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Client Strategy Director

A ray of hope for fundraisers

It was interesting to see reports yesterday that telephone fundraising is holding up well with contact rates and engagement up. At Different Kettle, a number of our clients had fundraising campaigns that had just been launched as the coronavirus hit, which meant they’ve landed right in the midst of the crisis.

So we’ve been waiting – along with our clients – with apprehension to see how results would be impacted.  Last week we started to get results in and were surprised (and relieved!) to see how well campaigns are performing. Not only are we up on campaign targets, but we are also seeing a year on year uplift with some campaigns performing better than they ever have. And these are not all causes that have a link to the coronavirus.

On reflection maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Donors don’t stop caring about a cause they support and actually they probably have more time to be able to listen, watch, read and engage with it. And it’s probably a welcome break from the 24:7 coronavirus updates. In times of feeling powerless, donating can be a great antidote.

We know there is a lot of apprehension and nervousness about running campaigns at this time. But as long as you are considerate, your donors should still be happy to hear from you. A few simple things to think about would be:

  1. Don’t ignore the coronavirus. Even if it’s not something that’s relevant to your cause, it’s relevant to your donors and impacting on their lives so acknowledge that.
  2. But, unless you can genuinely claim a direct link to coronavirus (e.g. you are an NHS hospital charity) don’t jump on an emergency appeal.  Social media is awash with these at the minute and many feel tenuous at best.  There is no doubt coronavirus is going to have a long lasting effect on us and donors alike, so save any urgent request for funding until you really need it, and only if you need it.
  3. If you go out with a campaign in print, include text and email as ways to donate. Donors may not feel comfortable leaving the house to post their cheques, so give them safer alternatives.
  4. If you are doing emergency fundraising think about the journey for any new donors that you engage.  How might your messaging unfold as the crisis changes?  Also think about ways in which you might start sharing your ongoing case for support to engage these new donors longer term.

At DK we are keeping a very eye on how things are unfolding in this time of crisis. It may be a cliché, but we really are all in this together. So if you do want to talk, we’re here.