Seize these five opportunities
Navigating GDPR has been at times confusing, frustrating and stressful but the good news is that it challenges fundraisers to push innovation further and seize opportunities. What does the future hold now that we have pulled ourselves over the start line of GDPR?
The IoF Strategy Forum workshopped five key opportunity areas for better fundraising and what realising them might mean for fundraising.
Sometimes the problems we face are too big for one organisation to tackle on its own. Often these challenges are experienced similarly by every charity, each trying to find its own way to overcome them. By collaborating we can achieve effective solutions without duplicated effort and expense.
There are opportunities for us to collaborate around a specific cause or issue; or reach new audiences and drive an increase in overall income to the sector (at the moment the UK public gives just 0.4% of GDP to charity).
The challenge to collaborate is familiar: how can we coordinate large banks of stakeholders with differing views and risk appetite; and how can we overcome the anxiety of sharing information?
The challenge is real but not insurmountable as Good Innovation has proved in the Good Lab initiative over the past two years. The IoF is continually looking at ways to facilitate collaboration.
New funding models
The limitations in traditional fundraising channels has given rise to new funding models.
Some charities, such as CRUK, RNLI and British Red Cross have successfully commercialised their existing assets to achieve both money and mission.
Others have created new mass participation products with a clear value exchange for supporters as demonstrated by Scope’s Mindful Monsters.
And there are opportunities for charities to partner with commercial organisations given the critical importance of corporate social purpose.
To unlock new models, charities may need to relax conventional ROI targets and invest beyond a one-year window. Entrepreneurial capabilities will be ever more valuable.
Better data means supporters will be leaning in rather than passive. This presents the opportunity to have more authentic relationships, actively engaging people with the cause. This in turn will mean supporters become long term advocates for the charity and feel part of the team.
In many charities, competing silos still exist and there is no single view of supporters. Delivering supporter experiences, truly engaging storytelling and achieving meaningful interactions requires time and new capabilities.
New supporter acquisition is a bigger challenge than ever and likely to be a hot topic in the coming year.
Improving the perception
Public trust in the charity sector has been weakened in the last few years which of course makes fundraising more challenging. There is a need for us to proactively change perception. Have we really responded comprehensively to criticism?
Now is the time to gain a deeper understanding of the public’s view of charities and what really matters to them. Could we create a sector wide campaign that demonstrates the critical role charities play in society? Could we work together to increase the 0.4% of GDP the public currently gives?
Changing the culture
Change won’t happen without a culture shift within organisations, particularly among leadership. As a sector, we rightly encourage risk aversion in certain areas to safeguard people and precious resources. But this is not universally good advice. Risk aversion in fundraising is self-defeating; we can (and we must) be bolder with our fundraising. We can (and we must) become more confident in our brands.
People’s expectations are changing, we are living in an increasingly digital world and there is increasing competition in the social sector. Staying still and doing nothing may be the biggest risk of all.
And so above all we must embrace innovation. The future is indeed bright; but only if we choose to make it bright.
Janine Chandler, Partner, Good Innovation
Rob Alcroft, Killer Creative, Chair of IoF Strategy Forum
If you're an IoF Organisational Member and would like to be involved in our next Strategy Forum, please register with Kate at KateD@institute-of-fundraising.org.uk