Tue, June 17 2014

Charitable giving on the rebound, says Giving USA

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:  

The latest Giving USA report was released today, showing that total U.S. charitable giving increased for the fourth consecutive year in 2013. Overall giving grew 4.4% last year to an estimated $335.17 billion, with donations from individuals driving much of the growth that sees giving inching closer to pre-recession levels.

Giving USA

Some highlights:

  • Giving by individuals increased by 4.2%, while corporate giving declined by 1.9%.
  • Individual giving made up 72% of total contributions in 2013.
  • Donations to faith-based organizations were the biggest chunk of overall giving (31%) when segmented by organization type, although gifts to this segment were flat compared to 2012.

Individual giving

You can visit Giving USA for a free summary, or to purchase the full data set and reports.

How do these stats line up with your own fundraising results? Chime in below and let us know how you use reports like Giving USA and what other data you’d like to see .

 

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Mon, June 16 2014

3 basic rules for raising more online

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials • Websites and web usability •

Don’t let the speed and convenience of technology suck the life out of your fundraising. Online or off, you must connect with your donors and inspire them to take action. When creating your online giving strategy, keep these three rules in mind:

1. Keep donors in the moment of giving.
2. Make it easy.
3. Focus on the relationship with the donor.

Here’s a quick slideshow that helps illustrate these key qualities:

Download the full webinar recording and slides, then register for the free Ultimate Donation Page Course to get more in-depth guidance on optimizing your online fundraising.

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Thu, June 12 2014

Mobile Impact: 7 juicy stats + a free webinar

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Mobile •

Next week, I will join PayPal’s Tanya Urschel to present a free webinar,  Mobile Impact 301: How to Raise More Money via Mobile. This event is part of the Mobile Impact series offered in conjunction with BetterWorld Wireless and TechSoup.  The session will take place on Thursday, June 19 at 2pm EDT — register now to reserve your spot.

Tanya and I will share the best practices in mobile fundraising to help you optimize your nonprofit’s mobile experience and increase your online results. You’ll get the inside scoop on the latest research on mobile usage, learn how to engage donors in a mobile world, and find out how to take advantage of the rise of smartphones. (Bonus: Network for Good and PayPal will release a new mobile fundraising whitepaper next week, so you’ll get first dibs on your copy by attending the webinar!)

To tide you over, here are 7 juicy stats to help you think about how mobile might affect your nonprofit fundraising and marketing efforts this year:

58% of all American adults are now smartphone adopters. Source: Pew  Tweet this.

66% of emails were opened on either a smartphone or tablet in Q1 2014. Source: Movable Ink Tweet this.

34% of cell Internet users go online mostly using their phones. Source: Pew  Tweet this.

The average person in the US spends 3.3 hours per day on their smartphone. Source: ExactTarget  Tweet this.

The volume of donations made via mobile grew 204% in 2013. Source: PayPal Tweet this.

Video traffic represented 53% of all mobile traffic at the end of 2013. Source: Cisco  Tweet this.

By the end of 2014, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth! Source: Cisco  Tweet this.

 

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Wed, June 11 2014

The psychology of color and what it means for fundraising

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fun stuff • Marketing essentials •

Color choicesAre you red hot? Or true blue? It’s no secret that color evokes emotion and is a key visual indicator that communicates meaning. But just how much goes on in our minds when it comes to color? Marketing strategist Gregory Ciotti offers an excellent review of how color can influence brand preference and, in turn, how we feel about the messages we receive.

Some highlights:

  • Up to 90% of first impressions of products can be based on color alone.
  • Both men and women appear to have a strong preference for the color blue, while purple tends to be favored more by women, and shunned by men. (Orange and brown don’t seem to get much love at all from either gender.)
  • Our personal experiences and cultural norms influence the way we interpret color.
  • The perceived “appropriateness” of colors used will affect the perception of a brand’s message. (That is, do we generally expect baby blue to communicate power?)


What does any of this have to do with your fundraising approach? The various ways you use color to communicate with your donors can affect how your brand is remembered, and even affect the likelihood of a donor acting on your next appeal.

