Thursday, 20 March 2014

Hope for Children unveils website for new fundraising initiative

Hope for Children (HOPE) has launched a responsive website for its brand new student fundraising initiative ‘Your Uni, Their Lives’ (YUTL), developed by creative design and marketing agency Satellite Creative.

The website follows on from the initiatives launch event which took place at Speaker’s House, Westminster on 26th February and was hosted by the Speaker of the House, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP.

Chris Lyne, HOPE Marketing Manager, said: “We wanted the site to showcase the amazing fundraising efforts of RAGs (Raising and Giving Societies), whilst connecting them with the East African projects that they have been supporting through HOPE. We also wanted to get across the excitement of the challenges they can continue to get involved in.

On top of that, it was important we didn’t lose any linkage with the HOPE brand, which is our greatest strength. I feel we achieved this and I am absolutely delighted with the final result. I really hope people find browsing the website an engaging experience.”

Features of the website include information on project work, challenges and partner profiles with real-time API totals showing how much each university has fundraised.

The initiative currently has seven UK university partners; Nottingham, York, Exeter, Bournemouth, UCL, Leeds and Abertay.

To find out more about Your Uni, Their Lives, please visit:

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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Real-time giant Mother’s Day card for Oxfam to be displayed at Westfield

Proximity London have brought together  artist Lizzie Mary Cullen and cutting edge technology by Grand Visual to create a real time giant Mother’s Day card for Oxfam – a celebration of mums around the world as part of the charity’s Mother Appeal.

The Happiest Mother’s Day Card is a giant canvas divided up into lots of little squares. When a member of the public goes online and dedicates a square to their mum via the website, the artist will paint within that square and bring it to life. This means the more people that take part and celebrate their mum, the more the design of the card will grow and blossom.

Launching on Wednesday 19March at Westfield London, the art event will run for five days until Sunday 23 March. During this time, the public will be invited to dedicate their square online at (live from 19 March) – where they can also watch a live video stream of the artist working on the card and also make a small optional donation.

At the end of the event, the artwork will be turned into a giant Mother’s Day card, hopefully breaking the world record for most contributions to a greetings card. The attempt has been officially approved by Guinness World Records with the current record standing at 5,339 contributions.

Creative agency Proximity London devised the strategy, creative concept and execution (including web user experience and design) and overall management of the event.

Oxfam’s brief to Proximity London was to generate buzz and publicity for Oxfam’s Mother Appeal (a mass audience fundraiser to raise over £10 million to help mothers worldwide lift themselves and their families out of poverty for good); then translate this buzz into donations and data capture for future support.

John Treacy, Executive Creative Director at Proximity London said, “The Happiest Mother’s Day card blends a live event with digital innovation to create a powerful idea that drives awareness, participation and ultimately donation.  But more than that, it’s also a celebration of some of the most powerful and important people in the world, in the run up to the day we think of them the most.”

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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

3 Quick and Dirty Facebook Page Tweaks That Will Dramatically Increase Your Reach

Most of what you read about creating more reach for your nonprofit’s Facebook Page either has to do with Facebook Ads or optimizing content.

And while those things are crucial, it’s also important not to forget about these 3 settings that can dramatically increase your reach:

1. Turn On Posting Ability

Allowing Facebook users to post photos and videos to your page increases your exposure to their friends.

For example, the friends of the Facebook users who’ve posted these photos of rabbits will see a story in their News Feed, exposing them to the mission of the National Wildlife Federation.

To allow others to post photos, videos, text updates and links to your page, click “Edit Settings” under the "Edit Page" menu item in your admin panel. Once you're there, select both options, as shown below.

2. Turn On Tagging

Let Facebook users tag themselves and their friends in photos you post to your Page.

This way when you post pictures from an event, you can invite your fans to tag themselves and their friends. Tagged friends (who may not be fans) are prompted to visit the photo and like the Page.

To turn tagging on, click “Edit Settings” under the "Edit Page" and then select tagging ability.

tagging ability 3 Quick and Dirty Facebook Page Tweaks That Will Dramatically Increase Your Reach

3. Turn On Replies

Allowing for threaded commenting helps create more engagement on posts in two ways:

  1. With notifications to users who’ve been replied to with a comment.
  2. With threaded comments that organize conversations better.

