This morning five of my colleagues and I are flying to Austin, Texas for the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC)! We’re looking forward to learning, networking, and enjoying all that Austin has to offer.
If you will be in Austin, or if you’re attending NTC virtually, we’d love to meet you! Here are some ways to get in touch with the Network for Good team at NTC:
If you haven’t joined Network for Good’s Recurring Giving Challenge yet, now is the perfect time to sign up. We’ve extended the challenge period through April 30th, so you have plenty of time to create the perfect campaign and recruit more monthly donors. Learn more about how you can win a share of $10K in Challenge Rewards and sign up now.
Once you’ve set up a monthly giving program that’s easy to understand and simple to join, there are many ways to ask supporters to join as sustaining donors. But you gotta ask. Here are four things to keep in mind when asking for recurring donations.1. Make It a First Priority.
Get in the habit of inviting your community to become monthly donors. Whenever you ask for donations—on your website, in your email appeals, or a direct mail letter—ask first for a monthly gift, instead of just a onetime gift. When a donor is deciding on a donation amount, ask, “Would you like to make this a monthly gift?” It’s the fundraising equivalent of “supersizing” the order, with fewer calories and a way better outcome.
UNICEF USA makes monthly giving the first thing you see on their home page. They reinforce the ask with a reminder that the needs they address are ongoing.
Remember: small gifts add up, so always think about the annual contribution and not just the monthly installment. Focus on getting your donors into your program with a realistic and easy-to-swallow amount. Erica Waasdorp, author of Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant, offers this advice on setting your initial monthly ask amount for entry-level donors: start with your average onetime gift and start your ask at about a third of that. If your average single donation is $35, set your first monthly gift level at $10 (an ideal starting point), then bump up the ask to $15, $20, $35, etc. (Note: be sure to tailor your gift strings and appeals for different segments of your list. Donors who are giving a larger average one-time gift should be presented with larger monthly gift options that reflect their level of support.)
What amazing resources are floating around the web this week? Here’s a sampling of good stuff that rose to the top of the inbox.
Something you need right now: Kivi Leroux Miller shares an amazing list of 25 interview questions what will help you write better stories about your volunteers and the people you serve. via Nonprofit Marketing Guide
What’s the Purpose of a Thank You Letter? Simone Joyaux shares two examples and her wisdom on getting donor gratitude right. via Nonprofit Quarterly
Charitable giving can’t stop, won’t stop. That’s according to new research from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Ok, perhaps I’m oversimplifying this, but I was definitely pleased to read the Philanthropy Outlook which projects steady growth for giving in the U.S. over the next two years. Individual giving is expected to grow by 4.4% in 2015. Read the full report for the complete view. via Marts & Lundy
Yes, to all of this: Joe Garecht shares Smart Online Fundraising Strategies. via Fundraising Authority
What good is a monthly giving program if no one can learn more about how it will help further your mission? This week’s Recurring Giving Challenge lesson is all about highlighting your monthly giving program on your website. For the full lesson, sign up for the Challenge (and learn how you can win your share of $10K in prizes!). Here are a few highlights from a few stellar Network for Good clients (click on the images to see the full pages):On Your Donation Page Urban Tilth
The folks at Urban Tilth, a community agriculture group that supports a more sustainable, healthy, and just local food system in Northern California, has a strong monthly giving program, which they feature on a dedicated recurring giving page. This donation page speaks to why monthly gifts are important to their mission and streamlines giving options to reinforce the purpose of this campaign.
Bonus: Urban Tilth also has a nice call out for their monthly giving program and why it matters on their “Ways to Give” page.
If you’re focused on getting new monthly donors, send your supporters to a dedicated page just for monthly giving, like this one from Peace Over Violence. Sustainers can clearly see their recurring gift options and opt to receive a special gift, all on one page.
Tri-County Partners Habitat for Humanity
Tri-County Partners Habitat for Humanity does a great job of featuring their focus on monthly giving on their website and their donation page. This organization frames the impact of monthly gifts and offers suggested donation amounts to make it easy for donors to set up a monthly gift that is meaningful.
Wildlife SOS won the Recurring Gift category during Network for Good’s #GivingTuesday campaign. It’s easy to see why when they so eloquently share how their mission is powered by sustaining gifts.
