Busy fundraisers are always under pressure from a multitude of sources. Senior managers are setting increasingly challenging income targets. Proliferating media options are changing supporter’s expectations and behaviour. Moreover, the country’s economic woes for individuals and organisations seem interminable.
Seeking more involvement with their branding team is not at the top of most fundraisers’ to-do lists. Given the often antagonistic nature of fundraiser-brand team relationships, this is hardly surprising.
However, more than ever, fundraisers need to draw on all available tools at their disposal. Many have realised that having a charity brand that works to support fundraising is an essential foundation for success.
In recent years, charities as diverse as Shelter, Macmillan, Parkinson’s UK and Save the Children have demonstrated the direct impact a fundraising-friendly brand can have on fundraising income.
How can other fundraisers emulate these impressive results? My experience has shown that fundraisers need to be proactive in making their voices heard whenever brand development or brand campaign work is planned. Don’t wait to be invited!
Getting involved at an early stage means that you’re more likely to ensure the brand is fit for fundraising purposes. Often this means checking the brand sits comfortably with fundraising messages about ‘need’ as well as the organisation’s wider messages about positive outcomes.
At a practical level, fundraisers also need to ensure the brand targets the relevant audiences (including current and potential supporters). The visual elements also need to work across all the appropriate media.
From a managerial point of view, including mutually supportive objectives across the brand and fundraising teams (if they must remain separate) will help foster ongoing co-operation.
As for performance measurement, fundraisers must convince brand colleagues that it is not acceptable to rely solely on measures of awareness and understanding. Brand measurement should also track potential and existing supporter engagement and response to provide a more complete view on how well the brand is performing.
So, apart from reaching new audiences, growing supporter numbers, increasing average donation levels, improving direct mail response rates and raising extra income, what has branding ever done for fundraising?
Gill is our Senior Planner. Her love lies in finding ways to make fundraising work harder and smarter.