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Charities collaborate to decipher digital donors

With funding cuts and donations dropping, there is not much left in the pot for charities to dedicate to marketing. Meanwhile, the online relationship between digital donors and their charities is changing as new channels, including social media, are playing an increasingly significant part in inspiring donations. Our Give as you Live survey, the Digital Diving Review found that 30% of us are inspired to give having seen tweets and Facebook updates from our favourite charities. Naturally, changes such as these create new challenges for charities, one of which is where to focus their resources. 

Having spoken to charities for years and being part of a large network of charities, I came to the idea of aggregating all that knowledge and insight and turning it into a meaningful tool for charities.

To do this, we developed the Digital Giving Review, which consists of two surveys – the first gathering insights from charities, the second from their supporters. Our main objective was to provide tangible insights about digital giving in the UK so that charities have the necessary information to correctly allocate resources.

The first stage of the Digital Giving Review, The Charity Survey, gathered information from over 500 charities early in 2012 in order to identify the charities’ points of view regarding online donations. The survey revealed that charities felt a lack of internal resources was one of the main reasons for not exploring additional digital fundraising channels. It also highlighted that whilst 51% of all charity audiences are now online, very few charities were clear of the crossover between online and offline audiences.

The second stage, The Donor Survey, followed The Charity Survey shortly after in 2012. Here, 8,000 charity supporters were surveyed in order to explore charity donors’ online activity, what inspires supporters to give, and how they interact with their favourite charities online.

Using ACORN profiling of the 8,000 who responded, Give as you Live was able to identify six distinct digital donor profiles. Compiling these insights into each digital donor’s giving habits and how that individual ‘lives’ online, we produced a report which can be found at www.digitaldonorreview.com.

The participating charities are given a breakdown of how their supporter base maps onto each donor profile - providing them with a unique point of reference on understanding their supporters’ digital behaviour and preferences.

Charities have been using these insights to both save money and raise more by tailoring their digital strategies to match the existing online behaviours of their audiences.

This project may seem straight-forward to most marketers, but many charities do not have the funds or resources to develop this type of report. The Digital Giving Review has meant charities can collaborate to help themselves as well as the charity sector to understand how the new digital landscape has impacted giving.

Furthermore, the Digital Giving Review can help social enterprises and businesses, like Give as you Live, provide charities with the right tools to garner support in the ever-changing digital landscape.

‘Ever-changing’ being the key word here, means that we plan to make the Digital Giving Review yearly. Charities are welcome to participate at anytime and the more of their supporters that get involved, the more robust their bespoke report becomes.

It tough economic times, there is much to be had by collaborating. This is but the beginning for the Digital Giving Review and for Give as you Live…