Fri, April 24 2015

How Giving is Growing Online: The Latest from the Digital Giving Index

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Big Thoughts on Giving • Fundraising essentials •

Where is online giving going? How do you capture more digital dollars for your cause?

To make a smart plan for your digital giving spend and online fundraising strategy, you need to understand how donors are giving online. Since 2010, Network for Good has published the Digital Giving Index which looks at online giving trends across the Network for Good platform, including both branded and generic donation pages, social fundraising sites, portal giving, and employee giving.

The Network for Good’s Digital Giving Index data represents $233 million in giving for 2014 representing donations to 45,000 charities. While online donations still represent less than 10% of all charitable giving, the growth of online giving continues to outpace the rate of growth for overall giving. In 2014, the donations on Network for Good’s online giving platform increased 23% over 2013.

Digital Giving Index 2014

Here are a few key takeaways from our giving data:

The Channel Matters

Donors give differently depending on the online giving channel they use. While we see portal giving spike during times of disaster or at the end of the year, we still see the majority of online donations coming in through a nonprofit’s website via an online giving page.

Average gift size also fluctuates depending on the channel. The largest average donations come in through employee giving, as these donations are often influenced by corporate matching gifts. 

Donation by Channel

The Experience Matters

Think all giving pages are the same? For online donors, the giving experience matters.

Generic vs. Branded

Year after year we find that nonprofits raise more on branded giving pages vs. generic giving experiences, e-commerce-style solutions, or charity giving portals. Donors are more likely to give, give larger amounts, and initiate more recurring gifts on branded giving pages that look and feel like a nonprofit’s website or fundraising campaign. This makes sense as these types of giving experience offer donors an easy and cohesive experience that keeps them in the moment of giving.

The Rise of Social Fundraising

Social fundraising itself isn’t new, but the power of social media combined with personal networks—along with the ease of online fundraising pages—have enabled this type of peer giving to really take off.

The impact of peer fundraising and socially-driven campaigns has increased dramatically as the tools and communication channels that make it easy for donors to advocate on organizations’ behalf have become mainstream. Social fundraising has seen explosive growth over the last few years, with donation volume growing 70% in 2014. Better still, the average donation amount for gifts through these campaigns has grown 52% just in the last year.

Growth by Channel

Want more insight on social fundraising and how you can use it to expand your reach? Download our free Secrets to Social Fundraising Success guide.

Big Giving on Big Days

It’s no surprise that giving fluctuates over time. We know that average online donation amounts shift with events, such as disasters or giving days, or seasonality. Donors give the largest gifts at the end of the year and during #GivingTuesday.

Average Gift by Date

Of course, December still drives a big share of annual giving. In 2014, 31% of all dollars came in during the month of December with 12% of annual giving happening on the last three days of the year.

Generous Procrastinators

To make the most of these big giving days, it’s crucial to have a solid online giving program in place with a donation experience that fully expresses your case for giving.

View and download the full infographic, and grab a copy of our new companion Online Fundraising Report for more insight on how donors are giving online and how you can make the most of your digital strategy.

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Wed, April 22 2015

Create Great Visuals: 10 Tips and Tools for Nonprofits

Helene Kahn's avatar

Communications and Marketing, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

More and more nonprofits are using visuals to tell their story, illustrate impact, and create a case for giving. But creating visuals can sometimes be costly, time consuming, and seemingly impossible without advanced software. At Network for Good, we see clients using visuals in amazing ways to share their stories, engage donors, and raise more money in ways that are effective, easy, and—guess what?—FREE! We've compiled a top 10 list of tools and techniques to help you incorporate more visuals into your organization's work.

10. Keep it simple! Start by taking and sharing pictures of your team and the people, places, or purpose you serve. Pictures taken with your phone are totally okay!

9. Empower your constituents to help. Ask volunteers, board members, and others involved with your organization to take pictures and send them to you. Then you'll have options to choose from when you need a photo.

Brianne Nadeau is Martha's Table! Supporter/Neighbor/Volunteer + Ward 1 DC Councilmember10 years#IAmMarthasTable at

Posted by Martha's Table on Thursday, April 16, 2015

Martha's Table is encouraging their community to share #IAmMarthasTable photos on social media to celebrate their 35th anniversary.

