Street fundraising, while a popular method of fundraising in Europe and South America, is relatively underutilized in the U.S. That’s why we invited Daryl Upsall, FInstF to take us on a world tour of cutting-edge best practices in use of this powerful committed donor recruitment tool.

In case you missed it, you can watch the full replay here:

Full Transcript:

Daryl: All right, we’re almost set to go everybody.

Steven: Almost. Cool. We’ll give it just a few more seconds. Well actually, my watch just struck noon. Do you want to go ahead and get started officially, Daryl? I can kick us off.

Daryl: I’m ready to go.

Steven: All right, let’s do it then. Well, good morning everyone if you are on the West Coast. Good afternoon just barely if you’re on the East Coast. We’re just about at noon here in Eastern. Thanks so much for joining us for today’s Bloomerang webinar, a special Wednesday edition. We’re going to be hearing about face-to-face fundraising, best practices and new initiatives.

My name is Steven Shattuck. I’m the VP of marketing here at Bloomerang, and I’ll be moderating today’s discussion. Just a couple of housekeeping items before we begin officially. Just want to let everyone know that we are recording this presentation, and I’ll be sending out the recording as well as Daryl’s slide, just in case you didn’t get them later on this afternoon.

So if you want to perhaps review the content, or if you have to leave early, fear not. You’ll be able to watch the full presentation later on today. And as you’re listening, feel free to chat in any questions or comments for me or our guest. We’re going to save some time at the end for Q&A, and there are even a couple spots in the presentation where we’ll ask some feedback from you as well.

So don’t be shy about that. Send in any questions or comments our way and we’ll try to answer just as many as we can before the 1:00 Eastern hour.

Feel free to follow along on Twitter. You can see our hashtag and username there. We’d love to keep the conversation going there as well. And if you’re listening by your computer and you happen to have any issues, try dialing in by phone if you can, if you have a phone available and don’t mind doing that. The quality is usually a little bit better by phone. So if you have any issues, that’s usually a quick fix right there, to call in by phone.

And just in case this is your first webinar with us, welcome. We do do these webinars just about every week. In case this is your first introduction to Bloomerang, in addition to these webinars we do provide donor management software. So if you’re interested in that, or perhaps shopping for that sometime soon, check us out. You can download a video demo. Don’t even have to talk to a salesperson if you don’t want to.

Enough of that. I want to go ahead and introduce our guest. This is really special. Daryl Upsall is our guest today. Daryl is joining us live from Madrid, Spain, he’s calling in via Skype. Daryl, how’s it going? Thanks so much for doing this. This is a real treat.

Daryl: It’s great. Thanks for inviting me. I’d like to say I’m in sunny Madrid, but it’s not the case. It’s raining and gray, very . . .

Steven: Well, it’s not sunny in Indy either. But Madrid is certainly probably a lot cooler than where most of us are. Thanks for doing this. I know it’s kind of late in the day for you. I definitely appreciate you taking the time out to do this.

I just want to brag on you for a little bit. If you guys don’t know Daryl, he’s not based in the United States. That may be a reason why. He’s an internationally renowned expert. He’s got over 33 years of experience with nonprofits. He’s worked with hundreds in almost a hundred countries.

He was the international fundraising director for Greenpeace in the 1990s, where he turned around a lot of their global income. He actually doubled their global net income and raised over a billion dollars during his tenure there. He has his own agency where he provides strategic consulting to a lot of international NGOs, and he co-owns Spain’s leading telephone fundraising and face-to-face agencies in Spain.

And he works in Italy, Portugal, Poland, Mexico, Columbia, Peru. He’s all over the place, he’s a word traveler. I actually got to meet him a couple of weeks ago in Boston, which was a rarity and a treat for sure. He’s a fellow at the UK Institute of Fundraising, he’s a vice-chair of AFP. Daryl, you’re a rock star. I can’t believe you actually agreed to do this for us. But I am so excited to hear . . .

Daryl: I can’t remember what drink you bought me.

Steven: Hopefully more than one for doing this. But I’m going to pipe down because you’ve got a ton of great information for us, and I want you to get to it. So why don’t you take it away, my friend?

Daryl: There we go. Well hi, folks. Buenos dias, all the way from Madrid. We’re going to be talking about face-to-face fundraising around the world, best practice, new initiatives. Thank you very much Steve for that great introduction. Welcome to you all.

I’ll skip on from that, other than I do like your little twirl on the Nelson Mandela photo, when he thanked me for raising his election funds. That was one of my most emotional days in fundraising. And I’ll skip these, because I think we’ve had a great introduction to what myself and my colleagues in the various companies do.

The one thing I would point out is the face-to-face has been very much part of my life. Last year my company here raised 47,000 new donors worldwide, just over 115,000 donors through face-to-face in various countries.

So this session. Love it or hate it, face-to-face fundraising, it’s a billion dollar a year industry. Well, this session is just going to check in and see if you guys are getting the best return for your investment, or whether you can tweak, improve it, or take it through the roof.

So before we start, what’s the history? Well, last year in Vienna the Austrian Fundraising Association made a big thing of celebrating one of the only two things that are probably known to been created, invented if you like, in Austria. Red Bull being the other.

But 20 years ago, Greenpeace was looking at a problem we had, as my German international directors told me, “We are no longer Greenpeace, Daryl. We are Graypeace. Our donors are so old that we need to bring in younger donors and find new ways of recruiting them.”

