Why is that important?

Why is that reason to celebrate (with a strange football terrace-like chant)?

What does it even mean?

Well maybe I should answer your last question first, if you don’t mind.

It’s an audit and award run by the Telephone Preference Service. Its endorsed by the Institute of Fundraising and it signifies an organisation complies with PECR, Ofcom guidance and TPS guidance on best practice.

It’s basically the gold standard. GOLD. Like a winner gets gold. Rare and precious and a reward for being pretty damn good. It means NTT complies with all the rules governing telemarketing.

Systems, polices, processes, protocols, databases all gone over with a fine toothcomb. We were pretty confident, having the two big ISO certificates already, but this is the big one, and we get a shiny? gold green badge to prove it.


Why is it a reason to celebrate? Well no other organisation within the sector, no charity, no agency has successfully passed this audit. We’re the first. So yeah, banging a drum right now. Bang bang.

Why is it important? (O.K so yes it is important for us, and we are proud) But it’s important for the sector. It’s important charities, it’s important for the public, it’s important for donors and supporters.

Because we need to restore the faith. The faith that has been lost, the faith that is vital, the faith that makes us all stronger. We need to show people that fundraising isn’t about dodgy dealings, blurring lines, ignoring rules or increasing margins without consequence. We need to show the public that we listen, that we will take action to change and that we will respect their wishes at every stage of their relationship with the charities they give to.

This isn’t that last step, not by any means, but it is a vital step forward. Let’s get some confidence back. Let’s get some faith back.

I think I’m going to paste that little logo again.




Navigating through this new fundraising world

As we settle into the new world of fundraising everyone is trying to find their way by reviewing all of their existing processes.  Telephone Fundraising has arguably had the biggest overhaul of all the channels and we now need to clarify what we do in the short term, and what strategies for the long term will look like.  We need to know where we are going and how we are going to get there.

We’re explorers, we need to be brave and intrepid, and we need our essential tools. We need a map of the landscape, a compass and torch to help us find the way, and a good strong pair of boots!

The Map

Establishing the lay of the land is imperative.   For charities this is not only about understanding the legislation and regulation, but also understanding your own database.

There has been a significant amount of reporting in the sector press, media and regulatory bodies around who charities can call. The simple answer is that you need consent to call them, and if you don’t have consent then you can only call them if they are not on the TPS.

Working out what consent was gained for existing supporters, and how that has been recorded in the database is the challenge that is occupying many of us at the moment.  One thing that we have learned is that every charity is different and it’s a long process for fundraisers to gain the visibility they need.

But what we mustn’t do is get so bogged down with the present that we forget to plan for the future.

The Compass

Despite the vagueness of what consent has looked like in the past, we now have clarity with regards to what it looks like in the future.  As a sector we need to make sure that we don’t repeat our mistakes and accept the fact that the regulations that we are grappling with now are temporary and there is an even more significant change coming in the next couple of years.

We are heading to a world of opt-in only

Rather than wait for this regulation to come into force, now is the time to start gaining explicit consent from new and existing supporters.  There are many ways to do this.  All recruitment methods should now include opt-in wording.  Each charity will also need to tailor a strategy for existing supporters, using different communication channels depending on the opt-ins that they already have.

For telephone fundraising it is important to correctly record supporters requests.  When we first became an ISO 9001 organisation we were fortunate enough to have the importance of legislation rammed home, and as a result we have been opt-in ready for the past 3 years.  All of our fundraisers are experienced in asking for opt-ins and more importantly the culture that has evolved is one that suits the opt-in world; our already compliant call guides and online resources are ready and our agile software platform is designed to allow control not only of those KPIs that drive fundraising success, but also those that allow us to take a proactive position with regards to compliance.

By looking at what’s coming further down the line, you can ensure that you are still able to fundraise from those who are connected and passionate about your cause.  If you do not follow a clear plan of where you are going and ignore the opt-in regulations that are coming, it is highly likely that large sections of highly responsive data will not be able to be contacted in future.

The Torch

But even if you know where you are, where you are going and how to get there, you need to be able to identify the pitfalls – you need a torch to light your way.

At NTT Fundraising we have established a team committed to finding out who you should be calling.  NTT Analytics is developing a way to identify those supporters that you should be contacting by phone, and those who perhaps you should not.  The most effective way to gain the knowledge is to analyse those supporters who we already have spoken to and use that to work out the best calling strategies going forward.

