Mon, April 21 2014

Major Gifts 101: Free Webinar

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

Two keys for your organization’s financial success are to diversify funding sources and foster giving at every donation level. Having distinct strategies for your entry level, mid-level, and major donors will allow you to customize your relationship with these audiences and communicate to them in a much more effective way. This is especially important when pursuing major donors. If done well, your major gifts program can lead you to other donors and become a cornerstone of your fundraising strategy.

Tomorrow we’re hosting what might be the most important webinar you’ll attend all year. Fundraising expert Michael Brodie will join us to offer a clear framework for your major gifts program and show you how to involve your board in the process. Michael is the managing partner at Brodie Collins Consulting and has over 35 years of experience helping nonprofit clients to develop strategic fundraising plans, create case statements, and provide support for capital and endowment campaigns. Whether you’re looking to create a major gifts program at your organization or need to revive an existing major donor list,  this session will give you the tools you need to identify the right prospects, make the ask, and tap your board to raise more funds.

Free Webinar:  Major Gifts 101
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 | 1pm ET
Register now.
(Can’t attend the live session? Register to receive a copy of the slides and a recording of the presentation by email.)

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Fri, April 18 2014

How to retain more donors through recurring giving

Laura Tubesing's avatar

Senior Manager of Customer Success, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

I recently had the chance to host a webinar with two of Network for Good’s DonateNow customers, Renee O’Donnell from SIFF and Katie Matney from The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. Our goal was to understand how they’re retaining more donors through recurring giving at their respective organizations. With 70% of donors never returning to make a second gift, we were eager to learn from two peers who are building and retaining a large sustaining network of recurring donors.

While SIFF is primarily membership-based, The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio takes a more traditional view of recurring donors through their 1,000 Women campaign; however, during our Q&A session we uncovered four common themes despite the different approaches.

Here are four takeaways for executing a successful recurring giving program for your organization:

1. Start donors as recurring donors. A small, monthly recurring gift is an easy entry point for donors. A gift of $10 or $15 a month is easier to budget for than a gift of $50, and with services like DonateNow, those donations can be automatically processed—no extra effort for you or your donors. Our data shows that recurring donors give 42% more over the course of 1 year than a one-time donor does. In addition, your recurring donors will likely do more than just make a recurring gift. For both SIFF and The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, recurring donors make additional one-time gifts throughout the year, attend events, and encourage their networks to support and donate. In short, these recurring donors are the most loyal and generous supporters over time.

2. Thank donors within 48 hours. In addition to any automatic tax receipts you send after every donation, thank your donors for every gift within 24 to 48 hours. A thank-you letter, hand-written note, or phone call within that time frame is one of the easiest things you can do to keep a donor giving. However, for recurring donors especially, listen to the donor’s feedback. If a donor doesn’t want an acknowledgement every month, don’t send one. Listening and responding to a donor’s wishes makes him or her feel heard and appreciated—and more likely to give for longer! Both Katie and Renee suggest that fundraisers make thank-yous a team effort and involve everyone in their organization. Remember, it’s your donors who allow you to continue your mission.

3. Have a plan to engage donors once they get in the door. I love how Katie from The Women’s Fund described planning for the relationship you want with your recurring donors: How are you going to pick up these donors and take them with you on this ride towards social change? Keep your donors involved with frequent email updates, but pepper in personal touches. Take your recurring donors to coffee, write them a quick email, hold special events for them, and ask them for their feedback.Giving is highly personal, so make sure you understand what inspires your donors to give.

4. Make it manageable. The above advice may sound like it requires a lot of effort. While that can be true, both Renee and Katie offered tips to make this work at your organization:

Have a plan. Recurring donors are your most loyal supporters and they should be treated like it! Map out how your organization interacts with recurring versus one-time donors. Those with recurring gifts should receive more frequent communications. It’s easier to save time if you’re following a thought-out strategy and process, so set aside some time upfront for planning.

Make sure your plans allow you to achieve success. Don’t promise you’ll send hand-written thank you notes to each donor if you don’t have the resources. Instead, strive toward a signed letter from your executive director within 24 hours.

Make small but regular progress. By making a habit of doing something small every day to improve either the number or loyalty of your recurring donors, you’ll create a habit that allows you to be more effective and successful over time. Check out the article by Gretchen Rubin: “Best Advice: Make A Habit of Something Every Day.” Katie credits it for helping her start and maintain her donor acknowledgement program.

Thanks to both Katie and Renee for sharing their stories with the Network for Good community! For more tips on making recurring giving a part of your fundraising strategy, listen to the full recording of this webinar, Getting Donors to Give Again and Again: The Secret Recipe.

 

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Mon, April 07 2014

How to Rock Crowdfunding and Giving Days—Free Webinar

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

Planning a giving day this year? Thinking of joining one? The power of crowdfunding and a dedicated fundraising event can attract new donors to your cause and help you raise more money, but it doesn’t happen by chance. Part of any effective giving day is the network of support and resources a community giving day can offer. To that end, we have an amazing session scheduled this week to help you get the most out of your efforts. Tomorrow, Lori Finch, Kimbia’s Vice President of Community Foundations, will join us to share a foolproof game plan for getting the most out of any giving day.

In this free webinar, we’ll cover:

  • How giving days work
  • The key strategies for crowdfunding success
  • What you need to do to take advantage of available resources and raise more money during a 24-hour giving event


Plus, we’ll have plenty of time to answer all of your burning questions. Whether or not you have a giving day on your calendar, don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about adding crowdfunding and giving days to your fundraising portfolio.


Free Webinar:  Crowdfunding Events—How to Drive Donations in One Day
Tuesday April 8, 2014 | 1pm EDT
Register Now.

