To reduce global poverty people need to get involved, but at the moment fewer and fewer people in Britain are engaging. The tips and insights below will help you to get more people campaigning, fundraising, donating, volunteering and getting involved online.
- Show the moral alignment between your cause and audience.
- Show how a donation will make a tangible difference.
- Use front-line workers or volunteers in any call to action.
Percentage of the public making a financial contribution
- Fundraised by asking for donations from others
- Purchased products/ services or boycotted products/ services
- Fewer people are engaging with global poverty with respect to donations or fundraising.
- Between November 2013 and November 2016 the number of people donating to organisations focused on global poverty have dropped by a third from 36% to 23%. In the same period the percentage of the British public fundraising has halved from 8% to 4% and the percentages supporting through purchase or boycotting of products or services has declined by almost a fifth from 22% to 17%.
- These declines threaten the development sector’s ability to reduce poverty through our programmes and advocacy. But we can reverse these trends with a bit of innovative thinking, application of messages, images and channels that we know can work.
People who are making a financial contribution are not only ‘donors’ or ‘fundraisers’ — they are likely to have a more complex relationship with global poverty.
- 86% of those donating are consuming news about global poverty and 76% of them are discussing it with friends and family. There are similar rates for those fundraising.
- 34% of those donating and 58% of those fundraising are sharing articles and information about global poverty.
- Almost 20% of those donating and 29% of those fundraising are also contacting their parliamentarians about global poverty online.
People do not tend to just do one thing relating to global poverty; they tend to engage in other ways and to have more complex relationships with the issue. The Audience section of this website gives more insight into the typical types of behavioural patterns which people display and the different mindsets they hold.
24% of 18 to 24 year olds and 25% of over 50 year olds donate. Other age groups donate less. 18-34 year olds are slightly more likely than over 35 year olds to be fundraising. Over 50s are almost a third more likely to be buying or boycotting goods and services relating to global poverty than other age groups; 20% of over 50s donate compared to only 15% of 18-24 year olds.
Women are slightly more likely than men to be donating – 25% of women donate but only 21% of men. Women are also very slightly more likely to fundraise, though the difference here is much narrower. 18% of women purchase or boycott goods or services because of their connection to global poverty, whilst only 15% of men do this.
Those on lower incomes are less likely than those on higher incomes to donate – 20% of those on low incomes are donating, 24% of those on middle incomes and 30% on mid-high incomes donate. Those on middle incomes are most likely to fundraise (5% do so), with higher incomes and lower incomes less likely to fundraise (3% and 4% respectively).
Nations and Regions
30% of people in Scotland donate, making this the nation or region with the highest propensity to donate. 24% of those in London donate, with the rest of Britain ranging between 21% and 23%. 6% of Scots fundraise with 4% of all other nations and regions doing similarly.
People are more likely to engage and to do more when they believe that their involvement will make a tangible difference. Showing how a donation makes a direct difference, or how the collective donations towards an appeal achieve collective tangible impact increases sense of personal efficacy. This blog explains how to increase sense of personal efficacy.
People engage more with global poverty when they believe others are engaging and that others respect those who are engaging. Showing that others are donating, making donors feel part of a community and showing that other people admire those who donate and fundraise. Find tips on how to make audiences feel like supporting global poverty is a social norm in this blog.
As people’s sense that the reduction of global poverty aligns with their own ‘moral compass’ improves they become more prone to engaging with global poverty. This driver of engagement acts as a kind of gateway driver; unless people see this alignment they are unlikely to engage in a sustained way. Showing how donating and fundraising for your organisation and cause aligns with popular moral beliefs; fairness, tackling vast inequality, tax dodging, getting a fair start in life… You can read more about how to align your communications with popular moral beliefs in this blog.
As people feel more economically positive – more optimistic about their own economic prospects — they are likely to become less engaged. This is likely to be because people who feel more economically positive have less empathy for people who are in a more economically difficult situation than themselves.
A messenger is any person, or organisation, which communicates with your audience on your cause or organisations’ behalf. Using a well perceived messenger, a front-line worker such as a doctor or teacher, can more than double the propensity of the public to engage with your request for donation.
Testing conducted by the AAT research team shows that hope and anger are particularly powerful emotions for triggering donations; increasing propensity to donate and size of donation. This blog explains more.
- Show that other people are engaging.
- Ensure your messengers are perceived as trustworthy and caring for others.
- Emphasis how a campaign action will contribute to a tangible outcome.
Percentage of the public campaigning
- Used your voice to impact the issue (e.g. through social media, online petition)
- Contacted a Member of Parliament Offline
- Contacted a Member of Parliament online
- Participated in a march, rally sit in, or other large event on the issue
- Voted specifically on the issue
- Fewer people are engaging with global poverty campaign actions.
- Between November 2013 and November 2016 the percentage of the public who say that they have used their voice to impact on global poverty has dropped from 21% to 17.5%, the percentage contacting an MP online has dropped from 9% to 7% and respondents saying they have attended marches and rallies on global poverty has declined from 2.5% to 1.5%.
- Engagement with campaign actions appear to have been declining; but we can change this by connecting with the right audiences and using the right tactics.
