Fri, March 07 2014
Filed under: Fundraising essentials •
The Millennial generation—those 80 million folks born roughly between 1979-99—may not be your organization’s largest contributors today, but these “digital natives” are poised to receive the largest transfer of wealth from their Baby Boomer and Greatest Generation parents and grandparents. Nearly $41 trillion is expected to flow from one generation to the next in the decades to come. Yes, Boomers will continue be your fundraising bread and butter over the next few years, but there’s no denying the fact that Millennials will become more important to the long-term future of charitable giving.
For your cause to survive well into the future, you must have a plan for attracting and retaining this cohort of supporters. To do this, you first need to understand and adjust to the fact that Millennials communicate and interact with marketing differently than previous generations. More than any other generation, they rely on digital and mobile technology to connect to friends, family and organizations they care most about. So what does this mean for nonprofits?
Don’t brush Millennials off as non-donors.
Keep in mind that this generation already wields nearly $200 billion in direct purchasing power. Millennials are giving to charity, but not in the numbers or dollar amounts of their older counterparts—yet. According to the Millennial Impact Report, nearly 40% gave amounts between $1-50, and another 23% gave at $51-100 levels in 2012. Though Millennials may not be ready to give larger individual gifts, there’s an opportunity to raise more over time, as 52 percent of the Millennial Impact Report’s respondents said they’d be interested in monthly giving.
While Millennials are giving at different levels, they’re also giving in different ways. Blackbaud’s The Next Generation of American Giving report underscores the importance of these key generational differences in communication and giving preferences. It’s no surprise that Millennials overwhelmingly prefer to give online, and that direct mail and phone solicitation are unpopular with this group of young donors. These donors are more likely to give via mobile or through social media, as they see these methods as being a core way of interacting with the world. If ever there was a reason to segment your donors and match them with the appropriate giving channel, here it is.
Beyond how they donate, where the money goes is equally important to Millennial donors. Being able to quickly and clearly illustrate impact is key to activating these givers. Tell them exactly what will happen as a result of their donation and give them the proof to back it up. Only 22 percent of Millennial donors said they would be likely to give an unrestricted gift to a charity, according to The Next Generation of American Giving report. This makes it even more crucial to tie all donations to a measurable impact to gain trust.
To Millennials, the experience matters.
No matter the message, if your outreach doesn’t meet their expectations in terms of accessibility and authenticity, your organization’s results of engagement with this group will suffer. Some things to remember:
Share and connect. The most frequent action taken by Millennials on a nonprofit’s website was connecting with the organization via social media. So, plan to use your website as a hub for younger donors to find ways to connect with you. But note that these supporters prefer to share information about the causes that resonate with them, not specific organizations.
Giving is social. The 2013 Millennial Impact Report states that over 70 percent of Millennials are willing to raise money on behalf of causes that matter to them. This means these young supporters can be powerful fundraising messengers, because they love to spread the word. They like to find out about ways to get involved from their peers online, so make sure you’re equipping them with the right tools to share your message and volunteer opportunities with their networks.
Authenticity is paramount. Trust and transparency are increasingly important for all donors, and Millennials are no exception. They have grown up questioning the media and messages presented to them—they are used to having equalizing platforms like social media at their fingertips. Being upfront about your mission and how you accomplish it will win you favorable ratings from this group, as will having an authentic, personal approach to the way you communicate with supporters. No faceless messages devoid of personality, please!
Involvement, not just awareness. Millennials are interested in true involvement with the causes they support. They view themselves as collaborators, and not just hands-off donors. The NextGen Donors report sees this interest as this generation’s way of developing a sense of self while building their philanthropic identities.
Engagement, then participation. Millennials, like most other donors, don’t want to be bombarded with messages or endlessly solicited. As this generation is likely to tune out irrelevant messages much more quickly, it will be critical for nonprofits to focus on building a relationship with younger supporters and making the case for involvement before asking for a commitment.
Want to find out how you can combine these trends with technology to build relationships with Millennial donors and volunteers?
Next week, we’ll tackle these topics during the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference in our Big Idea panel: The Power of Technology and Leveraging a New Generation Network. This panel brings together new generation experts to explore how to leverage technology to inspire and collaborate with the Millennial Generation. Here are the smart folks who will be joining me for this session:
Todd Baylis, President & Co-Founder, Qgiv
John Clese, Director of Marketing, Strategic Initiatives, Abila
Becky Leven, Strategic Development Officer, Tendenci
Michael Rubio, Senior Program Manager, ZeroDivide
Jason Shim, Digital Media Manager, Pathways to Education Canada
Together, we’ll dig into how Millennials use technology, what it means for you, and we’ll share key strategies you can adopt to engage them on your organization’s behalf. We’d love to have you join us for this discussion. You’ll leave with new ideas on engaging young volunteers, strategies for fundraising with a new generation, and tips for successfully experimenting with technology to build your own Millennial network.
If you’ll be at NTC in person, we hope you’ll join us for this conversation. If you can’t attend NTC this year, this session is part of the Online NTC live stream, so you can participate from your computer, wherever you may be!
Tue, March 04 2014
Filed under: Fundraising essentials •
According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report, 105% of donors gained by nonprofits were offset by lapsed donors. Let that sink in for a minute: for every 100 new donors that came through the door, 105 walked out. Not exactly the growth most nonprofits are looking for.
One of the best ways to improve your donor churn rate is to improve your donor communications.
Here are six of the worst donor communication mistakes, and some tips for how to avoid them:
1. The “One and Done”
Sadly for some donors, the only “communication” they receive from the nonprofits they support is a donation receipt. Others may receive a nice thank you letter, but not much else.
How to avoid: Plan a series of ongoing communications with your donors. In addition to your nonprofit newsletter, provide quarterly updates for donors on the impact of their gifts, and show what goes on behind the scenes to make it happen. Create an editorial calendar and include your donor outreach as one key component to track.
2. The “Me Me Me”
Some causes suffer from nonprofit narcissism. They mean well, but their messages are devoid of one key ingredient: the donor. People who support your work also want to feel like part of your team.
How to avoid: Instead of talking only about the work you’re doing, reframe your communications to underscore how the donor is making your work possible. Use the word “you” more than “we”, and highlight the work of individual donors and volunteers to bring these stories to life.
3. The “Broken Record”
All too often, I see organizations sharing the same updates over and over. This is great … if you want to bore your donors. Unless you’re sharing success story after success story, your donors may wonder if you’re doing anything new or making any progress.
How to avoid: This is another way an editorial calendar can help you improve your donor communications. Create a list of stories, events, announcements, and seasonal topics that are relevant to your cause—and your donors—then, plot them out on your calendar to incorporate variety in your newsletters, impact updates, and social media outreach. Stuck for ideas? Ask your donors, volunteers, and beneficiaries for their input. They have a different perspective than you and probably have some fresh suggestions. Another option: tap your board to share a short update or quote for you to use in your next message.
4. The “Word Vomit”
Are you guilty of sharing too much information? When it comes to your donor outreach, is “verbose” an understatement? If your messages feel like solid walls of text, your supporters are less likely to bother reading them—and may feel like you don’t respect their time.
How to avoid: In most cases, people scan more than they read. This means that short, skimmable text works best, especially online. Use a “tease and link” strategy in your emails if you have longer stories to share. To make your messages even more readable, cut any acronyms, jargon, or insider language that will leave donors scratching their heads.
5. The “Disconnected”
Do you ever feel like you’re talking, but no one seems to be listening? Most often, this is because you’re not communicating in a way that reflects what your donor wants to hear. This often happens when organizations aren’t in sync with why their donors give.
How to avoid: Talk to your donors to understand why they care about your issue and what prompted them to give. Ask for feedback on your communications and let your donors have a say in how they hear from you. Try segmenting your donors by how they came to your organization, their level of giving, or by the specific programs they support. Then, communicate with them based on these parameters to make your message more relevant.
6. The “Show Me the Money”
You know that relative who never calls—except when he needs something from you? Don’t be that guy. When donors only hear from you when you have an appeal, they may start to wonder what happened to the money they already gave you.
How to avoid: Implement a “share vs. ask ratio” in your organization’s communication. Plan to send a certain number of cultivation or update messages for every time you send an appeal.
(For more donor stewardship ideas, try our checklist.)
‘Fess up: are you guilty of any of these mistakes? What would you add to the list? Which communication missteps bug you the most? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Mon, March 03 2014
Filed under: Fun stuff •
We’re really excited to have this year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference right in our back yard here in Washington, DC. If you’ll be in town for the conference, please make sure you stop by and say hi. We’d love to see you!
Here are all the ways you can get in touch with Network for Good while you’re at NTC:
NTC Science Fair: Visit us at booth #235 to meet our team, take a picture in our photo booth, pick up some NFG swag, and learn about how to make the most of Network for Good’s online fundraising tools. Don’t forget, the Science Fair is open to the public. So even if you’re not registered for the conference, come by to say hello!
