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Tag Archives: new ways of giving


People love music, most people love parties and some people love karaoke. Can music events engage and inspire the next generation of 18-40 fundraisers?

We asked what events motivated people. More here. And we tested whether you could create an online music festival with Google Hangout. More here.

And we created a little pilot music festival of our own to explore music event fundraising models.

Here’s how we created Cowfest:

  • We ran ads on facebook asking for people who were interested in music to sign up for more information. £50 worth of advertising recruited 70 names – 70% of people interested were under 40.
  • The majority wanted to use bigger venues outside their houses (see our findings about what music events most motivate people here).
  • We surveyed them asking them what help they wanted and 4 things stood out: help with kit hire, a ticket system which their friends could use and got the money to charities, a list of things to do (licences etc) and to be part of a national event.
  • The majority of organisers wanted to chose the charity (although some wanted the audience to decide). Most organisers favoured local charities they had a strong connection to, so we created a simple online ticket system to make that possible.

[We believe there is a huge opportunity for a big national music event that works across the sector, to support a wide variety of charities].

  • We asked 5 brave and generous people to run pilot events in March (on a day which turned out to be the coldest and snowiest of the year).


  • Music events engaged a high percentage of first time fundraisers. Yay.
  • Our 5 brave test pioneers all want to run another festival (in better weather). Yay to them.
  • Average donation at pilot events was higher than expected – at £10-15 rather than £5-10 expected.
  • People want to be part of something bigger – They liked the idea a famous band could turn up, that lots of events were happening at the same time and they could be connected together online.
  • Organising a music festival is a higher barrier to entry than a house party; micro music festivals appear to organisers to be much harder work, follow up survey work showed people 3 times more likely to run their own ‘house party’ than a micro music festival. See the full results here.
  • Organisers were happy to pay a registration fee for core support if it was clear what it was for and how it would be useful.


If this has inspired you to start a music festival that plays great music and makes a difference check out the awesome We’re big fans.

If you’d like help to create a brand new music fundraising event, or want help with digital strategy email us:



Created by TheGivingLab team, SeeTheDifference was a pioneering UK crowdfunding site which aimed to bring transparency to giving. Find out how it started here.

Charities are often keen to find a celebrity ‘ambassador’ interested in their work and keen to use their celebrity influence to engage potential givers.

That set us thinking about the power of a celebrity tweet.

So we designed a little experiment.

We asked three kind hearted celebrities if they would tweet to their Twitter followers about a SeeTheDifference project that meant something to them. Stephen Fry chose a project to save Britain’s elm trees, wildlife presenter and adventurer Kate Humble chose libraries in Africa and Jordan (aka Katie Price) chose a project supporting blind children. All amazing projects.

We also asked Dom’s sister (Dom started SeeTheDifference) and she chose an education project in Africa. She’s not a celebrity.

Collectively, their followers totaled over 3 million people at the time.


All tweeted to their communities to encourage them to explore their projects and to consider donating.

The results were intriguing …


If he raises £800 or more for every tweet Stephen Fry must by now be eligible for UK fundraiser of the year if not all time award. Kate Humble’s community (a tiny 1% of Stephen Fry’s) were the most generous per head. The most puzzling were Katie Price’s followers, who at first glance might be seen as unengaged, but the project was ‘liked’ 1000 times in a single day spreading the word about the project far and wide and making it the most ‘social’ of all the appeals.

But all hail non-celebrity friends of Dom’s sister, a tiny 0.01% of Stephen Fry’s community who matched pound for pound the total of Stephen Fry’s gang.

What’s going on?

Strength of social connection matters. A lot

The stronger the social connection between the person asking and potential giver the more likely you are to give.

Put simply if your Mum asks you to sponsor her Race For Life you’re not likely to be saying no, if a work colleague asks you to give, you might pause but there’s still a strong likelihood and so on until you get to very loose social connections (follower on twitter) and ‘fundraiser rattling bucket at the station’.

Philippa’s friends illustrated the power of strong social connection to motivate action.

All of which makes us wonder whether celebrity power might be best used to motivate friends of the organisation to engage their friends?

If your charity wants to understand givers better or a weave a little innovation magic over your next integrated marketing campaign email us about the problem you’re trying to solve at:


Try a little Geordie Magic

Innovation is in our DNA, so when The Children’s Society and NESTA asked if we’d like to collaborate with them on different ways to engage givers we leapt at the chance..

We had little idea, 6 months later we’d be wrestling with how to make people vanish, thermal ‘magic’ ink, working out council permissions for ‘text magic’ ready to launch Geordie Magic.

You can find out how the trick is done here.

Over 400 young people runaway or vanish in Newcastle each year, that’s why The Children’s Society run a brilliant local project called SCARPA to support them. To provide a listening ear, provide a safe place and support young people to consider risk and family support to help change things at home.

childrens soc - geordie magic photo 1

Geordie magic tests transparency, showcasing local spending, the difference made locally and a locally themed campaign. We want to make thing vanish and bring a bit of Geordie Magic to the streets, to workplaces, to social media and in direct mail to delight and engage people and encourage them to support SCARPA and The Children’s Society.

And find out later this autumn who won – magicians or chuggers.

*Chuggers is the (often derogatory) term for street fundraisers.

If your charity wants to understand givers better or a weave a little innovation magic over your next integrated marketing campaign give us a call on 0844 324 6010. Or email