We created what is now known as face-to-face fundraising, and that whole story can be read on SOFII. There’s an image of the page there. It was so successful, within months we had the Austrian church claiming that we were reducing church collections. I think it’s a little exaggeration, but it got a debate in Parliament.

Just to give you an idea of where face-to-face fundraising is now taking place from its humble beginnings in Austria, it is pretty much everywhere. There’s a big gap on the white spaces in Africa. You can see China has no coloring yet, but that’s just a matter of time, and it’s spreading every single year.

Just in case anybody is accidentally signed up for the wrong session, I am not going to be doing major donor fundraising. I have had people coming to sessions on face-to-face and wondering when I was going to be making the ask for a million dollars. That’s not today, I’m afraid.

But face-to-face fundraising has its own language, if you like. So we’re talking face-to-face today. You may go to another colleague, and they’ll be calling it direct dialogue, door-to-door, street fundraising. I guess in the USA and Canada, canvassing is a historical term that was used I’ll say more for this. Dialoging, facing.

There’s usually, each time I present at least with a live public audience in a meeting, somebody has a new word for it. And again, along with that, who does face-to-face fundraising? Well, it can be any one of these. But as we’ll see later, “chuggers” was a term coined by the British press a few years ago, meaning charity muggers. People who stole your money on the street. A somewhat pejorative term.

Or as my friend David Cravinho, who’s the head of individual giving at UNICEF Worldwide and co-presented with me, maybe face-to-face funders aren’t chuggers, they’re “changels.” Charity angels. I like that term.

But what we’re definitely not talking about is major donor, as I said. We’re not talking about canvassing for cash, nor street collecting, not checks, not signing petitions, and do not confuse face-to-face with public education.

Yes, the public get to hear about you, yes they learn something about your cause. No, you probably won’t change their minds about key issues. It takes a different type of dialogue. This is very much about signing up monthly donors, be they in Thailand or anywhere else in the world.

Who does it work for? I’ve been told “Oh, it only works for famous charities. Oh, it’s okay for Greenpeace because they are that kind of organization,” whatever that means. The truth is it does work for every NGO, nonprofit, charity, whatever cause.

But let’s be frank. As in most fundraising, if it’s cancer, if it’s kids, in some markets if it’s animals, it does make it easier. I did try saying when we started for an animal protection organization in Spain, an international one, the Spanish won’t like it because the only thing they do with animals is eat them. The truth was it proved the most popular cause ever in Spain to do face-to-face. Easy to be proved wrong.

Child sponsorship’s good, and the other great myth that’s out there is that your brand does not have to be well-known. Because you will see in this presentation, for not surprising reasons, slides and images from UNICEF, UNHCR, and other famous brands, Save the Children. That’s because they’re our clients all over the world.

But it works for the mission more important than the brand. If you’re a small charity, working in cancer with a powerful cause, you’ll be just as successful as any other brand. And here’s a selection of brands, some from Holland, some from Australia. It really is working everywhere, for all kinds of organizations, large and small.

Again, what does it look like? This is how it probably used to look like, or has looked like in the last few years in most cases. Later we’ll see how even that has evolved.

Location, location, location. Well, face-to-face fundraising in reality started on the street, in the squares and plazas of Vienna. Beautiful locations, places where there were plenty of people walking past, preferably Austrian citizens as it’s hard to sign up people outside of their own nation.

But in reality, it’s at the door, it’s at events, Greenpeace always had permission for example to go on the world tour with U2 and we did face-to-face at their mega-gigs. Not wildly successful. Other organizations have agreements at soccer matches, baseball matches, you name it. Sporting events.

In Turkey, it’s often inside bars and cafes, because there’s a kind of safe space, and usually it’s because there’s a Wi-Fi signal available. Believe it or not, this giraffe is not in Africa, but it’s a wild animal organization center in England where they breed and put back in the wild wild animals.

But what you don’t see there is the face-to-face fundraisers are dressed in safari suits. They are experts in terms of the animal in which they’re standing. So if you ask about silver-backed gorilla, they will tell you everything about silver-backed gorillas and like me, sponsor one.

Workplace, malls, airports. Believe it or not, as somebody who travels all over the world and spends most of my life in airports, I think I’ve done four countries in the last week and I think six nations and three continents this last month, I would’ve thought airports would be the last place on earth. Because I’m always there at the last minute.

Airports, well, people have money. They had money to get in there, they’ve probably got money even if they’re waiting to meet people there. It’s a great place, it’s secure generally speaking, and it works.

If you’re a clini-clown, you know those clown doctors in hospitals? It’s a great place to be dressed as a clown doctor and be soliciting supporters, monthly donors in locations like that. In Madrid for example we have permissions in all the metro stations, subway stations, etc.

Again, different countries, same organizations. Save the Children in South Africa and in Korea. Consistency of branding though, and you’d guess that that’s Save the Children.

Question I often get asked, what’s the best type of model? In-house, with your own teams. Which was the way Greenpeace moved by the way, pretty much globally after that first test with agencies.

Is it best to outsource? Well, you might expect me to say that as I co-own various face-to-face agencies. Maybe a bit of both. In fact, to be honest, my recommendation would be to have a few agencies, try hybrid, bit of in-house, bit of out of house, because it keeps everybody on their toes as long as you’ve got the resources to manage it.

I can’t ask for a show of hands, or maybe I can. Anybody think volunteer face-to-face teams work? The number of times you get asked, it’s always the case that people will ask that in a seminar. It’s an absolute, total disaster.

