Given the current climate in the not-for-profit sector, charities all know that it’s really important to say thank you properly to their supporters. Trust in the sector is low and with a looming barrier over communications it’s important that the correspondence charities are allowed to have with their supporters has maximum impact – after all, it could be the last time you speak to them for a while. Yet we ask,
how good is the sector at communicating?
Having connected donors is really important for supporter retention. This is all the more important given uncertainties surrounding Brexit and potential cuts from EU & statutory funding. Individual giving could potentially pick up the slack in this challenging environment, but as a sector charities struggle with retention. Data also shows that existing charity comms are not doing much to encourage donations. According to Mintel, when asked what had encouraged people to give money to charity in the last 12 months charity-led communications, such as a phone call, direct mail, email updates and social media posts, performed poorly. Instead people indicated that they would be much more likely to make a donation based on a referral from friends, colleagues or family members.
When it comes to communication, charities need to ask themselves – what are we trying to achieve and what do our supporters want to see?
four objectives that all charities should aim to achieve in their comms strategy this year.
1. Secure continuing involvement
Mintel reports show that loyalty to a cause is really strong amongst the population. 46% of people participate in fundraising in order to support a particular cause/charity, while 39% of people will act to remember of support a family member/friend. A personal connection to the cause is a really powerful tool for charities and loyalty should be rewarded – even if it sometimes means massaging the egos of supporters.
2. Grow the relationship
Mintel shows that while the proportion of donors have stagnated (not good news for the sector), donors are becoming more generous. While donor number have recovered since the financial downturn of 2008, the latest Mintel report shows that the percentage of donors has stuck at 75% of the population for the last two years. Yet the average amount given to charity has risen by 48% in the last decade.
This shows an increasing need to keep and impress your existing supporters, and in particular show them why you need their
3. Inspire passion for your cause
Again, reports show that the key to success is emphasising the personal benefits of giving. According to Mintel, 26% of people said they feel encouraged to support a charity by the “feel good” factor of fundraising.
Your followers are your biggest brand advocates. If you can inspire them and make them “feel good” you can create a vast influencer network, soliciting support from their friends too.
You could even consider making it slightly competitive – like the American
Charity Miles running app which encourages donations by utilising people’s bragging rights in the running community.
4. Provide tangible benefits
We’re back to the issue of trust that is plaguing the sector. Can you quantify how their support helps in order to demonstrate value? Your supporters want to see numbers, particularly regular supporters – they’ll want to see increasing numbers. One of the things the 21
st century will be remembered for is data. We’ve never before collected or had access to so much data, and as a result supporters expect to see facts and figures.
What charities can learn from Easy Jet
It’s a different sector, with a whole set of other challenges, yet a recent case study we spotted from airline Easy Jet gave us all a lesson in retention – an interesting and clever use of personal data to encourage repeat business.
To celebrate their anniversary, Easy Jet customers were sent a personalised email infographic which entwined the customer’s history with the brand’s story, directly showing how the customer is a part of their success –
a genuine thank you.
The data also added a sense of competition to the story – a subtle suggestion for the customer to increase their spend and
grow the relationship.
Plus, the personalised aspect also led to sharing opportunities on social media, as people share their “journeys” with one another – an opportunity to bring
new customers on board.
Now while there may be an obvious source of data points for an airline (miles flown, cities visited, feet climbed), charities can learn a thing or two from this example.
It’s often not so easy to track a single donation and where it’s ended up, but can you find other ways to quantify the support of your followers? For instance, for an animal welfare charity – how many meals has that provided? How many warm and dry nights have been had as a result? How many paws has the donation crossed?
Quantify the data in a relatable format, with some smart, automated, personalisation and you’ll find yourself with some unique, highly shareable content that will bond you and your supporters ever so slightly more.
Charitable Giving – UK – September 2016
‘How easyJet transformed customer data into emotional anniversary stories’,