PwC Australia’s 1st Annual Not-for-Profit CEO Survey

PwC Australia’s 1st Annual Not-for-Profit CEO Survey

One of the big questions for leaders and managers in the NFP sector is how do we adapt our people, products and processes to harness the digital economy that’s been fast-tracked by the global pandemic?

 To find out how NFPs are upskilling for a digital world in the context of COVID-19, PwC Australia recently asked CEOs of not-for-profit organisations to complete a condensed version of their renowned PwC Annual Global CEO Survey.

 The inaugural PwC Not-For-Profit CEO Report shows that despite the deeply challenging COVID-19 environment, upskilling for a digital world is an opportunity worth taking. In fact, 77% of NFP CEOs said the need for the digital upskilling of employees has become a higher priority in the context of COVID-19. Unfortunately, 61% say the greatest challenge faced in their upskilling efforts is a lack of resources to conduct the upskilling programs needed.

 According to NFP CEOs, the top outcomes from their upskilling programs are a stronger organisational culture, higher employee engagement, and greater organisational growth. In order to achieve these outcomes, the report suggests NFP leaders need to be asking themselves some critical questions around upskilling, collaboration and growth.

Upskilling & Collaborating to Drive Growth

Here at LemonTree, we’ve certainly been upskilling ourselves to harness the winds of change and the speedy arrival of a digitally-led world. Inspite of the chaos and turmoil COVID-19 has brought, we have actively sought to use this time to embrace technology and create innovative, sustainably viable ROI impact outcomes for both ourselves and – most importantly – for our members.

Our Donor Centricity Collective events moved to the online video platform, Zoom. These events used to be face-to-face in our Sydney office, attracting an average audience of 40 – 70 Fundraising Managers from the greater Sydney area. Since switching to virtual events, we’ve been able to extend the value of DCC to NFPs across the entire country, attracting over 100 Fundraising Managers per event. There’s been some trial and error as we upskill ourselves with the technology, but our DCC members have been quick to tell us they’ve found the events have “great tangible ideas”, “immediate actions”, and “inspiring speakers”.

As a data insights and analytics collaborative, collaboration is in our DNA. This year, we’ve partnered with More Impact, Cornucopia and Conversr to launch an exciting new product offering called Primed. Primed is an end-to-end engagement solution that helps NFPs access and nurture untapped potential and convert more of their donors through digital channels such as social media, AI SMS and the automation of supporter experiences. LemonTree member and Regular Giving Manager at Bush Heritage Australia, Matt Small describes it best, saying “Primed sits at a really interesting crossroad between the supporter journey and the technology available. If you mix those two things – as Primed does – you can really improve the experience for the donor and really engage people who you thought were in the ‘too-hard’ bucket. It’s an opportunity to do things a little bit differently, more efficiently and smarter.” This smarter, more efficient way of engaging with their donors meant Bush Heritage converted 309 new regular givers and acquired 113 new single gift donations in their first Primed campaign. We’re now in the middle of their second campaign and results are already looking promising.

Whilst we agree with the PwC study that collaboration is a central ingredient to growth and success in this new world, we would suggest that you need to be both broad and specific about who you collaborate with.

Don’t just limit your thinking to the traditional academic and government institutions. Think more broadly about who you can collaborate with to create some win-win-win solutions for you, your partners and your target audience. But also be specific – stay focused on your purpose and seek to collaborate with those who align with it. For example, our purpose at LemonTree is to grow sustainable giving in Australia. When we look back on 2020, finding the right partnerships with organisations that are leading the way in the digital economy has been the core catalyst to driving rapid upskilling and adoption for us. But it’s been equally as important for us to build sustainable collaborative partnerships that not only help fuel growth for our members, but fuel our collective progress to grow more sustainable giving in Australia.

How are you and your organisation are upskilling and collaborating to increase employee engagement and drive growth?

Why donor-centricity should be a strategic priority for NFPs

Why donor-centricity should be a strategic priority for NFPs

In my previous blog post, I explored what it means to be donor-centric. This post, I’ll explain why we at LemonTree believe donor-centricity should be a strategic priority for NFPs.

Donor-centricity is the ongoing dedication to increasing the depth and breadth of your donor understanding. In doing so, you generate insights that can be used to tailor your communication and engagement efforts and demonstrate to your donors that they are at the heart of your entire organisation. This builds trust and loyalty – the critical foundations of any lasting, sustainable relationship.

How do we know this? Because we’ve seen it before in the commercial world.

