Once upon a time we called every fundraising product ‘athon’. Spellathon. Danceathon. Aerobathon. Easy world then, but now naming a product of activity can make or break its success, especially in the emerging and strong world of Community Fundraising. As you review and refresh your strategy, product development often emerges as a key theme. So here are some steps and tips to help you go through the process to name your product, and some links that might help.

Firstly, it may be worth investing in a creative agency. Getting a product named so it sits comfortably in the marketing and promotional push can save a lot of time and help get the cut through you need. The key is in the brief, so whether you have an agency or not, or you are briefing a comms team or are going to do this in-house, consider the same process that you might take in hiring an external. Get a great brief together.  Its a good discipline whatever size organisation you are in. Creating the brief sets the ground rules and criteria, captures and clarifies your thinking, articulates clearly to others and you can hold everyone to the brief. So either way, start here with this suggested content in your brief

  1. Purpose – what is the purpose, the point, the why. Define this up front and keep it simple
  2. Promise – what are you promising to deliver, the experience, the value
  3. Pain or problem – what gap, pain or problem are you planning to solve or address
  4. Concept – define your product or event.  A single sentence stating what it is. This is the key sentence.
  5. Unique – what makes this
  6. Impact – what will you do with the money? what difference or impact will you make with the money you raise? This is closely linked to purpose
  7. Goal – slightly different. A specific aim or goal you are aiming for.
  8. Target – raise x by y by z, any KPI’s – a few good ones are much better than lots of average and not helpful
  9. Audience – who is this aimed for and where are they. What do they like and what don’t they like?
  10. Market – Who is doing what in the same territory or product area?

Here are some tips for a product naming process. Firstly, the product needs to get as close as possible with naming what it is. Don’t be too clever or intellectual, with a name that you get because of the work that you do, but your audience wont have a clue. Make it easy to say and write. Keep it simple. Its ok to have a strap line to do the explaining – this will be critical in messaging anyway, so use it. Brandwatch have a very effective and to the point blog with 5 golden rules to name a product, so check this out at How to Name a Product: 5 Golden Rules we followThere are some great articles on creating brand or product names – Try Big Brand System, for a great article on the process.  Wordoid is website to generate names where you select key words and it will generate ideas.

So now the process to create:

  1. Get together a great gang….mix it up with a small session of creative types and those who aren’t as obviously creative! It’s a great way to break down silos and drive up engagement so get a room with the right mix of people first and role second. Get brand involved but its your show and product for your audience. 
  2. Brief the room with a quick overview especially purpose and concept. Write it on a flip chart and stick it on the wall
  3. Use key words and dimensions to the concept and purpose. Don’t forget imagery, video and other stimuli. Generate lots of these. Focus on these first as they are your initial ingredients. When, where, how, who, what, everything about and around
  4. Consider other creation processes6.3.5 model – this has a table of 6 people, who each write 3 ideas and then move them around the table 5 times so people can add. There is a lot of evidence now in giving people time on their own to think, so consider sending a short explainer before and asking people to think about it and bring it to the session. Maybe start with a quiet personal 10 mins, everyone writes their own ideas with no discussion first.
  5. Then cluster key words and phrases that cluster around areas or themes
  6. Use a thesaurus  to find new versions of key words, and synonyms
  7. A name creation brainstorm – follow these brainstorm rules from Forbes
  8. Don’ lose anything or close down at this stage!! Keep going!!
  9. At some point stop, and review. When you start to get some frontrunners emerge get some rational sense of certain one and check these against the criteria and the list above
  10. Then walk away and let the left brain process and then revisit and test on a few people the frontrunners. It’s wise to do this – get the initial view, check out domain names and any copyrights, any clashes, but emerging names will feel right then can be validated. Don’t seek everyone’s approval though….do enough to get a good view then decide and deliver

Follow these tips and you’ll create a great product name and deliver a great campaign. If you want to go further and review and refresh your Community Fundraising strategy, join in with my free webinar How to review and refresh you Community Fundraising strategy on August 18th at 12pm GMT. To register click here

If you’d like to hear more about Good Leaders or the upcoming Community Fundraising events, programmes, coaching, strategic reviews, creation sessions, team days and training, click here to receive more information



Middle managers. Salt of the earth. Engines for action. Guardians of delivery. Middle managers need love and attention if they are to do what needs to be done to make things happen. Coaching, nudging, counselling and direction.

