Where will we find our new donors?

One of the changes in fundraising we’ve noticed since the pandemic is that there is increased focus from many charities on developing their individual giving programmes. Whether it’s existing programmes that have been struggling in recent years (often since 2015 and Olive Cook) or charities seeking to develop individual giving from scratch , there is definitely increased interest and investment in this area.  And lots of very busy fundraisers, agencies and consultants.

Of course any successful individual giving programme has to be built on a proper understanding of the audiences being reached, who they are, what they are interested in and how best to engage them. It’s long been a frustration of mine that the tools we have available to us as fundraisers to find the right audiences for our causes are well, really not very good.

While there are lots of audience segmentation models out there and plenty of agencies who will research potential donors for you, there has always been a disconnect between the information we have about audiences and the channels available to reach them.

So, there are lots of charities who have invested in building detailed  target audience profiles based on qualitative and quantitative research whose actual targeting of new supporters is based on whoever happens to be stopped by a face to face fundraiser. Or what TV station was cheapest that week.  Yes, we’ve all done it.

This is why I was so interested when we found about the new approach to finding audiences using social media data. This uses real-time data of what people actually do on social media, who they follow, how they interact with them and demographic and economic information to create a targeting model that is based on what people are actually interested in and care about.

The key point for me is that this approach can be directly applied into marketing channels to reach and engage new potential supporters.

AAW have been working with the creators of this new approach, the “big data” agency Starcount  to apply it to the charity sector. We have helped them  create a model for finding people interested in specific charitable causes which tells you who is interested in, say animal welfare causes, which influencers they follow, what other things they care about and where they live.  You can even differentiate between people who like cats and those who prefer dogs.

This has lots of applications and we have only just started scratching the surface for fundraising. We are running the first pilot projects now and will have lots of interesting, maybe even groundbreaking things to report soon.

In the meantime, if you are interested in finding out more, we have a few places left on a 1 hour hour (zoom) seminar on November 3rd at 10am. If you are interested in joining, drop a line to Jane Medley at jane@aawpartnership.com

I love data and seeing how it can drive better fundraising. I know, I really need to get out more. But this really is the most interesting thing I have seen for quite a while.

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