In this blog, I’ll explore the challenges facing charities and how behavioural science and clever marketing can help to weather the storm.
Increasing Costs. Just like the rest of us, charities are facing soaring energy bills as well as increasing operational costs, forcing them to stretch and manage their budgets more dynamically than ever before.
Increased Demand. Charities are reporting huge increases in demand for their services and anticipate further increases in demand as the cost of living continues to soar.
Decrease in donations. Nearly 90% of people intend to cut back on their discretionary spending this year, and recent polling reveals that 60% have already cut back on charitable donations over the past 6 months.
Decrease in donation value. Forecasts and modelling by Pro Bono Economics highlights the impact of inflation on donation value. A direct debit of £20 set up in 2017 is estimated to be worth £14.90 in 2024, whilst a 3-year £100,000 grant awarded in 2022 will be worth only £88,300 in 2024.
People still have money! Spending in restaurants, bars and clubs is on the up, compared to this time last year, and 61% of people are still planning a 2023 holiday.
People can and will dig deep in times of need. Last year, the U.K. public responded to the war in Ukraine by raising £100 million in just 4 days. That’s the equivalent of £1m per hour! And more recently, £60 million was raised in just 1 week of the DEC Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal being launched. This just goes to show that we’re still capable of giving, even when it feels like we don’t have much to give.
The future is bright! Last year, despite soaring costs and smaller budgets, 64% of charities were able to maintain or even increase their fundraising income. Charities are also becoming more comfortable with digital channels and 55% of charity leaders believe there will be more opportunities to use digital to fundraise in 2023. Moreover, half of charity leaders say that younger generations are feeling more positive about charities these days, which is even more promising for the use of digital fundraising approaches.
One in three adults are more likely to donate to a charity if they accept online donations. Whilst young people are most likely to make their donations online rather than offline, online donations are not limited to younger generations, with nearly half of donations from over 65 year olds being made online. So focusing efforts on digital is crucial but also more cost-effective than traditional fundraising approaches.
EAST is a simple and effective framework for behaviour change. It stands for Easy, Attractive, Social, and Timely. For digital campaigns to be successful, you need to ensure that giving is easy, attractive, social and timely.
Review your site through the eyes of a user:
This is all about gaining your audience’s attention and using rewards effectively.
Attract your audience’s attention by connecting with them on a personal level:
A word of warning on attracting attention…
Whether we like to admit it or not, humans are quite sheep-like and love to follow the herd.
You can encourage new donors to your charity by highlighting how others are donating. I’m not just talking about getting your donors to share on social media (although you should still encourage that). Here are some more unique ideas:
Did you know that almost half of all online donations are made on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays?
People are also more likely to give in December (‘tis the season!) than in January.
And as we discovered earlier, people are more than willing to give in response to crises or significant events.
Consider the following timely actions for your charity:
Taking the time to understand what attracts donors and invest in your digital fundraising strategy can help you to weather these stormy periods. Three key things to keep in mind:
My biggest and final piece of advice to you is this: before rolling out lots of new changes to your approach, pick one and test it. Blanket changes could yield great results, but you won’t know which technique garnered the most impact unless you run tests as you go - the insights of which can then be used to inform other areas of your business and marketing decision-making.
Thinking about how you can implement these techniques? Our behavioural science experts would love to have a chat with your charity to learn more about your cause and how we can support your goals.
A behavioural science expert, Kiran ensures that behavioural science is woven throughout everything we do by upskilling colleagues and embedding behavioural science into client strategies. Kiran is passionate about creating a fair and positive working culture through understanding and addressing diversity and inclusion matters.