You Must Visit SOFII

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Simone P. Joyaux, ACFRE is recognized internationally as an expert in fund development, board and organizational development, strategic planning, and management. She is the founder and director of Joyaux Associates. Visit her website here.

Who is SOFII? The brainchild of Ken Burnett.

Who is Ken Burnett? First user of the term “relationship fundraising.” UK fundraising guru. Have you read his books Relationship Fundraising and The Zen of Fundraising? You must read them both.

But right now. Right this minute. And regularly. You must visit SOFII.

SOFII is The Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration. This is a marvelous free resource that gives you great tips and wonderful examples. You’ll read case histories from some of the world’s best fundraising campaigns. You’ll find rants from leading global experts complaining about bad stuff and cheering good stuff. You can even subscribe to get updates telling you what’s new and when to visit.

Just a couple tips before you start reading:

·       Yes, the site is in English. But international English has different spellings than U.S. English. Don’t freak out.

·       More importantly, many of the examples do not come from the U.S. Most don’t even come from North America. Yippee! The rest of the world isn’t U.S. centric. The rest of the world is doing darn good fundraising. People from the U.S. and North America can learn from others.

Read SOFII and start using those examples. Do it now. Before others in your marketplace get smarter faster than you.

So here’s some of SOFII’s stuff. Check it out! Bookmark SOFII now. Learn. Copy. Convince your board members and your boss and your staff colleagues.

·       Are you unintentionally losing donors?

In this article, nonprofit marketing expert, Elaine Fogel reminds us that a charity’s donors are its lifeline and highlights three key areas you should be looking at to make sure you’re welcoming them with open arms and not unintentionally turning them away.

·       Hard hitting comprehensive campaigning: buy a kid some time

This inspiring new exhibit demonstrates how a simple but powerful message combined with a comprehensive integrated campaign strategy across print, digital and social media can secure real success with donors.

·       Lucy’s voice of innophoria: interactive fundraising

In her fifth blog for SOFII, Lucy picks up on the potential of interactive fundraising, which she touched on in her last post. She asks if ‘fun-raising’ could be the key to boosting your fundraising and shares some fantastic interactive campaigns from both the charity and the corporate sectors.

·       SOFII blog: for sale – baby shoes, never worn

For this week’s post, Lucy Gower tells us why finding your story is the most important element in any communication. She shares Chip and Dan Heath’s six principles that will help you spell SUCCESS in your next campaign, as well as some great ideas to help you seek out your next story.

·       What kind of advert would your supporters make for you?

SOFII’s reading rooms are great places to browse during an uneventful lunch hour. One of my favourite opinion pieces is Aline Reed’s article suggesting perhaps the best way to successfully reach your supporters is to get them to write your communications for you. Not only does this piece offer up some really interesting ideas, it also inspired readers to comment, which we’d love to see more of. Oh, and check out the Mr Splashy Pants bit too!

·       Social media at its best: Twestival – grass roots fundraising from volunteers

With the cult of twitter now a seemingly unstoppable force, this exhibit shows how the rise of social networking sites and online communities has opened up a new realm of fundraising possibilities. Completely driven by volunteers, tweeters meet up at twestival events to raise money for local and global causes. This exhibit goes to show that far from being a faceless media, twitter has a huge potential to harness the power of the people to your cause.

·       A helping hand: the thank-you and welcome showcase

I think these showcases are just brilliant. Nowhere else are there such fantastic resources for fundraisers. From fledging independents to large, long-founded charities, everyone can benefit from learning from other people’s successes and mistakes. And all for free. I picked the thank-you showcase because I like to think saying thank-you should be the most important part of your fundraising. After all, good manners don’t cost anything, apart from the postage.

·       Adding an edge to fundraising: The India Giving Challenge

This exhibit demonstrates an admirable innovative approach. By capitalising in on that frowned upon aspect of human nature, the competitive streak, Give India created a sure-fire way to reach success. People may not like to admit it but somewhere underneath the, ‘it’s the taking part that counts’ mantra, lies a teeny-tiny (but oh so powerful) desire to win. By encouraging charities to compete against each other to raise the most money and offering the incentive of matched-funding for the winners, Give India truly made the most of our ugly side.

·       True inspiration: CPAR ‘Plant a tree in Ethiopia’ mailing

I love this exhibit. It struck a chord because of my previous work for an African based charity, but more than that, it is a truly inspirational story of what individuals can achieve even in the most challenging circumstances. I defy anyone to read Nadia’s story and not believe anything is possible if you put your mind to it.