Charities get their income mainly from donations from members. However, research has shown that they are a lot less generous than twenty years ago and that is also noticeable in the charity sector. Non-profit organizations reach an increasingly smaller proportion of households through fundraising. Add to that the decrease in willingness to give and the reduced trust in charities and you understand the dilemma these organizations find themselves in. What now?
Change in fund raising
Not only the willingness to give, but also the culture of donating is changing. People no longer commit to a single charity for years, but prefer to support multiple charities over a short period of time or with one-time donations. People give money for things they feel connected to at the time. This requires a different approach to fundraising.
Let offline and online reinforce each other
Almost all non-profit organizations can be found online today. A good thing for us 😉 There are extensive websites with information, registration forms and donation options. But what these organizations are still lagging behind is the use of online marketing with the aim of collecting more donors.
What people research before they donate:
- Does this charity fit my standards and values?
- What does the charity stand for?
- Where does my money end up?
- What do I actually contribute to?
A matter of giving and receiving
This is where Cialdini’s reciprocity principle comes into play. People are more likely to give something back (a donation) when you first give them something (information). So provide people with enough information and content before you ask them anything (such as a donation or membership). A website on which visitors read qualitative information about the subject in question for which the non-profit organization is committed is therefore important! Make sure that with your content – spread across multiple channels – you answer all the questions that a potential donor can have about your charity and your company itself.
Old ways out the door?
However, a new way of fundraising does not mean that all existing ways have to be thrown overboard. Take street recruitment, for example: a great way to introduce people to your charity. Here the focus should only shift from bringing in hard leads (direct donation or membership) to collecting, for example, e-mail addresses of interested parties so that they can be placed on the mailing list and then provide them with relevant content and information. Going by the doors can also have a positive influence, but here too the following applies: don’t focus on the hard leads, but give people information. Hand out leaflets on which the goal is briefly and concisely written and how I can contribute to that as a person.
It seems that more commitment is needed to be able to count on donations as a non-profit organization. And that is exactly what can be achieved through a combination of the ‘old ways’ and online marketing.
Add value with online marketing
We already mentioned that providing valuable content is of great importance. People usually do not look for a charity that they can support on their own. For example, they search for information on specific topics or issues and end up on the charity website. Therefore, ensure a website whose information is complete and accurate. Answer any questions a potential donor might have and make it possible to sign up for a newsletter. But what is perhaps most important is: add value.
We are all increasingly concerned with social responsibility. People are becoming increasingly aware of their own social role. They want to do something good. As a non-profit organization, it is very important to emphasize the general interest of the charity (and not the interest of the company). By focusing on this, you respond to the compassion of people and their desire to do something good and to contribute to a better world.
Adding value goes beyond emphasizing the importance of a donation. This is about the bigger picture: what role do YOU have as a charity in the world?
Interaction and communication
Charities are of course pre-eminently brands that want to give meaning and make the world a little better. This also means that people who give money want to be involved in the work that you do as a charity. People like to communicate with companies and brands. The arrival of social media has made this very easy: interaction is the key word here. Show what you do as a charity and where the donations end up. People want to be involved in the goal they support and want to be kept informed of development. Social media is extremely suitable for this. Take people behind the scenes and show what you are doing. Have a good web team that can answer all questions and comments from your target group, regardless of the channel through which they arrive.
For example, set up communities and start a conversation with your donors within these communities. Or invite people, send them information via e-mail or post as often as they want. Ask them this too. Not everyone wants the same amount of contact with a good cause. One person thinks it’s okay to hear something once every six months, the other would like an update every week. The most important thing is to ensure that your supporters feel involved and familiar with and with your organization. Involve people in your work, show how your organization makes the difference and ask people for their opinion and help. In this way, people feel more and more personally connected to your brand and trust and willingness to give up.
Online marketing for charities in practice
Many large charities work with campaigns that appear a few times a year. In this way they generate a peak in their visibility. This is often done via traditional channels such as TV, radio and ‘bus shelter advertising’. But the media is of course no longer what it has been. The behavior of the target group has changed and is anything but linear or predictable. Is it not much more logical to adjust your (online) marketing strategy here?
The risk with large, traditional campaigns is that you do not know whether you will reach everyone at the right time. Not everyone is in the same phase of your customer journey, so why use a one-size-fits-all campaign? What you could do much better is to set up a constant content promotion campaign. With this approach you promote content on different topics at the same time, to different groups within your audience. A kind of cross-media campaign. In the meantime, by constantly measuring the interest of these groups, you can offer new online and offline content that matches their needs and involvement in your brand. Step by step you increase the involvement of people and thus also the chance that your audience will actually take action and become a donor.
1. Determine goal
What goal do you want to achieve? What are the KPIs of these goals? We want to make your goal measurable. That way you can see if it’s a success or not.
The content of the campaign is important. We always look for multiple perspectives to reach your target group.
3. Targeting target group
We handle your budget with care. We target specific target groups with the highest chance of success in advance. Effective and effective.
4. Analysis & improvement
We will adjust your campaign based on the data. We test, report and optimize your campaign.
Interplay of old and new approach
There are still some steps to be taken for the charities that mainly work through the traditional approach (street recruitment, door-to-door recruitment and the importance of donation). Emphasizing the urgency of a donation can still be useful for occasional gifts, but most likely do nothing for the experience with your brand in the long term. There is a huge ‘supply’ of charities and you have to stand out. Make sure that people feel they are shareholders in your charity.
“Involvement, interaction and communication are the key to success and must work smoothly and closely.”
Start by building personal engagements with your audience, touching them with content and information that they find important at the time. This also means that you always have to change with the life phases that people go through. Also make use of the ‘old’ approach, but no longer focus on hard leads but on building a relationship with your audience! When you realize all of this and apply it, chances are much greater that you link lifelong donors to your organization. And everybody wants that?