caller. Every contact should have his or her own software-based record (or printed record sheet), which lists all details on them which might be of assistance to the caller. Match callers to contacts according to shared passions, interests and experiences. This might include hobbies, sports, clubs and activities; the subjects they studied; their House within the school; their teachers; their background and demographics; and their (intended) study or career paths.

Get the callers on the phone as quickly as possible each evening: they will probably be nervous until the first call, so it is better to encourage them to do this almost straightaway.

There is a delicate balance that needs to be struck between having a fulfilling conversation that is not rushed and ensuring that you do not keep the contact on the telephone for an unnecessarily long time. Typically a call of 15-30 minutes is sufficient, unless the call recipient indicates that they would prefer a briefer or a more in-depth conversation. Similarly, there is a fine balance between getting callers back on the phone quickly after each call is completed: a rule of thumb is that each caller should only be off the phone for 5-10 minutes between completed calls.

After completing a conversation, the caller should immediately note as many relevant details as possible about what was discussed and agreed. Information is power! Good note-taking helps write a more personalised postcard, letter or email to each contact after their conversation, but also makes the job of calling them easier and more enjoyable for future callers.

Your calling software or CRM database should allow you to pull reports on success levels. Initially try to hand out call recipients with low-to-medium ask amounts, in order to inspire confidence in the callers early on. Distribute the bigger ask amounts to specific callers as soon as you are confident that they can handle them; do not leave this process too many days into the telethon, because larger prospects will often be the most difficult to get hold of and may require numerous attempts before being successfully reached.

Identifying your best callers early on is key. It will enable you to match them with the wealthiest or most challenging call recipients, thus ensuring that other callers who are struggling to get good results do not take on your most important prospects.

Nonetheless, do not show a lack of confidence in your weaker callers. It may be that some of your students are better at making affinity or thank you calls, or encouraging support from contacts with low giving potential. Alternatively, they may be able to assist in other ways such as with data-checking, or writing thank you cards. Bear in mind, too, that less successful callers can improve with the right support. Simultaneously, if a caller is receiving few regular gifts, then the caller may be switching to a participation gift ask (e.g. £10-20) too quickly. Extra training can involve focusing on addressing the first no by identifying and responding to the specific objection(s) and then re-asking at half or quarter of the original amount. It can be as simple as sitting them next to another caller who is particularly skilful, and asking them to listen in on that student’s next call.

Always include a proportion of thank you calls in your telethon. Stewardship is a fundamental part of any successful regular giving programme: these calls do not include any ask, so they are also great for a caller who is lacking confidence about the negotiation. The return on investment from these calls will also come through higher renewal and upgrade rates in future years.

As the calling period progresses, ensure that the callers are continually motivated. Start each session with a brief update – use visuals and guest speakers to create excitement, humour and buzz in the calling room. Reward them with prizes for regular gifts, large single gifts and high participation, and spend money on food, drinks and other treats. Chase targets. Let callers know on a daily basis what percentages they are hitting, what causes they are helping, and what the overall running total is. Be supportive and understanding whenever a student has a bad call and make sure they know that they can stop to chat with a supervisor about their experience.

Inevitably, a number of contacts will not be reached because of lack of time, inaccurate phone numbers, or holiday clashes. When working out whom to call next, callers should prioritise renewals, upgrades and wealthy contacts, and de-prioritise those which have thus far resulted in multiple answer phones or reaching other parties instead.



Utilising your earlier preparation of templates, get the lengthy process of generating letters, processing gifts and entering call results and information onto your CRM database underway from day one. The first golden rule is, wherever possible, to follow up each call with a letter or email within 24 hours, whilst the conversation is fresh in the contact’s mind. This maximises the likelihood that a pledger will fulfil their gift and maximises the appreciation that a donor who has already made their donation will feel in response to their thank you.

The caller’s follow-up should be tailored to include any additional information requested; check each one before it is posted to ensure it is personalised and engaging.

