By following some simple steps, charities could improve the amount they raise. In the first of four instalments looking at fundraising, charities can look close to home for somewhere to begin.
Don’t forget current donors
The first thing to do when hoping to boost your income, says fundraising consultant Simon Scriver, is to go to all your existing and recent supporters and request more money.
"We’re often afraid to go back to people who have already supported us because we think we’re bothering them," he says. "But they’re far more likely to help than a stranger who has never given – that first gift is the hardest to give.
"If I phone all your monthly donors, I know 25 per cent of them are going to increase their donations," he says.
Rather than trying to make everyone care, fundraisers should put that time and money into people who have already shown interest, who already care and who have already donated, he says.
The key to encouraging existing donors to give more, Scriver says, is to make them feel like they are insiders with special insight into the charity’s work. "You might be writing to or phoning all your current donors, but you want it to feel like you thought ‘hey, you know who would get this project? John would!
"I’m going to give him a call because he already donates to us and he’s smart and the kind of person who would like to help make this happen’," he says.
Taking the time to thank donors can also help to generate additional gifts, says Jen Shang, director of research at the University of Plymouth Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy.
"In our most recent research project, we tested thank-you communications by email or letter – there were no asks at all and no mention of future asks," she says. "It was just about thanking donors for past giving that they had done."
Thanking donors in ways that made them feel good about themselves increased the number of people who responded with another gift by between 14 and 65 per cent, she says.