Episode 15: Emily Casson – From £250k to £6 million in under four years; strategies to grow your digital income

Episode Notes

As the influence of digital technology on our lives continues to grow, it clearly represents an important opportunity for any charity. But with so much rapid change and pitfalls to beware, taking advantage is far from easy.

In this episode of the Fundraising Bright Spots podcast, Rob Woods talks to Emily Casson, the award-winning Digital Marketing Manager at Cats Protection. Emily explains her over-arching approach (and team motto) and shows why this belief system is so fundamental to her team’s success. It is ‘Think big, start small, scale quickly or fail fast.’

Emily explains why each of these four elements is so valuable, as well as how she has helped all fundraising teams in her charity to embrace this way of working, rather than keeping digital activity only for her specialist team. And to bring her strategy to life, Emily offers practical tips to help you raise more money through Facebook.

Takeaways

  • MOTTO – Emily believes that all the best teams have a team motto.
  • BE AMBITIOUS – Hers is ‘Think big, start small, scale quickly or fail fast.’ This is a carefully thought through distillation of the beliefs and approach that are most likely to help you succeed in digital fundraising.
  • UNIVERSALLY APPLICABLE – In working with a variety of causes, and small charities as well as her own, she has found that these principles hold true if you want to achieve growth. Its not about the cats!
  • EXPERIMENT – Start small means start with pilots. Try something with no or minimal risk and then learn from it by looking carefully at the data.
  • LEARN FROM THE DATA – She believes that this data-driven approach, combined with a relentless expectation that growth is possible, are at the heart of her success.
  • SIMPLE TESTING PLAN – Have a plan for what you’re going to test. Eg If you are a small organisation, each month pick a different variable (eg age of supporter you target or colour of cat in the picture) or and test each one in five different ways. But just do one variable per month, to keep it manageable. By the end of the year you’ll have learned 12 amazing things that help your conversion rates.
  • NOT JUST FOR SPECIALISTS – Emily works with each team in her charity to help them make use of digital, applying her over-arching philosophy of thinking big but starting small and testing.
  • DIRECTION NOT DESTINATION – The journey never ends, it’s always possible to keep expecting more, learning something new to improve results even further. This is different from many people’s mind-set and approach, so you may have to work hard to help others understand its possible and worth the effort.
  • LEAD WITH EXAMPLES – To influence / create culture change internally, work with the ones that show most interest. Help them get results and then you’ll find the others become more hungry to get involved.
  • INVOLVE EARLY – To help teams that support fundraising, which are crucial, be sure to talk to them early in the process, so they have time to adapt.

Key Quotes from Emily

‘Think big, start small, scale quickly or fail fast.’

Emily Casson

‘If you’re not failing, you’re not innovating and you’re playing it safe. Whereas in digital, you can’t play it safe. There’s always something new…Absolutely do not be afraid to try new things that might not work.’

Emily Casson

‘Pick 12 things you’re going to test over the year. It might be something really simple like subject line, creative etc. By the end of the year you’ll have learned 12 amazing things that will improve your conversion rates.’

Emily Casson

Further Resources

Check out Episodes 10 and 11 of this podcast for lots of advice from the excellent Lesley Pinder about how to gather insight into your supporter’s world, which in turn helps you improve your fundraising results.

Transcript of Episode 15

Rob

Hey there, folks. This is Rob Woods, and welcome to episode 15 of the Fundraising Bright Spots Podcast. This is the show for anyone who works in charity fundraising and who wants ideas for how to raise more money, really enjoy their job, and make a bigger difference.

Now, if your job includes digital fundraising, or you manage a digital fundraiser, or you work in any kind of fundraising and you’ve switched onto the truth that most of those corporates or major donors or event participants or legacy donors or whoever you do work with, they are actually interacting with the world in a digital way every day, then I think you’re going to find this episode really interesting.

Because today, I’m excited to share with you an interview I did recently with an absolute star of digital fundraising. Her name is Emily Casson and she’s the digital marketing manager at Cats Protection. When Emily moved into a digital role at the charity in the summer of 2016, annual digital income was around £250,000. The charity has achieved phenomenal growth since then, to the extent that digital income at the time of publishing this interview has grown to around £6 million. And in the last couple of years, Emily and her team have won several awards.

