Individual Giving Fundraising Survey Results 2019

We feel it is important for charities and fundraisers to have up-to-date information from other organisations and be able to compare their experiences and challenges.

To this end, Raisemore conducted a survey, consisting of nine questions, between 27th November 2018 and 11th January 2019.

It was sent to 22,676 charities (i.e. organisations who have registered, or have been registered, with The Charity Commission) in England and Wales, by email.

There were 98 respondents, representing a 0.43% response rate. Of these, 92 (approximately 94%) fully completed the survey.

Individual giving is still an important source of income for voluntary organisations of all sizes, however, the survey revealed that only one quarter of those organisations approached have, or are aware of their organisation having, a strategy for this.

The survey also highlighted the fact that small charities continue to struggle to keep or to recruit staff and volunteers .

We hope this report will help charities and fundraisers reflect on their own organisation and plan for the future, enabling them to continue the great work they do.

The Report

Survey-Results-2019

Brief Summary

Fundraising teams – 73% of the charities asked do not have a dedicated fundraising team. 25% have an internal team and 2% have an external team.

Fundraising goals – 42% of survey respondents felt that they had met their fundraising goals last year. 43% had not met their goals – 15% were not sure.

A strategy for individual giving – A quarter of those asked do have a strategy for individual giving.

Donations by individuals – 34% of respondents estimated that they receive more than 50% of their total income via this method.

Donation methods – Fundraising events and collections are core sources of income. Legacies and major gifts also make up a large percentage.

Outsourcing – 3% of respondents outsource their fundraising functions to a third party. 68% would not consider this option, while a further 7% would entertain the idea. 22% of respondents were unsure.

Fundraising challenges – Only 15% of respondents felt that their organisation is maximising the use of all fundraising channels. 68% of respondents didn’t think that they are.

Increasing individual giving revenue – Charities continue to struggle to keep or to recruit staff and volunteers – this, along with charity awareness and/or expertise was cited as by far the biggest challenge to increasing individual donations.

Individual Giving Fundraising Survey Results 2018

To gain an insight into what challenges and experiences were being faced by charities and fundraisers in the current climate, Raisemore conducted a fundraising survey, consisting of nine questions, between 24th May and 30th August 2018.

It was sent to 33,757 charities (i.e. organisations who have registered, or have been registered, with The Charity Commission) in England and Wales, by email.

There were 119 respondents, representing a 0.35% response rate. Of these, 116 (approximately 97%) fully completed the survey.

The survey highlights concern some fundraisers have regarding the level of charity awareness and/or expertise within their organisation and the ability to develop a fundraising strategy. There also appears to be an ongoing struggle to keep or to recruit staff and volunteers.

We feel it is important for charities and fundraisers to have up-to-date information from other organisations and be able to compare their experiences and challenges.

The Report

Final-Report-2018

Brief Summary

Size of organisation and Income – The largest response to the survey came from organisations who classed themselves as “small” with an income of under £100K.

Charity types – With areas of focus including disability, religion and overseas aid, the largest percentage were charities dealing with the local community and/or social welfare.

Location – Over 80% of the charities surveyed were regional, with London and the South East making up the largest percentage of these.

On-line presence – Almost three quarters of the organisations asked do have an on-line presence of some sort.

Use of social media – Despite the large percentage of organisations using social media, just over half of respondents don’t feel that they are making the best use of it.

Donations by individuals – Individual giving is still an important source of income for voluntary organisations of all sizes. 69% of respondents estimated that they receive 50% or less of their total income via this method. 10% of organisations receive their entire funding through individual donations.

Donation methods – Of the numerous methods of collecting donations, fundraising events and collections proved to be core sources of income. Legacies and major gifts also made up a large percentage of the total.

Fundraising challenges – Charities continue to struggle to keep or to recruit staff and volunteers – this was cited as the biggest challenge to increasing individual donations. Other concerns were the level of charity awareness and/or expertise within the organisation and being able to develop a fundraising strategy.

Cultivation, Cultivation, Cultivation

Cultivation, cultivation, cultivation

Everyone knows the tale of the property magnate who was asked the secret of property investment. He answered that there were 3 critical factors: location, location, location.

I’m pretty sure now that fundraising with individual donors has its equivalent. The 3 critical factors for success with individual donors are: cultivation, cultivation, cultivation.

