Communicating with members

At the core of Shared Interest is a community of members coming together to achieve a shared goal. Although our communications activity is divided into two strands: recruitment and retention, the messaging remains consistent across both: how we can stand together to make positive change.

Member Recruitment

Our analysis shows that new members require a multi-channel approach to communication before opening a Share Account e.g. see an insert, attend an online event and hear about us through word of mouth. In summary, they require at least three forms of communication before taking action to invest.

According to PwC, the UK household savings rate is set to fall by 70% (or £4,000 less) on average compared to the highest levels during the pandemic, and will fall to an average rate of around 6% of household income:

A combination of post-lockdown spending and the rising cost of living will eat into household savings rate, which will decline back to pre-pandemic levels. While this stabilisation is to be expected, there could be a risk the rate will decline further in 2023 if inflation continues, and real wage growth tails off.’


National newspapers and magazines continue to increase their focus on online subscription, registration, and membership. Readership across the publications we work with has remained steady this year and our efforts have been concentrated on titles that have shown a positive impact on increasing membership. 

In line with this, we have expanded our online advertising presence and arranged packages that include online exposure through magazine-associated websites and social media channels. We have also continued with our insert campaigns in subscription-based magazines such as Amnesty and New Internationalist while maintaining our relationships with The Big Issue and Guardian Weekend magazine. 

Our data indicates that we recover the expenditure on such promotional activity within two years. Additionally, we have also conducted research on new titles, using insights from our Member Survey conducted in 2021. This year, we ran insert campaigns in magazines such as The Walk, Earthmatters and Clean Slate magazines.

In February, we commissioned a cover wrap and online homepage takeover with The Big Issue magazine during Fairtrade Fortnight. These activities provided an opportunity to shed light on the message of food insecurity while reaffirming our support of fair trade.

Online Promotion

The ability to apply for a Share Account online is a crucial tool for attracting new members. Typically, Share Accounts are opened with a modest minimum investment of £100, with members gradually increasing their investments in the subsequent months. We are continuously streamlining our online application process to enhance conversion rates, and this year we have enhanced the user experience for our online Member Portal. 

We have also introduced the functionality to access accounts in EUR and USD, building on the progress made last year. This year, we carried out a comprehensive review of the Shared Interest website. We updated images and content to align with our revised ethical content gathering procedure. Collaborating closely with the Lending Team, we developed content for the blog section, addressing key themes like climate resilience and certifications. In response to member feedback, we introduced a new commodities index on our website, promoting products that have a direct connection to the farmers and artisans we support.

Additionally, we expanded our collection of film content by working with Translators including volunteers, to create captions in French, Spanish and Kinyarwanda. This content was integrated into our YouTube channel, website and shared via social media, to enrich our storytelling.

Social Media

In 2023, we strengthened our presence on social media. We diversified content with infographics, direct customer quotes, blog updates and publication features. Our relationship with the Lending Team brought real-time content from our colleagues in the field. Collaborating with our Partnership Manager, we expanded our 'Feed Me Fairtrade' YouTube series, broadening our outreach. We have also created a LinkTree account, consolidating the links to our Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, X and YouTube channels, simplifying and streamlining the user journey and optimising calls-to-action.

Member Retention

This year we have continued to feature themes in our member magazine as set out in our Strategic Review, connecting these themes with the challenges faced. We have also begun to add more interactive content using QR codes, signposting members to engage with content online such as films, social media and information that is more detailed. 

Over a third of our membership reads our member magazine online, via a quarterly email, which achieves an average open rate of 66%, compared to the Email Marketing Benchmark Report, which found the average email open rate was 21.5%, across all industries in 2021.

We continued to enhance readers’ online experience with the use of new page-turning software and an ability to embed films as well as links to related content on our website. We further developed the use of this platform this year including additional interactive content. 

You can read the full Social Accounts document here.

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