In this webinar, Daryl Upsall will provide positive examples of how organizations have changed to thrive, and not just survive, COVID-19.

Full Transcript:

Steven: All right. Daryl, I got a 11:00 Eastern, my time. Is it okay if I go ahead and get this party started?

Daryl: Good for me.

Steven: All right. Cool. Well, welcome, everybody. Good morning, I guess, no matter where you are, except our guest, Daryl. He’s way out in Spain. We’ll talk about that in a second, but I hope you’re having a good day. I know it’s an early start for some of you, but I so appreciate all of you logging on. And if you’re watching the recording, I hope you’re having a good day. We’re going to be talking about the art of pivoting, how some nonprofits have actually really thrived during COVID-19, which is a nice change of pace from some of the doom and gloom we’ve seen out in the news. So I’m Steven. I’m over here at Bloomerang. And I’ll be moderating today’s discussion as always.

And just a couple of housekeeping items real quick. We are recording this session. We’ll be sending out the slides and the recording later on today. So if you have to leave early, if you miss a tidbit or just want to watch it again, maybe send it to a friend or a colleague, don’t worry. We’ll get all that good stuff to you later this afternoon, you won’t miss a thing. But most importantly, please feel free to chat in any questions or comments along the way. There’s a chat box. There’s a Q&A box. We’ll keep an eye on both those things. We’d love to hear from you. We’re going to try to save some time at the end for Q&A. So don’t be shy. Introduce yourself now. If you haven’t already, we’d love to hear from you. You can also do that on Twitter. I’ll keep an eye on the tweets there. But yeah, don’t be shy. We’d love to know who you are and what your questions are.

And if this is your first Bloomerang webinar, just want to say an extra special welcome to you folks. We do these webinars now a couple of times a week. We love it. Bring on a great guest, totally educational, informative, oftentimes inspirational. But if you’ve never heard of Bloomerang, just for context, we are a provider of donor management software. So if you are interested in that, maybe you’re looking to switch software this year, check us out, you know, visit our website. There’s all kinds of videos on there. You can learn more about us. We’re pretty easy to find. But don’t do that right now because you all are in for a real, real special treat. It is not too often that I get to have a literal living legend on the webinar series, but we are blessed to have my good buddy, Daryl Upsall, joining us from beautiful Spain. He’s in central Spain. Usually in Madrid, but he’s hunkering down at one of his cottages. Daryl, how are you doing? Are you doing okay?

Daryl: I’m good. The sun has come out. The sun is shining. It’s a blue sky. And yeah, I’m looking forward to having a conversation with you all.

Steven: This is awesome. We owe you such a debt of gratitude for doing this. You actually reached out to us and offered to give this presentation. Very, very generous of you. And then obviously there’s a big time zone difference. So thanks for doing this so late in the day where you are, although it sounds like . . . It’s not quite nighttime, so that’s good. Geez, Daryl, I don’t even know where to start.

Daryl: It’s 5:00 somewhere. It’s 5:00 here.

Steven: That’s not bad. Okay.

Daryl: But I think I’ll have to wait till 6:00 for my glass of wine.

Steven: Okay. Good. So we’re not delaying the wine or dinner, but this is awesome. Daryl has been a buddy of mine. I actually got a chance to share the stage with him at a one of the AFP ICON presentations a couple of years ago. Just a wealth of knowledge. I mean, has clients all over the world and definitely has an international view of what’s been going on. Has been helping his clients deal with, you know, all of this since February, March, even before it hit the U.S. of course. And I’m just so excited to hear about all the things you’ve seen and learned. So I’m going to pipe down. I’ll let you share your screen, Daryl, because you got a lot of good stuff for us. Let’s see if we can get your slides up. Hopefully, it’ll work. It was working before.

Daryl: That’s the joy of technology.

Steven: Right.

Daryl: There we go. Is that working for you?

Steven: Looks like it’s thinking about going. Yeah. That looks beautiful. Okay. The floor is yours, my friend. Take it away.

Daryl: Thank you. Thank you for that. Hi, everybody. Welcome. Greetings from Spain. I’m going to cover something, a word that I guess popped up during the course of the COVID crisis, which is pivoting. And I don’t mean becoming a ballerina, which certainly wouldn’t suit me, but let’s just talk about that. So welcome. Pleased to have you here. And a little bit about me. Yeah. Thirty odd years, six years in the fundraising world, headed up Greenpeace, done some stuff for Mandela for his election and run a number of agencies out of Spain, digital, consulting, recruitment, face-to-face, and so forth. I don’t have to tell. Everybody can see. All of which have been very impacted by COVID itself as you all imagine.

These are some of the clients. Maybe some of you are there, have been there, probably even going there. But so we work for a lot of the national, international organizations, UN agencies, but also smaller national organizations around the world. And just to give some context, my team at Daryl Upsall & Associates, the consulting side, we’ve been doing studies for the last 20 years of national markets, organizational evaluations. And during this period of COVID, we’ve been speaking to a lot of our clients across multiple markets, suppliers, funders, and so forth, as well as looking at some of the information coming out in the digital form through blogs and so forth.

So just to sort of context, I guess most of you are coming in from what would be a mature market Canada or the USA. You know, these are the trends that were going on pre-COVID in the mature markets, the darker blue in the emerging markets of which there are many. And we work in at the same time. Face-to-face, by that I mean the street fundraising, definitely stable. Digital was already growing, but as we’ll see, has boomed as a result of COVID and those organizations that are there and jumped in stronger, have done well. Direct mail, which in most of the world has been going down in recent years and the U.S. Canada, Holland, Germany is some of the few markets, it remains, funny enough have had a bit of a kickback in COVID. These people actually took time to read the communications they were getting from their donors, especially if they were relevant. Television, for those that can afford it, it’s a gain, had a big boost under COVID, even though it was quite stable previously.

