CDE project 18 sec­tion 2: the approach to com­pil­ing case examples

Written by
The Commission on the Donor Experience
April 29, 2017

Content outline

The next section expands on putting the principles and actions into practice. It starts with references to published works that support this approach to fundraising, i.e. to fully understand the paradigm shift that has taken place and the principles that follow. Further sections expand on each of the actions recommended in the Summary. 

Each action overlaps with the next and follows a sequence. For example, if you first understand the paradigm shift that has taken place, you are more likely to adopt a different mindset. As you use that different mindset and tell your mission story, you realise how it is stronger coming you're your supporters. 

There is at least one case example provided with each action, apart from the first action on understanding the paradigm shift and the last action on measurement, which points to another CDE project. After each case example there are suggested questions for your organisation to consider.

SolarAid deliberately adopted this approach to its fundraising for a five-year period. It is, therefore, the main case example used throughout, and Richard Turner, former Chief Fundraiser at SolarAid, provided it. During this time, despite a steep learning curve, unrestricted income grew fivefold without a comparable investment in fundraising spend. More importantly, the organisation significantly increased its impact on the lives of families in Africa. 

Anthony Nolan has built a reputation for instilling 'Relationship Fundraising' and has achieved consistent growth in its three main areas: income, number of stem cell donors recruited and awareness. The average income fundraised by an individual is three times the national average and the net income from community fundraising has grown four-fold in four years. As part of its approach to enable its supporters to tell their stories, Anthony Nolan recently set up an engagement division headed by Richard Davidson, Director of Engagement, who submitted examples of their approach. 

Charity: water has long been admired by UK fundraisers for its focus on peer-to-peer fundraising and has been included for this reason. Angharad McKenzie, Head of Key Relationships, has provided relevant examples.

Stewart Graham, Individual Giving and Legacies Manager, has included a case example on the mindset adopted by Henshaws, after hearing about this project as part of the sector communication by the CDE.

Giles Pegram CBE offered the NSPCC Full Stop Campaign as a powerful reminder of donors leveraging their networks.

Alzheimer's Society was approached for its extraordinary ‘Songaminute Man’ story by a supporter. Michael Dent, Director of Fundraising, provided the background. 

In addition, Anne-Marie Huby, co-founder of JustGiving, provided some useful insights on social sharing and the inspiring story of Caroline Jones. The founder of Donative, Laurie Ainley, highlighted the inspiring example of the Australian Tourist Board in getting people to share their stories. 

Finally, there is an outline of the characteristics you could expect to see from an organisation that applies this mindset and adopts an approach that leads to winning supporters as champions of its mission.

Fundraising practitioner Richard Turner compiled the project, including the principles and recommended actions. Fundraising consultant Matthew Sherrington provided a peer review. Grant Leboff, author of Sticky Marketing and Digital Marketing, provided further guidance and also reviewed the final document. Appendix 2 is a summary of his speech delivered at a lunch hosted by Flow Caritas and attended by an experienced group of Directors of Fundraising from some of the UK’s leading charities. 

Click on the image below to view project 18 in full - PDF format.

About the author: The Commission on the Donor Experience

The CDE has one simple ideal – to place donors at the heart of fundraising. The aim of the CDE is to support the transformation of fundraising, to change the culture to a truly consistent donor-based approach to raising money. It is based on evidence drawn from first hand insight of best practice. By identifying best practice and capturing examples, we will enable these to be shared and brought into common use.

Related case studies or articles

CDE project 18 summary: supporters as champions for your mission

This project will look at the basic fundraising model differently, to try to define how supporters in future can be used as channels and networks to spread opportunities, grow income and to provide donors and potential donors with a rich array of rewarding experiences.

Read more

CDE project 18 appendix 2: Sticky Marketing & Digital Selling

In November 2016, Rory White, founder of Flow Caritas, hosted an event with Grant Leboff, author of ‘Sticky Marketing’ and ‘Digital Selling’. A group of Directors of Fundraising were invited to hear his views on marketing, and how it applies to fundraising. Here is an edited transcript of his key address to the group, reproduced with permission from Grant and Rory. 

Read more

CDE project 18 section 3: action 1 - understand the paradigm shift

Putting the principles & actions into practice.

Read more

CDE project 18 section 3.1: action 2 - adopt the right mindset

Adopting the right mindset is probably the most important action of all. It is what you need in place at the outset and it influences the actions that follow. In time, it will be part of the overall culture within the organisation.

Read more

CDE project 18 section 3.2: action 3 - ask the question ‘WHY do we exist?’

‘With consistency people will see and hear without a shadow of a doubt what you believe.’

Simon Sinek

Read more

CDE project 18 section 3.3: action 4 - tell your mission story

All fundraisers are aware they need to tell stories well so they can convey quickly in a way that engages people. Now it is even more important to spend time to understand how to tell powerful stories

Read more

CDE project 18 section 3.4: action 5 - get your supporters to share your story for you

‘Your best marketers and your best fundraisers today are not you. Your best marketers and fundraisers are the people - the ecosystem - you create around - the audience you build’

Grant Leboff.

Read more

CDE project 18 section 3.5: action 6 - provide an experience that donors will talk about

An ideal opportunity to inspire supporters to spread your story is simply when people give or choose to fundraise for you. It is when they have taken the emotional decision to support you.

Read more

CDE project 18 section 3.6: action 7 - be ready to react

As your story begins to spread by your supporters, you should get an increase in inbound enquiries or offers of support that are not a result of a direct response communication, i.e. they are a result of people hearing your story from others they know and trust.

Read more

CDE project 18 section 3.7: action 8 - set up new measures

Adopting a mindset of how to inspire people to spread your story rather than target them for money will need new measures away from direct ROI. 

Read more

CDE project 18 section 4: characteristics of applying these principles

Check here to see the characteristics you would expect to see of a charity applying this approach.

Read more

CDE project 18 appendix 1: sources

Sources that informed and influenced this project.

Read more