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How to avoid the misuse of emotion in fundraising

  Earlier this year I wrote one of my longest ever opinion pieces on fundraising. It’s on the use and misuse of emotion and was written for the Commission on the Donor Experience. You can find the full-length version on SOFII by clicking here. But be warned, it’s more like a dissertation than a blog…

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Why I had to close Bluefrog down (and why I set up Bluefrog Fundraising)

A few rumours have been circulating regarding the closure of Bluefrog Limited, so I thought it might be useful to explain what happened and share the reasons why the company closed and why all work and staff were transferred to a new company, Bluefrog Fundraising. Running an agency is hard. Margins are tight, you face…

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What’s the point of copying if we all have different exam papers?

A few days ago, I shared this quote from the ad man, Bill Bernbach on Twitter (if you don’t know who he was, take a look at this). “Imitation can be commercial suicide”. I suggested copying was pretty normal for charities and I asked if this was one of the key reasons why we had…

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Mobile fundraising is not a magic bullet

As quickly as mobile fundraising took off in the UK, so it soon fell into decline. But for a few years, every charity seemed keen to have their own mobile campaign. Open a newspaper, switch on the TV, walk down the street or climb aboard a train and you’d be confronted by ad after ad…

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Heritage branding. A great opportunity for charities.

Here’s my prediction for charity brands over the next few years. They will go back to their roots. They will revert to their old logos and names. The ones they used in the 60s, 70s and 80s. They might be slightly tweaked, refreshed or produced in a “more dynamic” palette a few shades away from…

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Using donors as part of your case for support

One of the things that frustrates me about modern fundraising is the belief that some donors can actually be a bit of a problem. Last year, I was at the sharp end of a rant where someone was complaining about donors. It went a little like this… “Don’t they understand that it costs us to…

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Five things I learned from the Ask Direct Summer School

Last week I had the privilege of being part of one of the most exciting fundraising conferences I’ve ever attended – The Ask Direct Fundraising Summer School. A group of highly talented people shared, inspired and challenged us to do better. Not just as fundraisers but as people too. I took a huge amount away…

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Change the future of fundraising by sharing your best practice

I’m currently working with Ken Burnett who has asked me to identify the best global fundraising practice to be featured in the final report of the Commission on the Donor Experience. Our goal is to demonstrate what can be achieved over the long-term by focusing on communications that honestly, responsibly and consistently move donors emotionally.…

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What can we learn from Lord Grade?

Last week, I shared a few thoughts in Third Sector, about Lord Grade's views on fundraising. You probably read about his interview in The Sunday Times and may well have heard his speech at the IoF gala dinner. What follows is a slightly more detailed piece on my take on his point of view and…

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Three things you need to get right in mid-value fundraising

There has been a surge of interest in mid-value fundraising over the last year, so I thought it might be worth sharing a few thoughts about the technique. For those who don’t know, mid-value fundraising is a focused, engaging and highly personal version of direct marketing that asks wealthier (or more generous) people for gifts of between £250…

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