Insights Charity

10 Classic Signs Your Charity Should Consider Outsourcing Its Supporter Response

Are you satisfied with the quality and speed of responses that your charity’s supporters are currently receiving?

If your charity responses could be improved and your team is stressed and stretched to breaking point, we get it. As a company group, we have worked with over 250 charities of all sizes for some 45 years*, and recently we have noticed charities being increasingly stretched due to the cost-of-living crisis, a squeezed fundraising pool, and shrinking budgets. This squeeze is confirmed by research, which also suggests that current economic conditions are having even more impact on charities than the covid pandemic. Charity teams, already spread thinly, are now having to multitask across specialist areas that would even challenge the experts.

Outsourcing your response to charity experts could relieve some of these pressures, whilst saving costs and freeing up time, boosting team morale, and helping your charity survive and thrive despite tough economic times.

Read here for the 10 classic signs that your charity might benefit from getting extra help for its supporter response.

1. You have no spare time to spend with your supporter services teams.

Do you spend enough time with your teams, overseeing proper delivery of your supporter response strategy, ensuring your team is not overstretched, and ensuring that supporter communications and responses are dealt with in a proactive and timely fashion?

If you are too busy juggling and multi-tasking yourself to spend quality time with your team, then it could be time to consider getting some extra support.

2. Delays in thanking and sending out wider supporter communications.

A happy donor is a loyal donor. Saying ‘thank you’ promptly should be part of your donor retention strategy. Supporter communications can also be a chance to say so much more than just a ‘thank you’. It’s a chance to share the impact the donation will have, highlight other campaigns, cross-sell other fundraising initiatives, and get supporters signed up to newsletters and other marketing material.

Effective supporter response increases donor retention, amounts donated may increase as well as the likelihood of repeat donations. But if communication is poor or tardy, then it is not likely to be well received.

3. Delayed Royal Mail returns and gone-aways.

Is your mailroom bursting at the seams, with piles of responses, returns and gone-aways constantly building up in the corner? Are your staff constantly stressed, and flooded with complaints from supporters who have not heard anything from you in days or weeks? If your service levels are slipping, leaving your team with no time to process responses in a systematic manner, then it could be time to seek extra support from experts who have the processes, technology, and systems in place to achieve this.

4. Missed supporter calls and delays in responding to supporter queries.

If your team is too busy to talk to supporters on the phone, to answer email queries or to deal thoroughly with other supporter communication, this could signal that it’s time to get some extra help. Our staff are trained to spend as long as it takes with your supporters, to talk to them in your tone of voice, to know your products, services and campaigns like the back of their hand, answer supporter questions in detail, and to follow up with correspondence where needed.

5. No designated or specialist teams to support key processing requirements.

Do your teams try to cover too much ground, even if they have little or no idea how to do the more specialist aspects of the work; or do you have experts dedicated to dealing with specific areas?

At Elovate, we have expert teams dedicated to dealing with highly technical aspects of charity response work, backed by our state-of-the-art technology. This means that when you outsource work to us, it gets done more quickly, saving you time and potentially costs – whilst increasing your donor retention rates.

6. Sudden donation peaks, with no extra resource to handle the response.

From planned seasonal campaigns to emergency crisis appeals, your response workload is likely to swing wildly during the fundraising year, with forecasting peak points being almost impossible.

If you find yourself with an avalanche of responses on a regular basis, but the same number of overstretched staff dealing with it, this could be a sign that you could benefit from outsourcing some of your campaigns and overflow work.

7. No time for growing your supporter bases and expanding your charity’s work.

Are your staff in survival mode, constantly firefighting and with no time to think creatively about wider strategy. By outsourcing some of your work, you could free up some of your experienced staff, giving them time to focus on supporter experience, grow your supporter base, and explore opportunities to expand your charity’s work.

8. No time for full accreditation and compliance, resulting in reduced security standards.

If you are nervously aware that your security standards and accreditations are below par but you don’t have the resources, knowledge or time to fix this, this could be another sign to outsource.

Security, accreditations and compliance are at the core of Elovate’s business and we operate in the most stringent and secure physical and digital environment possible. More than this, our company group standards are so high that we are an industry champion when it comes to security and cyber security.

9. No time to keep up with latest digital innovation.

Your team may not have the time or digital skills to develop solutions which could take your charity’s fundraising to another level. Our company group has a team of 19 charity-expert IT developers, and their job is to constantly develop and deliver digital products that keep our charity clients ahead of the curve. You can book a free 30-minute consultation with us to talk through how we can support you digitally.

10. You dread Mondays.

We’ve all been through extraordinary times recently but feeling overwhelmed and stressed should not be the new normal at work. Not only can our specialist teams take away some of the stress, we can also help your organisation thrive and increase its impact.

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