Wed, October 29 2014
A huge “aha” bloomed in my mind as I digested the findings on shifts in giving patterns of rich vs. middle- and lower-income donors recently released by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.*
Mash-up this takeaway with that shared a few months ago (by Sea Change Strategies’ Mark Rovner and Alia McKee) onThe Missing Middle: Neglecting Middle Donors is Costing You Millions and you get a clear call to action for every fundraiser.
Although these two middles are differently defined—the Chronicle’s middle is based on income level, whereas Sea Change’s research highlights middle-level donors (donors who typically give from between $250 to $900/annually to a single organization)—there’s just one conclusion: There’s more value in middle donors than we imagined, and its time right now to close the gap by building and nurturing those relationships.
Here’s the data and analysis that will help you close your organization’s giving gap:
Middle-Income Donors Give MORE of Their Income to Charity than the Wealthy Do
The rich are now giving a much smaller share of their income to charities, while middle–income donors give more, as indicated in 2006 to 2012 income tax data analyzed by the Chronicle:
“Generosity can be measured in many ways, and looking at total dollars donated versus donations in relation to share of income shows how stark the comparisons can be.
The wealthiest Americans—those who earned $200,000 or more—reduced the share of their income they gave to charity by 4.6 percent from 2006 to 2012.
Meanwhile, Americans who earned less than $100,000 (including poor and middle-class families with two working adults) donated 4.5 percent more of their income in 2012 than in 2006.”
But Most Middle Donors Aren’t Cultivated…Enough
The Sea Change findings emphasize how just many organizations are missing out on middle donors (donors that give at the middle-level in this case), and the potential value that middle donors have for most nonprofit organizations.
Even more startling is the finding that nonprofits that focus on this group—despite its huge potential—are few and far between. More typically, development staff members specialize in lower dollar direct-marketing fundraising or cultivate high-value major donors. Oof-what about the missing middle?
Here’s your chance to get giving going better than ever before—an opportunity sitting right in front of you! Read this report to get Alia and Mark’s guidance on “8 Habits of Highly Effective Mid-Level Donor Programs.” Then use their 30-day plan to close up your giving gap.
*The Chronicle’s analysis is based on returns filed by those who itemize deductions, including charitable gifts (these gifts are approximately 80% of total giving).
More here on The Missing Middle
Tue, October 28 2014
Filed under: Giving Days •
Use the #GivingTuesday movement to build long-term support, and the chance to earn an additional $3000 for your organization on #GivingTuesday!
November is quickly approaching and your #GivingTuesday and year-end planning is well underway. You’ve organized your team, set your goals, assembled your stories, and thought through your marketing approach. (If you still need some ideas, check out our resources here.)
There is barely enough time to take a breath during these busy months! But, we encourage you to think about one other powerful opportunity for #GivingTuesday: growing your base of monthly givers.
Why Focus on recurring givers now?
- It can drive increased giving. The average recurring donor gives 42% more than one-time donors.
- It provides a stable flow of funds. You can count on the funds month after month.
- It’s appealing to donors, especially Millennials. It is the fastest growing segment of online giving, up 27% across all nonprofits in a recent Blackbaud study. According to the Millennial Impact Report 2013, 52% of millennials are interested in giving monthly.
- You’ll build deeper relationships with donors. You have a base of donors to inspire, cultivate and celebrate, which helps to deepen relationships over time.
How can #GivingTuesday become #GivingMonthly? Five secrets for success.
1. Weave recurring giving option into your #GivingTuesday campaign
Think about a campaign focused around a goal like 200x$20: recruit 20 donors to pledge $20 a month. Another campaign could center on the impact of a recurring gift, like a ‘Feed-a-Puppy’ campaign. The campaign can offer the donor the opportunity to make a $50 monthly donation to provide food for one puppy every month.
2. Break it down until donors feel like they can’t say “No”
In the 200x$20 campaign idea, you’re asking donors to make a gift of just 66 cents a day to support your life-changing work. And in the Feed-a-Puppy example, imagine a picture of a fluffy puppy with the message that for just $1.66 per day, you can provide food for a shelter pup each month. Here is a great example from Unicef.
3.Keep messaging consistent
When your supporter is ready to respond to your call to action and make a gift, be sure that your online giving page reinforces the message, and has suggested amounts that correspond to the campaign.
4.Focus on the good feeling and sustainability that comes with commitment
In your campaign messaging, on your giving page, in your thank you, and in your stewardship outreach, recognize recurring givers as a special group who power your mission and sustain your organization. Consider making them part of a special group, with its own identity. Charity: Water calls its recurring givers its Pipeline group. Red Cross has the Red Cross Champions and Habitat for Humanity has its Hope Builders Society. When you’ve created your group, recognize it with a virtual donor wall, special communications, and other benefits.
5.Show the impact of their gift
You’ll have an opportunity each month, when you thank your recurring giver for their monthly donation, to reinforce the impact of their contribution, and to keep feeding their “helper’s high.” It’s science! Share stories of the lives affected by their donations. Share testimonials from members of your recurring givers society. Share images that put a face on their investment in your organization.
