Changing times or maybe not
Ten years ago, I decided to set up DM Focus. At the time the focus was going to be data analytics alongside media buying with a focus in the not for profit marketplace. This was due to the experience that I had gained up until that point.
Over the last ten years, many new media opportunities have arisen such as email, digital and face to face. Yet still traditional communications such as direct mail, door drop and press inserts provide a very successful way to recruit a new supporter.
When new technologies entered the scene, in particular the online world, where we can access emails anywhere on our phones and even browse the internet sat on the beach in the south of France for example, we were wondering if things would change. They are now taking a little of our budget but really these are more successful for additional warm engagement opportunities rather than recruitment.
Then along came cheap Text Giving with mobile operators dropping the excessive fees. This has now become a very valid way to donate. At first a frenzy of activity on previously untapped media was seen. The biggest short term media to benefit was outdoor with a simple message and a text XXXXX to donate £YYY. Early signs were very positive and even though no name and address details were captured, a call very soon afterwards encouraging gift aid and also an upgrade to regular giving made those phone numbers become very powerful. However more recently with saturation in this marketplace it has been apparent that only a small amount of spend can be deployed this way to attract new supporters.
Digital display advertising and social media were at first seen as the saviour to recruitment. It was going to be cheap and reach a massive audience. The reach was big but the advertising was ineffective so again those traditional media approaches were still used.
A growth in the requirement for direct debits has seen door to door and street fundraising increase. This has proved a succesful route to recruit regular givers however they do not go on to interact with the charity after their first gift. Due to this their attrition is high and future giving is limited to their initial monthly pledge.
So even with so many changes in our market place in the last ten years the fundamentals of media buying haven't changed dramatically. We have simply seen charities exploring more media and thereby reducing risk and recruiting at a more profitable level.