alo365's blog

Sharing thoughts & experiences


The act of working with others on a joint project. The process where two or more people or organisations work together to realise shared goals. A deep, collective, determination to reach an identical objective by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus.

Attending my very first creative workshop with one of our clients this week was fabulous! Nothing can beat working together with a client to maximise their ROI, helping to build stronger supporter relationships and ultimately making their cause that bit more powerful. Having team members from each department of the charity all come together in order to create this very important supporter journey – focusing specifically on Face-to-Face-fundraising (as over the next year, majority of their supporters will be coming on board using this medium but working it in to their overall supporter strategy) was insightful and exciting for all of us.

Towards the end of the workshop, we watched the ‘thank you’ video the DM team had made for our fundraisers (I have spoken about this a few times on twitter). This video is brilliant, and sums up who the charity is and what they do! It’s not something fancy and professionally put together; but it’s real, compelling and inspirational. Everyone in the room was clapping at the end and loved the video – just like our teams did. You might say that I’m a sentimental person, but when I first saw this video in December I was teary-eyed – it wasn’t sad or difficult to watch, but it made me realise just how important the work that we are all doing is, and the difference we are making to people who are affected by a learning disability. 

What am I getting at – simply this, working together with your agency, departments, fellow fundraisers, supporters and volunteers will always be that much more powerful, than working on your own. Collaboration, I believe, is one of the most powerful means in the fundraising world! Most of us do this often, in meetings, events, conferences and conventions – coming together, sharing thoughts, knowledge and experiences. This makes our sector that bit more influential than others – with most of us embracing this and becoming more effective in raising funds and awareness.

I go back to that old saying by Helen Keller – “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

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What is Marketing & Who are our Customers?

What is marketing? I find myself asking this question again as I sit and wait in Bristol Temple Meads station for the next train back to London. This question has been on my mind since the very first lecture I sat in. Ask me why? It’s because I had literally just started my diploma and was presented with a due date for my first assignment (gulp).

Now perhaps I am being over eager blogging about this, but the word “marketing” seems to cause some controversy, as each person will of course have their own opinion on what marketing actually is and where it lies in their organisation.

So far, we have spoken about how marketing is all about our “customers” and meeting their needs, wants, demands & desires – all of which revolves around being marketing orientated.  Everyone that we exchange with (whether it be for a product or a service) are still classified as a customer. This means that everyone from our donors to our suppliers can be classified as a customer, and each of them need to be a part of our marketing plan. Now, I know that some might disagree with this. I did at first, because aren’t we paying our suppliers for the service/product we receive? But what if I said to you that your volunteers and staff are also your customers, how many of you would stop reading this?

To those who agree with me or those who simply want to know what I am on about – they ALL are your customers. Everyone that we interact with day to day are our customers. Why? Because everyone has an opinion, a choice and freedom to share with anyone they wish. They (volunteers) can choose to continue working within your organisation or not, they can recommend you to another beneficiary/charity/individual/media/etc or complain about you &/or your services. This is why it’s recommended that we have a clear marketing plan – for us to be able to identify who our customers are, how we can meet their needs & wants with the resources that we have, and aim to exceed them.

Now, not everyone reading this will have the same customers. Some may have volunteers and others may not or do not require any. Other bigger organisations need to look at the media as being a big customer because they can influence many people around the world with one article/news broadcast. It all depends on which organisation you work in and who your customers are.

Now, I know that I work for an agency and our customers are clear to me – they are every single charity out there, as each one of them could become one of our clients. Our customers (in no particular order) – UK based charities, Processing Bureaus, Suppliers, Media, Competitors, Staff & Members of the public.

I would really like to put this to the guru’s out there (well those who I think have done some really great work in the sector from the marketing angle) and hear what your thoughts are on marketing & what it means to you/your organisation? These folks include @rachelbeer @markyphillips @johnlepp @annarwalsh @frdetective @causeperfect.

Thanks to everyone who has read this. Please feel free to add your thoughts & opinions, all is welcome and it’s great to get feedback so that I can perhaps use this in my next assignment.