Breakout Sessions: Join our Director of Content Strategy, Caryn Stein, for two breakout sessions on Friday, March 14, 2014
- 10:30 am: The Amazing Data Show: How Donors Are Giving and How Nonprofits Are Investing in Our Growing Digital Landscape
- 3:30 pm: The Power of Technology and the Millennial Generation
Progressive Party: Come meet the whole Network for Good team and help us celebrate processing $1billion in donations! We’ll be providing food, drinks, and tons of fun on Friday, March 14, 2014 from 9-11pm ET in downtown DC.
We hope to see you at one (or all!) of these events next week.
Fri, February 28 2014
Filed under: Marketing essentials •
Next week, we have a treat for nonprofit fundraisers and communicators alike. Taylor Corrado, Nonprofit Marketing Manager of HubSpot will join us for a free webinar to talk about the ins and outs of great content for nonprofits. As far as I’m concerned, HubSpot is one of the very best examples of a company who gets it right when it comes to publishing useful resources and delighting their audience. So, what does all of this content business have to do with you? Here are five ways content can help your fundraising efforts:
1. Great content helps you get found. Organizations who regularly post high-quality, relevant content have a better chance of ranking higher in search for keywords that supporters are using to find similar causes.
2. Great content gives your supporters something to talk about. If you want your fans to help you spread the word about your cause and the work you do, you’ll make it a lot easier on them if you’re providing information that is compelling and sharable.
3. Great content helps you illustrate impact. Remember all of those success stories you have tucked away in a file somewhere? Those great nuggets help you show donors exactly what their contribution will do. This helps you make the case for giving and allows you to put a human face on your cause.
4. Great content builds authority. Donors and partners want to know that you know your stuff. Writing pieces that demonstrate your experience and knowledge of your issue area will help you become even more credible. (Bonus: this also helps when reporters are looking for reliable sources for a story, which will help you get more attention.)
5. Great content reinforces trust. Hand in hand with points 3 and 4 above, content helps you show who you are to your prospective donors. This type of transparency boosts trust, which can remove mental roadblocks to giving.
To learn how to make this happen for your organization, join next week’s webinar (details below). Once you’ve registered, share your burning questions about content in the comments. What types of content are you creating?
Free Webinar: How to Use Content to Boost Your Donations
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 | 1pm EST
(Can’t make it for the live session? Go ahead and register—we’ll send you the recording so you can review it at your convenience.)
Mon, February 24 2014
[Editor’s note: Today’s post comes to us from David Hartstein, partner at Wired Impact, a web design company that builds websites for nonprofits. David shares some helpful hints on tracking and interpreting key fundraising metrics through Google Analytics.]
Data can be daunting. Not only can the idea of delving into numbers be intimidating, but there are also a ton of terms you need to wrap your head around before anything makes much sense. And even after you have a grasp of the terminology it’s tough to know where to start.
When it comes to measuring your nonprofit’s online fundraising efforts, it’s easy (and common) to get lost, floating amidst the sea of data available.
What data matters the most? And how do you find it? While there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer, there is a common starting point.
Everything Centers Around Online Profit
The first key when measuring online fundraising is a sound mindset. Instead of giving every metric equal weight, remember:
All the decisions you make with regards to online fundraising center around online profit.
That’s the bottom line. If fundraising is one of your website goals, online profit should be your primary concern when measuring online fundraising. The metrics outlined below don’t matter in their own right. They only matter insofar as they ultimately lead to more overall dollars for your organization.
Total profit from online giving is the metric that should keep you up at night. It’s the one that you should celebrate first and foremost when reviewing your website data. It’s the one that should determine if your website is a success (again, assuming boosting donations is one of your primary website goals).
But profit isn’t easily tracked in most analytics tools since most tools are unaware of your expenses. So while you need to be mindful of your expenses, when using your analytics tool you’ll likely focus on revenue instead of profit.
Become consumed with driving up your online revenue. Then, use the metrics below to determine how you actually make that happen.
How to Configure Google Analytics
Before diving into the metrics, it’s worth noting that while we’re using Google Analytics here, you can likely measure similar metrics with whatever analytics tool you’re using. If you’re using a system outside of your website to accept donations, you should check out what analytics and reporting they have available.
Also, while Google Analytics is incredibly powerful and free, it takes a bit of configuring to allow you to measure everything I outline here. The full details on configuration fall outside the scope of this post, but to get started, you’ll need to do the following:
· Set up receiving a donation as a goal in your Google Analytics. (The easiest way is to create a “Thanks for Donating” page that users see after they donate and set this up as a Destination Goal in Google Analytics. If you’re using Network for Good’s DonateNow, a confirmation/thank you page is already created for you.)