(Can’t attend on Tuesday?  Register anyway to get access to the recording and slides. We’ll send them right to your inbox!)

 

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Mon, March 31 2014

Don’t Like the Answer You’re Getting? Change the Question

Melissa Raimondi's avatar

Content Producer, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

As the volunteer coordinator for Gift of Life Michigan, Kim Zasa sent volunteers to church fairs and festivals in the hope that people would want to become organ donors. Although she had 800 volunteers attending countless events, only 11% of Michigan’s residents were organ donors. Today that number is about 33%.

So what changed? How did Gift of Life Michigan recruit so many new donors?

According to a recent story on NPR, responses changed when Kim convinced the state to have DMV clerks ask customers, “Would you like to be an organ donor?” Putting your ask—and your resources—in the right place at the right time is the key to getting the results you want!

1.   Determine what’s not working—and be willing to experiment.
Kim had an army of volunteers at her disposal who were willing to drive long distances for a cause they believed in. When she didn’t see the results she wanted, she took action.

Is there an area of your nonprofit that isn’t seeing the results you’d like? Don’t just assume things will improve. Determine what’s working and what’s not, and then brainstorm about what you can do differently.

2.   Analyze how you’re using your resources.
Instead of sending her volunteers on road trips, Kim put them to work in other ways and employed stationary DMV employees to make the ask. These clerks regularly saw almost the entire adult population of the state, so they were well positioned to speak to more people than Kim’s volunteers were.

Are you using the resources you have—both time and money—to their full capacity? Are volunteers solving a pain point for you and helping you in the most beneficial way? If not, how can you modify their tasks to be more effective for your cause?

3.  Put your question in the right place at the right time.
Instead of making the ask in places where people weren’t already making decisions beyond ice cream or cotton candy, Kim combined the ask with an established routine. If someone wanted to become a donor at a festival, they had to take multiple steps and time out of their entertainment to sign up. Making the ask at the DMV made it easy for potential donors to say yes, with no extra action required.

Are you positioning your request in the best way possible? Does saying yes require multiple steps that make it less likely you’ll see the result you want? For instance, when you ask for donations online, do your supporters first have to click through multiple pages, or is it simply one click and done?

Think about how you can adjust how, when, and where you’re making an ask to better your odds of getting through to your target audience. Have you tried something similar? Share your results and suggestions in the comments below!

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Wed, March 26 2014

New Study: Are You Leaving Money in the Middle?

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

Mind the gap.

That’s the advice in a new report on mid-level donor programs. The folks at Sea Change Strategies caution that nonprofits are missing out on a ton of money simply because they’re overlooking a committed and productive audience: middle donors —the donors who give more than low-dollar direct marketing donations, but less than major gift targets.

The Missing Middle whitepaperTHE MISSING MIDDLE: Neglecting Middle Donors Is Costing You Millions, by Sea Change Strategies’ Alia McKee and Mark Rovner, does double duty as a wake-up call and roadmap for creating effective mid-level donor programs. The study is based on interviews and data from 27 organizations and experts, including heavy hitters like Roger Craver and nonprofits such as The Nature Conservancy and the Human Rights Campaign. The free whitepaper includes:

  • 8 habits of highly-effective mid-level donor programs
  • A sample framework for a 30-day action plan
  • In-depth profiles of two highly effective mid-level programs

Fresh from the AFP conference in San Antonio, Alia McKee shares some more insight about The Missing Middle:

How do you distinguish mid-level giving from a major donor program? Is it simply the dollar amount or are there other things going on here?
Alia: It’s really about the dollar amount. Of course the definition of middle donor varies from organization to organization, but it tends to hover anywhere between $250-$9,000 cumulative in a year.

In the report, you touch on possible challenges on getting executive buy-in.  Can you give us some ideas on how to make the case for investing in a mid-level donor program?
Alia:1. Among the groups participating in the Wired Wealthy Study, donors at the $1,000 to $10,000 levels (annual giving via all channels) represented roughly one percent of the donor population, but were giving more than a third of the dollars. That’s a HUGE amount of revenue.
2. Middle donors are actually an organization’s most committed donors. They will be retained and upgraded far more than smaller donors and far more than major donors. They represent a very significant block of money, commitment and loyalty.
3. A functional and philosophical gap exists between direct marketing programs and major gifts programs. Hence, middle donors often receive lackluster treatment that is driven by attribution wars and resentment across the organizational divide. But their capacity to give is huge—so minor tweaks to their treatment can yield big results in revenue.

What was the biggest surprise for you in this research?
Alia:  Despite the fact that every fundraiser and expert we talked to universally agreed that mid-level donors are exceptionally valuable, they also agreed that most organizations haven’t made the kinds of investments necessary to make the most of this immense opportunity.

Can small shops pursue a mid-level donor program?
Alia:  Absolutely. Small changes in stewardship of middle donors can yield results regardless of an organization’s size. Of course, capacity is an issue. But many nonprofits we spoke to approached this creatively including:

  • Staff pizza parties to stuff personalized mailers to middle donors
  • Volunteer phone calls to middle donors thanking them for their support
  • More substantive content to middle donors culled from other organizational communications


Can your online efforts help your mid-level strategy?
Alia:  Digital outreach is not the silver bullet when it comes to middle donors. You must communicate with those donors across channels (e.g. be channel agnostic) and give them substantive communications in person, via phone, by notecard or by email. Ideally, you’d reach them through their self-selected preferred channels.

Just for fun:  Monie in the Middle or Malcolm in the Middle?
Alia:  Malcolm in the Middle, but only because of Bryan Cranston!

Get in touch with your Missing Middle. Download the report for free.

 

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