June 13, 2019

The Future of Fundraising Roundtable

This month, GoodBox invited a host of industry leaders from both corporates and non-profits to an exclusive round-table event where we discussed the future of fundraising in an era dominated by technological innovation. Hosted by GoodBox Advisory Board member, the utterly brilliant Bernie Hollywood OBE, it offered vital insight into the future landscape of fundraising from a charity perspective. As it becomes easier and easier to transact in alternative ways, and cash usage continues to drop, it’s important that charities keep up with the tide or else risk going under.

With a constant drive to push innovation on behalf of the charity sector, GoodBox invited key figures from NatWest (who were our guest speaker of the evening), along with representatives of leading UK charities to gain valuable insights. With lively discussions, networking and incredible food, it was a night to be remembered.

Here we will take you through the key themes of the night:

Tell Me A Story

Bernie, who has raised over £42,000,000 for charitable organisations in his career, kicked off the evening by emphasising the importance of weaving a narrative. In a world where every company, sports team, website and TV channel are vying for our attention, how can charities stand out? Through storytelling. The biggest companies in the world – including Microsoft – pay their Chief Storytellers so well for this exact reason. So how can charities leverage this? Instead of simply saying “Please donate to this good cause”, construct a story around your ask. Take donors on a journey and give them something to buy into emotionally and get excited about. The challenge is in trying to do this as people rapidly walk past on the street, at a match or in a tube station. The GBx Core has received praise for its HD screen in situations like this.

The eye catching and moving artwork often draws donors in, connecting them with the causes they care about; much more so than a traditional leaflet or sign which are often discarded.

Storytelling was something that all present connected with strongly – in fact, nearly half of attendees felt that the most beneficial thing about individual giving campaigns was raising awareness, rather than the financial benefits.


Data, The New Gold

We discussed in detail the role of data in the future of fundraising. It’s clear that some donors just want to give as a once-off when they please, but others prefer to give continuously when they have a deep connection to the cause. This raised the ethical question of whether or not it’s acceptable to collect donor data and it was argued that donors should remain in control of their own personal data. On the other hand, donor demographics is important for charities to effectively analyse and build donor personas. If charities were able to identify patterns in general donor behaviour, they could use this to increase their overall donations. Through the GoodBox portal, we identified that on a bank holiday, contactless donation income increased by 40%. Charities can use general information like this, as well as information specific to their own fundraising drives to test, analyse and maximise their fundraising efforts.

Excellent fundraising means bringing donors and beneficiaries closer together. It is not about the amount of money raised, but rather the impact realised.

Stifled Innovation

In the corporate world, innovation is praised. But charities often neglect technological innovation as they put the funds towards the causes they support instead. However, with a lack of innovation in an advancing world, charities could see their income streams dry up if they don’t act. With numerous charity founders in the GoodBox team, this is a challenge that we know all too well. In fact, that’s the reason GoodBox was founded in the first place. We pride ourselves in innovating on behalf of the charity sector so that when it comes to technology, charities never have to settle. We work closely with charities of all sizes, often creating bespoke solutions designed just for them and the specific challenges they face. We come with not just a knowledge of the charity sector, but with an understanding of what causes people to donate. It’s this knowledge that resulted in an increase in donation income of 64% for the Natural History Museum, one of our oldest partners.

Cash, A Nuisance

Of course, we broached the topic of cash; its decline in usage and if charities see it as a cornerstone of their future. While it remains quite a substantial aspect of some charities income at the moment, it was also identified as a nuisance. From protecting it, storing it safely, counting it and transporting it, it can be a huge drain on both time and resources. Every charity who joined us agreed that to some extent, cash fundraising saps resource.

Contactless fundraising was seen as important to the future of a number of charities, with the majority attending feeling it will form a ‘vital’ part of future fundraising efforts.

However, a hybrid approach was also seen as an attractive option, whereby charities can use one fundraising device in multiple environments with ease, and train volunteers and staff effectively. The GoodPlate, a contactless donation plate which collects both cash and contactless donations was described as “a beautiful piece of art” (our product design team were as elated as we were!). Its dual approach in accepting both cash and card serves to democratise giving, allowing donors to donate however they please. In addition, the GBx Mini device which is housed inside accepts chip and pin along with contactless donations, enabling high value transactions.

…and Then The Dessert

Likely the only thing to receive higher praise than the GoodPlate that evening! Following a quick fire segment as well as an interactive Q&A session, many other topics were discussed. The importance of corporate partnerships, how to reach younger audiences, crisis giving and ways to closer connect donors with the causes they care about, to name just a few.

Thank you to everyone who came, shared their thoughts, ideas and concerns. Most of all, thank you to our wonderful guest speaker from NatWest, and our chair for the evening, the inimitable Bernie Hollywood.

At GoodBox, we thrive on working closely with charities to understand and overcome the challenges they face. If you are keen to join future conversations and events, please get in touch with us at outreach@goodbox.com.

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