Business Challenge

Trust in charities had been eroded with public disillusionment and apathy towards charitable giving at an all-time high. Many supporters believe that charities misspend their donations or that their donations will not have a material impact on seemingly insurmountable problems.

To add to the challenge, common acquisition practices, such as high pressure street teams and overly persistent telesales have created a negative perception of the industry as a whole, with supporters believing that once a donation is made, they’ll be bombarded with pressure, guilt and further asks. Supporters want control not coercion.

It’s clear that charities have a hill to climb and it’s crucial that they do so quickly; it is no secret that the supporter generosity is critical if charities are to carry on their good work across the globe.

Addressing such heavy and multi-layered challenges would require a sea change.


My Oxfam — a new digital supporter product for Oxfam that puts transparency and control at the forefront.

The product is comprised of 4 major components:

  • Intelligent content and onboarding
  • Immediate donation control
  • Regular stories from the ground
  • A tally of lifetime donations

Each component is specifically designed to meet changing supporter expectations and our mission to bring supporters closer to the impact of their giving.

Intelligent Content and Onboarding

When a supporter puts forward their hard-earned money, they do so because they care about the cause and the outcome. It is essential to reinforce the triggers that originally motivated the user to sign up. It follows that subsequent engagement must also be personalised and relevant to the supporter.

Ignoring the nuances of supporter motivations can lead to high abandonment rates directly after sign up and lower lifetime value, through churn or an inability to drive incremental donations.

My Oxfam tackles this head on through an intelligent onboarding program. By identifying the topic that motivated our supporter to sign up in the first place, we are able to carry this into their first experience with the product. It also means we can keep supporters updated on the progress and outcomes of the relevant initiative as well as introducing similar projects over time.

Immediate Financial Control

Supporters can now immediately control the amount of their monthly direct debit at any time within the My Oxfam app.

After multiple rounds of user testing, we arrived at a concept that we coined as the ‘Giving Dial’. As supporters adjust the amount of their direct debit, this dial links the monetary value of the donation to the tangible impact Oxfam are able to make on beneficiaries around the world. This gives supporters a better sense of what their help enables rather than being left in the dark.

This feature brings supporters far closer to the impact of their gift and creates a much more transparent relationship, thereby aiding in increasing the lifetime value of supporters.

Immediate control over a direct debit is an industry first and directly addresses a known acquisition barrier – the fear that once you have signed up, you’re stuck.

Regular Stories From The Ground

Supports expressed a desire to be closer to the impact of their giving.

By harnessing Oxfam staff on the ground as well as the smartphones in their pockets, we decided to deliver supporters with a window into the lives of beneficiaries. My Oxfam enables supporters to access regular video, articles and updates from beneficiaries and support staff on the ground – all focused on the projects made possible by supporters’ donations.

The content ranges from raw film taken by Oxfam ground staff on their mobile phones to progress reports on live projects. We learnt that supporters are interested in seeing regular, authentic updates rather than curated, professionally produced content.

A Lifetime's Support

My Oxfam gives users an itemised tally of their donations for the entire lifetime of their support, regardless of how they’ve donated. For example, supporters can donate via regular direct debit, an SMS or even a clothing donation at their local Oxfam store – each donation is stored for the supporters to see.

The product will also go back and update the tally for historic supporters, even if their support started 20+ years ago. By coupling granular donation records with rich content, we were able to illustrate the tangible outcomes of supporter generosity, reinforcing the warm glow that we know is so conducive to repeat giving.

Surfacing a lifetime of support is easier said than done. It requires a centralised database of all supporter transactions across multiple parts of the business. However, we knew that this functionality was a must for true transparency. In tandem with the magnificent team at Oxfam, we were able to make this lifetime view of one’s giving a reality.

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The revolutionary My Oxfam platform has changed the way that Oxfam engages with its supporters and in doing so, it changes supporter expectations for good.

The data shows that:

  • 69% of those that adjusted their donations have dialled up, not down
  • Regular gifting through the app is higher than on the web by 20%
  • 4.9 stars on the App Store and 4.6 on the Play Store

It also gained coverage from publications such as The Guardian and Huffington Post as well as significant industry recognition with features in The Drum, Third Sector and Charity Digital News since its launch in early 2017.

My Oxfam was also awarded the Grand Prix at the 2017 MOMAs.