Your recurring givers will look forward to the good feeling they get when they hear from you, and they’ll keep supporting you.
We think that recurring giving is so important that we are offering a special gift of $3,000 to the Network for Good organization that inspires the most new recurring givers on #GivingTuesday. Your organization is eligible for this special gift, and matching funds, when you get your branded donation page up and running before #GivingTuesday.
The busy giving season starts in just 4 weeks! Learn how to boost your monthly giving program with a donation page that makes it easy to get more recurring donors. Get in touch with us today to get started.
Wed, October 22 2014
Filed under: Fundraising essentials •
Thanks to the most-photogenic NFGers for reminding us why it’s important to #beyourdonor on October 24th!
Network for Good’s favorite holiday is this month. Although we do love Halloween, October 24this Be Your Donor Day and the reason why we celebrate big this month!
Sometimes fundraisers are so caught up in the day to day that we forget how important our donors are to our organization’s success. Without understanding how our donors interact with our organization, what the donation process looks like from a donors’ point of view, and how donors are thanked for their gift, we can’t do much to improve (or overhaul!) the process.
It takes more effort to bring in a new donor than to retain an existing donor. Once a donor starts a relationship with your organization, do your best to ensure that donor has a positive experience. That’s why we want all fundraisers to join in and celebrate this very important holiday.
Block out some time on October 24th and do an audit of your donor communication. Make sure your all your fundraising activities are donor-centric. Don’t know where to start? Here are some ideas:
· Your home page’s Donate Now button should take less than 5 seconds to locate and donors shouldn’t have to make more than one click to get to your donation page.
· Thank you letters should talk less about how much your organization does and should instead talk more about what a donor’s gifts does.
· Your organization’s contact information should be easy to find on your website, letterhead, emails, and gift receipts. And when a donor does call, promptly answer questions.
We recommend you download our complete Be Your Donor Day checklist and check out all your fundraising activities for “donor-centricness”. Be your donor on October 24th and be your organization’s fundraising superhero!
Mon, October 20 2014
Filed under: Fundraising essentials •
This final quarter can shine as the time to generate the donations you need to move your organization’s mission forward, if you do it right.
In fact, 40% of online donors make their gifts in December, and that 40% to 60% of those gifts are made the last two days of the month according to superstar fundraiser Gail Perry. Offline giving is up as well in December, says Perry.
But…Just don’t wait until December to ramp up the start or strengthen your campaign, and don’t stop too early that month!
Start the Nurturing NOW with these 3 Simple Steps
1. Thank your current supporters—of all stripes—enthusiastically and frequently
That includes clients, board members, donors, volunteers, partners and others who help your organization move its mission forward. So many organizations lose out on prospective donations when they focus thanks on current and recent donors only.
Others who dedicate their time, passion and/or partnerships to your organization are just as loyal, and likely donors.
- Meaningfully with personality and passion,
- Memorably—Show, rather than tell, supporter impact with profiles of their fellow supporters (ideal for folks like board members or major donors) or client profiles and testimonials
- Often, across all channels. For example:
o Fire up your program staff to thank program participants and the person who cultivates new donors to give them an extra personal (real signature or the occasional call—even if you can’t do it for everyone)
o Get out there with your appreciation signage. If you have a physical plant where supporters work and/or visit, put those walls to work. Nothing brings on a smile—and a connection—than photo-driven success stories as surround sound!
2. The more personal and relevant the better
Segment your prospects by what youdo know about them is the most reliable way to do so.
Ways to segment include:
- Donors: By average annual dollar value of gifts (e.g. High-dollar vs. middle vs. entry-level donors)
- Volunteers: By length of volunteer involvement
- Partners: By type of partnership (e.g. event sponsorship vs. advertising vs. collaborative program delivery)
- Board members: and prospects; or five-year or more volunteers, two- to five-year volunteers and new volunteers)
- Supporters who are already in two “supporter silos” but not yet donors—for example, a volunteer who is also the parent of a program participant. Their dedication is proven and current – these folks deserve special attention.
If the number of personal notes required is unreasonable, consider sending hand-signed custom holiday greeting cards to members of your Tier 1 network: Board members, loyal volunteers who are top prospective donors, donors (or at least some donors—returning, new, young or any other group that deserves special recognition). That personal signature makes all the difference.
We all want to know that our effort (be it money, time or attention) is valued. Don’t miss this natural opportunity to appreciate your supporters. And encourage colleagues, who many have slightly different networks, to do the same.
3. Reach out right now to rejuvenate relationships that have gone dark this year
In selecting and segmenting your lists, you’re likely to find a group of former supporters (don’t limit it to donors) who have gone quiet in the last year or six months.
Now’s the time to nudge them out of hibernation, by thanking them for their prior support and sharing stories that showcase how your organization has moved your cause forward in the last year. Focus on established programs they’re likely to be familiar with rather than new funding or volunteer needs.
