Eight great ways to grow your charity

Eight great ways to grow your charity A handy guide to fruitful fundraising from Experian A handy guide to fruitful fundraising from Experian We’ll...
Author: Damon Atkinson
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Eight great ways to grow your charity A handy guide to fruitful fundraising from Experian

A handy guide to fruitful fundraising from Experian

We’ll help you dig deeper to find fertile ground For a long time it was tough out there, but now as we see the shoots of recovery and growth come through how can we make the most of the improving conditions? There are lots of channels, an overabundance of data, it can be confusing. But don’t throw in the trowel. By putting all your rhubarbs in a row, and developing a deep understanding of what motivates your supporters, it’s still possible to buck the trend and nurture a well-funded, thriving charity. Experian Marketing Services has extensive expertise in data and campaign management for charities, and can help you weather the complex landscape. But for now, here are eight essential tips for good husbandry.

A handy guide to fruitful fundraising from Experian

One Plant your seeds in one tidy plot It wouldn’t make sense to plant your potatoes in one place, and your parsnips a mile up the road. Similarly, information about your supporters is best kept in one consolidated database, giving you a clear, over-arching view of what’s happening. This may be tricky if you collect data from different sources, but having a single view of all interactions and transactions is critical in growing meaningful relationships with donors and volunteers.

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TIP Getting a single view can sometimes seem a little daunting if you have a lot of disparate data sources, start with looking at one segment of an audience and how they interact and build from there.

A handy guide to fruitful fundraising from Experian

Two Know your onions So what kind of plants are growing in the far-corner of the garden? And what’s that sprouty thing over there? Carrying out an internal audit of your data assets will help you get to grips with what you have, what you need, and what you can do. It will also help you establish where your charity’s data has come from. Armed with this knowledge, you can plan campaigns based on genuine insight of your audience rather than on a hunch. It’s also worth investing in quality analytics to generate further insights, and to stay focused and on track. Ahhh, it’s a radish. TOP

TIP Base your audit on what you intend to do with the data. This will help identify gaps, which you can then go about filling to keep your data relevant.

A handy guide to fruitful fundraising from Experian

Three Prune and weed regularly Weeds are the enemy. They sap the soil of all the goodness, and should be pulled out firmly by the roots. Similarly, it’s important to keep your data ‘weed free’, accurate and up to date – this means regularly pruning anyone from the database who may have moved house, opted out, or passed away. You also need to look carefully at how you capture data. Has it been validated? Is it for a new or existing contact?

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TIP It’s tempting to keep old records, but out-of-date contacts give a false view of your supporters, and can squander your marketing budget.

A handy guide to fruitful fundraising from Experian

Four Peek over the garden wall Cultivating your own patch is only part of the story. You also need to study other gardens for horticultural tips and inspiration. In other words, you can always get a fuller picture by looking outside for information on potential benefactors, including net worth and attitudes to giving. Like starting your seedlings off in a greenhouse, external data can help you understand your audience from the very beginning, before any transactional data has been captured.

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TIP Depending on your charity’s strategy, useful external data might include behavioural/sociodemographic details. Tactical contact information can be used to fill gaps so you can communicate across channels.

A handy guide to fruitful fundraising from Experian

Five Plan before planting Careful planning bears fruit. By applying the principle of ‘test and learn’ using a control group, you can assess and evaluate which strategies will work best, and plan your campaign accordingly. This discipline reduces guesswork and helps avoid expensive mistakes, so you can be confident of rolling out a campaign that works hard for your charity.

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TIP Planning your data strategy will help you assess the right level of contact with supporters – and to measure the value of each interaction.

A handy guide to fruitful fundraising from Experian

Six Use a rake as well as hoe You wouldn’t use a spade to sweep up or a broom to dig a hole. Your garden tools are made for certain tasks, even though they’re all working to the same ends. People will come across your charity in many different ways – browsing your website, reading an email, flicking through a catalogue, or ambling down the High Street. You need to make sure these elements work together and that your messages are consistent and compelling to attract new people and keep faithful supporters.

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TIP At the most basic level, connecting your online and offline data will help you see how often and in what ways supporters interact with your charity.

A handy guide to fruitful fundraising from Experian

Seven This way to the cauliflower patch In the UK, visits to charity websites are rising by around 13% each year, so your Internet presence is increasingly important. But how easy is it to find your way around your garden? Remember, over 30%* of traffic to charity websites arrives via a search engine, like Google or Bing. The easier it is to find your website and what they’re looking for, the more people you’ll attract. Your pages should feature relevant content and key words so that they come up in searches. Now that’s what you call a prize cauliflower.

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TIP Use an analytics program to highlight the key words that are performing well for your website. Where are the gaps? Your next pieces of online content should focus on what’s missing. *November, 2012 Hitwise, Experian Marketing Services

A handy guide to fruitful fundraising from Experian

Eight Embrace new cultivation methods Gardening may be an age-old pursuit, but some newfangled methods really do work. The recent success of the ‘no make-up selfie’ campaign shows what a difference social media can make to the charity sector. These days 11% of all visits to charity websites arrive from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and the numbers are growing fast. The best social media channel to drive more people to your website depends on the demographics of your various supporter groups, so investigate and initiate. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the fruits of your labours. TOP

TIP Once you’ve recruited them, you need to continue talking to your social media fans to hold their attention. Relevant weekly content will raise profile without becoming annoying.

A handy guide to fruitful fundraising from Experian

For more information on how to effectively acquire donors and supporters in a cross channel world please talk to one of our consultants on

0844 481 9911 Alternatively visit

www.experian.co.uk/charities

Experian Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Experian Ltd is registered in England and Wales under company registration number 653331. Registered office address: Landmark House, Experian Way, NG2 Business Park, Nottingham, NG80 1ZZ.