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How to Let Parishioners Know You’re Fundraising Online

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So you’ve set up an account with GiveCentral—our web-based donation tool that consolidates all collection, fundraising, and communication activities in one place—and you’re feeling pretty good. You’ve got your systems set up, your goals written out, and you’re ready to start accepting electronic donations. There’s just one simple problem. Your parishioners have no idea that you’re doing, well, any of it.

First things first, don’t panic. You’ve done a great thing by hopping on the online fundraising train. Research into charitable giving in 2016 found that giving increased 1% overall last year, but that online giving increased faster than the average, up 7.9% from the year before. If you build it—and let them know about it—they will come. Here’s how to let your parishioners know that you’re online and ready to receive donations.

Turn to social media

First things first, it’s time to craft a social media blast to let the parishioners that follow you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram know that your GiveCentral platform is ready to roll. No need to agonize about this; think short, informative, and to-the-point. If you’re stuck, try something like this:

Tired of writing paper checks? We’re thrilled to let you know that you can now donate to [your parish’s name here] online! It’s quick, easy, and secure. Click the link below for more information.

Don’t forget about other forms of social media, like YouTube and Pinterest. If your parish already uses them, be sure to advertise your GiveCentral account there, too.

Go old-school

Of course, not all your parishioners are going to be on Twitter. That’s why it’s important to announce your GiveCentral presence in more traditional ways—i.e., on paper. Put a notice in your bulletin, print out an announcement and tack it to your bulletin board, and include a mention in your parish newsletter. By announcing it both online and off, you stand a better chance at catching the attention of all your parishioners.

Make your website donor-friendly

If you hop over to any major non-profit’s website, from the ACLU to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to the St. Raymond de Penafor Parish (a GiveCentral user!), you’ll find that they make it very, very easy for you to donate. Whether it’s a pop-up, a large “Donate” button, clean graphics, or all of the above, it’s immediately clear that donating to their cause is the primary way a website visitor can help.

Draw inspiration from these huge nonprofits and make sure your website directs visitors to your GiveCentral platform. It doesn’t have to be fancy; no pop-ups or .gifs required. Just make sure the information is on your front page—and easy to read.

Use social proof

The concept of “social proof” is a useful one for parishes to remember when they’re working on fundraising. Broadly, social proof is what happens when you buy a product based on your friend’s recommendation, or watch a video because everyone in your Twitter feed is recommending it. When it comes to fundraising, capitalize on the power of social proof by letting potential donors know that other donors are already contributing. Also, consider letting your parishioners know how these donations are being used. This could take the form of a photo posted on social media, a paragraph in your newsletter, or even a tasteful announcement from the pulpit, if that feels appropriate. The idea is to let your community know that people are supporting your cause and that, if they want to do so too, they simply need to hop online.

The good news is that none of these tips and tricks should take you very long, and the payoff is large! The better news is that we’re here to help. If you are looking to improve your fundraising and make the process much more efficient and far less stressful, GiveCentral may just be the product for you. We’ve got the lowest processing fees in the marketplace—and the passion and knowledge to help you exceed your fundraising goals. Ready to hear more? Reach out to us today.

Why Churches Should Offer E-Giving Solutions

Online giving options are simple no matter what your cause is or who your donors are. Not only is it easier but also secure. Institutions of faith and religion are no exception. While traditional way of collecting offerings at churches still stand, the ability to donate online and through your phone remotely has greatly increased collecting efficiency.

Technology is changing habits. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s report, the age group of 18-49 years makes up the major part of the population of our society today, about 63 percent.  And in future, as this generation moves into middle age they will bring along their knowledge of technology to make their life easier. This will have a significant effect on the collection capability of the churches, which for the time being are dependent only on weekly church attendance.

In a survey by the Gallup Organization, based on over 150,000 it was found that only 35 percent of the total attended church weekly. The rest admitted to rarely attending the church and some even agreed to not attending at all for months.  Based on this survey it is hard to agree to the traditional form of donation collection in churches. Right now the attendance to churches is the only guarantee to collecting offerings. Add to that the cost of handling cash, budgeting and lack of collection strategy and giving becomes a challenge.

Here are some of the reasons why your organization should consider e-giving:

Popular consent

The majority of people  use online payment methods for paying bills and other activities. A large majority admitted to writing checks only when donating to a church or any other non-profit which could not offer online payment method. Some churches who adopted online giving saw an increase in the number of donations every year. Though the success of programs likes these depends mostly on how they are introduced and promoted, most people find it more convenient than the traditional method.

