Unpacking The UK Charity Donor
This week, we’ve delved into what social data tells us about UK charity donors in July – revealing how social listening can help charities make more informed choices when it comes to fundraising, comms and marketing strategies.
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Now onto the good part:
The conversation around how charities can effectively fundraise in the digital world has been top of the agenda for a few years now. Many charities have embraced the power of Instagram stories and Facebook Live to engage the wider, dynamic audience of “digital natives”. The outcome of this proactivity is, however, still dependent on the specific moments in which charities decide to reach out to the public via digital.
If you work for a charity and are looking to engage with the public through your campaigns, do you know what will be a success? Have you got your finger on what people are talking about now? Is there a way to join their conversation and make yourself heard?
To get these answers you have to go straight to the core of these conversations. Listening to what your current (and future) supporters are saying right now can better inform your strategy and uncover ways to show your supporters that you also care about what they care about.
The best way to do this is by working with an experienced partner who can help generate valuable intelligence and interrogate the data. Which is why we’ve put together this blog – to show you we know exactly how to do that, and to give you a helping hand in the right direction before you start working with us.
We spent a couple of hours exploring what UK charity donors have talked about online during July 2018. In this period, 4,819 social media posts published in the UK explicitly mentioned users’ active engagement with a charity. Of these:
- 2,755 explicitly mentioned a financial contribution – 550 of which openly mentioned either the charity or the cause for which they made a donation.
- 1,629 mentioned a volunteering experience.
Females aren’t the only ones who care about charity
In terms of donor demographics, July was a busy month for both men and women.
Graph demonstrating the split between donor vs volunteer conversations and men vs women for social conversations in the month of July.
Women were slightly more prominent in terms of volunteering and involvement with a specific charity and/or cause, but – contrary to trends traditionally observed in charity giving that females are more likely to donate and raise charity awareness – more men than women explicitly mentioned that they made a donation to (any) charity.
Looking further into the data, there was also a clear difference in the gender split: Sport.
In many reports and studies, it has been shown that men tend to donate or spread awareness of charity if it is affiliated with sports. The prominent spike of conversations came on the 16thJuly where of the nearly 800 conversations nearly 65% where tweeted by males.
This was the day when Kylian Mbappé, from the World Cup winning French team, announced that he would be donating his earnings and winner’s bonus to charity. This decision generated strong levels of engagement across social, with users heralding his decision as a “class act”. However, this wasn’t the case with everyone – other commenters pointed out that England’s football team had been consistently donating to charities and yet nobody was giving them the recognition they deserved.
Fanbases are the true powerhouse
We all know that celebrities are famous, well-known and popular. But what really keeps them at the top of their game? Their fanbase. They are the true powerhouse, and the fans have the power to make things happen.
When a celebrity or a popular group become affiliated with a charity, it’s their fanbase that provides the engagement and additional advocacy for the charity – normally in donations. For example, globally famous Korean boy band BTS’ cooperation with Thirst Relief to form the ‘One in an ARMY’ charity campaign was extremely successful and bypassed their fundraising goal of $3,000 in under one month.
Fans of BTS (known as ‘BTS ARMY’) consistently promoted the charity and campaign’s cause to their audiences, whilst also providing proof of their donations. This is seen not only in this campaign, but previous campaigns including Star Wars Force for Change, where the ARMY helped raise $1million in just two days. Now that is a powerhouse.
At the heart of the conversation
3,836 Twitter handles were found to have tweeted about users’ involvement with a charity (donations and volunteering experience). The public availability of this data allowed us to explore what these users tweeted about during July 2018.
We produced a word cloud that showed the most recurring words found in the social media feed of charity donors, and here are some of the interesting finds:
- The platform, GoFundMe, was a key driver in social media traffic of data regarding people’s donations.
- Cancer research was among the top causes people talked about in July.
- Public action to save two Netflix series from being cancelled drove wide-spread conversation and donations to stop them from axed. The conversation peak from this was obvious as the hashtags #saveshadowhunters, #savetimeless #timeless were the 4th, 5thand 6thmost popular hashtags by people who made donations in July.
- Donors were actively involved in political conversation. #brexit, #nhs, and #peoplesvote were the three top hashtags found in the sample.
Out of all the hashtags retrieved, #Brexit made up 6% of all the conversation analysed; #nhs and #peoplesvote made up the 4%. Netflix amounted to between 2% and 3% of all conversations in which donors were involved.
Dogs were also recurring hot topics. The hashtag #adoptdontshop featured in 7,789 posts, followed by a number of entries on dog adoption and welfare – this drive in welfare has no doubt been caused by the recent hot weather and growing concern over leaving dogs locked in hot cars.
Overall, in July charity donors were engaged with Politics, Healthcare and healthcare research, Netflix, Football, and puppies!
But doesn’t everyone want to give money for good causes?
No matter how good the cause, there will always be sceptics – and sometimes justifiably so. A report published by Edelman found that trust in information on social media has once again decreased in 2018, whilst trust in online-only media has seen an uprise.
With more and more being published online only, any charity scandals that occur could potentially impact the likelihood of charity donations amongst social media users in response to digital charity campaigns.
Looking at social media Gossip posts, it looks like this may indeed be the case. Amongst social media adverse coverage, the word ‘scam’ was prominently used, suggesting distrust in online charity campaigns that have been advertised on social media channels. Users also typically express distrust in fund allocation – especially after online articles that claim alleged charity money misuse.
This very short exploration of the data demonstrates the powerful insights that can be hidden within social and online data. Insights that can be used to improve communication and fundraising strategies for charities and not-for-profit. And we’d love to help you find these insights.
We have won multiple awards for our work with charities, so know what it takes to provide valuable and actionable insight for those in the NFP sector. For a free consultation on how we could help your organisation optimise your fundraising campaigns and marcomms performance, email us at email@example.com
Media Measurement is a leading digital research consultancy. We breathe life into data, telling meaningful stories that inspire fresh thinking. Today’s global digital village holds billions of conversations connecting people, ideas and opinions – this revolution is a force for good.
We work with organisations who have a positive mission. Who dare to challenge the status quo. Who recognise the opportunities hidden in digital data so they can act – when and where it matters.
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