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Kickstart your individual giving programme

Individual giving... Donor development... Supporter acquisition/retention... Whatever you call it, you're probably always on the look-out for new supporters.

It's one of the most important income streams in any fundraising team. But do you know what it is?

Individual giving is the act of a person giving their own money to charity.

lady dressed in red taking money out of her purse

People give to charity in various ways:

  • A donation by card, cash or cheque - solicited (ie. because they were asked) or unsolicited. This can be online or offline.
  • A regular donation, eg. Direct debit or recurring card payments
  • Directly from their pay through Payroll Giving
  • By purchasing raffle or lottery tickets
  • By leaving a gift in their Will - also known as leaving a legacy

Why do people give money to charity?

There is no rational reason why people would give their money away. With the exception of lottery/raffle tickets, there is usually no physical reward for individual giving.

They give money because they care about the cause.

  • They might want to get rid of a problem - eg. cure a disease
  • They might want to give others a better chance in life
  • They might want to say thank you to a charity that helped them

In all these examples, the important factor is that the donor has an emotional connection to the cause.

Who are your individual givers?

It's important to know who you are talking to, in order to communicate the right message.

  • Warm donors - These people have made a donation to your charity in the last 2 years. You know that they already care deeply about your cause. Your job is to keep them engaged and show them what a difference their support is making. This group is most likely to give again.
  • Warm contacts - These people are on your mailing list or perhaps they follow you on social media. They have not yet made a donation but they are interested in what you do. Your job is to inspire them to turn that interest into action - this is your kickstarter group!
  • Cold/lapsed supporters - Maybe they used to care about your cause but they have other priorities now. Maybe they don't even remember supporting you previously. Perhaps you don't even have the right contact information for them anymore! This group is least likely to give to your charity, but it's not impossible! If you can find a way to connect with them emotionally, they may be inspired to give.

Kickstarting: Turn your warm contacts into donors

A great way to turn your warm contacts into donors is to offer them something in return for their support. For example, you could offer:

It is also possible to turn your warm contacts into donors by telling them stories about the people your charity has helped. If the story makes your contact feel emotional, they are more likely to donate. Therefore, it can be particularly powerful to use photos, videos and other visuals in your messaging.

Read more about storytelling in fundraising.

Good luck!

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