To turn threaded replies on, click “Edit Settings” under the "Edit Page" and then scroll down to select tagging ability.

allow replies 3 Quick and Dirty Facebook Page Tweaks That Will Dramatically Increase Your Reach

Once this option is selected you’ll notice a second level of commenting within your Page updates.

Have you already selected these options for your Page? How’s it Working?

photo cred – Flickr: Creative Commons

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Facebook Timeline Contests – Everything Your Nonprofit Needs for Success

Facebook Timeline Contests   Everything Your Nonprofit Needs for Success

Facebook’s opened up a fun new avenue for pages to entertain fans and boost engagement. Businesses and organizations may now reward fans for their activity (likes and comments, but not shares) on the page’s Timeline.

Counting likes on a post or manually checking the comments for a right answer or a nice photo is not fun. Without an application to help you with that, you'll have to do it!

We've built a totally free Timeline Contest Management app that you can try out here. It will help you run sweepstakes, Quizzes and Photo Contests without the burden of checking likes and comments manually or in a spreadsheet!

But first, let's start with the basics.

The 411 on Facebook timeline contests

You can reward fans and visitors for:

  • Posting on your Page (including photos)
  • Private messaging your page
  • Liking a page post
  • Commenting on a page post (including comments with photos)
  • Accumulating likes on their posts or comments (including comments with photos)

You can’t:

  1. Ask users to tag themselves in a photo they are not pictured in
  2. Ask users to share a post
  3. Ask users to post something on theirs or their friends' timelines.

Basically, you can run a quiz by posting a question and rewarding a correct answer.

You must:

  • Have official rules for your contest (included in the text or linked within your post)
  • Offer terms and eligibility requirements in your rules (ex: age and residency restrictions)
  • Acknowledge that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook (this language must be included in your post)
  • Comply with local, state and country rules regarding promotions, and prizes

You may not:

  • Run a contest on a personal profile
  • Offer alcohol as a reward. There is no way to verify participants’ ages.

Unfortunately, there’s no escaping the legalese. Once your post is properly crafted, it will likely end up looking like a long disclaimer rather than a fun promotion.

Facebook Timeline Contests   Everything Your Nonprofit Needs for Success

This is a properly formatted Timeline Contest post. Fun, huh?

You are responsible for compliance with your local regulations

French contest rules must be registered with a notary public, Italian contest entries must be collected on a server located in Italy, and in Brazil, you can only run sweepstakes in very limited cases. California has different regulations for online giveaways than Connecticut.


Timeline contests versus page contest apps

Most page contest apps come with a fan gate for recruiting fans, and a form for qualifying them. If your goal is gaining new fans and knowing who they are, a Timeline Contest won’t help you.

However, if your engagement and organic reach are dwindling, a Timeline Contest can kick it up a notch.

After a healthy Timeline Contest with a heavy engagement period, more fans and unique users will see your future posts. And that’s good for your page!

Fraud protection in page contest apps

Some contest apps come with built in fraud protection. Fraud is real, and rampant in Facebook contests.

Scammers know what they’re doing – creating fake Facebook profiles and working in tandem with other scammers to manipulate voting results.

Most of your participants won’t bother to read your contest rules. Scammers trying to game the system will pick apart each word.

Facebook Timeline Contests   Everything Your Nonprofit Needs for Success

Some third party app providers have built fraud protection directly into your contest. Avoiding scammers can be easy.

If you run a sweepstakes on your page, plan to spend some time verifying your winners are legit.

If you run a voting contest (i.e. "comments or photos with the most likes") it will be nearly impossible to verify the users who obtained the most likes didn’t employ tricks such as a vote exchange scheme or votes from fake Facebook accounts.

If you run a quiz type contest, keep in mind users can edit their comments. You have no way of knowing if an answer was correct when the first time or if it was edited after the user saw other participants' answers.
Keep the size and nature of your audience in mind, and be sure to award prizes that will only attract genuine fans.

The bottom line

If your goal is to keep up interactions and increase engagement, run a Timeline Contest. Just be prepared to invest some time monitoring your entries closely.

If your goal is to recruit new fans and collect qualified data, or you’re giving away larger, more valuable prizes, choose a Contest App with built in fraud protection.

