Why agency support can be a helping hand in delivering effective donations management
Donations management is more than just collecting money from donors. It can also provide valuable data that can help charities improve their fundraising strategies and operations. Below, we give an Elovate insight into how data can benefit charities as a result of their donations management process:
What are some of the main benefits?
Up and coming charities are not always aware of how they can benefit from what may seem a simple necessary process of collecting donated income, here are some of the key benefits.
- Gift Aid collection: Gift Aid is a scheme that allows charities to claim an extra 25% on eligible donations from UK taxpayers. This can significantly increase the income of charities and help them achieve their goals. By correctly collecting and claiming Gift Aid, charities can also get insights into the tax status and preferences of their donors, which can inform their future communications and campaigns.
- Consents for GDPR compliance and future contact: GDPR is a regulation that protects the personal data and privacy of individuals in the EU. It requires charities to obtain explicit consent from donors before contacting them via different channels, such as email, phone, or post. By collecting and managing consents, charities can ensure they comply with the law and respect the wishes of their donors. They can also use consents to segment their donors based on their interests and preferences, and tailor their messages accordingly.
- Dealing with gone aways, managing churn, tracking data performance and cleaning data: By addressing these issues, charities can save money and resources by not mailing bad addresses, increase donor retention and loyalty by providing relevant and timely communications, and optimise their fundraising performance by identifying what works and what doesn’t.
- Segment codes: Segment codes are labels that are assigned to donors based on various criteria, such as demographics, postcodes, donation amounts, donation frequencies, etc. By using segment codes, charities can analyse and compare the behavior and characteristics of different groups of donors, and identify patterns and trends. This can help them target their fundraising efforts more effectively and efficiently, and increase their response rates and return on investment.
Why outsourcing makes sense
If charities outsource their donations management process to a partner agency, such as Elovate, they can also benefit from the expertise and experience of the agency. Elovate’s top five benefits of working with a partner agency, are:
- Accountability: An agency will have to meet certain timelines and deadlines for processing donations, claiming Gift Aid, sending acknowledgements, etc. This takes the pressure off the charity staff and allow them to focus on other tasks.
- Data accuracy: An agency will have the tools and skills to clean and review the data, and ensure it is accurate and up-to-date. This will improve the quality and reliability of the data, and reduce errors and discrepancies.
- Security and Compliance: An agency will have a secure area where donations are handled on site, with appropriate measures to prevent theft, loss, or damage, often overseen by CCTV. The agency will also comply with the data protection laws and regulations, and ensure the confidentiality and integrity of the data. These will be backed up by PCI compliance, cyber security and ISO accreditations.
- Audit process: An agency will have a full auditing process from opening the post to handling donations. This will provide transparency and accountability for the charity, and help them monitor and verify the donations management process.
- A guaranteed workforce: An agency will have sufficient and trained staff to handle the donations management process throughout the year, even in times of crisis, emergency or during seasonal campaign spikes, enabling a constant and reassuring speed on donation capture, banking and thanking. For example, during the COVID pandemic, some charities had to close their doors and shut down their services due to lockdowns or staff shortages. But, by using an agency that has a good contingency plan in place as backup for instances like this, they can be sure their collections will still take place, their processing will still happen, and their income will still be coming in to fund vital services.
What to measure, and how?
If you are a charity, you know how important it is to measure the impact of your work and the effectiveness of your campaigns. One way to ensure you are collecting and using the right data is to work with a professional agency that specialises in this field. They can help you to:
- Track your data and segment your supporters based on various criteria, such as the type of campaign, the story, the resonance, the response rate, etc. This can help you to tailor your messages and strategies to different audiences and optimise your results.
- Avoid errors and inaccuracies in your data, such as mailing to wrong or outdated addresses, thanking donors for donations they did not make, or misallocating donations to general or restricted funds. These mistakes can cause distress, anger, or distrust among your supporters and damage your reputation.
- Identify segments that are not performing well or are not suitable for your campaign, such as demographic, regional, or age groups. This can help you to avoid wasting resources and focus on the segments that are most responsive and engaged.
- Monitor your campaign performance in real time and make adjustments if needed. This can help you to improve your efficiency and cost-effectiveness and respond to changing circumstances or feedback.
Working with data – especially linked to donations – can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding if you do it right. At Elovate we use our expertise to give charities reassurance that they have a partner with the experience, systems and processes they can rely on. Donations management is not just a simple necessary process, it is a valuable source of data that can benefit charities in many ways from reporting back to the Board and Trustees, to helping determine their overall fundraising strategies and operations.
To find out more, or to visit us at any of our UK centres, please contact Elovate today.