What could be better than helping adorable cats and dogs? Helping them every month, of course. Austin Pets Alive! dedicates this page to their Constant Companion Club and clearly outlines what each giving level can do.
Great work by all of these organizations! How are you featuring monthly giving on your website and donation pages? Share your ideas in the comments below, and don’t miss out on the Recurring Giving Challenge!
When Heather Yandow of Third Space Studios presented an insightful Nonprofit911 webinar earlier this year she shared some data collected from nonprofits to create the Individual Donor Benchmark Report (IDBR). Our ears perked up: a well-researched report documenting individual donor benchmarks for nonprofits with a budget size under $2 million?! We had to learn more!
Heather and I chatted about the valuable discoveries that can be found in your very own database. Read on to learn the most surprising thing she learned from the 2013 data (hint: it has to do with significant jump in online giving) and find out the two big fundraising opportunities that nonprofits should start investing in ASAP.
The Recurring Giving Challenge offers fundraising campaign resources, expert-led training, and rewards for the online fundraising platform’s nonprofit community.
It’s round up time again and I’m excited to share the expertise and resources from our colleagues in the sector—and beyond. It might be freezing here in DC, but I promise: these links are hot.
If men are from Mars, what does that do to their willingness to donate to causes? New research from Stanford University sheds some light on how to overcome the gender gap in giving. via Stanford (and more on this from The Chronicle of Philanthropy)
Storytelling. Expert tips. Getting smarter while staying toasty warm in your sweats and PJs? Where do we sign up? Don’t miss the
Storytelling Non-Profit Virtual Conference, starting on Monday, February 23. via The Storytelling Non-Profit.
Want a fun way to expand your donor base? (Who doesn’t, right?) Trish McFarland, the Executive Director of the YWCA of Spokane, shares her experience with a new approach in this video clip. via Movie Mondays
We know you party like a rock star, but do you write like one? Here’s how to craft readable, believable, and inspiring copy for your spokespeople. via M+R
That’s it for this week. What’s on your reading list? Share your favorite links in the comments below!
Surprising, distressing, but all too true! According to findings released in the 2015 Nonprofit Communications Report, one of your greatest challenges to fundraising effectiveness is the difference in priorities and perspectives held by you (a fundraiser) and your key colleagues—your executive director and communications colleagues.
If you aren’t familiar with Lynne Wester’s work in donor relations, you are missing out. Last year she presented an amazing webinar (one of our highest attended!) on donor relations and ever since then I’ve been hooked on the topic of donor relations and Lynne’s wise words on this important work that many fundraisers don’t (unfortunately) know much about.
Since the webinar, Lynne has published a book, The 4 Pillars of Donor Relations. It’s a great resource for any fundraiser who wants to increase their donor retention rate (aka everyone).
I did a quick Q&A with Lynne so you could understand what the book is all about.
Many psychological studies have shown the power of habit. Once people have established a behavior, they are primed to stick with it. Changing a habit takes a lot of effort and when the reward is consistent, these routines are almost impossible to interrupt.
The best part is that this holds true for good habits, not just our questionable ones. Fundraisers can use this principle to nurture a pattern of generosity. What if you could make giving a habit for your donors? One really effective way to do this is with a strong recurring giving program. Here’s how:
It’s Friday the 13th, but never fear, because #donorlove is in the air! You can even send an #npvalentine courtesy of the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Here are a few of the resources and really smart people who caught our attention this week:
What do donors want? Sandy Rees knows and she’s outlined 7 things donors want and 5 things you can give them. via Get Fully Funded
Learn the 9 things make people re-tweet your content, then check the share factor of your tweets using this cool tool. via Futurity
Want to create a really compelling annual report? Think about this: “Yes, your annual accomplishments are important to share—necessary for funding and credibility in this age of transparency and results—but where is the donor in the story of your success? Can you tie your donor’s investment into a celebration of what you’ve done together?” via Big Duck
Nell Edgington shares 7 key questions that will help guide your nonprofit strategy. via Social Velocity
Do you know when to use JPG, GIF, or PNG? Now you do, thanks to this helpful infographic. via Who Is Hosting This?
