Adrian Sargeant is Chief Executive of The Philanthropy Centre. He is passionate about achieving massive growth in philanthropy. All his work is focused on achieving that by developing the value that donors get from their giving. He specialises in the new science of philanthropic psychology, a science that is routinely doubling the income for those charities that apply it… [Source: FIA Conference].

The LemonTree team compiled a handful of burning fundraising questions for renowned Author and Fundraising Professor Dr. Adrian Sargeant, featured speaking at the upcoming FIA Conference in Melbourne, here is what he had to say:

Q – With acquisition of donors via traditional channels becoming more challenging, how should charities adapt practices to grow their donor numbers?

Couple of thoughts on this. First – recruit the right donors. Don’t be tempted to recruit poor quality donors just to push up the figures for the initial ROI. In the US in particular, fundraisers have honed their skills in recruiting low value donors who will never come back and make a second gift. And their Boards applaud. Second thought – get a proper welcome cycle in place to maximize subsequent retention and loyalty

Q – What are the biggest dangers for charities that you consider are over communicating to their donors? Do you see resting donors a viable option?

I’m not sure what ‘over-communication’ looks like. If I like you and I care about you – and I enjoy what I receive – how can you over-communicate? What you’re really saying here is that we are over-communicating with rubbish that doesn’t in any way reflect donor interests, needs or aspirations. If you’re squarely donor centric and concerned with how you make people feel, resting individuals shouldn’t be necessary.

Q – Have you seen personalising communications based on motivational scores make a difference? Or is it a progressive learning program over many years to get right?

Hmm – well I take issue with motivation, its very limiting. The next big thing in fundraising will be identity. So its not ‘why do people give’ – its what are people saying about themselves when they give. And when you orient a fundraising program around adding value for the types of people that donors are – magical things happen. People give more and they feel better about themselves when they do.

Q – What are your top 3 tips to building more sustainable long term fundraising programs?

I’ve touched on this already. Forget behavioural economics and all that 20th century rubbish. Focus on enhancing the wellbeing of supporters and construct communication that genuinely adds to that. AND think through what activities you can have folks engage with that will genuinely add to that sense of wellbeing – even if those activities raise no money. In short – stop thinking about your needs and focus on theirs. If people feel good, the money will follow.

SHOUT OUT TO: David Craig from Precision Fundraising for connecting us with Dr. Adrian Sergeant.

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