Two-thirds of charities have changed the way they communicate with supporters during COVID-19 lockdown, reveals survey

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14th July 2020 11:51 - Voluntary

Two-thirds of charities have changed the way they communicate with supporters during COVID-19 lockdown: A survey of 87 charities across the UK has found that 67% have changed the way they stay in touch with supporters as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The poll by Rapidata sought to find out the experiences of charities and how they have changed their methods of fundraising since the government put lockdown measures into place on 23 March. 

One of the key findings was the increased uptake of digital communication, with 71% reporting an increased use of social media channels. Six in 10 (62%) said they are using email more, while other methods seeing an increase included online advertising (46%) and online virtual events (46%). Online virtual events saw the greatest increase, with 16% of respondents saying they had used this method of communication for the first time. Three-quarters (75%) of respondents polled said they expect to continue their use of social media at the same level going forward. 

When asked about the most effective communication methods for tackling donor attrition, social media, additional impact reporting and mailings to say ‘thank you’ were the top three answers given. 

Almost a quarter of participants (24%) reported using the telephone more as a means to get in touch with supporters and boost relationships, while the same percentage (24%)  said they had offered supporters the option to miss a month's payment, reduce the amount they donate or take a payment holiday in order to reduce donor payment cancellations. 

When asked about the channels they use for recruiting new regular supporters, 'social media', 'email' and  'online advertising' were the top answers given. 

The survey revealed that despite the increased digital uptake during lockdown, charities still face barriers in this area including a lack of skills and resources (23%) and lack of budget (17%). 

Almost half the respondents polled (49%) said they plan to continue using the new channels of communication to correspond with supporters in the future.

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