Corporate fundraising, we’ll look at that a little bit, and I’d certainly welcome any input from the audience here. Hasn’t really changed. I’ve been in fundraising 36 years. I don’t think the dial has shifted for more than 5% of global fundraising income, private income that is, has come from corporations hasn’t changed much. And they haven’t really responded that much collectively in this period. Foundations, yeah, they’ve been growing in all markets, both in private foundations, larger ones, and donor-advised funds. And I think they’re going to, as will come on later, they’ve got some interesting moves they’ve made during this period.

Major donors, that’s been a tough one high level, high level philanthropy. Got harder for us as fundraisers to actually go out and reach them. Legacy income, bequests, planned giving, as you may wish to call it in some parts of the world, that has been growing just because they’re slow as opposed to the . . . you know, the monumental wealth transfer has been going on across generations. Interest in legacies has definitely gone up in enormously during this period. Middle donors, yeah, not much done, but either way, not so much affected by this period.

Some of my predictions based on what we’ve been seeing, reading, etc., is globally, we think in 2020, even though some organizations will do well, globally, income will drop between 20% to 30% this year. And next year could be even tougher as people have less resources to ride it out. I also think that 30%, 40% of the smaller, perhaps local organizations will go under if we continue. And certainly as of today, for example, Madrid got locked down again and much of the UK and other cities and parts of Europe are being, you know, infected by the second rise in COVID. And that makes a lot of the fundraising operations hard.

Even some of the bigger, and by bigger I’m talking about 100 million-plus organizations are struggling and we’re seeing very, very high levels of layoffs and so forth. And what we’ve been lucky is organizations most at risk, being those with overdependence on single channel fundraising, retail trading, that may not be so big in terms of charity shops or thrift shops, as you may wish to call them. I’d imagine the Salvation Army has both had reasons for growing and reasons for contracting during this period, but in the UK, major brands like Oxfam, cancer charities, etc., a good 20% of their income can come from high street trading. And when the high streets closed, there is no trading. Likewise with gala events, community fundraising. Having said that, and we’ll show an example from Australia, organizations that have pivoted or found a way of dealing with that too.

I assume most of you will have seen the AFP, Canada AFP, USA research on the coronavirus response survey. If not, I really encourage you to do so. It’s there on the website and pretty easy to find. But if you look at the expectations, only 11% expect to grow more than 2009, but in Canada, 70% less. And only 30% are going to do more fundraising activity, 39% normal, a lot less. So decline in activity, similar in the U.S. but I think less feel less optimistic, shall we say, only half expected to drop. Only half sounds terrible after years of slow growth in income from fundraising.

What’s been changing is a massive increase in donor retention or stewardship, which for somebody who’s banged on about supporter relationship, development, donor-centered fundraising, monthly giving for many, many years, this is great to hear because I think that is the [inaudible 00:10:55] for fundraising for many organizations. Social media, virtual, online email, all gone up hugely and effectively. And, again, when we come to pivoting, I think these are key factors. Yeah. Canada, even more on donor retention and stewardship. And this is an example of, I think, the kind of low level, but general market pivoting that if people can do it, organizations can shift into it, is going to make the difference of growth, survival, and if not, failure.

The ultra-high net worth, yeah. Some have stepped up to the plate, 8 billion from corporations is no small sum. This is definitely 8 billion of COVID-related donations. Not related to their other typical financial support for the sector. Having said, that it’s hard to measure where money has been either diverted from supporting, for example, cultural activities that they would have supported and shifted into COVID. Ultra-high net worth, 1.5 billion. But if you look at, and I’m sure many of you have, the wealth growth of the ultra-high net worth individuals in the world during COVID, it has been phenomenal. And just look at the owner of Amazon for that one. What was it? He’s doubled his wealth value in the period of COVID. Honest.

Foundations, particularly in the U.S. have taken a really positive move. And I think it’s one of the areas around our business where we should be thankful. And they have definitely, I would say, in my words, pivoted the speed at which 800 foundations suddenly speeded up their grant giving processes. The fact that many of them are giving more this year, the Skoll, Mary Reynolds, etc., double or quadrupling. Giving, but then again, is it reaching across [inaudible 00:12:57] And know for sure. We’re seeing a fallback in, in all kinds of funding, including foundations for the arts culture, which why it might be seen as nonessential if you think about the mental health and the social wellbeing of our society as a whole. I think we need to think beyond purely medical and social welfare. I think we thrive when we have external beauty around us, shall we say.

UK situation, pretty much largely the same as the U.S. and Canada. Twenty percent income has declined, but what was surprising is 40% there said income had increased in a big survey done by the equivalent of the AFP, the Institute of Fundraising, along with Blackbaud in the UK. Probably more confidence, I’d say, in the UK, when the survey was done, that recovery will happen and that new ways will be found to combat the challenges. I think probably one of the bigger differences is in much of Europe, UK, in particular, nonprofits have had financial support, whether it’s paying wages during furloughing for many months or some specific funds and not insignificant actually funding into the sector itself to keep them going. But, again, in that bottom line, there’s 29%, almost 30% that think they will not do well during the lockdown. That point open up for any questions, Steven, whether you are collecting questions through the chat box and want to throw any at me or we want a whole questions and answers to the end. How do we pace.

