Christmas in July! EOY fundraising tips and tricks with Forward Action

About this webinar on EOY fundraising tips

It’s hard to believe but it’s already time to start thinking about holiday, Christmas, GivingTuesday and other end-of-year fundraising plans!

Join Ali Walker Davies, Partnerships Director at Forward Action, as she dives into winning strategies, case studies, and trends to ensure your festive fundraising campaigns succeed!

You’ll hear practical tips like

  • Where to start, what to test, and how to take things further
  • Successful approaches to email and paid social that will enhance your fundraising performance
  • And all around advice to bring you raise more money and win more campaigns this festive season (and after too!)

This event took place on Tuesday,
July 19, 2022 @ 11 AM EST.

Thank You to Our Clients and Partners

A special thanks to Ali Walker Davies (Forward Action) for her time and expertise in presenting this informative webinar.

Marcie Lenaghan: I hope everyone can hear me okay.

Hi everyone, and welcome.

My name is Marcie Lenaghan

I am the Director of Partnerships at Engaging Networks.

Thank you so much for joining our webinar today.

We’ll be hearing from Ali, partnerships Director at Forward Action.

Forward Action is one of our esteemed credited partners.

They work with some of our wonderful clients.

We’re so excited to have Ali with us today to get us pumped for the end of the year.

As we all know, it’s never too early to start thinking about our business and end of your fundraising campaign.

We do ask that.

If you have any questions, please hold them until the end.

You can also type them into the chat and I will keep track of them and we will make sure to get those answered before the end of the webinar.

With that, I would like to introduce Ali and she will take it away.

Ali Walker Davies: Brilliant. Thank you, Marcie.

And thank you, everyone, for joining us today.

Whether you’re sweating away in the UK or further afield from where we are,
I know it feels funny to be talking about Christmas in July, but hopefully you will
see that it’s really good to start thinking about these things and planning earlier.

A note that I’ve got Christmas here, but what we’re talking about is winter.

We’re talking about end of year, we’re talking about broader than Christmas.

Christmas is a big part of it for some people, but it’s not everything for everyone.

And so after this, I will be talking more broadly about Winter 2022 and what to expect.

Before I get into that, just a little bit about why am I here, why am I qualified to talk about this?

So, as Marcie said, I am the partnership director at Forward Action.

At Forward Action, we talk about partners, wealth and clients.

So we’re a London based agency.

We specialise in digital mobilisation and helping our partners to reach, engage and inspire large groups of people online to take action and to help them achieve the impact that they’re looking to achieve in the world.

So last year, during the end of the year in the Winter campaign, some of the organisations we worked with were Freedom from Torture, who are another Engaging Networks partner, refuge, who are also
an engaging network partner. Those are UK based ones.

And then kind of across the pond in the US and Northern and globally,
we were working with Mozilla Foundation and running their end of year fundraising campaigns.

So with Mozilla, we raised half a million dollars, over half a million dollars off email off the email programme we designed with Refuge, we looked at kind of raising but I think it was about $150,000.

Don’t quote me on that. This is being recorded.

It’s something around the figure from the email list that we built there.

So we’ve done a lot of end of year Winter fundraising appeals in our time and we have seen trends come and go and we’ve seen what is kind of what’s a permanent.

So there’s going to be some stuff that I’ll talk about today that you might be like, yeah, we know that, of course.

And hopefully it’s helpful to have a reminder and there might be some stuff that’s new to think about
specifically for 2022.

So I will jump in.

What I’m going to talk about is some very broad predictions for winter 22.

I’m not a futurologist.

I’d like to be because I think it’s an awesome job title, but I’m not.

I am a partnership director.

But looking around at what’s going on, these are some forward rush break predictions that we can make to help think about where are we going to be in five months time, where is the world going to be, where our supporters going to be?

And what do we need to be mindful of when we’re planning?

Then think about practically, what can you do to prepare?

And then some kind of broader generic tips for the year, some things that didn’t fit neatly into any titles or brackets that just I thought would be really important to share while we’ve got this chance.

So before we get going on that, I want to do a quick temperature check sorry pun not intended, but how are you feeling about your plans for winter 2022?

So are you feeling like, oh, my goodness,

I can’t believe it’s happening again already.

We’ve only just recovered from last year.

Do you feel like you’ve got a rough idea of what you’re doing, but you could look for just finessing it, or do you already feel ready for anything?

In which case it’d be great to hear from you.

So you wouldn’t mind just making your selection and then Austin, are you able to reveal results?

Yes, I will do that in just a couple more seconds.

Looks like there’s still a couple of people responding.


All right, and I will end in three, two, one.

There we go.

I can’t see the results.

Here we go now.

That’s all good.

So there’s a third of people who are feeling like, oh, my goodness, I can’t believe it’s happening again already.

Especially as we’re all dealing with the summer being the very summeriest of summers ever.

60% of people have got a good idea of what they’re doing, so that’s great that we’re building on some established process and 7% three people out there are ready for anything, so that’s awesome.

Please do chip in in the chat if there’s anything that you want to add as we’re going as well, because I think we’re a community here.

