Jessica Frost, Fundraising Manager with Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia, sat down with F&P to discuss how she managed to organise a successful tax appeal on a tiny budget and what she will be talking about at her upcoming FIA Conference. 

With most of my fundraising experience within the walls of one large NFP, I was a little shocked to find that things I took for granted in my previous roles, didn’t exist elsewhere. How do you fundraise without a web team, a database or even a fundraising strategy?

I faced my first tax appeal season, as a new fundraising manager of a small NGO, with big goals to not only prove myself but to make a difference for an organisation that is making a real impact on the survival of orangutans.

I looked at the fundraising plan – there were no budget forecasts and no strategy. There were no comparisons on previous year’s performance. I didn’t know anything about the donors – there was no literally no CRM. All our data existed in the back end of the website – that I had no clue how to navigate.

I had a budget of less than $2,000! – for the whole tax appeal, including a direct mail component. I was used to a budget of 30 times that amount for direct mail as a stand-alone.  I knew that I’d have to rely heavily on digital, but without the agency spend I was used to and creating all my content.

I had no idea what areas of our work that were the most inspiring to our donors. My experience was that stories about children and women usually have the most impact – all I had to work with now were orangutans (adorable and loveable but would donors respond?). We needed to be relevant in the sector – with no budget and with little information on our donors. How would my little NFP, with only two part-time staff (including me) and strict budget limitations, have any cut-through at the busiest giving period of the year?

I realised quickly there was only one way to make this work, and hope for success – collaboration and testing. I’ve always felt that the best work is done when our fundraising suppliers are treated as partners. A frank and open conversation with an existing supplier of BOSA, yielded not only a way forward and the opportunity to do more than I ever imagined.

I’m excited to be presenting at the upcoming FIA Conference in March 2018. In my presentation, I’ll share how, despite big technical challenges and little to no budget, we had a successful tax appeal.

At the FIA Conference, I’ll detail how using a suite of customised donation pages across numerous digital channels; we were able to double our click to donate rate and how we reduced our drop off rate at the donation page.

I’ll also show you what type of headings in emails got more clicks and how a concerted email strategy got results especially at the critical part of the campaign

For a small NFP, doubling our click to donate rate has a dramatic impact on our ability to save and rehabilitate orangutans. It can cost $10,000 to rehabilitate just one orangutan and with over 600 orangutans in our care and with over 30 orphans arriving each year – we have a big task ahead of us at BOS Australia.

I’m looking forward to sharing how, our small NFP, is getting results and your organisation can too. We’re dedicated to raise the funds needed to help these orangutans through to release in the wild and our generous donors are helping make that happen. Hope to see you there!


Jessica Frost is the Fundraising Manager with Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia. She has been in the NFP sector for 10 years – most of that time with Amnesty International. Jessica is passionate about excellent storytelling and for the last two years has been writing for various organisations across Australia. She will be presenting at the FIA Conference 2018 (7-9 March 2018, Sydney) on How to turn $1,500 into a record breaking tax appealDiscounted early bird tickets are available until 15 December at


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