Bliou Enterprises

Share/Bookmark

Posts Tagged ‘Chronicle of Philanthropy’

The Devil is in the Details

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Fundraisers are concerned about 2012 year-end giving. Not only has philanthropic giving been slugging along, but Hurricane Sandy’s impact may well further diminish what is typically the most crucial giving season of the year.

Although everyone hopes for a game changer in their campaigns that will lead to a windfall, it’s more realistic to look for areas that can be tweaked and improved, which can lead to various increases and bumps in appeals over time.

Various annual giving professionals have offered a chance to look over their shoulder at tweaks they’ve made which have bolstered different campaigns for them:

Calvin*

I wanted to highlight a specific suggested ask amount on our reply card with one of those red circles, but it wasn’t in my printing budget.  So, instead, I designed it with that particular ask amount in a font size that was one point larger than the others.  Not grossly obvious, but it stood out a tad more.  Our average gift increased with that campaign.

Daisy*

We were sending more traffic to donate online, via multiple campaigns, and wanted it to be as easy and convenient as possible.  This included redesigning our home page so that there was a [one click] option, which would take donors from the [Donate Now] button, straight to the donation eform.  We still had a page which explained why donors should give, what their donation would accomplish and multiple options of giving (e.g., mail, phone, United Way, etc.), who to contact with questions, but wanted an immediate option to give for those donors in a hurry to do so.  Our online giving – both # of gifts and overall amount – increased in the first year.

Elvis*

Just as we have our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & YouTube icons on our website, we have added these on all direct mail pieces as well, to remind supporters that they can engage with us on the social media channels of their choice.

Even though these are not clickable links via mail, the marketing of the channels is important in all touches, including mail – even solicitations.

Fifi*

We include a direct hyperlink in all mail solicitations, to encourage online giving – and distinguish it from our [Donate Now] eform, for tracking purposes.  We make it memorable & marketable, such as Nonprofit.org/donate

Gunther*

After learning which types of gifts are typically larger (online), we redesigned our reply card to encourage these gifts above others, by promoting an online giving response more prominently, followed by credit card giving via mail, and a donation of check last.  Our average gift, overall income and online giving all increased.

Hortense*

We redesigned – and reprioritized – our reply card, keeping in mind that Annual Giving is focused on the “here and now” of giving.  While other, longer-term investments are important, they don’t make funds for this campaign, and belong on the back of the reply card (while “right now” data belongs on the front).

Among fields we moved to the front of the card:

–     Credit card information
–     Joint donor name
–     Email address

Data we moved to the back of the reply card:

–     Matching gift
–     Gifts of stock
–     Change of address
–     Planned giving options

Igor*

I inherited a bunch of appeals that talked mainly about deadlines and tax deductions, which I found to be very short-lived.  While some donors do care about these things, they aren’t the ones who will keep coming back year after year.

I changed our letters and emails so that they were much more mission related.  We began focusing on telling our supporters what their gifts would accomplish and who will be helped because they gave.  This tactic saw a lot more repeat donors . . . and a lot less focus on fake deadlines, fiscal years – or tax deductions.

Jessie*

I discovered that we didn’t have an account set up with the post office to forward our mail to the newest addresses.  We had been getting too much of it returned, and I was horrified to learn that nobody in the office did anything with the returns.  This meant that we were repeatedly mailing to outdated addresses!

I got us a postal account and marked our third class mail with Address Service Requested, which forwarded most of the mail to their new addresses and notified us with the data . . . which I made certain got entered into our system!

Although this meant extra postage costs in the beginning, after several mailing cycles, management saw that it was worth it.  Only the really older addresses would be returned with the original pieces of mail.  As we consistently updated our records, our mail became much more efficient – and the return on our direct mail costs improved greatly.

What tactics have you used to improve your fundraising techniques and campaigns – and which new ones will you implement to try and boost your 2012 appeals?

