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Digital fundraising-handbook-public zone

  1. 1. The DigitalFundraisingHandbookPersuading more people to give online 1
  2. 2. Contents Introduction Part 1: Tuning the donation journey page 4 Everyone we spoke to for this handbook was excited and curious about digital fundraising. The internet has transformed many charities, and it presents a wealth Reciprocity page 6 of opportunities for fundraising too. Appeal to all parts of the brain page 8 It can multiply your reach – perhaps overseas, perhaps with a younger audience, or In practice: maximise social information page 10 possibly with niche interest groups. It’s easy to set up new experiments, it’s flexible Don’t treat everyone the same page 12 and you can react quickly to data and audience feedback. Local, personalised and light-touch communications should help keep supporters engaged and reduce In practice: photography page 14 attrition rates. Part 2: Persuading more people to give page 16 The statistics seem to bear this out too. Estimates put the average online donation at Does online giving lack emotion? page 20 between two to four times higher than offline. In short, digital fundraising ought to be Should fundraising be everywhere? page 22 a fantastic return on investment. In practice: challenge yourself page 24 However, the digital revolution has not yet had the impact we’d expect. The total Are we involving donors enough? page 26 amount given to charity has not risen significantly, online giving still remains a tiny slice of the fundraising pie and charities lag way behind other industries, such as retail. Does peer-to-peer make us forgettable? page 28 It’s time to be more ambitious, and that’s why we’ve written this book. It celebrates Can our stories take us to new places? page 30 the many successes of digital fundraising, as well as examining how we can do better. One last thing: Giving as investment page 32 Part one establishes just what we mean by digital fundraising, and then looks at how Thank you page 34 we can improve the donation journey. The second part discusses ‘the thinking’, or how can we convince more people to give. We hope you like it. The Public Zone team2 This handbook was written and printed in 2012 and is the third in the series. 3
  3. 3. Part 1 What is digital fundraising? It’s never been easier to give The In all the excitement about digital With online fulfilment, charities have fundraising – or online giving, or created a new way for supporters to give. multi-channel donation journeys – Given the usual cost and technical there is some confusion about what Doing complexity of big digital projects, it’s exactly these words stand for. fantastic that almost all charities have now Do we mean donations processed created a new fulfilment platform online. through your website? That includes Setting this up was the correct first step mobile too, right? How about something for digital fundraisers. less direct, such as the income that Reassuringly, 92 per cent of people say Fine-tuning the donation journey comes in offline as a result of a social they’re happy with the experience of media campaign? We like to think of it giving to charity – up 12 points since in two parts: the doing and the thinking. 2006. Perhaps this is due to the fact that The doing we’ve made it easy to give online. This is the fulfilment side: providing new There’s a huge amount of good thinking ways for supporters to give you money and ideas in this area now. There are via technology. plenty of blog posts and expert guides on The thinking perfecting the donation journey. We have This is the role digital plays in created a list of the best on our website at persuading people to give. As for this book, we’ve looked a little further ahead. So here are our get-ahead- of-the-game top tips for the next few years. We think these will get a few more people giving to your charity. All the studies and statistics cited in this handbook are available on our website at4 5
  4. 4. Reciprocity What’s the idea? The reciprocity rule works best if Several studies in social psychology your audience feels they’re receiving have established something called something from real people, not a the rule of reciprocity. It says that if faceless website. Show off your staff somebody does you a favour, you’ll photos or talk about how this page likely feel some emotional obligation to was created, and make that connection give something back in return. really explicit. Researchers have also looked at how Set the tone early and assertively. When this works on the internet. When we you publish a big new web page, or use Wikipedia or Gmail – or make use start a new online service, shout loudly of helpful information and services on a about how donations made it happen charity’s website – we feel grateful and and are needed to keep it up. more inclined to give something back How can we use it? Provide an obvious way for users to repay this ‘reciprocity gap’. This should be directly connected to what the user Read more has received, so a big generic donate button isn’t always best. When we make use of helpful For more tips on using Try something far more specific such as: information and services on psychology and emotion “Did you find this stress-beating advice a charity’s website, we feel in your website, search for useful? Give a small donation today so grateful and more inclined ‘Designing For Emotion’ we can keep this page up to date.” to give something back. by Aaron Walter.6 7
