Di Flatt's Blog


It may be time for change – but it is not the time to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater!’

Bathwater

Today I have read the thoughtful news piece in UK Fundraising, from the very eloquent Mr Ian McQuillin. You can read it here “Should fundraisers strike?”

It certainly seems it is time for careful thinking and for good measured and transparent responses. Things clearly need to change, and we need to ensure that any and all changes are indeed for the better for both fundraisers and donors.

At the same time, for some (or perhaps all of us) it may be time to come off the fence and speak out proudly for the amazing profession that we have chosen to work within.

‘Striking’ I think would be a tad too far of course, as without the brilliant fundraisers of the UK (and beyond) we will not then raise the money needed. Money that is vital to pay for the work of charities that many many people need (and increasingly so with a growing/ageing population and the many drastic cuts in government grants and individuals’ benefits).

But we do need to look at what our donors both want and need from us – and let us not forget that we have an extremely generous UK community.

We as fundraisers do a great thing – we bring people together to give the best of their-selves, be this expertise, time or money. And for every complaint there are always tens of thousands of happy donors who feel good about being able to make a positive difference.

We cannot and must not ignore the problems and issues – and we of course are not. We as a community of fundraisers need to address every issue.

But please, for our donors’ sakes, for our beneficiaries’ sakes, and indeed for our own sakes – let us not get so bogged down that we forget we are #proudfundraisers. Let us not forget the reasons why we took on this incredible profession.

We need to celebrate the generosity of the UK and applaud the donors who ensure that our charities can continue to do the work that is needed.

We are lucky to work amongst and with such generous and caring people, donors and supporters. And we have a huge responsibility to look after this generosity and the donors as individuals – but we must also place merit on the need look after ourselves as fundraisers and our ability to do the work we do as a member of the fundraising profession.

It was quoted in the UK Giving 2014 report (dated April 2015):

“Our analysis provides the following picture for individual giving in the UK for 2014:

 “Eight out of ten people (79%) participated in at least one charitable giving or social action activity in the 12 months prior to interview, with over half (57%) having done so in the last month

and

“In terms of giving money to charity (either directly or through sponsorship of an individual) 70% report doing so in the 12 months prior to interview and 44% do so in a typical month.”

See the report for the full analysis here UK Giving 2014 – an overview of charitable giving in the UK in 2014 (dated April 2015)

They go on to summarise the report as follows:

“In summary then, these results suggest that in order to encourage people to give regularly, charities need to:

  • Communicate the positive impact that donations from the public have
  • Provide clarity on how their charity’s aims and focus differ to other organisations working in the same area
  • Be aware of and respond to the individual circumstances of existing donors, so as not to ask for too much, too often
  • Communicate the flexibility of planned giving channels and/or increase the flexibility to meet the changing needs of donors
  • Provide reassurance about the security of personal and financial details and the ‘professionalism’ of charities in handling personal data
  • Continue to raise awareness of all the various ways in which people can give – including regular, planned channels for giving money, but also by giving goods, volunteering their time or sharing their voice – in order to engage all people no matter what their financial circumstances”

We as #proudfundraisers will do well to heed these results of speaking to the people of the UK.

So, I shall be awaiting the conclusions of Sir Stuart Etherington’s review with interest and with hope that it will clearly and fairly inform the future of fundraising legislation.

But we must take care too, for as my much loved Nanna would have said, whilst it may be time for change “let us not throw the baby out with the bathwater!”

As ever I remain a #proudfundraiser and CEO of Sweetpea Charity, and I will always strive to be the #bestyoucanbe. And in these times of change I am sure you will too!

Hold onto the baby my fundraising friends!  Hold on tight…………

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#proudfundraiser

This blog was first shown at http://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/blog/proudfundraiser

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We are, this year, celebrating #proudfundraiser. And people sometimes ask, who and what are we as fundraisers? What do we do? Well we raise the money that pays for all the important work charities undertake.

There are many types of fundraiser. From the on street face to face fundraiser, to trust fundraisers writing specialised grant applications, to corporate fundraisers developing partnerships with business, event fundraisers organising small and huge events, major donor fundraisers working with wealthy individuals, special events fundraisers organising balls and gala dinners, to community fundraisers, legacy fundraisers and more.

We raise money from all kinds of fundraising. From running events, to appeal letters, telephone calls and through on street face to face requests. From parachute jumps, to dress down days, to coffee mornings, raffles and growing moustaches. Sponsor forms, mailings, direct debits, cheques and thank you notes. We are pretty busy!

And to direct a fundraising team you need knowledge of all the different types of fundraising AND the skill set to implement all the different methods within each one. Phew!