It’s great to hear from everyone and not just me, and hopefully I’ll be plenty of time for questions
and conversation at the end.


It’s great to know where we are, we’re feeling okay, but there’s definitely areas that we want to kind of build on and improve on.

So predictions for winter 2022.

Firstly, Christmas comes earlier each year.

It is the thing that we all say each year.

And I found out that there actually is an official term for this, which is Christmas creep and interestingly in the UK last year, actually, there was a reason for this.

Legitimate reason was that the supply chain concerns as a result of brexit meant that Christmas did actually like the supply issues, meant that people were buying earlier, people were responding to that.

It wasn’t just kind of marketing pressure, it’s actually consumer driven as well.

But it’s interesting to think about, will that carry on?

How will that manifest this year?

And I think we can safely say that it’s going to start at least by kind of the Thanksgiving Thursday and like, Black Friday, those kind of times.

That seems to me an indicator of the start.

But also, is it earlier than that?

Is it Halloween when actually the giving season starts, the buying the Christmas season starts?

So thinking about that Giving Tuesday, I mentioned it’s going to grow is our prediction, because it’s grown year on year and actually, 2022 is the 10th birthday of Giving Tuesday.

So it’s amazing how it has grown from a very small kind of reaction to the consumerism that’s been on display through the kind of sales weekends around Thanksgiving and how that started in the US.

But as you can see from the countries with the Twitter conversation volumes, actually, it is truly a global thing now and there’s countries around the world taking part in it.

In the UK, it’s interesting that historically, it’s been a partner of Giving Tuesday in CAF.

The charity’s aid foundation has been partnered in doing that.

This year is the first year I think that the Chartered Institute of Fundraising is going to be the official partner, so it’d be interesting to see how the communication around that changes.

I haven’t seen anything from them yet to see what that was going to look like.

That’s something to watch out for.

But we can see that it is growing year on year across the world.

And so as it becomes a more established behaviour and a more established event, there’s less work to do in educating people about what Giving Tuesday is and more work to do in making sure that you are their chosen charity partner.

So thinking about how do you start out around Giving Tuesday?

Who are you talking to?

How are you mobilising people?

Third prediction is that Facebook will be challenging.

This is the new news.

If you run paid social campaigns on the Meta networks on Facebook, chances are you will have seen your results taking a little bit of a dip in the last year and a half.

Maybe you’ve seen the kind of Facebook’s targeting since the iOS.

Changes from Apple have been a little bit more difficult.

Maybe you send the results going down.

We’re seeing headlines around, how is Facebook even still relevant.

And this is something they’re working with a lot across the board, so we often think about it in the charity landscape, but actually, this is a much bigger picture thing.

This is how advertisers are responding to the platform.

It’s not just us seeing the decline in results, it is the big money of all the different brands who are looking to advertise there.

And so there’s headlines like this about how Facebook’s ad machine is broken,
who’s going to fix it?

Facebook ads still relevant.

There’s a lot of challenges ahead for Mesa, but what does that mean for us when we’re trying to reach our audiences?

Because as much as we’d love to have alternatives and we’re constantly at forward action, looking to diversify, it is still one of the platforms that drives the best results for us.

So we need to be prepared that the benchmarks that we’ve set in previous years may not be the benchmarks we’re working to this year.

And so, kind of when you’re budgeting and thinking about what results you’re going to get, you can’t assume that you’re going to get the same results this year.

And I think a lot of organisations saw that last year.

What do people do when Facebook doesn’t work?

They might try tik tok.

This is something we’re seeing lots of organisations do.

This is an example from the Royal National Lifeboats Institute, who are the absolute KREM de la
Creme of charity organisations in the UK.

They stand for a lot, they’re supported by a huge amount of people, but they also have this incredible digital programme.

So when they started on TikTok last week, they automatically got 84,000 followers.

Their launch video, one of their very first videos, has over a million views.

They’re doing brilliant work and they’re really lucky because they have lifeboats staffed by volunteers around the country.

So they have inspiring, amazing stories of humans putting themselves on the line to help other humans, to help animals at their fingertips.

But they’ve got a brilliant digital team who turns that around.

That’s great, that’s awesome. TikTok can work if you’ve got brilliant content.

We know that it is more challenging to get it to work as a conversion channel and we know that from broader media buying industry, as a media platform, and as a paid media platform, the ad serving is very difficult.

It’s much trickier to use, it is much trickier to get results on it.

So kind of charities will be looking to try it, looking to get influencers engaged.

It’s definitely going to be some success stories out there, but we know it’s also going to be a really challenging platform to try and get work.

So chances are, when you come into a brainstorm or a workshop about what should we do for Christmas this year or for end of year this year, and someone’s going to pipe up, but we should definitely bring TikTok.

Might want to think about how much energy you can invest in that and whether that’s going to be the most effective channel for you, not trying to rain on its parade.

Obviously, lots of people using TikTok, lots of people still using email, though, and it’s the less kind of sexy, glamorous fundraising channel, potentially.