Thank you, Anita. “Not really.” Who’s just put a chat up there. It is a disaster with volunteers. Not because volunteers aren’t great, that’s the problem. They’re really great. They’re so enthusiastic about your cause, they’re so happy to talk about it, they just forget to ask to sign the form.

The world of face-to-face suppliers. Who would believe, 20 odd years ago now, that so many of those agencies would be emerging, and I have to say often disappearing from the planet over the many years? It’s a very tough business, and I’m not sure if anybody here on the call, please send me a chat if you are, runs an agency.

Margins are tight, challenges are enormous, and the relationship between both the charity and the agency has to be very, very good if everybody is to survive and thrive. In the UK in the last year alone, I think we’ve probably seen 30% of the capacity go under for reasons we’ll see later.

Like most fundraising, and like Steve was saying when he was mentioning some of the tools that Bloomerang have, you have to know your KPIs. Your key performance indicators. What are the metrics of the game?

People like me, who’ve lost most of their hair but not quite all, 30 years ago we knew the metrics of direct mail off the back of our hand. No fundraiser worth their salt didn’t know how to test, test again, and measure the metrics.

Sadly I would say in the last years, a lot of stuff around social media and internet, which we pioneered many years ago at Greenpeace in the early ’90s, the KPIs got lost somewhere along the way. Face-to-face was pretty much the same.

So here are the key metrics you need to be looking for in face-to-face. Sign up rate, if you’re running in-house teams or an agency. How many monthly donors are your teams on the street signing up per day, per person?

That’s just getting people to sign the form. That’s not how many you speak to. And at the end of the day, it’s how many of those people signed up and gave all the details and all of those bank numbers and all of those cellphone numbers correctly.

What percentage of those sign ups, be they on paper or, as we’ll see, digital actually fulfill, came through? Went through all the processes and started paying their monthly gift through their bank or credit card down the line?

Well, that’s quite a thing to get that from. How many of them drop off, and what percentage? In the UK at its worst, it got up to 55% of all newly signed monthly donors were dropping off within the first year. Most of that attrition takes places within the first three, four months of giving.

Yeah, by putting in, as we’ll see later, quite strong donor relationship management programs, those attrition rates can be pulled back. At Spain, we were at 12 some years ago, we got up to 30% dropping off in a year. The top performers are around 18% now.

That’s pretty good, because we’re not talking about people sending one check year after year. We’re talking about people making payments of 12 times a year, every month through their bank, around $15 to $20 U.S. normally.

But what does it cost to recruit them per donor? And once you calculate all of that, what’s the ROI on your investments? What’s your break even period, for example?

I won’t go into more detail on metrics, but these are important numbers to know because they are the difference between profit and loss, be you an agency, whether you’re recruiting donors and making a margin on it at least. And if you’re an in-house team or you’re purchasing, it’s are you buying donors, and is it worthwhile?

Again, last year, speaking to Mark Astarita who’s the head of the British Red Cross, former chair of Institute Fundraising there, he said for the Red Cross, one of the top brands, biggest buyers in the market, they were struggling before he stopped face-to-face in the UK in the crisis, in the media, at around three and a half years to pay back for recruitment.

Still, it may be worth doing it.

So in-house, you’re paying for time. In-house, outsourced, you’re paying for donors typically. Just to get things clear, and I’m sorry to natter on as they say about the language and the metrics, a donor is only a donor when they donate.

Now, that may seem blindingly obvious, but making a promise by filling in a form is only making a pledge or a promise. No more. It’s only when the money hits the account on the first instance is it actually a donation and they’re counted as a donor. I tell you that because Spain, an international agency, consulting agency, did an evaluation of the Spanish market some years ago. Got all the metrics wrong and nearly killed the market for everybody until we realized they’d calculated the metrics wrong in the first place.

A donor is a donor not when they sign up, not when you process the form. It’s when the money hits the account.

So do you really have a face-to-face donor? Well, it’s not just because she is trying to impress her girlfriend or somebody’s filled in the form. It’s only when the money is in the bank.

I’ll take a pause for breath there. Not that I’m encouraging you to ask me questions now, but shoot off some questions into the chat box if you’d like. Steve’s going to capture those and we’ll have a bit of a Q&A at the end, and we can share the questions with you in that process. Certainly make any notes and prepare some questions as you wish, or throw them into the chat box.

So where are we now? That was the beginning. But are we at the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning? It depends where you’re at. It’s definitely a challenging market in markets that have done face-to-face. In the USA and to a lesser extent Canada, which were early adopters thanks to again, Greenpeace Canada and people like Rosemary Oliver, the market is getting challenges. In the U.S, you’ve barely begun.

I often have the conversation, people say, “Oh, face-to-face, we don’t do that in America.” Which is hardly true, because even speaking to Oxfam America last week in Boston on the phone, it’s their biggest single recruitment tool. And they’re a pretty significant sized organization.

What are the trends? These are the five areas we’re going to spend the rest of our time in this conversation on today. Current trends. How the media and public are reacting to this tool in mature markets, which for the USA and other emerging markets in terms of face-to-face, lessons to be learned and how to anticipate and deal with such issues.

How face-to-face is moving away from the street and into different locations. How the whole process of engagement, from clipboards and a nice Greenpeace t-shirt on the street has moved onto some more sophisticated tools, including the processing and engagement.

How, as I mentioned earlier, do we retain these donors and development? And at the end of the day, where’s the technology leading us? So we’re going to have a whirlwind tour over the next probably half an hour before we have questions. Then we’ll move through and on.

