Over the last week or so I’ve been exploring some examples of organisations that have got their fundraising game down and are bringing it to the social age. and are able to have a wider and more positive impact because of this. From Charity: water who have perfected fun-raising, to organisations like Acumen who work mostly with large organisations. Here’s who I’ve looked at and lessons learned.
Charity: water are often cited as having some of the most innovative, modern and far reaching campaigns. They have a great 100% model where the money raised goes entirely to the projects whereas the funding for running the organisation is raised separately. They use technology amazingly well and make donating personal for example every donor gets a report telling them where the money went and the impact.
Their campaigns are fun and engaging. They encourage you to join a wider cause and involve your friends and family. From donating your birthday to ….
Storytelling is very much part of their work, the stories of people donating and the stories of the who having access to clean water is affecting. There is a storytelling page on their website and brilliantly engaging videos and photography are used throughout Charity: water’s impressive social media presence.
It is so refreshing to see the positive tone focusing on the impact the donations make rather than just the problem which can seem overwhelming or too big to tackle.
Acumen, on the other hand, focuses on support from big corporations and organisations. Their aim is to use enterprise and social investment to tackle poverty so this strategy matches perfectly. Their list of supporters reads like the who’s who of global leadership.
They view their partners as a community and have a range of partnership streams from Stewards who donate $5M+ to development partners $10,000+ and in Kind partners. Partners in return get to attend partner only events, field visits and the Annual Investor Gathering & Deep Dive Sessions. It creates that idea that people like us support Acumen, that network effect.
There is their global leadership program which allows people from all over the world to undergo training. In terms of traditional fundraising, they also do a yearly auction of photographs in their dignity auction.
Do Something are a great organisation activating teens around causes they can support. Their rules are the campaign shouldn’t need a car, adult or money. It is a fascinating way of engaging young people and they have perfected their tools including texting.
What I love about their campaigns is how easy they are to connect to. They do this by making them clear and simple. For example their Teens for Jeans campaign had young people running jean drives and dropping them at their local Aeropostale store, to be given to other young people going through homelessness. Additionally they produce a yearly culture book which is a great way of sharing what their organisation does.
Possible Health provide a low-cost health care system in Nepal, that integrates government hospitals, clinics and community workers using their hub model. What strikes me about Possible Health’s fundraising is that although they don’t don’t have the loudest campaigns is the level of transparency. They produce not only yearly but quarterly impact reports. It explains where their funding comes from (mostly from foundations, then individuals and company partnerships). As well as the insights they accomplished missed and shifted. This level of transparency continues in their morbidity and mortality reports.
The key things I’ve learned from studying these examples and will be thinking about for we approach “fun-raising” with Orkidstudio this year, firstly that transparency is key. Whether it’s publishing impact reports like possible health or sending reports to everyone that donates no matter how small like Charity: water. Secondly story telling makes a big impact, we relate to other people’s stories whereas numbers and statistics are hard to comprehend. Finally understanding who you want your donors to be will impact what methods are appropriate for connecting with them. Whether it’s through social media and texting like Do Something or conferences and brainstorming events like Acumen.
Some interesting reads if you want to find out more about these organisations are
Upleaf’s case study of Charity: water
Acumens’ Partner Pack
Give-well’s in depth review of Possible Health