2022 highlights from Wood for Trees

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We can’t quite believe we are nearing the end of 2022. But it’s now that time of year when we take a moment to pause and reflect on the highs and lows of months past and decide what learnings to take into 2023.

In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s been another turbulent year. The devastating Ukraine war, losing our beloved Queen and the deepening economic crisis have caused both heartache and struggles for many organisations and individuals alike.

However, the charity sector has remained resilient in the face of adversity with the generous people of our nation continuing to support in whichever way they can. Our year-to-date figures (up to October 2022) show sector income on-par with this time last year and supporter recruitment up around 20%, largely from high-value giving, one-off donations and gaming.

The Wood for Trees team have been proud to help many of our charity and not-for-profit clients steer their way through another troublesome year by getting the most out of their data – optimising and streamlining the information they hold, analysing statistics and trends to recommend how to progress strategies and campaigns, and implementing innovative, useful solutions.

2022 highlights

Here’s a summary of many highlights and achievements we’ve had this year… in addition to our day jobs!

We kicked off 2022 by hosting a joint, live webinar with Apteco, a digital marketing and data software provider, of which we’re approved resellers. Our Solutions Director, Matthew Tamea, and Senior Solutions Consultant, Nick Cook, joined Apteco Consultant, Liz Walker, to explore how you can uplift campaign responses via social media integration and real-time events, using Apteco marketing software. Replay the webinar here.

The start of a new year also coincides with the launch of our annual State of the Sector Report, of which we also release a six-month update in the summer, along with monthly snapshots. The 2022 report launch coincided with a live webinar with industry experts joining Wood for Trees MD, Jon Kelly, to delve into the detail of the report and discuss charity sector statistics and trends.

state of the sector report

Catch up on the panel discussion with James Briggs, Co-founder at Open, Symon Russell, Director of Individual Giving at Air Ambulance Charity Kent Surrey Sussex, Debbie Clark, Group Head of Individual Giving at Dogs Trust and Matthew Wilkley, Director of Income Generation at Independent Age here and find our sector reports here.

5 people on a zoom screen

This year marked 12 years of Wood for Trees working with humanitarian charity, Concern Worldwide, which has subsequently been our charity of the year. Fundraising efforts began in March, specifically towards their Ukraine Crisis Appeal, with the team embarking on a virtual walk around Ireland – the charity’s founding country.

We split into four (highly competitive) teams to see who could complete the 729 mile-round-trip first – starting in Carrick-a-Rede and ending in Giant’s Causeway. Team ‘Good Things Come To Those Who Walk’ were the winners, pipping the ‘Sham-rockers’ to the post, but there was fantastic effort put in by each team, covering a total of 3,603 miles and taking 8,377,268 steps collectively, raising over £1,000. Read more here.

people on webcams during a zoom conference

With springtime came new starters joining our growing agency – we welcomed back Consultant Analyst, Alison Ogden, and introduced Dan Henley to the analysis team. Dan kindly documented his first few months working at Wood for Trees in a blog – check it out here!

We collaborated with Charity Digital in April, co-hosting a live webinar featuring our Director of Analysis, Andrew Sargent, and Consultant Analyst, Rob Dyer, focusing on fundraising KPIs and benchmarking. Watch the webinar and read the corresponding article here.

A collaboration with Open shortly followed, focusing even more on benchmarks, with the launch of their annual Charity Benchmarks Report, which we supported providing data analysis using InsightHub.

Did you know, Wood for Trees is a recognised supplier of both MemberWise and Memcom? May saw our attention divert from the charity sector ever so slightly, as we branched further into the membership sector, attending MemberWise Digital Excellence 2022 – our first in-person conference since Covid!

