Adapting to Evolving Donor Behaviour

Adapting to Evolving Donor Behaviour

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The donor landscape in Canada is changing. Fearful of turbulent economies, many ultra-high-net-worth donors are in a self-imposed holding pattern. At the same time, annual and mid-level donors are bombarded with increasingly sophisticated pressure from global brands. These factors, as well as many others, are transforming donor and consumer behaviour.

To succeed in today’s changing donor landscape, organizations must make strategic shifts that adapt to evolving donor behavior. Consumer and donor expectations are changing, and being agile and responsive to them will help organizations remain sustainable.

Keep Telling Stories

Keep telling stories. Even if a donor has reduced their annual giving or has stopped giving entirely for more than 12 months, charities should keep informing people about the incredible work that their team is doing. I encourage most organizations to increase the frequency of their storytelling while limiting the number of asks per year. This means having a strategically focused calendar that tells more stories, uses influencers and drip content to highlight specific content, and shows people that the charity remains committed to creating positive impacts.

It is important to note two things about donor and consumer behaviour:

  1. If an organization doesn’t communicate in a way that engages its audience, someone else will.
  2. If an organization stops communicating after someone fails to give for some time, the donor will notice. There are ways to acknowledge lapsed giving that show caring and understanding while still being inviting.

Ramp Up Stewardship. Make it Personal.

More than ever, full compliance with stewardship policies and procedures is essential. Charities cannot afford to lose donors over a lost opportunity to show gratitude. Well-positioned charities equip their team and callers with stories and impact facts to share during the call and additional questions that can inform go-forward strategies.

Tell Diverse Stories. Show Diversity.

Donors give because they value a charity’s impact. Other values also drive donors’ financial decisions.

Recent studies show that most Millenial and Gen-X consumers, and many Boomers and Retirees, consider their personal values when making financial decisions. Most of those individuals value diversity, equity and inclusion in their workplaces and in the companies and brands they support. In fact, many will pay a premium to support a brand that has a compelling ESG story that aligns with their values. Charities should use their regular communications to showcase alignment with donor values. This means telling stories about efforts related to environment, DEI, governance and accountability, and more. Showcase your team and community members and the work they are doing, even if that story exists outside of your charitable objects.