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What does strength mean to you?

Fundraisers, a quick question for you. Which qualities do you think make for a strong fundraising product? With that in mind, what measures should you focus on when deciding what’s strong and what isn’t? The chances are, you won’t all agree on this…

At the CIOF Insight Conference recently, we ran a session with Melanie McNeill from the Red Cross on how to take a collaborative approach to portfolio insight and strategy. A few years ago, Red Cross had tried to understand their portfolio better and prioritise as a result, but there was no buy-in to the insights and the recommendations were not implemented. That’s why our process with them was collaborative from the outset, with the wider team deciding what we should measure, carrying out some of the analysis and building the set of far-reaching actions together. Every organisation is different, with important nuances in culture and direction, and so a one-size-fits-all approach to portfolio strategy should be avoided. For instance, a large children’s charity we worked with recently included ‘Brand Building’ in their evaluation, due to their strategic need to better align fundraising with brand; and a national animal charity included ‘Relevance’ to ensure their products made better use of audience insights to improve product development and marketing.

We explored this question in our session with a live poll, asking the audience what they felt are the best for defining product strength? You can see from the response below that although there’s some consensus on ROI and Net, there’s a huge range of possible measures, including loyalty, LTV, brand building, legacy propensity, reach, relevance and cross-sell. And ‘strongness’!

A word cloud based on a live poll about product strength

That’s why it’s critical that you spend time unpicking questions like this for your organisation, and engaging your teams in that process. Invite challenge and debate. That way, the insights you generate will be more appropriate for the specific place your organisation is at now, and those insights will also have the buy-in necessary for positive change to take place.

If you want to find out how to approach this, get in touch with


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