Customer-Centric Commercial World

Long ago the commercial world realised that the ‘customer is king’ and so adopted a customer-centric approach to their business. Marketing teams work tirelessly to get inside the hearts and minds of their customers so they can position and promote their products and services in the right way, at the right time and with the right message to engage and nurture the customer and eventually make the sale.

Faced with increasing pressures, change and disruption from technological innovation, and a general decline in trust amongst businesses, commercial entities recognise that sustained competitive advantage doesn’t belong to those who provide the best product or service. Sustained competitive advantage belongs to those who provide a sustained focus on delivering the best customer experience.

A positive customer experience makes us feel something and – as humans – we are motivated to act based on how we feel. We tend to make decisions based on emotion, then find a way to justify that decision based on logic. Which is why we choose to walk that little bit further to get our morning coffee, even though it costs 50c more…but the barista greets us by name, remembers our order and takes the time to ask how our kids are getting on with that school project.

We walk further and pay more because of the way the experience makes us feel; that’s what keeps us coming back. It makes us trust the barista; makes us loyal to the cafe and gives them a competitive advantage. In today’s challenging times with COVID-19, this entrenched loyalty – built up from years of providing a positive customer experience – is keeping many businesses alive, and for that, we applaud them and wish them every success.

To deliver the best customer experience and earn a sustained competitive advantage, businesses need to earn trust and build loyalty by adopting a customer-centric approach:

  1. Understanding what their customers want, need, like, dislike, hope, fear and value at each stage of their life (see Fig. 1)
  2. Infusing these customer insights across all their business functions to help shape decisions
  3. Creating a unique and ongoing value exchange for their customers
  4. Engaging in open, honest and transparent two-way conversations with their customers, across many different channels
  5. Empowering customers to interact with their brand on their own terms

This same approach applies to not-for-profits looking to secure sustainable giving. You need to earn trust and build loyalty by adopting a donor-centric approach, and that starts by increasing the depth and breadth of your donor understanding.

Fig. 1

Understanding your Donors

In the same way as a customer’s ability or desire to purchase a product or service will vary over their lifetime (see Fig. 1), so too will a donor’s ability and willingness to donate to your cause vary in both time and dollars as their circumstances change and evolve.

Adopting a donor-centric approach enables you to recognise the changes in their life stage (whether it’s a significant milestone or subtle adjustment) and adjust your communication and engagement activities accordingly so you sustain the relationship over a longer period of time.

Smart organisations – both commercial and NFP – would rather have a customer or donor contributing $25 annually for 10 years, versus a one-off transaction of $500. That is not sustainable.

Historically, donors have reported they often feel treated like ATM machines, where the focus is on the financial transaction itself, rather than taking the time to nurture and engage with the donor. But if NFPs treat the donor relationship as a purely transactional one, then it will only ever yield one-off transactional results.

The building blocks of sustainable relationships

Remember, trust and loyalty, are the building blocks of any long-lasting relationship. But they are not built on a series of one-sided transactions. Trust is built over a series of two-way conversations during which the donor feels recognised, valued and instrumental to your organisation and its beneficiaries.

If you can make your donors feel this, they are far more likely to stay loyal to your cause…and even adopt it as their own.

So if you want to grow sustainable giving for your cause, and for the Australian fundraising industry, you need to adopt donor-centricity as a strategic priority to earning trust and building loyalty.


If you’re on a mission to become more donor-centric, we invite you to join LemonTree’s free Donor-Centricity Collective (DCC). As a member of the DCC you can share best practice, learn from your peers, keep up-to-date with the latest strategies to become more donor-centric…and be part of a movement to help grow sustainable giving in Australia!

Next up in this series:

  • Barriers to donor-centricity: the challenges you face
  • How to become more donor-centric
  • The different stages of the donor relationship and how they impact donor-centricity


How to fundraise in our diversified donor world

How to fundraise in our diversified donor world

With tax appeals out and the fundraising focus now firmly on the Financial Year or second-half planning, the most common conversations I’ve had with peers over the past two months have been centered around:

traditional fundraising getting harder

● active donor bases declining; and

● how to re-establish and grow a truly engaged donor base in our diversified donor world.

Other repeated challenges shared from our recent DCC pulse check have been around RG attrition; diversifying income and retention, retention, retention! All of which demonstrates why we need to attract and grow lasting relationships through a deeper understanding of donors and their motivations.

Diversified Motivations:

One way to better understand your donor relationships – and how they work best in a diversified fundraising world – is to study each stage of the donor relationship through the lens of the Endear Me stage.