Be consistent with your nonprofit’s branding.
Ciotti notes that research has shown our brains tend to prefer recognizable brands. Establish a core set of images and colors for your organization and use them consistently throughout your marketing so potential supporters can immediately recognize you. This helps your audience form an association with your work and your visual identity, and can help build a preference for your organization. (Read how ASPCA made orange its signature color.)

Don’t be afraid to stand out.
People often ask what color they should use for their organization’s donation button. Many feel that a strong color, like red, is always the right answer. The reality is that it depends. If your organization’s marketing materials and website are predominantly red or orange, a contrasting color (such as blue) will likely perform much better. Our brains immediately notice the things that deviate from our surroundings. Use this to your advantage and avoid being too color coordinated. Consider how contrasting colors and bold highlights can help your key points and calls to action be seen by busy readers on the go. (Think about how yellow highlighting or red editorial marks in direct mail pieces effectively lead eyes down the page.)

Color descriptions matter.
People seem to gravitate more to colors that have elaborate or more descriptive names. Think raspberry instead of pink, or mahogany instead of brown. This is likely because these names are more specific and allow us to precisely visualize and remember them. While this fact is probably more important to paint manufacturers and fashion designers, it’s worth noting as you incorporate descriptive elements in your nonprofit storytelling. Replace generic descriptions with richer details to paint a more realistic and vivid picture in your donor’s mind.

How are you using color to communicate your organization’s brand values and personality? Have you tested the use of different colors in your fundraising materials? Chime in below and share your experiences or best examples.

 

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Fri, June 06 2014

Use the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly to Strengthen Your Donor Communications

Nancy Schwartz's avatar

Nonprofit Marketing Expert

Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

Donor communications that connect—that appreciate, energize, and activate your prospects and donors—are the key to fundraising success. But you already know that.

What you may not know, however, is that few organizations do donor communications well. Most have lots of room to improve, as evidenced by the focus on donor communications in conference agendas, e-newsletters, blog content in the field, Facebook chats, Twitter discussions, and more. If that’s your organization, you’re not alone!

Integrated Fundraising Report by DonorDigital

Now, with the release of Integrated Fundraising: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, by Mal Warwick/DonorDigital, we have proof of the ways most donor communications fail and the impact of those failures. If you’ve asked for resources to strengthen donor communications and have been turned down or just haven’t found the time to tackle them, this is the kick in the pants you need.

 

These striking findings come from a six-month study of donor communications—both online and offline—from 16 large nonprofits, following online contributions to each organization. Since “multichannel donors are more loyal than single-channel donors,” researchers focused on how much and how well outreach is coordinated across channels for a consistent, recognizable, and satisfying donor experience.

What I love about this report is that the researchers share what’s good, bad, and ugly in multiple dimensions so we get an idea of what’s working well (that is, what to strive for and what’s happening in organizations you’re competing with for donor dollars), as well as what’s not. Take a look at these findings:

  • Thank you letters—a reliable cultivation tactic—arrive way too late or not at all. The quickest thank you letter, sent via USPS, arrived in 12 days. The slowest took 28 days. Eight organizations didn’t mail a thank you at all.

  • Most donor communications content is inconsistent—in tone, message, and or/graphics—across channels, so it’s more likely to confuse and annoy recipients than to strengthen loyalty or motivate them to give. Most organizations do reach out to donors via multiple channels.

  • Follow-up appeals via direct mail are frequently implemented, but that second ask can come months after the initial online gift, diminishing its success rate.

  • Sustainer programs (aka monthly giving) provide a strong base of revenue, especially during economic dips, and “new online donors are highly responsive to monthly giving recruitment.” But only one organization integrated its monthly giving ask into mail and email, whereas four didn’t make monthly giving asks at all.


There’s much more to learn in the full report, and I recommend that you download it now. Wherever your organization currently sits on the good, bad, and ugly continuum, there’s always room to do donor communications better.

With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build the strong relationships that inspire key supporters to action. She shares her deep nonprofit marketing insights—and passion—through consulting, speaking, and her popular blog and e-news at GettingAttention.org.

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