Many charities are poor at identifying which donors to target and explaining why their charity is the one to support, an audience of charity professionals heard yesterday.
Aneesha Moreira, chief executive of the consultancy Action Planning, told her organisation’s conference in London that charities made errors in five areas when providing fundraising support, including not targeting the correct donors, failing to identify the unique value of their organisation and not creating a "case for support" to show what a donor would get from backing their charity.
"You have to develop a case so that when your market is choosing whether to support this or that organisation, they choose you," she said. "If you want to compete and win, this is the area in which you have to get better."
When she asked charities who their target market was, she said, they too often told her "anyone who will give us money".
Instead, she said, "you have to think hard about who has an affinity with your cause".
She said the other main mistakes made by charities included not demonstrating impact and "inside-out reporting", when "charity staff sit around a table and say ‘we think it should be like that’ without talking to any supporters and beneficiaries and asking what they want".
Moreira said that although charities faced problems with donor retention and donors who were reducing the level of their gifts, a larger problem was donor acquisition.
"I’m working with some organisations that are having to spend so much on acquiring supporters that they may never make a net profit," she said.