And in this, the first of two episodes, she shares her clear, powerful philosophy and approach to growth that is at the heart of all the stunning results they’ve been achieving, and then she offers advice for how you can implement these ideas in practice.

The most important lesson I took from Emily was that their success is not about this particular cause, and it’s not about the size of your charity or the budget that you have at your disposal. The principles that help a charity to do well in digital ring true, whatever your cause, and whether your charity is large or small. I really enjoyed this conversation with Emily and learned a great deal that can be applied to all kinds of fundraising. I hope you find it as helpful as I did.

This episode of the Fundraising Bright Spots Podcast is brought to you by the Bright Spot Members Club. As a practical alternative to one off conferences and courses, whose impact can fade all too quickly, the member’s club is an online resource that gives you ongoing access to a whole library of video training courses, monthly coaching webinars, and live training events. It’s all designed to help you learn, enjoy your job, and raise more money. To join the 300 fundraisers already in the club or just to find out more, go to brightspotfundraising.co.uk.

Rob:

Hello, Emily Casson. Welcome to the podcast.

Emily:

Hey, thanks for having me on.

Rob:

You’re very welcome. I’ve been looking to talk to you for a long time. One reason is you seem to be one of the busiest people in fundraising. You’re still the chair of the IoF North East Committee; you sit on the IoF’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and at the same time, you’re still leading a team at Cats Protection, and there’s been fabulous growth in the digital channel for some years now. Just in terms of your job title, help me get it right. You’re Digital Marketing Manager at Cats Protection, is that right?

Emily:

Yes.

Rob:

Before we get into the meat of this, which I want to be about some principles you tend to use to help grow income through digital, I just want to observe, you like to stay busy, don’t you?

Emily:

Yes, I certainly don’t like to be bored, and I’m really interested, do a lot of volunteering, been interested in the past, as well. But I am really passionate about the charity sector, particularly the charity sector in the Northeast and growing digital, and that seems to be an area there’s a lot of interest in from charities. So I do as much as I can while also trying to sleep and stay safe.

Rob:

Yes. Well I mean, you’re clearly getting it right somehow, because at the same time as all of that, I have been aware for a while a Cats Protection has had this growth. And it’s not just me becoming aware of it. The sector is aware of it as well, and I hope I don’t make you blush here, but here are a couple of the things that come to my attention.

In 2018, you’re in Fundraising Magazines Top 25 Fundraisers Under 35. You won an award for Best Use of Data and Data Insight in Fundraising, and that was the IoF Insight Awards. Another one, 2019 Best Digital Leader at the Social CEO Awards. I better stop there.

But I wanted the listeners to be aware that you don’t pick up those kinds of things, and I’m sure you would modestly say, “But a lot of it’s about our team and hard work for everyone.” But you don’t get these kinds of awards without some things working really well. And that is why I especially wanted to pick your brains really. Broadly, could you give us a sense of some of the growth that has happened for Cats Protection across the last few years?

Emily:

Yes. Well, I used to be in Regional Fundraising. And started our Digital Fundraising in July 2016. And at that time our baseline was about 250 K a year. A few website donations, just giving appeals from digital. We’re now looking more like six million a year from digital channels.

Rob:

Wow. So that’s an astonishing level of growth. And so, if you would put in just sort of a nutshell your philosophy or your broad brush strategy, what is your approach? And then we can get unpick the kind of the tactics and the details for how you implement that a little bit later.

Emily:

Well, we’ve got a team motto, because I strongly believe all cool teams should have a motto, which is “Think big, start small, scale quickly or fail fast.”

So we very much look at, all right, think big. How can digital transform every area of fundraising? We’re not just talking about individual giving here, we’re talking about how can you use it and make major donor fundraising, and legacy, and community fundraising?

Start small. Whether that’s starting small on a new channel, or whether that’s another pilot on an existing channel.

Scale quickly. We started with Facebook fundraising with 10 K spent in July 2016. Now we spend multi-millions on it. So when we say scaling quickly, we mean very, very quickly. We don’t mean doubling, we mean kind of absolutely, fundamentally transforming it.