______________________________________________________________________________
Keep the base of the pyramid strong

Similar Posts

What Are Your Areas of Improvement?

Improving the Successful Campaign

Are You Making the Most of Email?

              

How Will Sandy Alter Your Year-End Campaign?

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

So much has been donated during election season, that many fundraisers have been looking forward to the end of the election, so that donors can refocus on other priorities.  Namely, theirs.  Then, along came Hurricane Sandy.

If your nonprofit’s mission isn’t related to relief effort, then the spotlight has automatically been taken off of you for the holiday season.  The devastation that has hit so many – and domestically – is vast, and being publicized by even the private sector in multiple ways as a need for people to donate . . . to specific causes.

This probably isn’t the time to spend a great deal of effort on acquisitions, then, but to focus on your most tried and true segments, as well as your lapsed donors, reminding them of your mission and your successes – and why they supported you in the first place.  Tell them how their gifts have been helping, and what you plan to do to accomplish even more in the near future.  And, of course, how very grateful you are to have their support.

Another important aspect is how you’re asking for that support.  How easy/difficult is it for someone to donate to your cause?  Regardless of the appeal – mail, phone or email – have you included a (direct) hyperlink for your donor to use?  Do you have a way for them to text, if they prefer?

More is learned during each disaster giving cycle, and a couple of findings keep surfacing:  donors want convenience and respond to it, both via online and mobile.

Another way to help keep your donors loyal to your cause and mission is to have a recurring giving program.  Do you offer a monthly giving option on your online giving form, by mail and with your phonathon?  This is one of the best ways to keep your supporters thinking about you all year long.

Of course, these are all good practices, anyway – particularly having a healthy dose of online giving in your campaign, since many campaigns have barely kept up, while online giving has been steadily increasing.  Many reports show this, including the Blackbaud Indices of overall giving and online giving.

It’s all the more crucial, though, to implement these best practices now, as we head into the most crucial time of year – when donors will be spending the most . . . and probably not refocusing their attention where you thought they would, after the election.

______________________________________________________________________________
Keep the base of the pyramid strong

Similar Posts

Why Recurring Giving is So Important

Make Donating To Your Cause Easy and Meaningful

Please Listen To All of the Following Options . . .

                

Diversity Requires Effort, Not Merely a Posture

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Nonprofits know they need to better diversify their marketing efforts.  New research shows that most companies do a poor job of advertising to ethnic minorities.  (When asked for an effective brand, most respondents couldn’t name one.)

To ensure that your nonprofit is in the forefront of constituents’ minds, what can you do? It will take more than being available for them to contact, donate and volunteer!  You will have to learn how to appeal to the various segments of people in your target markets.  Most likely, they each have their own special wants, needs, likes, dislikes and preferences.

In addition to understanding the ethnic makeup of your supporters, many other demographics are necessary, but it doesn’t stop there – and you shouldn’t presume to know without due diligence.  Many people will make assumptions about age, for example, rather than doing research.

A common misperception has to do with age and technology.  Often, people take for granted that Boomers (and older) are not online, don’t donate online and don’t use cell phones, texting, etc., while Millenials are the primary consumers of all things technical, leaving those in between somewhere in the middle.  This is a dangerous assumption, not to mention full of holes.

Research is showing that smartphone penetration is not only increasing across all markets, but Gen X and Y account for the largest market share.  In addition, all segments donate online, and Convio’s The Wired Wealthy study dispels myths about online gifts only coming from younger, smaller donors.

When looking at differences between the genders, it’s been established that women – particularly wealthy women – drive the philanthropic decisions in most households, so particular attention must be paid here, not only to the type of appeal, but in details such as follow up, acknowledgment, etc.  It’s important to most women donors that they learn about how their donation is being used and what affect it has had.  Not providing personal, meaningful feedback is a sure way to lose women donors.

