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Must-Read Insight into Millennials: Interview with Kari Saratovsky (Part 1)

Wow! I’m amazed and delighted by the just-released Millennial Donor Playbook (download your free copy here). We finally have a much-needed guide to engaging these prospects who are influencing change across organizations and generations.

When I finished reading the Playbook, I was thirsting to know even more, so I asked to interview superstar author Kari Saratovsky.

Kari Saratovsky

Nancy Schwartz: Kari, why did you dig into this topic?

Kari Saratovsky: I’ve spent the better part of the past five years trying to understand the complexity of what is now the largest and most diverse generation in our history.

What I’ve learned is that while organizations are on an endless search for the silver bullet to engaging Millennials, there is no magic wand to engage the broad range of Millennial perspectives and backgrounds. Alas!

However, Millennials will be the recipients of a $41 trillion transfer of wealth. This presents nonprofits with a huge opportunity to build relationships today that will deepen over time. When NFG recognized that its community was struggling to engage this younger donor cohort, I jumped on the chance to craft this guide.

Increasing Your Monthly Gifts

The Recurring Giving Challenge is in full swing and our top contenders are on the leaderboard. Check out the campaigns in the lead to get inspiration for your own monthly giving program. The challenge runs through April 30, so there’s still time to join!

Monthly donors are so valuable because they give more over the course of one year vs. one-time donors, and they’re more loyal, with retention rates of 80% or higher. They’re also more likely to build on their investment once they’ve seen the impact their gift can have. The good news is that by upgrading monthly donors even by just a few dollars per month, you can raise 20-30% more from per sustainer each year.

So, how do you do it? Here are four tips on increasing monthly gift amounts from existing recurring givers:

1.  Have a solid stewardship plan in place. Before you even think about asking a monthly donor to upgrade, you must have regular communications going out to thank your sustainers and tell them how their gift is being used. In addition to a great thank you letter, celebrate your monthly donors in your newsletters and reach out to them to show them how they are helping you accomplish your mission. They need to know their gift is making a difference before they’ll give more.

2.  Illustrate the impact. Be sure to answer the question “What for?” in your upgrade appeal. What more will be accomplished if they increase their contribution? How many more meals can you serve or patients could you treat with the additional contribution? Remember: be specific and show the human impact that will result from the increased amount.

3. Show your social proof. Donors are more inclined to take action if they see that others doing the same. Let your donors know how many others have already upgraded and offer a testimonial from another donor who has increased their gift. You’ll establish a social norm that signals to the donor that the action you want them to take is one that is seen as the right thing to do.

Nonprofit Link Round Up

Round UpYeehaw! Another Friday, another great round up to finish out the week. Here’s what caught our eye in the world of fundraising and nonprofit marketing:

Network for Good and storytelling rock star Vanessa Chase have teamed up for a look at the state of storytelling in the nonprofit sector. We want you to be a part of it! Please take a few minutes to share your experiences in our quick survey. We’ll share the results with you in our white paper, coming out later this spring.

Participating in a giving day this year? Joanne Fritz shares smart tips in this list of 10 Ways to Make a Giving Day Work for Your Charity. via About

Are you a one-person communications department? Consider an informal nonprofit employee champion program to help you get more out of social media. via Beth’s Blog

The Women Give 2014 study finds non-religiously affiliated younger women give approximately two times larger amounts than their counterparts. via Think Advisor

Going Viral: A Small Nonprofit Gets National Attention

Estella's Brilliant Bus

How does a small nonprofit go viral and capture attention on the national stage? I set out to learn the answer from a Network for Good customer that has achieved the biggest exposure opportunity any business, organization, or individual could hope for: a commercial spot during the Super Bowl.

The Next Big Thing in Fundraising: Emoji Appeals

We all know that mobile technology is changing the way we communicate, work, and give. It was only a matter of time before the popularity of emojis, those cute little icons you see in text messages and social media updates, made their way onto the fundraising scene. Now, entire appeals are being written just with emojis! Talk about the art of brevity! Check them out:

This dog rescue gets right to the point. These dogs need your love, a good home, and your donation to support their care. Bonus points for the sense of urgency:

emoji appeal 1

Want to give back to your local education group? There’s an emoji appeal for that, too! I love how this organization outlines the option to give via mobile.

emoji appeal 2

Helping to support meal delivery to seniors in the neighborhood has never been easier! This appeal knocks it out of the park by clearly outlining who will benefit and exactly how a donor’s gift will be used:

emoji appeal 3

Pandas need your help now! This emoji appeal illustrates that short and sweet can work when it comes to inspiring donors to give.

emoji appeal 4

Want to reach those Millennial Alumni to help support your scholarship fund? Emojis to the rescue once again! I love that this appeal offers donors options for completing their donation.

emoji appeal 5

Here’s an example of a gala invitation. Who could resist attending a night out, complete with top hat, all to benefit a good cause?

emoji appeal 6

Of course, today is April 1, which means I’m just teasing about emoji appeals! Some things are no joke, though, like:

—  Making sure your appeals are rooted in a compelling story that elicits emotion from the donor.
—  Leveraging strong visuals to stand out and communicate your message.
—  Paying attention to the power of mobile to encourage anytime, anywhere giving.