For me, I know that being a #proudfundraiser is only possible because of my very wide ranging skill set. So as I was thinking about writing this, I began listing the things I need to know about and be expert in to be a fundraising director in 2014.

Direct marketing. Social media. Trading. Product design. Sports events. Gala dinners. Tribute funds. Restricted funds. Management accounts. Forecasting. Legacy management. Payroll giving. Recycling. Charitable trusts. Corporate partnerships. Cause related and affiliate marketing. Gambling Commission. Charity Commission. Fundraising Standards Board. Institute of Fundraising Code. PFRA. Home money boxes. Telemarketing. Charity shops. Web design. Risk assessments. Public liability insurance. Due diligence. Membership schemes. Gift aid. Donor benefits. Appeals. Newsletters. Collection tins. SEO and PPC. PR. Recruitment. Strategy. Business Planning. Key performance indicators. Current affairs. Return on investment. Customer service. Staff morale. Investment in people. The fundraising promise. VAT. Third Sector. Civil Society. Fast moving technology! Age cohorts. Target markets. Audience geography and demography. Rapport. Diversity and equality. Databases and spreadsheets. Public speaking. Presentations. Representing our charities as ambassadors. My actual list is much longer!

So #proudfundraiser I think we should remind ourselves of just how complex and professional a role we play.

Every fundraiser is integral to the work a charity does. Everything costs money. Staff, equipment, buildings, power, travel, services. Computers, databases, paper and pens. And we have to raise money to make all these things be possible, and to make all the necessary work happen.

And as we talk or write to all the people who generously donate money or take part in events we have lots and lots of conversations. So we don’t only focus on the money. We focus on why the money is needed.

We focus on the end result – the impact and the outcomes that can be achieved.

We care about and focus on the positive difference that can be made to the world because of the generosity of donors and supporters.

We show how through the money we raise we are seeking cures and coping strategies for Epilepsy, Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many other diseases and conditions.

We show how we are saving lives, creating happier futures, and looking after the environment. We show how we are protecting animals, bees, whales, trees and rainforests.

And we show how we are making positive changes every day for people like you and people like me.

My job is complex and difficult, and I love it. I know that as #proudfundraisers we are using our skills to achieve some great things.

And what I am really proud about is that instead of using our skills to generate profit for commercial companies we CHOOSE to put our skills, expertise and abilities to use to deliver outcomes within the charity sector.

We are NOT here because we can’t be anywhere else. We have as much intellect and skill as doctors, nurses, solicitors and lawyers – but our calling in life is to be passionate about making life better for other people, animals and environments.

And we HAVE to be good at what we do, because it’s not about profit to make the fat cat richer, it’s often a matter of life and death. Failure is not an option.

I am proud of what I do, and of what my fundraising team and organisation does. Fundraising enables my charity, Epilepsy Action, to achieve better outcomes for people with epilepsy.

As fundraisers we carry a huge responsibility – but with high personal reward and affirmation of contributing to a better world.

So I wanted to finish by saying THANK YOU #proudfundraiser.

You are amazing and you have vision. You are prepared to be innovative and you want to change the world for the better – and you do, with every generous gift and donation you achieve.

Each and every fundraiser has chosen to be in the sector. And that’s really something to be proud of.

You are the world’s change-makers – and I as just one #proudfundraiser thank you for that!

Di Flatt
#ProudFundraiser
@diflatt

Download the #proudfundraiser toolkit here: http://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/proudfundraiser/proud-toolkit/



Three days to regain sanity – IoF National Convention

Well I’m just packing my case to set off for the 2012 Institute of Fundraising National Convention. I’m looking forward to catching up with colleagues and friends and regaining a little sanity in what is an incredibly crazy busy year for me.

I have lots of great things going on, which pleases me greatly! But sleep and ‘me time’ are pretty much on hold right now. Thus these few days in a learning environment with people I respect, admire and in some cases aspire to, are of huge importance to me.

One of the things you have to work out as a director of fundraising, is how to deal with the isolation of being the boss – and at the same not being the ‘same’ as the rest of the senior management team.

You want me to explain? Ok here goes, I can but try …..

Fundraising, no matter how well an organisation tries, is the funny add on that people don’t fully understand. We don’t deliver services. Some of us have little contact with beneficiaries. Yet we are these crazy mad passionate people who raise millions and millions for our causes.

How do we do that? They ask. We do it because beneath the passion and enthusiasm is professionalism and intellect. We don’t just shake tins!

