‘The power of integration’ with James Barker, Head of Marketing and Planning at NSPCC

16/06/2022 | by James Barker

I’m a strong believer in integrated working, and whilst marketing and communications aren’t purely ‘fundraising’ roles, you can’t deny that everything we do in our teams has something to do with fundraising.  

I’m quick to promote this message and encourage our marketing team to collaborate with fundraising, and vice versa. You see, when you pool together your insights, marketing approach and work together wonderful things can happen. 

We’ve had significant success in working this way, for example by timing our activities with the highest reach in sequence. We started our marketing campaign in September when children went back to school, focusing on deepening our audience's understanding of NSPCC. This meant that when the fundraising team’s donation appeal began in November, people really knew where their money was going.  

By doing this we had an influx of supporters, and we saw a huge impact on our overall income and the understanding shown by our audience. It was a 'win-win' for both teams and, importantly, the organisation as a whole.  

Something that can help to fuse teams, and inspire a coordinated way of working, is attending Fundraising Convention. It provides an opportunity to learn about why and how we can integrate communications and fundraising and to hear real stories through the case studies being presented. It also offers an essential insight into fundraising for those on the outside.  

For me, it’s really important that leaders within the sector, even if fundraising isn’t a key part of their role, have an understanding of the techniques that are used and are open to learning from other organisations to see how it might be possible to improve their own campaigns.  

I’ve been attending the event for ten years, way before sitting on the Fundraising Convention board and I’ve always found it a great event for networking. I meet other people from around the sector and learn from their experiences, and after every visit, I come away with a notepad full of tips to think about – and not just for my department but for all areas of the charity. 

Although we may work in different organisations, we are all working in the charity sector and there’s so much knowledge we can share. There have been many times I’ve sat next to someone at Fundraising Convention who has a completely separate role in a different type of organisation to me but there have been huge similarities in the challenges that we both face. 

As we return to a more ‘normal’ way of life after the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to experience these things. Now is the time to understand what worked well from the new products that we quickly created during the pandemic, what we can take forward and what we need to leave behind. For instance, at NSPCC we had a fantastic response to donations from our virtual fundraising, asking people to run 30 miles in one month in lockdown during the pandemic and we are testing to see what will work in the current climate. 

This is a hot topic we're exploring at Fundraising Convention. There will be plenty of food for thought as speakers from a wide range of organisations discuss the future of fundraising and look at how we can move forward in this post-pandemic world. 

It’s also vital that as we progress through 2022, we address how as organisations we empower our beneficiaries to co-produce fundraising, ensuring that they are part of both communications and fundraising developments.  

This is a strategy I believe is key for organisations to remain authentic. Failing to do this, or not doing it well, will create challenges for organisations. They could end up seeming removed from the work that they do and in worst-case scenarios, risk being perceived by the not being relevant to the audiences we are here to help. 

It’s an interesting topic that will be presented by the services team and the fundraising team from Refugee Action. I'll be there for the session, where they will be exploring the shifting of power and the mutual benefit of empowering beneficiaries to shape fundraising through co-production. 

To find out more about the topics James mentioned sign up to Fundraising Convention 2022 here. 

The empowering beneficiaries to co-produce fundraising will take place on Monday 4th July at 12:15 pm, Foundation Room, and the future of virtual fundraising will take place on Wednesday 6th July at 11:45 am Frobisher 3 both at the Fundraising Convention, The Barbican.