The leadership deficit affects middle managers. Unsure of above they can’t shine for below. Looking sideways they find solace in colleagues so they often look like a gang, projecting a tribal confidence. Sometimes they struggle because they are over promoted. Sometimes they struggle because they are too talented but locked in. Sometimes they just long to get on with it. Deliver and excel. Glow.

So here’s some helpful wisdom and tips for the much-needed tribe of middle managers

1. Keep looking above you – understand your boss and their needs and challenges. If you fail they fail. Help them.

2. Keep learning. You must grow. It’s your duty to yourself, so keep learning and improving

3. Build space for yourself. Room to think and reflect. Space to resolve and perspective to get it right

4. Be self-aware and open. Ask for feedback. Every now and then only, or you will look needy rather than open. Be aware of how you behave, why and when and correct where you need to

5. Know yourself. What are your strengths? Do them every day. Don’t worry about your weaknesses except if you are doing a job that is your weakness. If so move.

6. Define success – Be clear on what success looks like. You, them, everybody.

7. Focus on next but never forget what’s gone – Have a view on whats next but also what’s past – goals and KPIs, a to do list yes but more important a rolling done list

8. Build your portfolio – Your marketing brochure for you, your personal brand and offer and evidence

9. Listen to your people – They are smart. Not always right but that’s irrelevant. Listen to facts, emotion, feelings, fears and hopes. Then act.

10. Focus everyone on the external – Heres the order to where you need to look – the world, the donor, the cause, the work, the organisation, the team. Everyone works better when they focus on what really matters

Rise up middle managers. Lead from the middle. More power than anyone – so use it wisely and for the right reasons.



As we find the way forward in fundraising we need to remember the past and present. Motivation. The core of human achievement and where we must always be.

There is no science to this other than experience, instinct and observation. But here are 9 motivators for fundraising. The drivers we need to understand and be along side.

  1. Love of – The prime driver. Love of a cause, person or experience
  2. Dare – A gauntlet thrown down and picked up
  3. Challenge – A quest to prove. A test for oneself or family or friends. A personal test
  4. Change – To create change in something or someone
  5. Build – To make something new
  6. Save – A saviour, to keep something special and of value, to stand up for
  7. Repair – Restore, put right, fix and establish in a new world what was once
  8. Belong – To join in and be part of, a gang and community together
  9. Guilt – Fear, guilt as a driver that is the least attractive but real and alive

Motivation is what makes change and fundraising can be the route to make the most change – personally as well as together


How about this. Choose the charity you work for rather than they choose you. Find an adventure.

Choose a mission and a cause. Choose a bright future and an urgent now. See a way to make a mark, a dent in the universe. Choose leadership. Choose personality, atmosphere, a team, a gang. Choose a journey and a path. Find somewhere to build yourself, learn, and grow. Choose somewhere to fail as well as you choose to succeed and deliver. They will even out and you will be further forward.

Select them like a house or a home or a partner. Raise your expectations. Find higher love.


As Jaime Lyn Beatty said “A job will fill your pockets. Adventures fill your soul”

There are 3 magic questions every donor or supporter should hear. For everyone. Whilst simple, they are a way to the heart of that persons giving.

The 3 questions are these.

How did you first get involved with us?

Why did you choose to support us?

Tell me your story

Ask these then listen. Ask and we honour them. We tune in and we gain insight.

And they feel good.

There was a photo of Tony in the early days of the ICFM when Tony was still at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, where he had huge 80’s glasses. I remember this, not from the moment but some time later when we had cause to remember and laugh at a very long journey. It was all such a long time ago now.

I recall this for no other reason than it was one of many moments when Tony could look back, recollect and laugh but then as always and in an instance look forward and dream. Its odd what floods in to you when you hear the news that someone you knew for so long and so well has gone for good. I heard the news of Tony’s passing when hiding in sunshine a long way away. Every night I looked at a new sunset and now at the end of that far away sunshine, it seems those sunsets were saying much more than they usually do. In the brief moments since I have watched a small but equally huge world in fundraising share first reflections on their loss and words of great sadness. It’s a personal loss to many and that perhaps marks out the man we came to know, and loved.