· Set up an advanced segment for Donors that includes users who complete your goal of making a donation.
· If possible, set up Ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics to see actual revenue numbers.
· If you’re using a third-party application to accept donations off of your website, set up cross-domain tracking (if possible) to pass data back to your Google Analytics account.
If you need further help, explain what you’re looking to do to your web developer and ask them to get it all set up for you. Sometimes the setup gets a bit technical.
But once it’s set up you’ll be able to see the following helpful metrics in Google Analytics.
1. Landing Pages Leading to the Most Donations
A landing page is the first page a visitor lands on when they come on your site.
Look at which landing pages are leading to the most donations, both in total revenue and total number of donations. Pick your best landing pages and examine what makes them so great. Do you have compelling stories or strong calls to action?
But solely looking at donation totals can be skewed by traffic. Your most popular pages are likely driving more donations largely because they get more visitors. For that reason, it’s important to also look at the Ecommerce Conversion Rate. This rate shows what percentage of visitors landing on a given page end up making a donation. Pages with higher conversion rates are more efficiently convincing website visitors to become donors.
Consider both donation totals and conversion rates together to determine which pages are most effective. Then use what’s working from these landing pages on some of your other popular landing pages to drive up online revenue.
How to Find It
To see which landing pages are leading to the most donations:
1. Select your Donors advanced segment (outlined above)
2. In the left sidebar, select Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages
2. Traffic Sources Leading to the Most Donations
It can also be beneficial to track which traffic sources are driving the most donations on your website. Maybe you’re getting a lot of traffic from one source (like search), but visitors from another traffic source (like your email newsletters) are ultimately making more donations.
Knowing which traffic sources are driving the most donations can help you determine which ones are working and which ones may need more attention. You can also take what’s working from one traffic source and figure out the best way to apply it to another in order to drive more donations.
How to Find It
To see which traffic sources are leading to the most donations:
1. Make sure All Visits is selected (instead of your Donors advanced segment)
2. In the left sidebar, select Acquisition > Channels
3. Average Value of a Donor from Each Traffic Source
If you’ve set up Ecommerce tracking, calculating the average value of a donor from each traffic source can help you determine where to focus your energy. If visitors from a specific source tend to donate more on average, it’s likely worth trying to drive more traffic from that source to see if the trend holds.
How to Find It
To calculate the average value of a donor from a specific traffic source:
1. Select your Donors advanced segment
2. In the left sidebar, select Acquisition > Channels
3. Perform the following calculation for each traffic source:
Revenue / Unique Visitors = Avg. Donor Value for Traffic Source
Remember, you’re calculating the average value of a donor, not a visitor. To calculate the average value of a visitor from a given traffic source, you’ll need to view All Traffic instead of your Donors advanced segment.
4. Referrals Leading to the Most Donations
A referral is when a visitor comes to your site by clicking a link from another website. This could be in a press release, in an article about one of your events, or in a comment you left on someone’s blog with a link back to your site.
Drilling down into your referrals will show you what sites are worth your time and which ones aren’t producing the results you’d like to see.
How to Find It
To see which referrals are leading to the most donations:
1. Make sure All Visits is selected
2. In the left sidebar, select Acquisition > All Referrals
3. Click the “Transactions” column header in the Ecommerce section to sort by number of transactions
5. Popular Pages Prior to Visiting Your Donation Page
There are likely multiple paths a visitor can take to make a donation on your website. Tracking the page before a visitor comes to your donation page will show you what pages are resonating with your potential donors.
Some pages (like a Get Involved page) will probably make sense. But others (like a particularly moving blog post) may surprise you.
Figure out which ones are working. Incorporate whatever you think is working well into other popular pages whenever you can.
How to Find It
To see which pages are popular prior to visiting your donation page:
1. Make sure All Visits is selected
2. In the left sidebar, select Behavior > Site Content > All Pages
3. In the list of URLs under the Page column, click the URL for your donation page
4. Once you only see traffic to your donation page, click the blue Navigation Summary tab just above the graph
5. Focus on the Previous Page Path list to see what pages visitors viewed before your donation page
These Metrics are Just the Beginning
While these five metrics can serve as a good starting point, they really are just the beginning when it comes to figuring out how to propel your nonprofit’s online fundraising forward. Some metrics that are interesting in your situation may not provide much insight to another organization.
Figure out what data will help you tell the story behind your online revenue numbers. Then focus on those pieces of data that matter most to ultimately raising the amount of money you hope to raise online.
Which metrics do you focus on when measuring your nonprofit’s online fundraising? Anything that doesn’t make sense to you or something you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments below.