Tips on how to cultivate support from the digitally savvy

It's important to understand the habits of your charity supporters in order to better engage with them online, says Polly Gowers, founder of Give as you Live

Polly Gowers
Polly Gowers

The way we interact with each other is constantly changing thanks to social media, better connectivity and the plethora of devices now available. We recently conducted the Give as you Live Donor Survey, which surveyed more than 8,000 digital donors and reveals that professionals under 30 are the demographic that has most embraced new ways of connecting. 

What’s interesting is how this information can help charities with their marketing efforts. We know from the survey that this audience:

- Is most inspired to donate after being asked for sponsorship from friends and family, seeing an emotive advert or seeing social media communications from the charity

- Is likely to follow charities on social networks, with 51 per cent following charities on Facebook and 30 per cent following on Twitter

- Responds to social media with more than 30 per cent of all donations being influenced by social channels

- Is likely to donate through text message or social media

In this fast-changing digital world, it’s important to understand the habits of these charity supporters in order to better engage with them and cultivate their support. With that understanding, here is my advice:

1. Think ‘multichannel’ conversations

When I think of the notion of multichannel conversations, I think of a scene from the movie He’s Just Not That Into You, when, after a date, Drew Barrymore contacts the guy through Blackberry Messenger, Facebook message, text – pretty much every way short of sending him a letter. Unsurprisingly, the bombardment didn’t get Drew very far, but the point is we are spoilt for choice when it comes to communication channels.

We know from our research that this group communicates through social media and that this type of communication inspires them to donate. With so much choice out there, it’s a case of choosing the right channel to have the conversation you want to have. Remember not to "do a Drew" and use every channel, bombard and leave the conversation feeling one way. It can be a full-time job keeping all these conversations flowing, but it leads to real audience engagement.

2. Embrace blogging and peoples’ desire for ‘fame’

Open your blog up and invite supporters to write guest posts for you. Many bloggers are keen to support charities and causes: they just need to be asked. Blogs that come straight from the horse’s mouth are the most powerful ones in terms of engagement from your audience.

These types of blogs will help create discussion points across your networks and you can also enjoy the benefits of your guest blogger’s network.

And when we say blogging, of course it’s not just bloggers who can guest for you – it’s the vloggers, and also the visual Instagramers. Keep your blog visual with their help, with lots of rich imagery and video content.

3. Engage with active fundraisers

Obviously, lots of people – including a huge number of young people – take part in sponsored events. While most young donors might not have a lot of money to give themselves, they can often raise a reasonable amount, because of their wide social networks, passions and enthusiasm.

Help your supporters in their endeavours to raise money for charity by engaging with them and thanking them in their preferred communication channel. Share with them relevant and timely information in the right channels and they will not only find it useful but hopefully share your stories – giving you increased reach and even more valued social ambassadors.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in

Latest Jobs

RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners


Expert hub

Insurance advice from Markel

How bad can cyber crime really get: cyber fraud #1

Promotion from Markel

In the first of a series, we investigate the risks to charities from having flawed cyber security - and why we need to up our game...

Third Sector Logo

Get our bulletins. Read more articles. Join a growing community of Third Sector professionals

Register now