  5. 5. Appeal to all parts of the brain What’s the idea? How can we use it? Thanks to extensive research on Websites have the space to appeal to decision making, we now know there all three parts of the brain, much more are broadly three physical parts of the so than a poster or a mail drop. brain that evaluate action. Take all of your fundraising messages One part deals with quick, gut-reaction and separate them out by what part of decisions and responds best to a visual the brain they’re trying to reach. Keep message. Another part listens to how them strictly separate so that they we’re feeling, and responds best to an each have the most impact. emotional appeal. Since the three parts work in order, use Finally, there’s a separate part that numbers and statistics only right at the deals with rational evidence. It lets us end. So take off those emotive images weigh up the pros and cons before from the last part of the donation form making a decision. and replace them with logical graphs and statistics about how the money is Read more spent wisely. Neuroscience and persuasive design is an emerging field in digital. Susan Weinschenk’s Take all of your fundraising book ‘Neuro Web Design: messages and separate them What Makes Them Click?’ out by what part of the brain is easy to read and gives they’re trying to reach. you loads of practical tips.8 9
  6. 6. Maximise socialIn practice information Using extremes not averages How much did other people give? Although these recent gifts may Social information is powerful stuff. include large donations that encourage When we’re not sure what to do, we further generosity, they may also take cues from others like us. So when include some small donations. emotional and logical appeals from the Displaying a small donation gives charity aren’t quite enough, include people permission to do the same. evidence of what other people have On the other hand, Virgin Money done before. highlights the biggest donation so far. For example, we’ve all looked at Showing off a single large donation of JustGiving’s list of recent donations to £100 can boost the average amount help decide how much to give. given by as much as £30. However, just showing the recent donations tends to make people converge on a smaller amount. One generous donation of £100 can increase the average amount given by 30 per cent. 10 11
  7. 7. Don’t treat everyone the same What’s the idea? How can we use it? We utilise segmentation techniques Earlier this year, Google Analytics b when using campaigning tools such quietly introduced a very powerful tool as letters or direct mail, but websites called Content Experiments, which are often left as an all-purpose lets you test out multiple versions of a shop window. page, all of them live at the same time. However, a leisurely weekend browse on the laptop is very different to snatching a hurried five minutes on the work computer. Similarly, a visitor Create four subtly different versions of your homepage, or five different donation buttons, and see immediately which is the most effective. What are a reading your news page is quite the right words, the right colours and different to someone searching for a the best way to get someone to act? local support group. And we haven’t Use it to continually try out new things, even mentioned behaviour on mobiles and build up a record of the most and tablets. inspiring way to ask different visitors The solution lies in using data. at different times. Read more Record all of the information on how people are using your website, If you want to know more change one feature, and assess the about making decisions from impact immediately. A visitor reading your news audience behaviour, you page is very different to should read our previous someone searching for handbook on user research a local support group. at 13
  8. 8. PhotographyIn practice Putting photos to the test To find out what makes people Similarly, holiday rental platform donate, micro-lending charity website Airbnb found that properties with Kiva records and tests all of the professional photos are booked two photos used alongside their global and a half times more than those fundraising projects. without – so they send out a proper photographer to your home whenever Researchers found that projects with they can. pretty, slim and light-skinned females receive the most donations. For charities, photography is often used as a generic extension of brand Kiva has opened up its photography values, but we could think about it data to other researchers so they can differently. Find out exactly what sort examine how other elements influence of photography makes people give donor behaviour. What happens when more by testing it on your live website. the photo is staged, professional or formal? When the subjects smile or look sad? And how does this vary by region and gender? By testing live, Airbnb found that properties with professional photos are booked 2.5 times more than those without. 14 15
