CDE project 11c dig­i­tal sec­tion 1: the approach

Written by
The Commission on the Donor Experience
April 28, 2017

Digital, mobile and email fundraising did not feature a great deal in the Etherington report of 2015 - or the maelstrom of media focus following the tragic death of Olive Cooke. Permission for email and mobile marketing has always been ‘opt in’ based - as opposed to ‘opt out’. In this regard it places more control in the hands of the supporter from a default position and thus is less likely to create some of the excesses highlighted last year.

However, while permission based marketing in the digital world starts from a position of strength - the amount of personal data that can be and is collected from users every minute of every day - means that data security is paramount and data must be collected in a sensitive manner; and always with the known permission of the user.

Further - fundraising via digital still lags surprisingly behind other methods of giving - and one of the main reasons for this is because charities are not creating fantastic online experiences for supporters. 90% of the UK population regularly uses the internet [1] and spend on average 2 hours 51 minutes per day online [2].

The audience is there - yet, according to a study by CAF in 2015, only 16% of people gave online last year - compared to 55% of people who give a one off cash gift [3]. This feels intuitively unbalanced and reflects poorly on the sector as a whole. Though, a similar discrepancy applies in the commercial world. Despite the rise of Amazon and other online retailers, in the US people still do over 90% of their shopping offline.

While charities struggle to keep up with the latest technological developments we must recognise and then address the skills gap in staff - at all levels - junior, mid weight and senior in regards to digital marketing techniques and a lack of investment in digital infrastructures that support a smooth and fulfilling supporter experience.

To create this guidance we gathered a group of interested digital marketers from across the sector together to formulate a best practice checklist. We sought input from a wide group of sector practitioners and then found examples of case studies and data to illustrate. 

Click on the image below to see Project 11c 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 11c summary: digital

This guidance is intended to help fundraisers, supporter engagement staff and the organisation you work for to design better online supporter experiences that engage and delight them. 

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CDE project 11c digital section 2 part 1: putting the principles and actions into practise

Technological innovation and its use for charity - Understand and design based on donor preferences - Online Journeys

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CDE project 11c digital section 2 part 2: putting the principles and actions into practise

Usability - General website usability - Accessibility - Language use - Storytelling - Storytelling and conversations

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CDE project 11c digital section 2 part 3: putting the principles and actions into practise

Marketing consent - Email marketing - Mobile-oriented design and browser adaptation - Search Engine Optimisation - How donations are accepted

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CDE project 11 summary: communication with individual donors

Project 11 is made up of six different sub projects investigating how the donor experience can be enhanced via different channels commonly used in communicating with individual donors.

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CDE Contents

List of all the CDE project summaries and where to find them on SOFII.

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