The second golden rule is, wherever possible, to enter the updated data from your calling onto your CRM database within 24 hours. This matters, as there may be incoming correspondence from the alumnus in the days after the telethon and you need to know the latest information when responding.

Accuracy is foremost. Each postcard/letter must be carefully checked, with pledged and fulfilled donors prioritised. The call notes gathered must be entered onto the database without errors or offending information, so that it is possible to pull up required information easily. Tempting to record everything in one place for ease will not be helpful in the long run when it comes to effective reporting and segmenting. Remember that this data is amongst the richest and most valuable you will hold, and over time can lead to much more effective mid-level and major giving programmes. At the same time, be aware that contacts can request to see a copy of their own personal data held on your system at any point and UK Data Protection laws obligate us to respond, so it is essential to phrase all updates appropriately.

Produce reports both during and after the telethon to analyse the results. Have sound daily processes and do not forget to flag up important issues and respond to bespoke actions quickly. Your telethon software may be a key asset for this, especially if it has built-in financials and dashboards. You can use these analyses to demonstrate to the governing body the benefits of repeating the process. Remember to report results back to the callers too. Not only do they deserve to hear the fruits of their labour, it should also help them with their CVs and encourage them to participate again in future. Of course, also share the successes of your telethon with your alumni, parents and friends to inspire yet others to give.

Not everyone will fulfil their pledges quickly and some will not fulfil them at all. Credit card gifts and Paperless Direct Debits help keep these to a minimum by enabling supporters to donate immediately over the phone to the caller. But for those who pledged to make their donation at a later date and then do not respond, it is usually necessary to chase them. It is well worth reminding and encouraging these contacts, through letters, emails and/or telephone calls. Only in very rare instances will pledgers complain at this persistence – usually they respond rather apologetically!

Click here for Lesson 2

Lesson 4: Running a telethon at an independent school

By Dan Keyworth

Click here for Lesson 1
Click here for Lesson 2
Click here for Lesson 3


To get the most out of telethons, your institution should invest appropriately and balance the short and longer term objectives. Remember that you are also indirectly educating your pupils and staff to become ambassadors and donors in the future. Of course, there can be no greater springboards to a successful telethon than by having both an inspiring case for support and an active, relevant and engaging alumni relations and parents programme and community already in place at your school.

Think of future years and don’t just go for the quick buck: engage appropriately and target your constituencies to maximise returns over several years’ worth of telethons. This means: investing in longer fulfilling conversations; utilising your larger prospects and donors; incorporating thank you calls as well as solicitations; and cultivating a wide pool of contacts to extend beyond just the current reach and focus of the school. Don’t merely plan for year one; instead try to set good prospects and expectations at the outset for continued investment in year two and onwards.

Above all, aim high: telethons do work and they work best when asks are bold and the cause and targets ambitious and inspiring. Motivate your callers and build up as much team spirit as you can. Similarly, motivate your development office and your governing body. Most of all, motivate your alumni, parents and friends. Promote your telethon in your newsletter or magazine and email bulletins, through social media, and on your website. Report results back to them frequently. Let them know how their gifts are being spent and the impact that they are collectively making. Regular giving is a culture that prospers over time. In order to bring sceptical alumni and parents on board, continually demonstrate that the calls are as much about engagement and sharing impact as they are about fundraising totals. Build the sense of community throughout.

Consider including metrics around relationship-building as part of each telethon, so that this point on engagement is made more clearly. Build metrics around the data enrichment/cleaning and prospect identification benefits too. How many future legacy opportunities arose from the telethon? How many new donors gave £1,000 or more for the first time? How many high-net-worth individuals (CEOs, directors, barristers, investment bankers, surgeons etc) were identified? How many gave more this year than last year? What impact did calling have on event attendees in the six months after? How many new sign-ups for the boat club email list did you obtain? How many new volunteers did you identify for your mentors programme? What other qualitative data on contacts now flagged as prospects did you capture? And so on.