A subset of Millenials has been identified recently – the Post88s.  GirlApproved has identified this demographic as a separate segment of female consumer/donor who responds differently than her predecessor, and therefore, will require a different marketing pitch.  Would you agree?

Another thing we know is that women spend more time on social networking than men do, while men spend a greater amount of time watching videos online, and the amount of video consumed is increasing substantially.  These are things to keep in mind when preparing your campaigns.

You still may have a couple of annual or semi-annual appeals that you want to send across the board, but clearly, it will help to really study your constituents and understand how they exist in smaller clusters of people, too.  Have they been long time supporters for years, or are they specifically donors to your XYZ fund?  Do they always attend your spring event?  Are they inclined to volunteer?  What sets them apart from other constituents?  How do they typically respond?

The need for segmentation was recently demonstrated by a Dunham + Company study which showed that email length and relevance were the most important factors compelling donors to either respond or disengage from a campaign.  Surprisingly, frequency of communication was not among the complaints found.  Effective, targeted – and concise – messaging is what’s most desired.

Diversity also includes more than ethnicity, age and gender.  How accessible is your organization to people with various disabilities?  When you hold an event, are you certain that it is wheelchair accessible?  Do you ask on your registration forms if attendees will need interpretive services for the deaf?  What about your website?  You may be planning to make it mobile-friendly in 2012, but what about making it equal access for the blind?

Of course, a nonprofit that does or doesn’t dedicate itself to true diversity in marketing most likely has a parallel situation internally.  Much of the problems an organization has with their prospecting approach begins with internal issues, such as lack of diversity with their staff and board.  This hasn’t changed much over the years.

When all the ideas are coming from one type of perspective, it’s not surprising that there’d be a homogenous approach resulting from the organization.  There’s even a greater danger when all the power is resting with one set of individuals over another, staffing-wise.  This is when power corrupts.  Diversity has many benefits.

Marketing with old stereotypes and assumptions just won’t cut it any longer, even if you do segment.  Consumers and donors are more demanding now.  If you want them to remember you (fondly), you’ll have to work for it.

____________________________________________________________________________
Keep the base of the pyramid strong

Similar Posts

How Do You Address Your Donors?

How Do You Retain the Donors You Have?

Are You Making the Most of Email?

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

For many nonprofits, this year-end is faring much better than the despair of last December, when there was far less a chance of exceeding the previous year and more thoughts of, “I hope we can match what we earned before!”

Of course, this isn’t the case for every organization, but early indications are quite favorable for the majority of nonprofits polled recently.

Having struggled through these past few years of the recession has forced charities to become leaner and strategize in new and more creative ways.  Many have also taken a long hard look at available research, to see what indicators will help them better serve their constituents.  Even better is taking time to review your own organization’s data, since it may vary from institutional trends on occasion.

One undeniable successful strategy is to combine appeals and have a multichannel approach.  Most nonprofits now realize that putting donors into “silos” is an inaccurate – and lower earning – method of fundraising.  It’s certainly challenging to manage multiple points of reaching out to donors, particularly when they continue to expand, but the organizations that do it best see the most promising results.

Of course, in addition to adding social media channels (and deciding how many to have!), nonprofits now need to decide when (not if!) to add mobile to their campaigns.

The term mobile itself brings an onslaught, too, since this encompasses a variety of possibilities, from converting the organization’s website to be mobile-friendly, to providing text messaging, apps, donations by mobile (and there are choices just within this), and more!

Again – integration is the key.  Social media is best integrated into what you’re already doing in your campaign, such as an event.  Parts of your mobile appeal(s) can be added to portions of your existing campaign as well, making it an enhancement to something already familiar.

Above all else, though, is the donor.  Cultivation and showing appreciation are key.  However, many nonprofits are unaware that they may not be displaying enough of their attention in the right direction.  New research has shown that in 90% of high net households, women are either the sole decision maker or equally involved in philanthropic decisions.

Women donors want to be more directly involved in their charitable giving and need to see and know that their contributions are making a meaningful impact.  This is important information to know when crafting appeals, annual reports, etc. for donors.  It tells us to write more about personal accounts and the significance a gift has had on the life of a recipient, rather than something resembling a balance sheet.

The more we learn about how to better serve our constituents, meeting them where they are – psychologically and technologically – the more successful we’ll become at acquiring and retaining our donors, not to mention increasing their commitment to the organization over time.

With the early results looking so promising, it seems that many organizations are becoming quite skilled at moving to “where the donors are,” rather than the previous model of telling them to “come over here.”

____________________________________________________________________________
Keep the base of the pyramid strong

Similar posts

What Will Year-End Bring – And What Will You DO With It?

Congratulations, you survived another year!

Getting Through Year-End Season Intact

How Can I Attract – And Retain – Good Volunteers?

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Long gone are the days when many homes had a plethora of teenagers, young women homemakers or the retired elderly – with nothing but time on their hands, waiting to give it generously to a worthy cause, regardless of the duties needed.

Now, it’s a great deal more complicated. For one thing, you absolutely have to provide the volunteer (or intern) with a meaningful experience. It’s no longer only about what they can do for you, regardless of their age, income or social standing. If you don’t treat them well, they won’t return.

In addition, your organization must – continually – make the case that, overall, you are doing good work and providing necessary services. The prevalent community opinion is that there is a steady stream of headlines, listing various companies, politicians and nonprofit organizations that have betrayed the public trust; therefore, people are more skeptical in general and need to be convinced that both their time and funds are being used wisely.

Studies have shown that volunteers are much more likely to donate to a cause – and to give larger amounts. What, then, can a nonprofit do to bolster its volunteer ranks?

•    Make it fun: Even typically mundane tasks, such as envelope stuffing, can be more enjoyable if people are doing it together in a festive atmosphere. Schedule a regular, dependable volunteer TIME/DAY for such work, so that people can come in and socialize together while they are helping your organization . . . and find many ways to thank them during and afterward.

•    Make it convenient:  Have jobs that can be available in bite-sized segments, so that people (especially new ones) don’t feel overwhelmed, and end up opting for “none of the above.” Also have options that can be done off the premises, online, evenings and weekends, and with little training to start.

•    Offer a variety of jobs for people to choose from. People wanting to support your mission don’t necessarily all want to do it in the same way.

•    Don’t make assumptions about the types of volunteers jobs that people want to do. A psychologist by trade may not want to work on your suicide hotline in her spare time, and don’t presume that the full time accountant wishes to volunteer to be treasurer on your board. Ask people what their extracurricular interests are.

•    Don’t presume that all of your volunteer jobs need to be classified as they previously were. Many can occur outside the office altogether, such as actively participating in discussion boards, sharing your online video, etc.

•    Create a detailed means of tracking your volunteers! This can be useful for a variety of purposes. Not only will you have a reliable number of hours worked for volunteer awards, but knowing who shows for scheduled duties – and who doesn’t – is invaluable when a last minute shift needs to be filled.

•    Log what type of work your volunteers prefer, as well as some measurement of effectiveness. This can lead to various “promotions” within the ranks. For example, you may want to ask Karla* to become your next committee chair if you can determine a correlation with her participation on Facebook and Twitter, promoting your email petition campaign, and an increase of signatures each time.

Creating a well-staffed and well-trained cadre of volunteers won’t happen overnight, and it requires diligence – but it can pay off in numerous ways for your nonprofit, in terms of publicity, advocacy, workforce, fundraising and many other venues.

____________________________________________________________________________
Keep the base of the pyramid strong

Similar posts

How Has Event Management Changed For You?

How Many Kinds of Phonathon Are There?

I’ll Do Anything EXCEPT Ask People For Money

© 2010 Bilou Enterprises, All Rights Reserved
Site designed and developed by zline media group, inc
Share/Bookmark