McQueenie Mulholland

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Rob Mulholland

Setting objectives for your charity’s communications and fundraising strategy

StrategyRob MulhollandComment

Making a distinction between your communication and fundraising strategies as a charity is important to ensure that you get the most out of both. Read more to find out about how to build successful communication and fundraising strategies for your charity.

Don’t just see the income potential of customers, see the influencer potential too

StrategyRob MulhollandComment

Over recent years much has been written about influencer marketing. Particularly how it can enable organisations to reach fresh new audiences, which have the potential to convert into paying customers. But do you recognise the influencer potential in your customers?

Your social media following: A value not volume game

Strategy, DigitalRob Mulholland

Do you place more value on the number of followers rather than the quality of followers you have on social media? You may be looking at it the wrong way, read more to find out why. 

Why We’re Supporting Art Week Exeter (AWE)

NewsRob Mulholland

Exeter needs art. In fact, all communities do and, during an event like AWE, we should perhaps take stock of why we do all indeed need art around us.  

Now, this isn’t where I launch into a deep philosophical essay in defence of art’s historical development and place through millennia. But it is where I mention a few obvious and rational reasons why we’re pleased to see Art Week Exeter take place and are very happy to support it. 

The reasons are numerous and, for me, obvious.   

First up: wellbeing.  Research conducted by Arts Council England indicates that subjective levels of wellbeing are generally reported to be higher in those with higher levels of arts and cultural engagement. This is supported by the statistic that nearly 60% of people are more likely to report good health if they have attended a cultural place or event in the last 12 months - so you had better visit at least one AWE exhibit!   

Next: society. In contrast to what some have said, society does exist and it benefits in particular from arts and cultural activities. Participation in such events reduces social exclusion and isolation, and encourages community engagement. For example, secondary school students who engage in the arts at school are twice as likely to volunteer than those who don’t, and also 20% more likely to vote as young adults

Third: Putting Exeter on the cultural map. Great food, drink, people, sport, countryside - there’s loads to be proud of in Exeter and we think AWE adds art to city’s existing cultural offering.  In 2011,  VisitBritain  reported that nearly 10 million visitors to the UK involved cultural engagement, which accounted for almost 50% of all inbound tourists. Wouldn’t it be nice for Exeter to gain a greater share of that! 

Finally, and sorry to bring it back to business, but art drives creativity, creativity drives innovation and innovation drives opportunities. Exeter, renowned as it is for having one of the region’s strongest and most active professional service sectors, isn’t well known for its creative sector. And this needs to change. AWE, in combining many of Exeter’s cultural highlights into one intense art party, magnifies our city’s creativity - and we know what that drives. 

It’s for each of these reasons (plus others not mentioned to keep this post short) that McQueenie Mulholland is supporting Art Week Exeter, and we encourage all in and around our community to do so too.  

Who do you know? Starting a marketing or PR campaign

Marketing, PRRob Mulholland

There are many questions to consider when starting marketing or PR campaigns – what’s our objective, what’s our budget, do we have the time or the right skills to pull off the work? But don't forget to think about who you know.

Costs effective marketing isn’t just about acquisition

MarketingRob Mulholland

We talk to a lot of businesses about their marketing and I would say easily more than 95% of them are purely focused on acquisition (finding brand new customers) when it comes to their marketing. Now I’m not about to rubbish marketing acquisition strategies, they clearly have their place in the mix of activities, but to be solely focused on this is a big mistake, and here’s why:


About Retention Marketing

Indicative of the word, “retention” focuses on retaining the customers you already have rather than those you don’t. In focusing on these important customers you’re giving yourself a huge advantage. They know your business and they’ve bought from you before; you don’t have to do the hard work of getting them over the threshold – rather you now have to do the hard work of keeping them loyal! In this respect, communications to this audience can be highly targeted – based on buying history or personal attributes sometimes collected at the point of sale. For example, if you sum up the value of some of your best customers it may be wise to acknowledge and reward this loyalty with giveaways, previews or discounts. All of these activities can also feature within upgrade strategies too (see below).


About Upgrade Marketing

Also indicative, upgrade marketing focuses on trying to “up” the value of existing customers. This may be done through trying to get customers to convert to more profitable products (bigger margins) or simply more expensive products (bigger prices). Again, using customer data as a base to gain insights from, you can target the most suitable and relevant products at the right people – not every more-expensive product at every customer. Be intelligent in your approach.

Many channels, including the majority of digital marketing and PR (two areas we’re particularly strong in), are configured to focus on mainly acquisition marketing strategies. However, we strongly recommend clients always look at their existing customers before embarking on these more expensive and riskier activities.

Pitching the value of your local authority grant application

StrategyRob Mulholland

McQueenie Mulholland helps charities raise funds to continue the great work they do in communities around the UK. A significant part of this income comes from grants; often from local authorities due to the support these organisations provide to the public.

