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Our Top 4 Takeaways from the Millennial Alumni Study Research Update

Thanks to our friends at Achieve, we have valuable new insights into how Millennial alumni think, act, and support their alma maters and favorite organizations. Here are our key takeaways:

How to Turn Donors into Fundraisers

Want to add new donors and more donations to your fundraising results this year?

One of the best ways to expand your reach and attract new supporters is by tapping into the networks of your existing supporters with a social fundraising campaign. Here’s why: people are more likely to give when asked by a friend or family member, and thanks to the multiplier effect, these supporter-fundraisers will increase their lifetime value to your organization by giving and bringing new donations to your cause.

So, how do you do it? How do you inspire donors to create personalized fundraising campaigns and raise money on your behalf?  Here are 11 tips for turning donors into fundraisers.

Make it easy.

First and foremost, you must make setting up a fundraising page and asking friends to donate dead simple to do. The same rules apply for getting donors to give as they do for getting supporters to ask their networks to give to your cause. The easier it is to do, the more likely they will be to do it. Focus on removing any roadblocks for your supporters-turned-fundraisers.

Offer portable outreach. Arm your supporters with pre-written emails and social media posts. Provide grab-and-go templates so your advocates can focus on reaching out to their friends.

Be clear. Make sure you are clear on what you’re asking your supporters to do when you recruit them to be fundraisers. Make your instructions short and simple. If there are too many steps or complex requests, they’ll get confused and give up. Simplify their part of the process as much as possible, and if you can do some of the steps for them, even better.

Be realistic. You want your goals to be exciting and motivating, but requests don’t feel do-able will just turn potential fundraisers off. Make your ask feel possible so your supporters can see they can succeed and make an impact for your work. If possible, share other fundraisers’ good results to illustrate that a successful campaign is achievable.

Have the right tools. Having the right software in place makes these types of social fundraising campaigns a lot easier for you, and your fundraisers. Focus on tools that empower supporters, offer built-in sharing options, and make your fundraisers look good. Don’t miss our free demo this Thursday to get a first look at Network for Good’s newest fundraising tool and learn how you can easily create campaigns that will extend your reach and attract new donors.

Nonprofit Link Round Up

It’s the weekend, y’all! Here’s a sampling of the links and resources that caught our eye this week at the NFG corral. Roundup

Do you have an over-active editing committee when it comes to your donor outreach? Mary Cahalane offers her advice on how to respond when they challenge your fundraising appeal.

Nice to see our friend and NTEN CEO Amy Sample Ward featured in this NPR piece: Crowdfunded Campaigns For Nepal Are Huge. Is That A Good Way To Give?

At Network for Good, we’ve enabled nearly $1M in giving for Nepal Earthquake relief efforts. Jeff Brooks shares how you can nudge disaster responders become committed donors.

Wow: Recurring Giving Challenge Winners

Wow! That’s the general sentiment around here at Network for Good at the conclusion of the Recurring Giving Challenge. We officially ended the challenge last Thursday and while we’ve crunched the numbers and updated the leaderboards we’ve let out a never-ending chorus of wows and today we’re so excited to share the results with you.

During the challenge we saw our nonprofit customers jump in feet first to new campaigns, ask for feedback about their work, and find success in expanding their base of recurring donors. All of that hard work has paid off big time, not only in new recurring donors providing steady support, but also their share of $20,000 in bonus rewards from the Network for Good Generosity Fund. Join us in celebrating our Recurring Giving Challenge winners. Don’t hesitate to do a happy dance and shout “wow” with us.

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

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.

Nonprofit Link Round Up

Nonprofit Link Round Up

A recent study from Dunham+Company reported that only 42% of U.S. churches give congregants an option to tithe online. But, 70% of non-church nonprofits offer online giving options. As our recent Digital Giving Index reported, and Dunham+Company's research confirms, online giving is outpacing overall giving. Have you made an online donation to your nonprofit recently? Was it easy? Take our test and find out.

Are you disconnected from donors? Do you even know what they want from your organization? A recent study shows that you are most likely ignoring donor preferences. via Chronicle of Philanthropy

Nonprofit Spotlight: Homeless Children’s Playtime Project

Network for Good works with so many amazing nonprofits and we want to introduce you to them and the great work they are doing! This week we want to introduce you to someone close to our home office here in Washington, DC. We love supporting our customers with great online fundraising tools and in real life: this weekend we’ll be putting on our running shoes and hitting the trails for the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project’s annual Defenders of Play 5k.

Meet Homeless Children’s Playtime Project  Children's Playtime Project

Creative play is vital to a child’s development. It encourages confidence, self-expression, and exploration. Children experiencing homelessness often lack access to safe places to play in shelters and transitional housing. Luckily, families in DC have The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project, an organization committed to nurturing healthy child development and reducing the affects of trauma among children living in temporary housing programs. With a large volunteer base and program sites across the city, Playtime Project gives young children and teens a safe space to play while lifting up the voices of families to ensure that safe, supportive shelters and affordable housing remain priorities in the District.