Research from around the world on practical fundraising experiences to help endear donors suggests:

“Share with them your areas of success, so you endear them to your charity, not just the cause you support.”

“Even our flaws can endear us to our supporters.”

“Surprise them in ways that will make sure they never forget you and endear them to your organisation”

Earlier this year, we spoke to Dr Adrian Sergeant about the Endear Me stage of the donor relationship (read the full Q&A). He suggested endearment may not come from reminding your donors of the values of your cause and what you stand for, but rather from reminding individual donors of:

● Why they donated in the first place – their motivation;
● How they felt when they did; and
● How they identified themselves when making the emotional decision to donate.

At LemonTree, we understand it can be difficult to identify the motivation behind a donor’s decision to donate given survey data is typically limited to a small percentage of your donors. Instead, it’s worth considering cause-based motivations or time of year motivations as another way to understand and endear your donor.

What are your donors motivated by or identifying with when they give?

Some actions to consider in our diversified donor world:

TIP #1
Invest time into researching each of the relationship stages of your donors and how you can best understand and create most value at each stage.

TIP #2
Invest deeply into understanding your donors through improving data accuracy and leveraging predictive collaborative insights that are now available to you. As a start, rate your organisation on each stage of the 8 step Donor Centric Roadmap (download your FREE copy!)

TIP #3
Invest your resources into more ongoing relationship building programs and less stop-start campaign communications. Like most relationships, donor relationship growth happens with consistent effort. It also frees up your time in our diverse donor world when many programs are quietly and viably running in the background.

TIP #4
Consider your answers to our 3 Cs framework (see how we do it!):

LemonTree Fundraising - Connect - Collaborate - Care

● How do you CONNECT? – how do you seek to understand your donors more deeply?

● How do you COLLABORATE? – how do you strive to understand a wider cross-section of donors?

● How do you CARE? – how do you show your donors you value them?

TIP #5
Finally, ask yourself what beliefs, motivations and/or identities your donors relate with and how you can use these to increase endearment to your organisation.

For more information, or to book a free Donor Discovery Session please complete the below:

Book a free Donor Discovery Session

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We are now living in a Trust Economy

We are now living in a Trust Economy

By Joel Nicholson – LemonTree Founder

We are now living in a Trust Economy. Thanks to today’s technology, digital and social media, we can quickly and easily connect with – and do business with – more and more people from all over the world. Forget Bitcoin. Trust has become the currency ‘du jour’.

But how ‘real’ are these connections?

How much do we really know – and trust – our 4.9 star-rated Uber driver?

Or the owners of the Airbnb house we’ve just booked?

Or the latest person to follow us on Instagram?

What do they really know about us?

With the growing number of connections, has come growing statistics on depression, disengagement and authenticity, along with a continuing decline in the World Trust Index, suggesting that we are suffering from a false sense of connection and belonging.

Winning and losing in the Trust Economy

As humans, we are social, communal beings at heart. We want to meaningfully connect with our communities. We want to belong to a tribe. We want more meaning, more fulfillment, more happiness.

In the Not-For-Profit industry specifically – where a common question from donors is: “Where does my money go?” – it is becoming increasingly important to focus on growing lasting, sustainable relationships vs. amassing unsubstantiated connections.

Fundraisers and charities that focus on relationships over transactional connections will be the winners in this new era.

Keeping our donors is more important than ever.

Those that don’t invest in getting to know and understand their donors and provide them with real value, will fall away in this trust economy and lose the chance to make a real difference to their cause.

Donor-Centric Life in the Trust Economy

In the trust economy, every donor is deeply understood and deeply valued.

We move from transactions (RFM) to motivations and preferences.

You are genuinely connected with your donors.

You collaborate with others to further your knowledge and understanding of your donors so you can truly care for and work in their best interests!

Those natural human chemicals of Oxytocin and Sertonin are flowing.

What do we need to thrive in the Trust Economy?

What if you knew your localised motivated donor?

What if you knew the exact time of year your donor prefers to support your cause?

What if you knew which donors shared the plight of YOUR cause and which donors are simply do-gooders?

How would you communicate with them?

How would you engage with them?

How would you attract and retain them?

The reality of the Trust Economy reality is now.

In 2018, 54 LemonTree members, leant in and embraced the Trust Economy.

They are now matching messages to motivation segments; testing multi channels across Direct Mail, eDM, SMS and phone; and tracking LTV vs. immediate response rates.

How are you adapting to the Trust Economy? (Share your comments below)