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Welcome to the Not-so-New Normal

Audience-centricity is the key to growth after the pandemic

The pandemic has undoubtedly been devastating for charities heavily dependent on retail, face-to-face fundraising and events. Most also expected Individual Giving to decline too. And at first it looked like it might, but then something surprising happened… it didn’t. Not only that, but emergency appeals performed exceptionally well. But the worry was still there: was this just the calm before the storm?

Six months later and that storm still hasn’t come. So why keep waiting for it? The ‘New Normal’ has begun. This is it – and it might not be so bad after all. We’re seeing Cost per Acquisition levels remain good and churn running lower than pre-pandemic. It turns out the market is complex, and we’ve learned that economic factors don’t affect charity giving as straightforwardly as some might think. In fact, with closer examination, we’re seeing where the risk and the opportunity lies. The good news is for most clients there are real and present opportunities for sustainable growth both in audiences and in product innovation.

At Arthur we’ve found that it is wholly achievable to meet our clients’ urgent need for additional funding, whilst also laying the foundations of a long-term strategy. In fact, many of our clients are finding that the best results are being achieved by avoiding the bear-trap of short-termism.

Indeed, some of our clients have achieved their best ever results for campaigns created since lockdown began. Campaigns that have come from an enduring partnership and a shared ambition to create sustainable growth strategies. For Arthur these include the RSPCA, Centrepoint and Age UK to name but a few.

So how are we doing it? The simple answer is by being audience-centric. By gaining a deep understanding of why our clients’ causes really matter to their audiences and making that knowledge the focus of how we engage them and ask for their support.

It may sound simple, but it’s rarely easy. It requires us to consider how a charity’s own ideology and desire to express itself fits with what its donors want from it.

In the current competitive market, the need for this has never been greater. Donors are more discerning in choosing causes that truly reflect what they want from them.  Charities willing to grasp the nettle and get this right are the ones that will grow.

So that’s the theory. How about putting it into practice?

Broadly there are seven steps. In the coming weeks I will write more on them. For now, at a glance, they are:  

1.) Define your market, and clearly identify the opportunities for growth.

2.) Understand your audience, who are they and how do they feel about you?

3.) Give them an exciting role to play in your cause.

4.) Make your fundraising products more relevant to them.

5.) Know who exactly you need to innovate for.

6.) Make the supporter experience meaningful and measurably effective

7.) Package this up with bolder, more inspiring and truly audience-centric creativity

If you’d like to discuss how any of this could apply to your cause, please drop us a line. We’d love to chat.