As we approach Mothers’ Day, and the shops fill up with cards and gifts for all the lovely mums out there (I have already picked something special for my Mum and Nana… super organised for once!), I always spare a thought for my Granny who passed away in 2010. Mothers’ Day is not only a day to celebrate the amazing ladies in our lives who have given so much love and support to us over the years, but it is also a day to reflect on our memories of those special women who are no longer with us.
I remember buying my Granny a bar of lemon soap for almost every special occasion from the age of 5, and still smile when I see her particular favourite brand on the high street. Now, on special dates, I still think about buying her the same present… but of course, it wouldn’t be used. So instead, I like to do something to remember her by, and over the last few years, I’ve found comfort in donating to charity in her memory. It is rewarding to know that the money I have given in her name could help someone else in their time of need, and I know she would have approved.
So this year, for Mother’s Day, I will make sure that my living relatives are well and truly spoilt, and I will also be making a donation to my Granny’s favourite charity. I always include a note with my donation to explain my reason for giving, and I hope it makes someone smile. I may even splash out on a bar of lemon soap for myself too.
As a child of the 80s, I loved nothing more than watching the Blue Peter fundraising appeals. In every show, the presenters would share stories about another successful activity that raised hundreds of pounds, or introduce an inspiring young person who had encouraged their friends to get involved and support the appeal. And by far, the highlight was always when everyone gathered around the fundraising thermometer (also known as ‘The Totaliser’) and showed the viewers how much money they had raised towards their goal.
But what made it so exciting? And why was it so addictive? And more importantly, why was it so successful?
- It demonstrated the importance of community and a shared ownership – every person doing something small to create maximum results.
- It made people feel good about helping others. A visual representation of their support was much more rewarding than sending in money anonymously, and allowed them to see the impact immediately. Plus they could proudly show their friends too.
- It created a sense of urgency – seeing how close they were to the fundraising target made people want to rush to push the total over the top, allowing everyone to feel the collective reward of success.
So basically, the thermometer was the ideal representation of everything that we know works well in the fundraising environment. It allowed supporters to feel happy that their donation had made a difference, that they had played their part in helping, and that they had done the right thing. And it allowed Blue Peter to raise lots of money from a lot of people in a very short space of time.
In other words, it was brilliant.
But technology has moved on a fair bit in the last 20-30 years, and it’s safe to say that although everyone loves a fundraising thermometer, we now have the capacity to be a bit more creative with our design. Why represent donations with lines on a thermometer, when you could be filling a field with flowers or dedicating individual lights on a tree? And instead of waiting for the next episode (or for someone to manually update a website!), why not give your donors the instant satisfaction of seeing the difference their support has made and letting them share their message with loved ones?
So welcome to the world of Visufund. We’ve got the technology, you’ve got the ideas. How would you like to see your donations represented? We’ve got a whole bank of graphical templates you can launch right now, but if there’s something special you have in mind for your charity, tell us your idea and we’ll work together to make it happen.
September. The kids have gone back to school. The days are getting colder. The nights are getting longer. Before you know it, the shops will be filled with decorations and stocking fillers, and the streets will be filled with the sound of carols. Yes, it’s that time of year again… Christmas!
So if the high street shops have been planning their Christmas window display for the last few months and preparing for the festive rush, why is it that charities aren’t doing the same and planning their Christmas fundraising appeals sooner? Remember, it takes time for a campaign to build momentum through your marketing channels, so now is really the time to get your thinking caps on if you want to maximise your success this year.
Don’t worry, it’s not too late yet, and we’ve done the hard work for you. Here’s the plan…
- Gather colleagues from various departments in your charity – fundraising, marketing, finance, admin, IT, retail, etc. You’re all going to have different ideas about what your supporters want, so have a mind-mapping session and make sure you’re all on the same page. What do you want to achieve – raising money, acquiring new supporters, increasing the reach of your charity on social media? Or something else entirely?
- Consider your target audience – how will they be feeling this Christmas? Is this a happy time of year, or one for reflection and remembrance? Make sure your communications are appropriate.
- Plot your comms plan – when are you going to promote your campaign and through what channels? Direct mail? Telephone? Website? A bit of everything perhaps?
- Assign roles to different members of your team and get going. Make sure you check in regularly so you can address any issues as they arise. Good luck!
Or for the easiest solution, simply select one of our pre-designed Christmas templates through the Visufund portal, and your campaign will be up and running in next to no time. All you have to do is tell your supporters how they can do something special this year, and our intuitive social share buttons mean that with every donation, your supporters will do the marketing for you.
We’re here to help you every step of the way, so please get in touch. There’s SNOW point in delaying.