What Ramadan 2016 has taught us about Muslim Charities and Digital Fundraising

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Ramadan 2016 sparked a discussion within the Muslim charity sector, after a majority of organisations saw a considerable decrease in income from previous years. Doubtless you’ll already know about this. What you might not know is that this wasn’t the case for everyone. In fact, at Hendrix Media we’ve been working with organisations who bucked this trend and increased their income in Ramadan 2016. How? That’s precisely what we want to tell you.

Organisations that achieved fundraising success in Ramadan this year were of two types. We know this because we work with them. Type one often had a unique proposition. While type two had made real efforts over the year to engage with donors via email and other digital platforms. It makes perfect sense if you think about it. Take a minute to put yourself in the position of a potential donor receiving on average 2 emails a day from different charities during Ramadan. Would you donate to the charity who’d been giving you regular correspondence and information about their work throughout the year? Or would you give to a one off, direct ask email from a random charity who’d barely made it onto your radar before the Holy Month?

Organisations who saw an increase of income in Ramadan 2016 were the organisations who’d invested in testing their messaging and building a relationship with potential donors outside of Ramadan. It’s no mystery really and boils down to credibility. Donors today have a world of information at their fingertips. It’s only natural that they expect to know where their money is going and the impact it is having. By providing this throughout the year you’re increasing your credibility as an organisation.

Now you’re probably thinking, how much will this kind of engagement cost and how quickly will my organisation see results? We’ll stop you right there. This is no quick fix. No quicker than building trust and gaining credibility. This approach takes time, investment and patience. But do the right work, and we promise you’ll see high returns on your investment. And, given that between 40-60% of your income comes in over the month of Ramadan, you can’t afford to take a short-term view just for this period.

Now here’s some even better news. These high ROIs will be far higher than those you get through alternative methods like direct mailing, which has seen a decrease in income year on year. On average Muslim charities spend between £120-160 acquiring a new donor through traditional offline methods like events and TV. But donor acquisition costs decrease to less than £30 per person when done through digital streams. Stop reading for a minute and think about that.

At Hendrix Media, we know that general email open rates have increased over the last few years, thanks to better targeting and technology. It seems more and more pointless then to continue investing in the platforms we know are becoming less and less popular, while ignoring the potential of digital fundraising. In fact, you’re essentially flushing your money down the drain if you continue to invest in these older methods.

Digital technology has turned the world of advertising and purchasing on it’s head. Yet within the Muslim charity sector we are often ignoring the role it has to play in our own fundraising. Think of Ramadan 2016 as a wake-up call. If you’re still one of the charities who continues to ignore digital and email fundraising, then in the coming years it’s likely you’ll be struggling to survive.

Now digital marketing shouldn’t scare you, but it would be a crying shame to get it wrong. Think of it as no different from any other marketing platform. With the wrong type of investment, ad-hoc planning, and miscellaneous campaigns and messaging you can end up confusing potential donors and driving them away. Whereas sending the right emails to the right audiences over a period of time can make huge a difference. But the real transformation will happen when you get your website and user journey right. This is absolutely vital to digital marketing success.

Too often at Hendrix Media we see user journeys that put donors off of donating. These are the user journeys that are too long, confusing and difficult to navigate. To lose a donor at this final stage of conversion is not only disheartening but a waste of all that time and effort you invested in getting everything else right. Especially when all you needed to nail it, were a few simple changes to your website.

So what are those changes? And is your email even doing enough to get your potential donors onto your website? Get in touch with Hendrix Media today and we’ll help you find out. Everyone agrees that digital technology is transforming the charity sector. Call us to find out what this actually means for you.