Open Fundraising


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The creative team here at Open has just moved into a new studio. In an attempt to shield our retinas from all the yellow (we love it really Richard!) we’ve created a wall of inspiring heroes. The picture below was my entry. Please be kind. I do words, not pictures.


Amy 2


It is, or should resemble, the first person on Mars – one of 70 people who’ve already made the commitment to go, willing to give up everything in the sole pursuit of knowledge.


These people are the ultimate innovators. Their discoveries will change the face of science from medicine and engineering to our understanding of ourselves. And the price they have put on all this learning is their lives – Mars is a one-way trip.


So often we look to our direct competitors for inspiration. The Mars team remind me to reach further, to push myself and try new things even if that’s scary. After all, the price of innovation for us, as fundraisers, is far more affordable, because in our worst-case scenario, we still learn. And knowing what doesn’t work can sometimes be as valuable to our fundraising as knowing what does.


Of course, like interplanetary travel, good innovation needs robust data behind it, but it also takes a little bravery.


So with the end of the financial year in sight, and plans for 2015 beginning to take shape, ask yourself: how far are you willing to go in pursuit of knowledge? How hard will you push to be ahead of the game? Do you have it in your budget to boldly go?


If you’re ready to take a leap, we’re with you all the way.




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“We let process get in the way of good fundraising”


“We need to be more agile”


“We need to respond to events”


These are the clichés that are often spouted from the stages of fundraising conferences. As with most clichés, they’re spot on.


Which is why it’s always great to see agility and speed in action.


Take SPANA for example.


We met recently to talk about regular giving by SMS and our Mobilise system. As an aside we mentioned that it would be interesting to see how we could drive Mobilise response out of Facebook.


SPANA liked the idea and have conducted a few tests.


First up they published this photo with the T&Cs in the accompanying copy.




Then a few weeks later they tested this one…




And then last week they updated the cover of their Facebook group to this.




All very simple, done very quickly and now proven to be very responsive.


Since putting up the first picture with the Mobilise call to action, SPANA have recruited 170 £3 a month donors. And all this at a direct cost of £0 per donor – which compares favourably to all other recruitment channels.




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Every Monday morning we have an all agency meeting. We talk about the week ahead. What’s working and what isn’t. Who’s happy and who might not be. Birthdays, births and weddings. You know, that kind of thing.


We also discuss what should go on the blog – which as the weeks have gone by has become acutely embarrassing for me.


So far in 2015, I have failed to write self-effacing posts about winning the Barnardo’s account, starting work with SmileTrain, getting our first US client (campaign going live in New York in May), doing our first Australian campaign (live next month) and forging a new partnership with AJ Leon and his team of Misfits – who will soon be moving into the office.


Anyway, now I have. So let’s clear the action point section and get on with it, shall we?


Happy Monday.