Debate: Are there real advantages in value exchange fundraising campaigns?

Three sector experts, including Paul Amadi of Diabetes UK, share their views on the new fundraising tool whereby charities offer information or gifts in return for contact details

Paul Amadi, director of fundraising at Diabetes UK
Paul Amadi, director of fundraising at Diabetes UK

We ran the charity's first value exchange SMS campaign and have seen it perform to target. Apart from raising awareness of Diabetes UK and the condition, it is a good way to engage with a cold audience that might not have heard about the charity before. Everyone who takes the decision to send a text in exchange for the free diabetes guide and pedometer is curious about diabetes, either Type 1 or Type 2. This sort of campaign traditionally has a good conversion rate, and the exchange provides a great opportunity for a conversation with someone who could become a lifelong supporter.

Paul Amadi, director of fundraising, Diabetes UK

Value exchange is a worthy part of any fundraising campaign, and research shows that this method has a higher conversion rate than conventional charity appeals. As this method becomes popular, charities need to view supporters as savvy consumers in order to engage them effectively.

By offering free products in return for personal data, you give added value. In our quarterly appeals, we ensure that whatever gift we offer is relevant, timely and content-rich. This way, we prompt our donors to re-engage with us.

Richard Fogelman, chief operating officer, Grief Encounter

We are less likely to use a value exchange campaign as a fundraising tool. Our cause is niche, our voluntary income is low and we are a small voice on refugee issues. So any campaign has to be driven by emotion and an appeal to the donor's personal sense of investment in wanting to build a better society. We do that by telling the real, powerful stories of refugees. The value for donors is that they are the ones improving men, women and children's lives when no one else cares. Focusing on this emotional investment sees our attrition rate for some campaigns go as low as 3 per cent.

Alison Griffin, head of fundraising, Refugee Action

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