To do this we use the Data Assurance Score (DAS).  This system looks at non-performance related metrics within the campaign and uses propensity analysis tools to give us an indicator for who we should call in the future.  At one end of the scale we can identify seams of data which would be happy to receive a call and at the other end find those who may not respond well to the use of telephone as a communication channel.

Using the DAS and associated analysis, along with standard fundraising metrics such as conversion and value, we can then work with charities to formulate a robust fundraising strategy to incorporate into future plans.

The Boots

So as you navigate your way through this world, you need to feel safe and not end up with blisters and scars from the ordeal.

To give clients the assurance they need, we became ISO 9001 (Quality Assurance) and ISO 27001 (Data Security) certified 3 years ago.

The ISO 9001 quality assurance certification allows clients to understand our internal processes and more importantly, to monitor us against them.

The importance of ISO 27001 cannot be underestimated.  The importance is even more relevant in light of the Safe Harbour agreement recently becoming invalid, ISO 27001 has now becoming the market norm in the commercial sector. In a world increasingly plagued by cyber-theft and other threats, it would be unthinkable to work with a company who does not care about data – having this certification demonstrates the importance of data security in our organisation and to your supporters.


Surviving the new frontier

As a telephone fundraising agency we are not under the illusion that every person on a charity’s data base wants to receive a call from that charity.  We don’t want to speak to those who don’t want to hear from us, in the same way it makes no sense to send mail to someone who won’t open the envelope.  But many charities find that using the telephone is an effective fundraising tool, and despite what the media may portray, many people are happy to talk about the charities they are passionate about.  They respond well to receiving a call and to being given an opportunity to make a difference.

This summer we have found out the hard way that as a sector we need to be smarter about what we do.  If everyone puts the donor at the centre of their fundraising strategy the result should be a positive impact on public confidence, reduction in complaints, improvement in ROI and maintain a successful fundraising channel for the future.

As long as you are fully equipped with a map, compass, torch and boots you will soon find yourself navigating successfully through this new fundraising frontier.

……just don’t forget to pack a raincoat in case there is an unforeseen storm over the horizon!


Why Don’t You Change?

Recently I have seen a few different articles on ‘Chugging’ and by now I think we all know what this term means. I have seen on so many negative videos on YouTube about ‘Chuggers’ it got me thinking, what is it exactly that people dislike about street fundraisers so much?

Whether it is over the phone, through the post or in the street, people generally don’t like to be ‘made to feel guilty’ and asked for money. They don’t want to be bothered perhaps? It’s not their problem? Charity starts at home?

Maybe it is because fundraisers enter into personal space and ask us to think about something other than what we are going to do at the weekend or what new pair of trainers we must have. All fundraisers highlight ongoing issues in the world that our developed societies don’t always like to acknowledge.

Fundraisers will interrupt and interfere with our daily routines. All of this may seem annoying at the time but it is important to remember the bigger picture. If it wasn’t for fundraisers pushing people to make a difference then who would?

Would charities  be able to save so many people, children, animals and habitats as they do currently, without fundraisers?

Surely being interrupted during lunch is just a slight annoyance, justified when the question is asked to help to save a child’s life in Syria.

Charities obviously understand that the average UK citizen can’t afford to help every good cause. If you are skint that is a perfectly reasonable reason not to support but being polite costs nothing!

Business of Communication

Having had the previous year fly by, many organisations find themselves looking at what worked, what could have gone better – and then there’s that long list of things you will simply never try again.

But looking into the New Year, it’s planning time. How do we generate more income? What type of campaigns should we run? What projects are still open? And the answer rests in something we should all be very good at in this industry…communication.

We are in the business of communication.

There is a video online about a blind man collecting change on the streets. His sign simply reads ‘I am blind’ and it encouraged the general public to make a few small sympathetic donations. If you can spare 90 seconds, I would highly recommend a watch.

The video goes on to show a young lady changing the sign so it read ‘It’s a beautiful day and I cannot see it’. Changing from factual, to something which makes the average passer by realise how fortunate they are to have their sight, brings on a surge of donations for the blind man.

The moral: You will not raise money by making someone feel guilty. There has to be more of a connection.