Monthly Archives: November 2009

Securing the promise

Quite a bit on Twitter yesterday about interruption marketing and its shortcomings. We were reminded, via Angel Fernando’s article, of Seth Godin’s very pertinent observations and also the concept of ‘data smog’

And yet there’s still a problem for fundraisers who want to go down the permission route – how do you get the attention of those people who might become consenting members of your ‘tribe’, to use a Godin expression, ‘somewhere down the road’? Surely that requires an initial interruption at some point?

My work for the last 12 years has mostly been in the area of telephone fundraising, an interruption marketing method that is still one of the most effective out there. Why so? Well because at the end of 1 in 5 conversations, sometimes 1 in 3, a promise has been secured, however grudging – to donate to our cause, or at least to consider it in future. And for those who won’t make that promise there and then, we know whether it’s ‘never again’ or at least ‘not now’. No other form of fundraising, apart from face to face methods, gets to the point of securing the promise so well, or helps us say farewell to those who won’t.

So, to change things for the better in the crowded fundraising world, we need people’s permission to talk to them – and thus eventually be in the position to secure the promise.

So how do you get that permission?

How about putting a new twist on a couple of old marketing propositions?

1. The ‘Send No Money Now’ proposition. You’ve all seen this – it’s still used by thousands of commercial companies. Why? Because they’re so confident their product will meet our needs, they know once we try it we will gladly purchase at the end of the trial. For us, a send no money, just your contact details proposition, could provide us with thousands more people who aren’t ready to make the promise to give straight away, but want to hear how we would use their gifts. We’d also have their permission to follow up. Some campaigning charities, like Save the Children, use text message petitions in precisely this way (scroll down the linked page) – and have got spectacular results.

2. The dating concept. Godin uses this as a metaphor for permission marketing – but what if there were a ‘dating site’ for charities?
Put in the causes you care about, whether you want to support locally, or further afield, whether you want to support a single cause or spread your support, and how much money you can spare each month, quarter or year. You’d then pick one or more charities to whom you’d either give, or give explicit permission to send you information in future. You could even combine it with the Sarah Beney ‘My Single Friend’ concept – where donors would themselves endorse charities on the site. Some sites, like JustGiving or See the Difference, might go some way towards this, but there’s no site out there doing this yet.

So, what are the barriers? Cost for the one, and perception of competition for the other?

Well, the biggest thing holding us back as a sector is the refusal to invest in long-term value rather than short term. If we invest what we’ve always invested, with the strategies we’ve always used, we’ll continue to get the results we’ve always got, or worse.

The second I think rests on a confusion of what competition is, in our sector. We are not competing against each other as causes in the public mind. We are competing against the ability we all have – to send no money now and make no promise whatsoever.



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Why not give back to your Uni this Charity Tuesday?

It’s Charity Tuesday on Twitter today. If you’re a university graduate why not take a couple of minutes online today to give back?

Here’s a list of all the University online giving pages I could find for you

If you benefited from your time at uni – in whatever way – and you believe that the advancement of education and knowledge can be a massive driver of global social change, do support your University in their missions!

Universities generally don’t receive the majority of their funding from the Government any more – the direct amount the university I work at receives is only around a third of its turnover. And the support we could receive from alumni, even if only one in ten of our graduates were to give, would be truly transformative in terms of what we could achieve.

An active and engaged alumni community supporting their institutions has the potential to be a massive driver of change.

You can choose to direct your support towards your uni’s research and knowledge activity, or to support the experience of those who come as students, and who could go on to make significant individual contributions in all areas of global society, whether locally or on a wider scale. You could be helping someone to come or to stay, who wouldn’t be able to do so otherwise.

I firmly believe we should aim to make university education a right for as many people as we can manage – and we won’t be able to do that without your philanthropic support.

You can find a list of universities with online donation pages here. Do find your uni, click, and give – and thank you!

Adrian Salmon

PS Many universities will be able to count your gift as part of a new Matched Funding scheme. That means that your gift, plus Gift Aid, could become worth at least double. So even a small gift will go a lot further than you think…

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UK Universities Online Giving pages

Here are the links to all the UK Universities’ online giving pages! If your uni isn’t listed it was because I couldn’t find any links about giving on their site. The list is roughly alphabetical, but it is long, so why not do a ‘Find’ (CTRL + F if you’re a PC, CMD + F if you’re a Mac) on this page, and then click through!

University of Aberdeen

University of Abertay Dundee

Aberystwyth University

Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge and Chelmsford

University of the Arts London

Aston University, Birmingham

Bangor University

University of Bath

University of Birmingham

University of Bolton – download and print a form

Bournemouth University

University of Bradford

University of Brighton – link to download and print a form

University of Bristol

Brunel University, Uxbridge and London

University of Buckingham

University of Cambridge

Cardiff University

University of Central Lancashire, Preston

City University London

Cass Business School

Coventry University

De Montfort University, Leicester

University of Dundee

Durham University

University of East Anglia, Norwich

University of East London

Edge Hill University, Ormskirk

University of Edinburgh

Edinburgh Napier University

University of Essex

University of Exeter

University of Glasgow

Glasgow Caledonian University

Glasgow School of Art

Guildhall School of Music and Drama

University of Gloucestershire

University of Greenwich

Harper Adams University College

Heriot-Watt University

University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield

University of Huddersfield

University of Hull

Imperial College London

Keele University – download and print a form

University of Kent

King’s College London

Kingston University

Lancaster University

University of Leeds

Leeds Metropolitan University

University of Leicester – download and print a form, or phone.

University of Lincoln

University of Liverpool

Liverpool Hope University – download and print a form

Liverpool John Moores University

University of London:

Birkbeck, University of London

Courtauld Institute of Art

Goldsmiths, University of London – download and print a form

Institute of Cancer Research

Institute of Education

King’s College London

London Business School



Queen Mary, University of London – download and print a form

Royal Academy of Music

Royal Holloway, University of London

Royal Veterinary College

School of Advanced Study:

Institute of Historical Research – download a form

Institute of Musical Research – download a form

School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

School of Pharmacy, University of London

University College London (UCL)

London South Bank University

Loughborough University – download and print a form

University of Manchester

Manchester Business School – contact their team

Manchester Metropolitan University

Middlesex University, London – download and print a form

Newcastle University

University of Wales, Newport – download and print a form

University of Northampton – supporters enquiry form

Northumbria University

Norwich University College of the Arts


University of Nottingham

Nottingham Trent University

The Open University

University of Oxford

Oxford Brookes University

Plymouth University

Queen’s University Belfast

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

University of Reading

Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen

Royal College of Art, London

Royal Northern College of Music

University of St Andrews

University of Salford

University of Sheffield

University of Southampton – download and print a form

University of Stirling

University of Strathclyde

University of Sunderland

University of Surrey

University of Sussex

Swansea University – contact page

Thames Valley University – download and print forms

University of Ulster

University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC)

University of Warwick

University of the West of England (UWE)

University of Westminster

University of Winchester

University of Worcester – download and print forms

University of York



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