Fundraising does need fine-tuning. There can be a big difference between a badly-run telethon and a well-run one, with your own time investment and any consultant support making a real difference. Enhance the telethon with supporting strategies, perhaps by sending out a personal information form beforehand to gather more up-to-date contact and other helpful details. Make sure to ask for telephone numbers on every event invitation RSVP and gift form too, as that grows your pool for next year. Ensure you collect the accompanying consents: formulate a structured plan for potential touch points where phone and email consent may be obtained, and make your print and online statements simple, prominent, explicit and positive enough that people will opt-in. A comprehensive CRM database is perhaps your greatest tool towards these pursuits – it is vital to preparing for, executing and then following up your telethon, and also for harnessing the longer-term benefits that this investment in personal contact derives for you.

If you follow sensible guidelines then you should expect an excellent rate of return. A typical telethon costs as little as £10,000-£20,000 to run, much of that being wages to callers and software and mailing costs (the telephone bill itself should be relatively low). Donations meanwhile typically reach between £50,000 and £200,000, and in some instances much higher. Above and beyond this there are the priceless non-immediate benefits discussed throughout. With your institution’s backing and good preparation, a well-run telethon will pay dividends many times over.

Missed the beginning? Click here for Lesson 1

Content Creation: Where are you with your online presence?

I’ve spent many hours working on creating content, on and offline, that you can only hope will be valued and enjoyed by customers, members, donors and the like. It’s great fun to start with a concept and take it right through to completion but most of all I’ve enjoyed producing content to set free online, utilising the new media that is now so readily available at no cost.

Reach large or small audiences through a variety of channels. If you have no online strategy, have a think about some small things you can do to get your message out there, which supports your mission and organisation’s values and will be consumed by your supporters.

Here are a few ideas to get you going:


It’s an obvious one and most organisations have them now but so many are done so poorly. The user experience is important. Get a few people, unfamiliar if possible to the site, to test out the user friendliness. Can they find all the information they need? Is it easy to navigate? Do all the links work properly? Is the design and layout attractive to the eye and is there enough content to keep the user on your website? Donation buttons, correct ‘Contact Us’ information and ease of contacting (email address, telephone, social media site links – we’ll come onto that later). The website is the first place people will find you or keep returning to, to get news updates or to donate through. Keep content fresh and accurate.


On Facebook, it’s an organisational page you need and NOT a profile page that individuals have. It’s against Facebook rules to use profiles for organisations, so make the change over if you are using a profile. Again it’s important to have accurate and fresh information on your page. Use stories, links, photos and news to update the content and keep your organisation in your followers minds.


Tweeting is microblogging and posts your tweets in real time. Have conversations with followers in and outside your circle using hashtags (#). For example, Connecting Up (@connectingup) has fortnightly tweetchats on the hashtag #npau where you can join in the conversation and have your say. You’ll find more if you experiment and spend time looking to see what others are doing. If you do that though, look for the larger, multinational organisations who have dedicated digital staff. Search ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ or ‘Twitter Basics’ if you’re just getting started and need help to begin. The more advanced will have Twitter widgets embedded into their webpages to populate the most recent tweets.


For the novice out there, Blackbaud Voice if Blackbaud’s blog about fundraising. A blog is defined by a series of discrete entries or posts. Blogs are often the work of an individual or they can be from a group, usually about a single topic. They’re a form of social networking because visitors can leave messages and comments, and content can be posted to other social media sites. You may want to use it for outreach or opinion forming, branding or public relations.

If your cause has no voice online, a blog is a great way to get started. Advertising your blog URL in your organisation’s email signature can be an easy way to gain followers and get interest in posts. Google search picks up on blog content so keep your posts fresh, relevant and specific. Google also has the search function to be able to search only ‘blogs’ so take a look at a few that exist in your organisation’s mission space and see what others are discussing. To get started there are free blogging sites you can customise, alternatively look at investing and getting the professionals to get you started.