So chuggers, are they ethical? Now that’s a big question to be asked by the most liberal and charity supporting newspaper in England. That was a few years ago. The debate has moved on.

Is it getting to the end, or are we actually . . . Ken Burnett, you might see right up there in the corner, very good friend of mine for some 30 years. Was a very, very no face-to-face, it’ll never replace direct mail.

Until one day, and this article talks about it a bit, is he met a face-to-face fundraiser, was solicited a few years ago, and suddenly realized this was relationship fundraising. The thing he’s been famous for for many, many years, and rightly so, this conversation was the beginning of a relationship in a way that even the greatest gurus like himself could not anticipate through direct mail.

But again, overcrowded markets, negativism, people saying that God forbid, that face-to-face fundraisers get paid, they’re not volunteers. This has caused some very big headlines and negativisms in the press, debates in Parliament in England, and organizations pulling back.

Let’s think of some of the positives of this, though. And you’ve got an image here for example, I think from the USA up top, or Canada. I think it’s the USA. And below in Mexico City, in DF, I think in UNICEF, respectively.

When you’re on the street, your brand is visible. So the people out there representing your brand are your, if you like, brand ambassadors. Make sure they’re knowledgeable and trained. But they are physically visible.

Let the press know, in small towns, if you’re there. If you’ve suddenly got 20 fundraisers appearing on the High Street, people are going “What’s going on?” Make sure the authorities, the police, the media, the local radio know about it and tell them about the story. It’s usually a great story to tell.

This is San Sebastian, where my son lives, in the north of Spain. We sent out press releases, we informed the local media. When our fundraising staff for UNICEF went up and asked people, or people asked if they would come and have a conversation, people said “Oh yes, I’ve heard about you in the media. Oh, I’ve heard about you in the local newspaper.”

It suddenly lifted response, and people felt comfortable, because these were the early days of face-to-face in Spain, some years ago. It’s about not shocking people and informing. And I think we as a profession of fundraisers, all too often have been very poor about explaining what our profession is and how people are related to and people get paid and so forth.

How many of you on the . . . well, you can’t put a hands up I guess, but I’m asking you, I hope any of you are doing face-to-face? Or indeed any other forms of fundraising that your own websites explain exactly how you do fundraising, why you do fundraising, and what are some of the key metrics of fundraising.

This is CancerFund, I think from Hong Kong if I recall. On their page, yes it is Hong Kong, they raised $65 million. Hong Kong, that is, through face-to-face. And they have a video there on their website showing how it works. They explain who are the fundraisers, what do they do.

Many organizations actually have fundraisers talking about why they love their job, why they’re doing it for this cause. And of course they’re being paid.

This is WWF in South Africa. Again, explaining why they do face-to-face, meet the team. This is a crew on the street. How to recognize us, as you can see there in the corner. Likewise, Marie Curie, a cancer charity in the UK.

And within most countries, and I was having a conversation with one of your colleagues in Washington last night about this time, is in most of the countries where face-to-face has been around for some time, there have been created self-regulatory bodies for face-to-face fundraising where the commercial agencies providing the services and the nonprofits either doing in-house or purchasing services have got together. Created what’s often called a public fundraising regulatory association or public fundraising association. A face-to-face monthly alliance in Hong Kong, etc. To make sure that everybody is implementing the best practice.

And I know, and I don’t know where people are from on the call today, but I know already there are some meetings of some of the leading U.S. nonprofits. And I know certainly people like the Nature Conservancy, Greenpeace, WWF, Humane Society, etc. have all been meeting together to make sure that you can create the best voluntary code of practice, and to identify whether you create a new, free-standing self-regulating body or a conversation I need to have with the AFP, my colleagues there. Is this something that would sit under the AFP, for example. As you see, AFP Hong Kong is very much involved in the regulatory body there.

Again, a rapid run through some of the issues. But now let’s move on and look at the actual processes and how face-to-face is now diversifying how it performs from those early days on the street.

This is just how one organization, UNICEF in Germany and different countries is presenting itself differently. Now I’m not sure if they’re, I think they might actually be making hotdogs, wurst in German-style there, outside a railway station, which is getting people’s attention. Here they’re inside a supermarket, seems associating with Procter & Gamble.

Just different looks and feels. Door-to-door in one market, it looks to me like in a shop where you buy your glasses and so forth in another part of the world.

So what about door-to-door? Oh good, there’s a question, “How do we avoid getting the usual question, ‘have you got a minute,’ stop me.” We’ll talk about that later, one of the questions.

Door-to-door, great advantage, a bit like direct mail. You can do audience segmentation based on wealth of an area. It can take you into the suburbs. You’ve obviously got challenges of finding people at home sometimes.

But on average in most parts of the world, if you can go door-to-door, there tends to be a higher average gift, better fulfillment of the gift. People tend to have all their banking and private details in their own home. And you’re generally speaking not working in a crowded place in High Streets, main shopping malls, where there might be one or two other organizations.

The other hand, I live in Madrid, I live in a typical Madrid accommodation. It’s a tower block, it has a locked front door, there is a porter. Very hard for anybody to get in. In fact, in 15 years nobody’s knocked on my door, asking me to be a monthly donor. And organizations, housing associations rather in buildings, can actually actively agree not to allow such solicitation.

Private sites. I suspect many of you on this call today have corporate partnerships. You may have relationships with shops, you may have relationships, as I mentioned earlier, with organizations putting events on. UNICEF Worldwide has some amazing relationships with sporting organizations, not least any soccer, or football as we call it in Europe. Fans would know.