Steven: We are collecting but there haven’t been any yet. So I’d say keep going. We can get to them at the end.

Daryl: Keep going. Okay. Please, I encourage you to put some questions into the chat box and we’ll take them as they come in at the Q&A points. And I see Jessica’s raised. Great. So let’s go on to the art of pivoting. And what is it? Well, as I said to Steve earlier, be prepared. It’s a Boy Scout motto from Baden-Powell. My middle name’s Baden, so I’ve got some legitimacy in using this slogan and it’s not just for scouts. I’m not sure how many of you in the session today, with regularity, I’d argue, I’d say, you know, on an annual basis, at least do a PESTEL analysis of your organization, which is looking at the political, economic, social, technological environment, and legal environment your organization is operating in. So, for example, for colleagues in the U.S. you’re clearly, yeah, a month away, more or less from an election that has an impact of the political outcome, but it also has an impact in terms of money is going into political campaigns, election funds, and so forth that may not be at this time of year typically go into you.

Environmental issue, you know, many organizations are impacted as I . . . definitely was working in this area at Greenpeace. You know, if you’re in some areas, activity, the environmental changes that are going on will impact upon your work. It’s good to do this, but then we got COVID and that was not in any of the PESTEL analysis we have done for our clients over the last few years on markets or their organization.

So what did COVID-19 bring up as organizational issues to review? And see some of the key ones. What we have seen is it really raises issues about governance of organizations, small and large, and the speed of decision-making. I think the worst side of governance we’ve observed is organizations where the board have instructed the management team to say, “No fundraising activity, no additional investment at this time, because, you know, that all died there. People aren’t ready for it. Nobody wants to give at this time.” Da, da, da. “COVID is a problem.”

It’s also impacted on how we work. Clearly working from home is a different way of working than normal, so therefore it raises issues about how well is your organization in the cloud. We had to, with our own telephone call center in Spain, we had to suddenly move 200 employees from Friday to a Monday from working in a call center to working at home. It worked perfectly. We didn’t lose any call time. Why? Because we’d gone to the cloud. I think during times like this leadership and motivation, why did the call center in our case double the amount of money raised, double the amount of calls made in the first six months to the same six months last year? Because the leadership of that company was incredibly motivational. Made videos every day, all callers were allowed to make videos which were shared.

I don’t know. Keeping organizations happy and strong during crisis is important. What was very important we’ve seen for organizations is to look at how you make investment decisions. A lot of organizations set their budgets one year ahead or for the previous financial year. Those organizations that could literally tear up their budget and say, “Okay. We’re going to start again. This is a different situation.” Human resource issues. You can imagine travel, you know, people like me, 150 days on the road meeting clients. I haven’t left the country since COVID. So what did the organizations that are growing do? Yesterday I was in contact with my colleague at UNHCR, the global head of fundraising there, Christian Schaake, and he told me that UNHCR, the refugee agency, had a 20% increase in their income this year. We’re talking about 1/2 billion, $600 million organization.

Now, MSF, Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross, Red Crescent, you would expect to grow because they are delivering vital services, supporting people with the virus. Having said that, we have a client, Smile Train, both in the UK and in the U.S. they have seen a huge lift in their income during the COVID crisis. They deal with, for those that don’t know, Smile Train, they deal with cleft palate operations. Not connected if you’re like.

So what are these organizations done? They’ve ramped up their social media and digital work. They’ve invested in direct response TV. As we’ve seen from those statistics, they have been throwing a lot of resources at donor loyalty and taking on-off donors to monthly donors. They’ve been taking their monthly donors, their sustainers for people in America, USA, and upgrading their monthly gift. And interesting, as I mentioned earlier, investing heavily in legacy marketing. That investment came because they saw a spike in the data requests for legacy, planned giving, bequest, fundraising, and therefore said, “Okay. Let’s throw more money at it. If there’s more interest, more for us.”

This is an interesting one, and I think we’re seeing it at the level or national offices of international organizations. They’re looking at the failing organizations in their markets, struggling organizations, and looking to merge, or even in some form, acquire. Where there might be 10 organizations providing a service, say to children in a region or a country. They say maybe we merged with the two smaller ones who look to be struggling.

I think the other issue to look at is, and I’m sure all of you have had these discussions at some point in your career, how big a reserve should your organization have? Is it three months operating reserve? Is it is it more? If you’ve got large reserves, do you keep them for security or do you start pulling into them? And we’ve seen both. We’ve seen organizations saying, “Actually, we keep our reserves because we know this is for the long-term.” But I have to say, the ones that have significantly grown have been saying, “Okay. Now is the time to go to reserves and invest in growth areas of fundraising, primarily digital [inaudible 00:21:51].”

This is a client of ours in Australia, Fred Hollows Foundation. It’s the best known iHealth organization. It does operations on cataracts in much of Asia, for example, parts of Africa. And it normally has a fun run, sort of mini marathon raising money for its cause. It’s a very well-known organization named after its deceased founder, Fred’s Big Run. But, of course, if anybody’s been following the news, Sydney and Melbourne, two big cities there were locked down. So they took their actual run to become a virtual run. Result was instead of raising 1/4 of a million Australian dollars, which would be their typical income from that event, by going online, they ramped up their income to 1.6 million. So it makes us rethink about virtual events versus real events. I’m sure the real one will come back in time. Virtual concerts. I’m sure some of you donated, watched as we did. It was a global virtual conference. So we could watch it here in Spain. And it raised money.