I first met Tony when glasses were huge as were his and when Saturday Superstore and Bergerac were big TV. The truth is I don’t remember exactly when, it just seems that he was always there when I first became a fundraiser.  Conferences, bars, the newly formed Institute, an emerging tribe of people learning how to change the world. San Diego at AFP on a dance floor. IOF in Birmingham and Warwick. IFC plenary, dinners and gala balls where he brought people together. Tony so loved IFC. He was a driver and a thinker but more than that a force. He exuded life. Sometimes he shouted when presenting despite a mic and I tried to tell him to turn the volume down. Its only in moments like this that I realise that his volume was just his soul being amplified. I wish he shouted more now. Why be quiet when everyone else is? He believed and I think that’s why we all believed as well. He could perform and only in later life I discovered this was because he was once a dancer and performer in another world. He drew content and meaning and performed it so it would resonate and shine and challenge. It was theatre when we all needed theatre. But never light. Full. Always. How we will miss him when conferences need that unique mix. Tony at his best.

His quiet counsel was always the most valued. A small word or a direct telling. He could draw for England as well. Models, triangles, Venn diagrams. Notepads full of creative genius. He was a jackdaw, a collector. Ideas and grand schemes mixed with the hard practical delivery of a man whose experience always in the end tempered his creativity . He posed what if more than any one. He poked and challenged. He sought out can do’s and hope. He said it how it was and how it could be. He was irreverent. Knowing. And there. He was one of those who cared about people – talent. If he saw such talent he drew it out. Special. I used to meet him when I was a Fundraising Director to navigate the usual stormy waters we all understand. Last year at a conference in York, tea at Betty’s and just a conversation and catch up. Dinner in Amsterdam with a gathering as he only he seemed to be able to do. His hospitality was always warm and rich and slightly provocative like he meant for us to try a little harder.

In these last days he faced a monster. I met him the week before his diagnosis. He was having tests and wasn’t sure how they would turn out. At the time I was too and I remember being consumed with fear, as it turned out for no reason. But for Tony it was as he suspected. He focused as we would expect. Determined and positive. A task to be addressed so he could get back to the life he was living and the noise he created around the world. This in itself tells us about him. No one should judge how anyone deals with these things. Each to their own and each can be a light we can learn from, but he faced it and got on with it. I presented with him at a conference in the summer. He amazed us again and as always.  In the end, like for many but not all it overwhelmed him. And so here we are. Empty, shocked maybe and sad that he has gone from our worldwide family.

One thing rings true today. As lives go Tony made one helluva footprint. For all of us wishing today we had sent that last message or said that thing we planned to say or got on with that other thing we meant to get round to, he will remind us that life really is very short. I will as we all will, will have time to reflect, mourn a dear friend, a constant when constants so often get taken for granted. But for today, I just wanted to say I am so very sorry you have left us all and that I wanted to thank you for more than I ever got round to saying. Your gift was immeasurable and generous. You were a true friend, and a great man who made a great difference.

In the days ahead the best way we can honour and remember Tony is do everything he pushed us to do and to be.

God bless.

2535935479_dde4457b43_z3 things. Giles Pegram always summarised his genius at key points with the phrase 3 things. Always right. In time, we all learnt the art. Three things. So here are three things about three things

Why do we say things in threes? The Philly Times gives a good summary. Deep stuff, a real insight. So, we have Giles summing up in three. And now my second three. Once I had some amazing training from Richard Olivier, son of Lord Olivier. He used Shakespeare’s Henry V to illustrate leadership, a sort of metaphor for modern-day corporate or sector leadership . He told us that Henry built his grand project around his allies – his first third. But he was conflicted over two other groups – critics and naysayers. He pondered about these two groups. Critics he decided he needed. They added value and a check against excess, a test for reality and to help you get it right. Naysayers – they needed to die. They were the project killjoy, the underminers, the force to stop something, to subvert it. Naysayers = death.

The challenge for Henry was to diagnose this correctly. A heavy price to pay if he got it wrong. In modern terms death may a bit extreme, but anyone with the experience of knowing a naysayer, will smile with the notion “if only”. So three things. Allies. Critics. Naysayers.
Most teams have their own thirds rule. I have practised this art for years and here it is. One third of the team you start with or inherit will be right, the gang to keep and build. One third wont be. They need facing. Addressing in whatever appropriate way, but they need addressing. You know in your heart it wont work, it’s not right and divorce is the only way – kindly. The final third – you dont know. You are open. With the right leadership, direction and conditions who knows. But you need to find out. Almost every team has this.
So three things. Firstly, sum up with three things. We remember three. Secondly, keep your friends, embrace you critics and kill your naysayers (metaphorically of course). And finally, build your teams honestly with the gang its going to work with, deal with the gang it wont work with and help the gang you aren’t sure about to step up.
No HR policies were damaged or compromised willingly in the writing of this hopefully helpful guide to the wonder of three.
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