CDE project 11a: the six steps — steps one and two

Written by
The Commission on the Donor Experience
April 30, 2017

Step one: insight

Internal research 

One of the first things to do is to research and brainstorm internally to define a set of fundraising themes and what your charity does to address the key issues. 

Part of this process should be to decide if your fundraising proposition for the appeal, as opposed to your cause, is right for mass market. Consider that a viewer of an out of home advert may only consider the creative for a few seconds. With a DRTV advert every second counts so you need to be clear it is an appeal and the need for support. If you cannot make a powerful message quickly then you need to think creatively regarding mass market fundraising. 

This will define what you are going to ask people to do, promote the cause and create a donor promise. 

External research – proposition research

Once we have developed some potential fundraising offers and propositions we should research how people respond to them. Just because we feel something internally is a strong appeal does not mean the public, or the segment of them we are targeting, feel the same way. Ultimately, we need to be engaging with the target audience on their terms and not ours. Research through focus groups and online survey groups is a good way to get a guide on how people will respond. 

External Research – Market research and competitor research

Talking to other charities and exchanging information confidentially is a good way of understanding which channels are working. Alternatively, commissioning research is another good method of gaining market insight into what is working and what is not. 

Step two: proposition, products and promise

We recommend you develop a simple and clear proposition. To use animal sponsorship as an example, ‘Tigers are ruthlessly hunted for medicine, your £5 can help us keep a tiger safe. In return you will receive an information pack, updates and a cuddly toy’. 

Your proposition will form a key part of your creative brief which your production companies and agencies will use to build your adverts. Having a tangible link between the amount asked for and the issue and solution we are communicating is also useful. 

Creating a proposition

There are several techniques that can be used to develop and evaluate a proposition. This is covered in project 12 and other project 11 reports. Here is a table you can complete to help develop a proposition:

Other techniques that you can use to build on this is to look at the donor and the beneficiary and build profiles of them. This exercise can help you get into the mind-set and motivations of your supporters and the people we are helping.

Click on the image below to view project 11a in full - PDF format

About the author: The Commission on the Donor Experience

The CDE has one simple ideal – to place donors at the heart of fundraising. The aim of the CDE is to support the transformation of fundraising, to change the culture to a truly consistent donor-based approach to raising money. It is based on evidence drawn from first hand insight of best practice. By identifying best practice and capturing examples, we will enable these to be shared and brought into common use.

Related case studies or articles

CDE project 11a summary: mass media

Mass market media does not lend itself to a one size fits all best practice guide. The brand position, budget, fundraising product and area of work will greatly determine the approach you take.

Read more

CDE project 11a: the approach

The Commission for the Donor Experience seeks to look at fundraising, in this instance mass market fundraising, from the point of view of the donor.

Read more

CDE project 11a: putting the principles and actions into practise

Before considering the guidance on what we need to be doing to improve the experience for our donors, we should take some time to consider some of the key issues facing the sector. 

Read more

CDE project 11a: the six steps - step three: materials and media

A key part of any mass market and above the line fundraising is the creative, or visual presentation of both the problem and solution. While there is not a one size fits all approach, there are some key considerations that should be considered in signing off a creative approach. 

Read more

CDE project 11a: steps four and five

Step four: planning the donor journey. Step five: imagery, emotion and language

Read more

CDE project 11a: appendix 1 and appendix 2

Appendix 1: research sources and appendix 2: methodology

Read more