Again, you know, drawing back to where we’ve been picking up our information, it’s from these sources, studying, researching. Okay. So we’ve mentioned already, decision-making, moving reserves, and the other thing is switching budgets, and switching human resources. So one of the most exciting things, where we were supposed to be having the first ever international face-to-face fundraising conference in Vienna in November next month. Clearly it couldn’t happen. So we’ve had to go virtual. We’ve done one virtual, we have another one coming up.

What was interesting working with all of the global heads of the major international brand, NGOs, UN agencies is how they had their thousands of face-to-face staff. I mean, tens of thousands. Face-to-face is the biggest single fundraising tool in the world these days in terms of donor acquisition. And actually, instead of just having them at home doing nothing, they have them using their own social media, working on telephone, fundraising, calling donors. They had personally recruited in the street or in a shopping mall and asking them how they were and talking about their cause and thanking them for their support, which is pretty amazing in my mind, pivoting a face-to-face fundraiser into a telephone fundraiser. We did the same in Spain, our face-to-face teams couldn’t go out. They went into the call centers and shall we just say they were perhaps a little over enthusiastic compared to telephone fundraisers, but they brought in the results for the clients.

The other characteristic of those doing well was how and when to change your message. It was very easy to keep the COVID message running. In fact, you know, as a company, we had it on our website, we had it now signatures for our emails. We set up a COVID resource center for free resources, for charities wishing to read, look out, see during the crisis. But then there is a point to drop it. And what was very interesting for many of the international clients was how quickly they were moving the message and back to their core mission and making sure that actually the COVID-19 message did not dominate because at the end of the day, I’m sure everybody on this call, on this presentation eventually gets a little bit fed up with it. And yes, you do need to hear about other issues around the world.

So the UK fundraisers changed completely how they communicate with their sustainer, regular donors. They focused again on stewardship, more telephone thanking, more offering payment holidays or reduce gifts. And, again, even monthly donors, more use of digital, using social media to reinforce the message of what they were doing. You know, a good call, definitely a good call. I don’t know how many on the call, I’ll be happy to have a discussion about that later. Actually, during the crisis, tried to call all of the donors at different levels. Yeah. Even if it’s just to say, how are you? Thank you. We really appreciate your continuous support. And, again, as I mentioned earlier, direct mail came back, in even the UK where it was pretty moribund apart from maybe the very older part of the donor support piece.

But looking into the future, a lot of people were not skilled up enough to go digital, their board, in many cases, did not fully understand that some things about digital go, you know, it’s viral, it’s out of your control. Your supporters can be putting out messages to seek support. And obviously we saw, in many cases, I know in the U.S. it’s not so big, but in Canada face-to-face is huge and stopping that was a big, big impediment. So, again, pivoting an organization’s face-to-face investment and people into telephone or other channels like DRTV or digital was critical. Oops. Skip through that. It’s not surprising that these were the good channels, but now I think we have some questions. So let’s hear some of those Steven, over to you.

Steven: Yeah. We got some good ones. Thanks, Daryl. This was cool, to get some flavor for what’s been going on elsewhere in the world because it seems like you folks over the pond are always a couple months ahead of us over here. So things to look forward to, I think.

Daryl: Including with the virus.

Steven: Exactly. Yeah.

Daryl: Italy came first. You know?

Steven: Well, you know, so much of what you said we saw reflected in and we saw our customers, you know, we saw a lot of people calling donors, you know, obviously the stewardship came up a lot. Got a question here specifically about what to do instead of the face-to-face, so I’m wondering if you can maybe pull on that thread a little bit. They’re a small nonprofit, can’t do face-to-face meetings. Is it phone calls? Is it video chats? Is it social media? Are those, you think the things that can, you know, certainly replace those in-person meetings?

Daryl: I think the question relates to face-to-face more in terms of major donors or people [Inaudible 00:28:48]

Steven: Yeah. Sounds like it.

Daryl: Not mass fundraising. One of the most exciting things I’ve seen people doing during this period is actually setting up WhatsApp groups with donors, but not just one to one, seeing if donors would like to join in on a shared WhatsApp chat group or a shared WhatsApp call with video. And in a sense it’s almost like a mini donor-advised fund, but because of the so much isolation that has been related to COVID, you know, to give an example, in Spain, we were not allowed to leave our homes for three months, period. You could get medicine, you could get food, otherwise you were fined $1,000. It’s as simple as that. My wife never left the house for three months at all.

So actually putting people into groups, asking people if they’d like join a WhatsApp group where you can be sort of sharing, asking questions or joining a Zoom conference group call certainly has helped because what we found is that donors tend to reinforce each other. They’re enthusiastic collectively. I think part of the challenge also of trying to set up too many one-to-one Zoom calls is people got zoomed out. I use Zoom as a generic term. It’s almost like it’s become the conference call. It could be any type of system. And therefore, actually what you’re asking, was something they go, “God, no, not another one.” So I think you have to be very careful and I think having more dial in activities.

So [inaudible 00:30:35] like for years, and it’s been reemphasized, is people at MSF. Canada, interesting, many years ago, started with me, inviting me to go and go into a live chat with somebody in South Sudan in a medical facility. And they will be there with their cell phone and there’ll probably be 50 of us joining the chat and he or she will be explaining what they’re doing in a really terrible situation and literally moves the camera around and show you what’s going on around them and then you could ask questions. That kind of thing, I think interactive, but not Zoom, Zoom. Sorry. I’ve fallen asleep.

Steven: Right. And hearing from a service recipient or, you know, your work out in the field, that seems to be the key, right?

