The use of virtual reality (VR) technology has not blown away our donors, but it is at least an attempt to reinvigorate a channel that, on the whole, makes little effort to innovate.
Agency after agency start up with a basic understanding of pitch construction, a grasp of the law of averages and little regard for the sustainability of the industry as they are focussed solely on surviving in a tough sector.
A lot of F2F agencies stick rigidly to a fundraising/sales structure that allows no deviation because change might not work, and with increasing costs leading to narrow margins, I understand their fears.
So, given that the huddle of new agencies are not in a position to experiment, the responsibility may fall on the shoulders of established agencies and inhouse teams to lead the way and create new norms.
Some charities that have tried VR have blamed the mixed success on poor reporting and a lack of fundraiser training around the reliance of the tech and the importance of the inspirational conversation afterwards. WWF UK created a successful Tiger Experience¹ that encompassed VR tech with a more immersive experience and saw a big increase in acquisition – so it might just work.
15 years ago, Gift Fundraising worked with Sense², a UK charity supporting those with sensory impairments or needs, and Bluefrog, a full-service fundraising agency, to create an imaginary silent world with props that remind the donors of their childhood. A piece of cloth and a length of chain was all they needed to allow the donors a better understanding of the world of a deaf blind child. Brilliant and inexpensive.
Each year more charities enter the face-to-face channel for the first time with propositions that lend themselves to creativity, so let’s work together to innovate and give our donors a better, more imaginative, experience on the streets of Australia.
What are the best innovations you’ve seen in F2F?