McCracken Consultancy
Strategic Consultancy for charities and third sector organisations


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McCracken Consultancy

Remember dating pre-online? Trad-dating set for a comeback!

Another love themed blog I know….but what is your donor relationship but one of initial attraction and the motivation to take action and engage repeatedly?

Internet dating has now come to dominate the dating scene, whereby appropriate tantalising personal advertisements are selected and delivered to other individuals based on a scientific matching of likes, dislikes, demographics, education level & occupation (read socio-economic group), and so forth.   And it’s been enormously successful.

Remind you of anything?

Yes, it’s the science of segmentation, profiling and targeting based on the collection of data; it has come to dominate relationships between lonely would-be lovers, retailers and consumers, charities and donors/potential donors.  And then GDPR happens. Oh dear.

The difference is that the internet dater really proactively does want to hear from potential matches especially if they are paying for the privilege.  With regard to retailers and charities it’s not really so clear and after a while of perceived harassment they definitely don’t want to hear from them.  And the internet dates I turned down, after no doubt crying into their pillow, really didn’t hound me in the way charities have done…..the former seemed to take the hint they really should leave me alone.  Perhaps databases for all their technology are too blunt mechanisms and definitely don’t have human pride that avoids repeated rejection.

So of course that is why GDPR did happen.

Well data driven fundraising using segmentation and profiling will continue although a harder challenge for fundraisers we know.  But alongside strategies to face down this challenge let’s take this opportunity to go ‘back to basics’, go ‘retro’ if you like, and take inspiration from the parallel with ‘traditional versus online (read database driven) dating’….

Traditional dating…or getting that that first date? What’s that’s? Don’t you remember? In my book it’s making sure you are in the right place, at the right time, looking like your object of desire’s vision of absolutely fantastic.  And common sense does have a role to play in how to make this work.

First off to get an idea who your most valuable target donor is and profiling them beyond the obvious don’t forget all the market research available out there and how valuable doing your own research and focus groups can be; you can build a profile without using data you shouldn’t be processing, without spending an awful lot of money.  In traditional dating terms you do some research asking around and talk to their friends don’t you? Or interests and income for example are implied in itself by where you find your potential targets? It’s time to get creative and think laterally about how we use research if you are wanting to dig a little deeper, but we are a creative bunch aren’t we?

You can then make yourself visible in the right place because most people know where their target groups ‘hang out’ anyway or with a little research can easily find out.  Parks, theatres, gigs, public transport, certain retailers….those are your ‘places’ for promotion of your message. Make sure you are in the right place using best practice ‘old-school’ advertising techniques, making sure you are there at the right time by testing and learning continuously to identify that right time. 

But before you go out don’t forget to get dressed up seductively or what’s the point? Make sure you have fantastic appropriate branding - which you develop and test with the help of your own focus groups to find what is the most appropriate USP you should be highlighting and how.  I know my selling points when I’m choosing my outfit, don’t you?!

Concurrently create situations, perhaps through zero-cost alliances with suppliers of services or products to your target donors, to offer things of real value and motivate potential donors to come forward and establish direct relationships with you, whereby they give you their data freely to be used for good GDPR compliant data driven fundraising.  Using alliances…that’s getting in with your object of desire’s friendship group isn’t it? – sneaky….and the oldest trick in the book!

If you would like to book in a no-obligations conversation about reviewing your organisation’s fundraising strategy post-GDPR get in touch on 07792 503 815.

Natasha McCracken