Tue, September 01 2015

How to Shift Giving: New Money for Good Research Released

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Big Thoughts on Giving • Fundraising essentials •

Of all of the research I reference in webinar and conference presentations, the Money for Good studies are a longtime favorite. By delving into the true giving motivations and habits of donors, fundraisers can create more effective strategies and stronger appeals to inspire more giving. These are exactly the kind of insights that the Money for Good research offers.

That’s why I’m happy to share that the latest Money for Good report from Camber Collective, the result of Hope Consulting and SwitchPoint LLC’s merger, has been released today. Money for Good 2015 seeks to answer the question, “Why has giving been stuck at 2% GDP since the 70s?” and offers three key areas of focus to attempt to unlock $47B in U.S. charitable donations.

In particular, the research uncovers four key barriers that are likely preventing donors from giving more to your cause:

    1.  Donors want clearer communication with nonprofits: 49% of donors don’t know how nonprofits are using their money, 34% feel hassled, and 20% are unsure who benefits from the work they’re funding.

    Top Donor Concerns
    2.  Donors don’t know how much they give compared to peers: 75% of Americans think they donate more than average, yet 72% are contributing at a rate that’s below the national average.

    Charitable Giving Peer Comparison
    3.  Name recognition trumps impact: 61% prefer to give to well-known nonprofits but not necessarily the most effective organizations.

    4.  People tend to give the same way year after year: 67% of donors are loyal to primary causes while only 13% intend to give to different nonprofits and only 9% compare nonprofits before giving. Donor Loyalty and Habitual Giving




So, how do you break through these barriers? Camber Collective’s researchers have provided a deep dive on philanthropic segmentation that uncovers five distinct donor types and their attitudes, and offers ways to reframe giving appeals to better communicate to these giving profiles.

Want to dig into the research for yourself? Read the full report and learn more about the Money for Good 2015 segmentation toolkit.

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Wed, July 01 2015

The Two Absolute Requirements for #GivingTuesday Success

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Big Thoughts on Giving • Fundraising essentials • Giving Days •

When I’m not wearing heels, I’m all of 5’1” tall. I like to think of myself as “small but mighty” and I have developed a bit of an independent streak. (This might also be due to the fact that I was born on the 4th of July.) I feel this urge to prove to myself and the world that I am capable of tackling even the most herculean tasks … all by myself. Dragging an area rug into the office for an upcoming conference? Easy. Loading a U-Haul van full of furniture and a big screen television? No sweat. (Ok, maybe a little sweat.)

I’m mostly proud of my independent nature, but it all comes down to balance. By being a DIYer, I sometimes miss the opportunity to tap into the rich support and expertise that I have in my network of friends and colleagues.

Unfortunately, this is also what many organizations fail to do when planning events or considering new initiatives. But tapping into your network and empowering your people is how the magic happens (especially with big fundraising events like #GivingTuesday). Even if you are a small and mighty nonprofit who is used to doing things on your own, let’s agree to do it differently this year. It might feel a little uncomfortable, but it’s time to get out of your comfort zone. There are two things you absolutely must do for a truly successful #GivingTuesday campaign:

Identify your team and activate your community.

Even if you are the smallest organization, it is so important to consider the collective impact of your network and the expertise you can tap. A strong team with a dedicated leader will help you organize your efforts and move your campaign forward. These champions may be your staff, or they may be volunteers, board members, or other partners. And, without a passionate and active community, the energy and contagious enthusiasm of a great #GivingTuesday campaign is quickly lost. Beyond technology, your marketing message, or your fundraising goal, you simply cannot succeed without these two key pieces.

There are 153 days until #GivingTuesday. Now is the time to create a plan for identifying your team and activating your community. Need some help? Download the Guide to a Successful Giving Day, then register for our free webinar later this month, where I’ll help you think through your strategy for #GivingTuesday, from assembling your team to writing effective appeals.