Business plans, risk analysis, in depth forecasts and cash flows, financial monitoring, key performance indicators, event planning, business cases to raise finance, meetings with the great and the good, marketing, media, trading …… shall I go on!

No need, you all know this already!

So whilst at conference this year remember and celebrate the brilliant job you do.

Learn from colleagues – and not just in the sessions. My greatest insights have come from the conversations I have had with my peers each year.

I need these three days! They keep me going for the rest of the year!

So fundraisers, don’t underestimate how important these few days are. Make the most of it!

I shall see you there. I am speaking on Tuesday afternoon. I will be at the party!

Enjoy!



Fundraising in a recession – some of the challenges …
Di Flatt

Di Flatt

This is my personal blog so always remember that these are my views and thoughts and not those of my charity. If I do say anything as ‘Epilepsy Action’ then I will make that loud and clear.

Future challenges for fundraising

We are in turbulent times.  Changes that take place now may stay with us for many years or indeed change the face of fundraising forever in certain areas.

Whilst some organisations will just make the most of what they can at this time, for others the recession will really begin to clarify thinking.  Changes will be put in place that will lead to stronger, longer and more business like relationships between organisations (both charity and non charity) that may stay with us for the long term.

Following many discussions with my fundraising colleagues across the sector, there are certain things I feel we need to be very aware of:

Developing a fundraising ethos across the whole of our organisations, for example our procurement officers, building managers, service delivery departments – we need to be speaking to them about working with suppliers to our organisations as a source of support.  We already have a link with these organisations as purchasers of their services and goods.  Whilst often they may not be in a position to offer direct financial support this does not rule out charity of the year status and them undertaking some employee fundraising throughout the year, or indeed as a one off event.  Equally we could be advertising the charity events we are already doing to these groups.

Developing fundraising with younger people, it is imperative that we begin to reach younger people and to get them more involved in fundraising and charity support.  Some organisations are more suited to this on the large scale, such as the charities that can put on multiple mass participation events across the country (eg CRUK and Race for Life).  However smaller charities should also be looking to develop this type of thing on a local or regional basis.  A number of smaller charities working with a similar client base could work together to produce a series of mass participation events across the country thus building the brand and publicity of the event, taking it from being seen as local to national.

In the run up to 2012 and the Olympics young people will be thinking about sport.  So sport events aimed at the younger age group will hopefully prove successful.  We as charities need to capitalise on the events that are already happening around us and the Olympics is a prime example of something we should be tapping into as a resource for ideas.

Corporate support, is changing by the day right now. CSR has developed significantly over recent years but many charities do not seem to have taken this on board.  Particularly some of the smaller, regional charities.  We are in a recession and we need to build relationships with corporate organisations in a different way to how it has been approached previously.  CSR is no longer about philanthropy.  We need to be looking at this in terms of corporate engagement and not as pure fundraising.

Some charities I have spoken to still seem to be seeking funding and gifts in kind as their first option with corporates.  Yet this is the last thing the corporates I speak to are looking for right now.  They don’t have the budgets for donation giving any more.

It is important that charities take on board the corporate position and quickly.  If we do not change then we will risk ruining any chance of engagement with corporates as they will just begin (and some already do) their own charitable events and support things directly and not through current charities.

It is imperative that we look at what corporate organisations need.  They are not looking to just hand out funding any more.  We need to put things on a direct business to business relationship.  The things that corporates are looking for right now, and in this order are:

  • A fit with their corporate objectives.
  • A fit with their brand.
  • Staff involvement – good for morale and PR.
  • Networking.
  • Are we campaigning for the same or similar goals or objectives.
  • Charity of the year is still there, but the emphasis is on employee fundraising.
  • Match giving to events staff participate in – but again there is less of this at present and it is at the bottom of their preference list.

Only then will they look at gifts, direct funding etc.  We need to be building good strong business to business partnerships.  I think these types of partnerships will work better, and be stronger.  I also believe this will change the face of corporate fundraising for the long term – if this works well then why would the corporate wish to go back to the old way.

It is no longer a case of ‘what we want from you’ it is now a case of:

‘What can we do for each other?’ and ‘What can we achieve together?’

There will be more demand for co-branding recognition – corporates will want to be seen to be partnering with charities.

This may shift from being always the big well known charities to showing that they are willing to work with more local/regional or niche charities.  From discussions I have had with some corporates there is a perception that some of the big charities have enough income falling through the door each day, so perhaps it is time for them to spread their support at this time of economic downturn.

Of course being realistic this is likely to be just ‘talk’ as the corporates will still want to enjoy the biggest reach and publicity – but we need to be aware of this.

Corporates are currently inundated with requests so they are spoilt for choice – if we do not change ourselves to fit into their needs then we will most definitely lose out.

Trusts and Foundations, this is a difficult area and there is much discussion about this at the moment.

Most trusts use careful risk management to ensure that if investments go down that they can continue to undertake their work with charities.

However there is much talk about trusts tightening their belts and some (even larger trusts) only continuing to give to those charities they have already committed to supporting.

From experience trusts will say this to attempt to limit the number of requests, so we should not be discouraged from at least approaching them.  However, we absolutely must go in with a very tailored approach to each trust.

The days of scatter gun approaches is long gone.  Applications must be targeted and strong, closely fitting the trust’s criteria and showing how the work requiring funding will bring about positive change.

I have seen a number of small trusts disappear this summer, certainly my own budget is missing around £30k to £40k of funding from long term funders.  Most of this is due to those trusts having to close due to the economy.

Also trusts are leaning towards supporting sustainability right now and not new developments.  Charities with decent reserves are not being funded so will become less secure themselves as time goes on.

Legacies, although some legacy income is reduced due to property sales etc being down. I believe this remains a strong area for growth.

It is not current money so people can feel secure with their day to day finances and still feel good about doing something for their charity(ies) by adding them to their will.  We need to capitalise on this.

People will not stop dying so we ignore the legacy market at our peril.  Particularly for older people who will have budget concerns right now, most especially those who rely on interest on savings etc – their charitable giving may go down – but they may be happy to transfer that life giving into a legacy.

Individual giving, in direct contrast to what I have said above – I have seen a couple of large donations to our appeals this last couple of months from quite elderly supporters who feel they should give it now and not wait – as the charity needs it now.

This is a real reflection as to how turbulent things are right now. We cannot second guess the donor.  I guess the one thing we must all remember right now is that it is never about us – it is all about the donor.

Many charities get this wrong and will continue to push the charity story – this is what we have to change.  We have to look at every individual donor (be they an individual person, a trust, a company) and look at what it is that they are seeking and develop our offerings, stories, requests around that.

It brings us right back to those wise words of ‘win –win’.  Win-win solutions are the key right now.

So what can you do?  Now this is the tough bit.  We cover all these things at conferences and at national convention – but I sometimes wonder if people really hear it.  I have suggested to the Institute of Fundraising that perhaps a series of ‘how to’ sheets could be developed.  A ‘how to fundraise in a recession’ series perhaps.

Finally – technology  is changing by the day – we are all (well many of us) now using twitter and facebook etc fairly well.  But next comes google wave – and if you haven’t read up on this then you need to.

Things are changing so quickly.  We need to be working out how we use all this technology to reach all our donors and most especially the younger donors.

Well guys – these are my thoughts for today!  Send me your thoughts and ideas and stories on the challenges we are all facing right now (to diannemflatt@hotmail.com ) and I will use them in the next piece.

Take care of yourselves – think outside of the usual boxes – and remember we will all meet failure on the way to success!

My big idea – I know some of you will be waiting for an update on ‘my next big thing’  – well hang in there.  A few meetings to go and things to organise and then all can be revealed.

DON’T EVER FORGET THAT FROM ONE BLADE OF GRASS WE CAN GROW A LAWN

Every £1 donated to charity goes towards changing someone’s life or positively changing our environment. My charity www.epilepsy.org.uk, and every charity – we need you.

KEEP ON GIVING

Di x



Is this going to be the Next Big Thing, New Big Idea, or indeed The Next ‘Wristband’? I shall not yet give you its name – but it is coming…

Di Flatt

Di Flatt

This is my personal blog so always remember that these are my views and thoughts and not those of my charity. If I do say anything as ‘Epilepsy Action’ then I will make that loud and clear.

I have had the busiest few weeks since the IoF National Convention – which it has to be said was the best yet in mine and many others’ opinions. A lot of hard work and energy combined with fun and laughter took place across the three days. Fundraisers and suppliers from across the sector came together to share ideas, breakthroughs, problems and concerns – alongside award winning work celebrated at the National Fundraising Awards Dinner.

Whilst this was all happening around me I felt my usual buzz of ideas constantly bubbling through me. One idea that had been forming for a few weeks flickered through my mind again and again fizzing like bubbles in a champagne flute to the top of my thoughts. I eventually shared this idea with a couple of my most trusted fundraising colleagues and was delighted they too thought this idea was one that could really take off.

I have been working on this Next Big Thing every day ever since – perhaps sometimes only for half an hour here and there. I have a note pad and pen beside my bed for those middle of the night thoughts that need to be captured before they are lost – and some of these have proven so far to be the best ones!

