Closing the gap between donor intention and action

When asked which NGO they would donate to, people in Denmark rate Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) the highest, but in reality, conversion is lacking. MSF asked Fjord and Accenture Development Partnerships to help them gain insights into what really drives donations, identify new segments and increase the rate of both recurring and one-off donations.

We framed this as two challenges: 1) how might we make it easier for people to support MSF and 2) how might we help MSF to retain donors? The goal of the project was to uncover what motivates and drives their primary donors, but as MSF’s donor base consists primarily of older generations, it was equally important for us to uncover what drives younger donors – and how MSF can actively engage them.

Donor Mindsets

MSF previously had no way to segment its audience. One of our goals was to help the organization understand where to focus their effort and to create a shared language for the team. Through customer interviews and a wider survey, we discovered and labeled four distinct donor mindsets: The Abundant, The Dutiful, The Oversaturated and The Skeptic.

After the project, the MSF team reported that the mindsets and resulting recommendations would serve as the basis of their strategy for the coming year. We are continuing to work with MSF to help operationalize the mindsets and push forward new concepts to connect with their key mindsets.

It has been a true inspiration to work with the Fjord design team.
Rolf Bangsgaard Fundraising Director, MSF


As the traditional door-to-door collection strategy has been on a downward curve in recent years, the MSF team was keen to develop new ways of engaging with the public without losing donations. Based on our research insights and donor mindsets, we delivered three different, replicable event concepts with large-scale potential that – best of all – are fun and enjoyable, and will help MSF build a lasting relationship with donors.

Design from within

An underlying goal for the entire project was MSF’s wish to learn how to work with design methods and incorporate tools and design thinking into their everyday functions. Throughout the process, we worked very closely with the core client team and focused on not only delivering impactful work, but also communicating each step of the journey in a clear and tangible way that could easily be cascaded to the wider team.

Says Rolf Bangsgaard, Fundraising Director, Doctors Without Borders (MSF): “The Donor Mindsets and the concept of conversations as our core donor product will without doubt be the corner stone in our 2019 strategy – and is likely to shape the foundation of our market approach for years to come. On top, we have learned a lot about agility, design thinking and experimental work methods which we aim to integrate in our culture and work methodology. Ultimately the outcome of the project will help us differentiate from other NGO’s with the impact that MSF Denmark will be able to increase fundraising income in the coming years and hence will be able to finance new medical aid projects across the globe.

The Fjord x MSF cooperation will continue beyond 2018, and we look forward to it.”