Daryl: I think that’s much more interesting is, again, we’ll come to it a bit later, showing impact. Showing what you’re really doing, not kind of smooth talking.

Steven: I love it. And the small groups of donors, is that like maybe 10, 12 donors you got?

Daryl: Yeah. Yeah. Probably not much more than that just to give people time because you set a limit and probably even half an hour is sufficient because, you know, I’m sure we’ve all even found it, “Oh, my God, it’s my best friend. But do I really want to go on another call at 8:00 at night?”

Steven: I know. I feel it. I feel it.

Daryl: So also, the beauty of a group is it takes a little bit of the responsibility off the single individual for being too on.

Steven: Good point.

Daryl: Yup. Next question.

Steven: Here’s one that spawned from your PESTEL slide. So, you know, here in the States, we got the election coming up in about 33 days, I think. You know, it seems like there’s a lot of things that can distract you from fundraising or maybe, you know, talk yourself out of asking. Is that an exception or is that something that maybe you could perhaps capitalize on? I feel like, you know, people are going to be fired up on both sides of the aisle. No matter who wins, you know, you’ve obviously dealt with a lot of elections in a lot of different countries. What should people be thinking about there?

Daryl: I think that it’s an excellent question because it depends entirely on your mission, but things happen in the political world that then roll on into economic and everything else. But, for example, the appointment of a certain Supreme Court judge in the USA is certainly going to impact upon people like Planned Parenthood. So, you know, you’ll be looking at your news thinking, “Even if that is possibly coming down the line, that’s a reason for ramping up your fundraising on particular issues that, you know, an incoming Supreme Court judge may not be sympathetic to.”

So I think you’ve got to be, two things, looking at your own internal political world and how that may be impacted, but for other organization, it’s what’s happening in the external political world. So, you know, if you’re Amnesty International right now, the politics of being banned in India, which they just been banned and made illegal after, you know, many attacks from the government there means no doubt that that political impact in India is going to be the cause for additional support for appeals for support in the rest of the world, like who’s got the right to close down Amnesty in the world’s biggest democracy? Because that’s what India is, billion people vote. So, you know, I’ve worked in political fundraising all my life, but the politics largely has been around cause politics. So I think always keep a track on what might impact upon your cause. And if it’s not impacted, then yeah, stick to your core mission because that can be a distraction, otherwise.

Steven: That makes sense. I’ve had a couple of people, Daryl, talk about celebrity endorsements, getting celebrities involved in maybe your campaigns. Is that something that you’ve seen be successful? And you know, I think celebrity is a term that has a pretty broad definition. I’ve seen local orgs. here in Indianapolis utilize local celebrities, people that maybe be known outside of the town, but is that seems like something that they could leverage?

Daryl: I think the classic thing in celebrities and as you well know, you know, I managed all of Elton John’s philanthropy and sets of his foundation for him and worked with many, many of the . . . managed all the Freddie Mercury Queen stuff when he died. And celebrity can be a two-edged sword. So, one, you got to be very careful about who you choose, so make sure they’re not the coke snorting, adulterizing. Perhaps religious evangelists that are your endorser. I mean, in terms of, you’ve really got to be very careful. Having said that and even in the heart at the peak period of COVID, one of our clients called Animals Asia based out of Hong Kong, but an animal welfare organization has just launched a global campaign using celebrities, Ricky Gervais, being one of them, the kind of a love-hate figure, I’d argue. But lots of Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean celebrities, and boy, the impact has skyrocketed upon them because they’re getting reposted and it’s very simple.

They wanted to change their message from, “We hate people who harm animals, anger hates to love conquers all,” basically. Celebrities have put out that message from all over the world and I say, Animals Asia, you know, we’re in discussions with them right now. They’re seeing an absolutely boom, including in markets where they were not having such an impact like China, which is hard to breach that [inaudible 00:36:24] wall. But I also, I think for the smaller organizations, definitely, you know, local radio, celebrities, and so forth all good. If you can be really sure you’re not going to get caught in some celebrity boob trap.

Steven: Right. You don’t want a PR disaster because of it.

Daryl: No. No.

Steven: You mentioned major gift fundraising, at least in the higher end, is up quite a bit. You know, obviously there’s a lot of wealth disparity, but is there a way that, you know, the average small to medium sized nonprofit and can tap into that somehow or does just come down to, you know, building relationships with the people you have. What do you think there?

Daryl: As everybody on this call knows, there’s no quick fix there. I think one of the most important things, if you are stewarding your existing wealthy major donors is to definitely make sure you’ve done due diligence, that, for example, their wealth might be increasing. Maybe they’re in the home food delivery business and they are booming and this is just the right time to ask them for a bigger gift. On the other hand, they might be at the other end. My son’s a top chef and the restaurant business, shall we say, in much of the world has fallen through the floor, has been going out to dine.

So I think you should always, you know, like everything with major donors, you should always make sure you know enough about what’s going on in people’s lives before approaching, whether that’s, if they’ve been affected directly by COVID, for example, through a family member and therefore may be thinking of other things, or like I say, their businesses booming or busting. Just take those facts into account before approaching them.

Steven: It’s a good point about maybe corporate fundraising because there are a lot of businesses doing well, right? I mean, you, you mentioned either, you know, I think of maybe like cleaning service companies, you know, it seems like that’s an opportunity as well, especially if you already have those relationships, right?

