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Dorset Fundraisers Group

In Action: Digital Fundraising for Dorset Fundraisers Group
AMA Bespoke responded brilliantly to our brief when we contacted them about delivering tailored training in digital fundraising for the Dorset Fundraising Group. I had an initial conversation with Laraine, the AMA’s Associate Producer, who then created a training brief, and proposed a trainer, which not only responded well to our needs but also worked within our budget. The trainer, Howard Lake, delivered a brilliant session for us, he had clearly been well briefed, and the whole group took away a range of new insights and actions which will support our fundraising work. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend AMA Bespoke.
Karen Malim, Development Manager, DorchesterARTS
Dorset Fundraisers Group contacted AMA Bespoke when they were looking for a trainer to deliver a three hour on-location digital fundraising workshop for 15-20 local arts fundraisers.
Following an initial conversation with the AMA and Karen Malim, who was organising the training on behalf of the group, we developed a proposal which addressed the key challenge:
The range of digital platforms, especially social media platforms, that are available can be overwhelming. How do fundraisers working in the arts maximise the opportunities afforded by digital efficiently and effectively in order to achieve their fundraising objectives?
We included some training objectives:

  • An overview and explanation of a range of digital platforms and how they can be used to promote your work, the people you represent and to achieve your fundraising objectives
  • An understanding of how to select, prioritise and manage social media channels when time and resource is short
  • Learnt from real-life case studies and best practice from an expert trainer.

We knew we would have to find a trainer who was both expert in digital fundraising and in delivering digital fundraising training. We turned to Howard Lake who we knew would deliver both. Howard is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. He has published UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional charity fundraisers, since 1994, and wrote the world’s first book on digital fundraising in 1996. Before that he worked as a fundraiser at Oxfam, Afghanaid and Amnesty International.
Prior to the workshop we asked all the participants, via an online questionnaire, what they were looking for from the training. Of course this varies enormously from person-to-person and organisation-to-organisation but some key themes came through:

  • Crowd funding – how to set up a campaign and best sites to use
  • Creating a digital fundraising strategy
  • Best use of resources – especially time – to get best results

On Thursday 3 March 2016, 14 members of the group – a range of experienced fundraisers, development managers, marketers, artistic directors and CEOs of arts organisations, came together in Dorchester for their workshop with Howard. Despite a track-side fire and ‘technical’ difficulties’ with the WiFi at the venue, Howard took the participants through a workshop which shared his knowledge and experience and focused on four key areas: Getting the basics right, sharing an approach that works (use images), inspiring others to help you fundraise and what to focus on.
Our post-event survey told us that the participants took a range of actions and learning from their three hours with Howard. These ranged from technical knowledge about website speeds and using images and film to making sure your digital fundraising strategy is part of your overall fundraising strategy and, really importantly, getting buy-in and support from people across your organisation for your work.
We’re also keen to ensure that there is an impact from any training the AMA develops so we ask participants to think about this and again, the impact can be incredibly varied:
“I’ve decided to go on a further digital technologies course to deepen knowledge”
“I’m in the process of updating the fundraising strategy!”
Talks about redeveloping our website have been resumed, with digital fundraising in mind.”
“I annotated and sent the presentation slides to my Director and colleagues.
“I’ve communicated the slow web speed to Director and given a web wish-list of amends to Director.”
Howard’s presentation ended with some concluding thoughts …

  • Focus on your website and email
  • Use more images
  • Inspire others to share your messages
  • Choose channels carefully
  • Measure, learn and improve

We should end this summary with some concluding thoughts from the participants:
The training more than met my expectations – it was well balanced and produced very helpful and practical tips to help beginners.
Howard, you got the balance just right and you were professional, relaxed and you kept the energy in the room all the way through – even with the web difficulties at the beginning so thank you 🙂
You can read more about the AMA Bespoke Digital Fundraising workshop with Howard Lake in a Digital Fundraisng Day – Blogpost written by Karen Malim.
If you would like to find out how AMA Bespoke could support you through tailored training contact to explore the best approach for you.
Image thumbnail courtesy of BreakingPic.