The future of fundraising – 2019 and beyond

By Dearne Cameron, CEO

Anticipating the future of fundraising is no easy feat. So in November Pareto Fundraising asked four industry experts to share their knowledge with a room of not-for-profit professionals as to what they believe are the biggest issues facing the sector in 2019 and beyond.

Each panelist was asked to nominate the one area they believe is critical – and what we need to do about it. Here’s what they had to say

1. Maintain trust

Trust is critical to the building and sustainability of any relationship.

However, in recent years Australians have shown declining levels of trust in our big institutions like banks and insurers.

But as reported by Sophie Renton, Trends Analysis and Research Team Leader at McCrindle, although there has been a lot of trust lost in big institutions this has not yet impacted the not-for-profit sector. As she said:

“Trust is the sector’s greatest asset. And it’s the most important thing that we have to maintain.

But as Sophie cautioned, with the opportunity made available by the increase in donor data and the many ways in which it can be used, it’s critical to use the resources available to better enhance the impact of the not-for-profit sector:

“Donors are happy to give their data to you, but make sure you use it in the right way. To keep your donors you must deliver on what you’ve promised them and not just ask for more.

2. Build relationships

Despite the technology available, fundraising is still about relationships.

While data and technology will be used as an aid, fundraising will increasingly be focused on personal connection.

As Nigel Harris, CEO of the Mater Foundation told the audience,

‘It’s time to stop looking only at people’s wallets and start engaging people for the good work they want to accomplish through your organisation – whether that be through money or time.

James Bennett, fellow panelist and CEO of Kalido concurred:

Certainly in the corporate world, it’s about the month, quarterly and year end figure, but more and more of our clients now have a keener focus on customer satisfaction. It’s not about how much we’ve sold them or the revenue we’ve done this month. They’re looking to the longer-term.

“Customers are frustrated with businesses overcommunicating and over-selling. So it’s now about the shift to mid-term or longer-term results for better prosperity.  And understanding how customer satisfaction can build better lifetime value.

3. Use data ethically

Data management is not just about regulations – it’s about how you also choose to use it.

From how to make sure data privacy is respected and how to gather it, discussions about data are everywhere … including among charities.

But what about donors? What do they expect from you, with the personal information that you hold about them?

James Bennett from Kalido believes that one of our biggest issues is the ethical debate around the use of data. And how customers or donors will now give you their data to do business – but in return they expect you to look after it and serve them better with it.

As James points out, it’s a new type of value exchange:

“A customer will willingly give you their data footprint, but if you don’t treat them well, they will stop buying from that brand or, in the case of a not-for-profit, stop donating.

It’s a sentiment backed up by the Mater Foundation’s Nigel Harris:

“We’re having a bit of a crisis point in the sector where people’s generosity is falling back.”

We’re interrupting people too much in a fundraising conversation. I think we need to think seriously about the way we engage in meaningful conversations.”

“And we have to look at the reality of that cost in terms of how it’s returned by longer-term outcomes.

4. Prepare for the future

Developing the necessary skills and tools to adapt are essential for fundraisers going forward.

As Jeremy Fenton, Executive Manager at the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) notes:

“The fourth wave of the industrial revolution is upon us. Big data, the internet of things, artificial intelligence. These present significant opportunities for the not-for-profit sector but also present significant challenges – including the current and potential regulatory schemes.”

It’s important for not-for-profits to understand what the community expects of them in this brave new world and remain ahead of it. I would hope that they ask not only about their regulatory obligations but go above and beyond them to meet community expectations.”

And that means ensuring that donors are not angry, frustrated or overwhelmed with their interactions with not-for-profits.

James Bennett  of Kalido concurs:

I think there’s the question of how you afford to manage data legally and ethically.”

It doesn’t need to be an expensive process, particularly if you take the approach that you don’t need to do it all. Technology is a lot cheaper now. And there are organisations out there where you get data science as a service rather than needing to employ very expensive resources.”

So let’s say you could model behaviour on giving. If you could taper it down to when is the best time to talk to this person? What is the amount I should be asking for? What’s the frequency I should be contacting this person?”

This information alone would have a good result in the commercial world. It helps drive average order value, drives lifetime value and pays for itself with time.”

As we move into 2019 and beyond there is much for fundraisers to think about. For more insights from our expert panel, click here to watch the video presentation.

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