For many charities, Gift Aid contributions provide an essential upside to consumer donations, providing money that is often used as operational income, enabling charities to pass 100 per cent of the donations on to those that need the money most.
For charities to prosper in today’s digital age it’s vital that they engage with consumers and accept donations from a range of touch points, from online to mobile. However, the channel the donor uses to make a donation can have a major bearing on the amount of Gift Aid the charity is able to collect.
When a donation payment is made using a credit card online, the donor enters their address as part of their donation. As they fill out the donation details, they can also review and agree a Gift Aid declaration in the same step, which is why charities are typically able to collect a much higher Gift Aid percentage from credit card donors.
When collecting Gift Aid from a text message payment made through the telephone bill, the process is split into two steps. In step one, the donor simply sends an SMS to a short code and the donation amount is taken from the phone bill. The Gift Aid declaration is then requested by the charity in a second step after the donation. This is the key reason why Gift Aid conversions rates can be as low as 15-20 per cent for mobile payments.
However, with the right strategy charities can double the amount of Gift Aid they generate through mobile.
Reducing the friction
Mobile is undoubtedly the simplest and most convenient way for anyone to donate money to charity. But we know it doesn’t always work for charities and, if the process is overly complex, consumers just won’t bother.
It’s essential that charities consider text donations as a key ingredient of their donation strategies, and mobile CRM must be catered for within those.
A mistake that a lot of charities make is to ask only once for Gift Aid, at the time of the donation – but donor engagement shouldn’t end there. What we’ve seen from campaigns such as Children In Need is that a donor can still be receptive to giving Gift Aid days after the point at which they made their donation. For example, by sending out a personalised SMS reminder message containing a clickable link inviting them to make a declaration, you can actually convert to Gift Aid a large number of donations that you had previously written off.
In terms of Gift Aid claims, a key area where charities often fall down is in not being able to match repeat donors with existing Gift Aid declarations. Creating a mechanic that recognises repeat donors by their mobile numbers can be hugely effective for increasing Gift Aid conversion because donors don’t need to be asked twice – this might seem obvious, but it’s a common occurrence with a number of existing mobile text donation campaigns.
One of the best ways to increase the amount of Gift Aid you collect is to increase the volume and value of the donations you receive. That might be pretty simple maths, but looking at how your mobile messages are structured can make a big difference.
Clear messaging throughout your campaigns to let your supporters know how specific tariff donations will be used is important, because it creates more of an emotional connection. For example, using triggers such as "£10 will buy ..." helps the recipient to visualise how their money will be used, which is likely to help them decide to give money.
Encouraging multiple price points for individual campaigns allows calls to action to be tailored specifically to the audience at that time. Where they normally would have had only £5 price point, for example, adding a £10 price point to the campaign can often deliver unexpected results.
You’re never going to be able to collect Gift Aid from 100 per cent of your donors, but by focusing on the friction points within your campaign and having the right mechanics to recognise repeat donors it is possible to significantly increase the amount of Gift Aid that comes into your charity.
Rob Weisz is chief executive of Fonix