Finding growth in the Regular Giving model with CARE International

In this episode, Head of Planning Christian Taylor, Strategy Director Charley Day, and Head of Individual Giving at CARE International Becki Young sit down to discuss the findings from our recent Regular Giving whitepaper report, how charities can find growth in the Regular Giving model and the opportunities available for CARE to attract Regular Giving in 2023.

Available to listen here .


Hello and welcome to Unmuddled. The podcast from The Kite Factory Media. In each episode, we take a topic from the world of marketing and media and simply unmuddle it, giving you the key information you need to know. I’m Christian Taylor, head of planning at the Kite factory and today’s topic. Focuses on the charity sector and I’m joined by two guests to Unmuddle. The topic of regular giving and specifically how charities can find growth in the regular giving model. The 1st guest is a client of the agency Becky Young. Hello, Becky. Hey, Becky. Is head of individual giving an engagement at Care International UK. And my second guest is a familiar voice I’ve got Charlie Day. Hello, Charlie. Hello. Happy New year. Happy New Year, Charlie is strategy director here at the kite. Now you’ve. Uh, I’ve. Got the pleasure. Of speaking to you both today and you’ve both worked in the charity sector across various roles and in fundraising and supporter engagement. In fact, you’ve both worked at charities and agency side, but perhaps that’s a topic for another day. But today’s topic regular giving the stalwart. Of charity fundraising. We’re going to sort. Of talk around. The topic and and Becky, it’d be great to if you could please tell us a little bit about your role at Cal. And how significant regular giving is for the organisation. Yeah, brilliant. Thanks for having me on today and very excited to be on my first ever podcast. So, yeah, I head up the individual giving team at care slightly unusually, maybe compared to when I when I’ve worked at other organisations, individual giving is. A reasonably small proportion of our income, about 80% of cares income in the UK is restricted to projects so that that’s a combination of things like our lend with care loans. So 100% of what individuals loan goes to the person that they selected on the website. And big multi million pound projects in places like Ukraine, Syria, Yemen and working on humanitarian and emergency response in those countries. And those the income from for those projects is directed by the donor. The donor tells us where we need to spend them of the the rest of the income, about 25% of that is regularly given and it is our most consistent, I would say most important. Stream of income because it allows everything else to be planned for and to be made possible. So even though it is a relatively small proportion of the whole, it’s really crucial and is the bedrock of everything that we we can. OK. Absolutely. And I think that’s the case for lots of charities. And yeah, I guess regular giving spans not just your traditional direct debits, but lots of different models now as well. And as we are January 2023 now you know we’re three months away from the next financial year. I’m sure it’s on the agenda for lots of individual giving. And fundraising managers, engagement managers across. OK, but there’s a bit of a backdrop, Charlie, share with us. What sort of the backdrop for regular giving in 2023 is and perhaps some of the the trends in the sector that we face right now? Yeah, sure. Oh, I remember as well-being charity side because it’s final month for budgeting for this year, isn’t it? And it’s usually a reforecast, so I remember. I remember that tricky time. I kind of feel the pain, but I think now we we seem to be fingers crossed mostly through the pandemic. So we’re being asked by chair, the charities we work with to look at fundraising objectives. And they seem to be moving from sustaining income. I would say to growth. So that seems to be a key trend. I think products and channel wise because we’re the world’s reopening after the pandemic. The fundraising products that took a step back so face to face and virtual events are coming. Sorry face to face events are coming back again, although there still is a place for virtual events, I think, but they are dropping back. And because face to face is experience is resurgent, there is a question whether it be a honeymoon period. We were saying earlier that people were liking to have a chat after coming out of COVID, but obviously people are really conscious that lifetime value and retention is sometimes not as high as the like. The likes of TV with face to face so. There is that going on, but people are using face to face to keep their CPA lower and in terms of giving, we’re seeing this, we have been an even pre COVID. We’ve seen this downward trend overall giving and people are giving. And that’s mirroring and regular giving as well. So you Gov tells us that regular givings declined by 35% in the last five years. And this is because there are more charities in the UK in general and more people are doing really giving. So the sectors becoming saturated. I guess to kind of sum all that up, there’s quite a few trends in there that because we’re in this recession. Period and people people know that, you know, for your brand. Stay in one piece or your