The Unfunded List

So many grants are written and so many are often left unfunded, even the good ones, simply because there is not enough money to be distributed to every good grant.

More and more today, we are also told by philanthropic bodies that they cannot provide feedback due to the sheer volume of proposals they review. So how do you know if what you’re writing fits into the ‘good’ category or if there are substantial improvements to be made. This proves very challenging.

But now, a relatively new organisation called Unfunded List is supporting organisations working for social outcomes by providing ‘thoughtful and candid feedback’ about unfunded proposals.

If your proposal is selected, it is reviewed (for a minimal fee of $100) by an expert in the field and your proposal and associated feedback is added to the Unfunded List website.

Visit the Unfunded List website…

Donor Retention is Key

The adage that it’s cheaper to retain a current donor than find a new one is bandied around a lot in fundraising, but I’m beginning to wonder if it’s really understood.

If so, why are so many charities seemingly more concerned about attracting new donors than taking care of the ones they already have – no matter how small that list may be.

Sure, growing our databases is important to our organisations’ survival and ability to have further impact, but unless we have literally zero donors, it will always be more important to retain the ones we have and develop those relationships. So how can we do this?

Donor care is critical. I cannot emphasise that enough. Small improvements in donor retention can have tremendously large improvements in the long-term success and stability of your fundraising.

A fantastic piece of advice from donor relationship expert, Simon Joyaux is to:

First, believe deeply – in your heart and then in your brain – that donors matter.

For more tips from other fundraising experts have a read of this article from npENGAGE here.

Tick of Approval

In an effort to build the public’s trust in charities, the Australian Charities and Non-profit Commission (ACNC) developed the Registered Charity Tick late last year.

This visual stamp of approval can be used by all registered charities to give reassurance to the public that they are transparent, accountable and registered with the ACNC Charity Register.

So, if you are registered with the ACNC – and we certainly hope you are and if not, you’re at least working towards it – it’s something you should take the time to download and use on your website, emails and other marketing materials where possible.

Visit the ACNC website for more information here.

Make Your 2017 Sparkle

To kick off the new year, we thought we’d ask some key people in the charity sector for some words of wisdom. Here are the best tips for ensuring success for your charity in 2017.

Ongoing education is important
Fundraising is changing rapidly due to advances in data technology and marketing. The need to skill-up has never been greater. Continuing education during 2017 is your key to staying on top of trends and developments in the sector.

As the leading provider of fundraising education and training in Australia, FIA strongly believes in the importance of ongoing professional development to enhance your career potential and contribution to the effectiveness of your organisation.

Our comprehensive education courses can help you learn new skills, consolidate your knowledge, hone your leadership and management abilities and improve your results for your organisation.

    Kathryn Hodgkinson
    Fundraising Institute Australia

Get your systems in place
We know the pool of Government funding has been shrinking for several years, and organisations are working hard to diversify income streams. Individual donors, corporate sponsors and the philanthropic sector have become a lot more conscious with regards to the longer term outcomes and impact of their investments into social sector initiatives – evidence of outputs are no longer enough. Investors want to be reassured and know their contributions are making a difference.

It’s important for the sector themselves to devote resources towards setting up systems to capture data and stories beyond the usual compliance requirements, so they are able to successfully demonstrate the social value they are creating. Increased emphasis on the collection of this information will also assist organisations in evaluation activities that lead to better outcomes for community.

    Lesley Harris
    Lesley Harris (Freelance Project Delivery for NFP Sector)

Take a good look at your website
I would like to encourage Aussie charities in 2017 to spend more effort on their websites.  Websites need to be visitor and donor friendly, encourage and enable a donation easily, contain Will wording and easy instructions on leaving a gift in a Will and provide information that indicates what impact donations and support from donors will make.  The traditional principle of making it easy for donors to donate still stands.  Stop saying how good you are as an organisation and show impact through your words and pictures!

    Margaret Scott FFIA CFRE
    Margaret Scott & Associates

Using videos on social media
I believe social media will continue to grow as an integral part of fundraising for the non-profit sector in Australia in 2017. During 2016 Facebook began trialling charitable giving directly via their platform with select non-profits in the US, but we’re yet to see it released more widely here yet. It’s exciting to think this could be a reality soon for Australian charities though.

I also see non-profit’s becoming more self-sufficient in their social media presence. That is, there will be a more sustainable move towards up-skilling current staff or long term and skilled volunteers to steer non-profit’s social media presence and content. I worked with many charities during 2016 that have realised the importance of social media and are now poised to be able to manage their own social media presence in a sustainable way for their organisation.

I think we’ll also see more use of video content in communicating with donors and inspiring support of organisations, particularly with Facebook Live, but also on Instagram, which has now overtaken Twitter in terms of active users. Video is a dynamic and popular content choice on social media, allowing organisation to get their message across in a genuine way and often results in better engagement for social media posts.

    Kirsty Wallett
    The K Franc Social

Thanks to Kathryn, Lesley, Margaret and Kirsty for their insights. Here’s to a fabulous and fruitful 2017 for everyone!

Good Governance is Vital

The Governance Institute of Australia is the only independent professional association with a sole focus on whole-of-organisation governance. Among other things, they provide online knowledge resources with a wealth of guidance on how to think through and manage particular governance issues.

The Institute have prepared a series of Good Governance Guides in governance and risk management specific to the charity sector. These Guides comprise practice that demonstrate good governance in a range of situations including board structure, conflicts of interest and issues to consider when developing a communications policy.

For more information visit their website here.

Doing Digital Donations Better

Most charities now have an online mechanism for donating, but just how user-friendly are they?

In the first research of its kind, Parachute Digital have mapped the digital donation experience donors have in Australia, against our supporters’ expectations. They discovered that only four out of 100 charities ranked above 70% to give their donors a great online experience.

Their report, The Digital Donation Experience: Expectations vs Reality, summarises what donors really want in an online experience with their favourite charities. It also provides an insight into the seven things you need to do to improve your online donations.

Download the report and learn how you can improve your online experience for your donors here.