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Make me feel. If you want me to do something make me feel. Make me care.

This new ad from the Sick Kids Foundation in Canada and reported on in the thestar.com is an undeniable assault on emotions. Launched during the Toronto Maple Leafs home opener this Saturday, the Sick Kids Vs Undeniable campaign rattles at your door, and when open it bursts through. Some ads for commercial products do that, but they are for department stores or insurance or furniture. They know that feeling is the difference and the product is second. That’s why business seeks to stir values and emotional connection. Maybe bigger budgets allow that, but this is our natural territory. So many times we see the deepest reservoir of emotional content in our causes portrayed with barely a ripple, and when it is without the energy, bravery or even worse to a formula where its authenticity and honesty are drowned. Not so in this campaign. Get ready.

 

I defy you to tell me you didn’t feel. Everything was there. Edge, beauty, tragedy, courage, heart-break, love, compassion, spirit. This is the ad that fights back as an ad, let alone provokes a fight back against kids being sick. It blends all these together. Sight, sound, music, words, loud and soft and at the end not only do I feel, but it’s what I feel that moves me to want to stand with them.

As I look around at the landscape of campaign material the sector produces, I sometimes wonder if we are even awake, let alone angry, or inspired or passionate enough to cut through with this sort of quality. Sure we have and we do….but its not enough.

What do you think? Share and see and above all feel.

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I have a confession. I watched the last episode of Mr Selfridge and here’s a curious observation.

Apart from the weaving plots, the hemlines, the scandal and the financial crisis that drives the series there is a curious thread of leadership genius. It’s like a manual in people management. Digging deeper, it turns out that the fiction of the TV, was woven through bones of the man. And, as I discovered, Harry Selfridge was the architect of some pretty good leadership mantra’s. So, in front of perfumes and ladies hats are 9 of the best

  1. “People will sit up and take notice of you if you will sit up and take notice of what makes them sit up and take notice.”
  2. “The boss drives his men; the leader coaches them.”
  3. “The boss depends upon authority, the leader on goodwill.”
  4. “The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm.”
  5. “The boss says ‘I’; the leader, ‘we’.”
  6. “The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown.”
  7. “The boss knows how it is done; the leader shows how.”
  8. “The boss says ‘Go’; the leader says ‘Let’s go!'”
  9. “The customer is always right.

And so is the donor. Lessons come from odd places if you are open to them

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Sometimes in adversity, good things can flow to greet you. Very often, the inspiration for that good comes from the past. A comforting place, when it was what it was and from its certainty, we can draw lessons to help guide us in a future of uncertainty.

As the sector embarks on ways to re-engage with the donor, including the welcome launch of a Commission for the Donor, it’s worth remembering that so many of us began fundraising where we learnt from wisdom learnt before us. Moments of clarity that will have guided us for years to come. For those who remember and believe in Ken Burnett’s book Relationship Fundraising, its worth reminding us of a perfect list in the book, fashioned by Ken’s mentor, guide and friend Harold Sumption, a fundraiser and pioneer, and who founded the International Fundraising Workshop. There’s a great blog by Mathew Sherrington in 101 Fundraising with more pearls and wisdom. Whilst Ken reminded us that there are ‘no absolute rules and slavish adherence to formulae’ there are some principles fashioned from that relationship that would do well to shine today. Here they are, lifted without permission but certainty that the author would very much like them shared as they were written, so here they are….10 key principles

  1. Fundraising is not about raising money. It’s about meeting needs and bringing about change
  2. People give to people, not organisations or even causes. Fundraising is a people business. Personal requests work best. Fund the development is people development.
  3. Friend making comes before fundraising
  4. Open their hearts. Open their minds. Then open their chequebooks.
  5. Communicate need to bring the problem to the donor
  6. Set clear targets. Communicate your goals to your donors. Communicate action and success to encourage full involvement.
  7. Know how much to ask each prospect for, and when
  8. The most important 2 words are thank you. Acknowledge every donation with a friendly, personal letter. Give larger donors special treatment
  9. Encourage donors to identify with your organisation, to feel a sense of shared ownership
  10. Always be honest, open and truthful with donors. Share your problems as well as your successes

I hope this helps guide another generation and reminds this one that going back is the right way to the future

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Some words matter more than others. Some have a rounder meaning, set a tone better and signal a mood more easily. In legacies the right words can be the difference between engaging or alienating.

The right words will help you and them nod with gentle enthusiasm, help them ponder on meaning or be moved by the string they form in the order they were delivered. They cut to the core, they sum up, they direct. So….here are my top 10 best words in legacy fundraising

  1. Consider – time after time a solid word in legacies. Being asked to consider is polite, respectful and appropriate. Would you consider leaving a gift? Nice
  2. Leave – leave a gift, leave a mark, leave something of yourself
  3. Gift – A legacy is a gift. Simple
  4. Future – Some time soon. Look to then and you made this possible – in the future. Hope. Now but to come
  5. Small – A small share, a small amount, small. Legacies get seen as large when in reality a small share of whatever is left after friends and family
  6. Share – a share of whatever is left after friends and family
  7. Family – its first and foremost and needs to be upfront
  8. Remember – the time to look back, with the donor and you
  9. Commit – a promise to leave a gift but no more – in time, when ready
  10. Thank you – its two words but lets break a few rules

This is not jargon. This is communication, connection, relational. Honest and real. Hope. That is a legacy.

A second salute in two weeks. Barnardo’s ad is brave and hits hard. A clever contrast that highlights stolen childhoods for so many children with the difference that care and support can make. It could have done with a tighter call to action at the end…but good for Barnardo’s for not shying away from a subject that needs this level of directness.

This is tough. Brave, hard-hitting, honest, heartbreaking, direct, emotional. A powerful authentic story. Controversial but required. A rallying call. A solution. This is the sort of ad that floors you. Save the Children...I salute you.

Thank you. Simple stuff maybe, and simply done makes a world of difference. But sometimes, the heartfelt message needs a little edge. Video continues to grow – from TV ads to simple home shot shorts. Some people seem to get it just right….so here are 5 great examples to inspire….

First Charity: Water – an upbeat use of staff to say thank you whilst showing that they are saying thank you.. you really get the sense that you matter

Next Child’s i foundation – a perfect heartfelt story of need and solution, told simply and honestly – a lovely thank you…

Now Invisible Children – another upbeat staff driven thank you but with an impact report as a moving infographic, with a simple thank you…

This Freedom from Torture video was shared at the IOF Convention and was used at a dinner as part of the evening. Clever build up from one to many just simply applauding you….nice

And finally the NSPCC Christmas TV ad – this was sponsored by suppliers and uses children in a school play to say thank you. It was aired on Christmas day as well….

Sometimes commercial brands can build whole campaigns around the concept of saying thank you – as in P&G Thank you mom campaign for the Olympics. I’ve long been an advocate of collective campaigns from the voluntary and charity sector to promote giving in the UK…..a simple thank you campaign would be a pretty good place to start…..

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