And then also not being afraid to fail. I always say that if you’re not failing, you’re not innovating and you’re playing it safe. Whereas in digital, you can’t play it safe. There’s always something new. So you have to weigh the risks and do it very cleverly and start small and pilot. But absolutely do not be afraid to try new things that might not work.

Rob:

Okay, so already there are several themes there that potentially I’d like to unpack. But I sense it might be best to unpack as we go through maybe channel by channel as to what some of those things actually mean in practice. I guess the other thing I just wanted to say is to call out the elephant in the room or the animal in the room. So just in case, I’m sure you’ve heard this question or something like it before. In case the listener is thinking, “Well, it would be easy for us to scale quickly in Facebook if our cause was cuddly and was to do with cats, too.”

You and I talked the other day, and you gave me a strong sense that it’s absolutely not about the cause. There’s some advantages to the nature of your animal cause, and absolutely some disadvantages, as well. I want to get this out of the way so that the listener can tune in to actually it’s your principles and your approach that actually could A) be applied irrespective of cause, and B) I don’t want the listener to think that this is all about scale and big budgets. My sense is the principles are correct, irrespective of cause. And also even if you’re in a much smaller organization. Could you just speak to that potential question mark?

Emily:

Yes. Well, I always say that many, many people have had the same question over the years. And I argue it’s actually harder, because the internet is full of cats. So why would you, therefore, donate, if you can get all that content for free? And how do you make the charity content stand out against such a crowded market?

So that is my answer to that one. It definitely benefits me having a cute cuddly cause, but I’ve also been a trustee of a couple of charities. Very small North East Charities. One in international development, one in health care. And it is, the principles are the same. There, when I’m working you were budgets of £50, £100 starting out, doing kind of face advertising. I admit, I’m lucky enough to have a seven figure budget with my day job hat on. But I’ve done this for small charities. We’ve done this for several small charities from the Northeast, other small groups. It’s the same principles. It’s just, the difference is the scale that you can do it on.

Rob:

Yes. And I guess if you struggle to have a robust and sensible approach to testing and being willing to fail, willing to take on a some level of risk, because we’re always going to take some activity. It might succeed, it might not. If it’s hard to do that with a budget of £100, it’s even harder to do it with a budget of a million. So risk is risk, isn’t it?

Emily:

Yeah. I think that it’s absolutely the same. And I would say start with the lowest risk things, like Facebook advertising. So many charities are doing it. There’s bound to be a similar charity you. I’ve done some work with local hospices, and they’ve very much been learning peer to peer about what’s working in the Northern hospice sector. And so therefore, it’s not a risk, because in reality somebody has actually done it before, and it’s worked really well for them.

Rob:

I think this interview might work best if we pick channel by channel. And I guess for many people Facebook is a really viable option. Could we start there? So could you talk me through some of how you’ve applied that overarching philosophy in terms of Facebook?

Emily:

Well, we started with pilots. We did a little pilot with the digital value exchange, which is similar to what a lot of charities have done in terms of you give us the details, we ask for your to opt-in. You get your cat booklet and we start with that.

We then tried, we’ve got a cat sponsorship product, so then tried it direct with that. And then lottery was the one that absolutely took off. We got about a thousand new players in the first week that we launched it. So that was the one that kind of really made everybody sit up and take notice. And then some of the regular giving campaigns we were recruiting kind of donors that were worth £120, year one, for about £2.83 was the kind of best we achieved at the time.

So the ROI on that is the reason why it wasn’t seen as a big risk to massively scale it up from 10K spend to 2 1/2 million pounds spend, because actually if it’s a positive year one ROI, then it’s relatively easy to do. I say that works on any budget.

So then we kind of moved from looking a bit at, great, how could we utilize, say for regular giving, to saying, how could we do it for legacy marketing? How could we do for corporate? How could we do it for major donors? How can we do it with with events fundraising?