So this brings me to today or should I say tonight.

Here I am heading rapidly towards my Next Big Thing, experiencing a rollercoaster of terrifying yet exciting waves of emotion as I move this forward day by day, week by week.

Next week I am meeting with a potential supplier, mindful that this could potentially revolutionise his relatively small business – is he prepared for that? Indeed is he the right supplier?

I am meeting with people from a national magazine to discuss potential photo shoots – for which I need people of suitable celebrity status! There are so many things and so many people to organise and enthuse.

Currently, and I really do mean currently here right now this evening at my own dining table, I am drawing up ‘commercially in confidence’ contractual agreements for all concerned parties. Everything will be embargoed until we go live!

I am filled with fear as to whether I can pull this off – yet full of bravery and perhaps bravado that yes of course, I can and will make this happen. However time is short and I feel that I would like to have a couple of extra available days each week. It is so hard to have to rely on so many other people.

I have booked some annual leave – yet I know I will fill these days with discussions and meetings to progress the idea further. So many meetings need to take place yet.

As part of this I will be working with another charity; at least one magazine and perhaps two, my supplier, an events company and at least one large club. Next job is to seek meetings with potential merchandise outlets.

Three fifteen am this morning I awoke thinking – is this the right supplier? I have to get this right.

Absolutely I have to get this right – not only for my charity and the charity I have decided to partner with. But also for other charities across the sector.

I have once again employed that most necessary concept of K.I.S.S.

KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID

This Next Big Thing is simple enough to ripple throughout the sector. Simple and with a ready target market. A market already willing and able to participate.

I have adrenalin running through my veins and my head is buzzing with ideas around how this could really work so well.

For now I need to complete this paperwork. Keep noting down on paper the constant stream of ideas and options. And maybe have some sleep.

More phone calls and planning tomorrow.

I feel as if I have told you nothing. All I can say for now is WATCH THIS SPACE.

The NEXT BIG THING is coming.

As you have heard me say before – never ever focus on the dark but switch on your lights. Play big, serve the world, and give others permission to do the same. Keep on giving and we will keep on receiving. 

Take care, goodnight and I shall tell you all more soon.
DON’T EVER FORGET THAT FROM ONE BLADE OF GRASS WE CAN GROW A LAWN
Every £1 donated to charity goes towards changing someone’s life or positively changing our environment. My charity www.epilepsy.org.uk, and every charity – we need you.
KEEP ON GIVING.
Di x



Flexing your brand – how far do you go? Or do you not flex at all?

Di FlattHi everyone

As ever, before we start today, do remember this is my personal blog and so are my views and thoughts and not those of my charity. If I do say anything as ‘Epilepsy Action’ then I will make that loud and clear. So here we go, lets talk about fundraising.

Well I finally found some time and space to write a new piece. I thought I would write about brands following my speaking at the IoF Brand Positioning for Successful Fundraising last week.

Brands are funny things. Much needed but as Kevin Kibble recently said to me on twitter, ‘if customers have to think about your brand then you’ve missed it!’, and he is so right. The best brands out there in the commercial world, do we think about their ‘brand’? No of course we don’t – we just know it. We recognise them, we have immediate feelings about them (good or bad) and we know what they are about.

There are those who get it wrong of course. We have all experienced those adverts that leave us thinking ‘what was that all about’, and ‘what were they actually advertising’. Indeed when organisations have spent so much money and time on advertising one can only hope they manage to get their concept and values across to the audience they are pitching to.

Perhaps those we ‘don’t get’ are just the ones that were never being pitched at us in the first place!

But to me the essence of a brand is what we feel about it. You only need to think about perfume and handbags (sorry boys but I am a girl!). When advertisers are selling these to us they don’t pitch us a logo and a service now do they.

Imagine if they did. Well I just know my favourite perfumes just would not have the same allure if they were in plain glass bottles with just a logo, and perhaps someone telling me it will make me smell better.

No indeed it wouldn’t – I like the pretty bottle, the nice packaging, the way the advert shows me it is for desirable and attractive women, drawing me into the ‘world’ of the perfume wearer. I want the whole concept of how that perfume is taking me somewhere prettier, happier, and more luxurious. This all goes to my experience and enjoyment of purchasing it and wearing it.

Could you sell me a handbag that was merely a receptacle that carried my things from a to b? Or could you sell me the experience of luxury, a lifestyle that goes with that, and the knowledge that when I carry that handbag I am living that lifestyle.

Ok – I accept this sounds a little dreamy and extreme perhaps – but is this not how luxury goods are sold to us all. One only has to think of top high quality cars – which ones do you aspire to?

Charity giving is another luxury – something we think about and choose, at an emotional level, to spend our money on. But this time we don’t go away with that luxury perfume, gorgeous handbag, Porsche or Ferrari. What we do get is to feel is that through giving our gift we have played a part in effecting change on the world.

Every single donor to our causes has thought about what he is about to do, whether it is £1 or £1million. Every £1 or £1million given is ensuring that work is undertaken to make something happen. But first we have to ensure that we have given that potential donor a cause brand that will draw them in to the experience – and is that the same kind of branding for every potential donor?

Now some of you who know me well know that I have particular views on charity branding. It is important, hugely important – but so many of us become a little too entrenched in the ‘logo and service’ idea of a brand.

In the commercial world they are ‘selling’ us something tangible that we can take away with us, so it is imperative that they sell us something we actually want. However what I wanted two years ago may not be what I want today, and indeed not what I want in another two years time. The world changes, I change, my needs and preferences change. These things change constantly. In the past five to ten years how much change has there been.

Just looking at the world of handbags and perfume (I know I can’t help it) – how many new perfumes and bag designs have there been to ensure we keep on buying them. Well I am not going to ask you to count, lets just say a lot. The same with cars, the designs and models change all the time. Becoming more modern each year, following new trends, keeping up with what the various customers across their target markets are looking for.

The commercial world stays constantly innovative and fluid, their ‘brands’ staying in the public eye, but everything about them always moving with the trends of the day and the audience they are talking to. Their logo may stay the same for a period of time, but their ‘brand’ is always on the move.

So would it be right for us as charities to offer exactly the same ‘brand’ to every single donor, grant giver, corporate partner that we work with? No of course it wouldn’t. Alongside our logo and name we should keep ourselves moveable and innovative ensuring we offer the right picture of ourselves relevant to the audience we are talking to.

 Your brand is a set of ideas, images, and associations that people carry around in their heads about you and your charity
 it is more than just a logo
 it is an expression of who you are and what you do,

So if we think about brands at a personal level for a moment, and if your brand is an expression of you, then what is your brand?

I would say my brand changes all the time, dependent on what I am doing, where I am, who I am with, and the results I want to achieve.

Perhaps you could think of yourself:
 In the workplace.
 On holiday.
 At home.

These are just three small examples of where you may choose to be quite ‘different’ in your appearance and approach – but the essence of you, your values, what people feel about you will always essentially remain the same. The only thing that doesn’t change is your face (so is your face your logo?). For every occasion you will change your appearance and the things you say to fit your audience. You may wear many different outfits this week dependent on where you are going and who you are seeing.

FLEX YOUR BRAND

So my challenge to you is to think carefully about your charity’s brand, your charity’s face. Are you using it to best advantage, are you fluid and moveable and flexing your outward appearance to ensure that you relate to the audience you are speaking to. Flex your brand – it is the only way to ensure you engage appropriately with the vast number of target audiences you will have. Don’t remain entrenched and static – change as your audience changes. How many outfits does your charity need to wear this week dependent on the different funding audiences you are going to have?

TWITTER DISCUSSIONS ON BRANDING

Well I asked a couple of questions about brands to colleagues and friends using twitter over the last couple of days. Some of these people you may recognise and I thought you would enjoy seeing the results.
I have put the person’s twitter name then their ‘tweet’.

QUESTION ONE:
@DiFlatt If you were a brand, what would you be? In five words.

@DiFlatt Effecting change for good forever.
@DiFlatt Caring for others comes first.
@kevinkibble if your ‘customers’ have to think about your brand then you’ve missed it! A wise man once said.
@markyphillips Hi Di. heard good reports about your IOF branding pres.
@Ben_Jarelbo Boring but all I could come up with is: WISHES HE COULD DO MORE.
@Ben_Jarelbo A favourite uncle
@RubberSoulBand erm – I’m no great at all that – the only thing that springs to mind is our tagline which is The SouthEast’s Premier Function Band
@BobbyLlew OMG that’s tough. “CarPool, interesting in car conversations.” Any good?
@causeperfect Existing brand – Asics wd be ever so aspirational especially 4 strapline :o) But Catalyst wd be the one I’d instinctively choose

QUESTION TWO:
@DiFlatt What is your favourite brand of all time?

