How to stay sharp in an ever-changing donor landscape

How to stay sharp in an ever-changing donor landscape

CharityJob | 29 April 2019

CharityJob’s Stephanie Dotto takes a look at the latest trends and developments that are impacting how donors interact and donate to their chosen causes.

There’s been a lot of conversation recently around millennials and their impact on the non-profit sector. Accounting for a quarter of the world’s population, they’re changing the way we connect and communicate, driving more social responsibility and shaping the global economy for years to come. In other words, they’re kind of a big deal.

And with so many non-profits vying for the support of UK public, it’s more important than ever to examine how millennials have shifted the way charities appeal to donors. Just think about how much of what we do as fundraisers is concentrated in the digital space. That’s why constantly evolving your skillset and building on your marketing savvy is so vital to your fundraising success.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about the modern donor landscape (and ways to tailor your skills to stay on top of the game).

This is the age of instant gratification

When the world experiences disaster, we’re moved by an emotional desire to do our bit as quickly as possible. People expect to be able to make donations on the go, and the key to mobile giving engagement lies in that feeling of accomplishment a donor gets when they click the ‘donate’ button.

Social giving is a great tool for feeding that instant gratification, so the more you understand about your social media channels, the better your results will be. Learn how to monitor your brand, stay on top of what’s trending and react quickly. Your online community is already engaged with you, which means you can transform every interaction into an opportunity to support your cause. Try adding a social giving link to your emails, posts and tweets, or add a ‘donate now’ button to your Facebook page. Or consider starting a partnership with an influencer who can appeal directly to their fanbase.

There are a literally thousands of charities out there

With nearly 200,000 registered charities in the UK alone, there’s a strong chance you’re competing for the same donations. Think about all the heart-wrenching appeals for help you’ve worked on in your career. Are they really yielding the same results as they used to?

Storytelling is the most effective technique for engaging donors, and part of that story is seeing the tangible difference a donation makes. Steer clear of the guilt-ridden pleas and focus on human stories of triumph instead. They create a deeper emotional connection because they link back to that feel-good sensation that comes with donating. And being able to tell that story effectively is an important skill to have as a fundraiser.

Do market testing and figure out what narratives your donors are responding to. Split test campaigns to get better insights for your fundraising strategy. The more adept you are at analysing the successes and failures of your campaigns, the more valuable you’ll be to your organisation.

People can spot generic messaging a mile away

It’s no surprise that our online behaviours shape the sort of marketing we see. So when a less-than-personalised ad pops up in our news feed, we’re likely to brush it off as lazy ad targeting.

The same is true of fundraising. Online donors know you have access to crucial data, which is why your communication needs to cater to their unique interests. Using platforms like Google Analytics allows you to understand what type of content your donors engage with and spot trends in giving habits. You can then customise your messaging to make it feel more personalised to them.

Retargeting is a great tool for matching your campaigns to your audience through their social media and search histories. According to Adroll, only 2% of people convert on their first visit – retargeting engages the other 98%. In other words, the more you know, the easier it is to tailor your appeals to diverse range of people.

Want to find out how you can develop some of these skills? Take a look at the courses available. Find a new role that makes the most of your skills on the CharityJob page.

Stephanie Dotto, Content and SEO Lead at CharityJob


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