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The rise of fun-raising

14 May

Leeds marathon Good causes have always sought awareness, and always need funds.

Volunteers have always been willing to help them in this.

In essence, there's nothing new in the emergence of what I'm calling fun-raising, but several factors have come together to empower the JustGiving generation.

  • The rise of 'voluntourism': the win-win of a wortwhile activity being linked to raising funds for a good cause. This appeals to activity-minded young people, and shatters the stereotype of the elderly volunteer
  • The emergence of online donation as an easier and more transparent system than the old paper forms and the need to ask for pledges and then to go back for the money
  • The growth of gift-aid, giving a tax-back boost to our giving

Of course, there are problems with this popularity.

  • There's a beauty contest amongst charities and not all good causes are equally popular or photogenic
  • There's the risk of donor fatigue since so many are now requesting our support
  • There's a danger of risky endurance activities being pursued because of rising expectations of a worthwhile, newsworthy activity

As individuals, we need to work out our own response to these requests. (Mine is to allocate a monthly budget of £50 in anticipation of just such requests.)

As beggars and students-with-clipboards will know, it's hard to get money out of strangers. Charities have realised that it's more effective to devolve fundraising to volunteers who tap into their own networks. As we know from PR, relationships work. May the fun continue.

When good means bad

14 Nov

You work for a charity, a good cause. You’d think you would have plenty of good news and would gain much positive press coverage.

Yet a research report from Voluntary Action Media Unit (Culture Clash? in pdf format) points out the problems charities commonly face with media relations. Reported in Media Guardian (registration required).

Campaign without words

30 Sep

Heritage Watch is campaigning to protect ancient monuments in Cambodia. Their campaign aims at education, and tactics include the use of cartoon story books. Dougald O’Reilly is the charity’s energetic spokesman (he was interviewed on BBC radio last night).

Give a little bit

13 Jan

We’re told this is the year of the volunteer. Our students all seek unpaid work placements in order to gain work experience. Though this is not necessarily for a ‘good cause’, it establishes the concept of mutual benefit.

Experienced PR practitioners also have the opportunity to give some of their time and energy. One organisation that promotes this is The Media Trust, which ‘helps charities communicate’. It’s backed by Weber Shandwick and several media organisations.

Shock tactics

10 Dec

Barnardo’s must be delighted (though it claims to be ‘saddened’). Its series of controversial ads in the national press highlighting the issue of child poverty has run its course. And now the ads have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, leading to more media coverage and public discussion (eg Guardian report).

Pink and pounds for cancer

28 Sep

A ‘wear it pink’ viral campaign in support of the Breast Cancer Campaign is gathering momentum, according to Brand Republic. Thanks to Marketing Wonk for the link.

It sounds an uncharitable observation, but I’ve always thought this campaign has been boosted by its photogenic qualities. Equally deserving health causes struggle by comparison. Prostate cancer campaign anyone?

Truth international

19 Sep

Over a year ago, on another site, I commented (see entry for 11 May 2002) on a then current news story involving the England football coach, his partner Nancy Dell’Olio, a TV presenter, a PR fixer and a charity.

At the time, there seemed to me to be some details missing from the story. The charity, Truce International, was mentioned, but without any supporting evidence. Now I learn that this charity was only launched this week. It’s mentioned in this Mirror article, and PR Week reports that Protocol PR is to promote the charity. Protocol PR’s founder is Simon Astaire, who also had a walk-on part in last year’s tabloid revelations.

It’s good that this is all cleared up now. Perhaps it’s just me that feels uneasy about the tabloids being manipulated into premature PR announcements on the back of celebrity photo opportunities.