Focusing on donor loyalty can boost fundraising income by a fifth, says study

Charities that run initiatives to measure and encourage loyalty among donors can boost their income from fundraising by a fifth, research is suggesting.

The findings have emerged in a three-year research project into the giving behaviour of 50,000 from 12 charities, including Barnardo’s, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and The Woodland Trust.

This found that even a small increase in a sense of loyalty among donors can ensure that 15% more donors continue to give after three years. This increase in loyalty can increase income by 20%.

Further long term increases in fundraising can also be achieved through a 9% rise in the number of supporters wanted to include the charity in their will.

An increase in giving over three years among 70,000 donors could bring in an extra £1m to a charity, the research by charity sector research consultancy About Loyalty found.

Charities are urged to focus on improving supporters’ commitment to their cause, satisfaction with the impact of their donation and trust in their organisation.

“Trust is hard to create, but easy to destroy. We have seen how media coverage of alleged scandals at Kids Company, Oxfam, Save the Children and even, most recently, the Captain Tom Foundation can damage both the individual charity and the wider sector,” says About Loyalty’s report into their research.

The consultancy’s founder Roger Lawson added: “This research makes a definitive case for prioritising the growth of supporter loyalty through tangible evidence that growing loyalty grows giving. It could fundamentally change fundraising practice.”

Donor loyalty schemes in action

The research also highlights examples of where charities have brought in measures to bolster loyalty and long-term giving among supporters.

In response to a need to improve loyalty among new supporters and face to face recruited donors Barnardo’s overhauled their welcome programme for donors. This was branded as ‘Take my hand’.

According to Abut Loyalty this programme aims to “reinforce to the donor that real change will be created by working together over time to change children’s lives”.

Meanwhile, CRUK has created a ‘centre of expertise’ to monitor loyalty of supporters. This measures what its supporters want from their relationship with the charity to better tailor communications to each donor.

“Being able to measure loyalty has helped us understand which areas and messages we needed to focus on within the myriad of journeys we’ve been pulling together,” said CRUK’s loyalty and cultivation senior marketing manager Sarah Maltby.

“It’s helped our decisions in what to prioritise when it comes to technology developments around channels and personalization. It’s helped us to demonstrate the value of loyalty to our income generation as well as to our supporters.”

Another charity involved in the research, Shelter, focuses on supporting conversations around homelessness issues among donors. It also makes “the supporter the hero and offering content that speaks to their personal identity to grow satisfaction”, says About Loyalty’s research.

“We’re developing a shared understanding of what creates commitment, satisfaction and trust across all Shelter’s supporters,” sad Shelter’s retention direct marketing manager.

“This is bringing together fundraising, retail and campaigns behind a common goal and enabling us to create integrated communications.”

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