How Platypus helped Opportunity International break down barriers to digital fundraising

Opportunity International is a charity that designs and innovates financial solutions to help people in the developing world break the cycle of poverty.

The charity wanted to increase unrestricted income to form around 40% of their total income generation and identified digital as a key driver.

We set out a roadmap for the charity to develop a three year strategy, establishing realistic objectives and timelines for what they wanted to achieve.

The challenge

Opportunity International was raising the bulk of its income from high net worth individuals and institutions. Digital was a relatively untapped source of income and they were worried that the longer they took to adopt it, the further behind their competitors they would fall. 

They asked us to identify the key challenges preventing them from reaching their digital goals and their best opportunities in digital.

Opportunity International
opportunity international

What we did

We ran a detailed discovery and analysis process to understand the way Opportunity International approached digital as part of their fundraising mix. We wanted to know how the organisation thought about and prioritised digital and how this was reflected in the way they planned and measured.

We conducted detailed interviews with stakeholders from a range of teams across the charity. We spoke to all levels of seniority, including board members and trustees.

We then conducted a SWOT analysis on their responses. This helped us understand the levers the organisation could pull to facilitate really great digital work, as well as any barriers.

We distilled the responses into key themes that we know lead to digital success, like how the team works together, sets goals and makes decisions.

Finally, we delivered an in-depth report that clearly outlined their challenges and opportunities and our recommendations.

What we achieved

We found the team at Opportunity International was very interested in digital, but had unrealistically high expectations for what they could achieve using digital channels in a short time frame. This meant that they were likely to give up on digital before it really had a chance to really get results.

Like in many other charities, the teams responsible for carrying out digital work were stretched and needed some help. But again, like many charities, resources were limited.  The leadership wanted to invest in ideas with a proven return first and foremost.

So we made three key recommendations:

  1. Create a three-year evolving digital strategy, reviewed every six months, to allow the team to set goals, work towards them and review progress. The three year time span would bake in a realistic expectation for when they would see significant change come from their digital work.
  2. Recruit digital fundraising roles to bring in digital skills, rather than training the team up. Recruiting would be quicker and reduce the burden on a team already short of time.
  3. Develop a supporter acquisition plan to run over three years. It would allow the charity to test propositions and asks with supporters in small, bite-sized budgets. It would also help them recruit champions who could become longer-term decision-makers in the organisation.

The charity were understandably cautious, and also faced budget constraints. So we identified the channels to invest in as a priority, starting with those that would get them easy wins at lower costs. 

We also designed a draft supporter acquisition plan for them, outlining possible actions and objectives for each year of a three-year plan.

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