Your Storytelling Questions Answered: Q&A with Vanessa Chase

Last month, Vanessa Chase, founder of the Storytelling Non-Profit presented a Nonprofit911 webinar on how to incorporate storytelling in email appeals. The webinar was amazing, and I highly recommend you watch the archived version. Because so many people listened in, there were tons of great questions, but we didn’t have time to answer them all during the Q&A portion of the webinar. I gathered some of those questions and asked Vanessa if she could answer them here on our blog. Read on to hear Vanessa’s tips on donor surveys and her recommendations for how to include visuals in your email appeals.

Why Social Fundraising Works

How does tapping into the power of relationships transform a simple ask into a more effective, inspiring call to action? This week’s Nonprofit 911 webinar is all about leveraging the social nature of giving to grow your donor base and raise more money for your cause. Join us this Thursday at 1pm ET to learn how to create your own social fundraising campaign. Today’s post is a taste of what we’ll cover.

So, why does social fundraising work so well? Why can’t organizations get the same results just sending out direct appeals to their audiences?

Why Social Fundraising Works
While giving is a highly emotional and at times deeply personal act, at its core, most giving is social. Our personal experiences and social ties often drive our decision to donate to a cause. Giving is how we relate and give back to our community and how we seek to improve the world for our fellow man.

Giving is also social in that we are strongly influenced by our family, friends, and networks—as well as those we perceive to be our peers. When an appeal for funds comes from someone in our networks that we trust, we’re more likely to act.

Here’s why social fundraising campaigns can inspire a wave of new supporters for your cause:

Social fundraising is based on a two-way relationship.
Traditional fundraising appeals are often one-sided, broadcast messages. These promotions can move people to act, but they don’t easily capture the emotion or relationship that can drive giving on a massive scale. Social fundraising puts the message in the mouth of the person who is most likely to prompt a donation:  someone the audience knows. The experience of supporting a good cause becomes one that people can have together, which makes it even more powerful.

4 Thank You Musts for Monthly Donors

Editor’s note:  Our thoughts are with those affected by the massive earthquake and aftershocks in Nepal. You can help. To donate to the relief efforts, visit our disaster response page.

We’re in the last few days of our Recurring Giving Challengecheck out which campaigns are sitting atop our leaderboard and are in the running for their share of $20K in challenge rewards!

You’ve put a lot of work into recruiting recurring gifts from your supporters. Once you have monthly donors on board, you can just coast, right?

WRONG.

Even though they have set up and committed to a recurring gift, you still need to cultivate and build relationships with these donors. While thanking monthly donors isn’t much different than thanking donors in general, there is one big difference:  you have a lot more riding on monthly donors, as their lifetime value is likely to be much greater than your average one-time donor.

Use your thank you letter as an opportunity to show gratitude, but also to lay the groundwork for a long-term relationship. Donor gratitude is so important we have an entire guide devoted just to this very topic. Here are four musts for your thank yous to monthly donors:

1. Be prompt.
In addition to an immediate, personalized confirmation that their gift was processed successfully, you should thank your sustainers within a few days of setting up their recurring donation. Have a plan in place to make this happen quickly and make it a priority. Your goal is to keep that warm fuzzy feeling going as soon as possible after the gift was initiated. You may wish to send an email, a written note, or follow up with a phone call. It wouldn’t hurt to do all three over the course of those first few months once someone joins your monthly giving program.

2. Be personal.
In addition to addressing the donor by name, sign your thank you letters from a real person. Promise me that you won’t send thank yous that start out with “dear friend” or “dear supporter.” Not only is it boring and mechanical, it sends a signal of “we can’t be bothered.” Also, get creative with who signs your electronic and mailed letters–a board member, a volunteer, or a beneficiary can add significance to your acknowledgement. Make sure there is a real live human behind your stewardship efforts.

Nonprofit Spotlight: True Impact Ministries

Network for Good works with so many amazing nonprofits and we want to introduce you to them and the great work they are doing! As part of our Recurring Giving Challenge we’re highlighting members of our leaderboard who are producing compelling, creative campaigns to recruit recurring donors and build a sustainable fundraising model for their organization. Today I want you to meet True Impact Ministries, a customer using recurring giving to sponsor children and the current holder of 4th place on our leaderboard.

Meet True Impact Ministries  True Impact Ministries

Like so many nonprofit organizations, True Impact Ministries has changed and molded its mission to meet the needs of the communities it serves. Ten years ago, when True Impact’s founders Andy and Susie Stewart first began their work, they brought a small team of volunteers to Uganda to help build a modest school house. It was the beginning of an ever-expanding mission that now includes orphan homes, water structures, and medical care.

How Giving is Growing Online: The Latest from the Digital Giving Index

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:

Create Great Visuals: 10 Tips and Tools for Nonprofits

More and more nonprofits are using visuals to tell their story, illustrate impact, and create a case for giving. But creating visuals can sometimes be costly, time consuming, and seemingly impossible without advanced software. At Network for Good, we see clients using visuals in amazing ways to share their stories, engage donors, and raise more money in ways that are effective, easy, and—guess what?—FREE! We've compiled a top 10 list of tools and techniques to help you incorporate more visuals into your organization's work.

What Is Social Fundraising Anyway?

