Open Fundraising


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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

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A couple of weeks ago, we had aspiring copywriter and A Level student Sam Fletcher come and spend a week with us. Here’s what he thought…


“3 words to describe my week at Open Fundraising on a whole would be helpful, enjoyable and real. Real in the sense that everyone is genuine. Genuinely nice, genuinely funny and genuinely interesting! Oh and not to mention Matt’s beard. That’s pretty real too. And impressive.


From Monday to Friday every day had differences, I could hear different ideas bouncing around the room and it sure made me feel like the job was exciting. The atmosphere in the office was friendly and calm, and despite what seemed like thousands of jobs all piling up on top of one another, everyone seemed happy. Every day a sense of excitement for what’s ahead filled the air. I’m pretty sure I could smell it too. Maybe that was something else…


I’m joking of course. The office smelt wonderful! I managed to write a few things myself, and picked up a number of tips in the process. Not to write as if I’m writing to an examiner is one, and a challenge I faced was balancing using the most descriptive words I could with getting my message across clearly, and directly. I also learnt that there are a number of times an idea gets reviewed and then improved, so compromising to meet a clients needs are part of the job. Frustrating as that may be.


Now this is only 300 words, but I did learn an awful lot in my time at Open. The 2 hour commute every morning and evening did make my 5 days work seem a little bit like a 5 year-long career but I now know that writing, in some form, is a career that I’d love to get into; and Open Fundraising has opened my eyes even wider as to what it could be like for me.

Thanks guys!”

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There’s been a lot of hype in the news about Bitcoin recently.


It’s easy to dismiss it as a bubble, but it’s worth spending a little time thinking about what it is, and what it could mean to fundraising.


Because it is a truly online, digital currency transfer of Bitcoins from one place to another, anywhere in the world, is almost completely frictionless and, as drug and gun dealers have learned, entirely anonymous.


At the moment, when we make an online payment, companies like WorldPay and PayPal help out.


They act as an intermediary between our bank, the Internet and another bank, and, not unreasonably, they take a small cut for their hard work.


And making a global transfer, with the likes of MoneyGram, will incur even higher charges.


This is why Bitcoin could have an interesting impact on the way charities operate and the way they raise money.


If Kiva taught us that donors want their money to go directly to the people that need it, and text donation has taught us that people want it to be very easy, then surely the emergence of a totally digital, frictionless, anonymous currency could change everything?


The school that needs books, the community that needs vaccines and the farm that needs an irrigation system will all be able to make their case and get the help they need without anyone getting in the way to slow it down, or take a cut.


A donation could be in the hands of the people who most need it within seconds of them asking. It would be as easy, safe, and anonymous as dropping change in a collection bucket.


Obviously it won’t happen overnight – but it will change things.


Someone will come along with a proposition that is more immediate, more donor-led and better value than what traditional charities can offer.


And, in my mind, that’s worth having a think about.