As behaviours evolve, how we drive and capture supporter engagement will have to change as well. To that end, Charity Comms and PR firm Eden Stanley published a report musing upon the future of supporter engagement in the charity sector. They examine what the landscape could look like come 2022 and how the sector should respond.
The report identifies trends that already pose propositional challenges:
- The blurring of the lines between charity and business. It’s increasingly difficult for charities themselves to stand out in a saturated market.
- Staying relevant in a more connected world. The challenge is adding real value to engagement without it being purely cosmetic or unsustainable. Charities will need to find new ways of bringing supporters and causes together.
- Support for charities being driven by a sense of moral obligation rather than a belief in making a difference. New regulations, initiatives and best practice have been introduced to restore confidence and trust. Support remains fragile so charities must work to nurture and repair it.
- The sector lacks an appetite for innovation. Short-term fundraising targets are preferred to longer term investments in change. As per the first point, a failure to innovate brings vulnerability to challenge.
Here are some of the report’s main topics of discussion, posed as questions that your charity should ask itself.
Why support us?
Why should supporters chose your charity over the next? What can you do to retain their support and keep them on side? We’ve touched on this in a previous blog but clear channels of communication and relevant, emotive content are vital to empowering supporters. How you’re able to cope with change and future-proof your proposition will depend on your ongoing ability to demonstrate that you deliver impact with a tangible value for your supporters. Give them reasons to engage and to contribute in ways that really make a difference.
Who are your supporters?
The demographics of those who give and those in need will evolve. It will be as important as ever to understand and engage with emerging and new groups of supporters as the mantle passes between generations. The challenge lies in how and what you change to reflect that shift. Find out who they are, the content they engage with and segment them accordingly. You’ll need to update your communications strategy and adapt your acquisition methods. Your income streams and the definition of value are also likely to change. Be careful however not to alienate supporters during this transition – each and every supporter should feel valued. Take a holistic approach and you’ll be better equipped to keep your various segments engaged.
How digital are you?
You’ll already have an online presence by now however, the increasing volume of channels and competing voices will make it harder to control your exposure and influence. As a result, what you offer and how you communicate has to stand out. Legislation, although not limited to digital, will be vastly different with tighter regulation (GDPR anyone?). Transparency will be key to your supporter relationships so give them control. Use technology to empower them and provide supporters with the better access to information and preference control that will become standard. The challenge here will lie in the creation of sufficiently engaging content that your supporters will want to receive. Don’t view social media, email, and website as separate entities, use them as one cohesive unit and ensure that your communications are consistent across all channels. Make patronage rewarding and worthwhile for both beneficiaries and supporters.
Get in touch
Let us know if you’d like help auditing your brand strategy and ensuring your presence across digital channels. We can help you develop your ongoing campaign strategy and drive supporter engagement with creative digital content. Make sure you’re prepared for the road ahead.