‘You couldn’t tell agency fundraiser from charity fundraiser’

Spot on Ian.. we thought the same…


you couldnt tell



” Yesterday I listened to 19 fundraisers (should have been 20 but one wasn’t able to make it) talk about the fundraising ideas from the past 130 years that have so inspired them that they wished they’d thought of them.

Of the 19 people who presented at the event, 10 worked for a charity and nine for a commercial supplier to the sector – including a digital consultant, a trainer, telephone and direct marketing agency staff and a street fundraiser.

Apart from the 18 excellent (and one that was OK) ideas presented, the thing that struck me most was that everyone displayed similar levels passion and commitment to fundraising and the impact fundraising has on the world. So much so that I would defy anyone to have sat in the room and, without knowing who worked for whom, predict with any degree of confidence who were the charity staff and who worked for suppliers.

 Those vocal members of the anti-fundraising brigade who complain about how third party agency fundraisers are mercenaries with no real commitment to the causes they work for should have gone to IWITOT yesterday and put their theories to the test. They would have found them wanting.

The people on stage yesterday were not agency fundraisers and they were not charity fundraisers. They were fundraisers. “


Ian Macquillin talks about IWITOT 2014 in UK Fundraising  (Click here to read the full article)



We’re recruiting… want to join us on our mission?

We’re on a bit of a mission to save the world here at Pell & Bales and now you could be part of it too.

We’re looking for a passionate, world class Account Manager to join the growing team at our London HQ. You will manage a portfolio of clients large and small, including many of the UK’s favourite charities, supporting them across a diverse range of programs from Acquisition, Loyalty and Legacy fundraising and anything in between.

With over 20 years experience and our first £BILLION for charity under our belt, new team members can expect to experience unrivalled development and career progression working within a forward-thinking, innovative environment. Don’t take our word for it –  check out all these fabulous people that all started their careers here with us– we must be doing something right!

The lucky candidate will find themselves working in a true fundraising environment full of passionate people dedicated to innovation and excellence. This makes working at P&B a fun, buzzing, dynamic, sometimes crazy but ultimately rewarding place to work.

If you have fundraising and client servicing super powers to share, are passionate about changing the world, thrive when working in a fast-paced environment and are a strong team player then drop me a line at info@pellandbales.co.uk with Account Manager Vacancy in the subject line and we’ll send you more details about the role and how to apply.

Closing Date: Friday 27th June 2014 

I can’t wait to hear from you, Bethan 


Searching for a needle in a haystack

…when you could be shooting fish in a barrel?

Acquiring new charity donors has never been tougher – response rates are in decline, attrition is high and costs are rising. For the 1% response we might get from mail, 99% are saying no. For every person that stops on the street to talk with our fundraisers how many walk on by? And then, when we do secure new donors vast numbers are lapsing.

It begs the question, how sophisticated is our targeting? Which group would you target from the two below?





If only we could find whole communities of like minded engaged, socially conscious individuals like this just hanging out on the street corner right!?

Well, maybe not the street corner, but online communities just like this are growing and growing quickly.

In the last 12 months we’ve been working with online community specialists Care2 to identifying prospects who demonstrate particular charitable and philanthropic attitudes and a genuine interest in the cause.

This type of behavioural targeting is far superior to simple demographic targeting. When calling prospects to convert to regular monthly givers, results have been fantastic – as much as three times higher than a traditional cold list.

The other thing we love is the level of channel and message integration on this approach: data is collected online with a campaigning ask, quickly followed with an email (or mail) follow-up and then a phone call taking the ‘prospect’ to ‘campaigner’ and then to ‘donor’ seamlessly and efficiently.

As Tom at the Agitator said of Care2 in the states; it should be a staple in your acquisition toolkit. ‘Very Straightforward.’



Ready..everyone together now…

It was great to see someone recently coin exactly what fundraisers across the sector have been trying to put into words for a while now.


“This is a fundraising office

Treasury of the voluntary sector

Engine room of the change charities bring to the world

Through this office we connect the people who want to change the world with the people whocan change it

We convert their ideals into the funding that allows charities to achieve their missions and visions

We underwrite charities’ successes and insure against their failures

Friend you are about to enter sacred ground

This is a fundraising office.”

       Ian Macquillan, Fundraising Manifesto, 11th April 2014


What we like most about Ian’s manifesto is that it applies to fundraisers of any type;  whether you work for a charity, as a telephone fundraiser or as a street fundraiser ..you can relate to this and know you’re not ‘just a fundraiser‘ your ‘A FUNDRAISER‘, changing the world everyday – so be proud!


How to grab attention from supporters: Glaze your naked body in honey!

“Having a British accent in North America is like glazing your naked body in honey and running through a bears’ den. You’re going to get eaten by girls. If there’s one thing girls can’t get enough of, it’s the meat of an English boy. They’re like the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk.”

And that’s one of the reason we have so many Canadian clients – because their supporters love hearing from us with our sexy/cool/fascinating (delete as appropriate) British accent!

On average we see an uplift in response rates of 20-30% when we call from the UK when compared to the results our counter parts in Canada achieve. Partly because Pell & Bales fundraisers are some of if not the best telephone fundraisers in the world ;) but also because of the accent thing. We’ve found little better than an interesting accent to break the ice and build the oh so important rapport at the beginning of a call. And good rapport has always led to good results…..

It’s just a shame our accent isn’t so powerful in all the English speaking countries we call into. Interestingly for example, our accent has little to no impact in Australia, where they barely raise an eyebrow when we call (the fact that most Australian call centre staff are UK travellers on a working permit definitely plays a role here).  We need to fall back on all our other fundraising super powers to stay ahead of the game here ;)


Happy Birthday Mobile Phone


The mobile phone has evolved greatly since that magic moment on 3rd April 1973 when the first phone call was made…and so has the way mobile is used to fundraise.

Mobile milestones;


The first real volume SMS response to a charity appeal happened in 2009 when we saw an explosion of text messages overnight in response to Save the Children’s ‘Gaza Ceasefire’ appeal. It was exciting times, and we were proud to be part of the first large scale SMS conversion campaign that followed. This set the blueprint for the many 2 stage SMS acquisition campaigns that are still so successful today.


2012 saw the introduction of Monthly SMS giving.  Across amazing platforms like Connected and  Mobilise we are now signing-up thousands of supporters to give in this flexible, engaging and donor friendly way – finally a viable alternative regular giving product to Direct Debit!

Since 2012 we’ve been tactically integrating SMS into our phone campaigns and donor journeys. A pre- call engagement message here and a ‘sorry we missed you’ message there, or maybe a ‘good luck’ message to event participants.

Today, 2014

One of our latest ventures is working with Clever Voice. These guys have created a piece of technology that can record a voice message which you can then text to a supporter. The result? A clever mix of SMS, Voicemail and inbound call handling that delivers a personalised voice message from a celebrity thanking you for your gift or asking you to donate.

And finally, only this week we have started an exciting campaign that will gather learning on the most appropriate ways to follow-up on the phenomenon that was the Facebook #nomakeupselfie explosion. Let’s hope there are more spontaneous, public led campaigns in the future enabled by the wonderful mobile phone– and that we can help charities be ready for action in that event!