3 people stood in front of the wood for trees banner

3 people stood in front of the wood for trees banner

The Memcom conference followed shortly after in June, where Jon and Rob presented a session on how to engage with members using data to delegates, featuring our email foundation audit case study with Swim England (read it here). Jon has also written a blog series focusing on acquiring and retaining the right members and engaging with them, which feature on the MemberWise website here.

wood for trees exhibition stand

With summer came a new whitepaper and live webinar, this time explaining how text analysis can reveal supporter motivations. Co-written by our Analysts Stephen Brown and Kayleigh Philps, they explain how our recent feasibility study in conjunction with the University of Bath showed that fundraising event supporters can be segmented and categorised based on psychological motivations via innovative machine learning techniques. Read about psychological motivations here. Plus, request a free copy of the whitepaper here and replay the webinar here.

zoom call

In July, as Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising (CIOF) Insight in Fundraising Special Interest Group, Jon was invited to speak at the annual CIOF Fundraising Convention at the Barbican in London. We’d just released our six-month update to the State of the Sector Report, so he informed delegates of current charity sector trends alongside InsightHub Product Manager, Josh Hopkinson.

With the UK cost-of-living crisis beginning to worsen, Jon also joined DTV Group in their live webinar in July to delve into the contents of their new donor survey, to see now the economic crisis had been affecting supporters and their ways of giving post-pandemic. Watch the webinar here and read a summary here.

To kick off awards season, we were delighted that Kayleigh Philps was shortlisted for DataIQ’s New Talent Award. More to come on awards later…

dataiq awards shortlist 2022

In September, we continued our charitable efforts, completing a voluntary beach clean for the Marine Conservation Society at very wet and windy Uphill Beach, Weston-Super-Mare. Being data gurus, we were excited to receive a full breakdown and visualisations of the 452 items we collected – read more here. In the same month, we also had enjoyable evening hosting a team charity quiz, which raised £140 for Concern Worldwide.

3 men picking up litter

We launched our very own podcast in September – The Non-Prophets Podcast! With Rob as lead host, he strives to debunk myths, unravel challenges and discover opportunities using data and insight speaking with other experts in the sector. First up, Rob and Stephen grill Jon about his eclectic career history and what barriers and breakthroughs he’s experienced working in the charity data sector. In our second episode, we explore data science with our resident Data Scientist, Kate Houghtaling. Listen to the podcast by searching for The Non-Prophets Podcast wherever you stream podcasts or listen here.

the non-prophets podcast

Our collaboration with Charity Digital was such a hit, we decided to revisit fundraising KPIs with a cost-of-living twist, with Andrew and Rob co-hosting another live webinar and co-authoring a useful guide for fundraisers – replay the webinar here and request a free copy of the whitepaper here.

a fundraisers guide to key performance indicators

And the awards just keep coming! We’ve had a magnificent end to the year by winning not one, not two, but THREE awards in the space of a month. Firstly, Wood for Trees is a winner of the Reimagining Fundraising Global Innovation Challenge 2022, receiving funding to pilot a charity project using our new, innovative high value donor identification algorithm in InsightHub Predict. Jon also presented our entry to delegates at the International Fundraising Congress in Amsterdam! Read more here.


Photo credit: Reimagining Fundraising

Our sales and solutions teams also attended Apteco Live, where Matthew participated in a discussion panel to talk about how the finalists of the Best Use of Apteco Software Award 2021 have progressed with their projects – we were finalists alongside our client, Cats Protection, last year. Read more here.

This year, not only did we WIN the Best Use of Apteco Software Award jointly with our client, Teenage Cancer Trust, after Nick and Teenage Cancer Trust’s Mass Participation Project Manager, Harriet Durban, presented our entry to delegates, but we also won Apteco Partner of the Year – a double whammy! Read more here.

5 people with an award

We’ve also continued our fundraising efforts in the lead up to Christmas. Some of the team have just completed Concern Worldwide’s Ration Challenge. When it’s so tempting to indulge on winter comfort food, Bean, Rob and Lesley were only allowed to consume the same rations as a Syrian refugee living in a camp would have. They valiantly completed the challenge, fighting headaches and hunger, raising over £600! We also participated in Christmas Jumper Day for Save the Children’s annual appeal.

christmas zoom call

What a fantastic way to end a brilliant year – we’re absolutely delighted to continue being your award-winning team of data experts. We wish you all a very merry Christmas and happy New Year and look forward to catching up with all our wonderful clients and suppliers in 2023.

merry christmas from wood for trees