This year's National Fundraisers' Convention will showcase a range of IT and printing products targeted directly at charities. Dominic Wood takes a look at what will be on offer

Charity fundraisers attending next week's National Fundraisers' Convention will be able to keep up-to-date with innovations in direct mail printing methods and database technology.

Hemscott and Liaison Print Solutions are among the exhibiting companies launching new products at the 50 stand exhibition, which runs alongside the convention. The event takes place from 15 to 17 July at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole Hotel.

Bureau van Dijk is to showcase DASH, its database containing leading directors, companies and shareholders. Emma Armitage, marketing co-ordinator at Bureau van Dijk, says: "It's a perfect tool for finding corporate and individual donors because it contains work and home details and is available in CD-Rom."

But although many databases are now online, Bureau van Dijk has no plans to make the switch. According to Armitage, "many users aren't comfortable with this because they find the internet to be too slow and prone to breakdowns."

Obviously this isn't such a problem if you are only targeting the wealthiest charities, which is the intention of business information and research company Hemscott. It sees the convention as the ideal platform to target the top 500 charities looking for corporate sponsorship and major donors.

Hemscott is exhibiting at the convention for the first time and will launch its Company Guru, a one-stop online business information service specialising in UK contacts, into the charity market. Vanessa Norton, senior consultant at the business information and online investment division of Hemscott, says: "It provides full financials including charitable donations information, latest news and director profiles that include full biographical details, remuneration, career history, club memberships and personal interests.

"We are attempting to break into the charity market because we feel that fundraising and corporate donor sections are expanding and looking to approach high level donors for sponsorships and consequently need more up-to-date information,

says Norton. "Company Guru supplies information about potential partners for corporate fundraising."

Care Data Systems will launch Donorflex 5, the latest update to its fundraising database series. The program now has a new power search button, enabling users to structure campaigns and target donors with speed by segmenting supporters, says Jo Davies, marketing projects manager at Care Data Systems.

Occam, which specialises in charity reciprocal mailings, is promoting a service that "increases response rates by up to three times,

according to Emma Hawkins, charity team manager at the company. The organisation holds data from more than 100 charities which it uses as a direct mail base for charities that have joined its reciprocate exchange scheme. Charities can swap data lists with similar charities, ensuring that they only target known donors with cold mailings.

Charity print specialist Target Direct Print is to launch itself at the exhibition after separating from Target Direct Marketing at the start of the year. Peter Frings, managing director at Target Direct Print, says: "We can offer charities an independent view on their print sourcing and advice from three print managers with 80 years' collective experience."

It placed charity direct marketing print orders worth ?xA3;4 million last year, more than any of its rivals. "We did the The Salvation Army Christmas cards campaign and the Royal British Legion Poppy campaign, encompassing direct mail packs, door-drops and inserts,

he says.

"There is a huge amount of flux in printing at the moment with a lot of consolidation going on,

he says. Frings maintains print buying for charities is about minimising risk and maximising efficiency and that this can be achieved with specialist print management companies.

Liaison Print Solutions is to showcase its renovated printer with a personalisation feature which gives charities access to a cheaper and faster method of producing personalised labels for cold-calling donor mail-outs. Sales director Martin Whetton says: "The product basically cuts four operations into one by using only one sheet of paper. Now we can print a charity's logo, form the labels, personalise them and fold all in one go. Personalising all three sheets in the mail out, instead of manually checking them for the same name, eliminates potential mismatches."

He wants to increase the company's existing charity client base of six and promises to go through charities' printing expenditure and take them through what they could save by using Liaison.

"We want to do the direct mail and marketing that charites have been using their agencies for. We can offer cheaper options because we don't need to make the profit margins that multi-tasking agencies do," says Whetton.

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