It’s not going to be the one that comes up in the workshop that everyone gets really excited about, but it’s the one that still delivers a lot of results.

And so we work with partners to help them build their email list because we know that it’s a really
strong driver of income.

This was the first year, 2021 was the first year that the MNR and Rally, so Eminer being the US based agency, and Rally being Digital mobilisation experts in the UK, paired up to deliver that insight for UK.

And it’s really exciting because I’ve been a fangirl of MNR for a very long time and love to see their
results come out each year.

And what we saw here is that actually, in the UK, organisations are raising £211 per thousand emails sent.

So that’s an incredible return on investment.

If you think of the energy that goes into fundraising, obviously it’s lower in the US because
they are sending a lot more emails.

Chances are organisations already sending a lot of emails that you’re US based and so there’s kind
of a diminishing return on that.

But we see that there’s huge potential to grow and if you just look at the table on the right there, it shows actually, that in the US, 19% of online revenue comes from email income, whereas in the UK it’s just 5%.

There’s huge potential for growth there.

So we think that email is going to deliver for charities and we would highly recommend doing a lot more work to build email lists outside the fundraising landscape.

We know that there’s going to be hardship and discontent.

We know that there are very tough times coming for a lot of people who we are talking to, not just people who are service users or beneficiaries, but our supporters will be feeling it.

There is fuel crisis in the UK.

We talk of our kind of child poverty crisis.

We know that families are finding it harder to feed their children.

We send the rise in use of food banks.

It is truly shocking and devastating to see what is coming down the line.

And I think what we need to be mindful of in communicating with our supporters is that we know that people will be affected by this.

And so we need to be responsible in how we talk to our supporters, we need to be mindful of that and we also need to kind of but we do need to continue fundraising because more people than ever are going to need our support.

If you’re in a social organisation or kind of human rights or kind of support organisation, that’s going
to be definitely true.

And so kind of how do you balance those messages is going to be something that’s going to be really important to test as you go through your winter campaigns.

But the good news is that people will still give.

And so I know that we are seeing trends, certainly in the UK, of the number of people giving is declining year on year.

We’ve seen a four year trend of that slightly bucked in 2020, where people responded incredibly to the pandemic and there are some beautiful outpouring of public support, but giving is in decline.

Last year that was countered by the average gift going up, so those who can still give were giving more.

I think this is a really interesting insight that came from the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

So it’s a little bit old.

I think this is in 2014.

What’s really fascinating is actually they observed household giving versus income over the course of a recession and actually, households with a combined income of over $200,000, they’re giving went down, but households are combined income of under, so I should say under here’s the delivery type of thing.

Under $100,000, they’re combined giving, actually, they’re giving went up.

And so what we see in terms of recession or economic hardship is that actually, people give what they can and will continue to give.

So it’s tough and like I said, we need to be mindful of personal circumstances facing a lot of our supporters.

But people understand and they emphasise and they know that it’s more important than ever to help people in society, organisations who are helping to stem the effects of kind of cost of living crisis or whatever, however we want to determine it.

So hopefully that’s quick, just quick interjection.

Here is the date range of their 2006 to 2012.

Marcie Lenaghan: Is that supposed to be 2021?

Ali Walker Davies: No, it is 2012.

So it’s looking over the effect of the 2008 recession and how donors responded during that kind of rate.

So that was interesting.

There was a quick question, just to clarify, to make sure that’s correct.

It should be combined income of under $100,000.

That’s the deliberate mistake on that slide.

So those are the predictions for the winter to come.

What do we need to do to prepare for it?

So this is, no matter what is happening down the line, there are some steps that we always need to take and a lot of this is stuff that you will be doing, but it’s hopefully a useful recap as you begin to think about your winter fundraising appeal.

So, first off, we want to start with the data, because that is a really sensible place to start every kind of planning you’re doing.

So we’ll start with the data, then we need to make a plan, because if we don’t have a plan, then we don’t know where we’re going or how we’re going to succeed.

Then we want to make sure that testing is embedded throughout what we’re doing.

And that we’re testing smartly and we’re testing the right things that are going to give us impact.

It can be very tempting when there’s so much to test it should.

It be very tempting to test everything or test kind of something that will help answer an internal debate that’s been going on for five years, but it might not be the thing that’s going to give you the biggest impact in your income, which is where we want to focus and talking and focusing on the income.

We also want to make sure we’re focusing on that fundraising ask and making sure that when we’re thinking about all these other things, we’re not thinking about what are we asking supporters to give to last?

Because being compelling, particularly this year, is going to be really important to making that super timely and then making sure we’re keeping the conversation going so that we’re not just going to people once and asking once and getting that single gift and then moving on.

We’re building that relationship.

And winter is a great time to do that, to build that conversation and to build that sense of momentum.

So I’m going to go into these in a bit more detail now, first off, starting with the data.

So this is an example of an organisation, their expenditure and their income over, say, 2021, Christmas 2021.

And you look at that and you think, actually, email is smashing it, but then the director donate paid social ads is costing a little bit more than it’s bringing in.

So the question there is, is that something that we would invest in again?