Daryl: Yeah. That doesn’t necessarily go to . . . Yeah. A lot of those cleaning companies, funny we had our sofas cleaned the other day and we spoke to the guy and how’s business, it’s booming. Everybody wants their house, their hospital, their hotel, whatever cleaned. And they’re booming. They’re a small business, but small local businesses are doing well. I’m sure would like to put back into the community. I think those of your donors that you know are having a hard time. It’s also good to reach out with them, but reach out thanking them for their past support and wishing them well in these challenging times. Nobody will regret you saying thank you, that’s for sure.

Steven: I love it. We were talking, Daryl, earlier and you mentioned at one of your slides about kind of the board getting out of the way or maybe leadership, in general, whether it’s your boss or a board member. What advice would you have for organizations where maybe they’re getting that message from above that’s saying, “Hey, we shouldn’t fundraise. There there’s too much going on in the world. We’re not the right cause type,” which I think is a bunch of malarkey, personally, but what should those people do who feeling kind of stuck? Like they want to fundraise, but they’re getting roadblocks from above.

Daryl: I would go and find as many local case studies or case studies relevant to your cause and say, “Hey, look what they’re doing. They’re raising a lot of money in this difficult time and they’re in the same business as us.” So if you’re a, you know, I mean, one of the areas that’s boomed during this period is animal welfare or dog shelters, or, you know, things like that. But try to find the success stories in your community and then have that story told to your board. Look for the evidence that’s there, it’s out there published, it’s in reports and blogs about donors not feeling offended by being contacted, and thanked, and asked for support because your mission is still vital.

I mean, I think, again, culture is really hard. Imagine you’re a local theater or a local orchestra and you can’t perform. So you’ve got no revenue through the door. Again, I think if you’re in that area, you shouldn’t feel guilty about going and say, you know, “Culture’s a key part of our community. We need to continue and thrive. We will continue to be doing our virtual program or putting on socially safe activities, but we need more support than ever.” There’s nothing wrong in going out and asking. But I think most boards are convinced by example.

Steven: Yes. And if anyone needs any of those case studies or donor research, I got them all. So just email me, I’ll send them to your board for you.

Daryl: Fabulous. Fabulous.

Steven: Including some of the things in the slides that Daryl had. Can we talk capital campaigns for a minute? Seems like maybe some people are in the middle of them. They were thinking of starting one. Should they stop? Should they keep going forward? What do you think there? I know there’s a lot of different situations, but . . .

Daryl: Wow. That’s a really difficult one because I think even every capital campaign has its own uniqueness to it and . . . I think what you’ve always got to be doing is testing your case for support, testing your case for support because things may change in time. Things may be, you know, the urgency for a capital campaign can rise or fall depending on the issue.

I found myself in the middle of the last pandemic. I was working for the leading HIV AIDS charity in Europe and the UK called the Terrence Higgins Trust. And we were launching capital campaigns, about [two/to 00:42:14] and then Freddie Mercury’s, the queen that she wanted to build the Freddie Mercury Memorial Hospital wing with the concert that we did at Wembley, which was an awareness raising, but the rerelease of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which we benefited from. And I found myself as a 30-year-old banging the table in front of the members of Queen say, “We don’t need it because this pandemic of HIV AIDS is going to be over because we have drugs now.” And I persuaded them to change, to give it to help people living with AIDS and prevention of future spread of AIDS. So read the texts that I wrote in the back of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” So I just think again, it’s the circumstance, it’s whether it still holds true, you know, do you still need that extra facility, your console or when something else is happening? It’s a tough one. I don’t think there’s an easier answer to that.

Steven: It’s a tough one. We would need hours to cover it fully. That’s okay. You mentioned political giving, you know, spiking over the next month or so. And in previous months here, at least in the States. How should people navigate the fact that maybe, I think you said this, that some of that money that might be going towards charitable causes is now going towards candidates? Is it all that money? Is there still enough to go around? It seems like, you know, if you can still make a compelling case, that you could still, you know, capture some of that money, but what do you think?

Daryl: I mean, let’s be frank. I think we knew four years ago there was going to be another election. You know, if that’s not part of your strategic analysis every four years, there’s going to be elections for the president. There’s going to be midterms, whatever your system is. Bear in mind, in North America, especially USA, it’s a very different model to Europe where I think the maximum you can spend on a candidate in the UK is £2,000 max. So political fundraising just doesn’t count in most of Europe, so in Australia and so. It’s not driven by money. And, in fact, in some countries, the state pays all the costs of election. But I mean, these things are predictable. So if you haven’t factored it in, why not? It goes back to the PESTEL, I think. I’ve got a few more slides. Should we move on and take some questions at the end?

Steven: Yeah. Why don’t we move on? I think we exhausted the questions for now, but yeah. Let’s keep going.

Daryl: Wow. We can still pull them back in if they have. Why is my screen froze?

Steve: There it goes.

Daryl: Where was I? Yeah. So more PESTEL, more risk assessment, more preparation. More reasons why my . . . So key findings for the future. Let’s just go to the final run here. First of all, don’t hide from the problem. This duck and dive, not a fan of it. Get out. Don’t . . . I mean, I think we have to persuade upwards if we’re in a junior position, if we’re the CEO, we may even have to persuade downwards and say to our development fundraising staff, “Come on, guys. This isn’t the reason for not doing, so go for it.”

Act fast and be decisive. And I think our message going upwards to boards is prepare the case strong early. Don’t say, “Wait for them. Oh, we’ve got a board meeting coming in three months. We’ll review it then.” No. That either needs to be an emergency board meeting or most likely anyway, a virtual emergency board meeting.

Stick to your mission. I’ve mentioned that before. Four Paws, pretty much all the wild, all the animal welfare organizations we work with have boomed and they’ve hardly mentioned COVID because that’s not what they’re there to do.

