Thursday, May 30, 2013

ENCORE - Public trusts fundraisers above used car salesmen for first time: new survey

We're on holiday this week, so here's a story that we're repeating because we thought it was funny. Enjoy.

A new public opinion survey shows that Americans now trust fundraisers more than used car salespeople.

The annual survey on professionals the public trust was  conducted last month by the Center for Public Trust And Niceness. It found, that out of 100 professions, fundraisers rated higher than used car sales people for the first time in a decade.

“This is a major breakthrough. For the first time in a long time, we’ve scored higher than the guys who sell old, smelly cars. This is a testament to the professionalism of American fundraisers,” said Bo Snidely, CEO of The League of Fundraisers of America.

In the survey, fundraisers were rated 92. Used car salespeople came in at 93. Members of Congress came 94 and Rutabaga Farmers were 95. Convicted felons were 100. Once again, doctors were in the first spot, followed by Animals That Can Talk in second place and The Kardashian Family in third.

Last year, fundraisers were rated in the 97th spot, just above bankers.

This year saw a major drop in charity event planners and charity finance directors. Both dropped significantly to finish in the middle of the top 50. Congressional Lobbyists sky-rocketed from the 78th spot to 12th, thanks in part to a slick advertising campaign that featured attack ads aimed at other professions.

In written responses, fundraisers were noted to be “less icky” than morticians and substantially more trustworthy than convicted felons and people claiming to be aliens. People also noted that fundraisers appear to be well-groomed and did not “smell too bad.”

On the negative side, people commented that fundraisers are always asking people for money and were “slightly boring.”

“This just goes to show how significant fundraising has become in our society. I think America has really embraced the role of fundraising in a powerful new way,” said Snidely. “We’ve finally arrived.”

Snidely says the League is hoping to crack the 90 barrier next year with a new ad campaign aimed at reminding fundraisers across the country to be nice, at least during the survey period.

“I think next year we’ll make 89 or maybe even 85. We’re one fire,” he said. “There’s no stopping us now.”

Monday, May 27, 2013

Charity has pre-programmed their Tweets until the year 2017

It's all in the can.

Metro’s largest charity has their Twitter feed pre-programmed for the next several years.

The East Metro Community Foundation has been using new social media automation software that lets users plan out their Tweets far in advance. CEO Dibble Brewer says they got the idea after looking at the new communication software.

“We heard about automation software that allowed us to schedule Tweets, and then it hit me. Why not use this to simulate that we have a vibrant, authentic plan to engage our donors,” said Brewer.

The Foundation started using the automation to handle vacations of key communications staff and to Tweet after hours and weekends. Then, Brewer told staff to pre-load Tweets until the year 2017.

A quarter of the pre-programmed Tweets include irrelevant but catchy quotes from famous people like Mother Theresa, Economist Mort Drucker and Pirate Captain Blackbeard.

“Burn down the village and slaughter their cattle. Viking Svart Blardboss. EastMetroCF,” reads one Tweet. “Live strong and don’t cheat. Lance Armstrong,” said another.

A further 25 per cent of the pre-programmed Tweets include references to seasonal events like Christmas, New Year’s, Easter and International Chicken Farmer Day.

“Happy New Year’s for this year (whatever it is). EastMetroCF” reads one Tweet.

“We were stumped about what to do about Retweeting – when we have to actually interact with what other people are Tweeting. But since most people don’t actually read other people’s Tweets it was easy to fool them,” said Brewer.

“Shout out to what’s their face for their retweet,” reads one Tweet. “Thanks to #whoever for #whatever,” said another.

“We have Twitter all figured out for years to come and not one of our donors will ever be able to tell. Our engagement plan for our donors will be the envy of every other charity if Metro,” bragged Brewer, who fired two communications staff once the plan went into effect.

In a related story, The Foundation has replaced Brewer with a new robot that includes pre-programmed responses to CEO questions for the next two years.

“This is a really interested development. Please give to the Foundation,” said the new CEO.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Study finds most donor “Likes” on Facebook are actually mistakes, a sign of arthritis or call for help

Most clicks are mistakes, says survey

A new study says most donor “Likes” on US charity Facebook pages are either mistakes, some kind of finger-spasm or a call for help because they fell down and can’t get up.

The study surveyed more than 5,000 donors who said they had “Liked” a charity Facebook page. Published in the Journal of Anthropological Philanthropy, the study says most “Likes” aren’t really “Likes”.

“More than 70 per cent of them were not in fact trying to reach out and connect with a charity. They were doing other things,” said survey leader Dr. Gordon Simple of the University of Southern North Dakota.

More than a quarter of the donors say they hit the “Like” button by mistake. Many complained that they hit the button just to make the pop-up graphic or email “just go away” and had no intention of actually trying to connect with the charity. “It was easier to hit Like than just tell them to bug off,” wrote one donor.

Fifteen per cent hit “Like” to because they were intoxicated and not responsible for their actions, and were likely a danger to themselves and others. Ten percent said they hit “Like” to every Facebook page they can find in a desperate attempt to bring meaning to their otherwise empty existence. “I Like everyone, even charities,” wrote another donor.

A further ten percent said they suffered from a unique form of arthritis that causes finger spasms and often wind up “Liking” Facebook pages by mistake.  A small group, about eight percent, said they had hit “Like” because they had fallen down, couldn’t get up and the only thing they could do to get help was try clicking their computer mouse. They also asked researchers to call their niece who lives down the street to come and get them back up on their feet.

The remaining donors in the study said they were victims of a vast conspiracy or were in fact Elvis.

Charity leaders have hailed the study as further proof that the sector has mastered social media.

“This clearly shows that US charities have become masters of Facebook. The fact that these donors Like them is an amazing achievement,” said Dibble Brewer, CEO of the League of Big Honking Charities. “We’ve finally arrived.”

Thursday, May 16, 2013

New Pokemon-type trading card game for Fundraising released

Japanese toy giant Stuphendwo has come up with a new Pokemon-style trading card game based on fundraising. Called Philanthromon, the new game will feature a host of battling fundraising creatures including major gift officers, planned giving consultants and cranky signature donors.

The brainchild of Japanese trading game designer Kenji Snidely, players take on the role of a Philanthromon trainer. They use their Philanthromon creatures to attack other player’s creatures.  The game is won when one player runs out of Philanthromon or if a capital campaign is announced.

“This really is a great a game for both kids who want to know how fundraising works or for adults who fundraise or donate,” said Dibble Brewer, Stuphendwo USA President. “They will not only learn about philanthropy, but also have fun getting a mythical creature to beat up an opponent’s mythical creature in a sort of indirect violent way or something.”

The game features trading cards that look very similar to Pokemon cards. Each outlines the creature’s hit points (HP), attacks and defences. If the damage from an attack exceeds the defending Philanthromon’s HP, it is knocked out. The attacks are customized to each creature.  AdminAssistantChu, a liquid-type Philanthromon, has attacks such as “Schedule” and “Coffee Run” while GrumpyDonorChu, an Earth-type Philanthromon, has “Calls & Complains” and “Talks to Friends”. Like Pokemon, Philanthromon creatures can evolve and change. GrumpyDonorChu, for example, is the Stage 1 evolution of CrazyDonorChu and FinanceDirectorChu is the Stage 2 evolution of Donut.

“The game offers a level of complexity and skill that rivals all the other current trading card games like Pokemon, Magic and The Tea Party Movement,” said Brewer. “But it also offers unique characters that players can’t find anywhere else, like ExecutiveDirectorChu and ITahcu.”

The reaction from the fundraising community has been positive. Pre-orders for the game have already exceeded 100,000 units.

“This is really an addictive game,” said Dennis Smiley, the CEO of the League of Big Honking Charities. “Last night, Bendy, Jill and Bill and I were playing for hours. Jill played her GiftProcessorChu with a 30-point ‘Not recieptable’ attack to knock out my MajorGiftachu, but then I countered with a ‘TakeDownServer’ attack by my ITachu and beat her pants off!”

However, early reviews by toy and game sector critics have been negative. USA Toy Buying & Bowling League magazine panned the game for being “boring, just like fundraisers.”

“This is a well-executed trading card game from Stuphendwo. Everything about it is exciting, except its topic. Fundraisers were never this interesting or exciting.”

Sunday, May 12, 2013

$1 Billion lawsuit claims charity finance directors have better pens, paperclips than rest of staff

Who gets the best?

US charity finance directors are being accused of buying better stationery and office supplies for themselves rather than their colleagues, according to a new $1 billion class-action lawsuit.

The civil action, filed yesterday in New York City, alleges that the directors of finance at some 15,000 US charities have conspired to deprive their colleagues of quality pens, paperclips, staplers and other office supplies.

None of the allegations in the suit have been proved in court.

The lead lawyer for the plaintiffs says the finance directors have been getting better supplies for years. Dibble Brewer says US charity workers have had enough.

“We have thousands of cases across the country where finance directors have bought jumbo paperclips for themselves and then insisted the rest of their colleagues use the smaller, cheaper ones,” said Brewer.
Special Chairs

The lawsuit also claims that finance directors have consistently purchased fountain and rollerball pens for themselves, while asking other staff to use cheap, disposable ballpoint pens that come by the dozen.

“We have evidence from one of the largest charities in Metro that shows that the finance director bought a $32.00 Retro Limited Edition Pop Series Mom Tornado Rollerball Pen from Fahrney's Pens while she insisted that staff use the promotional pens she picked up from a pest control supplier,” said Brewer.

The plaintiffs say they plan to introduce evidence from charity finance conferences and publications which
show a pattern of deliberate purchasing. They point to the USA Charity Finance Fun conference is Las Vegas last year which ran a seminar in office supply spending entitled “Getting the best and sticking it to the rest.” A recent charity finance book, “How to be an arrogant charity finance professional”, devoted a whole chapter to the issue of buying better staplers than other staff.

Snidely says office supply stores are playing along. He noted that several of the largest US chains are now offering special, high-quality products just for charity finance directors. One such catalogue sells a special “Finance Leader Chair” that features top quality, luxurious leather upholstered seating surface appointed with refined details “that only a director of finance at a bustling charity deserves.”