Is that something we would change our behaviours and what do we want to do there?

So start off looking at what happened last year, what channels worked, what’s changed in the last twelve months or in the last seven months as it is?

What have we kind of learned, what have we built, what have we seen failed to perform?

And how can we build that in and then think about what are we going to start, stop and carry on with?

So that’s the starting point is that people who are feeling like that kind of the bulk of people on the call today who feel like, yes, we’ve got a rough idea of what we’re doing, this is where to start, this is to hone exactly what it is you’re going to do, because it can be quite tempting to go, right, what did we do last year?

These are the things that we’ve done for the past four years that’s going to form the bulk of our campaign and it might be worth just looking again at that and seeing is that what we need to do this year?

If we’re seeing declining results in Facebook, maybe this year is about starting to put more budget by testing other channels, testing other tactics, so that come next year.

If we see that trend carries on, we’ve got some different tools and tricks in our upper sleeve.

So then you’ve got your data, you know where you’re going, you want to plan ahead.

And that speaks to what I was just talking about.

It’s kind of your core goal is going to be to raise money online this Christmas, but actually, are you looking to get money in the bank, in which case you need to get those cash donations?

Are you looking to build a community for a stronger future?

In which case maybe the target that you’re really focusing on is recruiting regular givers and they could be low level donations and their donations will be coming in further down the line rather than in December.

But you’ve got them signed up and committed.

That’s the target of number of donors.

Or are you looking for that long term success in the future income, in which case maybe you want a smaller number of higher value regular givers.

So looking at what mix you try and achieve and what’s your main goal as an organisation will help you then determine which channels, which tactics to use.

And another thing to think about is kind of in planning your email calendar did I mention that we love email, so if we think the email is going to be a really strong core part of your Christmas or Winter appeal, you need to think about how many emails are we going to send?

And this isn’t just determined by how many slots do you have available in your calendar, this can be determined by a beautiful calculation, particularly if you have historic data.

So this is an organisation that we worked with and if you look at the data available, so we know how many emails we’ve sent and we know how much money was raised in total and therefore we’re able to calculate the amount raised per individual email sent.

This should be a metric that’s a really helpful way to measure the health of your email list.

So if you’re measuring your email performance based on open rates, we know that’s no longer as reliable because of the changes in browsers and how emails are tracked.

If you’re measuring click rate, that’s great, but it doesn’t always translate because some emails have really engaging actions, some emails haven’t got an action.

So click rate isn’t a great one to always measure by.

But actually, if you’ve got a fundraising email programme looking at the amount raised per individual email, and then you’ve got a benchmark for every email that you send, you can see did it perform over or under on that?

And then you can start to work out which ones are the best performing emails and do more of those.

So really huge fan of this formula. But also now you’ve got that number. If you know that your target to raise is. Say. 75,000. And you know that you’re going to raise 90 per email.

Then we know that you need to send 833,000 emails individually so then you know your number of your email list and ultimately you get to the point where you can tell yourself and you tell everyone how many emails you need to send to the full list in order to hit that target.

So, like I say, it’s not just basing it on kind of what’s available in the calendar, it’s looking at how many emails do we need to send to hit that target? Hope that made sense.

So then you know you need to send ten emails.

A great place to start is looking at the calendar and looking at what events are happening in the world.

So you’ve got things like Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, you’ve got Christmas and Boxing Day, you’ve got the last day of the year, you’ve got people going back to work.

And then there are events that happen in kind of the international calendar, like World AIDS Day or Day of Persons With Disabilities.

So you can look out and find ones that are relevant to your course there, and then you can look at your own organisation and what big events are coming up, what milestones are there, what PR opportunities are there, and then, as you saw that in, then you can kind of pick out what’s going to be the most interesting and engaging moments to email your supporters.

So that’s how you can start to flesh out that calendar once you’ve got your plan.

Go ahead. No, go for it.

I just wanted to emphasise those first two points, the importance of looking at your data now and planning ahead.

So we all know that we’re going to get busy in the fall and we think, oh, we’ll have so much time, there’s so much time between now and November.

But let’s be realistic and remind ourselves that we’ve got back to school, we’ve got emergency campaigns that are going to pop up.

Marcie Lenaghan: So I just want to emphasise what Ali is saying and really hammer home the point that now is the time to pull your data, now is the time to plan.

And in engaging networks, now is the time to decide on all those features you’re going to use, like the monthly upsell, or optimising your gift strings with next adjusted gift, or one click giving or adding the fee cover.

And Ali will get into this, but test all those now before big end of year so you know what is going to work on your pages.

Ali Walker Davies: Yeah, absolutely.

Marcie Lenaghan: Now is the point of the year.

I think it’s because I may have worked on fundraising for too long, but I start to panic that the year is nearly finished and everyone else is like, no, no, we’re in July.

And I’m like, no, because you’ve got August and then September, and then you’re basically done because you’re into the end of the year campaign and you’re into winter and you can’t do anything.

So, as someone with mild anxiety, I’m just like, okay, we’ve got to act now.

