Breaking with tradition
A thought that has been exercising my mind a lot recently is the question: how much of the income that is being raised digitally would have been raised anyway. In other words, to what extent is digital becoming a convenient way of paying rather than a means of stimulating new giving?
It seems to me that a significant chunk of digital giving is simply displacement giving. Justgiving.com for example, is certainly simply a channel. When I last did a sponsored run at Christmas, I was able to solicit support much more easily using email, Facebook and Justgiving than I would ever have done using traditional techniques. Doing that, I increased my target rapidly from £250 – what I would normally raise – to £500 and ended up raising more than £600 – the vast majority digitally.
Having said that, I also got a bit lazy chasing my usual suspects up, so I probably lost £50-£100 that I would’ve raised in the past.
And then we have six year old Charlie Simpson, setting himself the target of £500 from a sponsored bike ride, ending up raising over £200,000…..all digitally!
With a few exceptions, recruiting regular donors digitally still appears a tough challenge for most charities. It seems to me that we are still thinking of digital as a direct marketing tool. We need to break out of that “traditional” view of fundraising and recognise that digital fundraising is actually community fundraising reborn. Just go on to Kiva to discover the amazing range of communities that have sprung up to support third world entrepreneurs. Just like charities needed a big shove to break out of tradition into the brave new world of DM, we need now to recognise that DM has become tradition – and we need to break out all over again!