3rd – 5th July 2017
The Barbican

Let your donors do the talking: one way for small charities to achieve fundraising excellence

: Caoileann Appleby

Caoileann Appleby, Trustee, Abortion Support Network explains how even if you work for a small charity, there should be nothing stopping you achieving excellence. Find out how...

Maybe, like ASN, you’re a tiny charity with only one or two staff members. 

You don’t have an Innovation Team or an Insights Bureau or a Research Protocol.

You definitely don’t have a big fundraising budget. 

But you want to do better - get more donors, raise more money. Your cause needs you to! 

So what do you have? Well - you have your current donors. 

“You don’t market to them. You market them.”

You may have heard this before. It’s a quote from Kit Lambert, manager of The Who: you may have heard my boss at Bluefrog, Mark Phillips, mention it in his presentations (you can read more on this from him here)

So it’s not a new concept (but you know the best ideas often aren’t, right?). And you don’t need a big budget to make it work for you.

What do you mean? And how can it help me get more donors? 

First: ask your donors why they support you. 

(I know, I know; you know this already. Ask anyway. If nothing else, your donors will remind you why you’re doing all this in the first place). 

And then? Showcase them. Market them. Their words, their passion, their connection to your cause. Because they are a better advocate for your cause than you can ever be.

Does it work? 

It does for ASN. We make a habit of thanking our donors regularly, of course, and telling them they’re awesome. But last year we needed more regular donors, and previous campaigns hadn’t worked as well as we needed. Our donor base is only active online; we’d only ever done one mail campaign and we’ve never asked for donors’ phone numbers (because we don’t think we’ll ever have money, volume or time to do a phone campaign).

So what did we do? Firstly, we sent an email out to our regular donors and asked them to share why they started a regular donation (using a simple - and free - Google Form).

Then we picked the best quotes, put them in shareable format (after asking donors’ permission to share, of course), set a target (100 new regular donors in a month), and promoted the campaign through email, Twitter and Facebook.

The results? A regular giving campaign that brought on 147 new and upgraded regular donors at an average value of £12/month. That’s 47% more donors than our target, £1700+ more a month for our cause, and a 30% increase in our total number of regular donors in a month (remember, I said ASN is a tiny charity). 

All because we let our donors do the talking. 

So you don’t need to muck about with anything fancy to get excellent results. Share what your donors tell you with current supporters; ask them to join these amazing, wonderful, generous insightful people who already donate. Set a deadline and a target that makes sense. Use your most responsive channels. 

Let your donors lead the way. 

And this is just one example of how small charities can get big results - Simon Scriver and I will be showing you a lot more where that came from in How Small Charities Can Get Big Results: Fundraising Lessons from Two Small Organisations at Fundraising Convention.

Caoileann Appleby, Trustee, Abortion Support Network

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