I attended the first day of the Institute of Fundraising’s Fundraising Convention on Monday 3rd July. Not only was I going to hear from sector peers in the digital fundraising stream but I was going to be speaking too.
There is one thing that summed the whole day up for me, and I even spoke about it my presentation. It’s all about data. And as the first session highlighted, it’s about making the data you have meaningful and how powerful data can be if it’s used in the right way.
Fran Swaine shared an excellent model for measuring metrics and talked about how all too often charities are measuring ‘vanity metrics’. The metrics that make us feel good, such as Facebook likes, but they don’t really mean a lot as the engagement isn’t deep enough.
My favourite term of the day was data puke. I’ve been guilty of this in the past – sticking lots of different metrics in a report because they look interesting, but not considering if they add any value. Fran’s tip is to ask yourself so what? to determine if it’s really something you should report on.
Fran’s three takeaways:
- Create a measurement strategy
- Ensure your metrics are actionable
Next up, was the Failure Swap Shop which I was very excited for, since it’s not particularly common for charities to share their failures. Two points made by Paul Weaver, Digital Innovation Manager at Cancer Research, resonated with me the most. No matter how much insight you gain or research you do – intent and action are two very different things!
The second being, business bias. Insider bias makes people get carried away with their idea. And what I’ve learnt over the years is that if I like it – it’s likely the audience it’s aimed at, won’t. Never think of yourself as the target audience. And remember, there are people, millions of people, who live outside of London – so get out of your London bubble!
Amy Burton, Digital Engagement Manager at the Department of Health ended with some very wise words:
Next up, I shared how Plan International UK has transitioned child sponsorship from offline to online. DRTV has been driving child sponsorship signups for years, but things were starting to shift in the way audiences were responding. More people were choosing to research child sponsorship online rather than requesting a call back via SMS.
The biggest shift came in 2015 after the charity sector came under scrutiny for unethical fundraising practises targeting the vulnerable and elderly, as well as the tragic death of Olive Cooke.
The data shows us the uplift in response online, where people feel they can be more in control and research at their own leisure. This meant that there needed to be a clear route to conversion, starting with people being able to get to Plan’s website. My advice was to ensure you are investing in paid search to ensure your audiences can find you. Once you get to the webiste, it needs to be optimised and focussed on conversion.
The future of payments is making things quick and easy. And the way to do that is vaulted payments – where you are able to store your donor’s details to make the next time they donate even easier. We’re already doing this with online shopping, or storing our details in apps like Uber, but now it’s time to give this option to our donors too. The charity sector on a whole is obsessed with regular giving which isn’t something widely recognised in the USA, where cash gifts are the number one way to give.
Paul shared an interesting graph on how messaging apps are over taking social networks. There is more trust in this channel and there are no adverts. What messaging apps mean for charities right now, I’m not sure, but we need to keep an eye on where this is going.
Unfortunately, I was only there for one day, but it’s got to be one of the best days for digital that’s been delivered at the IoF Fundraising Conference for some time. It was excellently curated and organised – so well done to all those involved.
Couldn’t make it? Check out the hashtag #IoFFC for what people have been sharing across the three day convention.