The Charity Commissions 2016 report found that people are almost twice as likely to trust smaller charities as opposed to larger ones. There have been issues in recent years with public confidence in charities, with many member of the public feeling suscpicious about what happens to the money they donate to large charities. The fact that one fifth of UK charities are struggling to survive means there's an urgent need for improved relationships with donors.

But why the difference in trust between large and small charities? What exactly is it that small charities are doing that some of the bigger ones aren't?

Essentially it all comes back to donors being truly valued and feeling like they are actually making a difference as an individual. It is easy to see why one person can feel that they can make a greater difference to a smaller charity than a large one. Below are just a couple of examples of what donors are looking for from charities in order to feel valued as individuals.

An immediate connection with projects

Donors want to be able to track what happens to their money, and the role it plays in the projects which they're supporting. They don't want a general, sweeping statement of where their money will end up, they instead want direct updates from the people they have given the money to and they want to know how this money is going to make a difference to someone. Its common sense when you think about it. Donors are far more likely to pledge larger amounts of money if they feel a connection with a project that they are supporting. It is is vital that they feel that the money they are giving is ending up where they thought it would and that it is actually making a difference to someone.

Personalised messages

When large charity fundraisers recruit wealthy donors, the main strategy they implement is personalisation. They solely contact donors who they know to have a personal interest in the issue they're fundraising for. Furthermore, the messages they send when reaching out to potential donors are entirely customised for them specifically. It makes these donors feel valued and they feel that through their donations a real difference can be made.

When it comes to ordinary donors however, larger charities use a spray-and-pray approach, instead broadcasting the same message, through the same means to as many people as possible. Contrary to wealthier donors, the majority of us are targeted by charities which range from supporting dementia, medical research, child wellbeing and mental illness, when perhaps our real passion is animal welfare.

Smaller charities are very efficient at personalising things, even for their smallest of donors. This can be achieved for instance by getting their fans to spread messages to other potential donors, such as family and friends. This feels far more personalised, and gives the impression that donors are being individually sought out, as opposed to an anyone will do approach.

View donors as individuals, not a demographic

Larger charities need to avoid seeing their donors as a large demographic to target, as the often get it wrong. Whilst many charities see online crowdfunding as a means of engaging millennials, it is infact people over the age of 65 who give money far more frequently online than 20 year olds. Instead of making broad assumptions about how different demographics like to interact, smaller charities are instead striving to treat everyone as individuals.

Click here to view the Charity Commissions 2016 Report on Public Trust and Confidence in Charities.