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Commission on the Donor Experience reveals full findings

Melanie May | 5 July 2017 | News

The Commission on the Donor Experience is asking charities to consider what promise they will make to donors as it launches the full outputs of the 18-month initiative today. 
The Commission on the Donor Experience’s findings reveal inconsistency in the quality of fundraising activities with people reporting varying degrees of positive and negative experiences. However, the research also showed that while there are many improvements that need to be made within fundraising practice, there was also much that was positive and much to learn from.
A survey of 1,040 people conducted in partnership with Qualtrics for example, found that while 90% of respondents had an example of a ‘best experience’ (such as being thanked sincerely, being respected when they say no and understanding the difference they had made), some 87% had an example of a ‘worst experience’ (usually feelings of harassment, being pestered, asked to give more than they can afford and/or guilt at not being able to give more).
In addition:

The research also highlights the value of offering donors choice over how and when charities contact them. 54% of respondents said that the charities they support currently allow them to choose how or when they hear from them, but indicated that being kept informed on their own terms would positively affect their overall experience, and could increase the likelihood of them giving again and/or giving more.
The Commission on the Donor Experience has brought together the results of all of its research, along with the insight and experience of more than 1,000 people from across the voluntary sector, to create a body of resources that includes 28 projects, 526 ideas for change and 250 case histories that are accessible to charities. These have also been summarised into a blueprint called the 6Ps, which sets out the goals, principles and tools available for charities to learn from, copy and adapt, to help them look at fundraising from the perspective of the donor.

Commission’s 6P’s

The Commission’s 6Ps are as follows:


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.
  1. Purpose
    Fundraising charities will only earn the public trust, confidence and respect they need if they place the interests, convenience and positive experiences of their supporters as their top priority.
  2. Permanent change
    This is not about short-term cosmetic solutions. We need a lasting culture change that goes deep into our people and our organisations, and which challenges conventional practices and attitudes.
  3. Principles
    Fundraisers must be judged by longer-term, more donor-friendly criteria rather than just by income raised now. New criteria should include retention, satisfaction, non-financial engagement, future giving intentions, loyalty, commitment and lifetime value.
  4. Pillars of change
    Our 12 pillars of change focus on integrity, skills, education and leadership, and are designed to ensure that values and creativity can be turned into achievable and practical action.
  5. Promise to donors
    By making a public commitment to donors, supporters will better understand and appreciate their role in bringing about change. So, the challenge to charities is “What new Promise will you make to donors?”
  6. Practical actions
    From the use of language and emotion, through to different tools and techniques, through to trustee boards, service culture and investment, this is a comprehensive resource covering many different aspects of fundraising, and which is available for all to use.

Sir Martyn Lewis, chair of the Commission, said:
“Our research shows that profound change is needed and that charities need to give supporters genuine choices. It is time we stopped thinking about what not to do, and started thinking about what to do better, ensuring that donors feel really great about their giving. That is why the Commission is making this call to action to charities and asking them to think seriously about the promise they can make to donors.”