They just renewed their €8 million, close to $10 million deal, with Barcelona who pay UNICEF to have their logo on their t-shirts. But many corporate headquarters, what do corporates have? They have employees. People on a salary, people guaranteed, they’re probably having their money in the more modern major organizations and in most parts of the world, paid automatically to their bank. Very safe spaces for face-to-face to operate in.

Private sites, weather-proofing. I’m not going to go through all of these, but you can make an agreement with, for example, the entire public transport system of a major city. Much easier than negotiating mile by mile.

You’re credible and you’re safe, and you’re weather-proofed. The biggest problem we have in Spain normally in the summer is not rain, it’s actually it’s too hot to be in the street, and people avoid it. Weather-proof shopping mall with air con, much easier to capture people and less they’re in a great hurry.

In the UK, they know it’s going to rain. There are not so many indoor activities, so Greenpeace and others use umbrellas for people to hide under when they want to shelter from the rain. In fact, a few years ago doing very much that, somebody, a couple jumped under an umbrella, liked the clothes the Greenpeace people were wearing. Asked if they could get one of those green jackets, and the world tour, the Peace tour of Eurythmics, was negotiated within an hour when one of our major donor fundraisers went and had a conversation with Eurythmics in their studio down the road.

By the way, yes, face-to-face fundraising can lead to major gifts or other fundraising opportunities.

Increasing challenges. Restricted access. May find the case that by now, so many charities have been trying this. I know I think it’s the case in Toronto, that in some of the major shopping malls they no longer offer pro bono sites to nonprofits but again the fees are right up there with the annex. You have different challenges.

Look and feel. Again, not the oldest form of having a face-to-face presence, but it’s pretty boring I have to say. No disrespect for the city or whatever, but it wouldn’t necessarily pull me in.

What you start getting is much more experiential sites. This is at least a reproduction of maybe some of the communities that World Vision work in. This is World Vision USA in Houston. Maybe it’s a little bit more moveable, so you’re not always in the same spot within the shopping mall, but there’s a little bit more movement to it. There are visuals. Again, focusing on a special theme. This is about micro loans in Seattle.

You’re a heart organization, stroke, so why not? Have a machine there that you can actually test people’s heart with. Maybe you use it for explaining some of the things through the use of a model.

Simple balloons if you’re dealing with children and it’s play. You may be choosing to work on something that’s specific, like signing up to not just a monthly gift. I was working in Korea last November. Korea has already gone one step further. They don’t get paid, these robots. They go out there and collect cash.

We’re still waiting for the first robot that can sign up a monthly direct debit in Korea. I’m sure Samsung are working on it right now.

How to look different. This is an organization in the UK, Friends of the Earth, an environmental organization. They ran a campaign across all media, very much integrated, multi-media. As you well know, we need the bees to thrive and survive. Einstein said once we have no bees, there will be no humans. He said it better than me.

But this is a whole campaign they had to encourage bees in your gardens as part of their overall communication. So you got a free little packet of seeds, of wildflowers. But it was also how they branded their face-to-face street fundraisers to attract attention.

Here’s another example of a medical charity. This is a cancer charity, world cancer charity’s doing research. These are dressed as medics. They tend to look a little different. I think even the location may be a medical facility here.

Again, making sure, instead of . . . If you’re going to do cancer research, yes, you have to have an ID card with your photo on with a fundraiser, but make it look like a laboratory pass. Make it look different. Something that relates to the cause.

Being really experiential is important. I don’t know how many of you have said “Well, a young girl carries 10 liters, or I don’t know how many gallons of water every day on her shoulder from the river or the pump to take to home, and they do this journey X times.”

Then ask your eight year old daughter or seven year old daughter to lift the same amount in a plastic container suddenly and walk six kilometers if you can read the Spanish behind here. You suddenly get a sense of what the story is telling you, rather than just figures on a piece of paper, whatever.

Again, likewise, many of you in fundraising will have seen the figures and numbers about how much a malnutrition suffering child weighs. Do we really understand, sorry, I don’t have this in pounds, but the difference between 5 and 10 kilos?

I cook. I can judge it usually only in bags of sugar. What this process does, and I think it was in Korea for UNICEF, is they have dolls. Dolls and soft, cuddly toys that kids love to pick up. Pick up a 10 kilo child, that’s what a 1 year old should weigh. Now pick up a five year old, that’s what a malnutrition suffering child would be. Suddenly the message is brought home in a very physical, visual, and sensual way.

Now believe it or not, this is a face-to-face fundraising location. This was a purpose-built space in a top shopping mall within Sao Paulo in Brazil. It was around Christmas-time, but it was to really draw people’s attention.

Now very often this is all, again, pro bono solicited materials. You get a build company that’ll sponsor it. But it definitely generates . . . whoops, we’re going to get the bees again. That’s good, when we get the bees back. Somehow we went on repeat.

Let’s look at more innovation in face-to-face fundraising. I like this, this was the front cover of a fundraising magazine in the UK. “Oh my God, innovation.”

Again, I don’t know if anybody in this call today, this presentation today has tried virtual reality. That’s these headsets. You may have tried it in a gaming environment or some other environment, but this is very, very much the new thing happening in face-to-face fundraising around the world, and it’s proving very effective.

So there is a video, usually made in the field, so crews go into the field, go into the camps. This is in the UNHCR in one of their camps for Syrian refugees, I believe. They film, and then you in the shopping mall, in your doorstep, in the street, gets to see what it really looks like, and with sound attached.

