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Embrace AI and crowdfunding to engage new generation of donors, urges JustGiving

Embrace AI and crowdfunding to engage new generation of donors, urges JustGiving

Charities should see and embrace and as opportunities to engage a new generation of donors and supporters, according to ’s Chief Marketing Officer Charles Wells.

He issued his challenge to charity sector staff and leaders at the Institute of Fundraising’s annual conference in London this month. 

Wells argued that the rapid adoption and application of these and other technologies would “fundamentally change society in the next 20 years” and charities had to respond and adapt to their use.

He suggested that charities should make the most of these technologies, rather than simply react to them by settling for the bare minimum required by regulations. He added that charities to ensure that data is used effectively to deliver wholly targeted and personalised products, services and messages, whilst striving to protect their donors’ personal data.

Wells concluded: “So my challenge to you is build the ethical principles into your project that the law will always defend. Respect the rights of individuals, never forget that their data is loaned to you, never yours, treat them as a person not a data point.”

Crowdfunding

Wells also urged charities to consider the growth and popularity of crowdfunding, and to embrace the challenge of this new style of giving “that is so popular with the needs of Generation Z”.

 

He said that, if current growth rates are maintained, crowdfunding income “is set to become bigger than any single charity by 2019”.

Wells added: “Who is struggling to engage young donors?… Well it’s not because they don’t care… It’s not that they don’t give… It’s just that the way you ask and the way they respond has been completely disrupted.”

He explained why crowdfunding differed in key ways from previous models of fundraising and giving. He stated that crowdfunding is based on a concept of immediate personal need rather than a static ideal. It inspired a clear reaction to give immediately and share one’s involvement “which opens the door to huge possibilities for the charity sector”.

Referring to JustGiving’s crowdfunding service ‘JustGiving Campaigns’, he added: “Crowdfunding stories are specific and powerful. They don’t have a lofty mission, they tell the story of a person in need. These stories have been shared by supporters 1.2 million times so far this year. And people are four times more likely to share a crowdfunding donation than a donation to charity.”

In JustGiving’s case there’s a link from crowdfunding to AI, because JustGiving Campaigns uses AI “to create a flow of new users”.

Crowdfunding can yield new donors

Charles Wells also revealed that JustGiving Campaigns is also attracting new first-time donors. He reported that 8.8% of donors to crowdfunding campaigns on the Campaigns platform go on to make their first donation to a charity within 12 months.

 

Three challenges

Wells concluded his presentation with three challenges for the roomful of fundraisers and technologists.

 

  1. How do you reinvent giving and your organisation, not just abide by regulation? You technologists are the future of the sector.
  2. Partner to get there more quickly. What makes you unique? Focus on that and work with partners to deliver the rest (but pick them wisely).
  3. Never forget to respect your giver: their behaviours change all the time and it is your job to keep up.

 

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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