The stats you can’t start this year’s fundraising plan without

The stats you can’t start this year’s fundraising plan without

Photo by  Kevin Grieve  on Unsplash

Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash

One of the questions I get asked most is: “How do I make the case for digital in my charity?” If this is something you’re grappling with – especially when planning your fundraising – I bring you some important statistics.

Charities are comfortable talking to baby boomers – it’s familiar territory. A lot of their fundraising is geared towards these people, using techniques such as direct mail and telephone marketing. But these acquisition channels are becoming more expensive and less effective. The data tells us why.

Millennials will soon outnumber baby boomers

We’re arriving at the millennial moment: the Financial Times reports that millennials will outnumber baby boomers in the US this year.

In fact, even in terms of spending power, millennials are taking over. 2025 will be an important milestone, with baby boomers’ spending power significantly dropping. Non-profits should start targeting millennials more effectively; the train is leaving the station.

Future-proofing age-old assumptions

Our audiences are becoming more digital across the board. It’s easy to forget that people take their digital habits with them as they grow older, so the 55-year-olds of tomorrow don’t look like the 55-year-olds of today.

As the digitally savvy 45-54 year-old cohort move into 55-plus bracket that market is changing.

Charities could be doing more to target older age groups using Facebook advertising. Facebook is brilliant for marketing to the 55-plus bracket and some charities are investing a lot into it, with some impressive returns.

As this tweet from Matthew Goodwin illustrates, young people have had different life experiences. Non-profit organisations aren’t set up to talk to people who have spent their formative years living in austerity. Contrast this to the baby boomers, who have been brought up in relative prosperity and taught to give because that’s just what you should do.

Taking the time to understand the newer generations will make it easier to appeal to them when they have more disposable income.

Conclusion: do less direct mail, and do it smarter

Charities really need to stop spending so much money on direct mail and television.

They spend disproportionately more on direct mail advertising than the average UK expenditure, at 56.3% versus 7.7%. And in 2016 they spent just 5% on digital adverts compared with the 46.2% UK average.

Two years later charities are still the main senders of direct mail, after takeaways and restaurants.

Charities may not get rid of direct mail altogether. It can be a good marketing tool, for example for legacies. But when people do receive direct mail, going online is the most popular action.

If you use addressed mail, can you find a way to link it to a digital call to action? See it as a journey; always think about what people are likely to do next. Google search is always the biggest source of traffic to non-profit websites. So, at the very least, your pay-per-click ads need to be working well enough so that when people type your charity name into Google, they can easily find your website.

The people we are trying to talk to are online, but we keep going against the tide and doing what we’ve always done, reaching only a proportion of UK audiences. It’s paramount to break out of this cycle and adapt to new generations.

What I’ve learned from five years of coaching people

What I’ve learned from five years of coaching people

What charities can learn from a burger joint

What charities can learn from a burger joint