So it’s looking at… The overarching Think Big, thinking of how could it transform every area? It’s not digital sat over here and the rest fundraising sat over the other side of the room. It’s actually, digital should be a part of we fundraising stream rather than something separate. And we then kind of grew and grew and grew, and a lot of testing and learning along the way. That at anyone time we might have 500 different tests live, because we are constantly testing and learning.

It might be tweaking a copy line. Tweaking a creative. But that sort of data driven approach is, I think, the reason we’ve had so much success. That we’ve looked at the data, we’ve looked at the ROI, we’ve constantly pushed it. We’ve not gone, “Ooh, those results were amazing. Let’s just keep doing that.” We’d be like, “Okay, can we double this? Can we triple this? Can we times it by 100?” And thinking about what effect that would have on the charity as a whole, if we suddenly got all of these extra supporters, and all of these extra potential supporters that are interested because they’re seeing us through digital channels.

The income has had a massive impact and allowed the charity to do a lot more than it could otherwise. And it’s about looking at all these amazing people that want to help. The beauty of Facebook is people are talking about things that they love. If you can inspire them to love your charity, and more lightly your cause, your charity’s the vehicle for them to actually do what they want to do, and support what they love. So it’s not a hard sell.

Rob:

So there are several things I wanted to pick up on there, but one of them is the notion of 500 tests at any one time, to me, feels so overwhelming. I guess there’s some listeners who are really used to working in this way, and testing is just a way of life. And they wouldn’t be overwhelmed by that. But in layman’s terms, how do you manage to keep track of so many things you’re testing at the same time?

Emily:

Well, I’m lucky that I’ve got agencies and people, but I’ll admit, there’s a lot of giant spreadsheets floating about. There are an awful lot of spreadsheets in my life. I’d love to say there’s some fancy digital tool, but it often comes down to a spreadsheet and what we’ve tested.

But I would say that I’ve done it before with small charities and be like, “Alright what five different copy are we going to have?” And I would say actually don’t just do a load of random tests, because they’re not meaningful. But you need to actually think, “Alright. Okay. This month we’re going to all test copy lines on everybody doing Facebook advertising or even if it’s just you. That is the key thing, and I want to get some really concrete learnings in terms of is it short and snappy? Is it longer ones that work?” And then I can then use that and build on it the next month and say, “Alright, next month I’m going to look at creative.”

Emily:

In our case it might be colour of cats, because we know people respond differently to different colour cats.

So it’s very much having that strategic approach. So I would say for smaller charities, just think… Pick 12 things you’re going to test over the next year. It might be really simple as a subject line, creative, audience testing. I mean like, “Okay, I’m going to target to a slightly different age range this month and see the impact of that.” And that’s then not overwhelming if you’re thinking about that. And then thinking, by the end of the year you will have learned 12 amazing things that will improve your conversion rates.

Rob:

Yeah, so that’s so helpful. We don’t have to do 500, and we can simplify it by just choosing one thing at a time or one theme at a time. And that is going to be this month, and we’ve got one objective for how much ROI or how much income this campaign might make. But just as valuable is the learning, the treasure, that we might have by the end of this month.

Fantastic. I think that helps me feel it is a bit more manageable. Then I had another question to do with the way you appear not to be nearly as siloed as many organizations I know. And again, your answers might be kind of just doing obvious things but actually making it work in practice. But what have you learned about all the different departments at Cats Protection becoming better at digital rather than you doing some individual giving and then leaving the corporate team and the legacy team to do their own thing, and not necessarily be as expert as they are if they work with you? I mean, practically speaking, have you learned some lessons about making that holistic approach?

Emily:

I’ve definitely learned some lessons, because part of my role is to look at every area of fundraising. And even though, you say, we’re a big charity, until this time two years ago I was still on my own. So I was the sole digital fundraising person. So therefore, when you’re talking about silos, it was pretty easy for me to go around all these managers and say, “What are your priorities for this year? How can we use digital to help you achieve them?” And talk about that.

It does get more challenging, now I’ve got a team of six, and other teams have also expanded, to try and not make it siloed, and actually make sure we are sharing the learnings from all the different campaigns, and we know what all the priorities are.