Ali Walker Davies: So hopefully, in Marcie’s more beautiful, calm way, that is what you’re
getting from this as well.

But there’s definitely it’s a great time to start planning.

I know a lot of organisations kind of have ambition to do that each year and then things get in the way and it slips later and later.

So if you take one thing from this, hopefully it’s to go away back to your organisation and be like, no, let’s do it now.

And I think the other thing on that is just that the data, quite often when we come to look at the data from previous years, you notice that things aren’t there. It’s not easy to get it.

So now is also a great time when you do that data audit to look at what you need to put in place next year or this year coming up, to make sure that you’ve got that fuller picture.

Back to testing our way to success.

These are all the different areas that you can test along the journey to your supporters.

So what tools are you using to recruit new subscribers?

What framings are you testing?

What messaging are you testing?

Have you got sign up pages optimised for great conversion?

Are you getting people if you need opt ins in your market, are you getting those optins?

Or can you be increasing your performance there on your emails, making sure that you’re focusing on increasing the conversion rates of your emails?

So driving really good quality emails that are engaging people driving click throughs, but also once they click through, they go into the right landing page.

Is it clear what they’re being asked to do?

And then thinking about once you get to your donate page, our visitors donating, how can you increase the value of your donations?

What are you doing to drive that?

Increase in kind of the features of engaging networks that Marcia mentioned.

They are brilliant for doing that.

And then also, how can you upsell one off donors to make regular gifts?

And how do you build that into the journey?

So those are some of the things to look at testing.

Here are some examples of that.

In the UK, we have to ask for opt in consent for email capture and to communicate with people ongoing.

So this is an example of where we have a radio button of yes or no.

If someone selects no, they get a little nudge notification that says, you sure you don’t want to hear from us?

That means you’re going to miss out on important updates.

Having that we found is a 9% increase in optin.

So it’s a really great smart tactic to just a small deployment that really helped increase that opt in rate.

Another one is looking in email and kind of quite often writing an email is a job to do on the to do list.

And once it’s done, we load it up and we send it out and actually thinking about what can we test in the content of that email and the core framing?

Like, are we testing what we’re asking people to do?

So this is an example where we’re testing that values proposition that we’re putting supporters.

Do you think it’s up to all of us to make sure deaf children feel valued and understood?

Or do you think families should have access to free expert advice when the child is diagnosed with death?

So, two different apps, but we didn’t know which was going to perform better.

And actually asking about families having access to expert support had a 19% increase in click rates.

So it shows it’s really worth testing those different things.

And then this is one from Winter last year.

So this was from Refuge and we have some kind of parcel pages so you can buy parcels.

This is built on engaging networks and it’s custom builds that we’ve done, where it’s like you can buy a parcel to send to a woman or a family who are affected by domestic abuse and living in a refuge.

So what we did was added this little most popular banner on the bottom right hand option there, and actually having that led to a 62% increase in donation rate.

So social proofing and putting that just tiny little flag on that page had a really high impact on the donation rate.

So these are things that we kind of we test and we look for statistical significance when we’re testing them and then we talk about them when we got statistical significance, which is hard to say.

So when you’re testing, make sure that you’re tracking those conversions and tracking the right things.

It can be really like testing leads to a lot of creativity and a lot of creative thinking, which is brilliant, but we also need to make sure that we’re backing it up to be able to get that data so that you’re able to judge whether it’s been truly successful, because that’s where all the effort becomes worth.

It focus on the fundraising ask. So this is the fundamentals of fundraising.

I’m sure everyone on this call today understands this and knows this, but it can be really easy to get
distracted by all of the things that we need to think about, about getting our ads set up, by getting our donation pages set up.

In the tech side of things, sometimes it’s easy to overlook the kind of like, is our fundraising ask compelling enough?

Are we asking for the right thing right now?

And also, it can be difficult to get that information from organisations.

So I don’t know if you experienced this, but it’s quite hard to kind of like we say, what’s the shopping
list for organisation?

What does £10 apply?

What does £20 play?

And it can be hard to get that information.

So we often go for the kind of the easier route of just kind of a more generic ask.

But I think this year, more than ever, having something really tangible to say that you’re funding will be really important to driving those conversions.

So asking people thinking about your fundraising ask and does it answer the key questions?

Why give why to your organisation? And why now?

And these are some examples from refuge, where, as I mentioned, we’ve got these really tangible gifts that people can buy. And the idea is that somebody is going through a really terrible point in their life.

They’ve experienced domestic violence, they may have children, they may be coming up to Christmas in a very difficult situation and you can just provide some warmth and some comfort by buying a gift for them and letting them know they’re not alone.

So this is what the kind of framing that we work with refuge on.

And we’ve done a lot of testing around this and optimise this.

And so the example, on the left is an email and it’s kind of giving those really tangible price points of what you can buy.

And it also translates really well to paid recruitment on social.

So doing Direct to donate ads and then we do similar tactics we found that worked really well.

We worked with Freedom From Torture and so Freedom From Torture is a UK organisation working with survivors of torture who come to the UK.

