At the recent iFundraising conference in London, Carolyn Causton, marketing manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, delivered a seminar on generating donors via email. Charity Digital News was there to catch up with Carolyn afterwards.
In what ways is it a challenge to generate donors through email?
I think basically it’s because we have to think differently. At Alzheimer’s Research UK we have a much older demographic, we are used to people who respond to offline. When we’ve tested in the past, looking at the younger generation, they don’t seem to engage in the cause in the same way. So by using the value exchange method we have managed to get them to hand raise.
What are your top tips for charities trying to grow their supporter base through email?
Look at where your supporters are. What interests them? It’s worth giving the value exchange method a try. If you’ve got something you can offer first, it’s adds a reciprocal element that will get people to show an interest in your charity.
Would you say that charities are overestimating the power of social media?
Our Facebook community is growing and we have a massive Twitter following. That’s because people are interested in the outcomes of what we’re doing. The knock on effect of that fundraising-wise is still building, but the important thing for us is that we get the information out there to show what we’re doing is bringing results.
Social media is very important to us because we can respond really quickly. If there is an announcement from a researcher in America who says they have discovered something, we can comment on it straight away. By doing that we are building our credibility as a source and that will help build fundraising.
We shouldn’t ever write anything off. Change is happening at such a pace. To dismiss things would be damaging; we’ve got to move with the times.
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