Thanks for sharing a laugh with us today! We’ll be back with regularly-scheduled programming tomorrow. In the meantime, share your favorite April Fool’s jokes in the comments below.

How I Started My First Monthly Giving Program

[Editor’s note: This week’s post in the Recurring Giving Challenge series comes to us from Sandy Rees, CFRE. ]

I didn’t know much about monthly giving until she called in late December that year.

She was one of my newest donors, and told me her family had just moved here from another state. She had given monthly to the food bank there, and now would like to give monthly to the food bank here. (That would be us).


I didn’t have a monthly giving program and didn’t know how they worked, but I knew I had to think quickly—I could send her 12 reply envelopes so she could send in a gift each month. It would be simple for her and easy for me. So that’s what I did, and my first-ever monthly giving program was born.

I remember counting out the envelopes, and writing the month on each one. I thought that would help us both keep up with what she had given.

It was a simple beginning.

Looking back at it, I have to laugh. I had no idea what I was doing. I simply had a request from a donor, and was trying to honor it. Little did I know it would turn out to be a great thing for my organization.

I sort of knew how monthly giving worked, and I decided that if I was going to do this, I was going to do it as well as I could. I wondered if there were people already making monthly gifts to us, and I just hadn’t noticed it yet. I pulled a report from my trusty software, and I was thrilled to find six regular givers! How had I never seen that?

Nonprofit Link Round Up

It’s round up time in the NFG corral! Mosey on over and check out this week’s best nonprofit resources and recommended reads. Round Up

Why do donors give? Science has the answer. Most of this we’ve covered before, but these principles are important for all fundraisers to keep in mind. via The Guardian

“Philanthropy is a way for people to experience human love.”  Don’t miss this great profile of Jen Shang, Professor of philanthropic psychology at University of Plymouth. via Third Sector

Want to rock donor stewardship? Try these six secrets to loving your supporters so that they’ll love you back. via Constant Contact

What Our Top Monthly Giving Campaigns Have in Common

I’m happy to share the current campaigns at the top of the Recurring Giving Challenge leaderboard.

There are organizations of every type and size leading the pack of campaigns with the most new monthly donors as well as the largest increase in their monthly giving program.

The one thing that they all have in common?

They’ve made offering monthly giving options and asking for sustaining gifts a top priority.

Monthly Giving basics Need some help making the case for monthly giving at your organization? Download our free Monthly Giving Basics fact sheet which includes a quick checklist on getting your monthly giving program off the ground. Also: time’s running out to join the Recurring Giving Challenge, so be sure to sign up and learn how your nonprofit could be eligible for a share of $10K in Challenge Rewards.

Recurring Giving Challenge Leaderboard as of March 23:

Nonprofit Link Round Up

Link round upWith so many resources to read and review, keeping up with nonprofit marketing and fundraising insight can be a little overwhelming. Never fear, we’ve collected the cream of the crop in this week’s round up.

Could a single point of failure devastate your organization? Mazarine Treyz takes a look at how can your nonprofit become less fragile. via Wild Woman Fundraising

How do you track your donors? Do you love it? Share your feedback in this quick survey. Your input will help Network for Good provide more great resources to nonprofits just like yours!

Search engine optimization can be complex, but David Hartstein shares 7 Easy Fixes to Get Your Nonprofit Ranking Higher on Google via John Haydon’s Blog

Take your email appeals to the next level with the magic of storytelling. Our friend Vanessa Chase will show you how in our next webinar, Telling Stories Through Email: How to Write Appeals that Rock! Be sure to reserve your seat for this one.

Rich Details for Record-Breaking Results (Case Study)

Dizzy Gillespie

Image: Roland Godefroy

“When the new antenna went live, you’d swear that Dizzy Gillespie was playing right next to you.”

I can easily visualize this scene—and hear it. Can you?

In fact, this appeal excerpt from WBGO (New York City’s premier jazz radio station) made the listening-enriching value of the station’s new antenna crystal clear—by showing, not telling.

Compare this with the way another station introduced its new antenna:

Recurring Giving Campaign Spotlight: Windcall Institute

The Windcall Institute is dedicated to nurturing and developing resilient leadership among community and labor organizers engaged in the work of social justice in low-income communities and communities of color.

Their programs bring community organizers together to reflect and renew their energy to go back out and do good work.  The organization is based in Oakland, California, but has programs across the country.

