The “Netflixisation” of fundraising

Here are three innovative fundraising techniques you might want to try in 2019!

Personalization

Call it a “Netflixisation” of fundraising.

Donors increasingly expect to be courted in a more personalized and customized fashion, just like Netflix, the online video streaming business, serves up content that it thinks best fits our viewing habits.

It’s no longer good enough to use one generic outreach strategy. It’s even more imperative for schools to take a tailored approach and account for generational and other differences, given how diverse their alumni base can be, ranging from 18 to 80 years old.

Personalisation tactics range from approaching potential donors individually with an “ask” that matches them — you wouldn’t ask a multi-millionaire to donate £50, as they would likely seek greater impact — to choosing the right messaging that would resonate with a donor base. Research tells us that the wording used in adverts can put people off depending on their gender, for example, with more macho words like “exhaustive” and “fearless” alienating women.

And personalisation really can work. According to a 2018 survey of marketers, 96 percent believed personalisation helps build customer relationships, but only 45 percent agreed that they were getting personalisation right.

Peer-to-peer fundraising

Crowdfunding made headlines as a way for start-ups to raise large amounts of money via lots of small donations on the internet. Peer-to-peer networks are also proving fruitful for fundraisers. After all, if you already have a network of supporters who care deeply about your cause, why not leverage their support for your mission by asking them to easily fundraise on your behalf?

The biggest advantage to peer-to-peer fundraising, though, is that it provides an element of “social proof” to your cause. No one wants to be the first to jump into the swimming pool. If a donor sees other donors actually raising money on your behalf, it lends the school legitimacy. People often do what they see others do.

You can mobilise people to do peer-to-peer fundraising be clearly explaining its benefits, for them and the cause, and by offering leadership positions or other rewards to the most active or successful volunteers and donors.

Impact transparency

Increasingly, donors want to know exactly where their money is going. The “impact transparency” concept is getting a lot of attention these days.

Donor due diligence will be become important in 2019 and will become a key driver of whether and how people will contribute their financial firepower to causes, which donors want more personal involvement with. After all, they will likely have the skills and resources to investigate a school’s impact thoroughly.

A simple way to satisfy this thirst for involvement is to create an “impact” page on your website, on which you clearly demonstrate and evidence how donors’ dollars are making a difference. For instance, if you’ve raised money for a new building or facility, take pictures of its construction or finished state. Better yet, use videos. You could, also, interview students and teachers on how the facility has impacted their experience. You don’t need to be Steven Spielberg; a smartphone is good enough and a video of a few minutes would not need any editing.

It’s not just about satisfying existing donors; if prospective givers see a track record of impact, they will be more likely to back your future causes.

Seb Murray is a freelance writer for ToucanTech and contributor to a range of publications including The Times, The Guardian, The Economist and The Financial Times. Seb covers education, business and tech and has interviewed numerous institutions and donors on the topic of fundraising.

ToucanTech is a community database software for schools and companies to manage their alumni, marketing, development and careers activities.

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