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23 Nov 16

Fundraising – what’s broken and how can we fix it!

lunch Leboff

This was the big question being addressed at our Directors lunch at Gordon Ramsey’s Union Street Café on Thursday 17th November. Rory White, Rosheen Singh and Pedro Tsiamas of Flow Caritas hosted a lunch for 12 Fundraising Directors, representing Oxfam, Barnardos, WAP, SSAFA, Scouts Association, CAFOD, Teach First, Terence Higgins, St Mungo’s and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. We were also joined by a brilliant guest speaker, Grant Leboff of Sticky Marketing.

Why did we bring so many illuminaries together?

Well unless you are hiding your head in the sand, you will know that there is a real issue with the fundraising model, it doesn’t work like it used to! Rather than panic and pretend it isn’t happening and it’s business as usual, we thought we would address industries concerns and bring some of the sectors talented experts together for lunch to hear the thoughts of someone who really understands customer attraction and engagement.

Grant Leboff is the founder of Sticky Marketing, a consultancy working worldwide to help businesses with their sales and marketing in a changing landscape. He has brought his clarity of mind and understanding to the charity sector and sits as a commissioner on the Donor Experience.

The premise of Grant’s presentation was that if people want to make commitment to donate, then they will make that decision based on what their people they know or feel comfortable with say or they will research online. The old fundraising model using traditional media to shout about your cause is not effective, rather we want to help potential supporters discover our cause.

What were the key things we learnt?

In the discussion that followed Grant’s presentation several really interesting points came up:

  • Everyone is a media channel – for the first time in history everyone is a media and marketing channel. Because of social media we all have our own mini media outlet.
  • Scarcity of attention – in a world of abundance of information there is a real scarcity of attention and the traditional sales and fundraising model doesn’t work.
  • Best marketeers are people around you – we believe less and less in the views of those in authority. The best marketeers are the people around you. We are far more likely to trust messages from people we know.
  • We sit in information silos – there is a danger, because we can now choose the information we receive, that people sit in silos and this stops us seeing the reality of what is really happening. This is why things like Brexit can come a surprise to many, including me.
  • Don’t be scared of alienating people – you have to stand for something and it is better to really appeal to a very loyal audience who can act as channels to influence those around them.

“I have been looking forward to meeting Grant for a long time and he didn’t disappoint”

“thank you for the invitation to yesterday’s thought provoking lunch. I got a lot out of it so thank you”

“I found the discussion fascinating, and always great to network with sector peers”

I personally took a lot away from the lunch and having read his book. I wear two hats, sitting between fundraising and recruitment. The problems faced by the sector are exactly the same problems we as recruiters face. Traditionally as recruiters we have been taught to disrupt a client or candidate and tell them about how amazing and different our product is compared to all our competitors. But we live in a world where having unique selling points is meaningless as this can be copied almost immediately by the competition. We are in an experience economy, our clients and candidates do not want us to do things to them, but with them. So the focus for us at Flow Caritas is less on what we do but how we do it, engaging people in our process and seeking out opinions. As Grant said in his presentation, everyone is a medial channel!

Email me your thoughts on this now – rory@flowcaritas.co.uk