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Tue, May 19 2015

Philanthropy Outlook Rosy, Reports IU Lilly School of Philanthropy

Nancy Schwartz's avatar

Nonprofit Marketing Expert

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Filed under:   Big Thoughts on Giving •

U.S. charitable giving predicted to rise 4.8 percent in 2015.

The tide may be turning!

Giving momentum is strong and getting stronger, according to research findings recently released by the IU Lilly School of Philanthropy and Martz & Lundy.

Here’s more of the good news reported in The Philanthropy Outlook 2015 & 2016:

Philanthropy Outlook
  • Contributions from all giving sources are expected to grow 4.8 percent in 2015 and 4.9 percent in 2016.

  • The bigger picture! Each year’s growth will exceed the average annual growth in total giving in the years following the Great Recession (3.1 percent) and the long-term average for the 40-year trend in total giving for 1973–2013 (3.8 percent).

  • Individual and household giving will see the slowest overall growth in 2015 and 2016, compared with other sources of giving.

  • Foundation and corporate giving is expected to be strong in both 2015 and 2016.

No surprises here, but a hugely important reminder: Broader economic forces will weigh heavily on individuals’ willingness to give and will significantly affect corporations and foundations.

Dig in for yourself: The Philanthropy Outlook 2015 & 2016.

P.S. I find this report more reliable than most because it’s based on rock-solid economic research methods. The researchers applied well-tested financial prediction models to philanthropic giving.

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Tue, May 05 2015

More Must-Read Insight into Millennials: Interview with Kari Saratovsky (Part Two)

Nancy Schwartz's avatar

Nonprofit Marketing Expert

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Filed under:   Big Thoughts on Giving • Crowdfunding •

Read Part One »

After my initial sit-down with Kari Saratovsky, author of the just-released Millennial Donor Playbook (download your free copy here) I was thirsting to know even more about how to engage Millennials.

Here’s the second part of our conversation.

Nancy Schwartz: Kari, every organization, company, and political campaign I know is trying to engage Millennials. How do nonprofits—which have fewer resources—succeed?

Kara Saratovsky: Millennials want to be part of the action and part of the solution.

Nonprofits have to find meaningful ways to involve them and make them feel like a part of this process. It’s critical to engage with Millennials on their terms—allow them to co-create experiences with you.

Also, make engagement easy. Millennials are impulsive and will act on those impulses if it’s easy to act! Be clear and direct with your calls to action. Make it clear how they can engage with your organization.

Your research shows that Millennials support causes, not organizations. Yikes! What’s a nonprofit to do?

KS: Yep. Millennials support causes that are important to them, and they may not care much about the organization behind the cause they support. A shift from the way things have been for sure, but it’s definitely manageable. Here’s how:

Lead your cause or issue by sharing your unique methods and impact. Don’t stop at “like us” (meaning our organization) on Facebook. Go beyond that to show your organization’s unique value: “Like us” because we ensure that every kid in our community goes to bed with a warm meal. “Like us” because we are providing clean water to an entire village in Nairobi.

Lead with what you do, why you matter, who you impact. If you get that right, then Millennials (and everyone else) will connect with you on an emotional level and be more likely to support your organization.

Then what? As the challenge of engaging Millennials is better understood, we’ll be challenged with engaging Generation Z, and so on. How do we do it all?

Relax! We’re finding that there’s more that unites generations today than divides us. Although I’ve focused on understanding (and helping others understand) Millennials, I think it’s time we actually get beyond our obsession with differences among generations.

Instead, I urge nonprofits to work smarter today to stay current, keep communications and messaging relevant, create collaborative environments, and stop trying to reinvent themselves when a new generation comes of age with its unique expectations.

Organizations that want to thrive need to be able to adapt. They need to understand the needs of their stakeholders across generations and create a culture that supports and nourishes those similarities and differences. Go to it!

Download your copy of the Millennial Donor Playbook today.


With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build 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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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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