Bright Spot Fundraising

Tried and tested fundraising techniques
that help you raise more money.

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

My five year old son is not bad at hand writing. But to be honest I think he does find it more boring and harder work than some of his more sedentary class-mates. And yet during half term week, he voluntarily spent nearly two hours researching and writing a six page ‘book’. And he really enjoyed it.

Why on earth would he do this? It wasn’t any home-work he’d been set. Because the subject matter was his current hero, the footballer Lionel Messi. Because when you have a big enough WHY, work becomes play and all the normal difficulties become easier to overcome.

Early in his career, Steve Jobs was asked what he believed had enabled him to be more successful than most of his competitors. He said he remembered the point at which everything changed. It was when someone had told him that everything around us was not created by the people who know the most, or even by the people who have the most talent. But rather our world is shaped by the people who are most clear of their reason WHY?

Ideas to help your team harness their reasons WHY

In many charities, problems like pressure for results and intra-team politics can sap your morale and that of your team. When you feel less drive, it can be very hard to find the energy to act in spite of these problems, or indeed do anything to change them.

One solution is to deliberately find and associate to your reason(s) WHY. When I say ‘associate to’, I mean not just intellectually, but emotionally as well.

Leaders – If you’d like to help your team re-find their mojo and drive, here are Four Steps:

Step 1: In a team meeting or away day, play Simon Sinek’s extraordinary TED Talk how great leaders inspire action to your team, which has been viewed 21 million times. He uses practical examples, including Martin Luther King, Apple and The Wright Brothers to bring the idea to life. One of my clients showed this film at the start of his Heads of Fundraising away day in the Autumn and told me that it changed the quality of the entire day.

Note, your colleague who hasn’t seen it yet might suggest that you don’t have time to spend 18 minutes watching it. I’d say that is precisely the point. If your people are over-busy, all the more reason to watch it and gain a deeper understanding of how ‘the power of why’ can help.

Step 2: In the same meeting, or in the following one, ask your team, in pairs, to share any stories that have ever moved them about a) what is so difficult for the people your charity helps (ie this one does not need to involve your charity, or even have a happy ending); or b) impact – a time when your charity made a difference to make something better. Then invite a few people, the most willing, to share these stories with the group. Notice how the whole group talks with more passion and listens with more interest than they’ve probably shown for weeks.

Step 3: Then invite the group to discuss your charities’ reason WHY, both in terms of what is unacceptable about the status quo for the people or animals you serve, and (why is it unacceptable?) in terms of the VISION. What, precisely, does success look like when we achieve it? What does it sound like, look like, feel like for our beneficiaries?

Good luck tapping into your reasons why, and helping your colleagues to do the same. Let me know any other techniques that have helped you with this.


On March 23, 2015 / Fundraising Skills, Major Gifts, Mentoring


Client Testimonials 
‘What I love about the Major Gifts Mastery Programme is it’s so practical. I’ve seen loads of monetary value come from what we learned, including a gift of £200,000 from a trust that came about because of the learnings in the course. If you want to raise more money, I’d urge you to do the Programme.’

Paul McKenzie, Head of Major Giving and Corporate Partnerships, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

Rob's outstanding pitch training helped me secure a partnership worth £380,000 over three years. One of the crucial things he helped me do was to better understand the psychology of who I needed to convince, and use this to craft my influencing strategies, structure and stories to help them say YES. If you need to win more partnerships, I would absolutely recommend you get on Rob's training.

Karen Arkell, Senior Officer, Corporate Partnerships, Teach First

'We recently had a pitch we just had to win. I'm absolutely clear that what we learned from Rob helped us get the deal, which is a partnership that's going to raise £1 million. Rob is better at helping you influence your donor to get the gift than anyone I've met.

Ben Swart, Head of Corporate New Business, NSPCC

Rob's exceptional training has taken our programme to the next level. One example was a colleague re-connecting with a lapsed donor on the phone, resulting in a £100k+ gift; his first in four years. I would absolutely recommend Rob's training programme as an invaluable investment for any fundraising team.

Victoria Stephenson, Head of Major Donors, UNICEF UK

Following the course, Major Gift Fundraisers at the NSPCC increased gift income by 29%

Citation by UK Skills National Training Award

We're currently involved in our largest ever Campaign, with a target of £500 million, so we've invested in the best training available. Rob's courses have been an essential part of our annual King's Knowledge learning programme for the last five years, because he continues to help us get outstanding results.

Gemma Peters, Director of Development, King's College London

I’ve found the Corporate Partnerships Mastery Programme hugely helpful already. It’s helped me in so many ways, but as an example, I applied one of Rob’s pitching techniques and it completely wowed the panel, and has resulted in a partnership worth over £100,000.

Kieran Cornwall, Senior Strategic Partnerships Manager, Cystic Fibrosis Trust

I was on the pitch team to win a partnership worth £1,000,000. I was determined to pitch to the best of my ability. Rob helped me present with confidence, persuasiveness and enthusiasm, enabling me to connect with the pitch panel – and we won the partnership.

Kirsty Lawson, Corporate Account Team Manager, (Head of) at Alzheimer’s Society

Rob showed my corporate fundraising team lots of excellent new business strategies. The techniques made a made a MASSIVE difference to our financial results, including helping to win a partnership worth £2 million

Jess Coombs, Head of Corporate Fundraising, Teenage Cancer Trust and formerly at Action for Children