Emeric Ernoult is the CEO of agoraPulse, and creator of a free Timeline Content Management App.


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Online counselling service for young people in Brighton & Hove

Two Brighton & Hove based youth organisations – Sussex Central YMCA and the Young People’s Centre – are launching a new online counselling service for young people aged 13-25 in Brighton & Hove.

The ‘E-motion’ online counselling project is a partnership between Sussex Central YMCA Youth Advice Centre, Impact-Initiatives Young People’s Centre, and the Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG.)

The digital service which will offer 13-25 year olds in Brighton & Hove the opportunity to experience counselling by email, compliments their already existing vital face to face counselling services.

E-motion is open to everyone, however due to the nature of their work and the funding available, the service aims to target young people who, for whatever reason do not chose to access face to face counselling.

It will also be a great help when other services are shut during school holidays or when young individuals can’t travel to a face-to-face appointment or can’t make the same time every week.

To get in touch, individuals send  an email to . They are then invited to give some basic details about themselves. E-motion then tailor the online counselling to make sure it is the right service for the individual. 

Ginny Roads, Counselling Co-ordinator at the Young People’s Counselling Service in Central Brighton said: “This is an exciting new project giving young people the opportunity access an alternative to counselling other than talking to a counsellor face to face. It meets young people where they feel most comfortable, is often more convenient and reflects their growing use of technology and the internet “

At present the service is a pilot project, but all e- counsellors are experienced in dealing with young people, have completed online counselling training and work in accordance with the BACP professional codes and standards. By working with the Brighton and Hove CCG and their GP’s the project will be promoted accordingly to make sure that everyone knows how and where to refer to.

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Older people lack digital skills to access new health services

Older people are the biggest users of health and care services, with the average NHS spend for retired households nearly double that for non-retired households. 

But many lack the skills to take advantage of changes in the way healthcare is being delivered, warns Digital Unite, one of the UK’s main providers of digital skills learning.

Technology is transforming the face of healthcare and bringing huge benefits to patients. Being able to book appointments online, order repeat prescriptions and improved access to online information and services can really advance patients’ health and well-being. Video calling your GP and personal health monitoring systems through mobile phone apps may be solutions for the future.

However, many older people still aren’t online or don’t have the skills to use such services. New ONS figures (Q4, 2013) show that 6.7 million adults in the UK have never used the internet, with 5.8 million of them aged 55 and over.

Dick Stroud of Digital Unite says: “It’s vital that we encourage and inspire these millions of older people to get online. The healthcare industry can help by signposting to the many resources that are available – whether it’s a beginners’ computer course at the local library or a national digital inclusion campaign like Spring Online from March 31-April.”

Spring Online in association with Carphone Warehouse sees thousands of free taster events and sessions held by volunteers all across the UK to help and inspire local people achieve a lasting use of the internet – and transform their lives.

Digital Unite research has shown that of those people over 55s who are using the internet, four out of five (86%) said it had improved their lives. 72% said that being online had helped reduce their feelings of isolation and 81% said that using the internet made them feel part of modern society. In addition 20% of older learners in a Digital Unite social housing learning programme felt their understanding of health related issues had improved as a result of being online.

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Monday, 17 March 2014

Making Your First Donor Retention Calendar, Step by Step

Mazarine Treyz Making Your First Donor Retention Calendar, Step by Step

Guest post by Mazarine Treyz, author of The Wild Woman's Guide to Fundraising, called one of the Top 10 books of 2010 by Beth Kanter, and author of the Networked Nonprofit. Her second book is The Wild Woman’s Guide to Social Media, published 2012, given a 5 star rating by Her latest book, Get the Job! Your Fundraising Career Empowerment Guide, was given a 5 star review by


Our donors don’t give year after year

Donors staying loyal is the exception, not the rule. According to Chuck Longfield, ten years ago the average retention rates of a newly acquired donor were roughly 33%.  Today it's 27%.

What can we do about this?

Make a donor retention calendar to keep your donors loyal!

OK, so donor retention isn’t part of your job description.

Your boss probably doesn’t religiously count how many donors were retained and how many were lost every year.

You just have to get money in, by any means necessary.

