Can charities find a new way?

Too many requests for too many donations – it’s something that’s real and has a negative impact on charities. Not only do the constant calls and requests have a negative impact on amounts raised, but also on people’s attitude to charities.

In reality, from my experience, people have organisations that are close to their heart, organisations they can see are making a real purposeful difference in their own communities.

Charities do need to cast the net wide, they need a wide reach to raise the much needed funds they need to do their work; but in doing this they are catching people who are already feeling the financial pinch from increasing personal costs, housing costs, food etc. This can cause people to feel that they’re not doing their bit when an organisation contacts them for support, this can have a flow on effect with people rethinking their entire charity giving.

Is there a way charities can make better use of targeting for donations? Probably, but in reality there is likely to be added costs in doing this – costs, that many, probably all charities can’t justify.

So what’s the solution?

There probably isn’t a one size fits all solution, but as others have been talking targeted, stand alone websites are probably a way to go.

If people can see exactly where funds are going, that there’s no middle man taking a slice of the pie they’re more likely to want to give, and may well agree to a regular giving programme if it were done in a way that they weren’t burdened with more requests, constant newsletters and then the annual receipts needed to claim tax rebates.

If there was a way you could give differently, or your organisation could solicit differently to reduce costs what would it be – would you develop a standalone giving platform or engage with an non commission (fee charged) service?

One thing I know charities will say is that they need the contact details of donors to stay in touch – sure, this can be a real need, and can help reduced donor acquisition costs.

What other things could be looked at for donor engagement and increased support?

Your thoughts, ideas and comments would be great to hear.

See also

Is it donor fatigue or is it your ‘ask’

Appeal Fatigue

Charity Fatigue

Go Invisible to be Visible

Also, take a look at this from TVNZ Breakfast show – The New Charities  

Number Withheld

It’s dinner time, you’re sitting at the dining table enjoying a tasty morsel, catching up on what your family has bee doing during the day – the suddenly you’re interrupted by the shrill sou d of your phone ringing.

Racing to get it, you trip over the cat, almost collide with the door frame – on reaching the phone you see that the number is withheld, not knowing who it is causes a mild panic. Is it a call from the hospital to say your ailing mother needs you?

Picking it up, the caller says “Good evening this is Marsha from XYZ, how are you today?” – What – I’ve just stubbed my toe, stepped on the cat and panicked thinking this was a call about my mother, and you ask how I am, what do you want.

The caller proceeds to explain the needs of the organizations she’s calling about, you’re mind is elsewhere – do you really care? In all probability not, sure you care about others, but right now your mind is elsewhere.

You ask if she can call back or if you can call her, only to be told she’s busy and will try you another time – when, at dinner tomorrow night most likely.

Ok, we’ve probably all had the calls, we may have even made them to raise awareness of our organization – but, here’s the question asked by many – why do charity calls all tend to have a withheld number? Don’t they want people to be able to make a note of the number and call them back, or is it to hide so as not to get irate homeowners calling to voice their disapproval a being disturbed

How many people do organizations miss out in talking to simply because no number is displayed? I’d suggest quite a high number as many people I’ve spoken with don’t answer their phone if there’s no number displayed.

Imagine if an organization got to take to 100 more people simply because their number was displayed, if only twenty percent of these said ‘yes’ the organization in need of support would have the potential to grow and further assist those it is set up to assist.

If your organization runs telephone campaigns does your phone system allow your number to be displayed

Does your organization hide its phone number/s – if so why?

As a homeowner do you answer calls where numbers are withheld – why?

What’s your general view on dinner time charity calls, are they intrusive, poorly timed?

Would you like the ability to have a call at a time convenient to yourself?

I’d appreciate your comments on charity calls – not just around the issue of withheld numbers, bad timing, frequency, etc. Please leave a comment below.