Many of our clients are small charities (with an annual income of under £1m) and when it comes to Individual Giving fundraising we know that there is often a feeling that there is no point in competing with the ‘big boy’ household name charities. With their bigger budgets, bigger teams, better marketing they are able to reach infinitely more people and generate millions every year through Individual Giving. This reluctance sounds reasonable when you look at it like that – all of those facts are true.

However, research has shown that donors prefer to give to smaller local charities.

Smaller charities feel that they can’t be successful with individual donors as they can’t afford direct marketing, telephone agencies, face-to-face fundraisers. The reality is that donors are sick of these methods – they find them intrusive and often view them as an example of a charity wasting money.

Many small charities support local causes and this again is an advantage, as people like to see the benefit of their donation within their local community. However, a community can go beyond a geographical area and can be a shared interest, action, practice or circumstance.

One study found that donors preferred to support local charities through workplace giving, social media, local media partnerships and events that encourage community participation and connectedness. They preferred raising funds for specific items and stressed the importance of regular communication with donors regarding positive achievements. Social media is a useful tool for small charities as it enables regular communication and allows for responsive interactions.

We know that trust in charities is at an all-time low and that donors are looking to see that their support is having an impact. If you know a donor is interested in particular areas of your work then update them about this and keep them in the loop. Small charities are in a much better position that bigger ones to build more personal relationships with donors and to thank them for their donation in a more personal way (see our previous blog on the importance of saying thank you!).

We’re not saying it is not going to be hard work but it can also be fun, allowing for creativity and discovering what works through trial and error. Once you get the formula right for your supporters and your organisation you’ll be in a position to maximise the potential of Individual Giving.