It attaches into typically a mobile phone, a smartphone that then locks into this cardboard box we see here in the least sophisticated models, or a little bit more in the slightly more expensive versions. And you get to see a full picture.

Those of us old enough may remember these little gizmos we used to buy at Niagara Falls or wherever. This is really the more modern version, Oculus and people being there, the prime providers.

Film like this, but again, if you see a UNICEF street fundraiser or face-to-face fundraiser anywhere in the vicinity and they’ve got these tools, you will see this wonderful story of this young girl in a refugee camp, telling in her words her story, her day. Her game of football with her friends, and what it’s like for her. It is extremely moving.

You really do get a sense . . . And then when the camera lifts up and you see the absolute vastness of camp she’s living in in the desert, it goes from the very individual personal story to really getting a true sense of what it’s like. Her name is Sidra, and I really encourage you, and I guess her story if you go to unicef.org, you’ll be able to see the story without the three dimensional element to it.

But it is work. These are our teams in Madrid, using these headsets. It’s proving highly successful in Madrid. As the fundraising, face-to-face person in UNICEF Spain says, “It’s not only impacting upon the individuals, but,” and as somebody wrote earlier, Hillary I think on this call sent a message, “B2B, business to business.”

By offering this technology, it’s offering them a conversation to have with many of the companies from their corporate alliances, and in the case here, of a telecom company to actually put themselves in the workplace and have the staff of these organizations, the corporations, see the story of the work that UNICEF is doing and the lives of young girls like Sidra.

Amnesty in the UK was the very pioneer organization doing this. I mean, those of you who’ve been following the story of Aleppo, it’s showing what it’s like to be in Aleppo when these terrible bombings are happening and destruction. You can imagine how it might be, and I know there’s some things they can do, and I won’t describe too much as the spoiler.

But you can actually see what it might be like if you were living in those kind of environments, if it was transformed into your country and your living environment.

Reuben, who’s an innovations manager at Amnesty International in the UK, said already they’re getting a 16% increase in people signing up to a regular gift in the street. That’s a massive lift. It’s not fulfillment, but it’s a massive lift in first level responsiveness.

So think about it now. Think about where this might work for you. Maybe many of us have not seen inside a medical research facility, or we may not have seen the work that organizations do with homeless people, or the work you’re doing with food banks or whatever. But you can spend the day in the life of a volunteer, working for such organizations.

Everybody has a story to tell, and surprisingly this is not an expensive game. You may want to wait a while until some of the other bigger players have got the hang of it even better, but it’s something to keep an eye on and consider.

Again, questions, thoughts for later.

Okay. I mentioned earlier it’s all very well recruiting these donors, whether they’re wearing virtual reality headsets or not, but what are we going to do about keeping them? This has been a big challenge.

I will share with you the biggest failures, the second biggest failure in Greenpeace fundraising I’ll admit to taking responsibility for, and it was big. We were recruiting or receiving $50,000 a month through our website, wait for it, in 1994. Through the donate button in ’94. Nobody on this call had an email or a website, that’s for sure.

We recruited donors from all over the world, and then we, pause for effect, put them on a direct mail program. Completely lost them. These geeks did not read direct mail. Nor do face-to-face donors do that now.

Not only that, we’ve recruited people through a conversation. How are we going to keep them? So as I mentioned earlier, attrition and losing donors is a big part of it.

Retention is the new acquisition, and it’s very interesting, wearing our other hat as an organization, how we recruit many of the international fundraisers around the world, particularly for the global nonprofits. We have recruited more retention managers or innovation in donor retention and development managers in the last year than any other position. Even more than digital.

So what do you do? What are the key things you have to do? These are must dos. These are not “You may do if you wish,” because that used to be the case. “Oh, we can’t afford a telephone call.” You’ve got to do a welcome call.

It’s to thank the donor, reinforce the message, get the data. Make sure that that donor really, really knew that they were signing up for not just 12 months, but 12 times a year for many years ahead. This is not signing people on an emotional one-off gift. This is not that type.

It’s better to lose them early than they’d lose anyway after a week, and you have to pay. It reduces attrition considerably. I’ve seen examples of where attrition that’s been reduced from 8, down by 8%, to down by 20% just by having the welcome call.

How people are recruited is key to subsequent communications. So this was a conversation. So in the case of face-to-face, they tend to be a younger metric. They’ve had a conversation. They don’t read mail. They will most likely, almost certainly not have a landline in many cases in their houses. They’ll have a cellphone and that will be everything.

So you have to call them, you have to speak to them, you have to use texts, you have to have email. You have to have messages that go out that draw them to things on the web. But by all means, do not put them on the mail program unless you’re deliberately signing up an older cohort, an older demographic, which maybe you are.

I have one company I know of doing face-to-face in one of the markets in the world in Australia, where they have older recruiters recruiting people only over 60. Those people are likely to wish to have a slightly different communication channel.

So the telephone is king in this case. It’s a continuation of the dialogue.

The other thing with monthly donors when they’re paying $15, $20, $30, even $40 a month, which they do in some countries, is you can afford not to smash them with 30, 40, 50 drip mail appeals or whatever. You have touch points. You have conversations with the donors, communications with them, that are not necessarily talking about money.

It’s about asking questions, listening to them. So when you’re speaking to them, when you’re calling them, it might be just to say we’re just checking that your service is good. We’re asking if there’s something more we can do. It’s about listening to donors, asking their opinions, finding ways to input them into your process.

