As we leave behind the difficult period of the Covid-19 pandemic, only to face fresh issues in the shape of rising inflation and diminishing disposable income, planning now and preparing thorough, robust strategies and campaigns can make all the difference.
So, here are our top ten tips for potent approaches to boosting charity donations:
1. Know what you stand for – it’s easy to stray from a chosen path as causes evolve and your charity grows. To make an impact and take correct decisions everyone at your organisation must understand why it exists. So ask them, and pay attention to what they think.
2. Understand your audience – who’s most likely to agree with your core purpose and support you? Pinning down donors’ needs, motivations and behaviours through audience insight will ensure they continue to give.
3. Don’t forget future donors – donor power doesn’t lie solely with over-50s. Millennials are reaching 40, and 40% of them say they’ll increase gifts in future. Gen Z are also donating in large numbers. Don’t ignore them; instead, develop relevant products, services and donor journeys.
4. See facts as your friend – it’s vital to use all of the information available from multiple sources to understand how and why people interact with your organisation. Look for trends, ask copious questions.
5. Myth bust your story – what can you improve? Start from a viewpoint of what’s been tried before and how those strategies could be better by following steps 1 to 4 above.
6. Seek strategic agreement – actively involve all of your people from the outset to seek buy-in, allowing them to discuss and challenge your collective mission through dialogue and workshops.
7. Plan for the unknown – who could have predicted the scale of upheaval and loss of income during the pandemic? The same can be said for new problems to come as the cost of living crisis starts to bite. Scenario planning; emergency structures; an agile approach; and, above all, a clear vision to regroup around, will all help you prepare for future crises.
8. Be prepared to fail – empowering people to take risks means things will go wrong – but that’s fine. Enable funding for experimentations, taking a test-and-learn approach that can inform and refine your strategy via collaboration across the whole team.
9. Swap whiteboard for real world – your strategy will not succeed unless you bring it to life, every employee can articulate it, and they know their role in making it happen. Explain the vision, the data and the feedback from across the organisation that brought you to this point.
10. Stay flexible and open-minded – there will never be one fixed fundraising strategy. Flexibility and agility are key as audience needs and behaviours change. Measurement against clear KPIs and feeding learnings back into the strategy as you go are the true foundations of success.
John Eversley is managing director and Claire Daniels is fundraising strategy director at WPNC