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How Scary Is The Increasing Role of Technology in Giving?

Technology

Some Find its Role in Giving Scary

by Jordan Good Vice President of Operations for GiveCentralThe GiveCentral 2015 survey ‘Predictions for Nonprofit Giving‘ is currently live and has already gathered some fascinating insight from people like you who are developing their organization’s 2015 donor management strategies.Some of the early analysis suggests that both nonprofit organizations and donors fear the increasing role of technology in giving. Currently, more than half of the survey respondents (53 percent) worry that their donors generally fear technology change, and almost one in five donor administrators (18 percent) fear they are not keeping up with the pace of technology change in order to add value to their organization.This fear could well be described as a fear of the unknown. Many administrators worry that technology is too complicated for their audience, or that the benefits don’t outweigh the perceived challenges of using online and mobile technology as part of their donation strategy.However, organizations that have used online and mobile donor tools from GiveCentral report a quicker and more consistent giving experience from their donors and by their own administrators. Over two-thirds of respondents to the survey (69 percent) to date agree that real-time transactions have benefited their donor giving campaign. More than half (56 per cent) confirm that their fears regarding online payment security were unfounded and that payment card pre-authorization has added real value to their donor’s ease of giving.When you were a child on Halloween trick or treating could be scary at times, but as you grew older it was less frightening and more fun to be out with your friends and family. The more you knew the less fear you had. I hope these early trends from our survey provide some reassurance of the value from using donor technologies and dispel some fears.There is still time to participate and receive your complimentary copy of our analysis report. Please click here to share your insights.

easy tithe

Rejuvenating the Annual Campaign with Online Giving

by Vish VassSenior Vice President and Managing Director for GiveCentral

Annual campaigns typically represent the biggest source of revenue for religious organizations, placing great importance on the strategies surrounding a campaign’s theme, setup and execution. The pressure to continue to come up with effective annual campaigns is often challenging, as by definition, they are required year after year. Not only are annual campaigns a significant undertaking for those planning and executing them, but overall competition for donors is also formidable.  According to Giving USA 2014: The Annual Report on Philanthropy, total charitable giving amounted to $335 billion in the last year, but the level of giving to faith-based organizations was flat. In addition, more than one million organizations are vying for those donations, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics.This can make it that much more difficult for small, local parishes to get their message to potential donors.

There are so many appeals for aid out there, many of them promoted by large organizations with expensive and flashy multimedia campaigns.With a need for consistently fresh ideas and strategies to clear the hurdle of donor competition, many religious organizations look to rejuvenate their annual campaigns in a variety of ways. One route to help cut through all the noise is to enhance the giving experience and your relationship with your donors through technology, of which many different tactics are discussed in GiveCentral’s latest white paper, “Rejuvenating the Annual Campaign with Online Giving: 8 Best Practices for Success.”

Go Digital

Across the board in 2013, online donations were up 13.5 percent, nearly three times the rate of growth for overall contributions, reported Giving USA. . This percentage was even higher for faith-based organizations, which saw an increase in online giving of 18.1 percent. GiveCentral’s own research shows that churches that implement online giving programs report growth of up to 50 percent in total donations.  This demonstrates a clear opportunity for churches to enhance their giving programs through electronic solutions.GiveCentral recommends the following best practices for religious organizations and other nonprofits looking for a fresh approach to their annual campaigns:

  1. Track progress throughout the campaign, including effectiveness of each tactic – Clearly document activities along the way so you can use them for post-campaign evaluation. This will give help you understand where electronic giving had the most impact and where more traditional methods may be stronger.
  2. Employ targeted marketing techniques – Use your donor management system to segment your donor list so they receive personalized and customized communications that encourage them to give.
  3. Communicate with donors on a consistent and frequent basis – While the annual campaign is the highlight of the giving year, communicating consistently with donors throughout the year will yield greater results. In fact, organizations using GiveCentral have bolstered revenue by 30 percent when they deliver messaging to donors on a regular basis.
  4. Take action to engage donors throughout the year – Let donors know they are special members of your community through a variety of methods, including inviting them to exclusive gatherings, highlighting them on your website or sending them handwritten notes. Establish a schedule for ongoing communications and stick with it.

 Interested in learning what the remaining four best practices for rejuvenating annual campaigns are? Check out the latest GiveCentral white paper for more valuable advice and information.

