by Vish Vass Senior 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.”
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.