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NFP Performance | More Strategic

Top Tips from the Australasian Fundraising Forum 2014

Top Tips from the Australasian Fundraising Forum 2014

After a fantastic couple of days soaking up so much great content from so many talented fundraisers we thought we would just pick out 13 very practical suggestions from some of the speakers. The generosity of everyone who spoke and shared their stories and, more importantly, their facts was extraordinary. It really is a great privilege to work in a sector where everyone is genuinely committed to everyone else doing better. Thank you to all the speakers and to F+P Magazine for creating such a valuable opportunity to share, learn and connect.

  1. Edm’s sent on a Tuesday at 10am were 3 times more effective than the same time on a Thursday
  2. Popups on the website during tax appeal increased online donations by 30%
  3. Put Donate Now buttons in the middle of edm text
  4. Link your auction items to outcome specific price points with an ask from a beneficiary
  5. Always send your “banker pack” as the second ask (increased 2nd gift rate from 3% to 43%)
  6. Use crowdfunding to pay for your TV coverage of campaigns (then convert to RG)
  7. Understand if your Twitter and Facebook audiences are different and send different messages
  8. People have recruited RG donors from Facebook at $46/donor and 2.18 roi but the volumes are small
  9. Always, always promote residuary bequests, they are 10 times the value
  10. Make purely commercial decisions on contested estates – they can be up to 30% of your annual value.
  11. Reactivation starts at the point of cancellation – make it as pleasant as possible to increase the likelihood of subsequent reactivation
  12. Use values based conversations and listen to the donor
  13. Use powerful visuals and stories as this brilliant example does (and never underestimate the importance of the music!):  Greenpeace New Zealand People Like You



Australias Most Popular Causes

The most popular causes to support in Australia are health and medical research and children’s charities, each claiming around 45% of public popularity. Our study asked over 2,000 Australians which sorts of organisations they most like to support with donations. Animal charities came in 3rd but interestingly, in a similar study that only looked at people who were fundraising on behalf of charities through peer to peer platform Everyday Hero, they came in far lower. Perhaps this suggests that those who support animal welfare are less confident that their peers would also give to that cause.

We also asked elsewhere in the survey how much the donor had given to charities in the past 12 months. Now we recognise that this is self reported and therefore not necessarily an accurate reflection of their actual giving, but the relativities between the cause areas are still valid. The red line shows the proportion of respondents who claim to have given more than $500 in the past year. This reveals that although overseas development and emergency relief organisations are only supported by 19% of the population, over a quarter of those supporting them donate more than $500. We also saw in our study that people who gave to these organisations had a greater belief that their donation “gets there”.

Most overseas development agencies have been leading the way on monthly regular giving which we know is associated with a higher annual value. However, the organisations that are securing the highest share of donors giving more than $500 are religious organisations at 27%, but with a popularity of just 12%. In another study we saw that religious charities were by a long way the most popular cause to support amongst people who described themselves as religious.

The study reinforces the notion that, to succeed in fundraising you don’t have to be the most popular cause – you just have to have a small number of dedicated supporters. Look at one of the least popular causes – Indigenous Organisations – only identified by 5% of the population as an organisation they most like to support but punching well above its weight in having 17% of donors giving more than $500. It is one of only two areas where the score for popularity is lower than the proportion of $500+ donors.

Australia’s Top Charities

Who are the top fundraising charities in Australia?

It can be difficult to be absolutely definitive about this as charity Annual Reports can be tricky to interpret. There are a few challenges:

Different reporting periods and timeliness – whilst the majority of not for profits have year ends of June some are December and a few are April or September. There can also be significant delays in posting annual results onto websites, for some charities it takes more than nine months to share their results online.

Different classifications of income and expenditure – gross fundraising income is fairly comparable across organisations as long as in kind valuations are excluded but on the expenditure side it is very hard to know if the annual report figures are “apples with apples”. For this reason we have set up the More Cost Effectiveness Benchmarks using detailed management accounts.

Unconsolidated Federations – some Federations, such as the Heart Foundation report a consolidated income for the group but other such as Cancer Council do not. Where possible we have added up the state incomes of member organisations to give a “brand” figure. We feel this is fairer as the public generally believe these organisations are national in their scope. However, we do also report on income per head of population served which far more clearly illuminates the performance of state entities.

However, using the most up to date data for the majority of charities – which is year ending 2012 we can see the following “league table” for fundraising income. In this analysis we have excluded, where known, any income from Op Shops or other commercial ventures but included bequest income.

What this table does not reveal though is how critical fundraising is to each of these organisations – and there are huge variations. For example, World Vision relies on fundraising for 70% of revenue and Mission Australia just 8%.

Overall, for the full set of 59 charities we tracked the average fundraising reliance was 52%. It is also interesting to look at the growth rate for each of the organisations over the past three years.

The most meaningful comparison to look at is Fundraising growth excluding bequests (although this limits the number of organisations we can look at due to some organisations not declaring bequest income separately). On this basis we see the fastest growth is from Red Cross (+51%) and Fred Hollows (+38%) whilst organisations such as World Vision (-10%) and Save the Children (-1%) have experienced declines. Overall, for all the charities where bequest data is available for all years we see an overall growth of 16% from 2010 to 2012. Of the 35 charities with full data, 8 declined in non bequest income and 27 increased.

Importantly we can also begin to track market share for a comparison group of charities to show whether people are outperforming the market and gaining share or growing slowly and effectively losing share.

If you want to know how you compare to nearly 100 other charities for income, growth rate and market share call Martin on 0435 306202.

If you want to know how well you are doing on a comparable cost basis the please consider joining our Cost Effectiveness Benchmarking service – click here for more info.

 More Strategic are specialist not for profit management consultants with an unhealthy obsession with financial data and spreadsheets. We are not charity accountants but we do know what fundraisers and not for profit leaders need to measure.


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April 2024