The New Reality of Fundraising and Corporate Partnerships

Bill King, our CEO, returned to the Fundraising Convention last week with a timely session on navigating the new reality of fundraising following the impact of the pandemic on ‘normal’ working practices…

So, back at convention after two years away. The Barbican was certainly quieter than previous years, and the programme shorter, but it was great to see people face to face again.

I was delighted to be invited to present alongside our associate, Jonathan Cook and Katie Legg, Director of Strategy and Partnerships for Mental Health UK, to talk about the findings of a research project we carried out together last autumn.

No-one reading this will, I am sure, be unaware of the changes to the world of work over the past few years. Working from home, zoom or teams calls, ‘you’re on mute’ became the norm, while the dreaded commute disappeared – but not for all. For those who worked in manufacturing, food retail and other essential jobs, little has changed since before the pandemic, while others have had to negotiate a whole new balance between home and the office. For an organisation like Mental Health UK, who receive around 70% of their funding through corporate partnerships – much of it directly from staff fundraising activities, this is a huge issue. Bake sales don’t work if there is no-one in the office to buy them, and there are only so many online quizzes you can do before the novelty wears very thin indeed.

Segmenting clients

We were asked to help them navigate this new reality, and understand how they could effectively adapt and target their fundraising. Much of the work is, of course, confidential, as it focused on their corporate partners and their fundraising activities, but they generously agreed to share some of the results at Convention. Specifically, Jonathan Cook, who led the project for us, developed a 3D model, allowing Mental Health UK to segment their existing and prospective clients according to three key criteria:

· Ability to work remotely

· Need for a central hub / office

· Amount of customer interaction

Of course, many organisations fall into two or more segments – a bank, for example may have a call centre, where the ability to work remotely is high, the need for a central hub low and the amount of customer interaction high, while a branch would have low ability to work remotely, high need for a central hub and again high levels of customer interaction.

It’s a simple model, but one which is helping Mental Health UK understand their partners better and develop fundraising activities and opportunities which fit with their working patterns. And now, thanks to their willingness to share and the chance to present at Convention, it can help others too.

Get in touch

If you would like to know more about how we can help you through insights into your supporters, whether organisations or individuals, please do get in touch. We would love to talk to you.