Anthea Iva

The Director of Redstone Marketing asks three
nonprofit executives for their perspectives.

IAN FINLAYSON General Manager, Fundraising, Marketing & Communications, Vision Australia

Since the recommencement of F2F post the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown period last year, Vision Australia’s focus has been on a steady and considered donor acquisition approach. While our agency partners were obviously keen to rapidly restart operations, we were deliberately less volume focused and more selective in our deployment, more centred on quality metrics.

We weren’t the first off the blocks, preferring to see evidence of the first few weeks out of lockdown, including the sector’s compliance to COVID-19 protocols, early recruitment volumes and average pledge values. Pleasantly surprised, our program was back up and running not long after, in August, in selected state jurisdictions.

Throughout a disruptive 2020, our Donor Acquisition Team invested heavily in its own performance measurement tools — around RG attrition, first debit success, cancellation rates, donor age and average pledge values — intent now on driving performance at both a team and individual subcontractor level. We restructured our approach to weekly F2F agency meetings, revamped our training and induction materials and increased our mystery shopping investment.  

We have been rewarded by this drill down approach and while pleased that our recruitment volumes have also bounced back strong, we’ve probably taken greater pride in our ability to quickly respond to any adverse trends as well as identify areas of strong performance. Our supplier management meetings are more collaborative, our conversations more robust and the development of new attrition sharing data is being welcomed by our agency partners, who often cite that post the first payment guarantee/clawback period, such insights are infrequently provided by their charity clients.

If you want a well performing RG program that benefits from the scalability and reach of F2F recruitment, my advice is you must get your miner’s hat on and drill down — make it your business to know the high performers, the under-performers, continuously measure their KPIs, and be selective with which teams you choose to partner. Go after quality and don’t be seduced by the volumes.

LEISA QUINN Digital Campaigns & Fundraising Manager, UN Women Australia

UN Women Australia is a relatively young organisation, with a fundraising history of just over 10 years, so in the last few years, we’ve had a laser focus on building our family of regular donors. In 2018 we made the tough decision to stop our F2F program as it was not performing well, and attrition rates were high. We switched focus to digital lead acquisition, looking to build our family of regular donors and our database of supporters. 

When COVID-19 hit, like many other charities, we expected to see a dip in results but to our surprise, we surpassed our fundraising goals. With so many people at home, there was an increase in online fundraising and lead acquisition opportunities. We had been planning digital campaigns as an alternative to F2F, so already had a presence in the digital space. As a small charity, we decided to split our budget across two very different campaigns, diversifying and testing propositions, audience targeting and different digital channels. 

Working with Digital Ninjas, we developed two digital lead gen quizzes with leads sent to telemarketing for conversion. There was a concern that with all charities stopping F2F and moving to the phone that telemarketing would be difficult in a saturated market, but contact and conversion rates were steady. We also had the unique opportunity to test a new channel that hasn’t been used a lot in the fundraising space yet.

With Chris Dellaca from RAISETHRU, we started running our first Facebook Messenger conversion campaign using chatbot technology and live chat. Conversion rates for the Messenger campaign were strong through 2020 and donors commented that they liked the messaging approach.

Overall, by diversifying propositions and channels both campaigns performed well, and, from initial retention figures, they have resulted in stickier donors who have the potential to stay for the long term.

MARK GALLEN Director, Sector 3 Solutions

Fundraising in the post 2020 world is definitely different, as planning, momentum and budgets can change at a moment’s notice based on a COVID breakout or policy changes within state governments. The answer so far has been to have plan A, B, C and D ready to go, be agile and have clear communication loops with our clients, regulators and our teams.

One of the biggest challenges during 2020 has been the coordination and movement of teams and working with clients who have other suppliers with whom we may now have to share territories with.  

This is particularly the case for SE QLD where COVID cases have been low and restrictions fairly easy. This created a concentration of a number of teams in the area, so to ensure that we maintained quality, we reduced our suburbs by removing low performing suburbs (in relation to donor retention) and increased our focus on regional areas and high performing suburbs.

Through analysis we determined that around 22% of territories have never performed well no matter the team, campaign or pledge amounts. We eliminated these suburbs and categorised the remaining suburbs into two categories — one where caution is to be executed, as the historic data had proven inconsistent, and one where the teams are encouraged to increase usage based on the high propensity to give and great historic retention results.

The actual donor interactions are now fairly settled and the community response to the teams has been welcoming in most cases — as long as COVID compliance is demonstrated. 

A big picture logistical operational aspect to territory planning has been the biggest change we’ve made to deliver a well-performing campaign for our clients.