Meanwhile, that grant needs to get written, that trade show with potential sponsors is next week and you’ve got to craft your pitch, and your big event is coming up in two months and there’s still so much to do!

There's so much on your plate! How can you keep your head above water?

"Remember, good customer service is often just deciding what you’re going to be bad at, so that you can focus on the things that matter." – Uncommon Service, by Frei & Morriss

Even though this quote is from a for-profit business book, I’d like to invite you to think of it as donor service. Remember, good donor service is just deciding what you’re going to be bad at.

Here are 4 Steps to help you focus on the things that matter:

Step One: Don’t Focus on Everyone!

Try focusing on:

  • People who gave multiple times per year for the last two years.
  • People who give monthly
  • People who gave once a year for the last two years
  • Former board members (from the last two years)
  • Current volunteers

Another way to make this process less overwhelming is to decide different levels attention for different levels of donations.

Do you have a donations policy? Why not create a thanking policy?

Step Two: Make your Donor Retention more Manageable by Creating a Thanking Policy

Here are some examples of thanking policies:

1. Over $100 Check in the mail: Thank them with a phone call & letter.

2. Over $1000 check in the mail: Call them up and see if you can go to coffee

3.  Multi-year donor: thank them with a phone call

4. Once a year thank-a-thon for all donors

5. Thank recent donors on the anniversary of their first donation, and ask if they’d like to give again.

Step Three: Put it all Together in your Donor Retention Calendar

Once you know WHO to focus on, what does a donor retention calendar include?

  • Appeals
  • Surprise and delight tactics
  • Surveys
  • Friendraisers
  • Thank you notes
  • Monthly e-newsletter themes
  • Phone-a-thons
  • Thank-a-Thons
  • Volunteer Appreciation Days

BOTTOM LINE: Solicitations Calendar + Surveys + Event Calendar + E-News Calendar = Donor Retention Calendar


How can you fit all of these extra donor retention tasks into your already busy schedule?

You need to start having the conversation with your board, your volunteers, and other staff, that EVERYONE needs to be taking responsibility for fundraising.

On a personal level, try something that looks like this:

Step four:  Putting Retention into Action Every Day

Monday: Coffee with a donor

Tuesday: Email a donor

Wednesday: Call a donor

Thursday: Thank a donor with a note

Friday: Write up all donor touches, add to board report

If you’d like to get started on a systematic way to keep your donors, I have an e-course called Secrets of Keeping Your Donors that you might like, starting on March 28th, 2014. Go here to check it out!

And for even more expert advice on donor retention, check out our npEXPERT eBook and webinar series!

 npexperts donor retention banner ad 742x24622 Making Your First Donor Retention Calendar, Step by Step




photo cred: Sparklehausen, Flickr Creative Commons

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Major Gift Fundraising: 3 Vital Storytelling Tips

Marketers use stories to draw the attention of a wider audience and to generate interest in your organization. In fundraising, including major gift fundraising, stories motivate donors to provide financial support.

Here are three tips for using stories to boost your organization’s bottom line through major gifts:

1. Facts are important, but emotions motivate. Any marketer – or experienced fundraiser – will tell you that most people make decisions with our hearts and, after we’ve decided, we use our minds to think about the reasons for our choice. As you gather information about the good work your organization is doing, keep in mind those all-important personal angles and highlight them.

2. Our stories aren’t just for an audience of donors and prospects. You can also use them to motivate your board. In fact, when I facilitate board retreats I always strongly recommend that the retreat include a "mission moment" consisting of anything from a client presenting their personal story of how they’ve been helped by your organization to "Thank You" letters or even a video of those wetlands or testimonials. The success of any major gift program depends largely on developing a board of directors who are willing and able to both "give and get" those gifts, and nothing makes it easier for board members to overcome their discomfort with asking for money like a moving story.

3. Ask your prospects and donors to tell you their stories. From the start of the cultivation process, ask your donors about themselves. Why do they care about your organization? What specific area of your work excites them? Do they have a personal connection with you – a relative who benefited from your work, for example? Donors, and major gift donors in particular, will be happy to share these things with you. And while doing so they’ll remind themselves why they want to make that major gift!


Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE is the author of the recently published book, Major Gift Fundraising for Small Shops.

