Guest blog written by Angela Richmond, Managing Partner at RedFox Research.

RedFox Research conducts the research which underpins Enthuse’s quarterly Donor Pulse report. In the two years we’ve worked on this, we’ve noticed some marked differences in how people support charity, so we decided to dig deeper. The result is The Fundraising Four, a new report from RedFox which profiles four distinct giving personas. We hope it will help charities like yours target fundraisers more effectively.

Different ways to give

Around three out of four people in the UK give money to charity, through monthly giving, one-off donations and sponsorship. But with regular giving in decline, especially among younger age groups, charities are increasingly shifting their focus to engaging donors in sponsored events and other fundraising activities. Runs, walks and bake sales are all staples of the fundraising calendar these days, and charities are finding evermore creative ways to engage supporters. 

Not everyone wants to get so actively involved, though, and those that do are driven by a complex set of motivations which sometimes have little to do with wanting to support charitable causes. They might be drawn in by a desire to be sociable or be part of the team, for example, or keen to get fit or take part in a personal challenge. Or they may see taking part as an opportunity to post on social media, adding to their social standing among friends or colleagues.

The fundraising four

To create and promote engaging events in a crowded calendar, charities need to fully understand what motivates active supporters. Our report, The Fundraising Four, delves into these motivations, and explores the differences between supporters who are more hands-on and open to giving up their time (the ‘doers’) and those who prefer to stick to making financial donations (the ‘donors’). We found a third (33%) of people who give to charity like to get involved in group fundraising events, though only 17% have actually done so in the past six months – a missed opportunity for charities, perhaps?

The research, based on profiling of over 2,000 UK adults, identifies four different giving personas, each with distinct motivations and giving styles:

  • High-Octane Heroes
  • Press-Ganged Pals 
  • Good Samaritans
  • Duty Calls

Understanding these differences could help your charity in targeting, campaign planning and communications.  Two – Good Samaritans and Duty Calls – are content to give money to charity, while the remaining pair – High-Octane Heroes and Press-Ganged Pals – are the ‘doers’.  Doers are more likely to get involved in fundraising events or even volunteer, and love to talk about their support for charity on social media. 

Good Samaritans

The largest group are the ‘Good Samaritans’. They are the committed core, frequent and regular givers who have a high level of trust in charities. They can appear low maintenance, giving anonymously and asking for little more than a thank you. But charities need to be cautious, because this is an ageing group, with a significant number who are retired, and you may not be able to count on younger donors growing into this persona as they get older.

High-Octane Heroes

This is a niche but highly active group. These are the cheerleaders of fundraising, who love to get involved in group events and enjoy a challenge. They find raising money for charity incredibly rewarding, and get a morale boost from doing so – and they’re the most active group when it comes to social media. You may recognise these as some of your charity’s most passionate and vocal supporters. They love new challenges, and are always on the lookout for the next big thing, which can be a gift to your charity if you are really innovative with your events.

Press-Ganged Pals

The ‘joiners in’, Press-Ganged pals get carried along by what’s going on around them, and sign up to group events largely to be sociable. They don’t find giving to charity particularly rewarding, but don’t like to be left out. They’re happy to support friends and family with sponsorship, but sometimes feel a bit pressured with all of the requests they get. There’s a danger they’ll sign up but lose interest – which could leave your charity out of pocket if their fundraising doesn’t cover the cost of laying on the event.

Duty Calls

The smallest group, at 17% of the donor population, and also with an older age profile. These are dubbed ‘reluctant conformists’ because they don’t really ‘feel’ charity and do the minimum required to avoid standing out. They’re unlikely to be regular givers, and they shy away from events. With a low level of trust in charities, they are hard to influence.

To find out more about the personas and their profiles, download the full report below.

Download the full Fundraising Four report