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Published by Woods Valldata

The value of continuing meaningful conversations with supporters

We’ve seen from anecdotal, newspaper headlines and our own data that the pandemic has fired up the public’s sense of altruism. Charities have become more vocal about the impact of individual giving on their beneficiaries, and supporters have responded with enthusiasm and generosity. 

So how can charities continue to harness the power of communication to reach and retain supporters? 

Regular giving is beginning to stabilise

In our recent report, The Impact of COVID-19 on Individual Giving, we discussed the 12% spike in regular giving cancellations from February through to April this year, in comparison to 2019’s figures. 

Regular givers tend to belong to a younger demographic so financial uncertainty triggered by the pandemic may explain the temporary rise in cancellations. During April, the cancellation rate reduced, a sign of things stabilising – and initial analysis of May and June support this (we will be publishing updated findings at the start of August).

Getting personal is powerful 

Once COVID-19 arrived, many charities either adapted their planned campaigns to include a COVID-19 based statement and/or launched emergency appeals. We saw a trend towards releasing more personal, frank content that demonstrates the real-time impact supporters’ gifts are having on beneficiaries’ lives – as well as the need for their continued help. Cash campaigns and emergency appeals performed fantastically well. 

The success of both underscores the value of addressing supporters on an honest, personalised level, whether you’re thanking them for a donation, communicating as part of your annual direct debit schedule, launching an emergency appeal, or promoting a new campaign. 

If you can, keep the momentum of your appeals going, putting to work personalised mailings and more. Let supporters know that you’re still in recovery mode – and that your beneficiaries still need you.

Try to keep supporters in the loop

Donor interactions soared after the pandemic hit, with charity inbound call volumes increasing by 45% January – March and 147% in April when compared with 2019’s equivalent figures. 

While part of this increase could be attributed to a rise in credit card payments and related queries, it’s clear that supporters are keen to communicate with the charities they support.

If possible, restart or enhance your planned, regular campaigns to offer reassurance that you are still very much there for beneficiaries and fighting on in the new normal. Where you can, engage donors via non-transactional messaging, informing them of relevant new developments – and the difference they’ve made. 

By reminding them of the part they have played, you’ll instil a more profound sense of community involvement amongst your supporter base, long after initial gifts are made. Never has it been more important to thank individuals for their sustained support during what has been a truly testing time. 

Consider offering alternative giving options

Traditional channels of communication such as direct mail continue to have a robust level of success with the older demographic – but what about younger donors, many of whom may have cancelled regular donations when COVID-19 hit? 

A real opportunity exists to re-engage lapsed supporters (of all ages) by offering alternative ways of giving that do not require long-term financial commitments. One-off donations, gifting, virtual events, raffles, and lotteries empower those with less disposable income to get involved and make a difference – every penny counts, after all. 

Mediums such as topical blogs, social media posts, and videos are ideal vehicles for raising awareness of alternative options amongst the younger demographic. If you plan on driving supporters to your website, it’s worth taking the time to ensure all of your landing pages and blog posts are SEO-optimised and populated by strong visuals. 

To summarise:

– The individual giving landscape is starting to settle.

– It’s well worth pressing on with planned campaigns and continuing to communicate with supporters on a frank, personal level.

– You can do this via customised mailings, engaging content, and alternative avenues, so supporters of all ages remain connected to your cause. 

How can Woods Valldata help with supporter communication?

Woods Valldata is an industry-leading fundraising services provider. We understand the critical influence of supporter communication on donor retention and acquisition. 
 
We’re the reliable choice for charities requiring the bespoke design and production of supporter communications, with decades of experience in producing personalised mailings at mass volumes, accommodating bespoke inserts, duplex colour digital printing, and more.
 
Our team can pull together and manage end-to-end campaigns, appeals, and sponsorship programmes with speed and efficiency. From mass mailings to response handling, payment processing to fulfilment, our services are effective and well-proven. 

If you’d like to find out more about the charitable sector’s current climate, please take a look at our report, The Impact of COVID-19 on Individual Giving.

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