What's next for 2017: Direct marketing fundraising
Stephen Pidgeon takes a look at the coming year and what he believes will be the key considerations for charities and communications...
It’s easy to predict a rush in 2017 towards mass media for the recruitment of new donors.
In the run up to this Christmas, the trains are already full to bursting with charity ads asking for a low value text. Some are asking for that much monthly, others are still using two-stage recruitment and warning that a texted gift signifies permission for a subsequent telephone call and SMS texts.
And I suspect upwards of 50 charities will use television this Christmas period, many for the first time. TV, as long as it is done well, will burgeon in 2017. As will traditional unaddressed mail and inserts - expect to see more next year.
But much of it will fail because charities will underestimate the impact of the national insecurity we will all face. Next year will be the ‘European Spring’ and I promise you, it will be particularly distasteful. Unlike its namesakes – Prague and Arab – this Spring is a lurch to the right, away from the Liberal elites that have been running the world for decades.
Sensible British people, those who make charitable giving an important part of their life, will chunter a lot but they’ll be unable to explain this rightward lurch and the irrational, not to say stupid, decisions it leads to. And, as the pound continues its sticky journey, they will feel poorer.
While people will feel less secure and less liquid, they will feel no less charitable. They will simply be distracted. Charitable messages will need a radical sharpening, not towards harshness or brutality, that would be a disaster. But more clearly showing what the donor will achieve with their donation. More tangibly removing references to the organisation, in favour of the donor’s impact on the recipient. And the feedback that will follow a gift will have to be that much more rewarding to receive.
It currently takes charities far more than a year to achieve a change of message but without it, and in a year like 2017 that will be unlike any other year, fundraising will fail.
Stephen Pidgeon, fundraising consultant and IoF Fellow
Stephen was writing in a guest capacity