Greenpeace for example, I’m sorry to brag on from an organization I worked at years ago, is brilliant about asking the donors how to name their ships. The last three or four ships they’ve had have all been named through polling through donors. As well as being funded through donors in the last case, the new Rainbow Warrior.

Asking donors how they want to be communicated. I personally don’t like getting mail, print mail, because I’m never there to read it. I do like getting limited SMS and limited digital emails and so forth. I’m pointless for calling in most cases because I don’t like my cellphone calling me when I’m in another country.

Ask the donor what they want. If a donor’s saying sorry, sometimes the inbound call. If they say I can’t make the $20 a month anymore, offer donation holidays. Offer downgrades. Offer to call them back if they wish in six months’ time to see if their situation has changed.

In Spain where we do an enormous amount of this, we do literally millions of calls per year, just for UNICEF alone, 1.2 million calls just from responding to SMSing donations, the donors like to be given that choice.

Thank you. I suspect very few of you in your other programs actually call donors four months in, just to thank them. Ask if they’re happy. We find there’s a high level of positivity if people are four months into the relationship.

Bear in mind what I said at the outset. Four months, the first three to four months is when you lose donors. So these soft touch points are very important. Then something we do in Spain, and I know in Holland and some other countries, we’ve asked people who really express high levels of satisfaction if they would recommend the charity friends, colleagues, and if they would be so kind as to give a number.

And the metrics are very good because essentially what you’re then doing is a soft touch call. You’ve asked somebody for a second level of engagement without money, you’ve thanked them, and you’ve asked them to help you in finding more donors and fulfill the mission that they support.

So it’s then, and I won’t go into great detail on this, the kind of journey that we’re looking at in face-to-face. Again, many of these things have been tested by our multi-national, international nonprofit clients. Upgrading a monthly donor signed on the street or in a shopping mall tends to happen by telephone around month six, seven, or eight.

Varies slightly country to country. Not more. People have tested earlier, they’ve tested later. They find that this type of cohort of donors is happy to start converting much earlier than a typical direct mail solicited donor. Or maybe it’s just we try and test, and analyze the results and analyze the results over a number of years.

What we’ve also realized is even if we ask for upgrade call through all the monitoring we’ve done, and people say “No, I’m not really in a position to upgrade,” the attrition rates of the cohort that gets the call and declines are much lower than the attrition rates of those who never have the call at all.

So again, your CEO or director of development might say “Oh, we can’t possibly call them so early. They’re already giving a huge amount through direct debit, through their credit card. We will lose them if we call them.” It is exactly the opposite, and that’s a true metric around the world.

They’ll be more loyal from having a high quality, non-pushy, “thank you” type call during the course, and then later an upgrade call that they feel good about, not bad about, than if they had no call at all.

Now I know I’m rushing here because I’m hoping to get some questions at the end. So technology. When I did a master class at the IFC, we surveyed the 40 or so participants that attended in that. One of the things that came out most significant in terms of innovation, from most participants, was the innovation in the technologies of processing.

So we’ve moved from paper now to sign ups on the, I say iPad, I should say tablet. The amazing thing about tablets in the street is the great thing is you can show videos, you can show images. You can offer choice. The donor can say “Oh, actually I really want, yeah, you’re WWF, I’m really more interested in rhinos than I am in ocean creatures.”

You can press a button on there, an icon, and suddenly there’ll be a story about the work they do with rhinos.

This is a PDF, so you’ll not see this as can be seen in a full, live show. But this is whole video that’s been produced that shows you how this whole process works. Great thing is, you sign people’s credit card up on the pad and you’re connected to 4G or you’re connected through Wi-Fi. You validate the data.

You can process the very first gift there and then, and even the thank you SMS, thank you email, and so forth. Verify all the other data as it comes up as auto-verify.

What does happen? That suddenly makes the return on investment time significantly shorter than trying to process and key in data, and make all the errors that go with it along the way.

Coming into the home stretch now. SMS, two step texting. Not much done in the United States. This is a way in which organizations we work with and others have come across a way of dealing with that younger demographic, who are not good for the higher levels monthly giving, face-to-face.

Rule of thumb is you really don’t want to be signing people up on the street or at the door under 25, because their attrition rates are so high. You tend to go for 25 plus and largely, if it’s a professional woman at the age of 37 or thereabouts, she will stay with you the longest based on the number-crunching various people have done. I get in trouble for sharing with people.

Two step SMS is when people sign up for a single gift, maybe a text that pays �3 to �4, �5, €2 to €3, $5, whatever. And then they get an option to go through their cellphone to sign up to a monthly amount not much higher. Usually only $3, $4, $5, $6. I think $8 is usually the highest that most countries do.

It’s paying through the cellphone billing process. What that enables is again this younger metric of donor to give, it’s with a tool they have, and it doesn’t suddenly involve credit cards and so forth.

These things, to give you an idea, this is Oxfam. This is a filtration barrel or bucket that they use in the field. It filters the water, dirty water in, clean drinking water out. But it’s a very tactile way of showing what they’re doing.

Key thing with everything recruited through these methods, or in fact inbound SMS, which we do a lot of work on, is you have to call back and convert in real time.

I’m not going to go through the process, but you’ll get the idea in terms of how that works. My question to you is where next? This is the Ecuador emergency appeal that SOS Children’s Villages calendar have put out, SOS around the world.

Thankfully I can confirm no SOS Children’s villages locations were destroyed or damaged during this process. But where do we go next?

Time for questions. 119 slides and still 5 minutes left.

