Charity fundraising – Avoid the mistakes
Talk to the specialists before making costly decisions
There’s been a lot of disappointment on social media channels over the MacMillan Charity’s decision to cancel their popular “Whodunnit” fundraising campaign for 2019.
Why? The short answer…We don’t know…
The long answer… We expect some really critical mistakes were made which prevented the National Charity raising enough money from the campaign to make it cost effective.
We can identify three primary problems with this specific Whodunnit fundraising scheme.
Approaching the Red Herring Games team early into the planning stages, could have overcome the spiralling costs faced by this particular Whodunnit campaign.
“Cake sales can and do attract any number of guests.” Said Jo Smedley, MD of Red Herring Games. “The problem with the Whodunnit campaign was they immediately limited number of attendees at an event.”
By restricting the number of people who could attend the party – the charity immediately limited the amount of money they could raise at each event.
Deciding to send out printed packs on request was probably their biggest cost. “There are number of firms, including ours, which supply murder mystery games digitally. Hosts would have been very happy downloading games and printing at home. This would have saved thousands of pounds of material costs, and also solved the problem of numbers too. MacMillan probably also had costs associated with creation, graphic design and print set up. All of which could have been avoided by using a pre-exiting murder mystery firm’s product.”
A decision was clearly taken at head office level to provide printed rather than digital packs. Unfortunately to get the best price for printing – it forced the team to make a decision early on to fix the number of players who could take part. Printing in volume would have shaved the set up costs of the packs – but it immediately restricted what they could do. They also had a top number limit. Once all the packs had been distributed no more packs were available. This prevented anyone else taking part.
While it’s true the packs were of excellent quality and easy to use – they would have costed a lot of money to design, print and ship to each host. Even assuming just £3 per pack – this soon mounts up if thousands are playing – and it’s a set up cost the charity could have avoided by approaching a pre-existing firm to help with their idea.
“We supply fundraising discounts and support fundraisers in a variety of ways throughout the year” Said Jo Smedley. “Had we been approached we could have worked together supplying access to a digital kit. Hosts could opt to have a printed pack if they wanted as we offer a print on demand service, but this printing cost would have been born by the host NOT the charity.”
Being in the party planning business for over a decade – we know there is always the need for some level of support. The ongoing support which MacMillan would have had to provide on their product would have caused staffing costs throughout their campaign.
Had they approached an existing firm like ours – they would have more than halved their support costs. We know our games inside and out, it’s easy for us to provide support to end users. MacMillan would have had to train up specific teams to handle enquiries, and support the pick, pack and ship – these costs all mount up and turn what would have been a very productive campaign into a money guzzler.
“There are lots of other simple ideas they could have included in their campaign to make this a productive way of raising funds.” Jo Smedley said. “It’s just a shame they didn’t approach the experts first.”
Red Herring Games Ltd
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