How to raise money from high net worth individuals using digital

Charities don’t have to just dream about attracting a major donor to their cause – a bit of planning and strategic know-how can go a long way to getting high value donors to fuel your mission.

Chrissy Chiu | 9th Sep 19

This year’s Sunday Times Giving List revealed the generosity of the UK’s millionaires – rising to £3.75 billion given away by over 300 philanthropists. More than ever, charities are finding it important to attract high-net worth and ‘major’ donors. But with fewer people giving bigger sums, competition can be intense. Here are some tips and insights into how charities  can make the most of major giving opportunities.


> See also: New eBook helps charities grow their fundraising with data


1 – Know your donation base

The building blocks to targeting high net worth individuals and major donors should start with a close inspection of the existing donation base. CRM systems like Zoho and Salesforce, have special packages for charities and can help charities large and small keep track of donor activity. This way you can understand what constitutes a major donor for your organisation, and identify the potential areas where they might want to give or can have the biggest impact.

Even with a small team, charities can start to look at giving profiles and ask:

  • Who is donating?
  • How often do donors give?
  • When are they giving?
  • Where are they coming from/what are they donating through?

Digging deeper, by focusing on the top 10% or 20% of individuals or organisations, charity fundraising teams can understand the giving preferences and habits of high net worth and major donors and build a plan around them.

Sector reports such as CAF’s UK Giving Report are worth keeping an eye on – the average amounts donated range from a low of £31 in March to more than double in December at £67. Timely communications and digital campaigns targeted at major donors should maximise sector trends.


2 – Utilise the power of social media

French investment bank BNP Paribas’ high-profile global report on philanthropy showed the power of social media with  300 high net worth individuals who have each amassed at least $5 million in assets.

In Europe, 49% of those major donors surveyed use social media regularly. Social media can help showcase your impact and increase visibility. With the help of online influencers, connections to major donors could be cultivated.

To grow their potential base of major donors, entrepreneur Rob Moore explains how charities can also start using LinkedIn to do their research and reach out.


3 – Plan for the long term

The NVCO advises that building relationships with high net work individuals and major donors takes time and effort.

Once a donation has been made, remember to keep the relationship going through preferred digital channels, on a one to one basis. Experts like TechSoup, NVCO, and philanthropy advisers all agree – demonstrating authenticity is key to cultivating the relationship over time.

“There is a huge focus on transparency of impact – people want the context and they also want statistical feedback on where and how their engagement has made a difference,” advises James Gadsby Peet, Director of Digital at William Joseph, a digital branding agency William Joseph.

A fundraising strategy around high net worth individuals should be tailored and highly personalised, giving prospects as much behind the scenes information as possible into the impact of their donation.


> See also: Report reveals lack of digital fundraising strategy among charities


4 – Use specialised digital donation platforms

There are now quite a few specialised, ‘disruptive’ platforms catered to large donors that charities can tap into. US-based Epic Foundation backs pre-vetted NGOs and impact organisations, providing donors with the ability to follow the story of digital giving. Testing out new technologies, the firm is also using VR to film activities afar, in the hopes of motivating further funding.

The Big Give digitally matches donors with causes. Recently, the digital fundraising platform raised over three times the requested amount for WWF’s Snow Leopard, reaching £305,000. Other platforms like the Good Exchange have raised significant amounts by simplifying the grant process – Thames Hospice has raised £13 million for a single project.