With fears that new fundraising regulations will create a 20% drop in donations, charity boards are pressing fundraisers to provide greater certainty around income generation. So if you’re a charity fundraiser looking to attach a number to the word ‘enough’, today’s blog is for you.
As you’ll hopefully be aware, Eddie Izzard recently ran 27 marathons. He’s awesome and nailed-on for a knighthood in our opinion. By going the extra miles he raised well over £1m, which is equally awesome. And yet it seems that some of his supporters felt that more could have been done to fully exploit the fundraising potential of his efforts.
Which got us thinking, how exactly do you define a ‘maximised opportunity’ in the charity sector? Well starting with some rudimentary maths, Eddie’s efforts work out at £37,037.03 for each one of his marathons. Presented in these more prosaic figures, the nation’s largesse is cast in a slightly different light. And perhaps provides some basis for questions being asked by the Facebook community.
But who’s to say that £37,037.03 isn’t a good return? If one were to take the total of all marathon donations and divided it by the number of runners, do you think the number would be greater or lesser than Eddie’s? And then again, by what percentage would you have to multiply Eddie’s figure to accommodate celebrity factor? And how exactly does one create a rank of celebrities – how many dripping Davinas in Lake Windermere equal one knackered Keating up Kilimanjaro?
And if we’re going to stray into more quantitative analysis perhaps there is a means of calculating, with greater certainty, the likely return on any planned charity fundraising activity. Our experience from sectors such as finance and culture would suggest that a reliable set of historical data and a robust econometric model would be all that is required to provide a practical indicator of potential fundraising incomes.
Of course the answer to the question “what’s the maximum opportunity?” may lie in insight of a more qualitative nature. Human nature is hard to predict at the best of times. Who could have guessed that volunteering to be doused in iced water would prove a hit in country that’s freezing for 11 months of the year? And in what world would otherwise dapper young blades choose to emulate the love-child of Groucho Marx and Magnum P.I. through the medium of lip-hair? So when it comes to determining what will capture the imagination of the donating public perhaps depth insights are the best way to unearth an idea’s true potential. As the requirement for fundraising initiatives to be ever more creative increases, so does the need for research that can gain actionable insight and meaningfully evaluate more esoteric ideas. Whilst there’s no substitute for research that’s professionally designed, conducted, analysed and reported, we find co-creation (in which respondents actively contribute to the development of concepts as part of the research process) is increasingly being used in this area.
But in our opinion it is by bringing both the quantitative and qualitative methodologies together that offers the most actionable output when evaluating new fundraising opportunities. By doing so charities can be sure that both the scope and the scale of fundraising initiatives are fully and practically defined. And that in turn will provide them with the confidence to back good ideas and reassure their audiences that, like Eddie, they have gone the extra miles.