Thoughts following the reaction to Olive Cooke. Part 1

By Azadi Sheridan.

I love fundraising and charities. Perhaps this is no surprise seeing as I’ve now worked either with, or for, charities for approaching twenty years.

In that time, I’ve not seen a sector controversy as great as the one surrounding the tragic death of Olive Cooke. A few months have passed, and I wanted to see what has changed.

For those who don’t know, Olive Cooke, Britain’s oldest poppy seller, tragically took her own life in May. An inquest into her death has not yet returned a verdict, and although the note she left didn’t mention charities, there has been a lot of speculation since her death about how charities approach their donors. She is featured in this very sad article from October 2014 in the Bristol Post about how in the space of a month, alongside many phone calls, she received up to 267 direct mail pieces from different charities, and was someone who “couldn’t say no.”  In the aftermath of this shocking news, the government proposed changes in the law to help protect vulnerable people from fundraising harassment.

A lot of column inches have been filled on this topic, but these are the key areas that have struck me.


This is sad stuff. It’s also complex, and we await a formal inquiry on further findings from Mrs Cooke’s tragedy. But the main reason behind the huge reaction is that these concerns have struck a nerve with members of the public who have received a similar customer experience from charities. And the effects don’t stop there, I’ve spoken to fundraisers who have seen huge dips in income subsequently, and therefore impact on services delivered to those in need. GoGen – a calling and face-to-face fundraising service provider – have filed for bankruptcy citing the current environment as a cause for this loss of 485 jobs.

Consent to Use of Data

One particular concern surrounding Mrs Cooke was the sharing of her personal data: “I believe some of the charities must have passed my details on, as I then started getting letters from other similar causes asking me to support them.”

I’ve personally built up a strong dislike for third party marketing. I saw one organisation, albeit not a charity, require customers who wanted information about a ticketed event to agree to receive party marketing. Famed fundraiser Giles Peagram’s piece on 101 Fundraising in late May in response to Olive Cooke’s death says “You [must] give donors a choice.” He doesn’t write about data sharing, but he does continue that point with the comment “If you ask them too often to give/upgrade, they will start to feel bad about the relationship, feel harassed, and possibly transfer their support to a charity that is less demanding.”

Unfortunately, once your data has been sold on (or swapped) it’s hard to control what happens next and stop being contacted. Have you ever been cold-called and asked where that company got your data from? I have, and the almost unanimous answer is “I don’t know.” I wonder if Mrs Cooke’s name appeared on a list for sale or rent by many charities. Surely, this causes exhaustion of the donor? I appreciate that the norm for third party marketing is to have donors opt-in, but why even go into data sharing like this? The third party advertising can be irrelevant, it can damage the charity brand and ultimately dilutes or competes with the charity’s message. Each pound earned swapping or selling data – in my eyes – is a pound spent reducing donor loyalty.

That being said, Codes of Fundraising Practice allow this kind of marketing, but what surprised me was Peter Lewis of the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) stating that some charities willfully work around the Code of Practice, even using call centres based abroad to work around the rules. Surely if we’re in the sector of doing good, donors expect us to abide by the spirit of the rules? How does working around the rules make a donor want to give?

Part 2 of this article will look further into how charities can reach donors ethically, and serve as a reminder for just how vital the profession of fundraising still is.

Read Part 2 now!

Thoughts following the reaction to Olive Cooke. Part 2

By Azadi Sheridan

Haven’t read Part 1? Read it now!

But Charities Have to Reach Donors

Fundraising is a competitive marketplace. Many charities compete to gain attention from a relatively small number of people with the capacity and propensity to give. This forces us to make gains wherever we can to bring a donation to our charity.

