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!