The Dynamic Growth in Continental Europe
Many of the major international players already are established in Spain such as The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Cruz Roja (Red Cross) and Ayuda en Acción (ActionAid). Additionally, there are numerous Spanish development NGOs that are closely associated with the Catholic Church.
Those organisations investing heavily in fundraising in recent years have seen extraordinary growth, especially those operating in overseas development and child sponsorship. Organisations such as SOS Children’s Villages have been major investors in and beneficiaries of this growth. For UNICEF, for example, Spain currently is one of its most profitable markets.
Most of the fundraising techniques that are commonly used in other mature markets work well, with high average gifts, and payment is almost always via monthly direct debit other than for emergency appeals. Face to face, telephone, SMS, e-mail/Internet all work well, but cold mail is not effective for a combination of cultural reasons and poor quality lists for rental. Two well-known U.S. charities tried and failed to enter the Spanish market without any prior studies or consultation with market experts. They failed catastrophically by trying to enter exclusively by cold direct mail.
Most Spaniards have never been asked to give to a charity. Fundraising has been focused in the major cities, and when people in the smaller cities are asked to give, it probably will be the first time — and the response is positive.
When people are asked in the street or by telephone, the response rates are better than they typically are in the more mature markets. Furthermore, donors expect to make relatively high monthly gifts of 15 euros to 30 euros via bank direct debit. Unlike Italy, a telephone pledge for a monthly direct debit is enough for the bank to process the regular giving pledge. As a result, there is little culture of asking for one-off gifts in Spain, except in emergencies.