you know, your fundraiser. One piece you need to keep investing through recession, but it’s making people more nervous and people becoming more risk averse. And I think regularly giving it’s becoming more important to people because it’s that solid income basis. So if you invest in really giving. You can rely on it and it gives you the chance to do other things and manage that risk. So I think there’s a lot of that going on. I think we’re seeing that regular giving is becoming one of the most important fundraising arts and products back out there again because people are really liking its stability. So you kind of touched on a few things there, it’s it’s it’s in decline in general in line with lots of individual giving unfortunately. So there’s a challenge there in the sector and of course we’re facing, you know, financial difficulties and challenges in the next sort of 12 months as well. But it’s becoming back as a priority and I think Becky, it’s sort of your past few years, how have they sort of changed in terms of the priorities at the organisation? Yeah. So I I can really relate to to what Charlie say in there and and we’re in a a similar position as the other clients that you mentioned about refocusing and starting to think about growth again and and particularly in individual giving. We as an International Development. Charity. We’ve been impacted a lot by government cuts to the UK budget in because of the downturn in the economy and cuts to the the programme. There’s been about a 60% cut in UK aid budgets over the last couple of years and that really kind of forced care, and I’m sure lots of other organisations into almost like a survival mode, which meant that we we were very much focused on that. In year income and and and because of the kind of external context, there’s lots of emergencies and Ukraine, Afghanistan, COVID. We’ve been in that kind of cash appeal emergency mode for quite a long time and I think we’ve kind of come to the the place now where we, we know that this isn’t a really kind of short term period. We need to think of this as a medium to long term state and we need to. Make sure that individual giving programmes are providing that sustainability for the rest of the organisation and so yeah, that really kind. Reflects where where we’re at. Definitely. I think that’s the case for a lot of organisations. So as we come back to maybe refocus away from, you know, emergency appeals, cash appeals into regular giving. Again, Charlie, you you undertook some research last year and completed a report looking at the headroom in regular giving. And what sort of prompted that and give us a little bit of context about some of the key findings from the report? Yeah, we were discussing. This earlier actually, so Becky and I used to work at SPC back in the day. Wait a minute. How long ago and Becky brought people in? CNPC and I kept warm and we were saying how it. Seemed to be. Simpler back in those days, you know, it was acquisition regular giving and just keeping people giving forever. But I think in the past few years, especially when I was working charity side, we we began to obsess over with the regular given was dying. Is it too traditional? Has it been around too long? Are people tired of it? Why? Tired of it? You know, we gotta do something new. And there’s been this influx of value exchange products into the market because of that. So I think. I wanted to really delve into the world of regular giving and see if see if it is dead or not, you know, see if there’s headroom. I think the proud fun raising me is like, Oh my God. But it’s ingenious. It’s frictionless. You don’t have to worry about seasonal dips and have to rely on emergency or Christmas. You know, it’s unconditional love basically, isn’t it? Or give give a small amount of month for relatively most people they can afford to give a small amount. It goes untouched, unnoticed and and it’s better than Disney and Netflix descriptions, which I’ve always been really proud of proud of. But we always have this sort of nagging feeling that it hasn’t been around for so long. So that’s what this report was all about. Really, I think. The really good. News for charity. Thinking of starting a regular giving programme, or even charities that have an established one, but they want to increase it. We found that it is definitely there’s definitely headroom, which is the good news. Some of the things I found most fascinating is we think there’s about 1.7 million. Of those younger audiences are 18 to 35 who currently don’t donate by regular gift. That would consider it. I think we’ve often dismissed younger audiences. And when you’re thinking about regularly giving. Strategy. But we found that they are really motivated than other older audiences to create a better world that they believe in and they’re really motivated by doing stuff that makes them feel good. So I think there’s it really. This report really indicates an opportunity to engage in new generation of charitable givers that are really caused LED, which regular giving really lends to. It was also really fascinating. Well, fascinating. I find it fascinating that regular giving is still popular, 30% just over 30% of UK adults still giving really to charity, and they’re still mostly motivated. Over half, actually, or nearly half adults were motivated by the belief in the