On 1st July 2011, Convio entered the UK through the acquisition of Baigent Digital, one of the UK’s leading online fundraising and web agency supporting charities.
Having founded Baigent Digital and worked in the UK charity sector for 14 years, it’s been a very interesting experience for me to engage with Convio and the US nonprofit sector in-depth recently and as an organisation it’s enabled us to learn a lot:
When looking across the pond, there are a few striking differences between charities here in the UK and nonprofits in the US.
- For starters, the overall size of the charity sector in the US is around ten times that in the UK. Some of the difference comes from the difference in our populations, but individuals in the US give, on average, around twice the amount per head than here in the UK.
- Our adoption of technology is at a different stage as well. We’re a little behind on overall broadband adoption and we’ve some ground to make up to catch up with serious CRM implementations, but on the other hand there are a few areas where we seem to be ahead in the UK, such as SMS usage.
- The importance of digital within the overall fundraising mix seems very different in the US as well. In the UK, charities are already seeing significant ongoing digital growth, but in the US, nonprofits seem to be several years ahead of this curve and are delivering substantial donation revenues digitally. This has a knock on effect on the structure, skillset and seniority of the US nonprofit team members that I’ve met.
However, what’s been even more striking has been the similarity between the US and UK organisations, in particular the fragmented/siloed structures and practices that organisations are frustrated about and seem stuck in. Here in the UK we seem to be particularly struggling with this problem, especially because we’ve never before had a single joined-up solution of technology and services for fundraising. We’re very excited to see what a difference Convio can make to charities here on this side of the pond.
We’re looking forward to sharing your experiences in the US in person during Summit in October, but in the meantime I hope the video/photo will give you all a flavour of our team and culture!