Decrease in use of checks

Seldom will you find someone who carries a checkbook to services.  Most of the time rarely do we carry a lot of cash in our wallets. So if the church offers only these two methods of donating, the person will either give nothing or donate as little as he/she has at the given time. We know that with the boom in digital transactions people mostly use their debit or credit cards, or other online transaction methods to manage their finances.

Reliable collection option

Many programs which offer online payments have the feature of Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT). Basically, people can transfer funds to the payee on a fixed timeline. How one can use this is by designating the church as the payee and then the payment will happen automatically on a weekly basis or bi-weekly, however, the account holder wants. This makes it very convenient for the church to collect donation throughout the year.  The flow of donation is stable and reliable too. Many churches that have adapted to this trend have seen an incredible increase in donations. Especially families that are traveling during summer vacations like to keep their faith alive and do make the donation even when they are away.  Many people who travel a lot can sometimes feel disconnected to their faith. With this option, it will be easier for such people to make donations from remote locations to their home church and feel connected and faithful to their faith. Time and space become the least concerning factor when using EFT and the church can concentrate on the faith of the congregation any worry less about how to collect donations.

Hike in donations

Online donations gain increased popularity – think of crowdfunding you recently participated in as one example. The ease, convenience and securing are the main three factors.  These will only, in turn, generate more donations.  Churches that offer the option have seen about 40 to 45 percentage of people using their credit card. Donation capability has increased 8 to 10 percent.

Safety

Safety is a major factor in any transactional process. Safety is taken seriously on all levels and are regulated by strict banking guidelines.  Updates and reviews to make sure there are  no loopholes are ongoing. Most importantly banks have necessary guidelines to which a merchant should adhere to. Any software solution you choose has to meet these guidelines in order for any transaction to be made with a bank. So, weather you are making a payment or donating to a church your transaction as well as personal information is treated with utmost security.

Ease of Donation

As mentioned before online transaction gives the great capability to people to donate at their leisure. Many families who can’t schedule their weekly church visit can still schedule their weekly support with electronic fund transfer. They don’t have to be concerned about attending each and every occasion to support their faith. With e-giving, they can donate regardless of their busy schedule. They can also frequently donate as much as it’s affordable to them and predict a budget for their own convenience. Giving the ability to manage how they donate can greatly increase the donations.

Broadening supporter age group

Baby boomers make the majority of donors today. But the younger generation who are also enthusiastic about supporting their faith are large in number. This new age demographic that is tech savvy and uses their mobile devices for most of their finances, will generally be inclined to use online payment methods.  Giving them the option of online payment will only draw them more towards supporting their church.

E-giving is a trend. It is here to stay and will only grow exponentially every year. Church leaders must react to this change in donor behavior and adapt accordingly. Learn more about our online donation management tools  .

8 Fundraising Email Strategies To Drive High Response Rates

Fundraising Email Strategies

Your non-profit engages in email marketing and the first thing you do is send an email to your supporter and potential donor appealing to them to come forth and donate to your charity. Now you sit and wait for any replies or donations. After several hours when you open your inbox you find that not only there haven’t been any replies but also no donations have been made. What did go wrong?

Besides fundraising events, fundraising emails also provide significant support and steady income source for many non-profits and charities. But not all organisations are similar and you have to think of a way to stand-out form the rest. Without understanding the art and science of email marketing a lot can go wrong. The window of opportunity to convince a donor to make any donation is very narrow.

Here are few fundamentals that if kept in mind will ensure high response to your email fundraising campaign:-

  1. A Compelling Story

It is necessary to draw the attention of your target audience towards your fundraising effort. Create a compelling and engaging story that is relatable and stands true to the cause that the charity supports. The very first step when your mail your supporter is to define the subject line for your mail. It doesn’t necessary needs to explain the content of the mail but should be interesting enough for the recipient to click it open. Have fun with the subject and be provocative. Always keep a clear narrative of your campaign that should be specific to certain segment audience. As long as you understand to treat your target donors with a specific engagement strategy you can be sure that your supporters will always be around to help.