But it is a case of every autumn sitting down with all the different fundraising team saying, “Alright, what are your overarching priorities and plans for next year? What plans have you got for digital?” My team can then say, “Oh, we’re planning to develop this channel.” “Why don’t you think about testing this?” And give them ideas of what would work.

Rob:

So is it largely your team are teaching and empowering, or is it largely your team are doing that activity, that analysis of those tests on behalf of some of those other teams? Or is it a combination?

Emily:

It’s been a combination. Certainly the remit of my team is they shouldn’t always be doing the doing. They should be upscaling. Sometimes if it’s really practical, like working with the corporate team who do small scale Facebook advertising. It’s actually enabled them to do it themselves. So teaching them how you practically go about doing this. And then my team can check. And my team are responsible for looking at the schedules and the targeting, and from a supportive point of view, what they would get, because we absolutely don’t want every different team in every department going away doing their own digital without that overarching view.

My team do often share, because they see that overview, so they can share all the different tests and learnings going on across. But the idea is absolutely that we do the pilots, we do the proof of concept, and then we would hand over management.

So originally Facebook, it at all sat under me. Sat under my budget, my management. Now all the different fundraising teams would have a digital advertising line in their budgets. So I still have a budget for some of the overall stuff, and some of the infrastructure, and some of the lead generation on known product, kind of known fundraising streams and overarching stuff.

But they all have their own. So they all have their own plans, for digital, and that is a massive culture shift over the last few years. Like I say, 2016, at the start of that year, there was no digital function at all. It was me as a sole fundraiser, spending 20% of my time on digital. And that was the whole digital fundraising function at Cats Protection. So everybody thinks we’re this absolutely massive team. Whereas like I said, until two years ago, it was me on my own.

Rob:

And so for instance, if there are corporate fundraisers listening and they don’t really use Facebook advertising at all or much, could you either … Tell me one or two of the principles or tactics that your team are teaching your corporate people, and/or if you’ve just got a mini example of a way they use it, a particular way it’s helped corporate at Cats Protection grow something or win something, to bring that to life practically.

Emily:

Well I think the approach is slightly different. They are kind of mass individual giving. We want the general public. Some of it, when you practically, are things like Amazon Smile, and the initiatives that they’re pushing out as a corporate team that they can do. And some of it, we’ve got big partnerships with the likes of Purina. So it’s working in partnership with our corporate to say, “How can we work together?”

We did a joint campaign on un-adoptables. So that was working with a corporate partnership and saying, “Look, we’ve got this big engaged Facebook audience you have. If we actually combine the two and do a joint campaign with joint aids, that’s going to be more effective for everybody.”

Rob:

That makes absolute sense. And then in terms of the practicalities, for instance, in that one with that the corporate partner, the corporate fundraiser who works with Cats Protection, what practically and tactically are they doing that is supporting the campaign?

Emily:

Well, a lot of it was for the un-adoptables while we did the case studies. So Purina came in, and they did the filming. So the content that they were pushing out on social was content that filmed and they’d got from Cats Protection. So that’s the sort of thing that we can supply our expertise for.

Rob:

Yeah. Excellent. And then, so clearly there’s a cats welfare objective, a campaigning objective there, but also presumably, this did help increase income, because the partnership with Purina became more valuable. Could you, if you’re aware of, how does the fundraising element of that work in terms of the partnership?

Emily:

Well, I think some of the Facebook posts actually had the fundraising ask. We did have the landing page with this content, because there was some amazing way to cute little videos and little stories as you can imagine. Like I say, we do have some great cat stories. And where fundraising asks for that, and we could just amplify the reach through using Purina, as well.

Rob:

Fantastic. A key thing I’ve heard in all of this bit of the conversation is that relentless expectation that more is possible. There is no perfect, there’s never an end to this destination. And I guess that comes right back from the beginning of the conversation, when you were talking about. When you say think big, there’s this endless curiosity, and what else could we try? What else could we test?

I don’t think that comes naturally to lots of us. I don’t know if it comes naturally to you, or if you’ve had to work at it. I guess more in terms of internally, is it ever a struggle to stop people being satisfied that we’re there yet? Aren’t you satisfied? Yeah, we got to test it again. Could you help us understand how you’ve helped instill this level of ambition?

