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September 2013

IoF – digital fundraising, time to lighten up?

Gaby Jeffs, Producer Director Magneto Films


As a brand new member of the Institute of Fundraising, I recently went to my first IoF event on Digital Fundraising.

We’ve enjoyed being members of CharityComms for a while, attending and speaking at events and generally being part of the wider charity community.  This year two of our fundraising DRTV adverts for Macmillan were shortlisted for IoF’s National Awards so it seemed like a good time to join and learn more!

What I like best about conferences is meeting people. The next best thing is hearing the success stories of other charities in the sector.


Here are some of the key insights I took from the IoF 2013 Digital Fundraising conference.


I particularly liked Tom Latchford of RaisingIT’s presentation. He talked about fundraising by slactivism  – how to successfully move people to donate by engaging the selfish gene.

Give Nature a Home Where You Live campaign produced by RaisingIT for RSPB is a great example fundraising by getting people to do something for themselves. The homepage featuring a cute hedgehog provides links to all the tools to get involved and to date 237,335 people have signed up.

Tap into existing motivations

This campaign plays to people’s need to connect with nature and to do something positive to improve the local habitat.    Tapping into existing motivations or behaviours can take a project to new level of success   This was one of the key drivers behind Cancer Research UK’s Dryathlon which challenged younger men to avoid alcohol for a month, get fitter and raise money for the charity.


Dryathlon was presented by Cancer Research UK’s Senior  Innovation Delivery Manager Ed Cervantes-Watson as part of their Gamifcation casestudy. Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics to engage users in solving problems. It can involve elements of competition and rewards players for achieving targets.

Dryathlon was based on the Core Insight:  “men are willing to support charity as long as it is low involvement, derives personal benefit, and facilitates banter with friends”

Dryathlon has a strong elements of self interest as described by Tom Latchford. CRUK describe it as “A fun, banter-rich fundraising challenge targeting ABC1, 25-45 year old men to see who had the willpower to give up drink for January.”    Tone of voice was critical here to engage with dryathletes in blokish banter. An alcohol calculator (light gamification) supported recruitment of dryathletes.

Rewards drive engagement

Both CRUK and RSPB campaign have strong reward elements.  Dryathletes were awarded with virtual badges at fundraising milestones.   Give Nature a Home Where you live has personalised thank you messages to donors on the homepage – “Nature’s heroes you’re brilliant!”

The rewards system for Dryathlon was a key motivational driver, which both added vale and deepened engagement.   Amazingly Dryathletes who received badges on average raised 41% more than those without.

Groups raise more

Dryathletes were encouraged to join teams, which led to higher per head amounts being raised.    Live updated team leaderboards fuelled banter and competition  This echoes Tom Latchford’s insight that bringing supporters together in a community can double the life of a fundraising campaign.

Anyone for Coffee?


Fundraising by doing something for yourself, building on existing motivation and coming together as a group combine to contribute to the success of Macmillan’s Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning.  The campaign was recently voted greatest world changing fundraising initiative by the delegates at the IoF National Convention.


Working with Macmillan and Burnett Works, Magneto were commissioned to produce a DRTV advert to drive acquisition for Coffee Morning last year. We specialise in working with real people’s experiences to tell a charity’s story in an authentic way. The authentic voice was critical here.



The advert modeled a real familiy’s motivation for holding a coffee morning. We featured Jo who holds a coffee morning every year with her family in memory of her Dad who was supported by Macmillan when he was ill with cancer.

There were two version of the ad keying into slightly different motivations. The first was more centred around Macmillan and the support they’d given,  The second was more focussed around the pleasure of getting together for a coffee morning with people you love.

Both messages proved strong and the DRTV advert was a huge success with pack registrations increasing to 118,000.  The DRTV advert delivered 50,000 new coffee morning hosts for Macmillan and helped increase revenue from under £10m to over £15.7, an uplift of over 50%.  The advert has been repeated this year and we wish them every success with this year’s campaign.

For me, I’m looking forward to gaining more insights at IoF events and meeting more of the lovely and inspirational people in the sector.  And hopefully making more successful fundraising films and adverts that exceed all expectations!

If you’d like to know more about Magneto Films and our award winning work with charities, then give Gaby a call.

We’re on 020 7274 2986 or