Session: What happens in fundraising when you focus on what donors actually need?

We live in a world that is rapidly changing. Where a seemingly never-ending series of crises is reframing how people consider their philanthropy.

The result is that donors are reassessing who they support and why. The turmoil in their lives offers both a reason and permission to rethink how they do good. As a result, donors are increasingly likely to switch the charities they support and, in some case, stop giving altogether.

This session considers what the sector should do to respond to this new paradigm with a focus on what actually works.

We’ll review how the fundamental building blocks of great fundraising campaigns work in today’s fundraising environment, presenting the case for taking a long-term view aimed at delivering the sense of stability and progress that donors desperately want and need. This will be illustrated with case studies that demonstrate what has been achieved by charities applying this approach over years rather than a few months.

We’ll also consider the fundamental donor need states, examine how charities can maintain relevance and look at what pulls donors towards charities and what pushes them away. This means we’ll reconsider how we can repurpose recruitment, thanking and reporting back to better answer donor needs  rather than simply innovating because it sounds exciting and fun.

Th key takeaway will be the understanding how to refocus a fundraising strategy to function in an environment characterised by international turbulence and change.

Mark Phillips

Mark started out as a fundraiser for ActionAid, moving on to the YMCA and setting up Bluefrog in 1997 with one simple goal – to be the agency he would have wanted to employ. Mark combines his academic background with hands on experience of research, marketing and fundraising for some of the best and most respected charities in the UK. He works alongside Bluefrog’s clients conducting research, developing and planning their fundraising strategies, products and creative.   

Mark is a passionate advocate of putting Donors and their needs at the heart of all we do in fundraising. He shares his ideas and findings on and through his blog,