Roger Craver at The Agitator has strong views on this, and believes that the answer is to focus on retention. You then need to ask for money less often. “The true interests of the donor — given only lip service by the sector for decade upon decade — have truly been ignored” says Craver in his strong-worded response to Mrs Cooke’s death. “In short, the sector is finally paying the price for marketing at donors rather than partnering with them and listening to them”

Giles Pegram in April this year echoed the same sentiment: “Trustees look at cash received on a monthly basis. They are not being convinced that they should be looking at long term income, via donor satisfaction.” He followed this, in the thick of the Olive Cooke news, by saying in a blog on the seven things he would do differently as an appeals director if given the chance: “Spend at least as much on retention as you spend on recruitment.” A solution he proposes (along with Ken Burnett of Relationship Fundraising fame) is a commission to improve the donor experience.

But We Need to Fundraise To Make the World Better

We need fundraising in order to help make the world a better place. I do think the IoF’s Proud to be a Fundraiser is an excellent concept – that fundraising is a core part of charity. I worry that the sector is stuck in defensive mode and that the Daily Mail is on the lookout for yet more charity scandals rather than singing from the rooftops that fundraising is a blooming hard job, and that our society needs fundraisers to achieve, to succeed, to help make a difference in the world. This involves a lot of partners working together – both charities and for-profit organisations – doing work that the average donor doesn’t understand the subtleties of. However, Richard Turner describes the sector’s response as defensive and explains that “When attacked we are neurologically wired to defend. That’s how it feels the fundraising sector in the UK Is reacting. How to mitigate the damage. Where to place the blame.”

Adrian Salmon is a prominent name in the sector and his comments in this blog post really highlights some of this defensiveness:

“I read this post: by Debra Allcock-Tyler yesterday, and the beginning of the third paragraph of it stood out and concerned me deeply:

“Of course there are bad apples that need to be well and truly mulched. Some of our private-sector, subcontracted fundraising organisations sometimes overstep the mark and don’t behave according to the values we expect. That’s because, unlike us, they’re in it for profit. But we stamp on them when we find out.”

‘It’s quite aggressive language from a sector leader towards suppliers the sector relies on, wouldn’t you say? ‘Mulched’, ‘we stamp on them’. Nasty. Not really the language of collaboration and partnership in a common cause.

“And I profoundly disagree with Debra’s analysis, “That’s because, unlike us, they’re in it for profit”. That’s an awful over-simplification. Simply being for-profit doesn’t mean you discard your values. No, the reason these practices have occurred is because they have been necessary to meet the demands of clients for ever higher results at ever lower cost. If a telephone or face to face agency wasn’t willing to do this, they faced the very real prospect of not being a viable concern.”

The Fundraising Standards Board’s reaction however has been to recommend wide-ranging changes to the Institute of Fundraising Code of Practice. This includes better protection for vulnerable people, clearer opt-in to names being shared on lists for third parties, and updates to opt-ins for telephone fundraising. There will be difficulties implementing this, but I really like that the changes are donor-focused. Thankfully, the IoF are starting to implement these changes in their code of practice starting with the opt-in check for TPS names.

Some of Olive Cooke’s family don’t agree that charity communication led to Olive’s death. Even if this is correct, this has brought to the surface a number of important concerns the public has about fundraising, and a change in how donors will be treated in the future. The latest news is that the FRSB and the ICO have an appetite to challenge charities abusing data protection, and I also see Oxfam reacting clearly and publicly to a different report about fundraising calling standards. It feels like the sector will come out of 2015 with a great deal of change. Change that makes giving donations better for donors – which has to be good for the fundraising sector, doesn’t it?

Haven’t read Part 1? Read it now!

What’s your Excuse?

I am still shocked when I speak with people in the not-for-profit world and hear some reason why they are not yet investing time developing their brand and communications with a wider audience in the social media world. It’s usually one or more of the following:

“We’ve tried social media and it didn’t work”

You’ve developed a Facebook page, posted links on your website and haven’t yet delved into the world of Twitter because you didn’t get floods of traffic or any interest after a relatively short period of time on Facebook.