Special offer: The first 100 people to purchase Major Gift Fundraising for Small Shops between 6 am – Midnight on Tuesday, March 18 will get free access to Amy’s webinar, The Art of the Ask (a $129 value).

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Sparks partners with Checkprint and Barclays on QR code donations system

Checkprint, a provider of secure paper and payment solutions, has created and applied uniquely personalised two dimensional QR codes for children’s medical research charity Sparks.

The new system will allow Sparks to incorporate QR codes into its welcome letters for the 2014 Bake for Bumps campaign, which will enable fundraisers the option to pay their funds using the Barclays Pingit smartphone app, which has a built-in QR code scanner.

Laura White, Head of Regional Fundraising at Sparks, said: “We have worked with Checkprint for a number of years and its solutions have helped us raise a vast amount of money for medical research. By generating QR codes for our latest Bake for Bumps campaign Checkprint will save us, and our supporters, even more valuable time and money which we can put to good use in other areas of Sparks’ work.”

Milon Veasey, Head of Mobile Solutions Specialists at Barclays, added: “People today are looking for quick, easy and convenient payment option which is driving the demand for mobile payment solutions and charities like Sparks are fully recognising this. Barclays Pingit provides an easy and secure way for people to make those all-important charity donations, at anytime and anywhere.”

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11 Nonprofit Professionals Share Social Media and Technology Advice for Nonprofits via Instagram Video

Instagram NonprofitThanks to a partnership with the Public Interest Registry, Heather Mansfield of Nonprofit Tech for Good was able to report live from the Nonprofit Technology Conference (#14NTC) last week in Washington, DC. Empowered with a tablet and smartphone, one of Heather’s first priorities was to reveal the faces and expertise behind some our favorite nonprofit brands. The results are below and what you’ll hear are the responses to the question: “What is your number one piece of nonprofit technology advice for nonprofits?” You can view all videos at

1. Alexandra Bezdikian, Interactive Events and Video Producer

2. Liz Ragland, Content Writer & Non-Profit Marketing
Network for Good

3. Jessica Sotelo, Deputy Director of Online Marketing
World Wildlife Fund

4. Megan Soffer, Marketing Coordinator
Public Interest Registry

5. Susan Tenby, Director of Online Community
Caravan Studios

6. Joleen Ong, Director of Marketing and Publications  Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN)

7. Dan Michel, Digital Marketing Director
Feeding America

8. Debbir Walyus, Web Communications Manager
The Salvation Army

9. Debra Askanase, Director of Outreach
National Brain Tumor Society

10. Ivan Booth, Director

11. Darian Rodriguez Heyman, Co-Founder
Social Media for Nonprofits

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Macmillan’s new social media service encourages donating through dating

Macmillan Cancer Support has launched a new social media fundraising initiative that helps people find their perfect match while donating money to the charity.

My Mate Your Date is a free service that lets people ask friends to match-make them via Facebook. Over a 30 day period, a carefully selected group of friends are asked to suggest suitable dates for the single person, who names an amount they will donate per date suggested. He or she then reviews the suggestions (no online profiles or photos are shared to protect privacy) and requests introductions to those that appeal. All money collected at the end of the 30 days goes to Macmillan.

Macmillan have simultaneously revealed the results of a survey a survey it commissioned by which showed  that while nine out of ten Brits think online dating has become more acceptable in the past three years, 84% don’t believe it’s the best way to meet a long term partner. Single people also admitted that they are three times more likely to trust a Facebook profile (40%) than an online dating profile (14%).

Dating expert Elizabeth Sullivan commented:  “Whilst online dating is a great way to meet fellow singles, people often feel nervous about meeting a stranger. And with our ever increasing schedules, people are often too busy to play cupid or too embarrassed to ask friends to set them up. That’s why My Mate Your Date is a brilliant concept: it uses a very modern social media tool but goes back to the traditional method of introducing friends…with an added feel good factor of giving to charity at the same time!”

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Saturday, 15 March 2014

Yes, Fundraising is Hard Work!

I stopped in my tracks and chuckled as I was getting ready for work this morning. I was listening to an interview with Rob Thomas, Veronica Mars creator. He was talking about TV show and its leap to the big screen. The TV show's ratings were never great, but Veronica Mars had and it turns out still has a dedicated and loyal fan base.

