Finding new cohorts of supporters is often the elephant-in-the-room for many charities who wrestle with the need to expand their supporter database. This is a common problem when expanding to generations beyond the 50+ segment. However, it is important to consider how to start building fresh relationships if you want your cause to have a future.
Building Genuine Relationships
We've helped charities that haven't known where to start but have chosen to make a start. We begin with a process of Supporter Centred Design (SCD); understanding who potential and existing supporters are and only then designing the fundraising products and the supporter relationship. Let's face it, if you want to build a relationship with someone you get to know them first!
This, in turn, leads to considering which channels to use for the potential and existing supporters and the communication tools that best relate to them. SCD is in addition to what fundraisers term the Donor Journey; it describes the tangible experience that you give supporters.
Fundraising teams, commonly think about the cause that they are fundraising for and then come up with ideas; hoping that they will appeal. Instead, a flipped way of working and a flipped mindset is required, so that the charity gets to know this different type of potential supporter before any fundraising product design is done. It involves finding out the best language, channel and collateral needed to engage supporters where they are at.
What do you need to know about a new type of supporter before you sit down and work on fundraising campaigns and resources? We sum it up as,
- Bother Points - why should they be bothered about your cause? How do you speak to their thoughts, behaviours and contexts.
Really Making a Connection
The nature of engagement has adapted over the last few years. When multimedia developed in the 20th century, it opened up new opportunities for communication that enabled us to broadcast our stories and messages. What has happened with the Digital Revolution, increasingly in the last 10 years, is that digitisation has created a culture of collaboration and interaction. We live in a world that communicates back and expects to be given an experience through which a supporter can create and contribute.
When it comes to digital marketing, social media is saturated with noise and broadcasting. If someone feels known by personalised communication, your charity's content is more likely to cut through the noise. Communication can't be personalised unless that person is known. Another way of looking at it is, as a charity, you probably aim to build empathy with beneficiaries, well, the same emphatic approach should also be directed towards supporters.
Knowing your supporters in ways that extend above and beyond demographics, can inform how you then approach the features of your fundraising products and campaigns. It takes courage to start and think that it is possible. Getting over that first hurdle, will enable you to enter new relationships and expand into segments that help your cause obtain a following. A following that adds years to your charities existence, reaching beyond the current supporter segments of 50+.
Be aspirational and talk to us about reaching new people and connecting with them...