How The Philanthropy Centre helps charities increase donations by up to 200%

Why do we give money to charities and why does it make us feel good? These are the questions that The Philanthropy Centre focus on, and its insights have helped nearly 20 partner charities increase donations by between 65% to 200%. With Qualtrics as their research platform, they’ve been able to break down preconceptions about what drives giving and how people want charities to communicate.

We discovered that saying “thank you” to donors at different stages of the donor journey had a drastic impact on retention and a donor’s feelings. We’ve also helped individual charities understand what drives people to donate money to them.

Professor Jen Shang Sargeant, The Philanthropy Centre

How The Philanthropy Centre closed the experience gap

Helping charities raise more money and make donors feel good

The Philanthropy Centre’s research uncovered the power of saying “thank you” to donors. It concluded that new donors were most engaged by short, more interactive content from charities. While charities needed to take a nuanced approach to thanking long-term donors: it was more important to thank the person, rather than the action of giving.

Discovering what motivates people to donate

The team worked with each of its partner charities to understand what was driving people to donate to them. With one charity focused on stopping animal cruelty, they were able to see that it wasn’t only anger that drove people to donate, as was previously thought – it was about transforming the anger felt for the animals into hope the charity would be successful and make animals’ lives better. The charity updated its comms and saw donations go up.

Moving from gut feelings to data-led decision making

In the charities sector, there’s some reluctance to thank donors, in case donors respond negatively or prefer money isn’t used for communications. However, the centre’s work suggested that donors responded very well to charity comms, when done correctly.

When one charity sent out their first “thank you” email, many donors replied saying “thank you” back. That was so moving for our charity partner.

Professor Jen Shang Sargent, The Philanthropy Centre

65 - 200%

range of increases in fundraising amounts

5 - 65%

range of increases in donor happiness

Why Qualtrics?

Sophisticated survey design & testing

The Philanthropy Centre chose us as we combine advanced survey design with easy setup. Plus, testing features ensure the team’s surveys are working correctly and of a high quality, and our 24/7 support ensures there’s always someone to help when the centre is running studies in the UK, Australia or the USA.

O and X-data integration

The research team was able to connect a donor’s unique reference number to their survey results, meaning they could analyse someone’s feedback alongside their actual behaviour.

Automated surveys

The team are able to automate when surveys go out and in what quantity, removing some of the manual work that can slow down research projects. And the team can upload all of their contacts in 1 list, unlike with other platforms where dozens need to be uploaded.

The Philanthropy Centre says its mission is to “grow personally meaningful philanthropy around the world”. It does this by helping organisations improve their donor experience, and encouraging them to think about the needs and wants of its supporters, as well as its beneficiaries.