course. So people will give regularly. If they see a real human impact of why they. Should what people will listeners might also find reassuring is that only 13% would cancel their direct debit when they’re considering cutting back on their spending. I think this is really comforting for a lot of charities, especially given the recession and spiralling consumer confidence, a large majority of people say their regular. Gift to charity be the last payment to be cancelled so holidays cars are their subscriptions. TV subscriptions would probably go first. And actually only 3% of the people we surveyed thought that direct debits were outdated. So I think sometimes we tie ourselves up in knots about actually direct debit. But I think people have direct debits in their bank account. You don’t think about them, right? It’s just a way a really easy payment method. So what one of the learnings from this research we did for me is actually really think about how you give and why you give us to being two different things. Does that makes sense? Like people don’t think direct debits are outdated because we use? Them all the time. But why? You’re asking for one? It’s probably one of the things that should have focus and. Actually, half the people with four or more direct debits would consider giving more, which was fascinating. And if you have four or more direct debits, you’re less likely to cancel your charity direct debits. There’s lots of header. In summary, there’s lots of headroom and there’s lots of new exciting things to be done. Which is great and I think you know you can second guess yourself in terms of thinking about, you know, those things like saturation in the market are there, are there any more people that will give direct debits? And I think it’s become challenging for. Lots of charities. I think the other context is that there’s there’s more registered charities in the UK than ever before. So actually you’re fighting for share of wallet almost for individuals direct debits. So I think it’s a good question to ask, but there is some really encouraging things that have come. Out of it. Uhm, Becky is given some of the findings in the report. What do you think? Are some of the biggest opportunities for care to attract regular givers in 2023? Oh well, it’s a a really great rapport. And thank you, Charlie, and thank you for the kind of reassurance that that it’s still. Gonna be OK. Yeah, it’s going to be OK and there’s still potential there. It’s, it’s really good to have those kind of figures behind it as well and to to kind of share that with the other people. Eternally. Who might I mean, we have that exact same conversation that regularly. Kind of rolls around is this. Is there still future in this? Is there still growth? It’s really great I think for us, I mean we’re we’re definitely looking at kind of moving back into the face to face market. We haven’t done that for about four years and we we think that there’s kind of potential there. That some of the stuff that that definitely kind of resonates with me in the report is about looking at the whole programme more holistically than we potentially have done in the past, so we’ve been. Very, very reliant on face to face in the past and then with fluctuations in that and and issues with high attrition rates that kind of put us in a bit of a vulnerable position with our regular giving programme. So. So definitely thinking about the ASK in a more holistic way, thinking about tracking. CPA’s in a more holistic way and and and not all eggs in one basket is is definitely something that I’ve kind of picked up there and I think it’s it’s really interesting to. The the findings that you’ve got about a younger audience and how they are likely to give, I think there’s real opportunity for us to kind of make the case for regular support and and sometimes we struggle with that as all charities do. And I think we have to sort. Of emergency appeal versus long term. Support kind of case to make, but that’s something that. If we start from the position of regular giving and put that at the heart of our proposition, I think that’s a real kind of potential for us rather than kind of shoehorning it in at the last minute, which I I know is kind of one of your recommendations of what not to do. But we may have been guilty. Of in the past. And yeah, and I think there was another recommendation that you’ve made in there about potential for trial periods and and that’s something that I think regularly given our direct debit provider has kind of has offered recently as well. So definitely something that we. I think there there could be potential, particularly in the context of emergency appeals and if we can have more restricted regular giving that goes towards particular emergencies, I think that’s something definitely to look at and perhaps something that will appeal to that younger audience. So there’s loads of food for thought off the back of the reports. Great. It sounds like it was really helpful. I think it’s, you know, those discussions have been sound very similar to some of the others that we’re having across the sector. And I think one of the ones you touched on was a multi channel approach and and I guess there’s a real temptation at the moment completely understandable temptation to go back into face to face and. Really invest in potentially this honeymoon