What I would say is you haven’t ‘tried’ social media. It’s not a magical advertising tool and it’s certainly not something that will be developed overnight. Building an online brand takes consistent use and is not a place for posting press releases or news of your events. It’s a two-way tool for communication, finding and building relationships, ‘overhearing’ what others are saying about themselves and subjects that are important to them. Focus on your relationship goals and over time, used correctly, social media can enable the message of what you do to others.

“We’re not tech savvy”

Many smaller not-for-profits have limited resources and skills, you may not even have people in your office who know how to create an account on Twitter. It’s going to be a learning curve but the internet provides a great deal of information on this. Get comfortable with the etiquette, vocab, customs and best ways of working. You’ll learn there really isn’t a lot to it!

“I don’t care about social media”

I’m most interested in the first part of this sentence. You need to care about what’s going on out there, what millions of others have hooked onto – this wonderful world of social media. It’s chit-chat, small talk and profound thoughts, nosiness and careful consideration. This is how humans are engaging in each other’s lives, reaching loved ones from millions of miles away to those the other side of a crowded room. If you can communicate in person, you can communicate through social media – and you should care!

“Our donors really aren’t into Facebook”

Make sure that if you are making this excuse you’re not underestimating your stakeholders!
I hear lots of stories from friends about their parents/grandparents/aunts etc. requesting to be their ‘friend’ on Facebook. These are the older generation, those who didn’t grow up using computers in the classroom or a mobile phone when they left the house as a kid. If a social media strategy isn’t right for your audience now, ok, but your audience are people and people use social media.

What have you done with my money?

When was the last time you contacted your donors and specifically informed them of how their donation has helped your cause or been put to great use? No doubt you’ll have some heart-warming examples that showcase how successful fundraising has made a difference to an individual, family or a community’s life? Please share this with your donors at least once a year, more if you can, they’re just dying to hear – why wouldn’t they? You are the stewards of their donated hard-earned cash.

Prepare the story by setting the scene

How dire was the situation? What was it that led your organisation to be involved in the case? Get quotes from individuals involved and pictures to really help set the scene, particularly if there’s a great after-shot to go with it.

Your organisation’s involvement

Who? When? Where? Why? Was it all because of one person or a group of people? Allow individuals or these groups to shine when telling the story.

The outcome

The success story. The part that will touch the hearts of your donors and lead to them being proud to be involved in your organisation. The story may well be passed on by word of mouth when chatting with peers.

Remember, be concise.  Don’t ramble on and switch donors off reading it before they even start.


Tell them that continual donations make this work possible. You want to give them the opportunity to give again or give beyond their usual regular contribution and a reason for doing so!
If you able to answer the question ‘What have you done with my money?’ you’ll be able to retain and grow your base rather than see them slip away.

Why we love small charities

With the FSI’s annual Small Charity Week taking place this month, which kicked off with ‘I love small charities’ day and the launch of their #ILoveSmallCharities campaign, the team here at Blackbaud thought we’d tell you why we love small charities too!

There are so many reasons to love small charities, that it’s hard to know where to start, but underpinning everything is entrepreneurship and big hearts. Small charities are ideas driven and creative, with dogged determination to really make a difference. They are the lifeblood of the not-for-profit sector!

Employees and volunteers of small charities have a genuine affinity for their cause, and what always prevails is their endless passion. I want to tell you about an organisation that I have worked with recently, who epitomise what it is to be a small charity.

I first met with Foundation For Jimmy back in February, and from the word go I could see and really feel how much this charity meant to everybody involved. Foundation For Jimmy was set up by Barry and Margaret Mizen following the tragic murder of their 16 year old son Jimmy in May 2008. Instead of allowing themselves to be beaten by his death, they were determined that something good would come of it.

Foundation For Jimmy is a small charity working to make young people safer, giving them support and direction, to discourage and prevent criminal activity and aggression. Ultimately, the Foundation seeks to establish and involve young people in becoming pro-active change-makers themselves: building a legacy of peace in Jimmy’s honour.