Thinking to the future, are you prepared for next time? What’s the next crisis that could hit your organization? Okay. We’re going to have to live through the pandemic. We’re going to have to wait until there’s a medical solution resolution somehow, but what’s really important I think in this crisis is to document what we got wrong and what we got right and how to prepare for the future. Most of us who’ve worked in big international organizations which are high in the media, we have to do this planning typically, you know, at Greenpeace about media scandals, attacks, crisis. What if one of our ships does something, you know? So there are emergency communications protocols and stuff in place. How quick can we turn around a fundraising appeal if a crisis is affecting us either positively or negatively?

Ken Burnett who’s a guru of fundraising and in the world had to deal with Greenpeace UK back in the ’90s that they could turn around a direct mail appeal, newspaper adverts and any other form of media we had then within 24 hours, 48 hours over a weekend, that literally the staff would go in and do the copy, the design, and in the packs, the envelopes were already pre-ready to be stuffed. You’ve got to be fast. There’s no good waiting three months, then say, “Oh. We should’ve done something about that.”

Introduce flexible fundraising. Actually, interestingly, a lot of the international organizations have started over the last five, 10 years to get rid of the silos. So somebody is no longer in donor acquisition, direct mail is one area, they’re actually in the whole donor experience. People can move between panels. They’re not stuck in one role. People know that in certain times, their role, as a, for example, face-to-face fundraiser on the street is now going to pivot and change into a telephone fundraiser. You’ve got to be able to do that and have the stretches and the human resource programs in place to do that. You can’t switch everybody to home working if people haven’t got a space to work at home. How do you deal with that? Keep testing because . . . yeah, this is new. We’ve had pandemics, but not pandemics that affected us in this way for fundraising before.

Again, going back to monthly giving, monthly giving is the savior. Those people paying every month through their bank accounts, through their credit cards, $20, $15, whatever, they will stay with you. There is no strong evidence of those types of donors leaving organizations. And, in fact, enough evidence to say they’re increasing their gifts if properly asked and stewarded.

The digital transformation like many people have said, we’ve compressed six years into six months during this period of COVID. I think now you need to be planning how fast can you transform into a digital organization? Committee donors. Tell your mission, communicate impact. People may think you’ve stopped activity. You haven’t. You know, I was listening to a representative for the British zoos, you know, and marine places today on the radio, of course they’ve still been running their breeding programs. They’ve still been feeding their animals. They’ve still been doing the research and support to make sure, you know, animals don’t go into extinction, but they have to communicate that because people aren’t going to those venues under lockdown until they open today in the UK to get their true work across. So, you know, really keep telling people what you do.

Keep saying thank you. Even things like a little handwritten note, maybe because you’ve got people furloughed. Why aren’t people at home writing handwritten notes and just sending to donors through the office, obviously. Give donors choice, let donors during a crisis make it clear to them they can control their payments. If they are having a problem financially that, “Hey, take a holiday. If this is too much, take a downsizing of your monthly gift.”

Speak to your donors and call them just to find out how they are coping and what they would like from you. I always think of telephone fundraising, it’s why I never ever used the word, telemarketing. Even though I’m a pioneer of telephone fundraising, telemarketing is not what we do. Telephone fundraising is much more about listening, communicating, hearing what the donors have to say.

I would say if you’re not diversified in your fundraising in terms of channels and mix, you need to be. Keep testing and keep reading those benchmarks. I’m sure at Bloomerang you’ve got loads of data people could look at they would benefit from and could put into their cases for support internally for increased investment in certain areas and channels. And on that note, I say, “Muchos gracias.” And to quote a president who dealt with perhaps the biggest crisis the U.S. has faced and indeed the world faced, Franklin D Roosevelt. I love this quote, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’ So thank you. And questions.

Steven: I love it. We owe you our thanks, Daryl. You’ve, you know, graciously offered to do this for us out of the blue. I so appreciated getting that email from you a few months back. This was awesome. What a treat. And thanks for doing this near dinner time for you. I don’t want to keep you much longer.

Daryl: No. This isn’t Spanish dinner. This is the end of Spanish lunchtime. Spanish dinner time’s 9:00.

Steven: Okay. Yeah. I got to get on that schedule. That sounds a lot better. Well, I know you’ve got a lot going on. You’re talking to the UN tomorrow? I mean, geez.

Daryl: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Steven: Totally normal thing. You know? No big deal. But we’re getting some chats in here thanking you for the session. Any thoughts you want to leave us to part with? I know we answered a lot of the questions already, but . . .

Daryl: I’m happy to take more questions. I mean, we still got five minutes or is that?

Steven: Yeah. We got some time. I’ll let people, you know, chime in if they want. Somebody was asking about WhatsApp. I think that’s more popular in Europe than in the States, but, you know, I think you said it, something like Zoom is probably kind of . . .

Daryl: Yeah. It’s just how you send text messages, but without text messages and you can share images and videos and you form groups. So in Spain, I think more people use WhatsApp than email, than they use text or any other form of chat, actually.

Steven: That’s interesting.

Daryl: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s a global app. I don’t know where it originated from. Except when you go to China and they look at your phone and they go, “What’s that? Oh, that’s so old-fashioned.”

Steven: Well, speaking of the phone, I remember when we were talking at AFP ICON, you mentioned that it seems like mobile fundraising in general is a lot bigger in Europe than it is here in the States, except in the cases of maybe, you know, maybe disaster response. So some people have asked, you know, what about texting donors? Is that something you’re seeing, you know, be effective right now?