This got us thinking: Are there any trends in how local authority funds are allocated to voluntary, community and social enterprises? And could these trends be helpful in informing the tactics these organisations use in the targeting grants from local authorities?

Using our local County Council (Devon), an authority committed to transparency and that publishes data related to grant distribution under the Open Government License, we analysed data on grants to the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector over 2014 to see what trends exist.

These are our key findings:

  • Most grants were between £1 and £1,000. This accounted for 431 grants - over  55% of all grants. 
  • Grants of £1 to £1000 only however account for 6% of the value of all money awarded. 
  • If we look at grants between £1 and £6,000, They represent nearly 90% of the total number of grants awarded but only account for 24% of the total value. 
  •  +£100,000 grants account for just 0.51% of the total number but makes up 27% of the total value. 
  • The data showed distribution peaks at £10,000, £15,000 and £20,000 award levels - this shows  more interest in larger projects with round numbers. 

To summarise the data: If your organisation is thinking of making a bid for a local authority grant it would be wise to aim low in the value you’re seeking (between £1 and £6,000). It was awards of this level that made up the majority of successful bids.

If your project requires more support you may want to consider aiming for a round number of £10,000, £15,000 or £20,000, as there were definite peaks in the number of grants awarded at these very specific higher levels.

Written by: Rob Mulholland
Data Analysis by: Anthoney Strowger

The Digital Marketing Arms Race: How To Get Started

DigitalRob Mulholland

Years ago, when I started my career in marketing, digital was only just emerging as a promotional channel. That’s quite a generalist statement, but that’s because digital was kind of seen as one beast - although it wasn’t even referred to as digital, more like web or online.

Since those early, early days a lot has changed. Gradually, specific digital disciplines emerged - SEO, Paid, Email, Display, Social, Content all underpinned by analytics.

This expanding array of digital specialisms may seem to some businesses like too many to manage but, as we frequently point out, if you don’t utilise digital you could be disadvantaging your chances against those organisations that do.

For all intents and purposes digital marketing, like many other forms of marketing, is a sector by sector arms race.

Terrifying as this may sound it needn’t be.

Here are our top 6 suggestions for how you can begin to be more competitive in the digital arena:

 

Research: Observe which digital channels your competitors or the leading organisations of your sector are using, and how they use them.   

Objectives: Go back to your objectives; the business's overall objectives and also your overall marketing objectives - if you don’t have these (at either level) we strongly recommend getting some before embarking on any digital activity purely from a measurement point of view (see why below).

Channels: With an eye on what you want to achieve (your objectives - above), pick the digital channels you believe will enable you to do so (SEO, Paid, Email, Display, Social, Content).       

Creative: Now with an eye on both your objectives and your digital channels it’s time to decide what you want to say. As well as being creative with the message, think about how you want potential customers to respond and ensure that you have the mechanisms and resources in place to handle those responses.        

Measure: Before you start, be clear as to what key performance indicators (KPI’s) you will be measuring on your digital strategy. For example; do you want to track your search engine ranking and the impact it has on the volume of visitor sessions, or do you want to measure the source of sessions and how these people engage with your website and content? Think how these metrics contribute to your overall business and marketing objectives, and be sure that they do.

Test: After starting your digital strategy set a date for when you will review activities and judge their success. Small strategies may suit shorter lead times between reviews than bigger ones. Please note, a strategy review is completely different to campaign monitoring, which needs to be done far more frequently, depending on the digital channel.

 

There’s so much more to write on this subject so if you would like further detail or help with establishing your entry into the digital marketing arms race, please contact McQueenie Mulholland.

Client donations: Test channels not just the ask itself

StrategyRob Mulholland

In our work with charities (especially smaller ones) we see a lot of concern and reluctance to ask clients, who benefit from an organisation's services, for donations. It's understandable and we recommend that all charities consider key client demographic attributes before developing client-focused fundraising strategies. 

Recently, after analysing its client database and concluding its clients were suitable for a fundraising 'ask', a charity we've been working with decided to embark on such a test. 

However, rather than just focus on the obvious, we proposed the charity test not just asking for a donation but also testing the channels in which it used to do so. In doing so, we opted to test post versus email versus telephone all of which would utilise the same creative proposition (a client feedback survey) and fundraising ask - the results were compelling. 

Below is an infographic that gives the basic headline results of our test, from which we learnt:

 


1) This charity's clients are willing and able to give donations - 18.8% said they would do so.

2) While telephone performed the best in terms of clients completing the survey (26.7% did so), telephone also performed the worst in terms of actual donations received (0% - possibly due to the recent scandal and mistrust of telephone fundraising)

3) Email and post had equally the same number of donations but email out performed post in terms of the average donation value (£20 compared with £10 respectively)

4) Due to its non-tangible quality, email by far out performed post in terms of Return On Investment - with a positive ROI of 6.7 to 1.

 

As a result of this work McQueenie Mulholland is now developing a second test for the charity and re-examining its digital strategy for both fundraising and communications objectives.