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Christmas Challenge 2013: Another year for WLT and the Big Give? You tell us!

25 January, 2013 - 15:55 -- World Land Trust
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Christmas Challenge 2013: Another year for WLT and the Big Give? You tell us!

For the past two years, World Land Trust (WLT) has raised a considerable sum of money in a short space of time thanks to Big Give’s Christmas Challenge. However, before we commit to taking part in 2013, we are asking our supporters’ opinions about the Challenge and future appeals.

There is a link to an online questionnaire at the end of this page, and we hope our supporters will complete the survey. (You don't have to have donated to the Big Give to complete it.) However, before clicking on the survey, please read the following article which explains our reasons for the questionnaire.

The purpose of Big Give is to attract new donors and to raise significant funding for a charity project in a short space of time, with all online donations being matched.

However, the structure of the matching involves WLT supporters making advance pledges plus online donations during the Big Give week, so the proportion of external match funding from the Big Give’s Charity Champions is in fact only 25%.

We have also found that for us the annual event attracts relatively few new donors: in 2012 just nine new supporters. We are also, of course, competing against other charities for the matching funds, and we have found that these run out very quickly, with our Challenge open for not much longer than three hours in 2012.

Should WLT go it alone this year?

We have had suggestions that WLT could fund its own fundraising campaign along the lines of the Big Give, by inviting our supporters to pledge to match funds raised during a specific time period.

Clearly there are pros and cons, but two of our donors have neatly summed up the two sides of the argument.

"Why not choose a better time of year, ie not Christmas? Maybe more like October, so that it doesn't clash with any other major events such as Children In Need?" (Dominic Belfield, WLT supporter)

Dominic Belfield, on the one hand, believes now is the time for WLT to run its own Challenge. If WLT can find funders to put up £30,000, he suggests, then an email to all WLT supporters requesting donations to match this seed money would work just as well.

Dominic believes that with a longer donations period – not just three hours over three days – WLT will have a rewarding response, as well as being free from Big Give’s admin fees of 4%.

Dominic also argues that with a longer time period in which to donate, people who don't want to make online payments can donate by credit card or send a cheque through the post. At the same time, those that are happy to make online payments don’t have to jump through hoops to make a donation, and to compete with other charities.

He also queries the timing of the Big Give: “Why not choose a better time of year, ie not Christmas? Maybe more like October, so that it doesn't clash with any other major events such as Children In Need?”

"This is really an excellent way to contribute knowing that one's gift is doubled and then topped with Gift Aid… Yes to having another 'BG' Event next year." (John Smart, WLT supporter)

John Smart, on the other hand, tells us: “This is really an excellent way to contribute knowing that one's gift is doubled and then topped with Gift Aid.”

For John this is a worthwhile event. The Big Give website worked reasonably well in 2012 and even referring back to 2011 when their website did have problems, he comments the “determined won through”. He goes on to say: “Yes to having another 'BG' Event next year.”

So, what do you think?

Should we continue to take part in the 2013 Big Give Christmas Challenge? Or should we take on the challenge and extra commitment of running one ourselves?

Please complete our simple questionnaire to let us know your views as we will base our 2013 decision on your responses. It will only take a few minutes and you don't have to have donated to WLT to take part.

Complete the online questionnaire here »


Submitted by Chris Redston on

Of course, running the WLT's own challenge would be great, but then you don't get the matched funding ie the extra 25%, which is part of the point. I'd suggest that you didn't try for quite so much money next time and also talk to the Big Give about which pot you are going to be in. Some were still doubling donations literally days later, even though our pot ran out very quickly.
I think it's also worth pointing out that the Big Give also encourages existing supporters to give more money than they might otherwise do, simply because the reward at the end is to get the 25% that doesn't come from WLT supporters. If all the money was matched by WLT supporters, then why don't all the donors just give it all anyway? There doesn't seem to be any added value.
I also think that perhaps in both years you've overestimated the amount you can raise in the time available, so that raising £90k in 3 days is seen - and, crucially, put across to members - as a failure, not the success it actually is. Note that FFI raised about the same as we did, FOTE a bit less, WWT a bit more - all big-hitting charities with a much bigger supporter base than the WLT.
Another thing that would maybe help is if there are partners / supporters who want to donate biggish sums, but aren't able to be at their computers at 10 am, then people at WLT could collect their payment information and someone in the office could donate using their information (as long as everyone trusts each other, of course!).
So, if it were up to me, I'd do it for, say, £100k, for the Save-An-Acre fund - I think that is an easier message to get across to people and would make it easier to attract pledges prior to the Big Give period. And if you want to run your own in, say, June so there are two opportunities per year for people to double, then go for it.

Submitted by Sue Armstrong on

Just what does "matching" mean here? Clearly not what I mean by "matching", if the value added is 21-25% (both figures quoted above). I for one was totally put off by the 2011 experience. My two young sons really wanted to help wildlife & donated massively from recent birthday money. Their money was indeed matched, but only by my own, since the "available" funding dries up ridiculously quickly. I think the system was better explained this year, but a 10am start suits few givers, and the system is still not terribly transparent.
We'll go on fundraising for WLT, but not through the "BG". A DIY event at a better time of year would be great, but I do appreciate the points made by others in the opposite direction.

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