For many charities, the decision of whether and how to continue fundraising through the COVID-19 crisis will have very long-lasting implications for those organisations and their ability to deliver on their goals.
Face-to-face and door-to-door fundraising is currently on hold. Traditional events have been cancelled. And all this at a time when charities’ services are needed more than ever!
Perhaps the only major fundraising channel to remain relatively recognisable during this crisis has been phone (notwithstanding the rapid transition to home-based virtual call centres of course!)
So, what insights can we share from a telemarketing perspective that might be useful? Perhaps how supporters are responding to being contacted and asked for donations? What are charities and their agency partners doing to adapt to the challenging circumstances? And how are campaigns performing during this time?
Donors are happy to receive calls
Well, the first thing we can share with certainty is that Australians are still happy to hear from the causes they support. Even those supporters who have seen their hours reduced or have been stood down from their jobs are happy to talk and are grateful for an update on how their donations are making a difference to your beneficiaries. At GiveTel we’ve always taken pride in the quality of our conversations, making every call count, and this has never been more important than it is right now. People are under an enormous amount of stress, and it’s vital that we don’t add to that. Our role is to communicate the positive impact individuals are having through their support, and to leave them feeling positive and proud. Empathy and understanding are essential attributes for fundraisers, and the continued success of this approach can be seen in recent results, detailed below.
Pure supporter communication yields retention results
The second observation we can share is the rapid introduction of more phone-based retention campaigns, many using machine-learning tools and analytics to predict potential cancellations. This allows us to offer regular gift deferments or downgrades to those at-risk supporters as part of an update and thank you call. We all understand the value of proactive retention programs, where there is no financial ask, but often the lack of clearly attributable short-term ROI has been a barrier to fundraising managers gaining approval. Hopefully, this increased focus on pure supporter communication will deliver clearly measurable retention results and so remain for the long-term as part of the ‘new normal’.
Certainly feedback from these campaigns is extremely positive, with supporters pleased to receive a call. The numbers are relatively small, but most that do take up the offer of deferment or downgrade indicated that they had indeed intended to cancel their gift due to financial pressures but were glad to have been given these alternative options. Only time will tell the scale of the impact this will have for fundraising income in the years to come, but early signs support the decisions to invest.
We have also seen the continued collaboration and sharing of information within the industry, which is such a positive aspect of the NFP sector. Insights from other organisations can definitely help to inform decision making and give confidence in these uncertain times. Being able to provide external evidence to support proposed budgets can be extremely useful.
Donors are still giving
To that end, the third and final insights we can share today that may be useful are actual campaign results achieved during the crisis to-date.
Topline, people are still ready and willing to give. Our average gift levels and conversion results have continued to track above KPI across almost all campaigns.
For example, average Regular Giving Upgrade conversion was 39.4% in March (against an average target of 36.4%). In April, with the country in full lockdown, results actually increased to 45.1% conversion, so almost 1 in 2 supporters agreeing to increase their level of regular support, which is quite incredible.
For lapsed RG reactivation campaigns, March average conversion sat at 15.4%, dropping only marginally in April to 14.6%, both months still tracking above an average target conversion KPI of 13.3%.
And for our RG acquisition campaigns, we saw the largest uplift in results for early 2020 actually happen in April, with April’s conversion results 11.2% up on February and March results.
Hopefully these observations are useful in supporting your decision making over the coming weeks and months.
If you would like to chat about any of the points raised, or about how GiveTel could assist your cause, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 0418 674885 and let’s start a conversation.
GiveTel has been providing quality telefundraising services for Australian charities since 2011.
Find us at givetel.com