It’s important not to see people who campaign simply as ‘campaigners’:
- 61% of those who have contacted an MP offline and 62% of those who have contacted their MP online have donated in the last year
- 65% of those who have contacted an MP offline and 67% of those who have contacted an MP online have shared an article or information about global poverty in the last year
- 22% of those who have contacted an MP offline, and 17% of those who have contacted an MP online, have volunteered within the UK for an organisation focused on global poverty
People do not tend to have one-dimensional relationships with global poverty – people tend to have more complex relationships in which they do, or have done, more than ‘just’ campaigning (or ‘just’ donating/ volunteering/ reading…) Check out the ‘Audience’ section of this website to find out more about the complex relationships people have with global poverty.
Younger audiences are more likely to be using their voice to impact on global poverty for example through social media or signing a petition – 23% of 18-24 year olds say that they have done this in the last year. However older audiences are more likely to have contacted a parliamentarian about this issue – 5% of over 50’s have contacted an MP offline, compared to 3% of 18-24 year olds and 7% of over 50’s have contacted an MP online compared to 5% of 18-24 year olds. Participation in a march or rally is more likely to attract younger audiences – 3% of 18-24s have done this compared to under 1% of over 50’s.
Women and men are as likely as each other to be engaging in the different sorts of campaign activities.
Different levels of income do not tend to correlate with big differences in likelihood to be campaigning.
Nations and Regions
People in Scotland and London are most likely to have used their voice to impact on global poverty, 21% have done so compared to 17% in the rest of the South, the Midlands, and Wales, and 15% of people in the North. Scots are most likely to have contacted an MP or other elected official about global poverty.
All audiences are motivated to engage more when they believe that others are also engaging with global poverty and taking part in a campaign. Show audiences how many people have previously signed a campaign petition, have committed to meet their MP or signed up to attend a campaign event. Check out this blog to see how to bolster audience’s perceptions that engaging is normal and is respected by others.
Believing that overcoming global poverty is a moral cause (i.e. a cause which aligns with one’s own moral compass) is a sort of ‘gateway’ driver of engagement with global poverty; if this belief does not exist it is unlikely that an individual will sustain their support. Campaign topics which challenge global injustices, such as tax avoidance, income inequality and gender discrimination help to engage the disengaged. This blog on how to show your cause aligns with your audience’s moral compass offers practical tips.
Making a difference
Particularly for the most engaged audiences it is important to see how their personal engagement contributes to change. Communicating how a campaign action will influence a specific decision makers and describe why this will be the case. Check out this blog to see how to increase audiences’ sense of efficacy.
A messenger is any person, or organisation, which communicates with your audience on your cause or organisations’ behalf. Perceptions about these messengers can significantly influence take up of the call to action which they make. Frontline workers – doctors, nurses, engineers and teachers are the sorts of professions which audiences are likely to consider to be ‘frontline’. In testing on a petition campaign action two personality and relational traits have been found to make a significantly positive influence upon propensity to take action; appearing to be trustworthy and to care for others can increase propensity to engage by 60% compared to an average messenger. This blog on messengers goes into more detail…
- Show the impact volunteers can make.
- Show that others are volunteering and that peers admire volunteers.
- Encourage feelings of solidarity with those living in poverty.
Percentage of the public volunteering
- Volunteered within the United Kingdom
- Volunteered abroad
- Between November 2013 and November 2016 rates of volunteering have reduced by approximately 1/4th; rates of volunteering within the UK have dropped from 4% to 3% and rates overseas have dropped from approximately 1.8% to 1.25%.
People who volunteer should not be defined within organisations only as ‘volunteers’; they usually have more complex relationships with global poverty.
- 60% of volunteers share or forward articles about global poverty.
- 34% of those volunteering in the UK and 43% of those who volunteered abroad in the last year have also written or commented on blogs or articles online.
- 77% of those who volunteered in the UK and 64% of those who volunteered abroad in the last year have also donated.
Younger audiences are far more likely to volunteer overseas or in the UK for an organisation focused on global poverty. 5% of 18 to 24 year olds have volunteered overseas and 3% of this group have volunteered within the UK in the last year, compared to 0.5% of over 50’s volunteering abroad and 2% of over 50’s volunteering in the UK.
Women and men are as likely as each other to volunteer, whether in the UK or overseas.
Those with a household income of £40-70,000 per annum are most likely to volunteer either abroad or within the UK; they are 3 times more likely to volunteer overseas and twice as likely to volunteer within the UK compared to those with household incomes under £20,000.
Nations and Regions
People in London and Scotland are most likely to be volunteering – 4% in each are volunteering in the UK on global poverty, compared to as low as 2% in Wales and the Midlands. 2% of those in London and Scotland are volunteering overseas, compared to 1% in other nations and regions.
Audiences which volunteer, abroad or in the UK, are usually engaged in multiple ways; also donating, campaigning, discussing and sharing their opinions about global poverty with others and more. For this sort of audience it is particularly important to improve perceptions of their ability to make a difference; this keeps them motivated and helps them to choose which activities to engage with.
People engage more with global poverty when they believe others are engaging and that others respect those who are engaging. Showing that others are engaging, making supporters feel part of a community, and showing that other people admire those who engage will all increase audience’s propensity to engage. Find tips on how to make audiences see that engaging with global poverty is a popular thing to do in this blog.
University College London testing has shown that of 6 emotional reactions to an appeal stimulus tested only one had a statistically significant influence upon propensity to take an interest in volunteering; feeling solidarity with those living in poverty increased interest in volunteering amongst respondents.
Work with volunteers to engage others
Volunteers are great messengers for the engagement of others. A volunteer sharing relatable stories about their work and the impact they are achieving are great ways to inspire others. Showing volunteers working directly on projects and using their expertise alongside local programme participants will be most effective.