FIA has worked collaboratively with Australia Post over many years, advocating for the needs of the charitable fundraising sector and have been successful in helping to achieve temporary rebates for qualified Charity Mail campaigns to support fundraising organisations. The rebates were provided to assist charities with their fundraising, lowering costs and encouraging them to undertake additional mailing activity to help supplement income from fundraising activities which have been impacted by COVID-19.
Recognising the financial challenges charities are still facing, Australia Post will provide a postage rebate of 10% on any incremental Charity Mail activity undertaken from 1 April to 30 June 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. The 10% rebate applies to the incremental Charity Mail volume achieved from 1 April to 30 June 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, adjusted for:
any Charity Mail volume shortfall that occurs in the following quarter ie, 1 July to 30 September 2022 compared to 2021 and any applicable credit claims in those periods.
The rebate is only available where Charity Mail volumes have been lodged on the charity’s own charge account both last year and this year.
Good news indeed and well done to FIA for their continued discussions with Australia Post.
It may be a small saving, however every 10% counts. Most fundraisers would experience when preparing forecasts and ROI calculations for direct mail, particularly for acquisition, the numbers and business case can be challenging, so these incremental cost savings are all important.
We are seeing that diversification of fundraising channels and activities is a common strategy across many charities, so again when comparing ROI across the channels and activities, every 10% counts to keep as many of these open as a viable opportunity.
LemonTree hosted the first Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) networking event for 2021, on our panoramic rooftop, on the evening of 14 April. It was wonderful to catch up and network after the recent COVID-19 restrictions, as well as have the opportunity to meet so many new NFP crusaders!
For this session, we were joined by guest NFP speaker Jody Crooks, the resident Head of Donor Engagement & Retention at WWF. Jody expanded on maintaining donor loyalty, aligning donor and cause values, listening to your donors and more (Queue the famous Julie Andrews line from The Sound of Music – “Getting to know you, Getting to know all about you.”)
When I think about the ‘Teach Me’ stage of the donor relationship, I draw parallels with the early stages of a romantic relationship. You’re acclimatising to each other and working out whether you’ll still like them when you scratch below the surface. Will this be marriage or just a short fling?
We all know attrition is at its highest in those crucial early few months. So it’s really important that we help our donors avoid ‘buyer’s remorse’. It’s when they’ll start noticing first debits and will consider whether they really can afford it, or is it really the best use of their money. Will you deliver on what you said you would? To me, if we’ve delivered a successful experience in the ‘teach me’ stage, then our donors will be thinking “It’s so great to know more about WWF and how I’ll be helping for the long-term. I’m going to stick around!”
Ideally they’ll be feeling informed, more knowledgeable about your work, maybe even a little bit obsessive, and that they’ve found their tribe – they belong and they’re proud to be a part of this.
Whilst you’re in this familiarity-growing stage, you’ll want to be setting the groundwork to maintain loyalty. Some key principles to consider to help do this are:
Ensuring the donor can see how your cause aligns with their values
How can you help your donor trust you
Making it clear how the core benefit you deliver is impactful and what they expected
Communication touch-points and personal interactions are positive
You make supporting you an easy experience – you are convenient.
A donor will have made the choice to support your organisation because your cause aligns with their values and interests. Like many NFPs, WWF has a wide remit, and our staff are often keen to tell them about everything we do! However, just because someone joined because they love tigers, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re inclined to care about the impact of climate change on people in low income countries – despite both being focuses of our work. They may choose to learn more over time, but it’s important not to overwhelm a new donor. That’s why we’ve developed our communications during this stage to deliver a gradual introduction and exchange of information, specific to the area of work they joined us, before opening it up to broader areas.
Knowing your donor’s motivation is obviously critical in helping you do this. Perhaps it’s based on the product or proposition they signed up on, creative messaging testing, or perhaps you have a post-up sign up survey to help you determine this.
Trust is another key factor to establish at this time, and including a supporter promise in welcome materials is a great tool for letting your donor know what they can expect from this relationship. At WWF we’re always focusing on demonstrating impact as a way for donors to feel confident we’re putting their funds to best use. For example, by sharing regular impact updates, inspiring stories from the field and transparency on use of funds.
We also take the time to welcome all of our new regular givers by calling them to say thank you, and to check that they’ve received their welcome pack. A personal touch-point early on in their relationship is a really positive way to help us both get to know more about each other. We’re seeing great retention uplifts too.
As the relationship develops, it’s time to start peaking their broader interests as we introduce other ways they get can get involved. For example, including advocacy asks in the later on-boarding journey, value exchanges such as advice on sustainable living, bequest normalisation in supporter care newsletters or opportunities to fundraise on our behalf. We find the more actions a supporter takes, the higher their engagement and the relationship is stronger as a consequence.
It’s so important to get this stage of the relationship right if we want to see those depressing early month attrition rates go down. Focusing on the key principles of loyalty should really help you do this, and never losing sight of the donors’ ‘why’. This is a person that cares about your cause – let’s make sure they know how grateful we are that they’re here!
We’ll say it…Fundraising is hard! The world of fundraising is fundamentally shifting all the time; with old communications meeting new communications. And its a no brainer, COVID-19 has accelerated the impacts of a lot of underlying pieces of technology and environmental factors. The way in which we decide, buy, work, connect and live, have all altered – creating a different need for the human aspect, human element and human leadership.