Social fundraising is empowering your supporter base to fundraise on your behalf. Social fundraising is also known as peer-to-peer fundraising, P2P, or personal fundraising.

Think beyond the walkathon

When you think of social fundraising, you probably think of a walkathon, dance marathon, or another event that social fundraisers will attend. Although this is the best-known type of social fundraising, you don’t have to have an event to justify launching a social fundraising campaign.

Doubling Down on Monthly Giving

How much do we believe in monthly giving here at Network for Good?

A whole lot.

Today I’m super jazzed to announce that we’ve DOUBLED the amount of Challenge Rewards we’re giving away as part of our Recurring Giving Challenge. Thanks to a generous grant from the Network for Good Generosity Fund, we’re now awarding a total of $20,000 to Network for Good clients with the most successful, creative, and compelling monthly giving campaigns.

Yep, that’s right: twenty large!

How awesome is that?

The challenge ends on April 30, 2015, but there’s still time to join in to improve your monthly giving programs, get more recurring donors, and grab your share of the Challenge Rewards. First, sign up for the Challenge. Then, if you’re not a Network for Good client, I encourage you to reach out to us today and find out how easy it is to get started with more effective online fundraising software. We even have a free demo tomorrow afternoon so you can get all your questions answered.

Need some more inspiration? Catch up with other posts in our Recurring Giving Challenge Series:

Nonprofit Spotlight: Firecracker Foundation

Network for Good works with so many amazing nonprofits and we want to introduce you to them and the great work they are doing! Because May is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I want you to meet one of my favorite customers who is doing amazing work helping child sexual abuse survivors heal their whole being.

Meet Firecracker Foundation  Firecracker Foundation

On a day-to-day basis, The Firecracker Foundation works with survivors of childhood sexual trauma through long-term strategies of therapy, arts enrichment, and yoga practice. Their work is focused on healing the whole individual.

On a larger scale, however, The Firecracker Foundation is about community. Tashmica Torok, the founder of Firecracker, has built her organization around the historical idea of community members being charged with keeping the communal fire burning. From their mission to their fundraising strategy, this ethos of the many coming together for a common goal is extremely evident.

Nonprofit Link Round Up

I hope you celebrated National Volunteer Week. Did you do something to make your volunteers feel special? I got a sweet card and gift in the mail from an organization I've been volunteering with for many years now. It really did make me feel appreciated. Even if you just send out a personal email to those who volunteer with your organization, I promise your volunteers will never forget it!

Now, let's get to those links!

The Key to More Effective Donor Communication

To truly connect with donors and inspire them to become a part of the work that you do, you need to speak to them. Really speak to them. This means getting extremely clear on the message you’re trying to send, and making it incredibly relevant to why they care about your mission in the first place.

This is why the key to more effective communication is specificity

When your emails and other communications are specific, they can be more relevant, interesting, and authentic. Your job as a marketer or fundraiser is to definitively answer the question, “Why me?”  You can’t do that with broad and generic messages. Generic messages are not just typically boring; studies have shown that vague statements can introduce skepticism among readers. Definitely not the feeling you want to evoke!

How do you make your message more specific, and in turn, more relevant? Think about the unique stories your donors have when they relate to your cause. Group donors into meaningful categories based on:

Make the Most of Mother’s Day

There’s no better way for your organization to get the attention of your supporters and prospects (and the media) than by piggybacking on what’s already top of mind. Your people are already thinking about this stuff, making them far more likely to connect with your campaign than at other times.

That’s “right thing, right now” marketing, and I’ve seen some fantastic Mother’s Day models from nonprofits like yours in recent years.

Nonprofit Link Round Up

Happy Friday!

Link Round Up

Here’s what caught our eye in the world of fundraising and nonprofit marketing this week:

National Volunteer Week is coming up! Wild Apricot has ideas for how you can celebrate and resources to help improve your volunteer programs.

We love John Haydon and all his wise words on social media for nonprofits. Here’s another gem from him: 7 Deceptively Simple Ways to Promote a Fundraiser on Facebook.

Joe Garecht from the Fundraising Authority wants you to step out of your comfort zone and ask your donors the most important question you probably aren’t asking.

During the Association for Fundraising Professionals’ international conference last week, the Chronicle of Philanthropy asked fundraising pros to share what they wish they had known when they started a career in fundraising. The video is definitely worth three minutes of your time!

Kivi and Kristina over at NonprofitMarketingGuide.com have some great tips for you when it comes to leveraging hashtags to promote your cause.

If you’re in the DC area, grab your 3D glasses (they have extras if you’ve misplaced yours) and head over to the M+R event showcasing what they learned from their annual Benchmarks Study. And if you can’t make it to DC, you can still get the highlights from a webinar they’re hosting in May.

I’m a fan of Maeve Strathy’s blog, What Gives Philanthropy? It’s always clever and on point. You must check out a recent post from guest blogger Kimberly Elworthy: 11 Things I Learned About Fundraising/Philanthropy When I Fell into the Field Temporarily. It’s rich with GIFs and will make you chuckle.

That’s all for this week! Have a great weekend and share your best resources in the comments below!

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