Building big digital movements

: Matt Collins

The world of digital fundraising and campaigns is changing – and changing very quickly. Fundraising using the models, techniques and channels we’ve come to rely on (from direct mail to telemarketing and everything in between) is becoming increasingly difficult. The safe shores of yesterday no longer look so hospitable.

Harder in the UK

Getting people to join movements for good is harder in the UK than most other places. This isn’t just driven by increased regulation through GDPR and press scrutiny of charities' activities – our audiences’ behaviours and expectations of the organisations they support are changing at a rapid pace.

Charities need to keep up with that pace if they’re to remain relevant.


Political campaigning

We need inspiration to achieve that. And it can be found in the world of political campaigning, community building and fundraising on both sides of the Atlantic.

Digital was central to the campaigns of Trump, Clinton and Sanders in the USA. It also played a huge role for Corbyn in the UK.

Social media was central for Labour in the crucial battle for the youth vote. Labour increased its social media following by 61 per cent to 868,000 in the first six weeks of the battle. The Conservatives managed just six per cent, to 596,000.

Social video was central for the Sanders campaign. His embedded video team created more than 550 unique videos, reaching over 42 million views on Facebook alone. The campaign raised more than $230 million US dollars and delivered more than 81 million volunteer phone calls made at more than 78,000 grassroots events.

And few need reminding how central the strong opinions emanating from Donald Trump’s Twitter account were to his election campaign, and indeed is to his presidency.

But these campaigns weren’t just about likes and views. They were about action. They got people to vote, donate, and spread key messages. They brought about change.

Irrespective of your views, it is clear that we can learn a lot from how these campaigns mobilised the public en masse – and raised millions.


The session

At Fundraising Convention 2018, Paul de Gregorio, Director of Digital Engagement at Open, will outline the challenges facing the sector and explain why fusing community building, digital engagement and fundraising in this way could be transformational for UK charities too.

Read more on Building Big Digital Movements session.

Kenneth Pennington, ex Digital Director for Bernie Sanders, and central to the 2016 campaign to secure Bernie as the Democratic presidential candidate, will give us a unique and fascinating insight into the community building, engagement and fundraising operation that powered that campaign.

We will also take lessons from those in the UK who have brought together digital engagement and fundraising to transform the impact of their organisations.

If you think mobilising millions of people to donate through online campaigning is something your charity would like to learn how to do, you cannot afford to miss this session.


Matt Collins, Fundraising Convention Board member and Managing Director at Platypus Digital 

Explore the full Fundraising Convention programme

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