CDE project 18 sec­tion 4: char­ac­ter­is­tics of apply­ing these principles

Written by
The Commission on the Donor Experience
April 12, 2017

Characteristics you would expect to see of a charity applying this approach would be evidence of: 

  • A mindset of inspiring people to tell your story
  • A unifying story (your mission) the entire organisation tells, including trustees, staff and volunteers
  • Activities that provide opportunities for high engagement to help tell your story—even if they deliver a low direct ROI
  • Examples of supporters, both individuals and organisations, spreading the mission story for you
  • New leads and inbound opportunities as a result of building your reputation from supporters advocating on your behalf.
  • An excellent donor experience, from the moment of giving through to stewardship that donors share
  • A highly responsive ‘customer service’
  • Measures that are not just based on ROI of a particular area and that encourage supporter engagement
  • A rise in funds and resources that help deliver on the mission as a direct result of supporters acting as advocates

The most important aspect is the mindset you adopt.

What you need to do to achieve this:

✓✓ Understand the paradigm shift

✓   Have a clear mission or ambition (your WHY)

✓   Engage relevant audiences with your story

✓   Use engaging, compelling stories consistently linked to your WHY

✓   Encourage and equip supporters to tell your story (individuals and organisations)

✓   Provide a great donor experience 

✓   Be ready to react when someone engages you

✓   Use new measures 

Click on the image below to view project 18 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 18 summary: supporters as champions for your mission

This project will look at the basic fundraising model differently, to try to define how supporters in future can be used as channels and networks to spread opportunities, grow income and to provide donors and potential donors with a rich array of rewarding experiences.

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CDE project 18 section 3: action 1 - understand the paradigm shift

Putting the principles & actions into practice.

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CDE project 18 section 3.1: action 2 - adopt the right mindset

Adopting the right mindset is probably the most important action of all. It is what you need in place at the outset and it influences the actions that follow. In time, it will be part of the overall culture within the organisation.

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CDE project 18 section 3.2: action 3 - ask the question ‘WHY do we exist?’

‘With consistency people will see and hear without a shadow of a doubt what you believe.’

Simon Sinek

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CDE project 18 section 3.3: action 4 - tell your mission story

All fundraisers are aware they need to tell stories well so they can convey quickly in a way that engages people. Now it is even more important to spend time to understand how to tell powerful stories

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CDE project 18 section 3.4: action 5 - get your supporters to share your story for you

‘Your best marketers and your best fundraisers today are not you. Your best marketers and fundraisers are the people - the ecosystem - you create around - the audience you build’

Grant Leboff.

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CDE project 18 section 3.5: action 6 - provide an experience that donors will talk about

An ideal opportunity to inspire supporters to spread your story is simply when people give or choose to fundraise for you. It is when they have taken the emotional decision to support you.

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CDE project 18 section 3.6: action 7 - be ready to react

As your story begins to spread by your supporters, you should get an increase in inbound enquiries or offers of support that are not a result of a direct response communication, i.e. they are a result of people hearing your story from others they know and trust.

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CDE project 18 section 3.7: action 8 - set up new measures

Adopting a mindset of how to inspire people to spread your story rather than target them for money will need new measures away from direct ROI. 

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CDE project 18 appendix 1: sources

Sources that informed and influenced this project.

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CDE project 18 appendix 2: Sticky Marketing & Digital Selling

In November 2016, Rory White, founder of Flow Caritas, hosted an event with Grant Leboff, author of ‘Sticky Marketing’ and ‘Digital Selling’. A group of Directors of Fundraising were invited to hear his views on marketing, and how it applies to fundraising. Here is an edited transcript of his key address to the group, reproduced with permission from Grant and Rory. 

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