Why creative agencies are bad at designing fundraising campaigns

There I was sitting down relaxing, enjoying my cup of coffee with an old mate when within minutes, minutes dammit, the line came out  “I’ve got a great fundraising idea for you”.

If you’re in the fundraising game you hear it all the time, as a marketeer you get the same.  As a consultant who specialises in NFP’s I hear and see it a lot.  I see ideas being promoted at the highest level within an organisation (often board members) that are creative, great ideas that unfortunately have no business strategy behind them. Creativity alone does not equal success!

It’s important to listen to ideas, as one day you may even hear ‘the idea’ but few people understand the drivers that sit behind true marketing activity.  Pure marketing isn’t about creativity, it’s about understanding and manipulating levers that increase sales, it’s an off-shoot of economics.

Marketing a fundraising product is not about a good idea with clever, award winning creative. A profitable fundraising product requires discipline and rigour to determine the customer value proposition, a sound business model to extract profit (net revenue) and then an appropriate creative.

It is surprising how few fundraising products have a clear value proposition for the fundraiser and/or donor.  It is because of this lack of rigour that creative agencies are often engaged to come up with a new look and feel.  I’ve seen pitches from creative agencies, championed at board level that have no value proposition for the supporter, just very creative.

Creative agencies are experts in creative, they are not experts in developing business models, they are not experts in fundraising. Design the product offering first – identify the target market, the value proposition, the key drivers to generate profit and then write a clear and focused creative brief.  Choose a key driver within the offering and focus the creative agency on moving that metric. Choose just one metric and focus your marketing spend on that.

If you need some resources to help you get some clarity and focus then we’re here to help. We help charities grow their business with board tested modelling, scientific discipline and accounting rigour.  And we’re also creative, but that comes later…

Troy Flower is an award winning MBA graduate, with over 7 years experience in the NFP sector growing income from $7.4m to $12.9m over those 7 years (during the GFC). He now provides consulting services to commercial and not-for-profit organisations specialising in consumer insights. Call Troy for a confidential discussion on how to maximise your business potential.  0447 66 66 91 or email troy@experimenteur.com.au. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: