Growth strategies for charities are quite similar to corporate organisations. While corporates and charities should both have a vision for the future, charities might find it more difficult acquiring and retaining donors as there is no product or immediate service received for the transaction. Charities need to structure their growth strategy around the impact of their work.
During 2020, WIRES experienced triple-digit growth on the Good2Give Workplace Giving Platform. We sat down with Leanne Taylor, WIRES CEO, to find out how their charity achieved this exponential growth in workplace giving.
Growth strategies for charities: Increasing your brand awareness
What is brand awareness?
Brand awareness is an individual’s ability to recall or recognise a brand in different situations. Household charity names like the Australian Red Cross, Salvos and now WIRES all have high brand awareness. Choosing a charity to donate to on the Good2Give Workplace Giving Platform can be overwhelming for donors as we have over 2,500 charities. Increasing your brand awareness is highly important so your charity is top of mind when new donors are looking for a charity to support.
How WIRES increased their brand awareness
During the 2019-20 Australian Bushfires, it is estimated that three billion animals were killed or displaced. The bushfires resulted in an increased need for WIRES services which naturally increased their brand awareness. Leanne explains how WIRES capitalised on the organic publicity;
“During the fires, awareness of the plight of Australian native wildlife grew organically. Images of kangaroos and other species escaping the flames captured the hearts of people in Australia and around the world. The statistics of how many animals were being impacted by the fires were just too big to be ignored and people felt compelled to take action in whatever way they could.
A few major celebrities mentioned supporting WIRES on social media and that also had a major impact on giving.”
Increasing brand awareness
If possible, document the impact of your work using photos and videos. Showing positive changes in the situations of vulnerable populations like the homeless or domestic violence survivors, and impact on environment, can increase your following. This will increase the amount of people exposed to your work and campaigns.
Having a celebrity ambassador may not be possible for most charities. If you are looking for ambassadors, take a look at your donors and volunteers as they have already expressed an interest in your organisation and are motivated enough to take action. Asking your donors to talk about your charity through social media or in conversation can increase your brand awareness.
Growth strategies for charities: Converting once-off donors to regular donors
When there is a time of crisis, charities are needed more than ever before. Depending on the extent of the crisis, it can often get media coverage which can attract once off donors.
Leanne explains that while WIRES experienced an influx of once-off donors in early 2020, the habitat loss on the Australian wildlife and the ongoing environmental challenges needs long term funding. The focus for WIRES was retaining these new donors and building a lifelong relationship with them, as well as converting them to regular giving;
“A key priority was maintaining our high retention rate for monthly donors in our ‘Virtual Carer’ program which provides access to exclusive content and has ensured they continue to be highly engaged.
WIRES also had to upgrade our internal systems to ensure that we would be able to deliver the same high standard of ongoing engagement for a larger audience. This was crucial in growing our regular giving program and I would certainly advise smaller organisations to get your systems and infrastructure in place before scaling up, to continue giving donors a good supporter experience.”
Strategies for donor retention
The WIRES ‘Virtual Carer’ program is an incredible way to retain donors. Donors want to see the direct impact their donations are making, so posting exclusive content and calling donors ‘carers’ makes the experience of giving money more personable. If you’re looking for more strategies, take a look at our ‘How to increase donor retention’ blog.
Growth strategies for charities: Creating a long-term plan to grow your charity
When leading a small charity, it is easy to fixate on the day-to-day activities. Leanne stresses the importance of having a long-term plan for your charity;
“Charities should always be looking at the bigger picture and have a ‘blue sky plan’ of what they could achieve if they received a boost in funding. WIRES had already identified the gaps in the wildlife rescue sector so we could move quickly to establish new partnerships, enhancing technology and improving systems following the fires.
Investing in technologies and systems is also important as this allows growth management in an efficient and transparent manner.”
Implementing technology to support growth
Does your charity have client relationship management software? Take a look at how the RSPCA South Australia used Salesforce to build more personal connections with supporters. Investing in technology is essential for maintaining a high level of service during times of growth.
Key growth strategies for charities:
- Where applicable, post images of the aid recipients on social media
- Turn your donors and volunteers into ambassadors for your charity
- Provide exclusive content for your regular donors
- Upgrade your internal systems to deliver a high standard of service before scaling up
- Have a big picture plan of what your charity could achieve with a funding boost