Emily:

Well, I think it kind of helps the team I now manage, I’ve kind of handpicked, and been lucky enough that I’ve gotten from scrap, and instilled that from the start that that is the belief of our team. There is no limit. We think big.

We do have to think practically in terms of what we prioritize and what we do. But last year we had 128 different projects or campaigns in my team planning, so they are used to that. I get that it might be scary to look from the outside and think, “That is ambition.”

And I’ll be honest, we’ve not really encountered that culture in other departments, in other teams. Definitely encountered the “I don’t really understand what this thing is that you’re doing,” culture. And particularly at the start, it was a bit of a hard sell in terms of, “Okay, I know you’ve done this for years and years this way, but let’s try and bring some digital in. Let’s see how we can change it.”

It was kind of working team by team, and department by department, that when some of the teams saw the results, the other teams would get hungry all of a sudden. It wasn’t like, “Ooh, Emily, stop bothering us constantly, getting us to be more digital.” It’d be like, “Ooh, can we have a chat about this? Can we have another chat?”

That’s when I got a team, because it just bloomed. And I’ll admit, and my agencies will tell you, that I am the nightmare client that is never ever satisfied, that is constantly going like, “You know it seems like an amazing result, but…” But I think that’s why we’ve got such good results, because I can go up the chair of trustees and say, “Look, we are getting these results. We want to do even more. Can we have a multi-million pound investment in this?”

And they say, Yes.” And we do sometimes get it backed down from trustees being like, “Yeah, that all sounds great, but can we do better?” And it’s almost like an education piece that I need to go in turn and be like, “Yeah. We’re already doing really, really” well at this. A lot of people are like, “Oh, but we could be doing more, right?”

And I’ll be honest, I personally rarely take the time to step back and think, “Oh, we did actually do really last year.” There all times. In 2018, the target was originally like 2500 new regular givers. We hit 25,000, so there all times like that when you think, “Okay, slightly above target there.”

Rob:

Yeah, just a bit.

Part of what enables really good fundraisers that I’ve interviewed over the years, to sometimes be a bit difficult rather than just keep social harmony at all times. It’s not that they, in and of themselves, are awkward. It’s they’ve just got this notion of that next cat that might be suffering. They don’t have the luxury of choosing to be nice or not. They need us to endlessly, inevitably in fundraising, often our best behaviours and drive comes not because we’re doing it for ourselves or because it would be nice to get a better result…It’s because of what is at stake if we could find even the next level.

Emily:

Yep. I think it’s definitely that. And I think some things that I have learned over last couple of years is the kind of support in departments, like your IT, and your HR, and your finance, that this level of growth is quite difficult for them, because I’ve had the investment, and I’ve got a team and we’ve got all this extra activity. But that does create a lot of work for the departments.

And so I think that’s something to consider when growing this quickly to look at, okay, if not digital, it’s not an island. Just look at the whole organization. And that’s definitely something that I’ve learned. And like I say, that I probably am the difficult one, but it’s definitely looking at the end of the day, we want to raise more money for cats, that we’re opening a new centre in March, because we’ve got extra income. So we can do things like that. So that’s kind of very much linking it back to the cause. And what extra could you do with this extra money?

Rob:

Yeah. Any last tip? Because some of the listeners, it’s not necessarily the digital thing that’s catching their interest. But it’s the good problems that you get when you’re growing so quickly. Now its better to have the problems of growing quickly than other problems, than most other problems. But they are still problems to solve. And just what you said there means I feel moved to ask you, is there anything else you’ve learned, any other top tips that can help us mitigate some challenges that come with quick growth through politics, just through regular working, to do with whatever?

Emily:

Well I think I’ve definitely got a lot better at talking to the departments way in advance. Because digital does move very quickly. There’s often new opportunities and my natural instinct, I’d be like, “Yeah, that sounds like great, let’s go do that next week.” Whereas other departments are like, “Whoa, no. We need time. We need planning.”

