Charities are “becoming extraordinarily disconnected from their supporters who do not understand the work they do” said Ian Theodoreson, chair of the Charity Finance Group and chief financial officer of the Church of England, last week. That’s fighting talk, that is.
5 Myths of Leadership | LinkedIn http://ow.ly/vuUGT Interesting thoughts from Ekaterina Walter. What about leveraging your luck?
BBC Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage in heated BBC debate over #EU http://ow.ly/vnqTC THis issue genearting lots of views 4 a ‘non-issue’ What do we really think?
This sounds basic, I know. But to the two charities concerned so far this ‘season’, I am Mr Baughen not Mrs Baughen (we’ve told you often enough). It doesn’t endear me to you if you don’t pay attention. And exactly how many girls called Kevin do you know?
Accurate data usage goes beyond personal addresses and salutations. Many campaigns have a regional trigger embedded in them based on the geography of the recipients to help make the campaigns’ message more relevant and elicit a personal connection.
I understand the logic of this tactic and indeed employed it successfully for years whilst working for a number of organisations myself. But you have to get the assumptions right for the campaign to resonate with the recipients.
A few days ago we mentioned a direct mail pack received from Macmillan and I want to return to it to highlight the fact that the ask was wrapped around tangible evidence of benefits my donation would bring for people living with cancer in London.
I don’t live in London. I live in semi-rural Surrey, outside of the M25. I don’t know if the regionalisation is generic or targeted (I suspect it’s the latter) but why not talk to me about what can be achieved more locally to me?
Why not take advantage of the popularity of the localism movement and bring tangible outcomes to a more local level? It doesn’t have to cost any more to develop the messages and yes, the data briefs for campaigns might be a little more complicated but in return for the increased likelihood of a positive response.
Regional hospice charities often get this right, linking what they do to the lives of local supporters and communities. This example is from St Catherine’s Hospice, an end of life charity working in Surrey and West Sussex.
These are all familiar techniques but the emphasis is on the ‘local’ aspects and things that supporters can do locally to make a difference. I think we could all make our services more relevant to supporters locally IF we get the data right when running large campaigns.
The tried and tested mechanic used to be an odd number of monthly giving points, say £3, £5 and £10 with tangible benefits aligned to each. The lead ask featured on the letter, flyer or envelope would be the middle one. This appeals to human psychology in that ‘baby bear’ way where we don’t feel that we’re being mean but can comfortably acknowledge that we want to give more than the minimum but the maximum might be a bit much.
The ‘lead’ ask in at least three of the campaigns we’ve received is right at the bottom – £2 per month. I know times are tough and that there are several fundraising agencies out there encouraging charities to drop the ask levels to boost response rates but I can’t help but wonder what the success rates are.
Anyone happy to share their experience or thoughts to add to the discussion? I know that different charities will target slightly different audiences and consequently the experiences and results will vary but… if the recipient says ‘no’ to £2, where do we go from there?
One answer might be telephone follow up but for £2 a month the payback period could be unacceptable.
It’s usually after Christmas that we get that bloated feeling but here’s a picture of the Macmillan Christmas appeal received last week, containing (to the tune of 12 days of Christmas everyone…):
one branded outer envelope
one ‘stock’ letter from Beverly the nurse
two free Christmas cards
two free envelopes
one free calendar
one free bookmark
one response envelope
one free car sticker
one free flat pen
15 free personalised address labels
one campaign flyer
…and a partridge in a pear tree.
The information was generally sound (part 4 on data), the branding clear and the ask simple to follow and directly associated with tangible benefits for people living with cancer. But do I really need eight free gifts in one pack (OK six if I count the cards and envelopes as the same thing)? I support MacMillan with a series of cash donations but I didn’t have the will to work through the letter, the flyer and all the other double-sided stuff. Perhaps it’s too much?
The seasonal campaigns have been dropping on our doormats for a few weeks now and we’ve noticed a few things that seem to be different from last year:
- The number of ‘traditional’ direct mail campaigns is falling
- The number of items in the packs we are receiving is getting silly
- The lead asks seem to be getting lower
- Getting the data right is still key to making the recipient respond positively
We’ll post a thought or two every couple of days and it would be great to hear your experiences too. Here’s the first… Read more…