6th February 2017Emily Salkey
The Trump Effect – how to convert impulse donations into regular donors
As we experience a time of intense political change across the world, in an era of increased media coverage and social media allowing messages to spread quicker than ever across the globe, we have seen a new trend in charitable giving, with many individuals opting to counteract a swing to the right with donations to progressive causes.
Examples are springing up all over the globe; in the US, advocacy group 270 Strategies said that many of its clients had reported a massive increase in support, with causes ranging from gun safety to women’s rights, to environmental groups and unions advocating a higher minimum wage. The ACLU (the American Civil Liberties Union) raised over $7m in the days following the election alone. And back across the pond in a land where article 50 is now set to be triggered before the end of March, UK charities are prioritising relationships with individual and major donors to plug the funding gap likely to be left by the gap in EU funding.
If your organisation has seen an increase in donations through external factors, you have an incredible opportunity that is usually hard to come by in a competitive industry – a whole range of new, ready-engaged donors, following your story and keen to support your cause. The question is, will it last, and what can charities do to keep up momentum? The initial ask of a small, non-committal donation is an easy ask, but an obvious way to increase income overall is to convert one-off donations into committed regular donors, who provide steady income and champion your cause. Here are some simple ways to help achieve this:
Measure and communicate impact
These donors are uniquely passionate about your cause, and you have the benefit of understanding the root of their motivation; for example, if they found you through a feature in an article or sharing a petition. In ordinary circumstances, 60% of donors consider impact and success stories the most important communication to hear from a charity they have given to. But particularly in this instance, donations are made based on a donor’s desire to make a positive change, so it’s likely to be even higher for this group. Keep in touch and make them a part of your story!
Send a letter of thanks
Studies have shown that an overwhelming 46% of donors prefer a personalised letter over any other method when charities thank them for their donations. However, if you’re unequipped to deal with the cost of this, an email will do just fine, coming in second place at 35%. A thank you is the most simple, yet often undervalued method of stewardship.
While some surveys have shown that individuals prefer not to be asked again until as much as 7 months have passed from their initial donation, this is a uniquely timely cause – losing momentum will be your downfall in this situation. According to research into direct marketing, you are much less likely to gain a regular donor if more than 60 days have passed since their original donation. So follow up with them, and soon!
Manage your prospects responsibly
Planning and managing your donors is key here; if this is an unusual boom in donors for your organisation, managing data may be a struggle for you. Logging donations, details and, in particular, contact preferences for individuals will avoid any errors or faux-pas in contacting people who do not want to be contacted. Given recent ICO regulations that have come in, data protection and responsible data management is more relevant than ever for charities – so don’t get carried away with sending too much direct marketing out, particularly if you have not obtained an opt-in!
Use your additional income well
You have an unexpected boom in income and a prospect list of new potential donors. Is now the time to review your strategy and scale up? Do you need to rethink how you manage your data? Is it time to invest in the infrastructure and overhead costs that all charities need to succeed? For advice on any of these areas, feel free to get in touch, or view our case studies to hear how we have worked with other organisations.