Posts Tagged: charity fundraising

Breaking the ice with royalty

Mention the phrase “ice bucket challenge” and many of us still feel a shiver from remembering just how shockingly cold the experience was. But for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, the craze was a game changer.

The charity, which received more than £7m of donations in about three weeks last summer while the idea swept across the country, held an event at the British Medical Association’s HQ in central London last night to celebrate the funds raised and announce what it planned to do with the unexpected windfall. Read more on Breaking the ice with royalty…

The Manchester Dogs’ Home tragedy takes charity back to basics

Extraordinary. I don’t use this word lightly, but the public response on JustGiving to the fire at the Manchester Dogs Home last night has been quite literally extraordinary. And not just under the allegedly controversial newfangled definition of the word “literally”, either.

The total raised for the charity running the home was £130,000 when I woke up, just nine hours after the JustGiving page was set up by the Manchester Evening News, and only 12 hours after the fire itself. By the time I got to my desk, it was £400,000. When I finished writing my story on this literal whirlwind of charitable support just a couple of hours ago, it was £560,000. This had risen by nearly another £100,000 by the time I had written my first draft of this piece. Read more on The Manchester Dogs’ Home tragedy takes charity back to basics…

I did the ice bucket – and I donated as well

Earlier this week, I joined the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Victoria Beckham and George W Bush and participated in the ice bucket challenge.

I can’t say I was surprised when a clip of a friend doing the deed and nominating me to go next popped up on my Facebook account; having seen my feed gradually fill up with these videos over the previous couple of days, I knew it was only a matter of time. Read more on I did the ice bucket – and I donated as well…

Fundraising critics keep chugging away… so watch out

It’s been a tough old week for fundraising. First, Channel 4’s Dispatches programme sends a couple of undercover reporters to dish dirt on the internal goings-on at two of the country’s best-known fundraising agencies. Then a disgruntled volunteer fundraiser launches a tirade about “chugging”, as he persistently calls it, claiming that paid street fundraisers are having a negative impact on those who collect money for charity for free. Read more on Fundraising critics keep chugging away… so watch out…

The irritations of online giving

A squabble between a charity and an online giving site last week aptly demonstrates the nervousness that many charities feel in the wake of the collapse of the CharityGiving site last year.

The row – in which the two parties squared up through the media (i.e. me) – took place after George Overton of the children’s charity HCPT The Pilgrimage Trust, aired his grievances about a site called in a comment on the Third Sector website. Read more on The irritations of online giving…

Was my dry January for the wrong cause?

It wasn’t hard, but I’m glad it’s over: that’s the best summary I can find for taking part in the Dryathlon for the second January running. Life without alcohol felt calmer, but lacked the sharpening of mood and thought that a glass of wine can provide. The secret, of course, is to keep things moderate as the year goes on… Read more on Was my dry January for the wrong cause?…

Read more on Was my dry January for the wrong cause?…

Purple armbands will not revolutionise chugging, but they might make a small difference

This week, the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association launches a 12-week armband trial to improve the image of face-to-face fundraising.

Thirty teams of chuggers are to be headed by team leaders wearing purple armbands with the words “team leader” written on them. The PFRA hopes the scheme will improve teams’ relationships with council officials, town centre managers and the public.

Will it work? It’s not as if a whole new management structure is being trialled. Chugging teams have had leaders, who act as contacts for officials, for many years so it seems likely that the public will benefit most from the scheme.

Something more obvious than an armband may have been appropriate – perhaps the words “team leader” emblazoned on a bib or t-shirt. I am not convinced that passers-by will understand that they should approach the armband wearer with complaints they may have.

But it is a trial. Maybe some members of the public will notice the armband and feel reassured that there is someone in charge. The scheme is unlikely to revolutionise chugging, but at least an effort is being made to make small improvements.

Chugging is not going to disappear – nor should it. So if changes can be made to improve its image and in turn raise more money, I would welcome them.

Read more on Purple armbands will not revolutionise chugging, but they might make a small difference… faces an uphill struggle launched this week with a healthy dose of press coverage, including this prominent article in the Daily Telegraph.

In case you missed it, it’s a music download site that promises to donate half its net profits to charity – they call it “feel-good downloading”. The British Heart Foundation, Centrepoint, NSPCC and Friends of the Earth are among the site’s partner organisations, but music fans can opt to donate to the charity of their choice if they prefer.

Those charities can expect somewhere in the region of 3p per track. Not a fortune, it admits, but it offers consumers a convincing case for the value of what it calls “microdonations”. might be new, but the basic business model isn’t; it follows many other start-ups that have sought to embed charitable giving into everyday transactions, such as search engine Everyclick – which this year passed the £1m raised for charity mark – and Monday, the short-lived rival to the National Lottery which folded after a year.

These businesses have experienced varying degrees of success, and they typically attract lots of press coverage when they launch (it’s hard to believe now, but one day back in 2006 the launch of Monday was the lead story on the front page of The Times).

One thing they all have in common is the difficulty of persuading people to abandon trusted household names. Often, it seems the satisfaction of giving to charity is not enough to convince consumers to switch. is a bright business idea that deserves to do well, but it will face an uphill struggle to compete with iTunes.

Read more on faces an uphill struggle…

Should academics provide fundraisers with practical tips? I don’t think so

Third Sector columnist Cathy Pharoah reignited an old debate when she told a Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy conference last week that there was a gulf between how fundraisers and academics think about philanthropy. Pharoah is co-director of the centre, which is part of Cass Business School.

Read more on Should academics provide fundraisers with practical tips? I don’t think so…

Depaul UK’s iHobo app sets a new standard

Charity iPhone apps have until now been like buses: you wait ages, then two come at once. Last week saw the launches of “iHobo” from homelessness charity Depaul UK, and Marie Curie Cancer Care’s “Blooming Great Tea Party”.

iHobo, as you may have read, is an “interactive video embedded experiential” application, where iPhone users take responsibility for a virtual homeless young man’s survival as he guides us through his daily struggle.

It’s provoking outrage. “These are real people, not f***ing Tamagotchi,” said one irate commentator on advertising industry website Brand Republic last week; “shameful” and “patronising”, tutted another.

Marie Curie, meanwhile, has opted for a gentler approach to support next month’s Blooming Great Tea Party fundraising campaign. Its app does nothing more controversial than let users decide who is making the next round of tea (users enter names, photographs and milk-and-sugar options, then spin a wheel).

So which approach is right? Marie Curie’s is a good app, but Depaul UK’s “Tamagotchi” sets a new standard. Getting users to make life-or-death decisions confronts them with the brutality of life for homeless people. And an effective way to influence elusive young donors is to understand how they experience and understand the world. If they do so through interactive games, then it’s right to risk trying the format.

Read more on Depaul UK’s iHobo app sets a new standard…