Steven: I didn’t doubt you for a second, Daryl. This is really fun. I love seeing all the examples. Thanks for taking an hour to go through all that. It was great.

I always thought that, and maybe I’m showing my ignorance here, but this has always been . . . Maybe it’s a more popular model in Europe than in America. Is that a fair statement do you think?

Daryl: Depends how you define America. United States? Yes. Canada . . .

Steven: Yeah, United States I guess.

Daryl: Yeah, because in Canada it’s been around for a long time. Plenty of agencies, great fundraising through face-to-face there. Then from Mexico downwards. We’re seeing the biggest growth in Columbia, Peru, markets like that.

When you say America, United States is the kind of, if you like, the slower market to adopt face-to-face.

Steven: And why do you think that is? What’s your theory on that? Why have we been so slow?

Daryl: You rely on direct mail through the post much more than the rest of the world. You have a much more dependence on check writing. I don’t have a checkbook. I have no idea what a checkbook looks like anymore.

Steven: Me either.

Daryl: I’ll be perfectly frank, I think you’re tied in a little bit with the industry of fundraising that was there in the past. So you’re relatively late to adopt the SMS as well, not just face-to-face.

Steven: Yeah. So what should we do? Should small shops and medium sized shops who are listening today wait for some of those larger U.S. charities to adopt it and work out the kinks like you suggested? Or should people not be afraid to jump right in?

Daryl: What I would do is literally, when you see somebody on the street signing up for one of the causes that is already out there, have a conversation with them. And also chat with your fundraising colleagues in other organizations. Pick up the phone, and if you see somebody say “Hey, can I speak to the person who’s doing that and meet up?”

That’s certainly what the brands are doing now, and they’re all meeting up and trying to get the U.S. relevant code of ethics in place for face-to-face fundraising.

Steven: Yeah. It seems like, thinking back on my college days, I was used to getting solicited on the street as a college student on campus. I’m wondering if maybe that would be a good place to do some research, or perhaps shadow.

Daryl: To be honest, the college campus stuff is probably the worst location, simply because . . .

Steven: Oh really? Okay. Tell me why.

Daryl: It’s making long term financial commitments when kids are still paying for their college, they’re paying their way through college.

Steven: Right.

Daryl: They’ve got debts. The best place to watch it is probably somewhere like a workplace. If you’ve got a corporate partner, large or small. Because people have already, unless they’re on the zero contracts, but they’re generally earning a salary and they’ve got some money.

So in banks, service industry at the higher level, those kind of places. But no, sadly college students are not the best place. They’re probably the same as, you wouldn’t test your direct mail to a college student.

Steven: Right.

Daryl: If you could find their address.

Steven: Yeah. Oh, go ahead.

Daryl: Nope, go ahead.

Steven: If you can get their address. Here’s a question from Cale that I thought was pretty interesting. He’s wondering, how do we convert that feeling that pedestrians have of oh no, how do I avoid getting roped into this, to oh, I actually want to talk to this person who’s standing in front of me.

I think that’s kind of the biggest concern maybe among U.S. fundraisers, is that concern that you’re going to bother someone and they’re not even going to give you the time of day. How do you convert that person?

Daryl: The best thing is that they convert themselves. Your presentation, whatever you’re doing on the street, you’re so engaging that people come to you. Not vice-versa. That’s actually one of the big things happening with VR.

The other is be smart about the script. There’s a tendency all over the world for fundraisers on the street to say “Oh, excuse me sir, have you got a minute? Excuse me madam, have you got a minute?”

Well no, people are bored by that line. Although one of our teams came up with the idea for MSF, Doctors Without Borders. When people, they said “Have you got a minute” and people said “No, sorry,” and they said “Well do you mind taking this piece of paper?”

People said okay, it gets rid of them. Then somebody five meters, five yards away says “Excuse me madam, have you got a minute?” They go “No, I haven’t.” “Well, what’s that in your hand?” The piece of paper just says “one minute.”

And that one minute made them laugh so much that then they entered a conversation. So there you go. Be creative.

Steven: I love it.

Well, I think that’s a good place to end. It’s about 1:00. I want to be respectful of people’s time. But Daryl, feel free to, is it fair if people can reach out to you on Twitter, email, with additional questions?

Daryl: Sure, no problem. Twitter I’m not so good at responding, I’ll be frank.

Steven: Okay.

Daryl: But email, there’s the website there on this slide you’ll find, and there’s plenty of information there as well. You can find me on Facebook and LinkedIn as well.

Steven: All right. Well Daryl, this was such a treat. Thanks for taking time out of your day, and thanks everyone else who hung out on their lunch hour or perhaps breakfast hour. This was a lot of fun. Thanks to all of you for being here.

Daryl: My pleasure, and I hope you all have a great day.

Steven: Yeah. We’ve got lots of great resources on our website. Check those out. The webinar series is going to keep trucking along. We’re back to Thursdays one week from tomorrow. Wendy Dyer’s going to join us, and she’s going to talk about how to bring emotion to the table when you’re fundraising, why it’s important and how you can do that.

Check that out. That’ll be a fun one for sure. We’ve got lots of other webinars scheduled out through May as well. You may find a topic there that you’re interested in.

We’d love to see you again, either next week or some time in the future. For now we’ll say goodbye, and look for an email from me with all the slides and recording goodies from today’s presentation. Have a great rest of your day and great rest of your week. We’ll talk to you again soon.

Daryl: Adios.

Major gift fundraising

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.
Kristen Hay