IoF Convention

Purple Vision are delighted to announce that as well as speaking at two sessions at the prestigious Institute of Fundraising Convention (4-6 July 2016 at the Barbican, London), we’ll be exhibiting too. We’ll be sharing advice and info through our two speakers slots and our booth in the exhibition hall will give you the chance to drop by and ask us questions.

Monday 4 July – 10.30 – 11.30 – Individual Giving Track

Steve Thomas (Chief Executive) and Jonathan Cook (Associate Consultant)

Invigorate your data insights – banish data dreariness

Data is the heart, if not the soul, of fundraising. Recent innovations make data visualisation more accessible, and as a result, easier to use to build genuine, real-time personal donor experiences that drive results. This session will invigorate you to take a fresh look at your data, and reveal new insights to fuel your fundraising. From business intelligence tools through to reports and dashboards we’ll inspire you to action by signposting tools and highlighting approaches for you to follow back at your desk. All without dreary spreadsheets!

Tuesday 14.15 – 15.00 – Digital Track

Mags Rivett (Director of Marketing) and Ian Fairhurst (Senior Consultant, Non Profit)

Email – moving away from the big bang theory towards personal engagement

How do you move from a culture of sending an e-newsletter to personalising content and driving engagement? In this session, we’ll help you make the leap. Our practical tips will provide you with a common sense, no-nonsense approach that will work in all sizes of charity, regardless of budget and tools. We’ll look at what you have got – data, content – and how you can use these to drive activity through very simple segmentation and testing. But it all starts with your vision and ambition.

Join Mags, Keith, Ian and Steve at the Purple Vision stand (stand 31) in the Expo hall of the Fundraising Convention.  We’ll be around to chat through

Supercharged to help you succeed

We’ve supercharged to help you succeed

Exciting news from us this week – Purple Vision and Appssential have merged.

This makes us all round bigger and better at what we both do and how we do it – we can offer more support, services and even more expertise to our respective clients and will help us to grow – as our infographic shows – story continues below.

Purple Vision - supercharged for your success, and here's how

Our story

The new story we are creating for ourselves stems from a chance meeting – a meeting of minds and values – between Steve (Purple Vision) and  Tin (Appssential) at a Salesforce event.

In the intervening 18 months, the two companies have worked together to bring successful client projects to fruition, and on initial activity for Sugati-CRM an innovative framework for the travel sector.

Leveraging synergies

The synergies between us are tangible.  What matters most is that we share the same values and approach. We share the same commitment to customer success, innovation and development of new tools, services and products to support our clients.  And to welcoming new clients to the benefits that technology can bring to their business.

We also share fantastic people.  Our teams are already integrating, bringing a wide range of technical qualifications, expertise and experience together, as well as a variety of languages.  Even if we say so ourselves, we’re quite a fun bunch to work with.

Interestingly, we don’t share the same client base.

Appssential brings expertise in the travel market and a diverse range of corporate clients to compliment Purple Vision’s expertise in the non-profit sector (charities, associations, higher education) and fundraising know-how.

As we grow, Purple Vision is still firmly committed to the non-profit sector and to our strong fundraising heritage. Our ‘supercharged’ Purple Vision will enable us to continue to develop our non-profit work and build more innovative and engaging solutions and opportunities for charities, associations and higher ed institutions of all sizes.

But ‘supercharged’ Purple Vision will also serve the needs of the travel sector as we deliver our unique framework, Sugati-CRM and will serve some other commercial clients.

It’s also important to note that while we’re a Salesforce partner, our services for non profit technology still include Independent Technology Advice.  We’re still independent and recommend only the right solutions for your organisation.  And we still work with Raiser’s Edge.

Quite simply, together we’re supercharged versions of what we were before. 

Timing and change

Officially all the legal work has already happened, and we have told a few people already – it was important to us that they knew personally what was going on and what it means for them. So now, we can speak publicly about the all-new, supercharged Purple Vision.

The wider public changes like our social presence and, websites will fade in over the next few months as we bring together two groups of people into one organisation (and one office).

We’ll be working as Purple Vision (so keeping this site and our colours as the main brand) but also expanding presence for Sugati-CRM to give this travel framework a platform from which it can shine.  We’ll keep you posted as we progress.

If you’d like to know more, please get in touch with us via our contact form or give us a ring via 0845 458 0250.

Internal barriers to fundraising success – the battle within

Philip Roethenbaugh, a skilled fundraiser and our expert/go-to Associate Consultant for fundraising services shares his considerable knowledge with fundraisers via a series of blogs. This is the fourth and final in the current series of blogs.

The battle within – internal barriers to fundraising success

In 15 years working as a fundraiser in charities large and small, the greatest challenges on most occasions were not

  • the economy
  • donor apathy,
  • difficulty finding and retaining good staff
  • having an emotive cause to tell donors about.

The most common –  and energy sapping  – challenge is gaining and retaining the co-operation of colleagues in other departments, senior management and trustees.