“Peace is not a destination, it’s a journey. Will you join us?”
Barry and Margaret Mizen, MBEs

Those who I met at Foundation For Jimmy were all wonderfully engaging and it was plain to see how important this charity is to them, and of course to all of the young people who they work with. In line with the training and support that they offer young people, many of whom volunteer for the Foundation and work in the office during holidays and weekends, I was fortunate enough to meet one of their young volunteers, with a bright future because of Foundation For Jimmy. That’s what it’s all about! They all get their hands dirty, working directly with young people, being the face of the Foundation in the community, with schools and local businesses, promoting what they do and raising awareness and support, all with a big smile on their faces.

This really is a testament to the front line work that small charities are involved in. It’s not just about a job for these people; it’s about overcoming obstacles to combat problems, piece by piece. Every charity that you can think of was a small charity once upon a time, even those household names and international giants. Let me tell you readers … size isn’t everything! Let’s hear it for the small charities, working their socks off to do amazing things!

Follow us on Twitter to read more about Small Charity Week @BlackbaudEurope

Why should small charities be in the spotlight?

After much anticipation, the time has come. The week we have been preparing for is finally here. Small Charity Week, which is run by the FSI, is upon us and we can finally launch our We Love Small Charities campaign!

For the last ten days we have asked our eTapestry customers to write to us telling us “Why Should Small Charities be in the Spotlight?”

And really, we shouldn’t even have to ask the question. With the Charity Commission revealing in September 2014 that 159,174 out of 164,987 charities have a turnover of less than £1.5 million, small charities make up the majority of the not-for-profit sector.

So what have we learnt from our small charity customers?

They might be small but they make a HUGE difference.

Either competing with big charities or as a niche organisation and the only resource of its kind, it can be difficult for small charities to get their voices heard. But with the help of their supporters, passion and commitment, they make the world a better place, and can often see direct results of the work they do.

Small charities have the most amazing staff and volunteers.

Anyone running an organisation knows of the importance of dedication to succeed and make a difference. Staff members working for not-for-profits do an amazing job, and small charities are often lucky enough to build true families with their staff but also with their volunteers and donors. It is because of staff’s dedication and the precious time that volunteers offer up that makes change possible, and for small charities to deliver on their mission.

Because they are smaller they need to be more efficient and effective.

Limited funds means small charities can’t afford to spend the way larger charities do and buy lots of advertising and publicity. The money they get needs to be funnelled straight into the cause they are working for. But having limited funds doesn’t mean they can’t achieve, it just means they have to work better and more efficiently. Imagine working with such confines and still being able to deliver on their promise? It’s all down to keeping focus on their vision and believing in what they do.

Small charities are key to every community; providing much needed support where otherwise there would be none.

Whether immediate surroundings or working for a community internationally, small charities are working around the world to meet local needs that would otherwise go un-met. With the flexibility afforded to smaller organisations, small charities can react quickly and efficiently to problems they encounter around them, often because they work from within the local communities they are looking to help.

So let’s celebrate small charities this week, and help spread the word about what they do, so that they can keep up the amazing work for years to come.

Follow us on Twitter to read more about Small Charity Week @BlackbaudEurope

What is a CRM system? A quick guide

“Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a system for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organise, automate and synchronise sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.” Wikipedia

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is not just a database but a strategy; an improvement in the way you manage customers and, in the not-for-profit sector, your donors, contacts and supporters. It can underpin a new fundraising strategy, consolidate disparate IT systems (perhaps even multiple spreadsheets), reduce costs and automate processes as well as improve your knowledge of, and contact with, your donors and supporters. A fundraising CRM system is built with the
not-for-profit in mind, providing tools to make fundraising easier.

Why should I consider a fundraising CRM system?
Perhaps you are having difficulties keeping accurate records of your supporters, spending too much time on administrative tasks, or aren’t able to send out consistent targeted communications to your contacts. To solve these problems it’s always important to get the basics right so you are able to not only sustain, but grow your charity. A fundraising CRM system can help you achieve this.


A fundraising CRM system consists of four parts:
1. Relationship Management
2. Fundraising
3. Marketing and Communications
4. Reporting and Analysis


1. Relationship Management
Recording all your information about a supporter in one place means you are able to draw a 360
degree view of them, which in turn helps you to build a stronger relationship with them over time. A
fundraising CRM system makes seeing the history your not-for-profit has with a supporter quick and
easy, and provides you with the information you need to determine how loyal they are as a donor, or
what their particular interests in your organisation are. Knowing this information will allow you to create
more targeted and personalised messages so you are able to build a better, stronger and longer term
relationship with them.


2. Fundraising
Not-for-profits need to rely less on grants and statutory funding, and diversify through individual giving
and events. A fundraising CRM system manages the end-to-end processes and automated actions
for you, such as integrated online giving pages and gift processing, meaning less time spent on
administration. Keeping an accurate record of Gift Aid and automating monthly giving payments helps
make donor relationships your priority.


3. Marketing and Communications
Sustaining and developing your organisation will mean that supporter relationships need to be
cultivated. Being able to send consistent communications that are targeted and personalised, lays the
foundation for a more loyal supporter, protects your brand and builds trust. By keeping track of the
communications you send to your supporters, you can ensure that duplicate, or mixed messages are
not sent out.


4. Reporting and Analysis
An integrated fundraising CRM system provides quick and easy reporting at the click of a button.
You can also save even more time by scheduling reports to come straight into your inbox. Dashboard
tools provide quick statistics on how much your campaigns have raised, who your top donors are,
and which approaches work best for you. Pre-configured reports allow you to quickly access detailed
campaign analysis, manage your duplicates and much more. With the ability to design your own
reports for review or export, all bases are covered.

What can a banker teach a charity?

When it comes to the world of banking, the words ‘charitable’ and ‘giving’ don’t immediately spring to mind, so what – if anything – can the not-for-profit sector learn from the financial sector?

At the CFG Annual Conference in London last week, Steve Harris, who spent 15 years working in the financial services industry, explained why he turned to the not-for-profit sector to seek a more worthy career. After having a baby daughter and realising he would one day have to explain how his job working with hedge funds allowed him to help people with a lot of money have slightly more money, he decided to turn to a career that would make her proud.

He is now head of financial planning and analysis at Scope, a charity that exists to make the UK a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else, and he hasn’t looked back – “So far I haven’t actually been shouted at and no one’s thrown any computer equipment!”. He shared with the audience the top pieces of advice he has taken away from working in some of the country’s major banks and how they can help in the not-for-profit sector:

1. Data is really important
Steve said that the banking and trading world is all about the data you have, and banks spend millions of pounds making sure their data is better than the next organisation. It’s not to say that charities should spend all of their money on data, but it is important to properly use, track and analyse the data you have.

2. Nurture the talent in your organisation
Steve explained that working in the banking industry showed him that banks are never afraid of throwing money at good people – but more than that, they are great at realising where talent lies. Charities should identify the key individuals they have, who will drive the organisation forward, and realise that these are the people that need attention. After being asked by a member of the audience how to retain talent when often resources are low and there is no extra money to offer, Steve suggested to ask people what they want. It’s not always about the pay packet, and charities may be able to offer different opportunities and experiences to their most talented employees.

3. Don’t be a commercial enterprise, but adopt commercial principles
Steve disagreed with the concept that charities should think more like commercial enterprises to succeed, but thinking in a more strategic way and having commercial focus could help. Charities can consider their donors as investors, and it’s essential to be sure they are taking the money from the investors and using it in the right way.

Scope is a charity that exists to make the UK a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. To read more about the work they do, click here.