Research carried out on an annual basis by the Institute of Fundraising, designed to measure the success, challenges and mood of the charitable sector, suggests a new ‘optimistic’ and ‘energised’ mood is emerging as charities begin to accept challenges they have faced as a result of the recession as the new status quo. They are getting to grips with their finances, investing in longer-term revenue streams and employing new staff to deal with the significant increases in demand for their services, at a time when both government and individual funding is suffering unprecedented cuts.

So, what’s changing?
With austerity measures at an all-time high and international crises almost a monthly occurrence, dependence on UK charities from the most vulnerable among us means that 70% have experienced an increase in demand for their services, with the same amount predicting further increases in the coming 12 months. 40% feel under-resourced for this increase, which is a sharp increase from the 27% who felt this last year. Although the sector continues to lobby for measures to help sustain the sector and protecting its independence, charities know they cannot rely on the public spending they have enjoyed in previous decades, with their strategies for diversifying revenue streams moving from collaboration with public services to collaboration with one another.

This robust and independent attitude has also manifested in the sector’s investment, which shows 57% have increased their paid workforce in the last year, and 25% have utilised their financial reserves, with a further 20% indicating an intention to do so in the next 12 months. This shows a determination to continue to deliver service to those who need it, and a willingness to invest in new ways of fundraising to ensure their ability to meet the ever-increasing needs of those who need it.

This is further demonstrated by statistics that indicate 45% intending to increase their fundraising efforts in existing areas of focus, with 41% planning to explore new areas of fundraising in the next 12 months.

And how can charities collaborate to boost their incomes and reduce their dependence on public funding?

Direct mail is still one of the most effective forms of appeal, and many are returning to it after long stints in digital, off-the-page and television advertising. By adding direct mail to the mix they can boost their ROI by as much as 20%. However, buying data can be expensive, with transactional databases fetching up to £165 per 1000 records.

But as many charities have already found, sharing their marketing resources with one another not only ensures they are reaching individuals with a predisposition to sympathise with the cause, and a propensity to give. Swapping their data with other charities also cuts their data purchasing costs significantly, as their agencies project management fee is the only monetary concern they will have, and this is normally in the region of just 25% of the cost of buying data.

For the last ten years, Listbroker has been managing Christian Blind Mission’s data swap programme, which involves the sourcing, sorting, cleaning and delivery of over half a million charity donor names every year, as well as holding, updating and supplying from the client’s database for returned data.

Our emphasis in this task is on:

·         Financial efficiency;

·         Proactive and timely delivery;

·         Finding innovative ways of obtaining fresh and relevant data;

·         Adhering to strict data protection guidelines;

·         Ensuring that third party mailings that CBM donors receive are in keeping with their high        ethical standards, and staggered so that no-one receives more direct mail than is standard.

As well as operating on the client’s behalf within known but at times slow and outdated data swap programmes, we communicate independently with several charities or their agencies, drawing up a schedule for their mailing dates and negotiating appropriate dates for return data to be output.

Where appropriate swap data cannot be sourced, we broker data on the client’s behalf, always negotiating the best possible rates using our rapport with, and knowledge of the charity data industry.

Through this process, we have saved the client hundreds of thousands of pounds in marketing costs, offering unbeatable services rates and always pushing for the best deal for our client.

In recent years, we’ve gone further to ensure the client’s expenditure is kept to a minimum, by renting data to appropriate customers for their marketing campaigns. These customers are carefully vetted prior to agreement of list rental, and carefully planned to ensure there is no mail date clash; still, the client’s substantial revenue from this system offsets the vast majority of their fundraising outgoings, so that they can increase their impact as a charity, using the spare money to bring their incredible services to those in most need. To discover more about the work that Christian Blind Mission does, visit www.cbm.org