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What to learn from international fundraising trends

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To contend with competition and diverse streams of philanthropic giving, it is vital that the Australian social sector is monitoring international fundraising trends.

Monitoring fundraising practices and trends should be embedded in standard practice, but major charitable bodies insist that it should go beyond just Australia. Fundraising trends should be monitored in countries that have a proven track record of success.

In September 2018, the Canadian Cancer Society (CSS) raised $16.2 million with the support of 82,000 Canadians. It was the 27th annual CIBC Run for the Cure event and each year it sets and adapts new fundraising trends to bring in more support.

Vice President of Communications at the Canadian Cancer Society, Pamela Mollica, told Third Sector: “We are always looking for new and innovative ways to raise more funds to carry out our important mission work, fund ground-breaking research, provide trusted information about cancer and advocate to federal and provincial governments.”

Peer-to-peer fundraising events is a primary way Canadians are supporting CSS but, despite it not being a new trend, the way in which people are donating is changing. CSS has had to evolve its methods of engaging with supporters.

“We know that people’s time is at a premium. The more we can do to make fundraising and donating turnkey, the more successful we can be,” Mollica said.

“Canadians increasingly want to see the impact of their donations and fundraising efforts,” Mollica added. “It is important that we can demonstrate where the funds are going and provide real life stories about people who have benefitted from CSS cancer research and support programs. Video and social media are perfect mediums.”

Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) CEO, Katherine Raskob, said Australia was able to adapt peer-to-peer fundraising trends successfully in much the same way.

“It’s important of every sector, but particularly this sector, to look at what is happening in fundraising in other markets and to learn whether there are adjustments or if there are improvements to make here and to share overseas success too,” Raskob said.

Raskob added that Australia is sensitive at looking at fundraising trends, particularly around big changes in countries like the UK, the US, Scotland and Canada.

“There’s a trend of looking at mid-level donors, especially in places like the UK and Canada, and Australia is definitely starting to take a lot more notice and attention and thinking about how they can have better relationships with mid-value donors.”

For the Run for the Cure event, CSS ran ads and produced video to share on social media. Mollica said it also put emphasis on radio to reach Canadian communities.

“The marketing campaign inspires people to join us to change the future of breast cancer but our connection with our participants goes far beyond the campaign and contributed year long – from providing them with tools and support to be successful in their fundraising endeavours to sharing with them the impacts of their efforts,” Mollica said.

CSS takes the approach of channelling elements that have resonated the most with Canadians and evolve the campaign each year. It has been increasingly focused on delivering greater returns and curates a collection of creative assets.

“Because we have over 800,000 participants in the CIBC Run for the Cure, we can leverage the learnings from the year prior to identify the trends created by our participants specifically and fine tune our tactics accordingly,” Mollica said.

CSS uses corporate partnerships in much the same way Australia has learnt to. For the event, CSS ran a marching program and in the two years since it was introduced, funds raised increased by more than 50 per cent. This resonates with both fundraisers and donors.

It also works with corporates to sponsor other programs, provide employee incentives and support third party events held in support of CSS.

“The partnerships that we’ve built – like the incredible 23-year relationship we’ve enjoyed with our title sponsor CIBC (a major Canadian bank) – helps us amplify our voice, but we still have to make sure that people are listening, engaged by our campaign and inspired to do their part to help make breast cancer beatable,” Mollica said.

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