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€60,000 of extra fundraising revenue — and that’s not all!

Corinna Wagner of ADRA Austria faces a situation a lot of us struggle with: A small donor file. Her donors are great. But without the scale of a larger file, it can be a challenge to make campaigns really work well.

But she’s making it happen.

And she’s doing it with the help of Moceanic Coaching+.

Her experience has been even better than she expected, resulting in astounding fundraising results … at year-end alone, she brought in more than €60,000 in extra income. Coaching was a great investment.

Speaking from her office in Vienna, Corinna shares what Coaching has meant for her.

Book a free exploratory call with one of our Fundraisingologists and find out if Coaching+ is right for you. You’ll get some great free advice too!

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Help! I Did Everything Right, but My Fundraising Still Didn’t Work!

It’s so exciting to watch: Someone gets some solid fundraising advice. They put it to work.

Results come in: “We doubled the response!”

I hear about this a lot. Really, a lot. Doubling. Tripling. Even more.

But not always.

Now and then, someone tells me, “We followed the recommendations, and our results hardly improved at all!”

When I look into it, I sometimes see that they didn’t really follow the advice or best practices they were given. It was on the right path, but not strong enough.

But more often, the reason the project didn’t do as well as they hoped was this: They don’t have the number of appropriate donors it takes to light up their world.

It’s that simple. It’s the number of the ‘right’ type of donors.

Often, their low number of donors is disguised by the fact that they have a much larger mailing list than donor list. They have a big list that includes people like…

  • Beneficiaries of their services who are not donors.
  • People who donated to event participants or peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns.
  • People who signed up for an online newsletter or other free resource and have not yet made a donation.
  • People who have only ever made a donation in memory or honor of someone.
  • Donors who haven’t made a gift in two or more years.

You may call some of these groups ‘donors’, but these people are unlikely to give again. No matter how great a job you do at asking them.

It’s not your work that’s the problem. It’s your list. It’s too many people who are unlikely to donate.

What can you do about it?

  1. Get expert advice. It’s a complex situation, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
  2. Get Moceanic Coaching+. We can work individually and directly with you on who you should be communicating with and how.

If it happens to you, don’t beat yourself up! It may be them (your list packed with non-donors), not you!

And finally, remember this: When something goes wrong, it is a major opportunity to learn something new. Sometimes, failure like this turns out to be positive in the long-run!

Wondering if Coaching+ is right for you? Book a free 25-minute call with one of our Fundraisingologists. They will give you great free advice, and help you identify which Coaching+ program might be right for you.

Related posts to read:

Here’s a Powerful New Way to Be a More Effective Fundraiser

9 Truths about Fundraising I Wish I Had Figured Out Sooner

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Moceanic Coaching Has Been an Amazing Investment for My Organisation, My Staff, and ME!

Rose Young of Baptist World Aid Australia made a smart decision. She signed up to Coaching+ with Moceanic.

In just a few coaching sessions with Moceanic Fundraisingologists, she saw an immediate jump in her revenue. More important, she and her staff have learned things that’s saving time, money, and energy — allowing them to spend their time doing more productive things and coming up with amazing new ideas.

You should hear what Rose has to say about it in this short video.

Would you like to have experience and results like this under your belt?

Book a free exploratory call with one of our Fundraisingologists and find out if Coaching+ is right for you. You’ll get some great free advice too!

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Who Are Your Favourite Fundraising Mentors?

Who are your favourite fundraising mentors/gurus/ninjas/smarties?

How would you like to hear more from them?

We are going to invite more and more guest bloggers. Awesome people who have something to share. They don’t have to be established bloggers, just people who can write well and have something useful and practical to share.

Most of our blogs are written by Jeff and me, but we have also had guest blogs from Simone Joyaux and Dearne Cameron. Oh, and we will make sure we credit them in the email (sorry Dearne 🙂 as well as the social media and blog posts.

Have you read (or learned) something from someone who you would like to see write one of our guest blogs?

As well as sharing our values, they need to meet this criteria:

  • Evidence based. They don’t need to share the evidence, but we are after reality – not just opinions.
  • Interesting, engaging, well-written. OK, that’s subjective, but we are subjects!
  • Detailed enough to give practical and usable advice. (Most Moceanic posts are 800 words or more.)
  • Guest posts can be an extract from an article, summary of a book, webinar or whitepaper, and they can link to the source… but only if the source material is useful on its own.

And yes, you can nominate yourself…

Just contact us here with your message (showing how you or they meet the criteria – including values!)


Sean and Jeff

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The Secret of Success: Do Only What Only You Can Do

Guest blogger – Dearne Cameron, CEO of Pareto Fundraising

(Sorry Moceanic subscribers and Dearne – the email that you may have received about this post did not explain that Dearne is the guest author of this article – not Sean!)

Fundraising leaders often ask me: ‘Is it better to outsource to an agency, or resource and build a highly skilled team in-house’?

Many years of charity experience have taught me this: It is not one or the other. It is a fluid working relationship that builds on a foundation of best practice, resources and returns.

