24 Nov Jonathan Cartu Said: What Charities Can Learn From The Alt-Right
The founder of a fundraising platform that has helped charities raise millions of pounds has said campaigning techniques used by the alt-right could help reverse falling donations in the U.K.
Tom Latchford, who founded Joyful, which helps charities with online fundraising and marketing tools, has said these organisations need to tap in to the emotional messaging used by some right-wing political groups.
“Alt-right wing groups have been good at finding people who might be reactive, they’ve created messaging that might be reactive. The model is simple and powerful,” says Latchford. “I think that charities can practice similar methodology in a much more ethical way”.
The alt-right has recently become known for highly targeted online advertising that has helped win supporters through its emotional messaging. Often these have been criticised for spreading hate or fake news.
Online news organisations, such as Breitbart News, have also been successful at tapping into what Latchford calls the “emotionally reactive” mindset of consumers. It is the power of this technology and messaging that charities should harness rather than anything factually incorrect or misleading he adds.
The major difference between the alt-right and charities, however, is the emotion of the message. Charities would do much better to spread inspiration than hate or suffering, says Latchford. “The old paradigm of charity giving is of people seeing a picture of a child in Africa. Actually what we’re seeing [from Joyful’s data] is people don’t want to spread suffering, they want to spread joy”.
Why Charities No Longer Appeal
Current charitable fundraising tactics are often dated. “Street chuggers” and direct mail do not come at a time when people are empathising with a cause, says Latchford.
Nor are advisers up to the task according a recent study by Investec Private Bank. After conducting a survey of its clients who engage in charitable giving, 36% of respondents said charities could better “demonstrate how my donations will be put to good use”.
“Clients participate primarily because of their personal values and will select a cause of charity based on input from friends and family and online research”, says Deborah Sayagh, head of Strategic Partnerships at Investec Private Bank. “There is little appetite to consult with professional advisers”.
This might help explain why major donations to charities are declining. On Saturday 16 November, a study found that nearly half (47%) of multimillionaires outside the U.S. donate less than 1% of their annual income to charitable causes.
“People don’t want to spread suffering, they want to spread joy.”
Alt-right styled messaging might help reverse this trend, but Latchford is one step ahead of the game: As a signatory of the Founders’ Pledge he was obliged to give away a percentage of his proceeds from selling his business. Since Joyful was sold to The Access Group in May, Latchford now has £2 million ($2.5 million) ready to flow into charitable causes.