Holly FinckeAs part of the Recurring Giving Challenge, I received a message from Holly Fincke, Windcall Institute’s Executive Director since 2006. Windcall is a Network for Good client and Holly was looking forward to seeing the Challenge leaderboard so she’d know what they were up against! I love Holly’s enthusiasm!  She was also generous enough to share about Windcall’s plans to boost monthly giving.

Network for Good:  Tell us a bit about your existing monthly donors.

Holly Fincke: We were already thinking of launching a monthly giving campaign, so this was great timing for us. We have a handful of existing sustainers, including our board members and a few others. We do an online campaign every fall where we reach out to the alumni of the program and ask them to share our appeal with their networks.

Windcall does have a core group of loyal donors that give year after year. When you go through the experience of our programs, it’s really transformative, so we find that our alumni are inspired to give back.

NFG:  What is your strategy for your monthly giving campaign?

HF:  We’re kicking off a two week campaign starting March 16 through April 3 focused on bringing our loyal donors in as sustainers.

For this campaign, we wanted to target consistent givers (our alumni, allied members). To reach them, we’re rolling up our sleeves and our board is calling 10 donors each.

One of our major donors has offered up a double match for monthly donations.  So, if someone makes a sustaining gift,  that yearly amount will be doubled.  We approached the major donor for a match. Most major donors want to see their contribution leveraged to the fullest, and they get that we are trying to build our donor list and a predictable stream of donations.

Major donors and sustainers are special and both deserve special treatment. We send something special to these groups each quarter. For example, one of our residents wrote a poem that we sent to the donors. This allowed those supporters to remember and relive the experience they had. When you talk to alumni about supporting future participants, it helps to say, “someone you know applied, someone from your state applied.”  Programs that have alumni from them have a built-in advantage. Alumni want to give back because they know better than anyone the benefits. 

We will also send an email to our general list, but our focus is on those core donors. Our match and the Network for Good prize money will help motivate people to act.

Nonprofit Link Round Up

Another Friday the 13th? Never fear! There’s nothing scary about these blogs, events, and resources that rose to the top this week. Round Up

Our friends at Social Media for Nonprofits kick off their new monthly Twitter chat today at 1pm ET. This month’s session focuses on measuring social media for the most impact. Follow along with the hashtag #SM4NPChat. via Social Media for Nonprofits

Brady Josephson nicely summarizes why your landing pages might be confusing your donors. via re:charity

We’re all about monthly giving here at Network for Good with our Recurring Giving Challenge in full swing. You can still sign up, so you probably want to go do that now. Need a nudge? Get the scoop on why a monthly giving program can mean so much for your fundraising plans.

Are you taking your donors on a journey? Derrick Feldmann shares why it’s so important to keep donors engaged. via Philanthropy News Digest

Is Peer Fundraising Right for Your Organization?

Is Peer Fundraising Right For You?

Peer-to-peer fundraising—also known as personal fundraising, social fundraising, or simply P2P—happens when nonprofits empower supporters to raise money on their organization’s behalf. These types of campaigns allow causes to extend their reach far beyond their core network, raising awareness and attracting new donors.

The power of peer giving is hard to ignore. At Network for Good, the volume of dollars and number of donations going to nonprofits through these social fundraising campaigns has grown significantly over the last few years. As we become more connected with each other through mobile technology and social media, it’s easier to leverage our networks (and the ease of giving online) to raise money on behalf of the causes we love.

How do you know if your organization is ready for a peer-to-peer campaign? Here are five things to consider:

You have a solid online fundraising program in place.
Before branching out, nail the basics first. You’ll have a sense for what works and what doesn’t, plus you’ll have many of the tools in place that you’ll need for a successful social fundraising effort. You must have a donor-friendly way to accept online donations for all donors, every day. You also want to make sure you’re getting the most from your email marketing, social media, and your other communications channels to support your outreach.

When you’ve mastered the fundamentals, you can expand your online fundraising scope to include different types of social fundraising campaigns.

You have 5-10 passionate advocates you could recruit to raise funds on your behalf.
Before adding peer-to-peer fundraising to your mix, think about the core group of supporters you will activate to become fundraisers for your cause. You may have more than 10 (which would be amazing), but having a handful of folks you know you can turn to will help get your campaign off the ground. Consider inviting these key advocates to join in the early planning of the campaign to ensure they’re even more invested. If you don’t have a list of ambassadors that comes to mind, spend time cultivating those relationships now.

More! Build Stronger Donor Relationships Right Now: Ideas from Fellow Fundraisers, Part 2

Read Part 1 here

Have two minutes? Please tell us what you’re doing to strengthen donor relationships and/or what’s in your way. Thanks!

You have some fantastic fundraiser peers. Kudos to all of you who generously shared your path to stronger donor relationships or boldly put out there what’s getting in your way!

Here’s how one fundraiser is switching it up to build stronger donor relationships:

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