GOOD_Thinking_supporterloyaltyAs fundraisers, bringing people closer to the impact of what their support achieves to give them a greater sense of purpose is our mantra. But in a sector that is facing challenges in recruiting and retaining supporters cost effectively, we need to start to build a more enriching and emotionally rewarding experience; especially if we are to attract a new era of supporters and compete with commercial brands who are already building a sense of purpose and good into their offer.

As a sector we have to move on from focusing on telling powerful stories. In order to cut through we need to meet a cultural need for more meaning in our lives, and a consumer need, a desire even, for value from all our interactions. Only by achieving all three can we develop an evolved approach to our retention programmes and strive to gain love from our supporters, by giving supporters the kind of love they seek.

No-one doubts the principles for delivering emotionally memorable experiences, but our key challenge is getting buy in from finance directors who want to account for every communication sent to supporters. This takes an element of cultural change, and change that isn’t going to happen overnight. So we gave people some examples of how they can achieve some every day changes to their programme, approaches which we have seen have a real impact on increased value from supporters:
  • Dialogue not monologue — give people a voice and creative opportunities for people to tell you what they value, are interested in. This helps to shape future communications, making them more personal and relevant.
  • Build in value exchange — develop experiences which deliver a balance of reward, enrichment, impact and purpose.
  • Tell powerful stories with your supporter at the heart of it – there are six core emotions that drive our behaviours. Using only negative emotions (Sadness, guilt, pity, anger and fear) will not leave a lasting feeling of happiness. To drive supporter loyalty we must evoke an overall sense of happiness from their giving experience. Understand what emotions make up part of your story telling and ensure the use of an emotional arc. Also use a communications framework to structure your story telling, but don’t forget to put the supporter firmly in the heart of your beneficiary needs and your organisational delivery. To put the supporter truly at the heart of your story, you must know more about their interests, needs and desires — not just their demographics and RFV.
  • Make the right ask at the right time — moving people through a lifecycle or bond, build, embed (and rekindle if necessary).
If charities are to continue to grow in an increasingly competitive market for good, they need to evolve to give an enriching and rewarding experience as well as one that gives people a sense of purpose and impact.

So let’s remember to share the love.