December 2019

Fundraising Innovation
Salvation Army Switzerland – alleviate loneliness with a monthly giving programme
#StandByMe, the donor commitment of a special kind

The first “digital first” donation programme in Switzerland

#StandByMe – a new
dimension of giving – a unique monthly giving program

Why should donors support your organization? What is your Unique Giving Proposition? And how can donors be retained, and dependable revenue generated, in the digital era? We had to consider this for our client, Salvation Army Switzerland. The assignment was to develop a concept for a monthly giving program, which is more than just asking for a regular donation. The donors are strongly involved in the donation program and identification is high. The result is called #StandByMe. A monthly giving program which is fully geared towards automatic payment of a monthly contribution using a credit card.

Challenge – Increasing the attractiveness of recurring donations
The Salvation Army Switzerland is one of the largest NGOs in Switzerland and, like other organisations, is dependent on donations. Regular donations are most valuable for planning sustainable and long-term projects. But how can donors become regular donors? How can regular donations, and therefore retention, be made more attractive? What can an attractive monthly giving programme look like? And what does it need in order to be successful?

Solution – donor bonds due to warm glow effect and affection
Doing good towards others or treating others fairly can trigger a comforting feeling in us. This effect is called “warm glow” by behavioural economists. Furthermore, we know from our own experiences that retention primarily takes place when people are personally affected. Affection, combined with this warm glow, clearly increases donor retention. We took advantage of this combination when creating the new monthly giving programme #StandByMe.

“In a Monthly Giving Programme, affected people, donors and organisations are automatically brought closer together. Programmes like this unite!”

Nadia Francioso, Creative Concepter, getunik

Implementation – more empathy and less loneliness
Those in need have many sufferings. Those affected – mostly, but not exclusively, homeless people – struggle with disorientation, stigmatisation, shame, despair, illness and addiction. Their path often leads to loneliness, and this in turn leads to social isolation. Those affected end up in a dead-end street. #StandByMe recognises precisely this. #StandByMe alleviates loneliness with compassion and sympathy. It builds a bridge between those affected and donors, and gets to the bottom of the issue of loneliness.

Effect – Community feeling creates awareness and connections
We’re aware of it. Finding donors who do not only want to donate to concrete and tangible projects and want to do this monthly will not be easy. However, the issue of loneliness affects and takes a hold of us all again and again. Therefore this topic is perfectly suited for a unique monthly giving programme. The donors participate with a monthly donation and ensure that the Salvation Army can create an environment where those affected can feel safe and less lonley.

But the commitment is mutual. The donor sees that they have invested in a good cause every month on their bank statement and therefore keeps remembering the organisation. At the same time, they receive monthly information from the #StandByMe community. The bigger the community becomes, the stronger the connection to the issue of loneliness and to those affected becomes, and so loyalty to the organisation grows. It is always worth setting up a Monthly Giving. Donation programmes like these generally have a retention rate of over 80% after one year and 95% after five years.* This type of giving has depth and touches people every month.

How does Monthly Giving differ from a regular donation?
A monthly giving programme is a lot more than a regular payment, and primarily differs on an emotional level from a regular donation. The donors are strongly involved in the donation programme, and identification is higher. Continual updates, insights into the organisation, and real-time feedback on donors’ responses, help donors to give the donor a sense of individual care. This is made possible using modern technologies such as marketing automation and credit card subscriptions.

“Two weeks after the launch of the monthly giving programme, we were able to welcome the first donors to the #StandByMe community. #StandByMe is definitely going to become the heart of the Salvation Army.”

Mischa Rychener, #StandByMe Representative, Salvation Army Switzerland

getunik services

getunik was able to support the Salvation Army Switzerland in the following steps:

Experiencing issues rather than simply developing them
What was intended to be a workshop became a short but intensive immersion into the daily life of the Salvation Army. Concept developers from the Salvation Army and getunik spent half a day in the world of the Salvation Army and met dormitory and market garden managers. This provided us with an authentic picture of their daily lives on site, including all of their ups and downs. We were able to put ourselves in the shoes of those affected pretty quickly. This approach was a good foundation. The seeds had been laid for developing the core theme – in this case this was the issue of loneliness.

#StandByMe – The name says it all
A significant part of our conceptual work for this monthly donation programme was developing a name – in our case it was #StandByMe. This name shows our donors that they are part of something bigger. With the claim of “Supporting. Contributing. Alleviating loneliness”, it is quickly clear what #StandByMe stands for.

Creating a label – fast recognition is essential
A label provides visual orientation. A monthly donation programme automatically takes up more space than other measures in your organisation. It is helpful when the donation programme not only has a catchy name, but is also visually easy to grasp and, if possible, leaves the person viewing it with a positive feeling as quickly as possible.

Info page

The #StandByMe info page – full information at a glance
What exactly is #StandByMe? Interested donors are presented with all essential information about the monthly donation programme on an info page. Using the built in donation widget “Lema”, by RaiseNow, the path towards regular digital donations is done very quickly.

Greetings card

Onboarding journey – digital and analoge
The monthly donation is done; what next? Every single donor is personally welcomed with an onboarding journey. This of course by e-mail, but not only. The new #StandBy member receives a symbolic present by mail. A sign that the new donor is part of this humanitarian community.

Stand By Me newsletter greeting
Spread the word
Community Button

A newsletter that unites people.
The heart of #StandByMe is definitely formed by those affected, our loyal donors and, of course, the Salvation Army, with whom everything, or at least a lot, converges. How can we keep this triad together? How to share the research about loneliness in our society? Where can we record the resulting stories about humanity and empathy? We selected the practical newsletter as the core vessel. Content about loneliness is edited and sent at regular intervals. Mostly it is texts in a pleasant length with authentic pictures. Sometimes just a thought and sometimes just a song that touches us and maybe the whole #StandByMe community. The goal is to connect people to #StandByMe.


Salvation Army Switzerland – we support people in need
The Salvation Army is an integral part of the international Christian church, and a relevant partner in society and politics. Their mission is being there for people. For more justice, hope and love.