Invest in supporter experience during pandemic, says membership body’s guide

11 Nov 2020 News

Charities should invest in supporter experience in order to improve fundraising during the pandemic, according to a new guide from the Chartered Institute of Fundraising.

The guide, Fundraising in the time of Covid, was put together by the organisation’s Supporter Experience Special Interest Group, and looks at how focusing on supporters and their connection with the charity can encourage them to give during the current crisis.

It says: “The pandemic has heightened people’s desire to do good, because doing good helps them feel better. We believe that there is an opportunity for fundraisers to harness this rise in altruism – providing we deliver an exceptional supporter experience that reinforces each and every supporter’s decision to help.”

The guide is based on six core supporter experience principles, including focusing on donors rather than on the charity, never assuming that a charity’s supporter experience is already great, and investing in fundraising and fundraisers. 

It also includes a range of case studies, for example describing how Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity achieved a 20% decrease in regular givers’ cancellations by focusing on stewardship, and how Child Rescue Nepal encouraged supporters to give by organising individual Zoom calls with them.

‘It is easy for us to fall into the trap of focusing on the money’

Angela Cluff, chair of the Supporter Experience Special Interest Group, said: “Now is the time to accelerate investment in the supporter experience. It is easy for us to fall into the trap of focusing on the money. If we focus on the experience the money will follow. So, the challenge is to orient ourselves to the experience, despite the pressures.”

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, said: “The beginning of Covid-19 was devastating for fundraising. Just as we thought we were beginning to return to a new normality, things are getting progressively worse again. The future is uncertain. The services provided by the UK’s causes are dependent on fundraising and that places a huge responsibility on each of us. There is a limit on what we can do.

“The Supporter Experience Special Interest Group has spent considerable time looking at the challenges our sector faces. How can we think about our supporters as partners to help us meet them? Experienced fundraisers have created this booklet to provide practical advice which will help you. There are mountains to climb. But there is hope, possibility and opportunity.”

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