GiveCentral's tradeshow booth before the opening of NCDC 2013

Developing a Winning Conference Participation Strategy

by Bridget Mayer, Director of Business Development at GiveCentralNow that the seasons have officially changed, many of us have started to enjoy fall’s perennial offerings, including cooler temperatures, beautiful changing leaf colors and of course, a caramel apple or two.Fall also ushers in a very busy time of year for more than just pumpkin patches. For nonprofit and religious administration managers, along with many leaders at for-profit businesses, the start of autumn marks the start of the busy conference season. Many of us will travel near and far to attend annual gatherings over the next several months, juggling the responsibilities of our day jobs with the inherent craziness of conference participation.Developing a winning conference participation strategy is key to ensuring you take full advantage of all the conference’s benefits. Here at GiveCentral, we’ve spent last week connecting with industry colleagues new and old at the Diocesan Fiscal Management Conference (DFMC) and are busy preparing for National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC) which starts October 4th.Since we’re in the thick of it, we wanted to share some advice on developing a winning conference strategy to help you make the most out of your conference participation:Identify your goals before you arrive You need to choose the conferences that will give you and your business the best ROI in terms of your goals. It’s important to come prepared with established participation goals and that your any participants from your organization understand these goals.

What do you want to get out of the conference? How many leads/connections are you looking to generate? Are you focusing on promotion/branding or do you have a product to demo?

You can have more than one goal, of course, but the point is that you need to be clear about what your participation in the conference is going to achieve. Determine what your ROI would be—if one new customer helps you justify you being at the event, then focus on connecting with as many participants as possible in order to unearth and connect with that customer.For example, many of the attendees at DFMC are finance and accounting-focused professionals who are focused on learning how to best cut down the costs associated with managing their organization’s capital campaigns. We looked to connect with the attendees to inform them about how, without breaking the bank, our electronic giving systems allows users to get comprehensive donor functionality to easily:

  • Manage donor relations
  • Access donation activity
  • Run reports/managing donor accounts
  • Send and manage donor communications

In the booth, we conducted live demonstrations of our GiveCentral Go technology, our easy-to-use card reader for mobile devices, which is perfect for off-site donor events. In addition, for those that received our pre-conference email, made a donation to Catholic Relief Services and visited our booth, we gladly matched their gift right there in the booth using GiveCentral Go!

GiveCentral's tradeshow booth before the opening of NCDC 2013
Our booth at NCDC 2013 – pardon our old tagline!

For the upcoming NCDC, our focus will be to connect development directors whose priorities differ from a CFO. Tending to be the end users and executors of the ins and outs of giving programs, their goals are zoned in on how they can best save time with giving logistics and enhance their programs—both of which are right up GiveCentral’s alley!Carve out time to build connectionsBuilding personal relationships are a key benefit of conference participation. Conferences are ripe for connecting with potential customers, but it’s also a time to build on the relationships you already have. If you know people that you want to reconnect with or get to know better who will be attending—clients, vendors, friends-of-friends—reach out a few weeks before the conference to set up a time to meet for coffee or a meal while you’re at the event.That’s what we did for DFMC. These one-on-one conversations allow us the opportunity to understand donor needs and to talk about how GiveCentral has worked with hundreds of church and diocesan offices as well many non-profit organizations to help them meeting that challenge via electronic giving.Friendly follow-upRemember that the conference doesn’t end with the closing session. In fact, in most cases this is when the important relationship building and sales work starts. You need to keep your business at the front of your prospects’ minds by staying in touch after the event. This increases the chance of converting your leads into sales.Following DFMC, we’ll be following up with all the great connections we made via personal emails, phone call and/or face-to-face meetings. We’ll also be looking to share a copy of our upcoming survey GiveCentral: 2015 Predictions for Giving which is set to launch in early October. Our goal with the survey is to better understanding donor giving preferences and the role technology increasingly plays in non-profit donations. Once launched, the survey will be accessible from our home page at www.givecentral.org.Pay it forwardYou gained a lot of new information, inspiration and contacts at the conference, now it’s time to share the knowledge with fellow colleagues, prospects and clients. For example, send clients and prospects, especially if they couldn’t make the conference, links to session videos or presentations you thought were particularly valuable. This knowledge share is a great value-add to any relationship.No matter what your fall schedule has in store for you, we hope this advice on developing a winning conference participation strategy proves valuable. And if you’re headed to NCDC, we look forward to seeing you!