@Ben_Jarelbo My favourite brand of all time? ……. Casio. I used to buy their gadget watches all the time.
@DiFlatt Casio is good as by constantly having new gadgets it made you attentive and purchase – just like fundraisers must.
@Causeperfect my favourite brand of all time has to be Apple
@DiFlatt Apple is good as constantly innovates keeping our attention so we always look forward to what next – like fundraisers must.
@kevinkibble Black Sheep or Harley D!
@DiFlatt hmmnnn I rather like the Harley D as it is attention grabbing, expedient, and gets you from a to b – like fundraisers must !
@jasonslater favourite brand? So many to choose from but it has be a close call between Google and Subway
@DiFlatt ah now Subway is a good one – as they give you what you want not something they already packaged just as fundraisers must do.
@mennard
fav Brand …..well Coca Cola I guess and if I were a brand it would be Yorkshire Tea …if I was an image Angel of The North
@DiFlatt Angel of the North is good, memorable, iconic and instantly recognisable – just like charity brands must be. [though good as an image it is immoveable and unchangeable so doesn’t work on all the levels we need to in terms of fundraising]
@arianneross i know! nikon! 😀
@DiFlatt Nikon is good as it is known across the globe for doing great things – just like the best charities are.
@RoxyMartinique Marmite – but you’ll either love or hate the idea
@DiFlatt Marmite‘s good because love it or hate it there’s an instant response leading to direct action – like the best fundraising!
@amandasanter Nike – ethics aside, they understand the consumer and their connection with sport and how we think about ourselves and our goals.
@DiFlatt Nike’s good as their understanding of customers and their goals means they lead their field – just like fundraisers must.
@amandasanter Also insight into customer needs and motivations vital as per Maslow and @Markyphillips blog http://bit.ly/WbfnD – all about people
@DiFlatt Yes and to their aspirations. We all aspire to something, to be better, to do better, to effect change.

@arianneross what’s your fave brand of all time? 🙂
@DiFlatt my favourite brand of all time is One Water simple, life changing, and forever! I aspire!
@causeperfect absolutely! Great innovator, great sense of showmanship and above all else fun! Good basic ingredients for fundraising, eh?

QUESTION THREE
@DiFlatt Branding ? If you could only wear one outfit (inc accessories) for the next ten years what would it be? Would you lose the essence of you?

@Ben_Jarelbo I’m just a plain & simple GEORGE kind of guy.
@DiFlatt and would you still be you if you wore the same GEORGE for the next ten years? Brands need to be moveable, changeable, usable.
@Ben_Jarelbo Oh! Outfit. I misread it. Can’t see it applies to men. Most would happily wear the same thing forever. Or until SHE says otherwise.
@DiFlatt (smile) yes outfit – the one same unchangeable outfit for ten years. Could you live with that in all situations? I think not.

@Mennard suit……predictable …
@DiFlatt the same suit, shirt, tie, socks, shoes for ten years.! A brand that wouldn’t be good for the beach or for swimming hey?
@Mennard the brand says that I dont get any free time !
@DiFlatt Indeed. Difficult to relax in a suit.
@Mennard smile …it was your question ..otherwise its white T-shirts and shorts and sandals otherwise !
@DiFlatt I know, am doing blog on branding and want to show how unrealistic it is to have a totally unchangeable brand, using selves as eg.
@Mennard I remember I put in angel of the north last night all that effort and you have forgotten me !
@DiFlatt no I haven’t, have already put Angel of the North in. That was different question.
@DiFlatt yesterday’s question was – if you were a brand, what would you be (smiley smiley).
@Mennard ok it was …I agree 😉

@DebboDebbo jeans and slightly fancy cardi – can be worn with flat or high shoes and dressed up or down with accessories
@DiFlatt hi, no change of accessories or shoes. The point is, being stuck with one immoveable unchangeable brand does not work for you.
@DebboDebbo i couldn’t do it-even if u don’t realize u express yrself by change of jewellery, bag, shoes-even hairstyle
@DiFlatt the point exactly ! No Brand should be unchangeable as you wouldn’t be expressing the essence of yourself – or your charity.
@DebboDebbo Yep, just like real life

MY CONCLUSION

Your charity, your brand – how you picture it, talk about it, and frame it has to be dependent on the audience you are currently talking to. Your brand needs to be fluid, moveable and accessible as well as memorable.

Memorable is no longer enough!

DON’T EVER FORGET THAT FROM ONE BLADE OF GRASS WE CAN GROW A LAWN

Every £1 donated to charity goes towards changing someone’s life or positively changing our environment. My charity www.epilepsy.org.uk, and every charity – we need you.

KEEP ON GIVING. YOUR GIVING COUNTS!
Di x



Credit Crunch – I count, you count, they count. But how much does any of it count for you?