  9. 9. Part 2 Online fundraising is Charities still receive only seven per The not yet a success story cent of their funding income online. The National Council for Voluntary During 2012, half of charities saw Organisations and the Charities Aid no increase in this proportion. Many Foundation published their latest actually saw a decrease. Thinking survey of UK charitable giving in The retail sector provides a sharp November 2012. contrast. E-commerce provides 13.2 per While the headline finding was cent of its income, and this is estimated a 20 per cent drop in total giving, to grow to one-third over the next we were more surprised to see that 10 years. Why isn’t the charity sector Persuading significantly more online giving has remained static keeping pace? people to give to charity over the past two years. In 2012 many charities saw a decrease in the proportion of fundraising income via the internet.16 17
  10. 10. Very few of us donate online You would expect there to be a gap, Why is it so important to get Thinking beyond the donation journey We compared how many UK adults given that more people shop than people giving online? Improving the little details of the user have shopped online with how many give to charity. But even when you Aside from the obvious cost benefits, journey is really important, and will have donated online. take this into account, it’s still a we’re seeing a larger trend – one best definitely help conversion rates. five-fold difference. articulated by a recent announcement The results are extraordinary. Although But given that 92 per cent of donors from Amazon. In August 2012, Amazon two-thirds of UK shoppers have Spending money online is an are happy with the experience of giving UK reported that it now sells more shopped online, only one in 14 charity established, normal, everyday activity. to charity, we believe that further Kindle eBooks than printed books. supporters have donated online. We’re ready to spend, but we’re not improvements to the fulfilment journey That’s only four per cent of the adult inspired enough by charities to spend However, this isn’t a straightforward will have diminishing returns. UK population. with them. case of digital cannibalising print – We keep hearing the same reasons for because of this digital innovation, why digital fundraising hasn’t taken off sales of all books rose by more than yet: risk-aversion and lack of resources. six per cent. Yes, these are significant issues, but they How do we generate the same impact aren’t going away anytime soon. for charities? We wanted this book to move the debate forward, so here are five brainteasers that we’re trying to figure out. Take some time out with your team to discuss them. Only four per cent of UK adults have donated online. In contrast, 66 per cent have shopped online.18 19
  11. 11. Does online giving lack emotion? Giving without thinking Ask people to spend some Let people explore and read in depth Not all of our digital content has to be Striving to solve fulfilment, we may time with you At the same time there has been a short and snappy and condensed into have taken one too many lessons from Offline, fundraisers take care and time boom in long-form articles on the web bullet points. Perhaps we should try e-commerce. With a focus on the to bring warmth and feeling to the and the proliferation of sites such as writing some much longer articles, such quickest, clutter-free journey to the introduction of a topic, or to explain and as a detailed explanation of a recent thank-you page, have we made the the genuine need to give. The best that “handpick the finest articles and fundraising decision, or interviews with online giving experience too cold fundraisers make the opportunity to essays” for you to savour over time. long-supporting donors. and superficial? donate feel exciting and new patrons They highlight the demand for in- leave with a huge smile and a glow in depth and comprehensive information One of the reasons people enjoy their belly. on a subject. e-commerce is because it’s so easy. This is why mobile text giving and Should we be creating experiences The best fundraisers make emergency appeals go so well that go against the grain of the super- the opportunity to donate together: you can act now in response quick, light-touch nature of social feel exciting. to a shock, then put the phone back in media and the internet? your pocket and get on with your day. The slow web However, the speed and lack of We’re not the only ones talking emotion creates an unmemorable about the need to relax the internet experience, damaging our ability a little – some are calling it the slow to convert these donors into web movement. It’s concerned with long-term supporters. routines and doing things at your own pace. Do we really want people to give without thinking? For example, ‘read-it-later’ services such as Pocket and Instapaper let you save a long web page to your phone or tablet and relax with it when it’s more convenient.20 21
