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The Lowdown: Individual Giving Fundraising Insights and Trends 2022

Helen Daw: the future for individual giving fundraising is still bright

As individual giving fundraisers, we enter 2023 against a backdrop of continued uncertainty. I, for one, find it reassuring to review what has happened in previous years to help build a picture of what the near future might look like. That's why I love The Lowdown: Individual Giving Insights so much!  Based on annual surveys with our UK fundraising community, The Lowdown helps identify some of the ongoing trends in individual giving.

We're proud to release The Lowdown 2022 report this February which is available to Woods Valldata's charity partners and those wonderful fundraisers who gave just 10 minutes of their time to complete our annual survey back in September and October 2022 (which means we have these insights to share with you today).

The Lowdown_Individual Giving Insights 2022

But I know this won't cover all fundraisers who will be interested in this research to help inform their planning for 2023 and beyond. I therefore wanted to share some of the highlights of this research with our wider fundraising community in this blog.

What's changed and what's remained the same in individual giving fundraising?

I found it interesting to see where changes have happened compared to previous years as I reviewed this year’s results. In particular, those changes from when we first started the research - in 2020 - in a time of lockdown, through to where we are today in the grips of an economic downturn.

We are no longer challenged by social distancing requiring different fundraising approaches such as through virtual solutions. Digital growth, essential in 2020 and 2021, has become part of the everyday fundraising mix. Today we are focusing on how to grow our income in difficult economic times through the acquisition and retention of supporters. Our main focus is on regular giving for individual giving fundraising – a trend which comes across strongly from the survey data and from The Lowdown 2022 webinar panellists and attendees alike.

Two charity managers making plans for a fundraising strategy.

What’s more, there are contradictions within the survey results and these are of particular interest to me. For instance we say that supporter relationships, retention and acquisition are important to us, and yet, our focus for the future and the channels of communication we use most (digital and email) are not necessarily aligned with our current supporter base or building good relationships.

My feeling is there is still work to be done to become truly and effectively omnichannel and supporter-centric.

Charity fundraising remains challenging yet exciting and we’ve seen time and again fundraisers rise to the challenge and generate opportunities and innovation from adversity.

The core individual giving fundraising approaches don't change 

In a time of constant change, one of the most striking things to come out of the survey responses across the years is what doesn’t change.

  • When asked what their prediction is for income in the year ahead, the majority of the survey responders across the three years have said it will rise or stay the same – despite everything that has been thrown at us.

  • When asked to highlight their primary goals and objectives for individual giving, the survey responders have flagged income growth, acquisition and retention as most important across all three years.

  • When asked what products they will be using to achieve those goals, 60% of responses are the same consistently across the three years: cash, legacies and regular giving — with regular giving holding the number one spot every time.

This tells us that, whatever challenges face us, our goals don’t change – generating and retaining supporters and maintaining and growing income is what enables charities to achieve their missions. Engaged and loyal long-term supporters is what we all need and that doesn’t change so much.

A senior woman representing supporter delight as part of charities communicating with her in the right way

The incorporation of digital in individual giving fundraising

The importance of digital has dramatically reduced in terms of goals and objectives for 2022 survey responders compared to 2020 and 2021. We discussed this during the ‘The Lowdown’ 2022 webinar. Reasons could include:

  • That we have moved forward with our incorporation of digital into fundraising and it is part of the everyday and is therefore no longer a strategic priority.

  • That it is no longer the sole focus of acquisition or retention with the world opening back up post-Covid.

  • Saturation of digital channels mean they’re not as effective as we hoped.

Opportunities or challenges in the future

As you would expect, the primary challenge seen facing charities in the next 12 months, according to the 2022 survey responders, is the economic situation.

Acquisition sits as a challenge and an opportunity in equal measure – finding new supporters and then developing long-lasting relationships that drive lifetime value is still a fundraiser’s main goal.

Opportunity comes from adversity and fundraisers have proven they can rise to the challenge. So whatever faces us in 2023 and beyond, we’re confident that the sector will positively respond and that Woods Valldata will be here to support their ambitions wherever we can.

How Woods Valldata can help

Our partnership approach gives you ongoing support, expert guidance and strategic advice to help drive efficiencies and growth in your cross-channel individual giving fundraising programmes.

Whatever the future brings, we're here for you, there for your supporters.  Here's just some of the ways we can support you in 2023:

1. Working together with our data strategy and insight team to create or refine your data strategy and supporter journey programmes.

The implementation of which will be enhanced using our triggered supporter communications. This automated process, available to our response handling and lottery charity partners, delivers highly targeted supporter thanking drawing from a matrix which can be as simple or complex as you like. Our unique platform is flexible and configurable to most campaign requirements, so when we help you with a fundraising campaign, you can ensure that each stage of the journey feels personal to boost engagement.

2. Delivering the best supporter experience from your one-off and regular giving campaigns by ensuring supporter responses are handled quickly and accurately.

This means supporters feel on top of their donations (cash, card or direct debit) which is of high importance during times of increased economic hardship. And when they're communicated with promptly, with the right information, at the right time, they will feel valued and special to you. This will help further strengthen your relationship with them keeping them supporting your charity for longer. Our data capture is quality checked with automated scanning backed up with human intervention to ensure the details we capture on your behalf are as accurate as they can be.

3. Injecting creativity and innovation into your programmes

Whether that's through raffle programme design and fulfilment, response handling banking and thanking, online prize-led platforms or complex fulfilment for events sponsorship and memberships we're always thinking about ways to make your supporters' experience better.

When you work with Woods Valldata you access the knowledge, insight and experience we have which we're eager to share. The outcome is supporters who feel more valued, with higher levels of engagement and loyalty, leading to increased income, greater ROI and ultimately programme growth. To find out more about how Woods Valldata can help you, get in touch with our expert team today.

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