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Can we put the fun back into fundraising?

INSIGHTS | September 6th 2021

Fundraising has been a big challenge this past year - but many charities have managed to think differently and get creative in our new digital first world

Article by Kevin Triggle

With many charities trying to find new and inventive ways to operate since the onset of the global pandemic, there is a real need to do whatever we can to keep the momentum going. Vital funds from challenges and in-person events as well as lost income from retail outlets have been hitting the bottom line hard. But charities are beginning to find ways to pull back the short comings and many foreseeing this possibility in the next few years as they start to really embrace digital.


Recent research suggest that around 60% of charities are pushing virtual fundraising ideas, and nearly three quarters of these organisations are trialling the digital approach for the first time. Whilst many are beginning to reap the benefits, this is just the start as our future world is becoming a more "blended" approach between the physical and digital worlds, and your technology will play a vital role in bringing a seamless and enjoyable experience to your supporters now and moving forwards.


More than ever in our new reality, charities are fighting the battle to deliver crucial services, whilst continuing to engage supporters and get them excited about donating in these continuing challenging times. Maintaining and growing awareness of your purpose and cause is about reminding people who you are and the important work you do and sharing your stories and the role you play.


Now is the time to continue to reinvent and get creative about fundraising. Embrace digital and engage with supporters and tell your stories. It will be those who embrace technology to become digitally enabled who will be able to deliver better outcomes to those that matter to them most.


Embracing Digital First Approach


So, how can you use digital to do things - and do it differently? How can you continue to create events - and do them virtually as well as physically? The great thing is that digital fundraising is easy to set up and develop over time to become bigger and better, its accessible to everyone giving wide reach.


Digital fundraising is possible over such a variety of different platforms, including website, web apps, native apps, mobile through text, social media just to name a few.


Moving from survival into thriving again is key to think through, there are various stages to consider. As you move out of crisis and into future planning, going back to basics is important. Know your purpose. Be clear on your story, and your needs, and relate it your audience and the current times. The digital journey is important, now more than ever, and your user experience is vital to understand and develop over time.


People have great imaginations


Some of the most creative ideas are already out there, and many are being done - you'll remember the much publicised example in the amazing efforts of Captain Tom and his garden walking challenge doing his 100 laps before his 100th birthday raising funds for the NHS. And there are other stories of people using what they have around them to fundraise for causes important to them. Cancer Research UK launching their Race For Life campaign with a twist - as “Race for life - at Home. Apart but Together” - to support their continued efforts. And the organisers of the London Marathon have asked us all to rise to the 2.6 challenge and with this rise to the call of supporting charities across the UK.


The Charlie Waller Trust engaged their patron Alexander Armstrong to run a virtual version of Pointless from his home, through Youtube. This was driven through their website and social media and helped raise much needed funds for their cause.


Just a few examples of many to demonstrate how so many managed to come up with simple yet effective ways to do things they enjoy or activities which challenge them, and still raise money in the process! All this being done virtually, and through technology which exists. Many continue to embrace this approach


What can people do to fundraise for their favourite causes? How can they incite others to join in? How do they invite people to sponsor them or donate? Do you need a payment gateway set up which is safe and secure?


Creating a way to tell your story


A website is a good way to engage with supporters and volunteers by offering the “shop window” into your vision, your purpose and the needs you have, and ultimately to attract existing and new donors and highlight clearly how people can give. Doing this in a fun way is very achievable and can be linked to a form of simulation model to bring engagement. An empowering user experience should always lie at the heart of your website, it can do so much more than tell your charity’s incredible story.


Additionally, simple integration of a user-friendly payment gateway, for example, can open the doors to essential (and instant) donations, while a connected CRM system allows you to keep in touch with supporters and build a truly valuable two-way relationship, grounded in rich insight. Incorporating event management also helps to drive not only interest but actual commitment to helping get involved and raising much needed funds.


It's important that your website should not become an island.


It should be truly integrated as part of an ecosystem, working hard for you and your purpose as part of a clear digital strategy.


Our eBook: Your Website should not be an Island explains how to avoid this common mistake.


Gamifying the donation process


Keeping the charity top of mind and driving awareness amongst new generations is also key to the long-term success of any charity. It’s also important to retain the current and long term supporters by ensuring they are engaged with a charity’s purpose and mission, not allowing any fundraising fatigue to set in.


As part of a wider digital strategy, this is a good way to help deliver more income through an easily accessible and interactive platform – be that a website, or an app, And making it mobile friendly.


A great example which takes the essence of the charity on board as it helps increase awareness of its work is Helifun from Wiltshire Air Ambulance. It demonstrates that if you embrace digital technology, it allows you to think outside the box, change what you do, and how you do it.


The aim needs to be about creating something exciting, an innovative way to drive online donations – to keep recognition going, it also allows you to talk about challenges faced by the charity. It facilitates the option to share key messages, inform of up-and-coming events, and keep the donation lines open.


A great way to bring your charity and its purpose into the world of your supporters by taking them on a digital journey. It's all about the user experience, making it memorable and sustainable. Its shareable, and therefore scalable as you get people excited to engage and share with others – what they are up to, and how they are progressing in their endeavours.


Our Wiltshire Air Ambulance Case Study explains how we worked with them to deliver an increase in donations within the first 3 months. Read the Case Study...


We are here to help, and happy to talk through what options might be best for you.


Please do not let funding your idea stop you calling us, if there is one, we will find a way.



About the author

Kevin Triggle

Heads up our Creative bunch, Kevin not only make things look pretty (damn good!) but does so in a way that people love to use too! Our clients enjoy his rapid response to all things design related.

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