Saturday, 4 August 2018

If you're gonna make an ad. Make one like this...

I mean it.

If you have to make an ad.

Make one as good as this one.

One that makes you feel happy and optimistic about life.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Color of Change: My latest work crush…


I want to take a few minutes to tell you why I love the Colour of Change website.

Reason 1: Has nothing to do with the website.

It’s everything to do with the organisation, what they exist to do and how they present themselves to those they want to inspire to join them in the fight.

This is their mission statement.

Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization.
We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over one million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.

Our campaigns and initiatives win changes that matter. By designing strategies powerful enough to fight racism and injustice—in politics and culture, in the workplace and the economy, in criminal justice and community life, and wherever they exist—we are changing both the written and unwritten rules of society.

We mobilize our members to end practices and systems that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward.

Until justice is real.

That final line is my everything. Until justice is real.

Reason 2: Has everything to do with their website.

This is their homepage.

IMHO It’s probably a lot better than your website’s homepage...


Because Colour of Change have decided that if you land on their homepage you want to do one of two things.

You want to donate.

Or you want to join the movement. Or at least join the email list.


Reason 3: The copy on the homepage.

This is the copy. Read it several times.

Color Of Change helps you do something real about injustice.

We design campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward. Until justice is real.

Would your organisation be able to distill who they are and what they do into 36 words?

This is movement building at its best.

Why. Because they realise they aren’t central to the movement. You are.

That copy again: Color Of Change helps you do something real about injustice.

They are going to help you do something about injustice.

So what are you waiting for!?

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Time for us to start thinking about alternative models of fundraising…

If we’ve had a meeting recently or you’ve heard me speak at conference it’s likely that you will have heard me say a version of this.

“The future fundraising model will be more about engagement & community building than broadcast advertising.”

Hardly the most controversial hypothesis, but one that makes a certain type of fundraiser froth, sigh and give me the side eye.

That statement isn’t meant as a channel bash. It’s not a sign that I’ve lost my fundraising mind. And I can assure you that I still understand the principles of response and how to make a compelling fundraising offer.

The thinking that sits behind it, is that we need move away from the models we’ve been relentlessly pursuing for years. Our relentless addiction to monthly giving has driven all of our innovation, strategies, team structures, our budgets and all of our thinking for as long as I can remember. We seem to have lost sight of the needs of the people we are looking to recruit and have instead focussed on finding an ever increasing number of methods to get them to do the thing we want. To give us their bank details and set up a direct debit.

I really think it’s time for us to start thinking about alternative models of fundraising.

How about a model that is centred around a really clear sense of who we are and what we stand for? Where we put forward the very best version of who we are to the public so that we attract rather than recruit support.

How about we move away from the language and practice of ‘two stage’ and ‘long lead generation’ and instead we focus on building a movement? A movement of people so committed to our cause, so proud to be in our tribe, that when we show them a way to help, to give, to sign up, to speak up or to turn up they do something. And when they’ve done it they tell all their like minded friends. So our movement can grow.

How about we start being social in social media? Rather than taking our TV or out of home ad and sticking it in a Facebook post.

How about we think beyond monthly giving? Rather than continually tweak the monthly giving model with the objective of incremental improvements, why don’t we find the time, energy and money to start testing real alternatives to the things we’ve all done for years?

Nonsense right? It will never work. We tried it once….


It’s down to us to change the model.

I know exactly what my focus should be right now.

I need to make sure that every project and strategy I work on has enough space in it to ensure we’re taking progressive steps towards new fundraising models whilst making sure that we get the very best results from the current model.

The two aren’t mutually exclusive. If we only focus on marginal and incremental improvement to the things we’ve been doing for years, we’ll wake up soon and be wondering why nothing is working and ‘our’ audience is supporting and giving to someone else.

So my new (financial) year resolution is to work even harder to find and connect the people who understand that radical change is needed. Because if we’re serious about changing the models and keeping up with human behaviour - that charge isn’t going to happen all by itself. We might need to light a fire under it.

Some fire starting resources:

I run a semi-frequent newsletter with articles that I find interesting that are focused on fundraising, campaigning, organising and activism - all from a technology and movement building perspective. You can sign up here:

I also rave about Mobilsation Lab whenever I can as their newsletter is full of amazing stuff to feed the mind:

I also circulate a lot of this stuff on Twitter.

Originally posted here.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

IWD: most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps…

For IWD we were asked at work to tell the story of one of the inspiring women in our lives. This is what I wrote.
This is Antonietta de Gregorio is my Italian Grandmother (Nonna).

She was a strong, principled, passionate, generous, stubborn and fiercely loyal woman who provided love and strength to her family. She took absolutely no shit from anyone. I adored her.
Nonna was born into abject poverty in the South of Italy in 1915. Real poverty. I don’t think people who go there for their holidays realise how poor that generation actually were.
She brought up kids while her husband was away fighting in WW2, she suffered at the hands of Mussolini, the Nazis, and then liberating armies. Which made her decide she wanted a better life. It was her energy and her strength that galvanized Nonno to leave the South and come to England to find work. She was left on her own with three kids before he called for her. She moved the family from Naples to London and onto Somerset on her own. I loved hearing her tell that story.
She arrived with little money and unable to speak any English.
She worked and she fought. She created a loving home. She provided for us all and she made it clear what was right and what was wrong.
She was the first woman who made it clear to me that Margaret Thatcher was evil. I thank her for that.
It’s only now she’s gone that I realise how important she was in defining me, my values and my politics. No one one else comes close.
I’m not religious but I know she’s with me everyday.
Originally published here.