  1. Specific Appeal

Make sure the purpose of the fundraiser is clear to the recipient. Keep it simple, clean and clear. Always make your objective understandable and perceivable to act upon. Your donor will only be interested in donating if he/she can relate to the cause and find your initiative practical and doable. So don’t blabber away in long words about your plans of how your will use their money, but keep it concise and simple and talk only about the executable actions so that the people get motivated to donate to something they understand.

  1. Mobile Phone Adaptability

Most people these days keep their social networking majorly to the phone than to their laptops or desktops. The preference on mobility to their online social life is understandable. So your email format should be adaptable to a mobile phone also. Almost 53% of the emails opened today are on mobile phones. Keep the important graphics and links and minimize texts. Optimize the graphics for mobile phone screen, resize the images and enlarge any buttons you want them to click for donation or any other information related link.

  1. First Things First

Make your appeal to be the first thing visible on your email. The call for support should be featured prominently in your mail, probably the first thing on the email. Don’t push the reader into scrolling further down before they actually understand what you are asking for. Often fundraiser emails can have multiple/conflicting call-to-action. Be careful about what kind of information you are feeding into your email. If you give the recipient too much to consider they will probably think twice before they donate. Just keep it specific and prominent.

  1. Build Relationship

Another important habit is to build trust and relationship with your donor. When asking for donation amount, you can tell what specific amount will help you achieve. If you can include a brief but heartfelt story of the impact you will create with the donated money, it will go on to impress the donor and boost your trustworthiness remarkably. Further ahead in future also keep cultivating your audience by regular feeds of your success stories. People donate because they’re compelled to be part of something bigger, something that will help them make the world a better place. Always convey to your audience that they can ‘help change lives’. The power of empathy and need to help others is one major reason people are always ready to donate.

  1. Be Creative

Remember, an email is not your organisation’s annual report. It is not a letter or request or a short essay of your plans. The only purpose that your email serves is to motivate your community and prompt giving. You don’t have to share your stories in detail but more importantly provide a format that will lead your audience to click just a button to land on your website. So forget about formatting your email in the formal and boring style. Keep it fresh and innovative. You need to entice your audience and not bore them.

  1. Test and Learn

Test every factor related to likeability of your email campaign and use that data to improve in future. Make sure you get the most information out of the campaign. Readers’ preferences and response to specific promotion style should keenly be studied. Constantly research, change, test, calculate again and then change again. It takes time to reach perfect sync with your donor, so invest that time.

  1. Be thankful

Generosity of the donors is one thing that keeps a charity running for years. Philanthropy has greatly helped charities to function efficiently and perform its duties well. Though at its core it is altruistic, it would do no harm to send a thankful note to your donor. This not only generates goodwill but also keeps your supporters’ numbers intact for future.

Electronic mails count for almost one third of the total online fundraising today. Emails have proved to be the most efficient and cost-effective way to raise money for non-profits. The outreach of your brand value to the target audience is enormous and efficient, and the response rate is also quicker. Tapping into this medium can greatly increase your performance as a charitable organisation.

Benefits of Giving To Charity and some positive effects of donating.

Benefits of Giving To Charity

In our busy lives, we hardly can find time to help others, even though we so much want to. The empathy of others plight is the great connection that we feel as humanity in whole. But given the fact that we are living such a fast-paced life that this connection we want to feel, takes a back-step. We can’t all volunteer for a charity or organize humanitarian efforts and a regular day, but what we can do instead is support a charity and give in whatever way we can so that they are enabled to do such tasks and dedicate time to making things better in the world.

Of all the things you can do besides volunteering work is to donate to a charity. Although this also can be restrained at some times as money can be too tight at home. But even with a situation like this, there is hardly any reason to turn your back on charitable giving. Because we often give away our money unconsciously, like asking a waiter to keep change after your meal because you don’t need loose change jingling in your pocket.

But when it comes to consciously donating the money we often think of a reason not to. Often excuses like, ‘oh my donation hardly matters for such a huge cause’ or something like ‘the charities are all scams and the money won’t go to the deserving’.

When giving to charities even small donations matter a lot. People are equally aware of the poverty and misery around the world, and some people genuinely feel sorry about it. But most think it is hardly in their power to bring any changes. When the truth is that they hold most of the power.

And I use ‘they’ because we often miss the bigger picture where a whole community comes together to help someone. A collective effort always means success. Looking at the efforts as individually someone’s alone might be discouraging for a person. But when we look at what is possible at the hand of a group of people or a mass of supporters, the task becomes less daunting.

