Representatives from across the charity sector and those with an interest in good causes gathered this week in London for the National Fundraising Convention 2015, here’s a round-up of some of Tuesday’s highlights.
The day kicked off with an engaging and humorous talk from Beate Sørum, a consultant at b.bold, on how charities can ethically design their webpage and donation forms to maximise donation levels.
“People like reasons [to donate] so we [charities] should provide some,” she said, but warned “just because you can influence something doesn’t mean that you should.”
Sørum said a “lack of digital money is money that we don’t even know we’re missing out on“, and urged charities to do more to maximise this revenue stream in the best and most responsible way.
One of the biggest suggestions was an overhaul of charity form and donation collection methods to streamline the donation process and make giving easier by engaging with the prospective donor.
Rather than a traditional form, Sørum advocated for a more “conversational approach” to encourage donations, for example using a format of “my name is x, I would like to donate £ weekly/monthly/yearly“.
She concluded that designs that tap into human psychology must ensure people make decisions they always intended to, not to trick them.
They acknowledged the “high digital expectations” of charities as they are compared to the corporate world, which operates on a much higher budget and can often innovate more, but said that despite digital growth “digital channels are nowhere near as popular as traditional methods.”
At present, donor feedback indicates that fundraising requests through digital channels are not as ‘annoying’ as post, over the phone or doorstep call but Harrison questioned whether this would change as digital campaigns become more prevalent.
Kerr advised to any charities looking at overhauling their fundraising programme or increasing their digital presence to consider “what existing options there are out there, and if they can be integrated into the current system“.
For example, charities could integrate existing mobile or crowdfunding platforms rather than designing their own or using a new third party.
She added that a simplified approach can often lead to more success, one example Kerr cited was the development of cashless bucket donations, with a smartphone or contactless card, which are a “simple innovation” but can make a huge difference to how money is raised.
After lunch, Kathryn Brooke from the Disasters Emergency Committee and Oisin Lunny from OpenMarket gave their advice to organisations how to maximise mobile giving platforms and what the future holds.
With more digital savvy ‘millennials’ than ‘baby boomers’ the demographics of those donating to charity is changing and the methods they wish to use to donate are also evolving, they said.
Charities were urged to use “mobile as glue” for donation programmes and communication with past donors to encourage continual giving.
They gave three top tips on how to best use mobile as a platform for generating donations:
- Keep talking – let donors know what the money is doing and introduce them to fresh content such as images or links to personal stories on the website
- Optimise and personalise the interaction – make personalised response messages using names or explaining what their money is being spent on
- Optimise larger mobile donations – ask, in a respectful and tactful way, for further, larger or more regular donations in the ‘thank you’ message, and ask for Gift Aid.
The biggest message from the talk was to keep in contact with donors at least every six months to ensure the continuation of the relationship, this doesn’t have to be asking for money it can be an information message or an update.
To conclude the day, Kate Collins from Teenage Cancer Trust and Douglas Graham from Motor Neurone Disease Association gave their insight into viral social media campaigns: whether they represent a springboard for growth or just a one-off peak in donations.
The speakers, two of the figures behind the most successful campaigns of the last year the Ice Bucket Challenge and Stephen’s Story, stressed that there is no ‘viral button’ and that it is unclear whether a campaign will take off until it does so.
But if and when your charity experiences a peak in social interest in a campaign, they advised to deal with it like a “good emergency“.
From their experiences, Collins and Graham agreed that there is little prospect for a surge in long-term donations but that the instant boost in cash and importantly awareness of the cause from viral campaigns.
Collins warned that during the height of a viral social media campaign the individual charity and wider cause is often not as important to donors as the personal story of a campaign.
She also indicated not to underestimate the impact of peer pressure to get involved in a campaign over a genuine affinity to the cause.
Charities believe corporate fundraising is a key growth area. But recent research by the IoF has revealed that just 7% of charities with a corporate fundraising programme feel that it is “fully developed”. With this in mind, Virgin Money Giving is hosting a series of free live events between 5th and 7th October to help charities grow their corporate fundraising.
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