8. Have pictures, but they need to be edited or jazzed up? Check out Picmonkey, a great free photo editing service.

7. Once you create a great image, make sure it's correctly sized for every social media channel. Our friends at Constant Contact created a great cheat sheet to help you size all your images.

6. Do file names like JPEG, PNG, and GIF confuse you as much as they confuse me? Here's a helpful chart to show you when to use what file type.

5. Still don't have a picture you want to use? Check out this helpful list of stock image sites to find a picture to fit your need.

4. Share your impact using an infographic. Check out Picktochart, a fantastic infographic creator that's free for nonprofits!

3. If you haven't discovered Canva yet, go check it out! Canva is our favorite tool on the marketing team here at Network for Good—and we're pretty sure it'll be your favorite too. Plus, it's free!

2. Join us tomorrow for our next Nonprofit911 webinar, “The Art of Social Media,” featuring Guy Kawasaki, chief evangelist at Canva. Guy will be talking about how to build your online presence and how to use visual tools to do so! Register now!

The Art of Social Media Webinar

We made this graphic with Canva!

1. Have fun and be creative! The days of posed headshots and perfectly positioned group photos are behind us. People engage with brands and organizations in fun, organic, and unique ways. Might we suggest a social media selfie contest?

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Tue, April 21 2015

What Is Social Fundraising Anyway?

Liz Ragland's avatar

Senior Content and Marketing Associate, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

Social fundraising is empowering your supporter base to fundraise on your behalf. Social fundraising is also known as peer-to-peer fundraising, P2P, or personal fundraising.

Think beyond the walkathon

When you think of social fundraising, you probably think of a walkathon, dance marathon, or another event that social fundraisers will attend. Although this is the best-known type of social fundraising, you don’t have to have an event to justify launching a social fundraising campaign.

Project-focused vs. mission-focused fundraising

The most successful social fundraising campaigns are project-based campaigns. Project-based campaigns drive support and excitement about a specific initiative. It’s much easier to encourage social fundraisers to reach out to potential donors with a project-based ask than with a broad appeal.

  • More often than not, when you send an appeal to donors, you are asking them to support your mission. You might feature a story about a client or a recent success, but the story is usually directly related to your day-to-day programming and not a specific need. I like to call this mission-focused fundraising. You are asking donors to support what you do every day. Donors’ dollars help you accomplish your mission.

  • Project-focused fundraising asks donors to fund something specific. There’s a fundraising goal in mind and (usually) a deadline. Here’s an example: A food bank needs to upgrade its freezer by the end of the summer. The board has been recruited as social fundraisers to hit a $15,000 goal.

How do you recruit social fundraisers?

In a traditional fundraising model, you (the nonprofit) send appeals to acquire donors or ask existing donors to give again. In a social fundraising model, you must recruit and motivate supporters to step into the role of fundraiser. Then, you empower these fundraisers to ask their social circle for donations.

Your social fundraising campaign will be the most successful when you find advocates who are excited to serve as fundraisers. Start by reaching out to five to 10 loyal supporters. They could be board members or longtime volunteers. Begin recruiting with people you know and those who know your organization’s mission. Equip these social fundraisers with the tools they need to recruit donors: email templates, a social fundraising donation page, FAQs, and confidence.

PFTC Screen Grab

When to host a social fundraising campaign

Social fundraising campaigns see the most success when the campaign has a firm deadline. Without a date for an event (like a walkathon) on the calendar, how do you set a deadline and put pressure on your fundraisers to bring in donations during a defined time period? It’s not that hard, but you need to get creative.

Think about the timing of holidays and celebrations throughout the year and how you could easily piggyback on these dates. If your cause has an awareness month, use those 30 days as your social campaign timeline. If your cause works with single mothers, a campaign ending on Mother’s Day would be a good fit.

Or think about the nature of your work and any natural timelines that arise. Do you host a summer camp? Organize a social fundraising campaign a month before campers arrive, and announce the total dollars raised during the first meal the campers share together. Does your food bank host a big Thanksgiving meal? Craft a campaign in November that ends on Thanksgiving.

Are you ready?

Although this is not a new model of fundraising, it is evolving thanks to technology and the new ways we share stories and communicate. Social fundraising might be something your supporters have been waiting for. Are you ready for it?

social fundraising guide
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Mon, April 20 2015

Doubling Down on Monthly Giving

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Recurring Giving •

How much do we believe in monthly giving here at Network for Good?

