The ever-moving world of individual giving can seem overwhelming. But a lot of the principles never change. Don’t get left behind. These five do or dies will help you stay on track.
In recent years the direct marketing channel mix has transformed enormously. But in many ways, things haven’t changed much at all. Are regular gifts still the backbone of many charities? Yes. Do supporters still feel moved by strong propositions from worthy causes? Absolutely. So, why then are the number of people giving regularly down for third year running?(1) If people are still people, and fundraisers are still fundraisers, surely we can crack this new world and continue to connect committed supporters to our amazing causes?
1. Invest in insight
Audience insight doesn’t have to be expensive. We have so much knowledge at our fingertips without even realising it. From email surveys and phone calls with existing supporters to check-ins with our Supporter Care teams – there is a wealth of insight just waiting to be scooped up. Knowing our audiences’ wants and needs will mean more informed campaigns, higher quality supporters and all in all better results. What’s not to love?
2. Grow in-house digital expertise
We all know that the move from offline to online is well on its way. And though offline activity is still incredibly important to our bottom line, more and more we are seeing response to this work on our web donation pages. And then we have to consider pure online engagement. Being dependent on external support can be too expensive and time consuming for many organisations. We can achieve a lot in-house with a bit of skills development. Invest in your staff. You won’t regret it.
3. Don’t be afraid to try new things
Exploration can be scary but burying your head in the sand is a sure way to meet disaster. Create a unicorn fund. A small part of your budget kept especially for higher risk experimentation into new channels/products/audiences/insert as appropriate. Your campaigns may just reach individuals beyond the usual suspects. And, if this exploration is digital, the beautiful thing is that if it doesn’t work you can switch it off in an instant.
4. Be creative, don’t follow the pack
For too long the charity donation pie has remained static. Why? Because too many of us are using the same techniques to steal one another’s donors. If we want to stand out, we have to be bold. And, the more authentic our proposition, the more successful it’ll be and the harder it’ll be for others to pinch.
5. Think outside of the box
Whether it be internal structures or how our audiences financially support our work. Each charity operation has a unique set of challenges which need unique solutions. Move beyond the status quo. Challenge it. Media consumption of today is vastly different to even 5 years ago. Pairing this with evolving giving habits, we must ask ourselves; how do our audiences want to engage us with today? This move towards diversification could make space for new income streams while giving our supporters control over their giving. Just because we’ve always structured our teams a certain way, doesn’t mean a better way isn’t possible. We may find a set up that’s far more effective. It’s all to play for.