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
The countdown is on.
In exactly 7 weeks, or 49 days, #GivingTuesday will be here! 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!
Wed, October 08 2014
#GivingTuesday – what for many will be the launch of the December giving season – is now just 7 weeks away. Gulp.
Your year-end campaigns are just about ready to go, but making the most of December is probably in the back of your mind all the time. Perhaps you’re asking yourself if there is anything else you can put into motion today that can move the needle at year end.
Yes! Try a peer fundraising campaign.
The Power of Peer Fundraising
Social, Personal, P2P or team fundraising are all names for the same concept: harnessing the power of your supporters and their networks to scale your impact.
At their best, peer fundraising campaigns center around a passionate desire to make an impact on a problem or cause, and then “recruit” supporters based on a shared interest in the cause or in honor of the friendship with the original project sponsor.
Once in a while, peer fundraising campaigns catch fire. That was the case this summer with the Ice Bucket challenge. It started when 29 year-old Pete Frates, stricken with ALS, sought to bring attention to the disease, and to inspire others to support research toward a cure. He challenged friends to dump ice on their heads, and Pete’s network sparked into action. His friends took the challenge and in weeks it was everywhere on social media.
From June to August, more than 3 million donors gave more than $100 million dollars to the ALS Association.
Your superheroes – no cape required.
Campaigns like the Ice Bucket challenge are the exception for sure, but their lessons are transferable to every peer fundraising initiative. They’re effective because supporters, who often reside in the background of your fundraising, move front and center, and become the heroes of the story. We want to root for their success.
And when combined with a few key elements, peer fundraising leverages your team’s limited resources, spreads your story, and attracts new supporters.
What does It take? Sponsors with genuine passion for your cause, plus…
· A little creativity
· An authentic need
· A personal appeal
· Social sharing
Make it easy for peer fundraisers
Empower your supporters to get going, now.
1. Suggest a theme and goal for your supporters. Use your #GivingTuesday campaign to frame a peer-to-peer campaign that is appealing and easy to launch for your supporters. If you’re still lacking a focus for year-end, here is a post that can help you plan a great campaign. Then break your campaign into a target for your peer fundraisers in $500-$1000 range.
2. Make it fun! Encourage your peer fundraisers to focus on opportunity, not obligation, in their outreach to friends and family. Give them tools to keep the excitement high with regular email updates tracking the progress of the campaign.
3. Focus on impact. Be sure that fundraisers and their supporters understand how their dollars will impact those you serve, specifically.
4. Keep it short: a month or less. Use the excitement of #GivingTuesday to keep momentum high and the time commitment low for your peer fundraisers. A timeframe of about a month is just about right. Encourage your fundraisers to launch on November 1st, build excitement toward Thanksgiving and end on December 2.
Make P2P work for you: three paths to success.
1. For small or leanly staffed organizations: Start where you are.
The simplest way to start a peer fundraising campaign is to focus on the tools you already have. You have your inspiring mission, more than a few enthusiastic supporters (think staff, board, volunteers, clients), and services that need support. Define a campaign, enlist peer fundraisers, educate them on the basics above, and let them run with it.
Then, optimize your online giving page with proven software, like DonateNow. With DonateNow, your site will be branded, mobile-ready, and easy for your donors to navigate.
Then simply provide your fundraisers with sample emails, or let them create their own, and drive people to your main online giving page. Ask them to acknowledge the fundraiser they’re supporting in your dedication field.
This is not the most sophisticated method, but a functional, quick-to-launch approach.
And organizations using DonateNow for #GivingTuesday will automatically receive matching funds!
2. For organizations with more staff capacity: take advantage of a P2P platform.
Nonprofits can set up a campaign by creating a “team” page on a peer-to-peer giving platform. Check out our partner site, CrowdRise, the best P2P site out there!
With CrowdRise, you can create a page with your colors and logo and enable your peer fundraisers to set up sub-pages for their individual campaigns. They’ll be able to set an individual goal, see their progress, donor scrolls, and where they stand relative to other fundraisers. Here’s an example.
You can create challenges and competitions among team members that add an extra fun element to the campaign. And you’ll see the overall results of everyone’s fundraising with clean, comprehensive reports.
You can then manage the messaging, the updates, and progress of the campaign. This approach is a great way to give your staff greater control of the whole initiative while also making it easy for your fundraisers to get their pages set up and launched.
CrowdRise will also be holding its Epic Annual Holiday Challenge, including a major campaign on #GivingTuesday, to be revealed soon!
