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Exploring the dynamics of fundraising channels

This blog focuses on individual giving fundraising channel trends in 2023, as presented at "The Lowdown, Individual Giving Insights 2023" webinar (now available to watch on demand). We’re answering the fundamental question: Which are the most popular channels for UK fundraisers in 2023 and why?

What is a fundraising channel?

A fundraising channel is a means used to communicate with warm supporters to a charity, or to people the charity wishes to attract to support them. There are a wealth of channels available to charities including direct mail, face-to-face, TV advertising (known as DRTV), and social media.

Which are the most important fundraising channels for UK individual giving fundraising?

Participants in the webinar (349 attendees) were asked about their primary fundraising channels in 2023. Not surprisingly, email and direct mail emerged as the leaders in the pack for use, standing neck-to-neck at around 30% of the responses. However, when we look at which channel drove the most income, the standout result, especially when a lot of focus in fundraising is driven around digital, was that direct mail remains the top channel, scoring a significant 40% and leaving other channels trailing behind.

Looking at the data from The Woods Valldata Individual Giving Fundraising Survey across 2021, 2022 and 2023 we can see the shifts in emphasis over time for one-off giving and for regular giving.

One-off giving channels

One off giving channels

In one-off giving, direct mail continues to grow year-on-year complemented by a surge in door drop and partly addressed mail usage to acquire new supporters. 
Email had the highest percentage of usage for one-off giving, along with other digital channels, which reflected the webinar poll. Helen Daw, Head of Data Strategy and Insight at Woods Valldata felt that this was potentially a result of more integrated campaigns where response options are offered across multiple channels – and therefore the ongoing retention activity would also reflect a more diverse channel portfolio.

Regular giving channels

Regular giving channels

Following the step-change in regular giving channels brought about by the 2020 pandemic, direct dialogue-based channels are continuing to grow and recover – reclaiming their top spot for regular giving fundraising channels.

“It is those conversations that work so well for getting people to sign-up to a regular gift: face-to-face and telemarketing.” Helen Daw

Alongside these channels direct mail, email, social and web are still really high and therefore still of significant importance for regular giving campaigns and stewardship.

Which are the best channels for individual giving fundraising acquisition?

Jo Howard, Global Head of Direct Marketing at Sightsavers explained in the webinar that for their charity, DRTV is their main method of acquiring regular giving supporters, whilst digital was more important for cash giving.

older lady and young man hugging facing a laptop screen and smiling with joy

Which channels are best for supporter retention and stewardship?

Jo went on to say that channels for retention activity were getting more complex and that she recommended a more ‘test-and-learn’ approach for charities when it comes to the best channels to use.

“Donors are much more savvy” she explained, “and they want to be responded to and talked to in different ways. You’ve got to be agile with how you use all your different channels.”

She explained that for measuring the effectiveness of retention it’s important to look at the emotional side of why the supporter has given rather than just transactional metrics. This can often help determine the best ‘next ask’ for the supporter as part of their on going journey and relationship with the charity.

For a more in-depth look at individual giving fundraising channel trends in 2023, please do watch The Lowdown webinar on demand – available now.

About Woods Valldata

At Woods Valldata we’re Partners in Possibility. We're passionate about people, partnerships and what can be achieved when we do great things together. 

We offer charities a full spectrum of outsourced fundraising services with our own people, processes, technical capabilities, and breadth of expertise in house. So you know the service you get his very best it can be. Whatever you want when you outsource your fundraising programs: insight, strategy and innovation driving growth, or reliable processes and continuous improvements delivering faster and more accurate banking, thanking and fulfillment. We make your supporters feel appreciated and elevate your ability to achieve more. 

We’re here for you and there for your supporters. We partner with over 100 charities providing outsourced fundraising services across:

  • Weekly lottery from our bespoke Advantage offering, Aspire platform, and our ever popular entry level lottery suitable for charities of all sizes and budgets, Affinity Lottery.
  • We offer charity raffle with end to end from design, print and post to response handling, reporting and strategy.
  • We do response handling for your large scale appeals.
  • We do fulfillment whether that's a Thank You message through to challenge pack sponsorships and memberships.
  • Direct Debit management, you can rely on us for your regular giving banking.
  • And data strategy and insight to enhance your programs and achieve more.

We’d love to talk to you about your individual giving fundraising and where we can achieve great things together.

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