 

Di FlattHello everyone!   I am back after a little break of just being too too busy.  Oh and before we start today I better again mention, This is my personal blog so always remember that these are my views and thoughts and not those of my charity. If I do say anything as ‘Epilepsy Action’ then I will make that loud and clear.  So here we go, back to me…

 

Well how was your Easter?  Mine was mixture of busy busy fun along with some much needed relaxation.  We went to the Billionaire Boys Club and Glamour & Excess Easter Bunny party at Oracle in Leeds.  This was great fun.  But let me just tell you there are some nights out where you really SHOULD NOT wear your four inch heels.  Starting parties at 9pm and dancing through till 3am does not make your feeties love you in the morning.  I know because mine were positively frowning at me for two days afterwards.  As you can all probably guess the relaxation came AFTER the party.

 

Thus for the next party (which is rapidly approaching) I shall be wearing pretty girlie pumps of no higher than two inches – I promise.  No really feeties I promise you!  I will never do that to you again.

 

Hmmnnnnnn.  Well some of you may be wondering how my fundraising is going!

 

Those of you who know me well will know of my inherent optimism and constant smiling…. well if there is one thing that can test my usual exuberance it is the

 

CREDIT CRUNCH

 

I know that all charities are working hard to maximise their resources – but there are certainly days right now when I groan a little.

 

Some people are cancelling their usual direct debit donations – and lets be fair who can blame them!

 

However I cannot help but wonder how many realise just how much the charity sector relies on their support.  Certainly for my charity over 90 percent of our income is from voluntary donation, or individuals’ participation in our many events.

 

So yes some days I groan a little.

 

However I groan not only for the charity but for the person who feels they have to stop their donation.  It really cannot be an easy moment.

 

Every single pound we choose to give to a charity is important.  Every generous gift we make is going towards helping someone, improving life chances, saving a life, improving the environment, and changing the world forever.

 

So – it certainly cannot be easy to stop your charity donations.  For all of us the credit crunch is making things hard.

 

But life was not meant to be just easy!  So perhaps we will all learn a lot at this time.  Or at the very least remember things we have maybe forgotten.

 

I for one have begun to remember just how much I like to be at home in my own kitchen and cook!

 

A couple of weeks ago I stayed with a friend who clearly also really enjoyed cooking for us both.

 

I have had groups of friends come round for the evening and we have eaten and drank together, watched DVDs, listened to music, played on the computer reading each other’s facebooks, updating our websites, and generally having just as much fun in my apartment as we would ordinarily have been having in the local pub or wine bar.

 

So perhaps, although hard, this is a time when we all remember how important it is to pull together, care about each other, and plough our more limited funds into the things that really matter to us.  The people and things we care about.

 

Please, everyone, do remember that the charities you support and care about continue to matter too – and they continue to matter to you.  If you can, don’t stop giving altogether.  Reduce it perhaps, or give in other ways: through participation in fun events for example, or even by writing the charity of your choice into your will.  Just don’t leave them behind forever – none of us know when we ourselves may need the support of a charity.

 

Actually writing this made me think of the charities that have supported my family.

 

Macmillan Cancer Support helped us through my dad’s cancer, staying with him and us until his final day.  So thank you so much Macmillan, we all needed you.

 

British Heart Foundation supported us when we lost our mum to heart attack.

 

I myself have worked in numerous charities.  I have worked with socially and economically deprived children – seeing things that opened my eyes to worlds and lives I could not otherwise have ever believed were taking place here in the UK.

 

I have work with terminally ill children and children living with life limiting conditions – they and their families need huge amounts of care and support, and I shall remember every one of them that I met that are no longer with us today.

 

Today of course I work for Epilepsy Action, a charity providing services and a voice for all people living with epilepsy in the UK, and their families.  I myself had epilepsy as a child and so understand the difficulties and issues that confront you when living with this condition, and thus why our services are so vital.

 

Every charity you will know of needs financial support to enable them to provide the help and services they are there to provide.

 

Every pound you donate supports making our world a better place, a better space for us all to share.

 

I have reduced my own donations to the charities I support, and when I can I will increase them again.

 

Yes, my charitable giving is on the edge of my budget – but it is a necessary expense and one that will remain on my budget because who knows what is around the corner.  For me, for my loved ones, or for any of us.

 

DON’T EVER FORGET THAT FROM ONE BLADE OF GRASS WE CAN GROW A LAWN

Every £1 donated to charity goes towards changing someone’s life or positively changing our environment. My charity www.epilepsy.org.uk, and every charity – we need you.

KEEP ON GIVING.  YOUR GIVING COUNTS!

Di x