Charitable giving is the only way to solve poverty. Intervening in a poor society in an effective way can help break the cycle of generating one poor generation after another by that society.  Helping a community by providing it with effective healthcare will also reduce any future downfall of society and economy. Medical aids can help in the growth of that community’s financial support. And when this happens, that community will become self-dependant. When giving in an effective charity your donation in accumulation directly correlates to the progress of the receiver not just for today but for generations to come.

But money is the last thing that unites us, what does is the empathy to help each other. Not only is it beneficial for the society as whole but also to each one of us at a personal level. Some positive effects of donating are as follows:-

Feeling of Bliss

In a controlled experiment done by the National Institutes of Health, where the test subject was asked to donate a portion of their salary in whatever way, whatever amount seemed fit and whenever they wanted to donate. With these open parameters, the participants donated at their will. But it was found that with every donation there was an increased activity in the pleasure center of the brain. It is surprising to realize, even by the participants who might have seen giving away their hard earned money away, as a negative thing. But when they realized that their donation was bringing smiles on the receiver’s face, when they realized their little loss is actually a big gain for someone else, their attitude towards the act of donation became positive.

Benefit for Others

You might live in a country or a place where hardships are relevantly smaller than the ones in lesser developed countries. While we can wait for the right charity to come along seeking our help for their cause, people who are in need of your support right at this moment. There won’t be a right time to donate (donate whenever it is possible) and there is no right amount to donate (donate whatever little you can). Your money will help someone and help them to help someone else in return. What we fail to realize is that our one act is just a part of the chain reaction that will create a better community and hence a better world.

Tax Exemptions

Speaking of personal benefits, your donation helps in reducing your taxes. When you file for the tax return every year just mentioning your IRS approved transactions of donation, done throughout the year will help in reducing the amount of your taxable income. This is really helpful as ultimately it will end up in you paying a lot less money in taxes than originally.

Giving is convenient

Donating to a charity is the easiest way to nurture your philanthropy activity.  Yes, you can go ahead and vouch for volunteering for any charitable organization, but with the fast paced world today it is hard to engage yourself in such activities. It can often deter people from helping out. What they don’t realize that donating is equally liberating feeling.

Building Purpose in Life

Often we think about what we are meant to do in our life. Most spend time earning and saving money to survive and live a life of content. But what we don’t pay attention to is our own desire to make a prominent effect in the world and find a purpose.

There are others who have the same feelings and when a charity brings these people to work for a cause, their shared belief in the cause and their humanitarian ideologies will inspire others also. Being able to make an impact with your efforts in the real world will give the desired meaning and purpose to life. The simple act of giving can anchor your life and give a new navigation to it.

Inspiring the Next Generation

Kids often learn from their parents. If you are thrifty your kid will be empathizing towards the need of others. This, in turn, will create a chain reaction of generations to come that won’t care to help anyone else and the world will end up in selfish hands. So do donate whenever it is possible and then let your kid know. Talking to your kid about how your little effort will help someone, will only inspire the next generation and the ones to come after, to care.

Creating a Circle of Motivated People

Sharing the success story of the charity which you support will increase your respect in the eyes of your friends and family. When you become an active part of social charity you not only become an inspiration for your peers but also create a circle of motivated and inspired people who will be encouraged to donate and give to charities.

Helping in any Measure Possible

You don’t need to be a millionaire and make substantial donations to be able to see changes that you want to influence. Remember even an ocean is made of only small drops of water. Your donation might be small but in a bigger perspective, it is an integral puzzle piece that makes the whole charity a success. Even a dollar that you donate can mean a day’s meal for a child in Africa. So the truth is you don’t need much to become someone’s hero.

Improving Your Own Respect for Money

Another good effect of donating on a regular basis is that you yourself get more careful about your finances. When you understand the little amount you donate is capable of initiating big changes and change someone’s life, you realize the value of money. And with time you steadily make a constant effort to be reasonable with your expenses.

So now you know how giving can elevate not just a society in general but also you. One of the best things you would ever do with your money is to give some of it to charity. The emotional value of donating is unparalleled. When you donate money, that money is no longer just a piece of paper. The one who receives it, for them it is a bag of rice or a blanket for cold weather. When you can see our money with that perspective, your meaning of giving will change for forever.

