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Research reveals new givers ripe for targeting


15 June 2022 at 4:29 pm
Danielle Kutchel
Responsive donors could be the key to helping charities and not for profits recover some of the fundraising pool lost to COVID.


Danielle Kutchel | 15 June 2022 at 4:29 pm


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Research reveals new givers ripe for targeting
15 June 2022 at 4:29 pm

Responsive donors could be the key to helping charities and not for profits recover some of the fundraising pool lost to COVID.

Every not for profit wants a stable source of income. But finding that can be like searching for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – an endless treasure hunt.

The answer could lie in responsive donors, according to new research.

Speaking at the recent FIA Conference in Sydney, director and co-founder of More Strategic Gavin Coopey and head of DTV Australia Nicola Long, shared insights from recent research they conducted in the UK and Australia about who responsive givers are, what their giving behaviours look like and how you can tap into them to enhance your donor database.

Who the donors are

The researchers identified a number of different donor groups, all aligned based on age or behaviour:

  • The “engaged flexibles” – an “attitudinal” group interested in giving responsively but not necessarily regular giving. This group is most likely to take political actions, and to be gambling donors. They’re the most likely to have made a gift in their will, give across the year and enjoy the flexibility of giving when they want to.
  • An older demographic, over 65 years of age, characterised by responsiveness but low-value donations. This group is focused on a smaller giving portfolio. They are more likely than other groups to sponsor people doing fundraisers, but less likely to convert to regular giving. They are also engaged with op shops.
  • Donors in the mid-life stage, under 50. A quarter of the people in this demographic give to over five charities per year, and they give “significant” amounts – more than $350 a year. They are the most likely to take part in a fundraising event. They were found to be the most likely to be regular givers and to consider being regular givers in future. This group was found to be the most likely to volunteer in the community, but was also time-poor.

Responsive donors could be found within these groups.

To target responsive donors, Coopey said fundraisers needed to consider their habits and make donation opportunities and appeals available for them year-round. This would tap into the givers’ desire to donate on their own time and terms.

“For those of you that don’t have an emergency giving opportunity, you really need to be thinking, what are the moments in time that are connected to my cause that we can use to engage these responsive donors more? How do we build giving moments across the year that aren’t necessarily just the simple four-appeals-a-year done in the times that we always do?” Coopey told the audience.

“Mix it up, have some different opportunities, different ways of giving.”

Long added that it was “time to fall back in love with our responsive donors”.

“They are a huge, very valuable segment,” she said.

“They give very generously… so they can be just as valuable as our regular givers over the lifetime. They support and take action in many different ways, including in addition to their donation.”

The benefit in targeting responsive donors

And responsive donors might even be ready for an upgrade, if an organisation can target them appropriately. Coopey noted that responsive givers were after flexibility in how and when they donate – but that that wasn’t to say they couldn’t be converted into regular givers in future.

Another benefit of targeting responsive donations is that with a drop in face-to-face fundraising due to COVID, responsive givers may be able to make up some of the shortfall that charities have experienced in recent years.

Coopey said targeting responsive donors – and converting them into regular givers – meant listening to what they needed in their donation experience. This could mean providing more opportunities for responsive donations to keep them engaged with your organisation.

“The key insight here is if you’re going to change your regular giving program, look to be introducing responsive gift opportunities to your regular giving program. Don’t just fixate on upgrading [to regular giving] because that is not understanding how your supporters interact,” he said.

“Post-COVID, there is a real opportunity – many of those people may have given for the first time to your organisation [during COVID], but they could be regular givers elsewhere and many of them will convert, particularly in that mid-life group who are looking to make more commitments.

“But there are definitely also some groups who just want to be responsive donors, so treat them as such. They will continue giving to you.”


Danielle Kutchel  |  @ProBonoNews

Danielle is a journalist specialising in disability and CALD issues, and social justice reporting.

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