Finally, for a laugh: Love poems to nonprofit staff (and boards!) via Nonprofit with Balls
Have two minutes? Please tell us what you’re doing to strengthen donor relationships and/or what’s in your way. Thanks!
Thanks to these fabulous fundraisers in the field for sharing their right-now paths to stronger relationships with donors and what’s getting in their way!
Two words: Lifetime value
OK, it’s a little more complicated than that. But understanding lifetime value is where a successful sustainer strategy starts.
Too often organizations don’t recognize the tension between lifetime value and immediate budget goals. They want a sustainer strategy to increase their donor pool’s lifetime value, but they don’t want to sacrifice immediate revenue in the door.
Rather than get that $15 a month gift (which averages to $180 in year one alone), they prefer the one-time gift of $100 because it looks better on the balance sheet for February.
Internal attribution wars further complicate things. One group I work with actually attributes online sustainer revenue to an offline sustainer pool—disincentivizing the online team from deploying a sustainer strategy (e.g. disincentivizng increasing the value of a donor).
You might forget to call your mom, but you’d better not neglect to call your donors. A recent study found that thank-you calls increased subsequent giving and gift amounts. via Nonprofit Times
Social media. Storytelling. Two of our favorite things combined together. It’s better than a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. (Ok, almost.) Learn 8 ways to become a better storyteller through social media. via Adweek
This past Sunday, more than 114 million people tuned in to watch the Super Bowl, the Katy Perry halftime show, and of course, a new lineup of commercials. Although there were tons of famous faces on the screen on Sunday, Network for Good’s MVP was a very special lady, Estella, who was featured in an ad with her Brilliant Bus.
You have a plan for thanking and communicating impact to your donors, and you probably have a special program for training and recognizing your volunteers. But do you have a plan for celebrating peer-to-peer fundraisers who are spreading your message, attracting new donors, and inspiring donations for your cause?
Your peer fundraisers are some of your strongest advocates, and continue to be a gateway to the donors you have acquired through their efforts as well as potential donors they may reach in future campaigns. As you think about how to thank and retain your donors of all types, make sure you also have a strategy for nurturing those who are fundraising on your behalf. Here are a few ideas to consider:
Send a special thank you. Craft personalized messages for your fundraisers that will show your gratitude and grow the relationship. Since your peer fundraisers are key evangelists, they deserve a little something special—remember the cumulative impact of their efforts. Add them to your call list and treat them as you might treat a high dollar donor. (Need ideas? These examples would work equally well in your peer fundraising follow-up plan.)
Last month’s post, 10 Thank Yous That Delight Donors, sparked many conversations about how to thank donors. Because this is such an important topic (and the first step in creating a positive long-term relationship with your donors), I wanted to offer even more ideas on how to thank your donors. That’s why I’m happy to share The Donor Thank You Mini-Guide.
Download your own copy, share it with your team, and start planning a 2015 that starts with getting stellar thank yous in donors' hands. Did you send a thank you that wowed donors? Please email@example.com! Your organization could be featured in our blog and newsletter.
In the movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character famously wakes up each day only to realize he is living the same day over and over. The same encounters, the same groundhog, the same Sonny and Cher on the same clock radio singing the same “I Got You Babe”. The hijinks that ensue have made this movie an all-time favorite for many.
But what if your nonprofit could have its own amazing fundraising version of Groundhog Day—one with less groundhog and more donations.
Wouldn’t it be great if you woke up to a repeated stream of donations from the same loyal donors again and again?
Investing in an effective recurring giving program can be a smart strategy for small shops looking to increase their stream of funds and boost donor retention. Here’s why:
Clicks. Likes. Shares.
Image: Cone Communications
It’s easy to write off the small online actions of “slacktivists” as passive behavior that won’t make much of a difference, but digital activists can turn into donors, advocates, and major supporters over time. Late last year, Cone Communications released their Digital Activism Study which reveals insights on digital consumer behavior when it comes to supporting causes online. A few nuggets:
But do all of these micro-actions really add up to anything meaningful for your cause or do they simply replace more significant contributions?
Change.org founder Ben Rattray recently challenged organizations to look to results before dismissing online activity as slacktivism.
Another week has come and gone, and hopefully it’s been a good one for you. Here are the stories and resources that caught our eye in the world of nonprofit marketing and fundraising this week: