3 Proven Techniques to Boost Performance
Love him or hate him, when author and activist Dan Pallotta pointed out that giving has remained flat, at 2 percent GDP, for the past 40 years, he caused many in the nonprofit sector to take a long, hard look at how we evaluate fundraising performance.
Yep, you read that right. Flat. Not a pretty picture. But there is a bright side. And that bright side is online giving.
While online giving accounts for only 7 percent of total giving, we’ve seen funds raised online grow by double digits for the past four years with an 11 percent jump in 2012. In a few weeks, we’ll know how 2013 ended up, but for now let’s just assume it’s going to be a much bigger jump than overall fundraising.
It’s no surprise, right? I mean, what’s the first thing you do in the morning — after your coffee? Check email? Facebook? Twitter? All of the above? Maybe that doesn’t totally describe your routine, but it absolutely describes the habits of a large and growing population of people around the world. And it’s spot-on when you talk about Generations X and Y — your future major donors, sustainer givers and biggest advocates! If that fact alone doesn’t move you to build your online fundraising program, then I’m not sure what’s going to!
Now, there are some who suggest that the growth in online giving is simply a shift of funds from one channel to another versus a shift in overall giving or sign of greater possibilities. It’s a logical conclusion, but it’s also a flawed one. You see, if we choose to live in a world where new opportunities like that of the Internet and online giving are squashed, then we might as well close up shop and go home.
I’m one of those young Gen Xers who checks Facebook and scans email while drinking coffee in the morning, and I’m not ready to close up shop just yet. There’s still a lot of work to be done.
As an industry, let’s get out on the edge for once — start taking advantage of the shifts in donor behavior and leverage the technology that’s available to us. Here are a few ideas to help you along the path of beefing up your online fundraising efforts.
Go mobile, now
It’s estimated that mobile usage will surpass desktop usage within the year. That’s right — this year! And based on the latest generational giving research, we know that 98 percent and 86 percent, respectively, of Generations X and Y use mobile phones as their primary phones. Are you ready?
Next, narrow your analysis down to the donation form on your website to see how many people visit that specific page from a mobile device. Make sure to set the date range back a year or two so you can look at the trend over time. You’ll likely find that mobile traffic to one of the most important pages on your website has grown significantly.
Encourage monthly giving
Getting a one-time gift is great, especially if it’s a big one. But receiving a monthly recurring gift, even if it’s for a smaller amount, is so much better!
Plus, baby boomers, the group that represents 43 percent of total giving, are starting to take to recurring giving, with 21 percent of them opting to be sustainers.
By getting a new (or existing) donor to give monthly, you’ve done a few things:
- Grown long-term online fundraising performance
- Increased monthly revenue predictability
- Improved the odds that you’ll retain that donor over a longer period of time
Make sure you offer a simple way for donors to opt in to monthly giving, like charity: water and many other nonprofits do on their online donation forms.
Take advantage of the moment
You have a great opportunity immediately after donors give you an online donation. They made a decision to invest in you, and they pulled out their wallets to do so. There are two key places you can take advantage of this moment:
1. Confirmation page: The confirmation page is the first page a person sees after making an online donation. It’s the place where you get to thank a new donor, while also giving him or her an idea of how to further support you. Ask these donors to join your email list and give you a shoutout on social media. Neither of these asks takes much time, and they’re likely to oblige since they already said “yes” once.
2. Email receipt: The email receipt should be used to thank donors and serve as the receipt for tax and tracking purposes. But don’t stop there. Remind people to join your mailing list. Let donors know that by joining your mailing list they’ll receive information on how their gifts were used and the impact they’re having.
What about you? Do you think online fundraising is the future, or are you a bit more skeptical of where things are headed? I’d love to hear your perspective on the future of fundraising. I’m @franswaa on Twitter, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Frank Barry is director of digital marketing at Blackbaud and blogger at npENGAGE. He is also a member of the FundRaising Success Editorial Advisory Board. Reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @franswaa