Key Considerations for your International Fundraising Strategy

international fundraising strategy research

Key Considerations for your International Fundraising Strategy

With the increasing connectiveness across the world, it has never been easier for a charity to devise and implement a successful international fundraising strategy. However, with a wider audience comes the increasing need to target your marketing and tailor your messaging to attract donations from different countries.

In this article I will share some key fundraising and marketing insights to help you successfully reach a global audience with all types of fundraising, from legacy marketing to individual giving.


Most charities won’t have the time and resources to successfully target every country. So, to help target your international fundraising strategy to the right countries, we completed some research into which countries are most likely to donate.

We conducted a multi-country poll consisting of over 6900 responses with the aim to assess the variation in donation behaviour country-to-country. Figure 1 shows the percentage of people that say they currently donate to either United Nations charities (e.g. UNICEF, UNHCR) or International aid charities.

International fundraising insights Percentage of people who currently donate to United Nation charities and International aid charities by country

Figure 1 – Percentage of people who currently donate to United Nation charities and International aid charities by country

The results show that while the Netherlands (NL) and the USA are most likely to currently donate to international aid charities, South Africa (SA), France (FR) and Belgium (BL) are considerably less likely to do so. Understanding inter-country differences in donor behaviour would help such charities develop suitable marketing strategies towards them. For UN charities, Japan (JPN) and the Netherlands (NL) appear most likely to donate.

What is surprising is the often large disparities between the two types of international charities. UN charities are almost always receiving less donations, especially in the Netherlands, the USA, and Australia. It is unclear why this is the case; perhaps it is from the perceived bureaucratic nature of the UN or a general mistrust of the NGOs (Cornish, 2017). Regardless, identifying which countries are most likely to donate can give you an overview of where to start in your international fundraising strategy.

Identify Opportunities and Tailor Your International Fundraising Strategy and Campaigns

Inter-country differences become even more interesting when you consider the people who say that they donate to other charities. Figure 2 illustrates the differences in donor behaviour in the UK between three types of charity.

International fundraising strategy percentage of people who currently donate in the UK by charity type

Figure 2 – Percentage of people who currently donate in the UK by charity type

You can see through the comparison of Figure 1 and Figure 2 that while the levels of donation to charities is high (amongst the highest of all countries), the percentage of people donating to international charities is relatively low.

Crucially, this trend is not shown in every country where donations are typically high, such as the Netherlands. It is therefore important to understand why people in the UK might be less inclined to donate to international charities, rather than more domestic ones.

This is especially important when you consider the graph below (Figure 3; CERPhi, 2015) which shows that not only is the UK the largest donor of individual giving by far, but also has the largest donations per capita. Meaning that the UK more likely to donate and give larger amounts when they do.

Figure 3 – Individual giving amounts by country in millions, (Adapted from CERPhi, 2015)

Inform your International Fundraising Strategy with Market Research

Easy access to massive online panels across the world means your international fundraising strategy can now be more donor-centric and based on real-time marketing insights into what influences different types of people.

The rise in the use of psychometrics to inform marketing strategies is a prime example of this. For example, an interesting study from Elaine, Buli and Chernatony (2017) showed how different personality traits (self-esteem, materialism etc.) can affect conspicuous donor behaviour on Facebook. The results showed that behaviour was largely determined by how psychometric profiles interacted with social media and marketing messages. It is easy to see that marketing insights like this will mean you can better target your messaging to attract people who share traits like this across the world.

Charities should consider what it is about their brand, their messaging and their approach that would deter a normally generous population from donating to them. One way of doing this is through an attitudinal survey, paired with creative testing of their current branding and messaging. By understanding donor rates at an international level, charities can identify problem areas which need addressing in their international fundraising strategy and create a brand that feels more relevant on a national scale.

For more international market research insights download our international marketing insights report and watch our international marketing webinar.

This article was written by Tom Burke, Insight Executive at fastmap. To find out how fastmap can help you with your marketing campaigns, visit or get in touch with David Cole, Managing Director, fastmap on +44 (0) 20 7242 702 or




Elaine, W, Buil, I, de Chernatony, L (2017). When does “liking” a charity lead to donation behaviour?: Exploring conspicuous donation behaviour on social media platforms. Emerald.

Cornish, L (2017). In an era of declining trust, how can NGOs buck the trend? Devex.

Observatoire de la Fondation de France (2015). An overview of philanthropy in Europe. CERPhi.

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