09 Dec 2011

Cashing up at Christmas – how charities can boost their coffers

Cash present with red bowThe festive season is one of the most significant times in the fundraising calendar for charities.

Yet despite the numerous high profile appeals, many organisations still struggle to attract the extra pounds spent over this time. A study by the ESRC Households Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy showed that, of the extra money spent by households in December, just 0.6 per cent goes on donations to charity - 17 times less than the amount of extra spent on alcohol.

This issue has been heightened by the current economic difficulties. Although more people are prepared to donate to charity, they are giving less. The UK Giving 2011 report (commissioned by the NCVO and the Charities Aid Foundation,) found that more than a million extra people donated to charity in the last financial year, but even so the total value of donations made by the British public remained flat at £11billion.

Charities face nearly three billion pounds worth of cuts between now and 2015, so using the Christmas period to boost their income is essential.

What can charities do to take advantage of the festive season?

1) Target the right audience - There are a large number of charities currently running festive campaigns and looking for extra cash. Improving the success of your appeal means taking the time to research who your likely donors are and what the best way to reach them is. For example, postal based campaigns are irrelevant to those who pay more attention to information they receive online or that is shared with them by peers.

2) Expand your target base – Because the economic climate is making it difficult for people to donate extra money it’s essential to find new donors. Doing some research through Twitter and Facebook can help you find out who your new donors might be.

3) Be different - The number of charities looking for donations at this time means you have to look for ways to attract attention. Unusual fundraising activities will often make your charity stand out over others.

4) Keep it simple – Your organisation may have a number of complex aims, but drilling these down to some simple short messages will make it easier for the public to engage with you and ultimately donate to you.

5) Make donating simple – Once you have got buy-in from a prospective donor it’s crucial not to lose them at the donating stage. Make it simple for donors to give you their money. Investing in and continually reviewing fit for purpose technology like an adequate online platform will pay dividends in terms of future revenue.

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