Don’t complain – get buy-in

Without emotional buy-in and practical commitment to fundraising from colleagues and volunteers, the fundraisers will always be working with one hand tied behind their backs.

The hurdles can take many shapes. They might include a lack of understanding or disinterest in donor’s needs, to low levels of co-operation when trying to get ‘raw material’ for your case for support. The most difficult to overcome is a wobbly or non-existent business plan, leaving you with no foundation for your case to donor ‘investors’.

I am not here to give fundraisers licence to complain to colleagues.

Ultimately you must work with what you can get. But fundraisers must express their professional needs (the tools you require to get the job done), firmly and constructively.

Time dedicated to creating an environment that is more friendly to fundraising, is time very well spent.

Let’s look at some of the reasons for this strife and some possible solutions.

  1. A misunderstanding of what fundraising truly is

Like a lot of fundraisers, I used to see myself as Robin Hood. Taking from the rich and giving to the needy. This is entirely wrong.

A fundraiser’s skill is in what they can GIVE to a donor, not what cash they can take.

Non-fundraising colleagues may see fundraising in a Dickensian vein – fundraiser as Oliver Twist with a begging bowl.

This view is even more damaging, as it describes a one-way process in which the person asking is totally lacking in power.  Who wants to be a beggar?

Too many charity staff view fundraising as a necessary evil, like having to call the plumber in to unblock a toilet!  No, no, no!

Fundraising it is at the very heart of this thing we call ‘charity’. It’s about making a precious connection between those with a need (beneficiary) and those with the means to meet that need (the donor).

It’s a fundraiser’s responsibly to promote this healthier and more accurate picture. There is no quick fix, but a fun and engaging fundraising induction process, for all staff and volunteers is a great place to start.

  1. Lack of professional respect

Within the voluntary sector, there are two kinds of professionals.

Those that work directly with services users / carrying out charitable purposes (social worker, scientist, teacher etc) and those who do a job in support of that first group (accountant, fundraiser, IT worker etc).

Almost without exception, the first category are looked on as ‘heroes’ within the charity (no problem with that!).

However, ‘support staff’ are too often taken for granted, or in the worst case, seen as a terrible ‘drain’ on income. This is nonsense. Of course overhead must be justifiable, but each half depends on the other to get results. Like two blades in a pair of scissors or two wings on a plane.

Fundraisers should lead the way in advocating for mutual respect across the departments, seeking to influence senior management and trustee behaviour in this area.  Creating ‘buddy’ links between teams can be an effective way to build respect and co-operation.

  1. Lack of commitment at senior level

If the first two factors exist, chances are that this third factor is in play too. It may be the cause or symptom. Either way, if your chair of trustees and CEO do not have much time or interest in the fundraising function, it will struggle to perform.  I say ‘function’ rather than fundraising. All CEOs and trustees are interesting in fundraising performance. Fewer, however, want to get involved in the process.

But involvement is essential. This is because fundraising is very much a team sport. To mix metaphors, there are certain ‘roles’ that have to be played by non-fundraising people. For example, a wealthy donor is going to want to meet the organ-grinder (not the monkey). There are few things more painful, for a fundraiser, that sitting alongside a bored CEO, across the table from a keen major donor prospect.

Then there is the budget round. Enthusiasm for and commitment to fundraising (in the good times and bad times) is essential to get the long-range investment needed to grow income, on a sustainable basis.To use a biblical phase, one should not “muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain”. Or to put it another way, its illogical and wrong to send the team that raise most (or all) of the money to the back of the queue, when resources are being distributed.

In terms of solutions, for those leaders that are not naturally enamoured by the prospect of going out into the world to ask for financial support, my advice is to appeal to issues closer to their heart. Make the connection between fundraising’s success and their pet interest.


As a consultant, I’ve worked with dozens of charities, varying hugely in size and cause, but one constant remains – those charities in which fundraising is valued as a professional skill-set and colleagues are well informed and co-operative, succeed.

Learn to love fundraising and it becomes the charity’s heartbeat.

Some recommended further reading:

  • ‘Relationshift’ Revolutionary Fundraising’ by by Michael BassoffSteve Chandler (Robert Reed Publishers) 2010. Simply the best book for debunking damaging fundraising myths.
  • ‘The Porcupine Principle’ by Jonathan Farnhill (pub. DCS) – Equally insightful and entertaining. Clearly explains fundraising’s role in the big picture.

About Purple Vision & Fundraising

Purple Vision has a long pedigree of fundraising – we say it’s part of our DNA.  Our expertise is in the intersection between fundraising and technology – translating both specialist areas into practical solutions.  But behind that is our vision to support charities to set the right direction and strategy to achieve their goals – on a day to day, weekly and monthly basis, as they stride towards achieving the big, hairy, audacious goal that is your vision and mission.   Our fundraising consultancy services cover a wide range of areas from the strategic and visionary to the practical and data driven. Our expert team speak fluent non-profit and are on hand to share their expertise as you need it.  Get in touch if you’d like to know more.