So partly it is me not slowing down, I wouldn’t say, because I would say strongly against, we should be doing that, because it’s going so well. But also considering more the implications at the start. So it might be giving other departments a heads up that, “Okay, right. Quarter three this year, probably going to be launching a new initiative. Therefore, can you set aside some of your time to look at this?” And I think the difficulty in digital is that three, five year planning doesn’t mean that much.

Like I say, if you think three years ago we were raising 250K, have one person, that’s completely different to now. So it’s trying to get the rest of the organization, and that would be a top tip, to be comfortable with not knowing exactly what the thing you’d be doing was going to be.

So I’ll admit, my quarter four plans for this year are largely new digital things to be confirmed. So I either need to get everybody comfortable with not knowing exactly what my team is going to be doing, and also carving out some of their time. Because even if I don’t know what I’m going to be doing, I’m definitely going to need finance to set up some sort of new payment mechanism, and I’m going to need IT to do some sort of infrastructure project. So it’s making sure that all the other departments are aware that this isn’t a one-off, ooh, there’s this extra digital project that’s coming. This is now business as usual.

Rob:

Yeah, that makes sense. So in a moment, I’d love to look at a different channel. For instance, email. But just before we move on from this chunk, which started out as being mostly about Facebook, if the listeners are looking for one practical thing, particular tactic or principle that you haven’t necessarily explained yet, for most people, even in smaller organizations, they could quite deliberately go and apply. I would say last thought you’ve got that might help this with me.

Emily:

I think don’t be scared of getting absolutely amazing content. But my top tip would just be go into tomorrow with a smart phone, record something about your organization, put it online. And I’d say start with organic stuff. Don’t do a paid investment. Look at all of your organic posts. Go into the analytics. What is performing best? That’s the sort of thing you should be putting the paid investment in.

Rob:

Fantastic. We need to bring it to a close. I know quite a few people in the Northeast already know you, because you’ve spent a lot of time getting out and about and helping in various ways. But if any of the listeners to the podcast wanted to send you some feedback or to tweet about this, or get in touch and ask a follow up question. If you’re on Twitter, what’s your Twitter name, or should they go via LinkedIn? What’s the best place people could reach you or send feedback?

Emily:

Twitter, I’m simply @emilycasson.So I am pretty easy to find, and I’m also active on LinkedIn. Not surprisingly, within digital marketing, I am pretty easy to find online, but I’m always open to Tweets and LinkedIn messages. And I love hearing feedback, and I love hearing people that listen to things I’ve done, and six months down the line and what they’ve done differently. And I love hearing other people’s results if they’ve implemented any of this, what has changed as a result?

Rob:

Great. So yes, if someone’s listening and you’ve covered so many great ideas and principles there. But if they listen, if they found it helpful, we’d love to hear from you, and be in due course once you’ve implemented any of these ideas. Again, that would be a fantastic thing if you could let Emily or I know, or both of us. But for now Emily Casson. Thank you ever so much for appearing on the podcast.

Emily:

Well, thanks for having me on, and I hope it was useful for everybody.

Rob:

Yes, it really was. Thanks Emily. Bye.

Emily:

Thanks, bye.

Rob:

So that’s the first half of my interview with Emily. I hope you enjoyed it. I’ve written a summary of the key ideas to take away in the episode notes in the blog and podcast section of our www.brightspotfundraising.org.uk website. If you want to get in touch on social media, we’d love to hear from you. Emily’s Twitter name is at @emilycasson and mine is @woods_rob and we’re both on LinkedIn if you prefer that.

Since starting this podcast, it’s been so encouraging to hear all your comments and feedback and I try to respond to every single post. The other thing to mention is that this was just the first half of my conversation with Emily, and in order to keep each episode to a manageable length, I’m going to share the second half next time in Episode 16.

There are more excellent practical tips in that one, in particular concerning things you can do to improve the success of your fundraising through email and through your website, as well as more wise advice about achieving a culture where all fundraising teams are ambitiously pulling together towards a common goal.

So if you enjoyed the episode, remember to hit subscribe now so that you don’t miss out on future episodes, including the next one with Emily. Finally, thank you so much for listening today. I really appreciate the effort it takes to keep on honing your skills and to keep your inspiration levels topped up. Until the next time. Best of luck with your fundraising.