Even if the donating is blissful in a biblical sense, what really makes us happy is the understanding that when donating people on both ends, the one who donates and the one who receives the donation, both are equally benefited.

And this knowledge is the basis of the foundation of a prosperous world. By giving away we solidify our common welfare. A smaller donation has an equal effect as the bigger one. And when everyone realizes the success stories of the donation, our stories become an inspiration to one who hears, which ultimately creates a collective consciousness.

importance of mobile donation

WHY IS ACCEPTING ONLINE DONATIONS ESSENTIAL TODAY?

If you want to grow and reach as many people as possible, your presence on the internet is essential. The more you want to grow your organization, the greater your web presence should be Making a simple website, or having accounts on social networks are not enough.

The advancement of crowdfunding and ease of making online donations should allow you to put yourself forward, and raise funds. 

Here are some of the top reasons why you should collect online:

  • The Internet affects all generations

Don’t assume that your organization won’t have online giving adopters just because you have more elderly donors currently. People ages 65+ are the fastest adopters of the internet – many of them use Facebook, Facetime, and Skype to communicate with their grandchildren and family.

Several years ago, few people trusted entering their credit card numbers on the Internet. Today, thanks to all the security offered by banks, card companies, and providers by the means of online payments, you can enter your bank details without fear. 

  • It’s easier for donors

Online giving is certainly a time-saver for your organization, but it’s also easier for the donors. Many people are turning to the internet to manage their finances, and so make it easy for them – let them give to your nonprofit in the same way! Additionally, allowing them to give when convenient for them makes is easier. They don’t have to wait until your office is open – then can give whenever and wherever.

  • This allows you to collect more

Enabling payment online allows donors a wide choice of payment methods, and thus encourages them. The more choices they have, the more the giving becomes simple for your donors, and the more likely he is they are to give!

  • Online collection can be communicated

Once your organization has traction with online giving, it’s important to broadcast and communicate that online – through social media, email and your website. Platforms like GiveCentral.org can help your staff communicate your successes faster, giving them more time to promote your mission!

nonprofit communications

Time Will Tell

Put yourself in your donor’s shoes. The frenzy of the morning rush. Workdays packed with meetings and deadlines. Add to that the round-the-clock demands of family and you can understand that finding time to make a contribution to your nonprofit doesn’t top your donors’ “To Do” list.Being aware of obstacles that may keep your donors from supporting your cause will help you identify solutions to the fundraising pitfalls they present. After all, it’s not that they don’t want to support you; it’s just finding the time to do so! A recent GiveCentral study found that 73 percent of people prefer to give in the evening, late at night, or on the weekends. In other words: when your nonprofit’s office is closed.The only thing surprising about this? That so many nonprofits aren’t optimized to take donations online! If electronic giving isn’t part of your offerings, you are negatively impacting your fundraising potential and likely frustrating your supporters. That’s because one in three Americans prefer to donate online, according to the Insights on Nonprofit Giving report. GiveCentral makes it easy for your supporters to give when they have the time to follow through on their desire to donate and lets them set up a repeating gift on the schedule that’s best for them.

Story Time

What other learnings can one extrapolate from donor time preferences? Think about the time your email communications are scheduled. Make sure they hit inboxes in the late afternoon or early evening so they are near the top of the long list of emails. This easy-to-make change can help keep your outreach from possibly being buried by hundreds of email marketing requests that can divert donors’ attention away from you! Take a scan of your personal inbox and you’ll see what I mean. Emails from your favorite stores or causes often arrive in the wee hours of the morning. Shift distribution times and you can stand out by avoiding the morning email traffic jam!The Insights on Nonprofit Giving report is full of other insights, tips and recommendations. Be sure to get your free report!Get The Survey Report

increase fundraising

Make a Resolution for Your Best Fundraising Year Ever

The new year is upon us, and we’re all ready for a fresh start. How’s your plan for 2016? Now’s the time to make a resolution to have your best fundraising year ever.We’ve prepared a quick, 10-step checklist to help you make sure you’ve got the pieces in place for a fantastic year of giving in 2016.

1. Our donate button is easy to find on our website.

a screen shot of St. Margaret Mary's home page featuring Christmas messaging and a donation button
In December, St. Margaret Mary Church was ready for Christmas giving, with a DONATE NOW button right near the top of the page and a slider highlighting their Christmas events.

