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Tag Archives: transparency in giving


We’ve worked with over 250 students, teachers and parents recently to understand fundraising in secondary schools, how it works and where digital fits in.

…  if you’re thinking about school fundraisng, here’s 7 things you need to know

  • Schools raise an average of £350-400 per event
  • Schools run an average of 2-3 fundraising events a year.
  • Teachers decide which charities to support – they decide whether schools do charity events and if so what, how and when.. (And parents didn’t have much or any say in the choice of charity a school raised money for in the majorityof cases)
  • Teachers prefer paper. The majority still prefer paper communications, but with a minority (of younger) teachers starting to prefer email communications
  • The majority of fundraising events are fun breaks from the educational curriculum, 78% of activities happen outside of lesson time and are dominated by fun events (non-uniform days, cake sales).
  • Non-digital methods of giving dominate – 25% of income was collected digitally in our ‘digital’ schools experiment and 75% was good old fashioned cash which went to the school bursar. Parents and students are wary of giving online and by mobile. Teachers and parents prefer cash to hand in at registration as it is simpler and quicker.
  • It’s a competitive marketplace with every major charity, many local charities and others competiting for schools attention. Comic Relief and Children in Need dominate schools fundraising activities.

Want to know students use technology? Read more here.

Want to know what rewards motivate students? Read more here.

If your charity is thinking about developing a new strategy or fundraising product for schools and would like help with researching, developing or testing it get in touch:


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


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


Meet MagicMe, a great charity in East London who care a lot about older people, their quality of life and bringing old and young generations into contact with each other.

They were one of the pioneering charities that worked with us on SeeTheDifference coming to our video storytelling training days and who worked hard to create a short film about an art project they ran to bring together young and old.


Test and learn from the audience

Frustratingly it wasn’t a fundraising success. So together we set out to understand why.

We’re big fans of ’test and learn’, trying new ideas quickly and cheaply and learning and changing based on the evidence we’ve learnt. In this case, we looked at the project analytics (people weren’t staying long on the page, didn’t watch all the video) and we asked potential givers (they didn’t understand the project, thought it looked expensive and weren’t sure it was meeting a need they understood).

The MagicMe team took it on the chin, thought hard and we started to think how we could use these learnings and find a new project with more potential.

Compare this with Nana’s film further on:

Success comes from learning, not chance

We were talking about Magic Me’s work and they talked about a project they run to engage older people living in care homes, by running regular cocktail parties with younger volunteers in the care homes to swap stories, listen to music and get a little tipsy.

We thought it had the makings of something interesting.

Our team worked together with MagicMe to help them capture on video some of the fun of the events and to shape it into a short engaging story (90 seconds or less was our target).

We suggested showing the difference your money could make (happy tipsy Nana’s) and together we wanted to make it authentic and eye-catching, so the lovely Annie you see above is one of the great Nana’s MagicMe have held parties with.

This is what it ended up like:

Go Go Nana

It went live and we held our breath.

We were all delighted when the project started to attract a bit of attention, got shared a little on social media and started to circulate (we’re not talking a global meme here, but certainly a much bigger reach than a local charity would usually manage through conventional means).

And things started to happen – social sharing lead to donations, donations lead to more sharing, people talked about the fun of it (it taps into a deep need for many of us who miss our own grandparents) and several people emailed MagicMe asking if they could volunteer.

Then London paper The Evening Standard noticed and ran a print feature and set off a new wave of donations, volunteering requests and people even started to have fundraiser cocktail parties in their own homes to fund sherry in the EastEnd.

Since this pioneering pilot it’s grown substantially and you can find out more at MagicMe’s site and sponsor a cocktail party of your own if you like.

Lessons for Getting Great Stories To Snowball

We asked the team here for the 5 lessons we’ve learnt:

  • Listen to the audience. See your charity from their eyes.
  • Think about how engaging your story is. Great projects engage the emotions (making Nana’s happy is big emotional connection for many).
  • Love audience data and insight and change your approach if it’s not working, don’t give up.
  • Great campaigns are shared with your supporters / givers / campaigners; let them in to help you add momentum and scale.
  • Think more than donation. The power of Nana raised the profile of Magic Me, drew a whole new wave of volunteers, created new fundraising activities as well as bringing much needed cash. Measure all of these when thinking about your ROI.
  • Look after your own Nana if you have one, if not adopt one through a project like this.

If your charity needs help with telling it’s story effectively we can help with options from one day training workshops to creating  innovative large scale integrated marketing campaigns. Email us: