Stephen Cotterill: What does 'hybrid' mean for fundraising?

11 Oct 2021 Voices

Everyone is talking about hybrid, but what does it actually mean for fundraising?

Almost everything we have covered over the last year and a half has involved advancements in digital – whether that is in donor communications, innovative use of crowdfunding platforms, gaming or virtual events.

Fundraisers have risen to the challenge presented by the pandemic and in many cases recouped a significant percentage of the money lost through the cancellation of traditional fundraising programmes.

Of course, digital transformation has been on the agenda for years. However, it always felt like something that was necessary but not imperative – until Covid struck. Those who had already been pushing for better use of digital in their fundraising seized this opportunity to impress upon senior management and trustees that investment and training in tech was necessary. From Guide Dogs to British Heart Foundation to Ambitious about Autism, all manner of charities have engaged donors digitally, extended their reach and driven income.

Furthermore, the number of giving platforms is on the rise, and although Virgin Money Giving is closing its fundraising portal, there are many other tech firms rushing to fill the gap. This also expands the opportunities for charities to reach a global audience, with many organisations engaging supporters around the world, especially through gaming. This is something that could be pursued further, even by smaller charities.

The key now is to maintain momentum and keep digital in the fundraising mix. As we return to face-to-face events and street fundraising, the gains that have been made, particularly in how charities engage supporters through online groups and marketing comms, should not be forgotten. The buzzword is of course “hybrid”. But what will that actually look like? Fundraisers are in a great position post-pandemic to define what it is and create a raft of new products to benefit the causes they care about.


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