We discuss the future of fundraising a lot at Open. And it comes back to one question: in these uncertain fundraising times, what can we do to deliver fundraising programmes that resonate with the donors of today and move them to act?
So when we think about the future, we focus our thinking in three areas:
Community building & content: how do we use authentic, real, fun, and inspiring content to create and grow a sense of community that will harness the inherent power and connectivity of social media to drive change?
Next generation messaging platforms: what are the messaging platforms that will drive the highest levels of reach and therefore be the communication channels that drive real engagement and interaction with our clients causes and missions?
Next generation payment platforms: once we’ve created our crowd, have inspired people to action and found the right way to interact with them – how do we make the act of giving fast and easy?
Stand for Rights
At the end of March I was lucky enough to take a team from Open to New York City to work on an incredible project that showed me a version of the future.
Stand for Rights was the project, the brainchild of a group of big-shot US TV producers who wanted to do something in post Trump America to support the American Civil Liberties Union. So they decided to put on a Telethon. The production team are brilliant at comedy, have impressive access to A-list celebs (Tom Hanks, Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Usher, Katy Perry to name a few) – but were clear they needed fundraising experts to maximise the opportunity. That’s where we came in. We rebranded the show, ran all social media activity, wrote the fundraising proposition and scripts and took care of all the payments.
That was exciting enough in itself. But the really exciting bit was that this would be a telethon like no other. It would be one of the first to be broadcast live on Facebook Live. And to make it even more unique, it would be one of the first to use Facebook Donate functionality (currently only available in the USA) that integrates Facebook Donate directly into the Facebook Live experience.
This fused the show, the ability to engage with the show and payment into one. And for 80% of viewers this meant it all converged on their mobile phone.
Donating to the show was a phenomenal user experience. Once you’d decided to give, you simply hit donate and with a few taps could make your donation, opt into emails from the ACLU and return to the stream to continue to watch the show.
The potential of this integration is huge for UK charities and we need to be ready for when the functionality is launched here.
It will enable us to ‘go live’ at any moment, to tell stories, respond to a breaking news event, show impact, introduce our beneficiaries – the list of applications is only defined by our creativity.
Community building will be absolutely central to maximising the potential of these new tools.
With ‘traditional’ TV you can ‘buy’ access to an audience. In this context, you create your own audience by applying community building skills and matching your content to those that you can engage online. The most progressive organisations will be focussed on figuring out the balance of engagement and asking to ensure that the use of these exciting new tools isn’t simply putting DRTV into Facebook.
We’re excited about the potential of the integration of Facebook Live and Donate and plan to be at the forefront of the development of the digital strategies and tactics that help reshape the UK fundraising model. We’re planning on doing this by maximising the potential of these incredible Facebook tools and introducing payment platforms and campaigns that give total control and amazing content to donors.
So even though things can look a little bleak at the moment – we’re convinced that our trip to New York City gave us a glimpse into the future and it looks really exciting.
Paul de Gregorio is Director of Digital Engagement at Open.
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