Captain Tom Moore raises over £12 million - 3 Fundraising Lessons
Captain Tom Moore is a World War Two veteran. He’s 99 years old.
10 days ago, he set out to raise £1,000 pounds for the NHS by doing 100 laps of his garden with his walking frame before his hundredth birthday.
Within 24 hours, as soon as the public got wind of what he was doing, he smashed that target. And then in further seven or eight days, he raised £100,000. Then in the last four or five days, it’s gone absolutely crazy.
The purpose of the video below is to tell you two or three things about the story, which I think are interesting from the point of view of fundraising, and I’m just going to show you my thoughts on them just in case it might help you with your own fundraising techniques.
What are some of the factors that mean this has really caught a light?
Here are my 3 fundraising lessons that you can take from Captain Tom Moore’s story:
1. Find and talk about real examples
It’s a specific real story about a particular person doing a particular thing. Compared to a fundraiser making a generic ask about the importance of raising money for the NHS right now, the fact that it’s a specific real example helps inspire people to care.
How could you use this?
Though this is not necessarily easy right now, (your colleagues are busier than ever now) if you can find and be able to explain any specific examples / stories of what’s tough for the people or animals your charity serves at the moment (or actually even from before the pandemic), it helps us connect, care and take action.
2. Point out what’s not obvious
Captain Tom, is not 29. He’s not even 89. He’s 99 years old, and he’s about to be 100 and he’s going 100 times round his garden. These elements of the story are not normal, not expected, not obvious. And that catches our imagination.
How could you use this?
Ask yourself and your colleagues what is not obvious about what’s so difficult for your beneficiaries right now. Be able to point out to your supporters how the pandemic is affecting them and your ability to help and that your adapted response is helping nevertheless.
3. Social proof has a powerful multiplier effect
£12.5 million has been raised so far, rather than £100,000. The extraordinary number of people supporting attracts other people to support, to join this movement, and it reduces the fear of getting involved.
How could you use this?
Be able to proactively mention to the supporters and donors you talk to about the other heroic trusts / companies / donors who are supporting. This makes it easier for people to want to take action, to join this wonderful tribe.
Watch the video for my insights or scroll down for the full transcript of the video.
Captain Tom Moore raises over £12million – 3 Fundraising Lessons (Transcript)
Hello, this is Rob from Bright Spot.
I wanted to make a short film about something that I saw in the news today that I’ve been following over the last week or so that really inspired me.
I wanted to share my thoughts on it in case it just helps you with something about your approach to fundraising right now.
The story is to do with Captain Tom Moore, who you’re probably aware if you’re watching this from the UK, is a World War Two veteran. He’s 99 years old.
About 10 days ago, he set out to raise £1,000 pounds for the NHS by doing 100 laps of his garden with his walking frame before his hundredth birthday.
Within 24 hours, as soon as the public got wind of what he was doing, he smashed that target. And then in further seven or eight days, I think he raised £100,000. Then in the last four or five days, it’s gone absolutely crazy.
At the time of recording, the figure he’s raised is over £32 million pounds that people have donated towards the NHS.
So, number one, it’s amazing. What a hero. This is brilliant, and it’s a feat of stamina and effort.
And, and also, number two wonderful that that the public loves it. The British public have responded to this heroic act and they’ve loved it. It’s lots of money raised for a really crucial cause right now.
Also it’s made my family smile each time we’ve heard the update of what he’s raised on the on the radio. We’ve been amazed and we’ve enjoyed that.
The purpose of this film now is to tell you two or three things about the story, which I think are interesting from the point of view of fundraising, and I’m just going to show you my thoughts on them just in case it might help you with your own fundraising techniques.
I don’t want to take anything away from his achievement. It’s amazing. But there are thousands of other people doing heroic, high stamina, brave things right now. And they’ve not remotely raised what he’s raised.
I got to thinking, what are some of the factors that mean, this has really caught a light?
Obviously, one of the things is it was sufficiently newsworthy that it got onto the media, and that it clearly is the biggest factor which has multi headed, multi layer effects.
But I think the three things I’m going to tell you are also crucial, and they’re partly why the media took it and ran.
1. A specific real story about a particular person doing a particular thing
The first one is it’s a specific real story about a particular person doing a particular thing. Compared to a fundraiser making a generic ask about the importance of raising money for the NHS right now. This specific story is part of the reason why it has caught alight.
If you know my love for baseball, if you’ve done any of my programmes or if you’ve read my books, you’re probably aware that I have, I frequently teach about the importance of finding specific real examples or stories and the disproportionate effect that has on your fundraising success if you’re talking to a potential supporter.
There’s loads of research that I’ve conducted and the academics have conducted, but one of the most famous studies is the Rokia effect.
Years ago, Professor Cialdini did a piece of research in conjunction with Save the Children. And in one asked to some potential supporters, there was some big picture information about the 3.4 million children starving in a particular country.
And in the second treatment to some supporters, there was no big picture information, there was just information about a particular little girl and eight year old girl girl called Rokia and people were asked to donate.
No prizes for guessing what happened.
When this research was conducted, the the big picture asked with no specific story raised approximately one $1 30 out of the $5 that could have been donated. And whereas when it was the specific story that was raised was more than twice that it was something like $2 and 64.
Lots of people don’t want this to be true that we give to the specific rather than to the to the generic version of the reason why, but the results do tend to show that if you include any specific real examples, it ends up being more interesting and persuasive to a supporter.
What’s tough for fundraisers right now is your frontline colleagues may be incredibly busy, and it may feel like you haven’t, they’ve not got time to tell you about what’s going on on the frontline. But what I would say is that if you can do anything at all to somehow get a Skype or zoom call with someone who knows about what’s going on on the front line of your charity, and define it.
