Clara is Head of Supporter Insight and Development at Macmillan Cancer Support. She joined Macmillan in 2003 and previously led their Direct Marketing and Sales teams. She tweets at @claraavery.
Macmillan have been one of the success stories of British fundraising in recent years, and Clara sets out why that is from her perspective. The diagram here sums up the process. Evidence is required at each stage, from identifying the gap to assessing whether further investment is needed or the initiative has been successful. Clara stresses in the interview that the challenge is not to never fail, but to make failure cheap, and to learn as much as possible from these ‘failures’. As G. K. Chesterton said, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly”.
Two things in the interview struck me as particularly significant:
First, decisive leadership. Macmillan embarked on a “massive” restructure and investment programme in 2008, when many charities were cutting costs in the midst of the recession. The results speak for themselves, with Macmillan’s voluntary income increasing by something like 50% since then.
Second, the importance of renewal. The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is now a byword for fundraising success. But it really took off once Macmillan looked at what and who drove the event. By integrating insight into the campaign it became what it is today.
However, we also talk about how the prospect research and insight teams are structured at Macmillan, how to understand donor motivations, and what one piece of information Clara’s team would like to have to raise more money. Hope you enjoy the interview.