The Taming of the Shrewd


Episode 5: Crisis Comms

Season 1, Ep. 5

A familiar face for Episode 5 - Gemma Pettman, good friend of Lime Green Consulting and trainer at our regular fundraising strategy and trusts and foundations training courses. Gemma's also an independent accredited PR expert and joined us to discuss an important topic - how should charities and social enterprises communicate when bad news strikes?

Gemma gave us a whistle-stop tour of her approach to crisis comms, including:

  1. The different types of crises that typically hit organisations, and how you can work together as a team to create a list of scenarios to prepare for
  2. Planning in advance for a crisis - who to communicate with, what to say, how to use social media and the press, and practising your key messages
  3. Assessing a live situation - how do you decide when to respond and what to say? how do you avoid making the situation worse? how can you turn some crises into an opportunity?
  4. Looking after your people - how to support staff who are on the 'front line' of a crisis, and how to follow up after a crisis passes

We discussed how good crisis comms is crucial for building and maintaining trust with supporters, why organisations are often put off planning in advance, how social media has changed the nature of crisis comms, and how many organisations have successfully turned a crisis into a fundraising opportunity.

If you're interested in learning more, Gemma kindly recommended a few follow-up resources for listeners:

Thanks to Gemma for her typically cheerful and expert insight. You can find out more about her PR work here:

More Episodes


Episode 6: Measuring & Benchmarking Return On Investment

Season 1, Ep. 6
Measuring your return on investment (ROI) in fundraising can help you to evaluate your performance, predict future income and budget more effectively. And if this seems really complicated, it doesn't have to be.For Episode 6, I interviewed career fundraiser Caroline Danks, who recently published a report gathering return on investment data across the charity sector. Caroline and I discussed what exactly ROI means, and why some people resist measuring it, but why it's so important for good fundraising, budgeting and strategic planning.Caroline explains to listeners how to:Put in place a system for measuring ROI (including how to categorise income and measure time spent in different areas)Benchmark your performance against others in the sector, and use this as a point of comparison for evaluating performance and predicting future incomeUse the information in Caroline's report to look for 'missed opportunities', for example legacy fundraisingYou can download Caroline's report on fundraising ROI, called The Calm Before The Storm, from LarkOwl's website: also this blog where I shared some previous thoughts on fundraising ROI: our podcast? Please leave us a five-star review (other numbers of stars available at your discretion) via the Acast app or here on Google. We'd also love to hear your suggestions for future topics and guests for the podcast. We have one more episode coming up in November 2020, then we'll be taking a short break before returning with a new series in January/February 2021.

Episode 4: A Fresh Approach to Risk Management in Fundraising

Season 1, Ep. 4
Ed Wyatt is one of a very small number of risk management and compliance experts in fundraising. He's worked with several of the UK's household name charities to introduce a fresh and more positive approach to risk management.While he's passionate about his work, Ed is the first to admit that risk management can be boring! Too often it's seen and done as an unbearable tickbox exercise which squashes and dilutes the most exciting fundraising ideas. But there is another way to tackle risk management, which can enhance and protect your charity's reputation, and empower you to confidently create new fundraising products and engage newsupporter groups.Ed and I talked about the importance of defining your organisation's "risk appetite" - in order words, how much risk your organisation is willing to stomach. This must align with your organisation's mission, rather than the personal opinions of individuals. We wandered slightly off topic to talk about the complicated world of creating a gift acceptance policy, something that has since become very topical in the wake of the toppling of Edward Colston's statue in Bristol.Ed also talks us through how to identify risks that you are willing to live with, and put in place sensible and manageable controls to reduce those risks. I shared my own experience from 10 years ago of running one of the UK's largest student fundraising events, and the risks and rewards that came with it.Finally, Ed shared some practical tips about how you can keep learning and improving your approach to risk management over time, without making it too complicated or unwieldy.Since recording this podcast, I've written some more detailed thoughts about "hypocritical philanthropy" and deciding which grants to accept: and I previously shared some more thoughts about risk management in this blog, which we refer to during the podcast:

Episode 3: Embedding a Fundraising Culture

Season 1, Ep. 3
After two episodes exploring how to develop trading income streams, and the neuroscience that drives donors to give, Episode 3 is more one for the fundraising purists!I was joined by Lottie Donovan to discuss how to embed a fundraising culture in an organisation, so that everyone understands their role in fundraising and feels a responsibility to make it successful. Lottie draws on her experience as Head of Development at Watershed, a well-known arts organisation and cinema on the Harbourside in Bristol, just a stone's throw from where the statue of Edward Colston was recently pushed into the water.Lottie shared three key areas to focus on if you want to build a fundraising culture in your organisation:1. Crafting your story and case for support, so that supporters want to "walk alongside you" and be part of your journey2. Building your supporter base by working with staff to map their networks and encourage good donor stewardship3. Challenging perceptions and avoiding assumptions - what does a wealthy donor really look like, and who in your organisation actually has valuable contacts?This is our first episode actually recorded once lockdown started, so you'll hear us muse on why some of these issues are now more important than ever, and how you can use time away from the office now to get started.During the podcast, we discussed two of our recent blogs:What fundraising and dating etiquette have in common: importance of thanking your donors: up for our Fundraising During Covid-19 online briefing in July, featuring presentations from both Lottie and me: