Open Fundraising


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I think we can all agree that selfies are a ‘thing’. I don’t want to open this post with a snarky selfie explanation, as chances are the one you just took is still uploading to Facebook.

And unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll have heard about the somewhat accidental #nomakeupselfie viral campaign that raised around £8m for Cancer Research UK earlier this year.

As ever, with a thing that is big and well publicised, it divided opinion. It was labeled unifying, sexist, philanthropic, vain, supportive, pointless, revolutionary and lazy.

Whatever your thoughts, the fact is that £8 million is nothing to be sniffed at.

£8 million can potentially help a lot of people.

Which is why the selfie is a bit of a ‘thing’ in charity now too. Don’t call it a bandwagon, but in a sector that has a responsibility to rely on results, selfies have shown that, beyond all the pouting and posing – they can be a force for good.

But only sometimes.

I’ve worked on briefs recently where a selfie made sense. Asking people to share a positive message, a healthy start to the day or a silly snap for their mates.

But what happens when you lose perspective? That when faced with feelings of helplessness, you add weighty meaning to a useless snapshot that will help no one, and change nothing?

This is what happens. This.


Still, I think there are a few good charity selfie ideas to be had. Will they all go viral? No. Will they all make £8 million? Unlikely.

But while they remain a ‘thing’, I think our challenge as fundraisers is to just try and give them a bit of heart.

To take the selfish out of the selfie.


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You may have heard that we won some awards recently.


One of those awards was for Best Use of Telephone, for Friends of the Earth’s Bees Need You campaign. A campaign we’re all very proud of here at Open.


Here is the final ad.


Here’s the first version that we took to FOE.


And here’s an image of both versions together.


Not much changed between concept and final artwork.


This ad did well because we worked with a brilliant client who gave us an excellent brief and it was a great idea that didn’t get watered down through the approval process.


And if I wanted to labour the point I’d show you the ad from the campaign that won Best Use of Telephone at the IOF awards in 2013.


Paul de Gregorio

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When I started working for Open in July 2011 the question most clients asked me was ‘what’s the percentage of people who have smartphones?’


The answer to the question was ‘about 30’ – and ‘about’ was as good as it got in the absence of credible data sources.


This week I was poring over the new ‘Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report‘ from Ofcom that says 6 in 10 adults use a smartphone. With 92% of all adults having a mobile phone of some kind. This is an increase from 54% in the same study last year. Increases in specific age groups are driving this:


Age band 25-34 increased from 75% to 88%

Age band 45-54 increased from 46% to 66%

Age band 65-74 increased from 12% to 20%


This is important because as smartphone penetration increases, the importance of mobile web increases. We are seeing an increase in click-throughs from SMS messages to mobile web, which is probably being driven by these increases in smartphone use.


But more importantly these numbers mean that you need mobile optimised donation pages. It’s a not a nice thing to have anymore. It’s vital to your continued fundraising success.


Paul de Gregorio