New perspectives on relationship fundraising

Relationship fundraising has continued to be a hot topic and is something we’ve been advocating for some time now.

But now we’re seeing new research and interesting lines of thought, mainly from Craig Linton and Rogare which may change what we originally thought about the whole concept of relationship fundraising, how to use it and when.

Although there’s been some mixed views from both Craig and Rogare; the points raised in findings from Rogare’s –  ‘Relationship Fundraising’ where do we go from here?  and in Craigs follow-up blog  were particularly interesting to read, especially as many of the issues raised we have discussed on our blog previously.   Reading both blogs, my main thoughts are:

  • I agree with Rogare’s point that there is a requirement to apply real critical evaluation of the needs for each audience, engagement and donation type.  A great way to do this is through donor journey mapping.
  • We see trends of donor expectations changing and there is now an even greater focus on supporter care as charities are compared to the corporate sector where customer care has become the one key differentiator between competitors
  • I think we must never lose focus on the beneficiary but giving back to supporters and having a more two-way relationship surely will result in more meaningful long term relationships that are ultimately in the best interest of the beneficiary
  • We know firsthand the challenges of moving to a relationship fundraising model, however we are seeing steps being taken to make that move day-by-day, campaign-by-campaign
  • Craig’s point about trust and satisfaction in every donation is key.  Our donor satisfaction surveys help us understand how supporters feel about the charity in real-time (more on our satisfaction surveys later)
  • We should never think of any fundraising as just ‘transactional’ and the phone is a great way to build and strengthen a relationship with a supporter over time whilst also delivering the objectives of individual campaigns

Craig’s right! It’s all relationship fundraising in the broader sense but there are different layers to what this means in practical terms.

For any of this to work – we need new KPI’s in fundraising that are given the same importance as pledge and value such as life time value, supporter satisfaction, engagement levels, complaints, expressions of dissatisfaction and retention.  These things all need to be monitored on an ongoing basis during campaigns and be built into the campaign forecasting not monitored in isolation.

A positive move to a donor based approach to the business of raising money I think is priceless.

Jess