Why it is time fundraisers embraced lifestyle giving
Bianca Mitchell, Partnerships Director at Savoo, explains what lifestyle giving is and why 2019 presents new opportunities for the fundraising channel.
Lifestyle giving has been gathering pace as an important fundraising channel year on year, quickly becoming a common term among many charities throughout the sector. The practice involves an act of giving made through existing payment habits. For us at Savoo, that’s every time a user shops and saves online, and at online booking platform ChariTable, that’s every time you book a restaurant.
This fundraising channel, which we see as still in its infancy, was the focus of two productive meetings which took place last year. During these meetings our group decided on a definition of what lifestyle giving is: “The act of giving to a cause through a behavioural action that raises money for charity through a third party, such as a product, service or platform.”
This definition aims to add clarity to this channel for the wider public and charities alike. The term ‘lifestyle’ aims to highlight the ease for the general public to incorporate charity into their existing lifestyle and behaviours. Why is this concept important? It’s crucial for charities to diversify their income stream in line with the changing landscape, the rise in millenial givers and digital donations.
This concept also provides an opportunity for third parties to incorporate lifestyle giving into their corporate fundraising model with a clearer understanding. Our role at Savoo was key in getting the lifestyle giving ball rolling.
Small changes that make a big difference
Everyday habits of consumers are extremely powerful and amount to a huge impact when lots of people make these small changes, as leading mental health charity Mind said at the group meeting. It’s for this reason that we think lifestyle giving can be an incredibly reliable income stream, providing a low effort way of raising funds from a group of people that may not actively give to charity.
In fact, we see the potential for tapping into a brand new donor audience through the lifestyle giving avenue as huge. Some charities have been exploring this concept by running a lifestyle giving strategy alongside their existing fundraising channels, working digitally to bring in an entirely new donor pool.
Digital donors are typically younger, providing a vital way in for charities to establish a sense of ‘brand loyalty’ among a younger generation – crucial for the future of any charity. Effectively, the concept is a win-win for both parties. The donor can give in a way that suits them and without deviating from their original task, while charities can enjoy a steady stream of donations as well as gaining access to a wider audience.
'Let’s not forget about existing supporters'
We know lifestyle giving is an extremely useful tool for reaching out to a new donor base, but how can we encourage existing supporters to donate outside of their regular giving channels?
Will the rise in popularity of lifestyle giving risk other donation channels being cannibalised? The need to develop an easy-to-implement model that can encourage existing supporters to use it in addition to traditional fundraising methods rather than instead of is crucial.
One opinion raised at the group meeting was from a representative of personal development charity BIRD, who said that there is a concern that donors are becoming slightly fatigued by all the good causes who are trying to win their support. This is a concern that we think the charity industry needs to address as opposed to lifestyle giving suppliers – charities need to bear in mind how their time and money is spent and which channels have the potential to add the most value.
The progress of lifestyle giving in becoming a worthy fundraising channel in the last couple of years cannot be understated. Facebook, one of the biggest companies globally, has already implemented two charitable features – the donate button and a function allowing users to ask for charitable donations for a charity of their choice on their birthday – and this is only the beginning.
That said, there’s still a way to go until it becomes a part of everyday life. With unrestricted access to an engaged audience, charities themselves need to be championing this idea.
Plans for 2019
For the group, this year will be about helping charities sell into stakeholders and apply strategies within their organisations, as well as raising awareness among consumers and the wider public. We want lifestyle giving to become normal, with it one day becoming unusual for anyone to shop online without it.
In 2019 we plan to publish a best practice document that will help charities sell in and implement lifestyle giving internally. We also aim to increase the group’s online presence in the form of a website with helpful information, updated content and a directory of providers that fall under the lifestyle giving umbrella.
Want to help shape the future of lifestyle giving? Our group is made up of various individuals including charity representatives and companies driving donations via a form of lifestyle giving. Get in touch with me for more information.
Bianca Mitchell, Partnerships Director, Savoo