In response the League of Charity Finance Directors issued a statement that the allegations in the lawsuit are “false and malicious” and vowed to contest the action in court.

“We don’t treat staff differently. We buy office supplies based on need,” said spokesperson Wendell Badhairdo. “It just so happens that our members need better pens and paperclips because of the important work they do and because it better suits their delicate sensibilities and tastes.”

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Work/Life Balance committee told to work late, weekends to get report done

The Executive Director of Metro’s largest charity has told her Work/Life Balance Committee to get its report done by next week, even if that means they have to come in nights and weekends to do it.

The Work/Life Balance Committee was created a month ago to look at the poor morale and complaints about working conditions at the Metro Community Trust. Executive Director Shelia Snidely says the Committee was a recommendation by the Operations Committee of the Board.

“We’ve had a high turnover in the last few years and we don’t know why,” said Snidely. “That’s why we created the committee. To get some answers.”

Made up of managers and staff, the Committee conducted surveys and held town hall meetings with the Trust’s 100 staff members. Expert consultants were brought in to help create the new plan, which was supposed to be submitted last Friday.

“I told them that they would have to do their committee work as well as their normal workload and I gave them a generous deadline for getting it done – a week. And what do we have? Nothing. I can’t expect all this work they have piling up to take care of itself, you know. So, I told them to come in nights and weekends to get it done,” said Snidely.

The Committee only had one week to write the report and present it at the Board. Committee members tried to fit the report-writing into their 30 minute lunch-break and their strictly monitored ten minute daily coffee break. However, time grew short and the deadline was missed.

“The first thing I did when I heard that they needed more time to figure out how to write the part about reducing stress was to go to their time-cards and see whether they were in fact working all 7.5 hours a day,” said Snidely. “I found that several of them were in fact punching in a bit late on some mornings and leaving a few minutes early. I told them they’d have to make up that time as well as get the report done.”

Committee members say they tried to get the report done, but were challenged by a number of non-work distractions. Some of them came down with the flu. Others had to take their children to medical appointments. One member had a death in the family. Snidely says such excuses aren’t good enough for the Trust.

“I’d like to help some of these people, but I can’t have everyone taking time off to be sick or bury their parents who were killed in a zoo stampede all the time. There`d be no one here and I`d have to do all their work. And that isn`t fair to me, ” she said.

The Committee has vowed to work as long as it takes to complete the report by the new deadline, no matter what the personal hardship.

“I think they got the message. I`m confident the report will get done,” said Snidely.

“`Honestly, I have to just nag, nag, nag to get these people to do anything…even write a lousy report on balancing work and the rest of the life!”

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Archaeological dig in Fundraising Manager’s office finds evidence of previous Fundraising Managers

An ancient fundraising calendar

A team of archaeologists have made a major discovery in the office of Metro Hospital fundraising manager Jane Snidely. The team from the University of Southern North Dakota says they have unearthed evidence of up to 47 previous fundraising managers and one set of lost car keys.

The archaeologists were called in last month when renovations on Jane’s office uncovered artefacts of several previous managers. The one-week dig recovered lunch bags, name plates, business cards and personal items of dozens of fundraisers, some dating back to two years ago.

“The hospital called us in after discovering a coffee mug with the name ‘Stephen’ on it. No one could remember a Stephen working there. They immediately identified it as part of an ancient fundraising civilization that lived and worked in Jane’s office several months ago,” said Dr. Dibble Brewer, lead scientist on the excavation.

The dig netted more than 500 pounds of artefacts  including notes from a previous capital fundraising
campaign that ended two years ago. Carbon dating showed the documents were at least 24 months old. Also recovered was a campaign survey by a fundraising consultant with what appears to be hamburger and ketchup stains and a guide to an ancient fundraising database with entire pages ripped out.

“From all of this, we can speculate that several different types of early fundraisers used to live and work in Jane’s office. These ancient counterparts likely did the same type of job as Jane, but with much cruder implements,” said Dr. Brewer.

For her part, Jane says the thought of sitting in the same office as fundraisers of the long-forgotten past is exciting.

“I am so amazed that we’ve been able to recover all these great artefacts from people long ago. Imagine that someone named Gary used to sit in my office six months ago trying to create an ancient giving pyramid. Or that Mary used that quaint old stapler to staple together the layoffs for the campaign staff a year ago. It just blows my mind,” said Jane.

“We’re lucky to have found this site so well preserved,” said Dr. Brewer. “So many times, artefacts like
these are destroyed by construction or the ravages of time. The stuff we recovered was mostly intact.”

“It was so well preserved that it looks like some of it was just left there last week instead of long ago.”

The university team plans to return to the site in the coming months to look for signs of other ancient fundraisers.

“We just got a call from Natalie, the Hospital’s new fundraising manager, who says she’s found additional artefacts in the office that mysteriously have the word ‘Jane’ on them,” said Dr. Brewer. “No one at the hospital knows a Jane, so it’s likely that it’s part of the same ancient civilization.”