Do People Trust Charities?

Do People Trust Charities?

Trust is the most precious asset for charities. It is fundamental for all giving but it is fragile and easily eroded. We conducted a large scale public survey of over 2,000 Australians to understand and track their levels of trust in charities.

  • Which type of people and donors trust charities more?
  • How trusted are charities?
  • What attitudes and beliefs drive trust? Is trust improving or not?

Click here on our infographic, Do People Trust Charities, for the answers to all these questions!

Engaging Donors

Engaging Donors

As acquisition becomes more expensive, less predictable and high volumes harder to find, we must focus more of our energy on retaining the precious donors we already have. Measuring attrition, lifetime value and upgrade rates are great indicators of loyalty. Measuring multiple relationships is a really good indicator of your success in “cross selling”, or extending, your donors. But these database measures don’t tell us the full story of how engaged our donors really are. After all, is the habitual monthly donor who has forgotten to cancel really the same as the passionate but periodic cash donor?

To see if our communications are really making a difference we need to understand and measure what constitutes being engaged. To our mind there are both behavioural and emotional indicators of engagement:

  • Advocating on behalf of the charity (proactive and defensive)
  • Participating and entering into dialogue with the charity
  • Influence exerted and introductions made: corporate, families, HINW
  • Attitude – recognition and attribution of success to the charity
  • Attendance –service usage, event attendance
  • Volunteerism – short term project roles through to long term commitment
  • Giving – recency, frequency, value, multiple channels
  • Communications consumption – ‘contactability’, uses of media (opt in, open, read, forward, respond)
  • Passion indicators – is the charity their favorite, do they associate their identity with the cause, are they proud of their association?
  • Brand appreciation – understanding and valuing the role the charity plays in changing the world

From research conducted with five leading charities in Australia we have identified some of the key traits that predict whether people will give a second gift when asked.  They key drivers were found to be about identity, passion and relative importance.

The Supporter Engagement Score

This year we are launching a study to help increase loyalty and lifetime value by measuring and improving supporter engagement.


Annual survey – conducted with a sample of your supporters (preferably 3,000)

Multi-charity – we aim to engage 7 to 10 charities so you can get a relative performance measure

Segment based – so we can identify if your regular donors are more or less engaged than your cash donors or of your new donors are different from your established support base

Tracking – over at least 3 years to see if your supporter journey communications are increasing engagement

Comparable – we will use a common suite of questions across multiple charities to measure engagement and satisfaction

Tailored – we will ask questions specific to your cause and brand to understand what differentiates you and what donors most value about your work and messaging


Ongoing tracking of supporter engagement so that you can see if improvements in your supporter journey are working

  • Identify and connect with your most engaged donors
  • Identify what messages and beliefs most impact on engagement and value so you can deliver the most compelling messages to your supporters.
  • Demonstrate the link between engagement and value
  • Understand who your supporters are, what they value in what you do and whether this is changing over time.
  • Compare your engagement score to other member charities
  • Compare the experiences of different types of supporter by longevity or channel to identify how best to improve supporter loyalty.


Collective and Tailored Questions

The survey will incorporate standard questions to allow comparison across organisations. These will cover issues such as:

€        Giving Portfolio – who else they give to?

€        Net Promoter Score – will they advocate for you?

€        Satisfaction – how well do you treat them?

€        Passion and identity – how important are you to them?

€        Future intentions – what else might they do for you?

€        Values and beliefs – how aligned are you to their core beliefs?

 In addition, we will work with you to create questions that are specific to your cause and messages, these may cover topics such as:

€        Motivations for giving

€        Knowledge of what you do

€        Importance of what you do

€        What makes you different from others

€        Brand attributes and appreciation

€        What they want to hear about

 To be part of this important, ongoing study into your supporters attitudes please contact Martin
on 0435 306 202 or

More Strategic is a leading not for profit marketing consultancy.





Finding Your Brand with iTunes

What is your charity song? Finding your charity brand character using iTunes
Not for profits rely on emotions. We are in the emotional marketing world – it is usually all we have! Yet it can be really hard to articulate the exact emotion of your organisation. Charities struggle in their fundraising to convey their “brand essence” or find it hard to get unity around how they should speak. Many now have useful ‘living the brand books” that help convey the important message that the brand is about everything you do and not just your logo!

But, one fund way of trying to define your tone is  to dig around your itunes library and find the song or piece of a song that captures who you are, what you believe in and how you speak. Sadly, I have a playlist on my ipod called charity tunes – every time I hear a song that is just the right expression for an organisation I drop it in there.

Here are a few examples – I’d love to hear your suggestions for your charity.

Free Me –  Roger Daltry  for Amnesty International

Open your Eyes – Snow Patrol  for Fred Hollows Foundation

I’m Free – The Soup Dragons for Youngcare

Pick You Up – Powderfinger for Lifeline

This is how it feels – Inspiral carpets for Beyond Blue

Hope Street – The Levellers for Vinnies

Something better change – The Stranglers for Getup
(though actually it really needs to be an acoustic version of this some sung by Adele as GetUp don’t appear to be an “angry” group)

Share your nominations ….

The Australian Parochialism Index!

Are the States really different?  It won’t be long before the State of Origin thrusts us once more into the age old (well maybe 25 years) rivalry between the NSW Blues and QLD Maroons. But, as fundraisers do we really need to treat our donors differently just because of the State they live in? When did we decide that despite all our sophisticated segmentation, that arbitrary state lines determine the ask they get and the way they are treated by charities they support.

We set out to uncover the importance of State identity to people. This wasn’t about their giving but about how they felt about the state they live in.

  • Overall 50% agreed that they felt “proud to live in this State”: WA was the highest at 64% and NSW the lowest at 42%.
  • People in SA (46%) and WA (43%) were much more likely to say that “people in other States don’t understand us” (average 23%).
  • 57% of West Australians say “we are different from the rest of the country” compared to an average of 29%.
  • Of some concern was the fact that overall 39% of all states agreed or strongly agreed that “we are not in control of our own destiny in this State”. Again this was highest in SA and WA, lowest in Victoria and similar between and QLD.
  • 56% think they live in the best state: highest for WA (71%) and lowest for NSW (48%).
  • Perhaps the area of greatest difference though is in the expression of “we are not in the nationalo priorities” with overall 44% agreeing with this statement but 63% of Western Australians and 61% of South Australians agreeing.
  • When it comes to the needs of the States most people from all States agree (70%) that “our needs are similar to other areas of Australia”.

So, whilst WA and SA have a stronger sense of identity, even in those areas people would agree that the needs of the disabled, for example, are the same there as in other states. We also explored attitudes to local, state and national charities across the country but that is another blog!

From all of this we concluded that perhaps we should change the number plate straplines a bit:

Queensland – Take us seriously!
Tasmania – Don’t forget about us!
WA – What are you doing with all our money?
South Australia – This is the best place – but don’t tell anyone!
Victoria – We are just a bit more classy.
ACT – We aren’t ALL public servants!
NT – We really are different.
NSW – What is everyone on about?

More strategic is a specialist marketing and fundraising consultancy that helps charities understand the “why” of giving.


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May 2024