Daryl: You know what? Texting died some years ago, I think, in Europe. Well, I’m sure it’s sometimes used, but WhatsApp and things are much more popular. To be frank, I mean, even an old boy like me who’s about to be 60 next week, we’ve pretty much abandoned landlines. Nobody in Europe really uses a landline for anything. And all of your, you know, you communicate with your 86-year-old mother-in-law through WhatsApp, not through any other means. When we do face-to-face, we don’t care if people have no landline, no address, no nothing. The only thing we want is an email and a cell phone number. And that’s pretty much true all over the world now. And in Asia, nobody uses email. I mean, even my son’s generation, he’s 26 email is, oh God, why do you use that? So, yeah, you got to be on the cell phone. It’s all there.

Steven: Interesting. A couple of questions here, one from Merrill. They are primarily a fee-based organization. So, you know, maybe they’re performing arts, I’m not sure. But they want to move into individual fundraising. And you mentioned some of those cultural organizations. How should they pivot? Is it, you know, people that used to buy tickets to performances, simply asking them to donate? Is that kind of a good starting point? What do you see to work there?

Daryl: I think if possible, you can do activities. Let’s talk about the cultural sector. If you are an organization that can still put on a classical concert and people can live stream but maybe it’s the artists solo in their houses. Strangely, I got locked down and one of our neighbors is one of the world’s top cellists. He was meant to be playing the Sydney Opera House the next week in LA and then week after. And, you know, a lot of those people, what they ended up doing was performing online through YouTube and so forth.

I think one of the things I did notice, and I actually wrote to the head of the National Theater director of development is the National Theater in the UK, which has fabulous theater. And they did loads of amazing performances. They put out live streaming and you’re allowed to donate to. You clicked on Donate and it was like the worst back-office I’ve ever seen in my life. So much so the only way to donate was to buy a ticket as a donation. I said, “No. I don’t want three seats.” But that’s what the donation drove you to do.

So I think one of the first things to do is to make sure you are able to take online donations and able to take payments, whether it’s through PayPal or whatever for virtual events. The other thing I’d really suggest, and I haven’t checked today, but use Facebook fundraiser. If you’ve got no resources, use Facebook fundraiser. My birthday is next week and I put up a Facebook fundraiser two weeks ago for an organization that rescues people who are migrants on these rubber dinghies in the Mediterranean. Thousands who’ve drowned.

Steven: Yeah. I’d donate to that.

Daryl: Yeah. I set a target at €1200. No. €800. Is it hitting 1500. This has been a real hit 3-1/2 like $4,000. Cost to the organization a tiny charity with no fundraising staff, nothing.

Steven: I love it. I’m going to look up your profile and make sure . . . Somehow I miss that. I feel bad, Daryl. You put it up last week.

Daryl: Yeah. You should. You should. Anybody looking at it. Daryl Upsall. I’m on Facebook. Hit that donation button. But the good thing is it’s free for tiny organizations as long as you can get registered with Facebook and you are legal and legitimate, you know.

Steven: Yup. Yeah. I can’t log on to Facebook without seeing at least one of those. I wish I had seen yours, but I’ll donate when we get done here for your birthday.

Daryl: For my 60th birthday. That’s awesome.

Steven: Sixty-day. That’s awesome.

Daryl: Sixty from the 12th of October.

Steven: Well, we’re getting close to the noon hour here. There are some questions we didn’t get to, but how can people find out more about you? We see your website here on the screen, but is there a good way to get in touch with you?

Daryl: Easiest is to go to the website, which is Oops. The other way is I’m on Facebook. I’m on Twitter @DarylUpsall. And I am on LinkedIn.

Steven: Okay. And Facebook.

Daryl: And just Google Daryl Upsall because I can tell you what, nobody else on this planet has such a stupid name.

Steven: Aww. We like it. You’re easy to find, which is what I like about you and very generous.

Daryl: It’s unique.

Steven: So thanks for doing this. This was really a treat to hear what’s going on across the ocean, but also, you know, what, some things we need to be paying attention to here as well. So thanks for doing this, Daryl. This is was fun.

Daryl: My pleasure, and I wish everybody every success. I wish you good health, safety. And thank you again, Steven, for giving me the chance to be on this call.

Steven: I love it. And I found your fundraiser, so I’m going to do that.

Daryl: There you go. How much have I raised?

Steven: Now you all know the last four digits to my card. It’s probably not good.

Daryl: I’ll turn my head away.

Steven: That’s okay. There’s not much money in there. But hey, this is awesome. Like I said, we’re going to send the slides and the recording later on today. And we got some cool webinars coming up next week. My buddy, Valerie Harris, is going to talk about donor retention on the 7th, 1:00 p.m. Eastern. Check it out. We got other topics. We got a leadership topic coming up. We got some cool stuff coming up through, I think almost February, we’re scheduled. So we’d love to see you on another session. But look for an email from me with all the goodies from today. Definitely reach out to Daryl. You’ll want to follow his stuff because he’s obviously a wealth of knowledge. Daryl, go get a glass of wine. You earned it.

Daryl: I love it. Have a great day, everybody.

Steven: And I hope I stay healthy. Yeah. Stay safe and all of you out there. You know, hope you have a good yearend if we don’t talk again soon, but hopefully we’ll see you in another session. So have a good rest of your Thursday. Have a good weekend, stay safe, stay healthy. And we’ll talk to you again soon. Bye now.

Daryl: And thank you for all the chats. We’ve got some lovely feedback there.

Steven: Good group.

Daryl: Ciao.

Steven: See you.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.