Fundraising Learning and Present Time Communication

Fundraising Learning and Present Time Communication

*Otavio Dias, Partner and CEO of REPENSE - one of Brazil's pioneering Fundraising agencies tha has worked for many years for leading non-governmental organizations in Brazil and around the world, such as Médicos sem Fronteiras, Greenpeace and Action Aid.

DEZ | 2019

*Otavio Dias, Partner and CEO of REPENSE - one of Brazil's pioneering Fundraising agencies tha has worked for many years for leading non-governmental organizations in Brazil and around the world, such as Médicos sem Fronteiras, Greenpeace and Action Aid.

In order to make their activities viable and ensure financial independence from governments and private interests, Non-Profit Organizations in Brazil and the world rely - among other efforts - on the support (and donation) of individuals of various age groups and social classes, who identify with specific causes and want to do their part.

Integrated Fundraising campaigns, whose main objective is to make people aware of the causes so that they preferably donate regularly, are considered an important strategy for attracting donors.

In addition to systematically attracting new donors, well-structured fundraising work also contributes to building loyalty and  acquiring donors who typically have great potential for extra donations (for projects or special occasions), and especially to refer other donors.

Fundraising campaigns require a very strategic work and a careful delivery, also full of nuances of aesthetic and verbal language; after all, talking about a cause is always very sensitive and special. And, more than in companies, every R$ 1 invested in Fundraising must be carefully employed to generate the required return. Therefore, the basic principle of performance marketing has always been present in the daily life of these organizations.

Essentially focused on direct response, this type of diffusion involves direct marketing, digital marketing and DRTV (Direct Response TV) techniques. Unlike independent jobs (or campaigns created primarily for creative awards), consistent Fundraising requires continuous, deep and over-specialized work, with results measured by donation volume.

Brazilian context

According to the GIVING REPORT 2019 BRAZIL* report, there is still room to increase the volume and quality of donations to organizations in Brazil. Between August 2017 and July 2018, 7 out of 10 Brazilians over the age of 18 made cash donations. In financial terms, the amount donated represented 0.2% of Brazil's GDP (Gross Domestic Product), below the index recorded in countries with the largest philanthropic tradition, such as the United Kingdom or the US (0.5% and 1.4% respectively).

According to the interviewees, the donations were made sporadically and without compromising with the sustainability of civil society organizations. The most consistent reason given by them (since the scenario has not changed since 2017) and the most common reason for giving is: "because it makes me feel good" - an explanation mentioned by half of the people. The Fundraising campaign thus offers an opportunity not only to donate but also to provide the feeling of "feeling good" from the action.

Main challenges

In this scenario, increasing campaign revenues and creating a donation culture are among the main bottlenecks of Fundraising's work in Brazil.

In order to circumvent these and other obstacles and build a communication strategy that reaches repeated donations to organizations, you need to address a few points:

●      Institutional credibility: immaculate reputation is an indispensable starting point for every Fundraising program.  Whatever the media, the credibility of the organization is always extremely important, and also how much it is known (or not) to the public;

Planning success: develop the right campaign, with a media plan (and targeted communication - from lead generation to donation) that is compatible with the audience to which the organization wants to communicate for a particular cause;

Resource efficiency: Remember that every R$ 1 counts towards organizations, so campaign money should be carefully applied to generate the return you need, always keeping in mind the importance of ongoing testing. After all, each new campaign must be a new challenge, evolving the response rates already obtained;

Creation excellence: campaigns should thrill, inform and raise awareness, and in order to generate donor responses, they should "take the potential donor by the hand", get them to know the organization's work, and touch their hearts so they want to donate regularity;

Specific techniques for each type of communication discipline: direct mail, for example, should have longer, explanatory, argumentative, and exciting texts, while in digital plays, videos contribute to bringing the emotion and harsh reality faced by people who count on the help of the organization;

Develop integrated campaigns: the main purpose here is to impact people on more than one channel, because the frequency of communication is fundamental both in the process of attracting donors and in the process of loyalty of those who are already donors;

In-depth measurement: from DRTV commercials to digital capture and direct marketing, effective Fundraising work must be measured in-depth, enhancing media purchase expertise and assessing the impact of the online word on the offline word. For international organizations, having local results compared to those of campaigns from other countries is also an excellent opportunity.

In times when Performance Media is gaining more and more space, there is no doubt that large third sector organizations have a lot to teach many other segments. After all, the search for the best ROI, the deep and detailed measurement of results and the continuous and evolutionary tests have always been part of the daily life of Fundraising professionals. 

Like social organizations, I continue to believe that, more than awards or visibility, result-oriented Effective Creativity should be our primary pursuit as communications and marketing professionals.

*GIVING REPORT 2019 BRAZIL - Second edition of the Giving Report Brazil, covering the period from August 2017 to July 2018. This is a portrait of Brazilians' behavior and thinking regarding donation, volunteering and civic engagement developed by CAF (Charities Aid Foundation), an international UK philanthropic organization with nine offices in six continents and introduced in Brazil by the IDIS-Institute for the Development of Social Investment.

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