It is important for a charity to have a highly skilled team that can align fundraising with the organisation’s strategy, while managing fundraising plans and engaging key stakeholders for fundraising purposes.

On the other hand, working with an agency like Pareto Fundraising provides a lot of values:

  • New ideas
  • Trend insights
  • The skills of a multifaceted team
  • Subject matter expertise
  • The benefits of scalability and resourcing

That’s all great, but isn’t an in-house staff cheaper?

Possibly not: outsourcing delivers lower operational costs and provides specialisation that is not always readily available in-house.  By using an agency, you have access to the range of skilled specialists who can deliver high-quality output, much faster than the thinly spread in-house resources.

Outsourcing is not a substitute for competent fundraising staff within an organisation. In-house teams still need to have the skills to work with an agency to get the best results.

An agency lets your organisation tap into a wealth of knowledge and talent and provides an opportunity to harness the experience of agency teams, who work across multiple clients, testing, analysing and adapting tactics to maximise results.

Think of it this way:

  • A lot of people — on your team and elsewhere — know how to create good fundraising strategy.
  • A lot of people — on your team and elsewhere — can write powerful fundraising copy and design great packages.
  • A lot of people — on your team and elsewhere — can manage complex projects.
  • A lot of people — on your team and elsewhere — can competently analyse data.

Those are things to outsource. Those people at an agency likely have more experience, more breadth, more specialisation.  After all, it is often all they do.

For example, an in-house direct mail manager may mail 10 direct mail packages a year, with various tests and variables, building on knowledge and experience.  But, for example, a typical Pareto Fundraising account manager could work on five times as many appeals, with five times the test and variable learnings.

Whilst you might have people who can do those things, only people on your team can effectively do these things:

  • Build relationships across your organisational silos to get relevant information from program people.
  • Make sure all internal stakeholders are getting the involvement they need (and not getting what they don’t need).
  • Manage upward to keep leaders just enough (but not too much) in the loop.
  • Stay on top of the many details that flow from any donor database.

There’s no way to outsource those things. The best agencies in the world can’t do it for you!

So only do in-house what only in-house people can do. Outsource the other stuff! It’s the most effective way!

The secret to working effectively with an agency is a collaborative partnership, developing a clear strategy, planning effectively and harnessing the knowledge both in-house and outsourced staff bring to the table.

Dearne Cameron, Pareto Fundraising

Note on Dearne from Sean: Dearne has worked with charities for 18 years. She was actually one of my first clients when I set up Pareto! She used to be General Manager and Director of Anglicare and Anglican Aid and Non-Executive Director for Make-A-Wish Australia for six years. She is on the board of House-With-No-Steps so has lots of experience either side of out-sourcing.

Please share your experience with outsourcing or not by leaving your reply below. We’d love to learn from your experience.

You can help your in-house people reach their maximum potential with our powerful Moceanic courses on practical fundraising topics. Find out more here.

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Here’s a Powerful New Way to Be a More Effective Fundraiser

People ask me why I’ve joined my Australian friends in this new company with a funny name.

It’s because we’re doing some of the most important and impacting work in the fundraising industry: Helping fundraisers become more effective. So they can raise more money, transform the lives of more donors, and make the world a better place.

Or, to use a phrase I advise fundraisers never to use: capacity building. (It’s incomprehensible jargon for your donors, but you know what I mean!)

One of the ways we do that is Coaching+.

What’s that? Fair question.

Coaching+ is a new way of working with fundraisers that is different to coaching or consulting.

Coaching+ is about increasing the knowledge and effectiveness of people. Showing them how to apply best practices and the long experience of others to their own situation. And it is about them getting their projects done, and done well.

We don’t intend to replace coaching or consulting. There are many top-notch coaches and consultants at work in our industry. If you’re fortunate enough to have a relationship with them, good for you!

Coaching+ with Moceanic is about skills — giving you a deep and complete understanding of specific projects so you can either effectively supervise, outsource… or do it yourself.

Coaching+ is personalized, hands-on training and coaching that you connect with online, in bite-sized chunks, wherever you are.

Example: Bequest Moceanic Coaching+ project… Depending on what you already have in place you might write and produce your bequest marketing letters and bequest brochure — or brief an agency to do those things. You might even develop your budget, KPI measures, conversations guide and training for your bequest staff who call and visit donors. We walk with you every step of the way to guide and encourage you.

Coaching+ sessions are usually 90 minutes, and structured this way:

  • Review: look at your situation, or progress following any previous session.
  • Learn: make sure you know what you need to know to take the next step.
  • Act: identify and outline the action you need to take before your next Coaching+ session.

Think of it as a super-focused, media-rich webinar aimed exactly at your needs.

Here are some of the Coaching+ topics that are ready to go right now:

  • Supporter connection surveys (you may not have heard of this, but it’s something that could revolutionize your fundraising program! Check out my recent article about that here)
  • Mid-value donor fundraising
  • Nonprofit communications
  • Everything you need to know about direct mail
  • Digital fundraising
  • Legacy and bequest fundraising

And there’s even more to come. Coaching+ just might be the thing for you and your organization.

