Bright Spot Fundraising

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

How Tony added WOW factor to a £50,000 ask – the Chelsea trick

dreamstime_s_24973669Chelsea Football Club’s latest shirt sponsorship deal is the largest they have ever had, and the second largest in Premiership history.


Whether you are a football / Chelsea fan or not, if you are in the business of fundraising, their innovative, award-winning strategy contains several neat techniques worth emulating.


Their approach was different to anything they had ever done:


They sent a personalised package to the CEOs of 250 successful global companies. If you were one of those chosen Chief Execs, in the package you would have first found a Chelsea shirt in your size, with your name and company name on the back.  You would also have found a laptop, pre-loaded with a film which helped you experience an alternate reality in which your company had become Chelsea’s sponsor. The bespoke film included fans celebrating with you on the street, cab-drivers gossiping with you conspiratorially and Chelsea stars scoring spectacular goals, with your company name on their shirt.


As a result of the packages, several companies expressed an interest in sponsorship. In the bidding war that ensued, the price increased until the Yokohama finally won the multi-year deal, with an estimated value of £250 million.


I counted five powerful techniques that innovative fundraisers can take from this story. But in this, Part 1 of my blog on the subject, here’s one idea for closing more big gifts and partnerships.


Bring the concept to life



In the age of You Tube, are you taking advantage of the technology revolution?


Several years ago the NSPCC created a bespoke film for one philanthropist to persuade him to invest £14 million in a brand new research centre. The stakes were so high that it made sense to create an outstanding film. The investment was justified and paid off, securing their largest ever single gift.


But what if you don’t have any budget?



Be bold and take risks with the resources you do have. Tony Gaston is a fantastic fundraiser from EMMS International who took part in the Major Gifts Mastery Programme in 2014. During the Programme he shared with the group what he did when a donor asked him to create a proposal.


In addition to the paper proposal he drafted, Tony contacted 3 colleagues based abroad where the funds would be spent. He asked them to make a short (2 or 3 minute) film using their smart phones, in which they answered the critical two questions – a) what is the problem faced by people there right now; and b) what difference would it make if you received more funds?


Importantly, he asked them to address the camera using the potential donor’s name and thanking him for considering a gift. In one week Tony received three authentic, persuasive films which he embedded in his proposal email to the donor.


The result?



The donor loved the bespoke films and called Tony make a gift of £50,000.


If you don’t have a budget, take heed – Tony’s brilliant smart phone film proposal did not cost a penny. On this occasion an unpolished but authentic film, delivered within the week, was immensely powerful. He has regularly used the tactic to great effect ever since.


But Tony has also found that sometimes, spending a little on editing makes sense. Here is a short, inexpensive and powerful thank you film clip (still filmed by his colleagues) which was then edited by the excellent Jonathan from Colours Video.


On March 1, 2016 / Uncategorized

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