Thomas created a Kickstarter page to raise money for a Veronica Mars movie. He started with a $2million goal and ended up raising $6million from 91,000 dedicated fans. But, here's the part I loved, here's what made me pause and chuckle:

"It’s been the most work,” said Thomas “I just finished signing 5,500 posters this week that are all going out to Kickstarter backers.”

Yes, thank you! Fundraising is hard work; sometimes hand cramping work. Maybe fundraising isn't for everyone. The story also featured Alyssa Rosenberg, Washington Post pop culture blogger.

“It’s a way of picking the lock on the Hollywood gate and getting around the gatekeepers,” said Rosenberg. “But that doesn’t mean there [aren't] enormous advantages in working with mainstream studios.”

While crowd funding is in vogue; I often refer to crowd fundraising as peer to peer event fundraising's cousin – it's important to recognize that it's hard work. If stewarding donors was easy wouldn't everyone be raising more money?

I hope this makes you chuckle today as well. It's not often that you hear someone in Hollywood be able to relate to the nonprofit world. Be great to your donors, embrace the hard work and know that it does make a difference.

Curious to see how your organization measures up with the rest of the crowd? Visit the Blackbaud Index and compare your fundraising prowess with the rest of the landscape.
index 742x454 Yes, Fundraising is Hard Work!

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Friday, 14 March 2014

Free Daffodil Day app for Android, Apple and Microsoft launched

Dell and the Irish Cancer Society have announced the availability of a free Daffodil Day smartphone app, which will empower users to discover nearby Daffodil merchandise in their area.

The app works on all platforms and has a range of exciting features including a location mapping functions that will help users find merchandise.

The new app is also a powerful charitable giving tool which makes it easier than ever to donate to the Irish Cancer Society on Daffodil Day, which will be held on March 28th this year. The team at Dell Ireland is behind the innovative mobile application, which the Irish Cancer Society hopes will be instrumental in attracting a new generation of supporters to the Daffodil Day campaign.

Shane Breslin, Web Services Manager from the Irish Cancer Society, thinks that the app will generate awareness of and support for Daffodil Day among young people.

“The tech experts at Dell have come up with a range of brilliant features including a dynamic map that lets you track down locations where campaign merchandise is available.

“You can also use the app to make a donation, to volunteer your time on March 28th, or simply to keep up to date with all the latest news and social media posts from the Irish Cancer Society. We’re encouraging everyone to download the free app today,” said Breslin.

The Daffodil Day app is available to download free from Google Play, Windows Phone and the iOS App Store today.

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Users of Cancer Research UK’s smartphone game analyse DNA data faster than scientists

In one month ‘citizen scientists’ have analysed DNA data that would have taken a scientist six months to analyse by eye by playing Cancer Research UK’s new smartphone game Play to Cure: Genes in Space.

If this amount of DNA – tightly-coiled strings of genetic information – was unravelled it would stretch across 40 miles, or (65 km). Incredibly, this is a distance equivalent to the length of more than 540 football fields, or about 80 times the height of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

These figures follow the February launch of the charity’s unique game which global gamers of all ages can play on their smartphones and simultaneously analyse gene data.

Cancer Research UK’s scientists must decode vast amounts of data to discover cancer-causing genetic faults in order to develop new targeted treatments for patients. But the human eye is needed to spot patterns in the data – computers aren’t precise enough. And it would take scientists years to do this manually – diverting their time from other essential research.

But the collective clout of the sheer numbers of gamers across the world have sped this up, and will boost accuracy with many pairs of eyes examining each stretch of DNA.

In just one month, there have been 1.5 million classifications through the game from players in almost every country in world.

And citizen scientists have collectively dedicated more than 53,000 hours – six and a half years – playing the game and analysed around half the data from the first research project.

Hannah Keartland, Cancer Research UK’s citizen science lead, said: “We’re astounded by this fantastic support from citizen scientists across the world which goes to show – you don’t need to wear a lab coat to be a hero.

“It’s crucial we don’t stop here because the more people who play in their spare moments, the quicker we’ll make a difference. There never again needs to be such a thing as a boring queue!