  12. 12. Should fundraising be everywhere? Interrupting people doesn’t Create an effortless next step Charities could copy this, but with a Financial asks can come later make sense Taking five minutes to get out your twist: instead of rating the page with These are small, easy, nice things for Most site visitors haven’t come to credit card or fill in a three-stage form, a star button, we could try creating a the visitor to do to help. Only after donate. Depending on the charity, no matter how perfectly designed it is, ‘thank you’ button that does nothing they’ve taken this easy step could we they may be in vulnerable or sensitive is an obstacle that will always put off except quietly tell the team that their follow up by turning the button or the situations. Should we interrupt them lots of people. Instead, can we create effort was appreciated. Or in a similar checkbox into an email form, with a constantly to ask for a donation? smaller things for them? Actions that vein, we could include a ‘this helped message such as: “We’re really glad are so minor and effortless they feel me’ checkbox at the bottom of a page. this helped you – it’s what we do. Can On the one hand, we want to deliver like a natural next step? we send you an email next time we what they came for without annoying create something similar that we think them, especially before we’ve made Getting this first interaction is crucial you’ll find useful?” a good impression. That isn’t what for distinguishing between warm and charities stand for and it’s unlikely cold visitors, so that we can follow up Less than 1 in 500 charity If they’ve done that as well, then it’s to succeed. appropriately later. website visits ends in absolutely appropriate to put a strong a donation. fundraising ask in a follow-up email And on the other hand, the number Something small on every page later that day or week. It started with one reason people give money is Publishers and bloggers have long something really small, but now we because they are asked to, so we understood the need to try to get a have an email list of warm leads to shouldn’t just let them go. In our quick bit of extra engagement from follow up. experience less than 1 in 500 charity their readers. website visits ends in a donation. Likes, comments, favourites, star- Surely we can improve this! ratings and thumbs-up/thumbs-down votes are all small ways to generate a bit more of a connection with readers and get some feedback about a blogger’s work.22 23
  13. 13. Challenge yourselfIn practice Letting users tell you what works Ask an easy question Take a list of what you consider to be Campaign sites such as Robin Hood your most indisputable fundraising Taxes are good at drawing you in with asks and messages, and scatter an easy question. questions like this throughout your site. You’ll find out quickly which ones It’s a common technique in advertising, effectively draw people in and which and the questions often work in ones aren’t as unquestionable as reverse – in this case imagine asking if you thought. you agreed with keeping our financial services sector competitive and strong for the sake of the economy. How far can we take this principle? 24 25
  14. 14. Are we involving donors enough? Donors demand more Digital gives us an opportunity to They have taken the idea of ring- An ongoing thank you In general, supporter satisfaction with be more transparent about how fenced donations to the extreme After a donation, shouldn’t the thank- charities is going up, but not in every things work. It might take months for and turned it into an impressive you message last longer than just the respect – donors are becoming less someone’s donation to total up with communications asset. confirmation page? This is especially satisfied with the information they others into something that can be true for regular givers. receive about how donations are used. used on the ground, or years to start We could ask someone on the team something new. We could better share Digital and social media have changed responsible for using a campaign’s and involve people in this journey. Donors now demand detailed, donor expectations. They now demand funds to do a fortnightly blog about detailed, personalised information about Social media is the perfect place to personalised information how it’s going (or do a quick two- the impact their money has made. talk directly with supporters, explain about the impact their minute video interview), and then work without jargon and clear up any money has made. send email updates about it to new How can we use digital to prove it? controversies. One idea is to hold a donors. Over time, this would create an Make real-time progress available monthly Q&A session on Twitter with impressive archive of work and impact. Online, there’s a chance to do more a member of staff from every team. than just a monthly update on what Live feedback on a donation the charity has been doing and how Representing the extreme end of the the big capital project is progressing. scale is charity: water. It is the case Should we be decentralising our study de rigeur these days, and there’s digital work, and making the team a reason for that – the charity has responsible for spending project funds put a significant amount of money also responsible for updating donors? into turning its digital presence into a near-live account of all its work, linked to all the individual donors that made it happen. Search on Google for ‘dollars to projects’ and prepare to be impressed.26 27
  15. 15. Does peer-to-peer make us forgettable? It’s the big growth area Is this actually a threat? Short-term donors, Take back control Peer-to-peer fundraising (where However, is this trend damaging our not long-term supporters Action for Children decided to get supporters ask on behalf of a charity) ability to create long-term supporters? Movember has radically changed the ahead of this issue by re-inventing and external donation platforms (such It means losing control of your brand, demographic profile of men’s health how they did online fundraising. as JustGiving) are fantastic revenue your asks and your relationships supporters. It has raised millions, but They’ve created an entirely new online opportunities for charities. They’re the with supporters. it hasn’t significantly raised awareness platform, and are transforming how big growth areas for digital fundraising for prostate and testicular cancer, nor funds go from donors to local projects Quick – think of the charities you’ve at the moment. has it delivered long-term donors for – look at donated to this year via JustGiving. these charities. In fact, 90 per cent of online donations It’s hard, because you didn’t feel like Not everyone can or should create are not made on charity’s websites – you were donating to the charity. Perhaps we should be using peer-to- something like this right away. So, they are made on third-party platforms You were donating to your friend. peer and external platforms only for should we be demanding more from created by businesses or new starters large projects such as big challenge the donation partners we work with? In an unexpected twist, charities filling a gap, sites such as BT MyDonate events. It’s a difficult call. now risk becoming an increasingly and Vodafone Txt Giving. incidental part of the donation journey. 90 per cent of the fulfilment income charities receive online doesn’t happen on their own websites.28 29
  16. 16. Can our stories take us to new places? Charity stories are often If one of your supporters runs the Creating a popular blog about the Control the narrative the most inspiring marathon in record time, would you Football League’s best strikers – Movember has taken this to the next It’s your stories that engage people think of contacting running blogs? who wear the number nine – has level. By using the moustache, a online. This is something charities have Imagine a story about how running for catapulted the charity’s message into strong male emblem, and connecting long understood in their traditional charity can inspire you to run harder an entirely new arena, and significantly it with the challenge of 30-day growth, awareness and fundraising campaigns. (and get you a free place). These kinds increased traffic to the Prostate UK they have created a hugely compelling of stories can reach new people and website, where there is plenty of story. Any mention of the moustache As an agency, we work with major give them a reason to join you. content about the prostate. – and in some ways manliness – is brands such as Coca-Cola and Tesco, now connected to Movember during which are already exploiting new Apply your values in new areas November. It is no accident that many opportunities in digital storytelling to Over the past decade charities have of the staff at Movember have editorial reach new audiences. invested significantly in their brands. It is no accident that many of backgrounds. This includes defining a tone of voice. the staff at Movember have Charities have amazing, everyday Could we use these principles to take editorial backgrounds. We believe content, and a more stories from supporters, staff, us into new places? For example, conversational, always-on approach to volunteers and local groups that health charities don’t need to always storytelling, is going to have a major are hugely inspiring and interesting, tell their stories in a medical context. impact in the future. potentially far more so than those from brands. Are we using them We recently faced this challenge with effectively online? Prostate Cancer UK, who became partners with the Football League. Join new conversations We were reluctant to talk directly to This book has already covered inspiring football fans about prostate cancer, people on your website. However, your but we did have a strong message best stories don’t need to live only on about one in nine men in the UK being your own platforms. affected by the disease.30 31
  17. 17. One last thing Donors have become investors Giving as We couldn’t finish this book without including what we think is the most These innovations are coming from exciting development in online new organisations, not within charities, fundraising – giving as investment. so let’s learn as much as we can. Their trademarks are very direct investment It’s a game-changer. giving – such as to local projects – It wasn’t a donation a real element of risk to the project’s Perhaps there’s a simpler reason success, and returning something why only four per cent of UK adults tangible to the supporter. Donors say they’ve given to charity online – have become investors. perhaps when they gave money, they didn’t think of it as donating. Perhaps the internet has Has a massive shift happened in digital already uncovered an fundraising? There are a number of entirely new way of giving. ‘donation’ platforms that are changing It’s an exciting thought. the very definition of the word. Amateur funding platforms such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, micro- lending service Kiva, and checkout round-it-up-for-charity service Pennies have all used the internet to dramatically change how we give to others. As of September 2012, the world has given just short of half a billion pounds to Kickstarter and Kiva combined.32 33
  18. 18. Thank you Public Zone would like to thank the many people who contributed their time and insight to this handbook, including Craig Linton, Dean Benton, Celina Ribeiro, Adrian Hon and many others. Special thanks to our own fundraising expert, James Brown.34 35
  19. 19. t: 020 7267 4774 e: