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Nonprofit Link Round Up: #15NTC Edition

We have had a blast at the 2015 Nonprofit Technology conference in Austin, Texas! Today’s Link Round Up features links we’ve collected this week at #15NTC:

Where to Find NFG at The Nonprofit Technology Conference

Nonprofit Technology Conference

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:

4 Ways to Frame Your Monthly Ask

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.

UNICEF USA

2. Start Small.

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.)

Nonprofit Link Round Up

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. Round Up Cowgirl

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

How to Showcase Your Monthly Giving Program

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.
Urban Tilth Donation Page
Urban Tilth Monthly Giving
Bonus: Urban Tilth also has a nice call out for their monthly giving program and why it matters on their “Ways to Give” page

Peace Over Violence

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.
Peace Over Violence


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.
TriCounty Partners Habitat for Humanity

On Your Blog

Wildlife SOS

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.
Wildlife SOS

On Your “Why Give/How to Give” Pages Austin Pets Alive!

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.
Austin Pets Alive!

Blue Ridge Area Food Bank

Finally, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank makes a great case for donors to join their Supper Club. This Virginia food bank shares both the benefits to the mission as well as the benefits to the donors on their monthly giving page.
Blue Ridge Area Food Bank

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!

The Most Valuable Data Discoveries for Small and Mighty Nonprofits

Heather Yandow

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.

Network for Good Announces $10K in Prizes for Recurring Giving Campaigns

Press Feed - Fri, 2015-02-20 13:57
Feb 20 2015

The Recurring Giving Challenge offers fundraising campaign resources, expert-led training, and rewards for the online fundraising platform’s nonprofit community.

read more

Nonprofit Link Round Up

Round Up CowboyIt’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

Your older donors are online, so you’d better make sure your digital strategy is ready for them. via Philanthropy News Digest

Warning:  8 Social Media Mistakes That Are Killing Your Brand via Entrepreneur

Gail Perry nails it in her latest piece on writing for your donors. Read and heed, my friends: The 3 Most Boring Words in Fundraising Appeals via Fundraising Success

What can you learn from a multi-platinum pop star? Turns out, quite a bit. 5 Fundraising Tips Inspired by Taylor Swift via Michael Rosen

Are you reaching out and empowering collaboration to make your mission a reality? Read these smart thoughts on readying your cause to matter more to people. via Allison Fine

Are you tapping into the limitless power of appealing to identity?  via Sea Change Strategies

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!

The Devil You Know: Your Greatest Challenge Lives Inside Your Organization

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.

An Inside Look at The 4 Pillars of Donor Relations: Q&A with Author Lynne Wester

Lynne Wester

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.

6 Ways to Create a Habit of Giving

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:

  1. Make it a priority for your organization. To begin a monthly giving habit for your supporters, you first need to make it a habit within your organization. To do this, include recurring giving targets in your marketing and fundraising goals, and make it a point to discuss your monthly giving program any time you talk about your fundraising strategy. Add appeals for monthly giving to your communications plan and create a special donor relations track for your sustainers.

  2. Always leave the door open for recurring giving. Habits rely on cues to signal a behavior. In your fundraising appeals, on your website, and on your online donation pages, always highlight the option to make a recurring gift. Well-positioned recurring gifts give supporters more flexibility and allow them to make a bigger impact. Also, don’t forget to follow up with one-time donors and ask them to consider becoming monthly sustainers. Donors give more over time and you have a steady stream of dependable funds.

Nonprofit Link Round Up

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. Link Round Up Fence

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

Roger Craver offers his take on Hubspot’s 2015 Social Benchmark Report. via The Agitator

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

How to Build Stronger Donor Relationships Right Now: Ideas from Fellow Fundraisers (Part 1)

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!

The Only Thing You Need to Know About a Successful Sustainer Strategy

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).

Nonprofit Link Round Up

Nonprofit Link Round Up CowboyYou 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

Still stuck for story material? Vanessa Chase will send you story prompts to get those creatives juices flowing.  via The Storytelling Nonprofit

Forget Tom Brady and Dancing Sharks, Estella was Our MVP

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.

5 Ways to Nurture Your Peer Fundraisers

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.)

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