Your end of tax year appeal finished several weeks ago. No doubt you’ve already moved on to the planning of this year’s Christmas appeal. Most Australian charities launch their Christmas appeals to their donors and supporters through proven direct mail programs, landing in letterboxes in late November.
However, a 2013 thought-leadership blog from Google pointed to something surprising. Looking at donation-related search queries, they pinpointed a spike for when people search the web for information about making a Christmas donation.
A massive spike. Of more than 20% in increased month-on-month search volume.
The data means that your prospective Christmas donors aren’t waiting to hear from you in November. They begin thinking about their potential donations many months before the giving season begins.
If the first they hear about your appeal is in November or December donors – you’re too late. You’re missing the most crucial time of year – September – to influence their decision and get your charity on their list for consideration.
It’s critical that you get an early start. And with the time it takes to implement a direct marketing program, you’re going to need to find a faster way. You need to use digital to drive discovery early.
“The shift towards digital philanthropy is apparent in the rise of crowdsourcing
fundraiser platforms, social media advocacy and mobile-giving applications, making
online engagement a critical tool for organisations looking to reach new supporters.”
Jennifer Gross, Google
Online appeals are the answer. They’re fast to set up and take to market, making them the perfect way to get your Christmas appeal in front of your donors in September. They also allow for rich media, including videos, social media feeds and live fundraising totals to deliver your brand message and set a sense of urgency.
This type of online appeal is frequently when speed to market is critical. In the aftermath of the earthquake which devastated Nepal in April 2015, charities including Oxfam, Australian Red Cross, UNICEF and World Vision set up online appeals within hours. Their speed to market contributed to their ability to raise essential funds, in a heavily time sensitive situation.
The bottom line is that digital fundraising is becoming increasingly popular. It’s how your potential donors look and find the cause they want to give to.
When they start their Christmas donation search this September, will they find you? And, will they like what they see?