In major donor fundraising cultivation is king. In fact cultivation is almost all there is to major donor fundraising. That’s a bold claim, so let me demonstrate that it is true with this little test: how long does it take a person of moderate intellect to understand what a charity’s (any charity’s) main purpose is? If the statement of the charity’s aims is even half clear ( now that’s another question entirely!), but if it is reasonably clear, almost anyone is going to understand what the charity is all about in two or three seconds flat. So, all we need to do to land major gifts, then, is get wealthy people to read and understand a reasonably clear statement of aims? Wrong. Completely wrong. In fact, knowing everything there is to know about the charity’s aims, projects, extent of the need being addressed etc. counts for almost nothing in major gifts fundraising. Why? Because the prospect is still a million miles away from making that gift, however well he or she understands the cause. And what is it that will bridge that gap? Its cultivation – the process that, through time and acquaintance, brings the donor to the point of trust. Trust that he or she is giving to a well-managed cause. Trust that the leadership are sound people. Trust that the money will actually do some good. Trust that she/he is in the company of other like-minded donors. Trust, trust, trust. And, as everyone knows, trust simply takes time to build. It also takes a very long time simply to create opportunities for the donor prospect to meet enough of the charity’s leadership and do so often enough for her/him to reach the point where they say to themselves “ Good, I’ve seen enough, I’m satisfied. Now, what can I do to help?”

In legacy fundraising cultivation is king as well. Good legacy fundraisers invest months and years in gentle, helpful contact with prospects. Partly this is in building the donor’s understanding of the cause, of course. But also, and vitally, it is in building trust that the donor’s last great act of philanthropy will be well directed. That the donor’s wish to perpetuate her or his own values after death may be fulfilled. And such trust-building takes time. That’s why steady programmes of relevant contact are never a waste of money and are always repaid with good levels of legacy income.

And in smaller levels of giving, mostly by post, cultivation is critical too. But here, I do think there is a slight difference. In major gifts and legacies, cultivation is groundwork, leading towards that one big donation or legacy. In smaller level giving

( say in the £5-£100 range), it is the habit of giving by post that needs to be cultivated. The more the donor is asked, the more he or she repeats the behaviour. And the more the act of giving is repeated, the more likely it is to happen again. This, in my view, is because the actual act of giving, that moment of writing out the cheque, is the real “high” that the donor enjoys. And, if cultivated properly, will want to enjoy again and again.

The art of getting and keeping attention

The art of getting and keeping attention

There’s a battle going on. It’s for your attention. And the attention of every other person in the land. Its fought on paper, on laptop screens, tablets and smartphones. And its going on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Your message is caught up in this battle.

Whether it gets lost or found depends on, of course, how well it is targeted. If it reaches the wrong person’s smartphone there’s not much you can do to motivate that person to take notice. The matter is out of your control.

But even when the message reaches the right person the battle is far from over. This blog is on the subject of how you effectively control matters from this point on. Because, its on this battleground that, I believe, most well-targeted communication, still fails to get through.

Getting attention – How to create subject lines and headlines that get read.

Mailchimp published a study of ‘most likely to be read subject lines in emails. It was based on 40 million emails sent via the Mailchimp system. Top of the list were simple, factual subject lines announcing actual events or news of some sort. Next were subject lines offering solutions to problems. Lowest were ‘salesy’ subject lines making promises, whether far-fetched or credible.  I’d guess that the same applies to all headlines in all marketing communication.

But it’s the way that these events or solutions are communicated that counts. In the era of ‘authenticity’ we have now, but probably always, what counts is simplicity and directness. The faster you put across the ‘deal’, the faster will the recipient ‘get’ the relevance of the offer being presented to her or him.

As a simple example, we have a client that has, for 45 years, been a pioneer in research into cancer metastasis – the mechanisms that allow cancer to spread. By far the majority of cancer deaths are caused by cancer metastasis. Our direct mail campaign could have asked donors to help stop cancer spreading. But, instead it asks donors to “Help end the threat of secondary cancer”. This call to arms has been running successfully for 10 years now.

Keeping attention – sell the next line.

Its easy to think that the sale is the most important thing to push. Or whatever end result it is your communication is trying to provoke But it isn’t.

As a communicator you have only one thing to sell.

You have to sell the reader on the value of reading the next line. The reader is jealous of his or her time and will stop reading at the drop of a hat. And, unless the reader does read the next line, she or he will not reach the end point – and not get to the end result you want.

How? Simple. The next line needs to expand and build on the previous. It has to lead the reader further into the story (or web?!) you are spinning. The next line has to offer more content, more interest, more satisfaction. So, every word counts. The weaker each word, the greater is the chance of the reader breaking away. This is why adjectives are so unhelpful. They don’t really add much, just fill out. And readers can spot ‘filler’ a mile off. Its why subject lines and headlines with heady promises are so unsuccessful.

Layers of proof

So what will most successfully sell the reader on reading the next line? Simply this: layers of proof that the message in the subject line or headline is true. And if you can’t substantiate this…..the subject line or headline shouldn’t be there in the first place. Should it?