“The more one knows, the more one can control events”
Do you ever wonder if there’s a better way you could use your limited resources? Or if your fundraising results could be higher if you did something differently, such as using a different communication channel, or reaching out to a different demographic?
I’m quite sure you have – all of us fundraisers have. But with limited budgets we generally don’t have the luxury of trial and error. We have to be quite sure that we’ll hit our targets.
So, how are you going to figure out where to use your resources to maximize current fundraising results and prepare for the future?
The answer is research.
Over the last few years, we’ve been asking donors in a number of countries (UK, Canada, the United States) their preferences, desires, and choices in supporting the charities they believe in. Go and download these reports here and here.
What you’ll notice is how profoundly multi-channel and how complex all donors are. I often like to say that our donors (across all ages) are omnivores – they impulsively choose different channels and ways to give when they support charities they believe in.
It doesn’t matter what country you’re fundraising in to use the research. Print off the reports and sit down with your current fundraising program and ask yourself the following 4 key questions:
- Do I give all of my donors a multi-channel experience? (Do you have an integrated, multi-channel master calendar?)
- Do I give younger donors a chance to use traditional channels (direct mail, telephone)? (Do you send a direct mail welcome package to younger online donors?)
- Do I give older donors a chance to use digital channels? (Do you make sure that traditionally acquired older donors are given ample opportunity to leverage the digital sphere?)
- Do I give Gen Y, Gen X, and Boomers the chance to be their own fundraising brands and control their fundraising on your behalf? (Do you give them the chance to use digital social network fundraising tools to fundraise as they see fit?)
Francis Bacon said that knowledge is power. Without a doubt, charities need all the knowledge they can get their hands on. We operate with limited funds and sometimes in workplaces where our colleagues (and board members) have very little knowledge about fundraising trends.
Get them into the hands of your colleagues and volunteer board members. Educate them.
Don’t just go with your gut on where the fundraising marketplace is going. Gather up the research and make more educated guesses – or decisions. A lot of fundraising is counter-intuitive and so seem the trends we see in studies like the ones I’m talking about.
They’ll help you use your resources in the most appropriate and successful way. The research shows that all donors of all ages use all channels. You need to craft integrated, multi-channel programs.
That’s what our donors are telling us. In the Next Generation of Giving reports, which are free for you to use, shows you even more. The more you know, the more you can control your fundraising present and your fundraising future.