08 Jul 2023

Why now is the time to invest in your fundraising marketing

The words cost of living are never far from our lips. Rising costs are taking a toll. Budgets are being squeezed. Surplus cash is lacking. More and more people are needing charity services, so budgets need to go further. Does that mean it is time to scale back on the fundraising marketing?

Not at all. And by working with cost effective companies (such as Inside Job Productions!) your fundraising marketing doesn’t have to be expensive.

We know that the cost of living will have an impact on people’s giving propensity. Household budgets will be increasingly squeezed, which will likely see donations drop as they did by 11% in real terms, during the 2008/9 recession. According to the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) UK Giving Report, nearly 60% of respondents said that the crisis will negatively impact their ability to donate. In April, one in 25 (4%) reported that they had already cancelled a regular donation to charity, as a direct response to the rising cost of living. Although other data from NGO Human Appeal shows that in the last year 1 in 3 have increased giving and almost half will do so in the next year. So a mixed message. 

People will be worried about saving for the future, and want to hang on to their cash. But this doesn’t mean it’s not worth fundraising activity. Because people will also recognise the challenges that other people are having. As well as looking after their own families, there is a growing sense that ‘we are in this together.’ During the pandemic giving increased in the areas hardest hit, showing how people do care about their communities. And they will want to see how their money is helping people, so you need to show people what impact you are having on the lives of beneficiaries.

Video is a great way to do this. It can convey practical impact and demonstrate a clear result, as well as take people on a story that has an emotional resonance. It all comes down to the classic narrative arc, a concept used in storytelling. There is a situation, and rising tension as things get worse. Then something happens – the climax. So a resolution happens. Supporters want to feel like they are part of the resolution – they are the hero, to coin another storytelling phrase. Take them on a journey through your film, and encourage them to be the hero and donate to your cause.

Charitable work won’t stop because of the cost of living crisis or recession. In fact, need will increase and NCVO’s state of the nation report in 2022 predicted a concerning pressure on charities as their beneficiaries face challenges. Trussell Trust saw 81% increase in food bank usage across its network in the twelve months prior to April 2022, and this is only rising. So charities need to keep the fundraising going. As long as it is done sensitively, recognising that people’s own pockets will be feeling the strain, fundraising marketing can continue to be effective. 

Digital can be a more cost effective way to reach more people, as budgets can be flexed and monitored depending on performance. Images and videos can be used across channels and platforms to get the most for your money. And you will save on printing and distribution.

Right now your organisation needs money to help the people you care about. And people are willing to support you to do that. Don’t give up on fundraising marketing when it is most needed.