Sean Triner and I would love to chat with you if you’re interested in finding out more about how we can help you become an even smarter fundraiser.

You can book a free 25-minute call with either of us to find out more – book quickly because there are only a few of these calls available each week. It’s really simple to do, just click here.

If you cannot see any availability for our free 25-minute calls, then put a note in your diary to try again in a few weeks.

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What Are Fundraisers’ Most Pressing Problems?

Are These Seven Fundraising Woes Yours Too?

When Jeff arrived at Moceanic he offered two free ninety-minute Coaching+ sessions for the two ‘best’ 100-word description of the challenges faced by responders.

We were quite literally inundated with entries from hundreds of fundraisers like you in need of help.

Responses came in from all over the world, from all sorts of charities.

With so many responses (and because I made a mistake with our automated thank you), we extended to four sessions.

I thought it would be useful to you to share some of the recurring themes.  I’d love your feedback on them! Do they resonate with you?

Seven themes that really stuck out for me were…

Getting the board or senior management team on board with fundraising.
The number one problem – over 1 in 7 had ‘board’ in their biggest challenge.  You may have already read Jeff’s blog about this issue here.

The fundraiser for a successful charity in Minnesota said:
“… Goals that are set unrealistically and based on the organization’s needs, not on the reality of the donor base.” (I kept the ‘z’ in there because she is American, and they spell stuff different to the rest of us).

And a frustrated fundraiser in Australia vented:
Managing the ridiculous expectations of a board to increase revenue, while they …  oppose premiums, list swaps, telemarketing etc… So I guess educating the organisation is my biggest problem.”

Building a culture of fundraising in the organisation.

Strongly related to the board issues were problems with peers and bosses beyond the board.

A fundraiser in Ireland, working for a successful medium-sized fundraising charity, said:

“…The bit that comes less easily is the politics required to maintain the critical underlying conditions where good fundraising can flourish – i.e. (in my opinion) a culture of philanthropy where donor focus, retention, critical thinking, LTV, and leadership are the guiding lights. Culture eats strategy for lunch as they say.”

Over in Australia, someone went further: “Lack of support from other teams, lack of robust processes to support activities and seen as the ‘ugly sister’ of the organisation”.


Most fundraisers are simply trying to do too much, and want help prioritising or help to get more people.
One UK fundraiser told us:
Time! I’m happy to ask people for money and know the cause that we have is worth it but finding the time to do it all, or knowing what to do first, is a real challenge.”


Even when things are going well, many fundraisers told us they struggle to get an appropriate budget.  This connects with board and culture but is worth its own mention.

A fundraiser in Canada told Jeff:

“We are a really small shop. 1.2 mil operating budget. No dedicated fundraising staff.  Learning off the side of our desk. Challenge is how to scale without making costly mistakes.”

Reducing attrition of donors (churn).

As an Italian-based fundraiser told us:

“Increase monthly givers by lowering attrition rates (now around 20%) …” And she works at a large charity with very good retention!

And an Australia health charity fundraiser shares the same issue: “Having experienced initial growth, we have now plateaued with new donor acquisition matching attrition.”

Getting case studies.

A Winnipeg fundraiser sums up the feelings of many:

“Internally there is a communication problem between the fundraising office and the programs for which we fundraise, making it a challenge to get connections with our consumers for stories.”

Adequate fundraising training budget.

It really looks like training of fundraisers is rarely a priority for charity bosses.  Lack of training is clearly a cause of many of the ills affecting charities.  It really beggars belief that charity bosses are surprised or frustrated with their fundraising position when they don’t have adequate training!

One fundraiser in India struggles like their peers in other countries: “Another pressing problem is program restricted funding, making it difficult to carve out support for training, travel and exposure visits for non-programmatic functions like finance, admin, human resources, and fundraising.”

A shocking 20% of fundraisers said they had no training budget at all, with another 73% with less than $10,000 for training.  When I factored the number of staff in fundraising the proportions weren’t that much better.  For organisations with three or more staff, 91% didn’t have an adequate training budget.

I imagine for many of you there will be a lot of relief that your problems are shared universally! Few are unique to any type of charity, or any country the charity operates in.

Thank you to all those who completed Jeff’s survey. We will use a lot of the information to help drive free content and courses over the coming months for you.  As we work out how to help in each area, we will make a specific commitment and pledge and get on with helping you.  If we haven’t the skills or knowledge, we will use our extensive network and our wonderful advisory team to find ways to help you.

In the meantime – are any of these issues familiar to you?  Please let us know by posting your reply below.

Cheers, Sean

P.S. Here is what fundraisers told us were their training priorities…

Chart Training Priorities

P.P.S. Although two lucky charities get a 90-minute session with Jeff, and two unlucky charities get me for ninety minutes, we will be around to help EVERYONE who shares our values with great fundraising training over the coming months. Thank you! And if you would like a free ‘discovery’ call with us, please click here to book one right now!

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