What’s Leading Fundraising Practice & Innovation Worldwide?
22 October 2013 at 8:52 am
Multichannel marketing, mobile donations and impact investment are proving a success for European Not for Profits, writes World Vision Australia Digital Channels Manager Stephen Ellis from the International Fundraising Congress in the Netherlands.
A consistent narrative across all sessions at the International Fundraising Congress is that fundraising is getting harder.
The conference, held annually in the Netherlands, showcases leading practice and innovation from around the world.
About 950 fundraisers from 60 countries attended this year's congress, which consisted of workshops and keynote presentations over four days last week.
The topics covered included everything from the latest in donor acquisition and retention tactics to organisational leadership.
However the common theme was that charities are finding new supporters harder and more expensive to acquire, as well as retain.
Unlike previous years where shiny objects such as social media were heralded as the future alternative to traditional tactics such as direct mail and telemarketing, it is clear the sector is maturing as it becomes increasingly channel agnostic.
This more mature approach to fundraising does not require charities to do away with what works, but rather build upon that foundation to better engage people on their terms.
In response to the challenge of fundraising becoming harder, a number of European-based charities are finding success through innovation, of which there are three key themes.
Multichannel marketing involves using multiple channels together to reach and influence. It adds complexity designed to match the real world multichannel media environment.
Maia Kahlke-Mikkelsen from Greenpeace shared a campaign that used traditional media to generate non-financial leads then followed up by telemarketing with a 21 per cent conversion rate. Leads not converted were offered a secondary non-financial ask to keep them warm and followed up again with a financial ask at a later date.
Success involves developing at an engagement curve that starts with non-financial asks before actively moving people towards regular giving. This means planning activity that supports outcomes at each stage of the engagement process.
Multichannel marketing is yet to take-off in Australia for two reasons; internal and a fear of investing marketing budgets in media activity that might not have an immediate financial return.
The first challenge can be overcome with strong process and a little thoughtfulness. Overcoming the second challenge will take intestinal fortitude and willingness to test and learn over time.
Having petitioned the government and telecommunication industry successfully, charities in the United Kingdom are using Premium SMS (PSMS) to great effect with more £1 million raised.
According to Tim Longfoot from Open Fundraising, PSMS is a game changer as it replicates the ease with which someone can place loose change in a tin, whereas online donations of forms rarely takes less than five minutes.
The UK are now offering people the ability to pledge monthly donations via SMS, as well as using it as a communications and lead generation tool.
Tim rightly stated that it’s imperative for Australian charities to follow the UK’s lead and work together to petition the government and telecommunication industry to allow access to PSMS services.
In addition to PSMS, charities should also be moving to website designed for a positive mobile experience as many charities have now reported up to 20 per cent of their website traffic coming from mobile devices. This is especially if looking to incorporate multichannel activity into the mix.
Growth of Impact Investment
Philanthropists are increasingly using financial acumen and investment skills to decide which cases to support.
The difference between philanthropy and investment is the later requires demonstrable social and financial return.
With J.P Morgan and the Rockerfella Foundation forecasting that $183-$667 billion will be invested in causes in the next 10 years, there is a significant opportunity for charities globally.
According to Patrick Elmer from Credit Suisse, High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) are increasingly looking for investment opportunities with social impact. This is now being referred to as impact investment.
To decide which causes to support, HNWI are looking at social impact, financial return and liquidity.
This is a new way of thinking for charities and there will be much to be gain by those charities that can pivot and successfully pitch projects based on the needs of impact investors.
About the author: Stephen Ellis has more than 15 years experience in marketing communications working with business, government and Not for Profit organisations. He is currently the Digital Channels Manager at World Vision Australia.