2. We have included recurring giving options on most, if not all, of our online giving events.

screen shot of a giving page with Annual giving selected
The Church of Holy Apostles lets you set up your Christmas gift for multiple years at once. You can do this for any holiday or annual event!

3. Our email messages have catchy subject lines that invite donors to open them.

screen shot of a Google inbox with messages from St. Josaphat Church
St. Josaphat keeps things interesting by varying email subject lines for special events while maintaining their regular newsletter.

4. Our outreach is focused on our donors, not us.

an older couple in warm clothes, turned around with one arm over the back of a bench
These are the folks you want to impress. Not your board, not your boss… focus on the DONORS.

5. We include a compelling image in each message.

screen shot of the Office for Peace and Justice home page with an image of a refugee child
The Office for Peace and Justice illustrates their need with one strong image to indicate what your donation will support.

6. Our emails tell a story, but are short enough to be reasonably read on a smartphone.

closeup of a man's hand holding a mobile phone
People are busy! Make a resolution to make your emails easy to read on the go.

7. We are utilizing our social media channels daily to bolster our message of giving.

a screen shot of St. John Berchmans Twitter account
Interspersing charitable and mission-based messages, St. John Berchmans led into the Christmas season with something for everyone.

8. We have planned a day-before giving message with a sense of urgency and a clear call to action.

a calendar with Christmas Day circled in pencil
Your target is that one special event on a particular day, but your plan starts now.

9. We have a plan in place to thank our donors, and to follow up with them to share the results of their gifts.

a fountain pen next to the words "Thank you" written in script
Thank you notes were important at Christmas, certainly, but make a resolution to follow up again throughout the new year.

10. We have started a fundraising plan for 2016!

hands writing in a date-planner book
A resolution of better planning will ensure an even better fiscal year. Start with an outline and build from there.
Fundraising Success

Are You Integrating Your Giving Options?

Why Integrating Offline and Online Giving Will Be Key to Your Fundraising Success

The evolving role of offline and online giving and how it affects your mission

by Jordan GoodWe’re living in a time of nearly unparalleled technical innovation. Software and devices that would have seemed unthinkable 5 or 10 years ago are now essential parts of our daily lives. At the forefront of innovation is the Internet. Who would have thought so much of our lives would be intertwined with cloud-based services, websites and software? For nonprofit organizations, technical innovation in software and technical solutions is revolutionizing how we operate, and integrating new technologies into your existing giving programs is crucial.Is online giving a part of your organization’s fundraising strategy? In our 2015 survey report: Predictions for Nonprofit Giving, 48% of respondents received online donations, while 58% received paper check donations. As more donors look for ways to simplify giving and make tracking their donations easier, online giving will become less of a convenience and more of a necessity for nonprofit organizations. Here are just a few of the ways integrating your offline and online giving will be essential to your fundraising success:

  1. It will save you considerable time (so you can focus on your mission). I used to work for a church, and I know that often times there are multiple systems for managing payments —one for automated clearing house (ACH), one for checks and cash, one for credit cards…you get the idea. With integrated giving solutions such as GiveCentral, your organization can manage all of these giving options in one place. Plus, it will save all data about your donors in one place—perhaps a donor makes a cash donation at one event, but makes a credit card donation for your annual giving campaign. All donation records are saved and available in one place.You save time by not having to enter data into multiple systems, or not having to pull and compare that data at tax time or to reconcile accounting. With the security and capabilities of integrated giving solutions like GiveCentral, the process becomes so much simpler, your staff or volunteers are able to focus their time on more mission-critical tasks.
  2. It can help you provide better service to your donors. When all of your donation data is in one place, running reports or sending donor communications is made much Today, donors want and expect to see detailed reporting on their giving, especially at tax time. When they receive one, simple and easy-to-understand communication without any mistakes, they’re able to easily take that document for their tax preparation. You make your donors’ lives easier, and make it easier to give in the future. Plus, by leaving a positive impression with donors, they’re more likely to spread the word about your organization to their family and friends.
  3. It will make “now” easier, while preparing you for the future. When was the last time you wrote a check at the grocery store? Have you noticed you carry less cash and are using a credit card more often? This is the shift that’s happening across the US today—people are using traditional payment methods like cash and checks less, and are leaning more toward credit cards, online and mobile giving. Entering accounting data into two, three or even four systems for all these giving methods takes time and can lead to errors.With GiveCentral, you enter data for all donations in one place, and once a donor record is set up, that donor is tracked for all donations and communication. You won’t have to integrate data across systems or spreadsheets in order to pull accurate reports— all the information you need is in one system (plus, using one system like GiveCentral versus multiple systems for each reduces costs, saving time and making accounting easier). Accounting right now becomes simpler by integrating your offline and online giving. And when the inevitable happens—people simply stop using cash and checks to donate—you’ll have the infrastructure in place to not miss a beat.Your donors will be happy because they can continue giving in the way that’s most convenient for them, and your employees and volunteers will be happy that they don’t have to change how they input and manage donations. Everyone is happier, and you have more time and energy to focus on your mission.

