Jenna Pudelek: Convention journal

The kitten factor, dinner with the finance director, and playing Dr Evil: Third Sector's fundraising reporter on the lighter side of this year's festival of fundraising

Jenna Pudelek
Jenna Pudelek

* Kittens, kittens, kittens. There is apparently statistical evidence that the previous sentence will have grabbed your attention. At a presentation about email fundraising campaigns, Will Davis, group planning director at the agency MediaLab, said emails were, on average, 41 per cent more likely to be opened if the message included the word "kitten" in the subject line. Great news if your charity looks after moggies. But there was less good news for children's charities: the open rate dropped by 29 per cent when "child" was included. Use of the word "give" increased the proportion of emails opened by 46 per cent. "Ideally, you would have a campaign where you can give a kitten, but I appreciate that this is not always possible," said Davis.

* Fundraisers deploy their skills to help the most marginalised in society. And by bestowing their charms upon that unloved but powerful creature - the finance director - they could advance their careers too. Fundraising consultant Alan Clayton told delegates that fundraisers needed to form an alliance with their finance directors in order to influence the rest of the organisation. "Your first step to becoming a great fundraiser is taking the director of finance out to dinner, because nobody has ever asked them out to dinner. Even when they were students, they never got a date." We expect a surge of letters from bean-counters everywhere.

* Tony Elischer kicked off the convention by calling for a future of "fundraising without the fundraising". Delegates may wonder why they had come here to learn how to fundraise more effectively, now that it's so passe. But, as Elischer explained, not always asking for money in the first instance can "inspire" people to give more in the future and become more committed "investors" (the new word for donors, it would seem).

* Guests at tonight's '30 years of film' party are encouraged to come dressed as a movie character from the past three decades. Among the more cruel suggestions are Peter Lewis as Woody from Toy Story and Mark Astarita as Dr Evil from the Austin Powers films.

Jenna Pudelek is Third Sector's fundraising reporter

- Read more on this year's IoF National Convention

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