Sustainable fundraising as a Fundraising Director

Sustainable fundraising as a Fundraising Director

By Joel Nicholson – LemonTree Founder

The challenges…

  • At the moment, the main influence we have on the broader industry is via promoting best practice guidelines
  • If history repeats itself, most organisations will continue to be driven by short term profit targets and be in contradiction to meet these more sustainable best practices
  • The fundraising industry challenges has many parallels to the fight for a sustainable green planet that has been ongoing for many decades in other industries. The ray of hope for the environment is finally coming through via technology and commercial competitive advantage such as Tesla electric cars, efficient accommodation utilisation like airbnb, and recycling material businesses

The concepts…

  • To sustain competitive advantage it has been proven over and over that a focus on quality builds a better customer experiences and higher rates of repeat purchases and advocacy
  • The gap between commercial and NFP worlds continues to widen as NFP skill sets and overall structure are slow to adopt rapid change in areas like technology
  • Data collaboration is revealing rich insight into industry practices and their broad impact on donor behaviour across the population

Actions to consider…

  • Start taking on a culture of quality over quantity
  • Harness the power of commercial benefits that also have the donor experience at the centre of its success. New technology and creative thinking that can be often learnt from the commercial world are good starting points. For example, the collective economy is disrupting traditional businesses due to it’s exponential efficiencies and sustainability
  • Benchmark donor experience across the industry relative to your cause. The power of data collaboration with a transparency and donor centric objectives will enable this.
Insights and Show Notes from “Building a sustainable fundraising future”

Insights and Show Notes from “Building a sustainable fundraising future”

By Joel Nicholson – LemonTree Founder

Are you faced with the common challenges a room of 150 passionate fundraisers shared recently with us at FIA conference 2017? Referring to key words we captured from this workshop (co-hosted with Lisa MillerCerebral Palsy Alliance), the challenges can be grouped as follows:

  • New blue ocean audiences – younger generations, crowded market place, creating effective message outcomes, brand awareness, what’s the next big thing?
  • Donor centric – invest into donor care, ROI vs LTV, targets not set by fundraisers, changing environment e.g. NDIS
  • Data/analytics – retention – how?, digital base, older base, acquiring donors for RG, leaking bucket

To help address these challenges, key concepts to consider…

  • We do have the ability to touch each group or life stage across the Australian audience. The common channels of DM engaging 60+ year olds, Peer to peer engaging 30 to 50 year olds, and F2F drawing a wide range including the 20s generation, albeit hard to retain, are examples of this.
  • Cutting through the blurring of similar brands and growing your fundraising is clearly a challenge. There are over 600,000 registered NFPs in Australia, that is one NFP for every 20 people, which makes us the most crowded competitive industry in the country!
  • There is currently limited insight into accurate donor motivations. Many organisations rely mostly 1st party donor data and 3rd party survey or geodemographic data to gather understanding and action communications. The time and resource cost to gather more comprehensive data can be uneconomical for most.

Actions we have in our hands…

  • Expand giving in Australia is a reality via a few achievable actions. Firstly, by planting low-cost seeds with youth generations to give, similar to how Commbank taught saving many years ago with piggy banks in schools. Secondly, identifying donor life stages and tracking quarter to quarter movements typically drives new insight and quantifies the gaps. Finally, when embracing our multichannel reality, new experimentation into channels such as live chat and social custom audiences is working when matched to the right fundraising activities.
  • Being donor centric is crucial for any organisation that aims for a sustainable future. It starts with a belief that data is your #1 asset and the need to build a strong data framework. This requires a discipline to budget appropriately on areas like data quality and resourcing the right skill sets. We strongly recommend applying a data maturity journey methodology.
  • LemonTree Collaborative Analytics – a powerful concept taken from the commercial world that both protects the donor and takes your relationship with them to a deeper more relevant level. The data is deidentified, so can’t be traced back to an individual, however the collaborative effect of behaviours across the NFP industry allow new unique opportunities such as segmenting by motivation, propensity for reactivation, capacity to upgrade or convert, and finally a range of communication efficiency lifts.

Big thankyous for hosting the session go to:


LemonTree discusses the subtle impacts of language

LemonTree discusses the subtle impacts of language

By Joel Nicholson – LemonTree Founder The questions… Do you find yourself in a similar challenging position to many marketing professionals that attended our recent industry luncheon event on “a new language to modern customer life cycle messaging”? The collective group of around 30 senior professionals in Sydney nominated key challenges in growing customer life cycle programs as:
  • Resourcing/financing projects
  • Data visibility and access
  • Relevance of communications vs personalisation
  • Measurement
  • Training internal teams
What else do you find getting in your way of growing your biggest competitive advantage of meaningful and sustainable customer relationships? The concepts… Firstly, relationships matter. Science is continually proving our health is closely linked to us holding meaningful connections with other people. Customer relationships is no different. NPS in organisations like Vodafone and Citi are proving to average higher for extended periods over a given customer life cycle. How? By simply changing the internal language from traditional segments like onboarding, nurturing, retaining, etc, to more customer-centric language like teach me, grow me, endear me, etc. Finally, accessing or gaining visibility of trustworthy customer behaviour data is more often a process of looking within your organisation rather than searching externally. Recently we helped a brand recover 20% of its customer base that it didn’t previously hold a dialogue with on a key channel. We find there are typically numerous pockets of opportunity that are not immediately visible. Actions to consider… Start putting customer relationships at the heart of strategy and decision making. Measurements like NPS, LTV, and engagement scores are a start towards gaining stakeholder buy-in on both short and long term ROI Create a customer journey framework that everyone can understand. The customer centric segment language described above is but one good example. Think about how to better capture customer interactions that map to the customer journey dialogue and ultimately their needs. A simple example is when a customer buys a car baby seat, what else does this tell you?! A special thanks to Kara Every for sharing her experiences on this topic.