period that Charlie described. Area where people you know people are happy to talk to India. Charlie, tell us, tell could. You tell us a little bit about the experience about. How you’ve balanced? Channels and cost for acquisitions and and looked at things in different ways for for a regular giving programme. Yeah, I think I think you’re right. I think it is tempting to look for that, you know, look for that quick fix or try and bandage, you know holes you’ve got in your fundraising. I think one of our other clients water aid, who I worked for with with that side client side for a while, we always focus on building a more holistic fundraising programme. I think to give you that kind of stability and give you a chance to do more innovation. So looking at your. EPA across all your channels and kind of building that holistic and blending CCP and trying to integrate your comms programme. I think it’s really really worth while doing and if you can kind of invest in it if you can invest in having that kind of full funnel marketing approach? And integrating taking it integrating approach, it doesn’t mean everything has to look at the look the same, but you kind of build it from that place. I do think it can give you. More stability in the. Long term and give you that freedom to play with different products, different propositions. But I think yeah, I would always advocate for balance and having that. Regular giving you know. Product for want of a better word to kind of keep that stability, I think So what Becky said about not tagging on the end I’ve done haven’t been so many positions. The fundraiser over the years where we’ve tagged a regular giving ask on the end something is shiny and new, and then wonder why it hasn’t worked. So I think trying to build it in from the start. And building your creative idea for regular giving out of a tangible purpose led regular giving proposition for the start, and try and resisting adding your products on the top or adding an RG. The end is really worthwhile doing. It’s really difficult. I know, I understand. Building it is really difficult, but having that genuine reason whilst we’re really gift is really important. And I think there is a place for value exchange products as well. Just to say that I think there is headroom in regular giving and there is a place of value exchange, but I try and focus on having a mix for different audience. Because there is still a real argument for having a cause, a pure cause led regular gift, and that genuine reason to give right now in your mix. Yeah. And I think I think probably one of the. The top recommendations coming out of that report is to look at understanding your younger audiences. They have more financial constraints. I think I think it’s fair to say, but I think they are more fired up to kind of change the world than older audiences. And I think if you looked at coming back to that proposition, if you can look to tailoring that regular giving proposition to kind of appeal to their. Whole value system and Christian you mentioned earlier about building loyalty programmes, but if you can look at people, so not just through the cause, but actually what matters to them. I think you can you probably can’t find a way to tap into. Engaging with those younger audiences, giving more regularly, I think once some of our research showed that younger audience are more likely to consider committee giving if it helps them achieve their potential or they can connect with people, they can feel like a part of a community. Those are two big trends at the moment, so I think if you can. Use your proposition that gives them more of the understanding of your purpose. They really understand what you’re about, and then you can give younger audiences the opportunity to learn and give them a part of being a wider community. I think there there are probably some great propositions out. There for regular giving. Brilliant. Yeah. Thank you. I think you’ve captured. A lot of the sort of. Key points that came out of the report and just to summarise some of those things before we closed the podcast today, I think some of the key things that came out really were were finding the headroom, some of the opportunities are increasing your understanding of your cause. Younger audiences and perhaps looking at more flexible, regular giving options that might appeal to those audiences. Identifying the loyalty drivers of your target audiences so you can breakdown the barriers to giving for those. Avoiding tagging that RDR ask on the end and producing creative idea out of your your call to action. Perhaps looking at this where you’re placing your Rs so you’re on as many channels as possible to reduce the risk that might be sort of. Overburdening a single channel itself. And looking at that flexibility with tactical offering, so you know reducing the time frame of a regular gift and those sorts of things. Well, thank you both for your time today. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts on regular giving. That was really helpful. You can actually access and download the White Paper. That Charlie’s written, it’s available at the kite factory media, so please do go and download that if you’d like to read more about the report. And if you’ve enjoyed the podcast today, then please subscribe. Thanks for listening, and catch us in the next episode.