I was sat in Hyde Park the other day reading through the feedback notes from a fundraising development day I had recently, when I came across a note I had scribbled in the margins of a particularly boring section of notes. It read, “check the people”. It made no sense to me, so I re-read the notes from top to bottom trying to work out what on earth I had meant when I scribbled with, what now looks like furious energy to ‘check the people’.
After much head scratching and chatting to fellow colleagues, it turns out I had been fairly animated during the session talking about corporate people not companies being our partners. My note was reminding me to check what engagement we had at Envision with the employees we worked with in our partnerships. As a youth social action charity, Envision is partnered with some of the world’s best companies to share the knowledge, experience and expertise that their staff have with young people from across the UK before turning that into social action in their local area.
In its 13 year history, over 500 team, skills and foundation mentors have been actively involved in supporting Envision thanks to the backing and support of their employer- the original target for us- but no-one had engaged with the staff after the partnership ended, or a new team of mentors were brought in. That’s 500 advocates, 500 potential donors, 500 people who get our charity and were so passionate about it that they spent a year mentoring young people they had never met before.
So, still sat in Hyde Park, I drafted a re-engagement map. My way of getting these previously engaged people with the financial means to give, the emotional link to the cause, and the motivation to give back on board. In a nutshell, here is the plan I drew:
- ‘Remember us’ email to check for bounce-backs (any that ‘bounced’ got some more research);
- Told them what social action campaigns were happening near them, and how they could get involved.
- Promoted a young people’s team fundraising page who were raising money for Camden foodbank.
- Invited them to an event at a local pub for a drink after work to catch up with each other, and to find out what’s going on and how they can help.
- 30% of my emails ‘bounced’ as people had left (more research to do).
- 92 donations made to the fundraising page for the Camden foodbank.
- 47 are coming for drinks next Tuesday
Envision is not alone in engaging corporate partners, nor is it an exact science- but when working worth corporates, think about the people who invest in the partnership from their end. It’s not just the CSR manager or the Directors, but the staff on the ground working at every level of the business. Whether these people are rich in time, cash, resource or empathy, they are possible ambassadors, business champions, donors, runners, volunteers and much more. How are you engaging with your corporate employees?
Of course, this is only possible if you captured the information in the first place. It is no good written in a notebook, or stored in a paper archive- GET IT IN YOUR DATABASE! It makes it a lot easier to work with.
So, the moral of my story is not about the fundraising plan and the success or failure from it, but this… WRITE NOTES YOU UNDERSTAND (I could have saved myself a lot of headscratching).