So it’s a lot of refugees, asylum seekers, and so we’ve created a range of different packs that you can give parcels that you can give for refugees.

So again, we created these custom donate pages built off of the engaging network platform that are really compelling.

It gives the kind of what I love about this is it’s comparable with an ecommerce experience.

It’s a beautiful website, it’s a really nice experience when you’re doing your Christmas shopping.

And so it feels different to making a donation, but you’ve also got that kind of positive impact.

So this is an example of making your ask as immediately tangible as possible.

So is that something that your organisation could do?

Or what’s the alternative to your organisation?

But how can you make it feel like you’re asking for something different or asking for something that’s really going to provide a very immediate tangible benefit and just have the question and conversation internally of do you need to restrict your funding? Is unrestricted, do you have to go unrestricted?

Or is it better to bring new donors in the door with a more restricted ask and then move on to building the relationship and helping them to understand the work you do, building that trust and then making an unrestricted ask?

And I think that’s a real shift for organisations in the UK, particularly because we’re very used to wanting that unrestricted income.

But actually, it may be worthwhile having that conversation again about whether you start with the restricted gift and then finally on this is keeping the conversation going.

So we talked about how you would need ten emails for an organisation if you’re looking to raise 75,000 from the email list of eight, or what was it?

An email list of 85,000, potentially?

I can’t remember, but yes, so you need to send ten emails, but what does that look like?

And this is an example of the calendar from Refuge.

So this has got kind of you see the red arrows and the arrows?

Those are all the fundraising asks, but we make sure that there’s non fundraising asks scattered throughout the calendar as well, and that we’re engaging people in, not just kind of getting less fatigue
from constantly sending fundraising asks.

It’s important that we’re still trying to build those relationships.

We don’t want to kind of over fundraise from the list.

So this is an example, you want them to still be great quality content, really engaging content, even if people aren’t giving and not being turned off from your organisation.

So here’s an example.

Like I say, from Refuge, we’ve got things like 16 days of activism for the International Day Against Violence.

We’ve got sending a Christmas message to people who have experienced domestic violence.

We’ve got a Christmas poll.

So polls are a really nice way of just kind of getting some engagement, like getting Practising, that engagement response mechanism in an email.

So people get used to clicking on your emails, opening your emails, engaging with them, so that when
you send the fundraiser, they’re going to take an action again.

And this is a couple of examples from refuge.

So this is a really successful one that we sent just before Christmas, is, have you started your Christmas shopping yet again?

Having that pole mechanics in there is really good for just kind of priming people to respond with a very
low barrier action.

And then the landing page is either on the right here, it’s like a quiz and it takes you through to a multiple choice quiz, or the landing page is just great.

Have you donated to Refuge yet?

And asking people to make a donation.

So we’ve still got the fundraising ask within the journey, but we’re not leading with them.

And then when we are going for the fundraising ask, the example on the left here, which is probably very small on your screen, is one of my favourite emails that we’ve sent, which is sent to everyone who received the ten emails in the lead up to Christmas but didn’t donate.

So these are the people who were the kind of coldest on the list.

They haven’t responded, but it was sent to them in January and it says, Ali wow.

More than 17,000 generous people donated to Refuge over the festive period and together we raised a staggering £805,856.

An amazing show of support meant that 546 women and children woke up safe and supported in our refuges this Christmas.

And then it goes on to ask for a regular gift.

So this is sent in January, but it’s still part of the winter appeal and it’s one of our most successful
regular giving ask emails.

We saw a much higher response rate to this normal regular giving our females.

And I think what it shows is that transparency of being able to say how many people helped over Christmas and the social proof of how many people contributed and how many people what that money achieved, is a really powerful fundraiser too.

So it’s not just about showing the need, it’s showing the success and building on the success.

So that’s one that I really love.

And then another example from Freedom from Torture, again, asking people if they will contribute and buy one of those gifts.

So those are kind of two of the tactics that we use.

But we don’t just use the gift, we also ask for the unrestricted gifts over the winter period with both refuge and freedom from torture.

So that’s the summary of planning, then this is the miscellaneous tips and tactics that you might want to try this year.

So first off is you don’t have to wait until the Winter campaign starts
to boost your email list.

In fact, it’s brilliant if you start now because with most of our partners, we tend to turn off any list growth tools or tactics in November because we see that the cost per subscriber goes up and it becomes no longer it’s not cost effective to do it.

So we switched them off mid November as the kind of the Christmas ad spend
starts and the winter ad spend starts.

But what we’re seeing at the moment, for example, as an example, on the left here from Stonewall of a hand raiser, which is just a values led like a petition, but without a political target, so a hand raiser.

And with Stonewall we’re seeing absolutely amazing results.

So that’s been live for three weeks and we’ve, I think, recruited over 10,000 new subscribers
for Stonewall in that time.

And then there’s the example from AOC, which I just love because it’s just the kind of I think not many organisations in the UK are doing this a lot, which has been very responsive to what’s going on and just creating these almost quite disposable sign up forms.