I love helping nonprofit organizations with GiveCentral. I get to see firsthand how it helps them operate more efficiently, save money and have more time to focus on mission-critical tasks.Time Savings in ActionOne organization had an employee who spent a significant amount of time processing donations—she was regularly processing more than 100 checks at a time. Manually inputting that data was incredibly time consuming—she reported that literally half of her time was spent on just this one task. GiveCentral can scan checks and automatically input the data into your records. And for repeat donors, the system will automatically recognize when a check comes from that same person, reducing time even further so you don’t have to re-enter their information. The system automatically adds the latest donation to their profile. When the leader of this organization realized they could free up half of an employee’s time to work on more mission-critical tasks, their eyes lit up. Just this one functionality of an integrated offline and online giving solution changed their operations dramatically. Yet there really is so much more.Our website provides many resources and information, or you can call me directly at (312) 929-2306. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have or help you understand how integrating your offline and online giving will boost your fundraising efforts.

GiveCentral Survey Report: 2015 Predictions for Nonprofit Giving

The Times, They are a Changin’ – New Survey Report on Technology and Nonprofit Giving

by Bridget Mayer

New Nonprofit Giving Survey: 2015 Predictions for Nonprofit Giving

Communication and Technology Adoption Key to the Future of Donor Management

front cover of the GiveCentral 2015 "Predictions for Nonprofit Giving" Survey ReportChange is practically synonymous with a new year and this rings true for nonprofit organizations in 2015. The next few weeks and months are a time for fresh fundraising strategies and an overall penchant to shake things up.Technology is one area in particular that is driving forward change within nonprofits of all shapes and sizes, regardless of the industry. Here at GiveCentral, we’re constantly striving to learn more about technology’s transformative effect on donor giving and how organizations are responding to the digital age’s influence. Whether it be how mobile technology is mixing things up or how donor management tools have changed, it’s important to us to stay on top of the latest trends.We recently conducted a proprietary survey among more than 80 nonprofit senior executives, including senior religious leaders, Chief Executives, Chief Financial Officers and development managers across a wide range of nonprofit organizations. We wanted to identify the best donor management practices and understand the biggest giving-related challenges and opportunities that nonprofits will face in 2015.You can download the full report here. What we found in our inaugural report, 2015 Predictions for Nonprofit Giving, was both enlightening and encouraging. Senior executives of nonprofits recognize there are many challenges ahead—from the increasing level of competition for donors to the pressure of technological change. The good news, however, is that they are preparing for the future.A few statistics in particular stuck out to us as we dove into the data, including the importance of effective donor communication to engage with donors, how donors are becoming more comfortable with online giving and the need for increased technology education. Below, I’ve outlined these findings.To ensure your organization is positioned to increase its donations in 2015, please check out the full report for a comprehensive look at the current nonprofit giving environment.

Lack of Communication Puts Donor Relations at Risk

Many nonprofit executives reveal that the greatest barrier to donor engagement and giving is a lack of communication.

  • Despite 84 percent of respondents reporting their organization embraces technology change, more than one-quarter (27 percent) do not have a formal email communication schedule in place and only 10 percent send weekly donor emails.
  • One-quarter (26 percent) still rely on weekly printed newsletters. As a result, nonprofit senior executives are leaving many opportunities on the table to communicate and engage with donors to build stronger relationships and increase giving.

Donor Fear of Technology Diminishing

Nonprofit senior executives said that although they still face some hesitation from donors when it comes to technology, more and more are becoming comfortable with digital channels.

  • 84 percent of nonprofits recognize the importance of catering to a new generation of donors and embrace technology change.
  • Only one-in-ten nonprofits retain fully manual donation processing, demonstrating the prevalence of technological advances in giving programs.

