Anthony Nolan, the blood cancer charity, has increased its income from community fundraising by 34 per cent to £771,000 since January last year by focusing on building long-term relationships, convention delegates heard yesterday.
Speaking at a session called Community Fundraising: Time for Cinderella to Go to the Ball?, Catherine Miles, fundraising director at the charity, said the change in strategy had resulted in the average gift increasing by 35 per cent to £880, with more than 20 per cent of supporters raising more than £1,000.
The charity decided that having 11 community fundraisers on the ground was not the right structure and centralised four posts in London. The fundraisers engage with supporters locally using social media and encourage supporters to blog, tweet, post videos and share their fundraising activities on Facebook.
Miles said: "We talk to our supporters. It is not about bombarding them with a huge series of ‘asks’. We give them two or three options tailored to interest them, not just about fundraising. It is also about raising awareness and getting people signed up to our bone marrow register."
Charities can develop deeper, longer-term relationships "by treating people as people", and this generates more fundraising income in the long term, she said.
Jayne Cromwell, head of community fundraising at Anthony Nolan, who also spoke at the session, said community fundraising was often dismissed as an old-fashioned and time-consuming for staff, but added that attitudes needed to change. "We believe community supporters are among the warmest and best prospects a charity can have," she said. "They can raise really big money if we look at the big, long-term picture."