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International Fundraising Strategy: Identifying Countries Most Likely to Donate

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With more access to data and online panels, your international fundraising strategy can now be more donor-centric and based on real time marketing insights into what influences different types of people. The rise in the use of psychometrics to inform marketing strategies is a prime example of this. For example, an interesting study from Elaine, Buli and Chernatony (2017) showed how different personality traits (self-esteem, materialism etc.) can affect conspicuous donor behaviour on Facebook. The results showed that behaviour was largely determined by how psychometric profiles interacted with social media and marketing messages.

A more traditional, and perhaps more accessible approach, is to understand donor behaviour at a macro level. When considering an international fundraising strategy, a fruitful way of targeting is through the analysis of donors on a country-wide basis. To this extent, this year fastmap conducted a multi-country poll consisting of over 6900 responses with the aim to assess the variation in donation behaviour country-to-country. Figure 1 shows the percentage of people that say they currently donate to either United Nations charities (e.g. UNICEF, UNHCR) and international aid charities.International fundraising insights Percentage of people who currently donate to United Nation charities and International aid charities by country

Figure 1 – Percentage of people who currently donate to United Nation charities and International aid charities by country

The results show that while the Netherlands (NL) and the USA are most likely to currently donate to international aid charities, South Africa (SA), France (FR) and Belgium (BL) are considerably less likely to do so. Understanding inter-country differences in donor behaviour would help such charities develop suitable marketing strategies towards them. For UN charities, Japan (JPN) and the Netherlands (NL) appear most likely to donate.

What is surprising is the often large disparities between the two types of international charities. UN charities are almost always receiving less donations, especially in the Netherlands, the USA, and Australia (AU). It is unclear why this is the case; perhaps it is from the perceived bureaucratic nature of the UN or a general mistrust of the NGOs (Cornish, 2017).

Inter-country differences become even more interesting when you also consider the people who say that they donate to other charities. Figure 2 illustrates the differences in donor behaviour in the UK between three types of charity. You can see through the comparison of Figure 1 and Figure 2that while the levels of donation to charities is high (amongst the highest of all countries), the percentage of people donating to international charities is relatively low. Crucially, this trend is not shown in every country where donations are typically high, such as the Netherlands. Therefore, there are fundamental differences between attitudes towards International Aid and UN Charities that should be examined when considering your international fundraising strategy.

International fundraising strategy percentage of people who currently donate in the UK by charity typeFigure 2 – Percentage of people who currently donate in the UK by charity type

This is even more important when you consider other research that has shown that the UK is not only the largest donor of individual giving by far, but also provides the largest amount of donations per capita (Figure 3; CERPhi, 2015). These charities are performing relatively poorly in a country that has a large proportion of people who donate and give larger amounts when they do.

International fundraising strategy Individual giving amounts by country in millions, (Adapted from CERPhi, 2015)Figure 3 – Individual giving amounts by country in millions, (Adapted from CERPhi, 2015)

To counter this, such charities should consider what it is about their brand, their messaging and their approach that would deter a normally generous population from donating to them. One way of doing this is through an attitudinal survey, paired with creative testing of their current branding and messaging. By understanding donor rates at an international level, charities can identify problem areas which need addressing in their international fundraising strategy.

Through relatively lightweight research, charities can gain key marketing insights to understand what messaging works for different people. In doing this, charities that are underperforming in the UK should be able to make changes to their marketing campaigns, boost donor rates and create a brand that feels more relevant on a national scale.

This article was written by Tom Burke, Insight Executive at fastmap. To find out how fastmap can help you with your marketing campaigns, visit or get in touch with David Cole, Managing Director, fastmap on +44 (0) 20 7242 702 or

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