Understanding the charity sector through brand tracking - a case study

Last year we set out on a mission to try to understand how we can increase the overall donations in Sweden for charitable purposes and by extension create a more sustainable world. We joined forces with the Swedish Fundraising association “GivaSverige” and with the advertising agency “Silver”. By using our Brandtracker we were able to gain a much better understanding of the charity donors of today, which can help us understand the donors of tomorrow. The result from our study showed that there is untapped potential when it comes to recruiting new charity donors and our findings indicate that monthly donations is not the best way to do it.

The collaboration started with the need, expressed by “GivaSverige”, to find a robust, convenient, and cost-effective tool that can help charity organizations understand and predict the behavior of their patrons to attract new ones. With our Brandtracker we could provide the solution. Our Brandtracker provides data-driven insights about how and why customers, or in this case, charity donors, think and feel about certain brands. With these insights, you can not only understand how your own brand performs in relation to your competitor’s brands but also grasp the overarching picture of your industry and draw predictive conclusions about its future movements. Consequently, with the help of our Brandtracker, we could help Sweden's charity organizations better understand their industry from a consumer and brand perspective.

Stay on top with statistically accurate and representative data

We are firm believers in data-driven decision-making. Today’s complex marketing landscape makes no room for emotional and irrational decisions. Your gut feeling may be your best friend in some instances, but to stay on top, you need to back your decisions with data and statistics. Thus, we always make sure to use nationally representative data for our Brandtrackers. In this particular case, we collected data from a cross-section of 4000 Swedish charity donors. They answered questions about 50 different charity organizations of different sizes. Even if that is far from all charity organizations, they represent a substantial chunk of all charity given. Enough to paint the picture of the industry's performance and enough to gain valuable insights into how to increase your performance within the said industry.

The untapped potential of the charity sector

In this study, 81% of the interviewees said that they could see themselves donating to one of our 50 charity organizations. At the same time, we could see that “only” 59% had donated in the past year, while 38% hadn’t and the rest didn’t remember. Of the ones that hadn’t donated, two thirds could still consider donating to one of the organizations that were included in the study. This indicates that there is an untapped potential in the charity sector, where charity organizations are not able to reach everyone that considers donating to charity.

Evaluate your performance with a conversion-rate-metric

Even if there is an overall untapped potential in the charity sector, that doesn’t tell us much about the performance of the individual organization. However, with the help of our Brandtracker, you can easily compare every organization in the different steps of the conversion funnel, which in this case consisted of the steps “Know about”, “Consider giving to” and “‘Have donated to”. This means that a specific organization can compare itself to other organizations that can act as substitutes, to other organizations they are interested in, or to all organizations in their sector. 

Thanks to our large selection of interviewees the specific organization can also compare themselves and their performance for different subcategories like generations, life stages, ethnicities, and so on. Since the conversation rate does not depend on the size and power of your organization it makes for an excellent comparison metric to gain a better understanding of how well you are performing and how strong a specific result actually is. You can also gain an understanding of which part of the conversation funnel you are relatively high-performing in compared to your competitors, and where you potentially need to focus more. If, for instance, there is a high awareness of your organization in the market but a much lower share that can consider donating to your organization: Well, then you probably need to change your marketing and the way you communicate to improve conversion from awareness to consideration to give.

So how then, do charities attract more donors?

Even if monthly donations are a large and an important part of many charities, our brand tracking study shows that those who don’t donate today don’t find offers of becoming a monthly donor particularly attractive. They much rather give the occasional gift, which indicates that monthly donating subscriptions is not the most effective way for charities to attract new givers. Instead, they should focus on other ways of donating in their initial meetings with potential donors. However, when they “have” the donor and have established a relationship with the donor, a monthly subscription program could be brought up for discussion with a much higher rate of success.

The result also emphasizes the importance of transparency and honesty. In multiple questions and analyses, we could clearly see how important it is for a charity to be transparent and honest, explicitly in terms of how they work and what the money is used for. The most significant barrier to donating to charity is, besides personal finance, that potential givers don't trust that their money will be used in the best and most efficient way. That can also be a result of a lack of information about how the money will be used. Thus, transparency and honesty appear as the most important keys in successfully attracting new givers and is something that charities need to continue to work on to broaden their customer base.

Want to dig into the details?

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to learn more about the charity sector, dig into the details and intricacies, get access to our demo dashboard, and understand it all from your brand's perspective, don’t hesitate to give us a call or contact us through our website.

Interested in brand tracking and how it can give you the edge?

We at Odyssey love brand tracking and understanding industries from a data-driven brand intelligence approach. No matter your industry, with our Brandtracker you get the edge and can stay ahead of your competition whilst realizing your true potential. Give us a call and we’ll help you track your brand's performance.