Are small charities missing a trick by not engaging with Individual Giving?
It is a commonly held belief that individual giving is the sole domain of large charities that have the budget and capacity to design, resource and administer powerful and high-quality fundraising campaigns. However, an interesting fact is that email fundraising (seeking donations by sending an email to your supporters or potential supporters) has the highest return on investment of any digital form of fundraising (Source: Salsa Lab)
With 72% of charity contributions made by individuals (source www.nptechforgood.com), the approach of encouraging individual donations is an area overlooked by many small charities across the UK who feel it is ‘not for them’. Perhaps it feels like too big a mountain to climb, or that it could not be done properly with such limited resources. Often enough, in our experience, its simply not seen as a priority.
However, it would not take a small charity much to test the water and dip their toe into this area of fundraising. Reflecting on the last few years of first Brexit and now Covid-19, it feels like there is a stronger sense of community and localism than ever- maybe now is the time to tap into the potential of localised individual giving?
6 Step Introduction to Individual Giving for Small Charities
1) A simple strategy for a small and poorly resourced charity could be to:Integrate an online donation function into your website (there are many companies that provide this merchant service, most taking a small commission). Some examples are Donorbox, www.justgiving.com, Local Giving, and Enthuse. Note that some of the platforms also claim giftaid for you (Local Giving will claim Gift Aid on your behalf even if you are not a registered charity)
2) Make sure that the donation route is simple to navigate, with a clear CTA (call to action) that takes you directly to the donation page. It is useful to suggest donation amounts linked to your charities activities, £50 will pay for 5 older and isolated people to attend a luncheon club.
For top tips on creating an effective donation pages visit https://topnonprofits.com/examples/donation-page-examples-best-practices/
3) Consider how you will drive potential donors to your donation page. Video content is fast becoming the most effective means of engagement, and this doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive to produce. Consider how you can make in-house video content about your work- i-phones can produce high quality films- just keep them short and compelling. There are also multiple software packages to help you edit your films to make them look sharp and professional. Openshot.org or even the free ‘I-Movie’ app can considerably enhance and improve your films, and both are free. Make sure you have a compelling call to action message- tell people about the impact of your work, the difference it is making and create an emotional connection with the reader/viewer.
Canva is also a great free tool for creating social media posts to promote your fundraising campaigns and create engaging visual content.
The website www.fiverr.com features freelance designers, film makers and copywriters from all over the world that can edit your films, or make animated professional films at very low cost.
4) Alternatively, if you feel that this is beyond your reach at the moment, write a compelling email including feedback from your beneficiaries and photographs of your work. Explain your need and if necessary or appropriate don’t be afraid to use a sense of jeopardy- what will happen if people do not donate?
5) Make sure you are collecting email addresses on a continual basis from people that use your service . All stakeholders are potential donors- families and friends of beneficiaries, partner organisations, local communities, users of your services, suppliers, or maybe people you have never met but have an interest in your cause. Yes, GDPR rules make it more complicated than it used to be, and you will need to make sure that you are complying with GDPR in any of your communications, so make sure that you have a strategy for GDPR compliance that underpins your saving of data and communications.
6) Different ways of inviting people to join your mailing list, could include sign up forms in your premises or at events, having a sign-up function on your website (you can do this by setting up a 'subscribe' button on your website and connecting it to www.mailchimp.org to collect email addresses). or using your Facebook page to ask people to sign up.
GDPR compliant collection of email addresses can be one of your most valuable commodities in terms of fundraising, creating ‘warm’ potential donors with whom you can begin to build a relationship. Who knows, a one off donor, could become a life-time donor, if that donor feels appreciated, informed and passionate about your cause.