Select the channel that fits best with each sub-group’s habits and preferences, and—if you have the data—feature messages that have generated response in the past. I recommend a multi-part campaign (preferably multichannel, try a mix of email and direct mail, with a call thrown in if possible for high-value supporters).
Most importantly—Don’t forget the strategic ask in this outreach. The strategy comes in the way you say it. After all, if you didn’t hear from a friend in a year would you call him up and ask for an invitation to his famed Oscars party? Doubt it.
Apply that same logic to your rejuvenation asks—love ‘em up first, then do the asking.
Get your nurturing going on all burners today! It’ll pay off this year and beyond.
How do YOU nurture your donors? Please share what works for you—and what doesn’t—in the comments below!
Tue, October 14 2014
For many organizations, #GivingTuesday will launch the giving season, fueling energy and excitement that will carry through to year-end. We’ve written a series of posts to help you make the most of #GivingTuesday.
Today, we’re focused on one of the most important year-end strategies for any organization: creating a compelling online presence and outreach campaign to inspire support.
11 to-do’s for #GivingTuesday and year-end campaigns that work online.
We could write a book on this topic (actually, we wrote a few!), but with only seven weeks to go, we’re boiling it down to the 11 ‘must-do’s’ for creating a giving experience that delights online donors, and gets them giving again and again.
1. Tell a story and define the donor’s impact.
Plan your campaign around an inspiring story about the impact that givers can have with their investment in your organization. Take your big need and break it down into chunks that a donor can understand. For example, the campaign for an animal shelter might focus on providing medical care for abandoned dogs in the shelter. If daily medical care costs $25 per dog, a donor will be able to decide how many animals they wish to support. Donors appreciate goals that are specific, clear, and actionable.
2. Gather campaign assets that reinforce your inspiring story.
Building and maintaining interest and excitement for your campaign is easier with a constant stream of fresh content. It will come in handy when you are writing blog posts, campaign updates, social media outreach and ambassador messaging. Assets include:
· Client stories
· News Articles
3. Create a single, crystal clear call to action.
Write your emails, direct mail and social outreach with focus around one clear, specific call to action. Don’t cram your outreach with every possible way for a donor to engage—pick one call to action for each outreach and give donors one possible action to take.
4. Make it easy to give on any device.
Make sure your donation experience is mobile ready. At least 30% of your email recipients will click through on their phone when you inspire them to give. Make it easy.
5. Use a consistent campaign brand through the entire giving experience.
Reinforce your campaign and call to action with a giving page that has the same images, video and story. Think about the best online shopping experiences: the image, description and call to action carry through from the email to landing page, to the shopping cart, to the receipt. We can help you get your DonateNow or GiveCorps page ready for your year-end campaign. (Network for Good clients can contact our Success Team for more tips!)
6. Make your giving form fast and easy.
Simplify your donation form by removing all but the essential fields. Get your donors through their donation with minimum friction. Don’t think of your giving form as a data collection tool, think of it as the last hurdle between you and a donation. Then keep the hurdle low.
7. Make your thank you communication personal and meaningful.
When your donor completes his donation, celebrate and acknowledge with a joyful, sincere personal thank you screen or thank you email—immediately. This is a final opportunity to reinforce the story and impact of the donation. Make your donor feel like they matter.
8. Make it easy to share.
When your donor is feeling the glow of making a difference, ask him to invite others to feel the same good feeling. Donors, particularly young people, view sharing as part of giving. In a recent Case Foundation post, Derrick Feldmann, Head of Achieve, said that Millennials view giving one’s voice as a tangible form of philanthropy. ‘A person who gives their voice might still give their skill, time and money, but they go beyond these endeavors to get others involved.’
9. Get back in touch within 30 days.
Reinforce that good feeling with active communication about the status of the campaign. A rule of thumb…communicate with donors about the impact of a donation within 30 days of making a gift. Give an update on the campaign and use this as another opportunity to encourage sharing. You’ve missed an opportunity if your tax receipt is your only communication.
10. Capture every potential dollar.
In your thank you email, encourage donors to take advantage of company matching programs. Point donors to a corporate matching program database, so that your donors can easily submit for employer matches without lots of extra work. There are several systems, including HEP Data and Double the Donation.
11. Encourage involvement.
Use your ongoing outreach to invite donors to engage with you in ways that don’t have to do with giving. They can subscribe to your blog, become a social media ambassador, participate in volunteer activities, answer a poll, sign a petition, and much more.
Implement these best practices today and you’ll be ready to delight your online donors this December—on #GivingTuesday—and everyday.
And if your online giving platform isn’t equipped to make these best practices easy, we’d love to help. Contact us to find out how to get a great online fundraising page that helps you win more donors who give more, more often.
Sign up and launch your page by December 2nd, and you’ll be part of our N4G Gives campaign. Take advantage of matching funds, special trainings, and much more!