“It’s still early days but we believe the collective force of global gamers could have a massive impact and speed up our life-saving research.”

The game is available to download now for free for anyone with an Android or Apple Smartphone.

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Virtual mentoring charity in Africa looks for volunteers

Grow Movement has helped create hundreds of jobs in Africa through virtual mentoring, helping to transform the lives of thousands through a simple phone call.

The charity pairs up business consultants across the world with businessmen and women in Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi to give advice over Skype, phone and email.

‘Volunteer Consultants’ use their specialist knowledge to share information with anyone from chicken part sellers and tailors in Malawi, perfume shops in Uganda and rubbish collectors in Rwanda and identify areas for improvement, eventually growing the business and creating vital jobs in the community from the comfort of their desks.

Grow Movement was set up by fund manager Chris Coghlan in 2009 after studying the Rwandan genocide at university and witnessing the extreme levels of human suffering when volunteering in Mozambique, the DR Congo and Rwanda.

Frustrated by current methods of tackling world poverty, and seeing how easy it was to get a mobile connection in even the most remote areas, he identified a way to utilise this to empower business owners.

The charity has now helped to create almost 500 jobs – 84 in Rwanda, 27 in Malawi and 371 in Uganda – with the aim of creating another 1,000 jobs by 2015. Through this success, approximately 15,216 people have been positively affected – be they families, children, friends or the wider community.

21 per cent of the businesses involved have also evolved from micro to small businesses, and 41 per cent have seen an increase in profits.

Volunteering with the charity is a way to play a role without needing to take a sabbatical or spend months away from home; an opportunity to create jobs and see the direct results of their advice through personal relationships rather than simply contributing money. They can learn about the day-to-day challenges entrepreneurs in remote parts of Africa face as well as practice their own skills and enhance their CVs.

With a huge need for expertise to help the growing numbers of retail entrepreneurs in these countries, the charity is now launching a drive to sign up Volunteer Consultants within the industry to coach in everything from marketing to price promotion and product placement. 

According to CEO Claire Jenkins CEO: “I am constantly blown away by the energy and drive of all our entrepreneurs – there is such motivation to improve their businesses, to become employers themselves and to contribute to their countries. All they need is guidance in the issues we take for granted when going shopping, such as advertising and promoting products by price and USP. This is a chance for potential volunteers to take on a life-changing role without taking a long break from work – all it takes is a few phone calls and emails. It’s an incredibly insightful, unique and challenging experience where skills are shared on both sides – the volunteers also learn a huge amount from their clients.”


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Why You Should Start Your Year-End Fundraising NOW

Blackbaud published this stunning infographic, summarizing their 2013 Charitable Giving Report.

Why You Should Start Your Year End Fundraising NOW
Why You Should Start Your Year End Fundraising NOW
Why You Should Start Your Year End Fundraising NOW
Why You Should Start Your Year End Fundraising NOW

Three action items from Blackbaud’s 2013 Charitable Giving Report

Scroll up for a moment and check out the monthly giving chart.

Doesn’t it look like an interval training screen on a Stairmaster? You start out with smaller peaks and valleys (sprint, rest) during the first nine months, followed with an all out dash to the finish line.

Here are three training tips for success in 2014:

1. Build stamina

Given the fact that most giving happens during the last three months of the year (a trend that will continue for years to come),  spend the first nine months training for a successful 4th quarter.

Set shorter-term goals for online engagement, list growth, open and click rates, and conversion rates. This will help you create a community that's vibrant and responsive to your messages, going into October.

2. Build community

It goes without saying that donors need to know, like and trust your organization before they will give you money.

If you wait until October to start engaging your community, they’ll have little reason to trust your year-end appeal. Use social media to listen to and connect with your community.

Be passionate, present, and make every effort to be useful.

3. Build systems

In order to be successful during an event like #GivingTuesday, you need to have the systems.

Your fundraising software should support the specific types of fundraising campaigns you do (walks, peer-to-peer, matching, etc).

Your e-mail software should also support smart segmentation so that you can be sure you're communicating with your donors in more meaningful and purposeful ways.

Write it down

There's no shame if you don't have a written plan. But there is shame If you don't write one soon.

Set your plan. Refocus. Review.

How are you preparing for year-end?

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