Ashton Bishop, the founder of Step Change, knows how busy Fundraising Managers are. Which is why he’s taken his 3-day leadership course and condensed it into a 6-hour digital learning module, in a fun and interactive style of learning. And wait for it…you also have 3 months to complete the course at your own pace!
In challenging times we all need a set of tools to lean on and tap into. So why not challenge yourself and lead your cause into 2021, with a clear mindset and vision. Create your own sustainable change, challenge yourself, acknowledge your weaknesses, and build a better you!
Step Change have extended their BLACK FRIDAY pricing for our LemonTree community, offering 20% OFF their $299 leadership course ‘Leaders Mindset’.
After hearing her passionately speak on the subject at one of our Donor Centricity Collective events, we asked Lauren McDermott, Fundraising Manager – Donor Development at Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research to share her thoughts and experiences on the “most exciting donor stage for all fundraisers” and an “incredible opportunity for innovation and discovery”……
As fundraisers, we often liken the ‘Welcome Me’ stage of a donor’s journey to the honeymoon stage of a romantic relationship. Whilst there are many commonalities – the setting of expectations, taking time to get to know and understand each other, the building of trust – there is a striking difference.
When giving their first gift, our donors have usually just responded to a single call to action, crafted to feel as urgent and unavoidable as we can possibly make it. We shouldn’t be too quick to assume then, that this equates to any sort of commitment or loyalty. We are not side-by-side in a getaway car trailing cans.
The donor welcome journey is a tool used to increase the likelihood of a second gift and, if done well, a third and fourth before progressing over time into our pillar programs as a monthly giver, a major donor or leaving a gift in their will.
Whilst it sounds simple enough, at the time of writing this, I find that best practice welcome journeys are not easy to come by. Perhaps that’s not surprising given the UK’s Commission on Donor Experience reports that fundraisers often only pay lip service to thanking and welcoming their donors. This is proven by the fact that more than 90% of the reviewed fundraising materials contained the same sentence – Thank you so much for your kind/generous donation of.The Commission’s report suggested four areas that charities might benefit from reviewing if they want to implement a best-practice welcome for a new supporter.
Being real and authentic
Too often, we use speed as a measure of a good welcome. But taking the time to add a personal touch is just as, if not more, important. It tells donors right from the start that they are heroes to your beneficiaries and that their donations are seen and noticed (no black hole here). It may also break down perceived barriers for future giving by showcasing your friendly supporter care.
Whilst a phone call is one way of thanking a donor, with numerous benefits to both parties, we know handwritten notes, paperclips, videos and plain text email can all convey a similar message – a machine is not thanking you today, a real human is.
Respecting a donor’s choice and privacy is key to ensuring the relationship is sustainable and long-lasting. But it’s also crucial we have the opportunity to thank people and show them the incredible impact they have had on our cause.
If supporters take the opportunity to opt-out too soon, we can’t give them the most basic psychological return on their investment. It’s a lose/lose.
Having a robust, but functional, preference centre is one step we can take to resolve this. But there is a lot more to be done to have harmonious, engaging and choice-driven communications with your supporters.
Is digital still an afterthought when it comes to welcoming new donors to your organisation? What if you can’t call them because they don’t have a phone number?
Ensuring we duplicate our offline welcome activities in the online world, in a way that is meaningful and memorable for new supporters coming on from every possible source is important. It is also a great way for us to begin measuring, testing and using data-driven insights to continuously improve the journeys we put in place.
At the Perkins, we use the term ‘automation with heart’ to remind us that tools and technology should be utilised to enhance the donor’s experience first and foremost, not to make things easier for us.
By far the most important area that needs the urgent focus of our best fundraising minds is how we measure an effective welcome.
The lack of appropriate, accurate and universally adaptable metrics is likely the reason that we underperform in this area of fundraising. From my experience, the current common measures of success are not necessarily the best ones to use for measuring the donor welcome journey:
Speed – a quick thank you isn’t always a quality thanks.
ROI – leads to short term thinking and a focus on cost-saving. If we don’t thank people for giving small amounts, they don’t understand the impact that giving more could have next time.
Second gift rates – are important but not everything. Do people who are welcomed give more? What’s the difference five years on?
Lifetime value – extremely difficult to measure for many charities, particularly smaller or less established ones, or to effectively use this to show cause and effect from a single activity.
We know the impact a word or even the font size can have when seeking donations, but when it comes to thanking or welcoming donors, there is still a lot left to be discovered. I think that’s exactly what makes the welcome me stage a very exciting area for all fundraisers with an incredible opportunity for innovation and discovery – I hope you do too.
If you’d like to learn more from Lauren and your fundraising peers, we invite you to join LemonTree’sDonor-Centricity Collective (DCC). Every quarter we host webinars and events with industry speakers, as well as commercial speakers so you learn how to bring commercial best practice into the NFP industry. Learn from your peers – and share your own insights and experiences – through our private social media groups, events and blogs…all for FREE!
It takes a tribe to raise a family and it takes a collective of passionate, like-minded peers to change an industry and help grow sustainable giving in Australia – join us today.
Thank you to Lauren McDermott for sharing her knowledge on the Welcome Me stage in the donor relationship journey.