It’s just like, oh, this thing happened over here, it’s going to be in the news cycle for a couple of days and then it will be gone.

And because the amount of time it takes to get sign off on things, we don’t respond to things that quickly, but obviously the AOC team is ready for that and so they can say,

Find Alexandria’s engagement card and then you have that.

And this is kind of the stuff that we’ve seen political campaigns doing amazingly in the US and there’s plenty of opportunity for us to grow and improve that with our own organisations.

And if you’re using engaging networks, it’s very easy to set up the sign up forms.

You should have the templates ready to go.

So this is something that you could be doing within your engaging networks templates.

If you don’t have engaging networks, you could be using Facebook lead gen forms.

There are ways of doing this very quickly and very easily, so it doesn’t have to be a high effort lift,
but think about how many new subscribers you could bring in between August, September, October, so that you’re ready to go to a whole new, fresh, engaged audience in November.

Make sure you’re ready to launch your campaign in November.

Ready for the Giving Tuesday moment, making sure maybe you’re getting in advance of the Giving Tuesday moment.

If that’s going to be a more crowded place this year, and if people are giving as a standard behaviour and Giving Tuesday, what is it that makes it someone give to your organisation rather than other organisations?

And this is where going to your warm list is really important.

So launching your campaign to your warm list in November is a really strong way to make sure you’re making the most income possible.

Marcie mentioned this, but making sure we’re testing early and optimising efficiently.

So when you’re thinking of all the tests you’re going to run, what ones do you need to get answers to really early on so that you can then roll them out throughout the rest of the campaign?

So for an organisation like Refuge or Freedom Torture, that may be looking at whether the gifts page delivers higher income and conversion rates than the standard donate page, and then that would be the page that we would push throughout all of the emails, so we know where we’re focusing rather than being torn in lots of different places.

So I think fundraising framing is a really cool one to test early on.

So you’re able to build on those. But also.

If you’ve got any UX features that you’re looking to add in.

If it’s going to take bill time.

Make sure you’re getting that done upfront. Because you want to make sure that you’re getting any build done or custom development done in September or October.

Ready to test in November at that.

First giving spike around, giving Tuesday, and then you roll out the results of that come Christmas, come end of year, whichever you’re big spike for your campaign is.

This one is a bit more technical, but if you have seen a decline in Facebook results, we recommend testing the Facebook Conversion API.

We’ve seen some really positive early results from that.

It’s not consistent, it’s not widely tested, and we are always very tentative until we’ve got really statistically significant results, but it’s definitely something to be testing.

This diagram probably explains it better than I can, but traditionally, Facebook tracking has been based on cookies and pixels which happen on a customer’s website, on a customer’s browser, rather than a customer’s account.

What the Conversions API does is it has that tracking on your server and on your website, so it’s keeping the data your side, therefore you have ownership of it and so it’s bypassing some of those kind of privacy arrangements that have been in place with the iOS updates.

So there’s a lot more eloquent descriptions that are out there on the internet, if you’re interested in that.

We’ll follow up with that, but I think it’s definitely something.

It’s a small bit of code that you need and tech that you need, but it’s really going to hopefully increase your conversion rate.

And like I said, we’ve seen some really positive early results.

Make sure that you’re really using great content to extend reach and it can be very tempting to focus all of the energy onto the content that’s going to drive donations and conversions.

But it’s really important to have content out there.

So it’s just starting conversation and getting brand awareness.

It’s getting people to recognise you.

But it’s also getting people to follow you.

To go to your pages.

To trigger those kind of cookies and pixels.

To make sure that you’re building that pool of supporters for retargeting.

This is an example from freedom from torture.

Again, they worked with an agency partner in the UK called Glimpse, who do a lot of these kind of really fun, engaging stunts.

And they thought, who’s the most famous refugee?

Many would say it’s Paddington Bear.

And so they did a stunt where they arrested Paddington Bear to highlight the kind of the way that refugees are being treated here in the UK and treated as kind of criminals, which obviously they’re not.

Send lots of emails.

I’ve mentioned this before, right?

Keep sending those emails.

This is another example from MNR and this is the brilliant I think this shows it really clearly in the UK.

The column on the left is the average of UK organisations and the number of emails they send in a year.

And then the UK it averages 30, and then the US it averages 70.

And then you see go back to that figure of income online being 19% from the US.

That is partly because they’re just sending a much higher volume of emails.

And at the moment, the UK is not matching that and living up to that.

And if you look at it, it’s 30.

The red bar at the bottom is the number of fundraising emails.

And so average US organisation is sending 30 fundraising emails over the year, and the average UK organisation is sending ten fundraising emails over the years.

So there is huge potential to increase response and increase income from email.

This is why we really advocate building your email list, getting people onto your email list so that you can keep talking to them time and again with great content, telling them what you’re doing, showing the value of your work and then asking for donations.

And the final tip tactic tool thing to just really make sure that you are taking back to your organisation
is being prepared to be flexible.

Because what we’re seeing is we can plan seven months, six months in advance, we can plan five months in advance, but things are changing at an incredible rate these days.

And so we need to be ready to change plans.