A whole lot.

Today I’m super jazzed to announce that we’ve DOUBLED the amount of Challenge Rewards we’re giving away as part of our Recurring Giving Challenge. Thanks to a generous grant from the Network for Good Generosity Fund, we’re now awarding a total of $20,000 to Network for Good clients with the most successful, creative, and compelling monthly giving campaigns.

Yep, that’s right: twenty large!

How awesome is that?

The challenge ends on April 30, 2015, but there’s still time to join in to improve your monthly giving programs, get more recurring donors, and grab your share of the Challenge Rewards. First, sign up for the Challenge. Then, if you’re not a Network for Good client, I encourage you to reach out to us today and find out how easy it is to get started with more effective online fundraising software. We even have a free demo tomorrow afternoon so you can get all your questions answered.

Need some more inspiration? Catch up with other posts in our Recurring Giving Challenge Series:

How are you making monthly giving a priority at your organization? Please share your plans and results with us in the comments below. Would love to hear how you’re doing!

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Fri, April 17 2015

Nonprofit Spotlight: Firecracker Foundation

Annika Pettitt's avatar

Customer Success Manager, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fun stuff •

Network for Good works with so many amazing nonprofits and we want to introduce you to them and the great work they are doing! Because May is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I want you to meet one of my favorite customers who is doing amazing work helping child sexual abuse survivors heal their whole being.

Meet Firecracker Foundation

Nonprofit Spotlight: Firecracker Foundation

On a day-to-day basis, The Firecracker Foundation works with survivors of childhood sexual trauma through long-term strategies of therapy, arts enrichment, and yoga practice. Their work is focused on healing the whole individual.

On a larger scale, however, The Firecracker Foundation is about community. Tashmica Torok, the founder of Firecracker, has built her organization around the historical idea of community members being charged with keeping the communal fire burning. From their mission to their fundraising strategy, this ethos of the many coming together for a common goal is extremely evident.

Their Model

The Firecracker Foundation challenges their supporters to build a blaze, to be a part of the network that keeps and builds the lively sparks in child survivors. From the adult survivors who serve as mentors to the therapists and yoga instructors who offer their time and expertise, Firecracker truly has built a community of healing around the children survivors they serve. That community isn’t just by happenstance; they’ve consciously made recurring giving the heart of their fundraising strategy as a way to ensure the continued success of their communal work.

Stellar Social Media

Firecracker Foundation takes their emphasis of community involvement and engagement beyond the clients they serve and the advocates they train. They also take that energy to social media. Check out these posts from their social channels:

All that's left on the to do list for 2014. You're $7,000 shy of raising $50,000 and 8 away from 40 firekeepers. A beautiful symbol of a #community invested in the holistic healing of child #survivors of #sexualtrauma #sparkhealing

A photo posted by The Firecracker Foundation (@thefirecrackerfoundation) on

During their year-end campaign Firecracker Foundation’s Instagram feed kept supporters updated on how close they were to hitting their goal.

Meet your very first group of Firecracker Advocates! #trailblazers #volunteermichigan #sparkhealing

A photo posted by The Firecracker Foundation (@thefirecrackerfoundation) on

Social media gives organizations the unique opportunity of giving supporters an inside peek into all the work you do. In addition to their work with sexual abuse survivors, Firecracker Foundation also trains advocates.

We hope to see as many of you there as possible! Help support child abuse prevention, April 23rd! #CAPMonth

Posted by The Firecracker Foundation on Friday, April 17, 2015

Using Facebook to rally attendance at events is a great way to meet supporters where they already are: Facebook.

Due to the sensitive nature of their work, it might not be safe to display the photos of those they serve. However, they embrace that challenge and still share images that show the impact of donors’ gifts, without showing clients’ faces.

Remember those self-care items you donated last month. Well, they were put to some serious use in between yoga classes...

Posted by The Firecracker Foundation on Sunday, April 12, 2015

Don’t worry about constantly generating original content, share content that will resonate with your supporters and promote your mission.

We are honored to serve the Firecracker Foundation as their online donation software provider! You guys are amazing!

As one of our “Spotlight” nonprofits, we encourage you to take a look at the great work they’re doing and spread the love by following them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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