3. For larger organizations or those planning to use peer fundraising as an ongoing strategy: have your own P2P site.
Some organizations are naturally suited to peer and project-based fundraising. These include animal support, disaster relief, schools, health care, disease, and many others. Organizations like these can equip themselves to host peer fundraising and crowdfunding campaigns all year round with GiveCorps, our private label peer fundraising platform.
With GiveCorps, not only can you run a great #GivingTuesday P2P campaign, but you can do race fundraising, birthday fundraisers, crowdfunding campaigns, project based fundraising, and annual giving campaigns.
A GiveCorps site is yours, closely mirroring the look and feel of your main website. Take a look at how the Community Coalition for Haiti uses GiveCorps for personal and project-based fundraisers.
Want to learn more about how GiveCorps can work for you? Request a demo and get started, just in time to get ready for #GivingTuesday.
Tue, October 07 2014
Filed under: Giving Days •
If you’re a fundraiser, you’re seeing news about #GivingTuesday everywhere.
And the buzz is for good reason - #GivingTuesday is not only the launch of the giving season, but has become an international celebration of generosity. And your donors, prospects, staff and volunteers are likely to be hearing a lot about the big day – from you or someone. So, it’s time to solidify your #GivingTuesday plans.
GivingTuesday, when done well, can have all the excitement and engagement of a great party, while building awareness and donations for your cause. It can also carry good feelings forward through the December giving season to boost your overall year-end fundraising efforts.
What will make it a great day?
Like a great party, the secrets to #GivingTuesday success combine great planning with a little magic. And like a party theme, your campaign goal is the part of the plan from which everything else stems.
If you ran a #GivingTuesday campaign last year, you have a benchmark against which to think about 2014. If you’re in your first year, setting goals will be an educated best guess. Achieving your first year goal is where the (Planning + Luck) = Success equation comes in.
Dollars are likely to be one of the key elements you measure, but it doesn’t need to be your only goal. These are a few goals to consider instead of, or in addition to, funds raised:
· Number of donors
· Number of new donors
· Number of volunteers/hours (if you are including an activity)
· Number of recurring donors
· % Participation among key groups – like staff
Build a pyramid
Even if you don’t have prior experience with #GivingTuesday, you can do some predictive planning around logical paths to your goals.
Giving pyramids are a simple way to add a quantitative element to planning your dollar goal. They let you sanity check your goal by putting it on paper, rather than just guessing.
How do you build a giving pyramid? Let’s take one example: Your nonprofit would like to raise $50,000 on #GivingTuesday. If you’re a small nonprofit, just eliminate zeroes from this example.
Here is one illustration of how to predict a path to success with a giving pyramid:
· $50,000 Goal
· 8,500 donors in data file
· 255 Donors if you achieve 3% participation (and you’ll definitely attract new donors too, so this should be a safe bet)
So how might this set up in a giving pyramid?
Now create your own giving pyramid and think it through. If it feels ambitious but achievable, then it is a great place to start with a first year goal. If it seems too easy to achieve, boost the dollar amount. Too much of a stretch? Dial back.
Leverage with matching funds
One of the most powerful tools on #GivingTuesday is matching funds. Consider identifying a lead donor for your #GivingTuesday campaign who is willing to donate marketing fuel to your campaign engine, with matching funds.
Even a small amount of matching fund dollars can provide significant benefit to a campaign. If you can raise as little as 5% - 10% of your total fundraising goal in matching funds, there are simple but effective ways to use this to amplify your campaign.
These are a few ways to deploy the dollars effectively:
· Match a % of dollar raised up to the amount of matching funds you have. So if you have $5,000 against a $50,000 goal, match $1 for every $10 raised until you reach your goal.
· Match the first gifts every hour up to an hourly amount. So, if you have $10,000 in matching funds, match the first $1,000 each hour for the busiest ten hours of the day.
· Match only gifts up to a certain amount. If one of your goals is number of donors, rather than just dollars, cap your matching funds at $100 or another amount that reflects your likely average gift.
· Match gifts that further other objectives, like donors that set up recurring gifts. In this instance, consider doing a bonus match for a monthly donation, since these are an organization’s most engaged supporters over time.
Your goal will be one of the most visible anchors of your #GivingTuesday campaign, so make it a motivator. It should be big and meaningful enough to get people excited to work hard. If it’s too attainable, it will feel like just another day at the office, and it will be hard to motivate your team.
Everything you do for the next eight weeks depends on motivation and focus; set that goal today, and start planning your giving party on December 2nd!