Far out.

But also we need to be able to change plans with a day’s notice or with a week’s notice to kind of make sure that when you’re emailing supporters, you’re not sending them emails that were written in October, when the story is completely different in December.

So planning your emails in advance, but then writing the copy much closer to the time, so you’re not having to do lots of rewrites planning in advance, but writing copy in small batches and then malnutrition results, and being flexible to what’s going on in the outside world, but also being flexible to what’s going
on in the results that you’re seeing.

And actually, maybe you thought you were going to invest lots in Facebook, but if you’re seeing bad results, you don’t need to keep spending there.

For example, maybe you look at putting that money into other channels.

So that’s, in summary, the winning tactics and tips,

I’m sure people on this list and people who are here today will have others.

So if you have any of the burning tactics and tips you want to share, please do drop them in the chat as well, because I think it’s really good to share amongst the community.

But that is it for me.

Marcie Lenaghan: Thank you, Ali that was really great.

I had a quick question from Tom.

Wondering if Engaging Networks has any advice or guidance on implementing the Facebook conversion API.

I’m going to chat internally and get back to him, but I’m curious if you had any more advice for our Engaging Networks.

Ali Walker Davies: No, I am absolutely not the best person to be giving advice on that implementation, but I do know that Facebook has lots of documentation about it, so definitely a starting point is to go
into their manuals and their instructions.

Marcie Lenaghan: I had a question. You mentioned email, obviously a very important channel
for everyone in November and December, and I’m curious if you have any tips or tricks for standing out in the inbox.

Ali Walker Davies: It’s busy.

People are getting emails multiple times a day.

We can’t rely on open rate anymore, although we still need those compelling subject lines to stand out and then we need to make sure people are actually clicking.

I’m just curious from that standpoint, like open rates, click through rates, do you have any tips, tricks, advice?

I think it’s not a tactic as such, but to really focus on delivering great content now onwards, so that you have built that trust with your supporters.

And so I think I don’t know if other people on the list here have their own favourite email lists that they will always open, but if there are organisations that, you know, deliver consistently good emails, then you will be opening them.

So I’ve mentioned AOC, obviously a fan girl.

Like, every email that comes through from AOC, I will open because I know it’s going to be an interesting read.

They’re beautifully written.

They put time into how they write those emails.

They don’t just fit and it feels very transparent and very authentic.

So I feel like, again, now is the time when there’s less competition in people’s inboxes to start building your tone of voice, to start thinking about what are those actions that you can get people taking now to set that behaviour that is going to be a meaningful action to take in the email.

So don’t just think about it come November, think about building that engagement now.

Like I said, when there’s less competition in people’s inboxes.

Marcie Lenaghan: I love that. That’s great advice.

Another question we have is how do you think the World Cup will impact giving this Christmas?

Ali Walker Davies: That is a great question and one that I’m not particularly sporty person.

I don’t feel entirely well qualified.

I think that with any global event or any event that’s going to have a big news cycle, it’s an opportunity to respond and to be timely as well.

Right, so it’s like people talk about newsjacking or whatever. Is there a way to make it relevant to your organisation?

If there is, brilliant, talk about it.

If there isn’t, don’t just send them like it’s the thing of everyone on the internet, love cats.

It doesn’t mean everyone has to put cat in their email, but find ways, if you can find an angle to be relevant to that, to be timely, to at least acknowledge that that’s what people are talking about.

Because if there are things where everyone is talking about it, that’s a great chance for you to show your personality as an organisation as well.

Marcie Lenaghan: That is it for questions, I think, unless anyone wants to chime in last minute.

Anything else to add, Ali, before we wrap up?

Oh, wait, you might have a question.

TV events from our organisation are great for fundraising.

Have you guys done TV events before?

Ali, have you guys worked
with any clients on television?

Ali Walker Davies: I haven’t. In my time at Forward Action,

I had the incredible that is a really good example of best Practise.

Do you mean talking about TV events that your organisation is relevant to or just kind of responding to what everyone is viewing?

Because I think that’s something, again, like the World Cup, it’s great to tie into what the national mood is and I think that talks to kind of whether it’s around the cost of living crisis, whether it’s about environmental concern, whether it’s the war in Ukraine.

I mean, it’s wild that there’s so much going on in 2022 that I didn’t even mention Ukraine as something that’s going to be really front of mind for people.

And I think we’ve already in the UK seen a huge outpouring of donations and support for people from Ukraine.

But if the war is still going on, and it looks like it will be, then how does that affect where people are mentally, what people are thinking about, how people are feeling emotionally?

And I think in these ongoing difficult years that we’re experiencing, it’s just being really mindful of that as well, thinking about kind of saying, yes, we can respond to these events, but we can’t kind of capitalise on them for our game in a way that feels distasteful or inauthentic.

So it’s knowing who you are as an organisation and what’s your space to play with them.

Thank you so much for inviting me to talk, Marcie.

I hope that has been useful and interesting for people and I hope that everyone is feeling inspired to go off and start planning or at least looking at their data and start planning the Christmas end of year campaign.