A warning issued by the Charity Commission warning supporters to be wary of phishing emails designed to look like they are from legitimate charities, means it has never been more important to ensure your donor journeys are as clear as possible. A University of Portsmouth (2016, P7) study estimates that charities and trusts could be losing up to £1.9bil per year to fraud, and recent high profile cases have highlighted the issue.
A recent spate of malicious emails purporting to be from Migrant Help included personal details in the emails tailored to the people they targeted making them seem more legitimate, particularly to the unsuspecting. This is a genuine UK charity offering support, guidance and accommodation to vulnerable migrants in the UK, but the fraudulent emails contained malware targeting individual and corporate bank accounts. All targeted individuals needed to do was click the Donation Reference link to begin the malware installation process on the user’s device.
The Charity Commission were quoted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation saying: “Whenever there is a spike in interest in an issue then unfortunately the criminals will try and manipulate that for their own end”.
Image from https://myonlinesecurity.co.uk
They also also warned about fake animal welfare charities from overseas targeting the UK via social platforms. Their ‘Register of Charities‘ allows donors to verify the name and registration number of any UK charity and it produces Safer Giving advice telling donors what to look out for and how to verify charities using the register.
While many of us may feel that spurious emails such as these are easy to identify, we aren’t the ones being targeted. It’s up to us as charities and marketers to make sure that our donors are informed and safe. As an aside, none of the charity registration numbers, nor ‘YashivaDonations’ mentioned in the email screen shot above could be verified against the register.
Of course, any charity could fall foul of fraudsters looking to exploit the goodwill of its supporters, and this trust can only be regained by charities making a concerted effort to keep its donor journeys as up to date as possible, and communicating this clearly to supporters.
A solid ‘welcome programme’ should see that new donors are sufficiently informed about how you will contact them as part of their on-boarding process. Outline communication timelines and protocols, what will and won’t be asked and how to verify any emails and transactions – much in the way many banks now do. Furthermore a clear confirmation process with a defined structure of itemised ‘thank you’ emails following any transactions, will give donors confidence in the legitimacy of their relationship with your charity.
While these are by no means bullet proof solutions, they can at least help among many other things, safeguard the integrity of your brand and communications.
If you would like Copper to help you with your welcome process, thank you emails or any part of your donor journey, get in touch and we’ll schedule some time for a chat.
Alex is a Digital Content Coordinator at Copper