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Blog – The Good Exchange reports back from Fundraising Live 2019

Civil Society’s Fundraising Live, designed to give fundraisers a voice on the things that really matter, returned to the ILEC Conference Centre on 7th February 2019.

Paul Amadi, chief supporter officer at the British Red Cross (BRC), gave an interesting presentation at this year’s conference, entitled ‘Is Fundraising Dead?’. Representing the fourth largest humanitarian charity in the UK, Amadi identified that the charitable sector is at what he dubbed an ‘adapt or die’ moment post-GDPR when it comes to donations. In fact, he revealed that regular donors to the BRC have decreased from 200,000 per year to 40,000 in the wake of GDPR coming into effect, and said most new supporters have donated to the charity in response to an emergency appeal. As a result of these changes, the BRC is reconsidering how it can maximise supporter engagement, and is focusing on reaching younger donors and engaging constructively with them. A large part of this effort is being focused on enhancing the user experience journey, encouraging donors to become regular supporters after their initial donation. Amadi also revealed that significant work has been undertaken to measure supporter behaviour and engagement when it comes to satisfaction, trust and commitment.

Also speaking at the conference was Sandra Luther, head of charity partnerships at NASDAQ-listed Blackbaud (JustGiving’s parent company), who presented data from the newly released ‘We Are Social’ Global Digital overview, emphasising the requirement for a ‘Mobile and Social’ first policy. Luther discussed her view that donor retention is harder than ever with 99 lost for every 100 gained, and argued that a generational shift in giving is required to meet current demand. With 71 percent of JustGiving traffic now via mobiles, she went on to discuss generational patterns in giving. (There are around 17 million Generation Z/millennials in the UK, who are giving more to charity than any other demographic). As for measurement, Luther pointed out that 89 percent of non-profits are under pressure to demonstrate impact, yet just half have a digital strategy in place.

In our view, technology offers the solution to the key challenges raised at this year’s Fundraising Live – both in terms of improving donor engagement and the user experience, and in introducing essential transparency and measurement into charitable giving efforts. Technology also crucially facilitates collaboration, which is becoming more important as the trend moves towards project-based fundraising, which has seen a 125% year-on-year growth rate.

As Sarah Luther pointed out, the risks of refusing to adapt are that good causes go without and, ultimately, organisations that do not keep pace will not survive.

Some key takeaways:

  • Key areas of growth
    • Virtual streaming/gaming are becoming increasingly important
    • There is increasing interest in fundraising in memory of a loved one via DIY memorials and Tributes
    • There has also been a 20% increase in birthday fundraising (thanks to Facebook – did you know you can link your ‘Donate’ button directly to your project on The Good Exchange)?
    • Project Based Fundraising has grown by 125% year-on-year
  • Fundraising tips
    • Authenticity – tell a good story
    • Tribalism – create a community around your cause
    • Experience – a good and positive experience is vital to drive donations
    • Gamification – reward positive activity
    • Personalisation – make the experience personal, donors have names and want to feel valued.