Donor Education is Key to Embracing Technology Change

While donors are becoming more comfortable with the idea of technology change, increased education is needed to close the gap. At the same time, organizations are confident their donors can move past the perceived complexity of online giving programs.

  • Nearly half (49 percent) of survey respondents said their donors don’t understand online giving.
  • Yet, only 12 percent of respondents say online giving technology is too complex for their organization to use.

As you usher in 2015’s changes and begin to prepare for the years down the road, we’re hopeful that the donor giving information in this survey from nonprofit leaders is valuable to your organization. Whether it’s gaining a small piece of insight, finding comfort that you’re on track for technology’s demands or even realizing you are behind the digital curve when it comes to nonprofit giving, please let us know what you thought of the survey results in the comments below.Wait, there’s more!To confirm you are positioned to increase your donations in 2015, please contact me at bridget@givecentral.org to schedule an analysis of your donor management practices.

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Debunking Online Giving Myths

Online Giving Myths

Debunking These and Revealing the Truth

To say the Internet has had a huge effect on our society would be a gross understatement. The reality is, the digital age has transformed more parts of our society than we could even count. From business operations and communicating with loved ones, to consuming media, the list goes on and on. And we all have to stay on our toes as technology evolves, introducing new opportunities and challenges.

One major opportunity the digital age has brought forth is the ability for donors to give money to organizations digitally. With a swipe, click or tap, people now have the ability to donate whenever and to whatever organization they want.

While this is a great advancement forward for the industry, some organizations are still wary of introducing online giving programs. The reasons why nonprofits are apprehensive can run the gamut, but I wanted to pause and debunk some of the major myths associated with online giving.

Myth #1: Online giving services charge high fees that take a large amount of money from my organization.

Truth: While online programs do require processing fees to operate effectively, the increased amount of donations gained by offering online giving as an option outweighs any fee structure. Online donations rose 13.5 percent last year, according to Giving USA. This is nearly three times the rate of overall contribution growth, which means that while fees can be a deterrent from the online giving game, you don’t want to be left sitting on the bench. Even more compelling: GiveCentral reports that organizations have seen growth of 10 percent per month after introducing an online giving program.

GiveCentral is also proud to present fees that are on average only 1-2 percent of total online donations. This is significantly lower than other services available to nonprofits.

Myth #2: People are either online donors or offline donors, without any crossover.

Truth: No nonprofit wants to alienate a potential donor by not offering multichannel donation options. If you stick with either solely online or offline fundraising options, though, you’re bound to miss out on donations from folks who like a wide variety of giving options.

The key is to find the right mix for your organization and its donor audience. Perhaps supplementing a direct mail campaign with a follow up email makes sense for your nonprofit. Or maybe you want to overhaul your whole fundraising strategy to cover every possible donation avenue—from text-to-give, to online giving to check collection and more. Take the pulse of your donors and implement a giving program that maximizes potential donations.

Myth #3: The technology needed to facilitate online giving is too complicated and difficult for my staff to use.

Truth: Many online giving programs can be set up within hours, allowing nonprofits to start collecting donations electronically almost right away. While there are initial set-up steps that require your staff’s expertise, once a program is up and running, there is very little maintenance required. Of course, organizations are encouraged to manage and update their programs as they gain familiarity with the services and understand the benefits.

If you’re still weary of the burden an online giving system could place on your administrative support staff, keep in mind that many organizations provide set-up support and ongoing consultative services to ensure success.

Technology that enhances the donation process for everyone, and is easy to use, is the hallmark of GiveCentral’s services. By consolidating all collection, fundraising and communication activities in one place, GiveCentral’s platform makes it easier for donors to give, for nonprofits to reach out, and for administrators to save time on accounting and data management. Everybody wins!

There are many more myths about online giving out there, but knowledge is power. Make sure you explore all the options available to you, and do sufficient research, before you make a quick judgment about online giving. And remember: trying something new always has risks, but it also can provide great rewards. Learn more about how GiveCentral can enhance your fundraising efforts.

 

PS: Here at GiveCentral, we strive to stay on top of the latest trends, challenges and opportunities that affect our clients. We want to make sure we can answer your questions about popular myths, for example, while also providing you with unique insights and data about our industry. 

Right after the new year, we’ll be releasing exciting new survey information here on the blog, so please be sure to visit us in once we flip the calendar to 2015!