Here are a couple of the examples about what’s so difficult for those refugees right now, for those animals right now, for those homeless people right now, then, if you then are able to refer to those specific examples, in your conversations with your supporters, it will have a powerful effect.
Obviously, you need to be aware of kind of data protection and not including identifying features to do with stories to deal with your beneficiaries, if that’s inappropriate.
But nevertheless, if you’ve got a particular real example in mind, and you don’t use a specific name or even a specific age, but you’re able to tell the scenario of something tough for your support your beneficiary right now, that still has the power of specificity compared to the kind of the effect of talking generically.
So idea one. If you can find specific real examples, it will help.
2. Point out what’s not obvious
Secondly, even if you can’t do that, be able to point out what’s not obvious.
A reason why this story caught alight is because this guy, Captain Tom, is not 29. He’s not even 89. He’s 99 years old, and he’s going he’s about to be 100 and he’s going 100 times round.
Lots of that is just not normal. It’s not expected. It’s not obvious. And that just catches our imagination.
What can any fundraiser from another charity do to make use of this truth?
Well, in all my mastery programmes, I teach the power of seeking the not obvious seeking the unexpected angle, in whatever your cause is, or in particular, whatever your your beneficiary is facing right now.
So, there are always things that your beneficiary faces and why they have those problems that are not obvious to many of your supporters. And that’s especially true right now. One of my friends works for NSPCC and they were talking about what’s hard for children right now who are in lockdown, but potentially they’re stuck in a house, potentially a house where they might not even feel safe.
If you think about it, there are major ramifications for what is harder right now for all kinds of people in domestic abuse situations or whatever your causes, this crisis is having an effect on them.
You it may be really obvious to you but I’m telling you is not necessarily obvious to your supporter, getting clarity on that and being able to mention that to them, can help them connect and care.
I was talking to a charity that helps homeless people last week and she’s saying it’s harder than ever for them. beneficiaries right now.
But you know, a couple of the things is, they can’t even wash. Now many people because they’re the means of being able to wash used to be in a cafe or a Starbucks in the bathroom there. And they can’t even charge a phone. Because again, that’s what they used to do. And they’ve got no income at all now, because for if they live in a large city, they used to, you know, a lot of their income used to come from tourists putting a pound in their pot, so to speak.
Being able to point out these not obvious things to your support about why it’s tougher than ever right now, again, makes for an interesting conversation and causes people to pause and and think more deeply and realise just how tough these situations can be.
3. Social proof is a powerful multiplier effect
The third thing about this story and potentially one of the biggest ones as to why it had a multiplier effect.
We’re talking about £12.5 million raise so far, rather than £100,000, and this is the power of social proof, and shows how social proof is disproportionately more powerful in its effect on human behaviour than most of us are aware.
The first time I heard this news story, he had a target of £1,000 and had instead led to someone raising £100,000 instead, and my son and I turned to each other said, “Wow, that’s amazing hundred thousand pounds.”
Each time he’s been on the news since part of the story and part of our or about the story has been that now that’s £6 million raised, now that’s £8 million raised, now there’s millions of people that are caring and chipping in.
The story is as much about how people like me are getting involved, as it is about his achievement, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And if you’ve studied the work of Professor Robert Cialdini, or if you’ve ever read any of his books, one of my favourites is called The Small Big.
If you’ve studied things like nudge theory and behavioural economics, you will be aware just how important it is to human beings to be reassured that they their action is reasonable and sensible and is not separate from what normal people like me would do.
One of the most famous examples of this that Cialdini reports his his research that if you’re walking along the street and you see someone else go and put a pound into a buskers hat, according to his he says you’re now eight times more likely to go and put money in the hat yourself than if you had not seen someone else do that same behaviour, because the social proof normalises it and therefore reduces your fear reduces the barriers to you taking action action.
How can you as a fundraiser make make use of this idea?
Well, you might be thinking, well, we haven’t got scale, we haven’t got hundreds of thousands of people raising money for our charity right now, that may well be true.
But be on the lookout for who is supporting you. If only four people have that those that did your bike ride in February have actually raised all their sponsorship money now, talk to those four, find out how they did it, congratulate them, and then be able to share on those examples on Facebook, in the Facebook group or in your phone calls to the other 20.
That creates this belief that the positive behaviour is normal and possible.
Similarly, if you’re talking to corporates or major donors or Rotary Clubs, and if you’re making reaching out and making these phone calls, being able to tell them about what the other Trust has done, and they’ve come through, and they’re still funding us.
The other, another major donor, even if you don’t mention that that donors name been normalising and giving examples of the kinds of amazing things people are doing right now, will be effectively in terms of the psychology of it, doing something really similar to what happened in Captain Tom Moore’s example, where including the social proof that this is a normal thing to do, helps you encourage people to step up and do the thing that their best intentions want them to do.
I know it’s hard, but any attempt to include more real examples can only help similarly. Even if you can’t do that, find what’s not obvious about what’s so hard for your beneficiary right now and or your charities ability to respond right now, and be able to mention that to supporters, they’ll be interested and it will cause them to lean in and care more and thirdly, and in the appropriate tone, letting other people know what the current heroic fundraisers than donors and trustee trusts are doing right now.
That third thing also should really help even if you just do one of the things I mentioned today.
I hope it might really help you pick up the phone or set up that Skype call with a bit more confidence that you’ve got some things to say to your supporter, in addition to listening to how they’re doing things you could say to them, that might just help them feel more inspired to want to step up and contribute to your cause, which they care about as much as they ever did.
I hope this was helpful. Let me know is that what let me know what you think.