Finding Your Brand with iTunes

What is your charity song? Finding your charity brand character using iTunes
Not for profits rely on emotions. We are in the emotional marketing world – it is usually all we have! Yet it can be really hard to articulate the exact emotion of your organisation. Charities struggle in their fundraising to convey their “brand essence” or find it hard to get unity around how they should speak. Many now have useful ‘living the brand books” that help convey the important message that the brand is about everything you do and not just your logo!

But, one fund way of trying to define your tone is  to dig around your itunes library and find the song or piece of a song that captures who you are, what you believe in and how you speak. Sadly, I have a playlist on my ipod called charity tunes – every time I hear a song that is just the right expression for an organisation I drop it in there.

Here are a few examples – I’d love to hear your suggestions for your charity.

Free Me –  Roger Daltry  for Amnesty International

Open your Eyes – Snow Patrol  for Fred Hollows Foundation

I’m Free – The Soup Dragons for Youngcare

Pick You Up – Powderfinger for Lifeline

This is how it feels – Inspiral carpets for Beyond Blue

Hope Street – The Levellers for Vinnies

Something better change – The Stranglers for Getup
(though actually it really needs to be an acoustic version of this some sung by Adele as GetUp don’t appear to be an “angry” group)

Share your nominations ….

The Australian Parochialism Index!

Are the States really different?  It won’t be long before the State of Origin thrusts us once more into the age old (well maybe 25 years) rivalry between the NSW Blues and QLD Maroons. But, as fundraisers do we really need to treat our donors differently just because of the State they live in? When did we decide that despite all our sophisticated segmentation, that arbitrary state lines determine the ask they get and the way they are treated by charities they support.

We set out to uncover the importance of State identity to people. This wasn’t about their giving but about how they felt about the state they live in.

  • Overall 50% agreed that they felt “proud to live in this State”: WA was the highest at 64% and NSW the lowest at 42%.
  • People in SA (46%) and WA (43%) were much more likely to say that “people in other States don’t understand us” (average 23%).
  • 57% of West Australians say “we are different from the rest of the country” compared to an average of 29%.
  • Of some concern was the fact that overall 39% of all states agreed or strongly agreed that “we are not in control of our own destiny in this State”. Again this was highest in SA and WA, lowest in Victoria and similar between and QLD.
  • 56% think they live in the best state: highest for WA (71%) and lowest for NSW (48%).
  • Perhaps the area of greatest difference though is in the expression of “we are not in the nationalo priorities” with overall 44% agreeing with this statement but 63% of Western Australians and 61% of South Australians agreeing.
  • When it comes to the needs of the States most people from all States agree (70%) that “our needs are similar to other areas of Australia”.

So, whilst WA and SA have a stronger sense of identity, even in those areas people would agree that the needs of the disabled, for example, are the same there as in other states. We also explored attitudes to local, state and national charities across the country but that is another blog!

From all of this we concluded that perhaps we should change the number plate straplines a bit:

Queensland – Take us seriously!
Tasmania – Don’t forget about us!
WA – What are you doing with all our money?
South Australia – This is the best place – but don’t tell anyone!
Victoria – We are just a bit more classy.
ACT – We aren’t ALL public servants!
NT – We really are different.
NSW – What is everyone on about?

More strategic is a specialist marketing and fundraising consultancy that helps charities understand the “why” of giving.


How Do Australians Like To Give?

How do Australians Say They Like to Give?

Whilst the single most important question we need to ask is why people give, it is useful to know how they give.

We surveyed over 2,000 Australians to find out how they most like to give and how many charities they support in each way.

It is not surprising that the most popular ways were those that were impulsive and low value (putting money in a tin or buying products where some of the funds go to the cause)or had a direct return to the donor ( lotteries).  Around 40% of people claim to have made a regular monthly donation with just under half of those making more than one donation in this way.

There is a strong correlation between the method of giving and the claimed annual amount donated to charities. Almost 28% of the people who made regular gifts donated over $500 per year whilst of the far more common lottery buyers only 31% said they contributed more than $100 per year.  In fact, lottery buyers were the least likely to contribute over $500 with just 10% doing so compared to petition signers (17%) and volunteers (16%).

More are specialist fundraising and marketing consultants who are fascinated by what people do…and why they do it. We have conducted more than 20 research projects for not for profit organisations. To find out why your donors do what they do and how to get them to do more – call us.


Australia’s Top Charities

Who are the top fundraising charities in Australia?

It can be difficult to be absolutely definitive about this as charity Annual Reports can be tricky to interpret. There are a few challenges:

Different reporting periods and timeliness – whilst the majority of not for profits have year ends of June some are December and a few are April or September. There can also be significant delays in posting annual results onto websites, for some charities it takes more than nine months to share their results online.

Different classifications of income and expenditure – gross fundraising income is fairly comparable across organisations as long as in kind valuations are excluded but on the expenditure side it is very hard to know if the annual report figures are “apples with apples”. For this reason we have set up the More Cost Effectiveness Benchmarks using detailed management accounts.

Unconsolidated Federations – some Federations, such as the Heart Foundation report a consolidated income for the group but other such as Cancer Council do not. Where possible we have added up the state incomes of member organisations to give a “brand” figure. We feel this is fairer as the public generally believe these organisations are national in their scope. However, we do also report on income per head of population served which far more clearly illuminates the performance of state entities.

However, using the most up to date data for the majority of charities – which is year ending 2012 we can see the following “league table” for fundraising income. In this analysis we have excluded, where known, any income from Op Shops or other commercial ventures but included bequest income.

What this table does not reveal though is how critical fundraising is to each of these organisations – and there are huge variations. For example, World Vision relies on fundraising for 70% of revenue and Mission Australia just 8%.

Overall, for the full set of 59 charities we tracked the average fundraising reliance was 52%. It is also interesting to look at the growth rate for each of the organisations over the past three years.

The most meaningful comparison to look at is Fundraising growth excluding bequests (although this limits the number of organisations we can look at due to some organisations not declaring bequest income separately). On this basis we see the fastest growth is from Red Cross (+51%) and Fred Hollows (+38%) whilst organisations such as World Vision (-10%) and Save the Children (-1%) have experienced declines. Overall, for all the charities where bequest data is available for all years we see an overall growth of 16% from 2010 to 2012. Of the 35 charities with full data, 8 declined in non bequest income and 27 increased.

Importantly we can also begin to track market share for a comparison group of charities to show whether people are outperforming the market and gaining share or growing slowly and effectively losing share.

If you want to know how you compare to nearly 100 other charities for income, growth rate and market share call Martin on 0435 306202.

If you want to know how well you are doing on a comparable cost basis the please consider joining our Cost Effectiveness Benchmarking service – click here for more info.

 More Strategic are specialist not for profit management consultants with an unhealthy obsession with financial data and spreadsheets. We are not charity accountants but we do know what fundraisers and not for profit leaders need to measure.


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