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donor experience

Managing Donor Experience: The 5 big challenges.

Managing donor experience is a relatively recent concept which has become key to our relational and marketing plans’ success.With all of the new technological advances competing for our donor’s attention,here are the 5 major challenges for small and large organizations this year.

# 1 The Rise of Mobile

Smartphones are taking over. Globally, 1.4 billion smartphones were sold in 2015, according to Gartner. Smartphones have revolutionized consumers’ habits and behaviour. This is undoubtedly one of the most striking phenomena of the decade.

The rate of the mobile usage keeps increasing from year to year. 2017 is no exception to the rule. Organizations that seek to optimize the user experience need to integrate this technology in their marketing and relational plans. Organizations should focus the coming year on improving the mobile donor experience. How?By proposing a mobile application, adapting the website to the mobile phone (responsive design), and using text messaging as a marketing channel.

# 2 Multichannel Intensification

The channels of communication have grown considerably in recent years, especially with the emergence of digital channels: email, sms, mobile application, chat, online questionnaires. Donors often use multiple channels to interact with the organization, and pass from one channel to another (from the mobile to the website, from the website to the physical point of transaction).This trend is expected to continue in 2017.

Organizations have to offer their donors a multichannel donor experience, that is to say:

  • Provide an optimal donor experience regardless of the channel used by the donor.
  • Provide fluidity in the passage from one channel to another, and thus the connection of the different channels. For example, the possibility of finding an offline charity event on the mobile application.

# 3 Combining the digital and physical: the rise of Phygital marketing

Organizations must not only offer more channels of interaction, but must also ensure that the various channels are properly integrated.There must be bridges between the different channels so that donors can switch from one to the other with ease.

There are two main families of channels: digital channels (online) and physical channels (offline). For some years now we have been seeing a blend of these two types.Some use the term “phygital” to describe this phenomenon.

# 4 Authenticity in donor relations

Donors appreciate organizations that listen to them. This includes the integration of social networks into the relationship strategy. Many organizations are hiring people to respond to demands on social networks (community managers).

# 5 Self-reliance

The human side of donor relations counts a lot, but donors also cherish their autonomy. They are increasingly enjoying the services that enable them to solve a simple problem on their own without the help of the organization. Why? Because the donor is looking to save time and minimize their efforts. The development of self-service tools is another 2017 trend of donor experience.

In the search for maximizing the donor experience, you have to keep in mind this seemingly contradictory aspect with the previous point. The principle is: let the donor do what they can do themselves, and concentrate the donor relations on the more complex actions or problems.

An example? Have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on your website that answers the basic questions, or show them how to use the app via tutorials. This helps to manage your donor service, and improves your efficiency.

As an organization, it is essential that you are aware of these developments to differentiate yourself from the crowd and maintain a good level of donor satisfaction. These trends are not new but their importance will certainly increase in the months to come.

fundraising campaign

5 things to know before starting a fundraising campaign.

Want to launch your online fundraising campaign? A little strategy is in order! From the beginning of a Fundraising campaign, it is important for non-profit organizations to be aware of certain elements:

  • Philanthropists want to see results from their gift. If they agree to help fund a project, it’s because they believe in the organization and its mission. Make it clear in your marketing and messaging why is your organization raising funds.
  • It is tricky to solicit donations for the sole purpose of balancing a budget. It is easier to convince donors to participate in the development of your organization, or in a specific mission that the institution intends to carry out. To get more donors to become involved, the funds sought must be used to move the nonprofit organization.
  • Soliciting prospective donors in a non-targeted manner (for example starting with the letter A of a directory) whether it is specialized or not, is not considered the most effective strategy while starting a fundraising campaign. It is better to turn to potential donors (companies or individuals) who are already connected in one way or another to the fundraising institution or its members.
  • As often in marketing disciplines, loyalty to a donor is easier than recruiting a new donor. For this, the process of traceability, thanking your donors,  follow-ups and information regarding the use of donations are essential.
  • According to several recent studies, there is generally a very large disproportion in the amount of donations obtained.The Pareto principle applies here in full: the fact that 90% of donations come from 10% of donors is a common pattern. This can even go further (95-5 etc.). In conclusion, it is not necessarily useful to look for a large quantity donors, it is necessary to be able to detect and convince the quality ones.
Storytelling for nonprofits

What’s Your Narrative? Stories worth telling.

By Patrick Coleman

What’s Your Narrative? Powerful Storytelling for Non Profits.

Humans are literally built to learn through stories.  Storytelling is a fundamental way to communicate, one that pre-dates the earliest pre-historic cave paintings. Since the beginning of humankind stories have been used to share knowledge and have been central to handing down history and traditions.  StorytellingI venture to guess, just about now, you are thinking about the stories of your ancestors you’ve been told along the way.

More than a buzzword for marketers and communicators, storytelling has evolved into one of the most powerful marketing tools for organizations today (both for-profit and non-profit alike). Check out this infographic from OneSpot on the science of storytelling.   

According to OneSpot, Americans consume an average of 100,500 digital words daily and 92% of these consumers want stories.  Storytelling engages the head and the heart and makes the connection personal.

Storytelling for non profits.

Ensuring your organization has an interesting narrative is essential. Well-crafted stories engage donors, raise awareness, demonstrate a need and illustrate the impact you have on your community.  Compelling stories connect people to your organization and your mission.  Remember these topline content guidelines when crafting your stories:

Elicit Emotions.  

Use emotion to connect on a human level.  Facts and figures are important, but stories are memorable. Your stories need to move the reader — make them feel something and ideally propel them to take action.

Appeal to the Senses.  

Use language that paints a picture and enables the reader to experience the story.  If you were writing about food you’d use descriptors that would make the readers’ mouth water.  Apply that same tactic to your writing.  

Focus on Why not What.  

Tell supporters why you do the work you do.  Dimensionalize “the what” by showcasing the outcomes – or the “why” of your work.

How is your organization using storytelling to enhance your fundraising?  What insights and tips can you share?  We love a good story, so be sure to share!

Campaign Fundraising

Campaign Fundraising Like a Politician

Lessons Learned from Campaign 2016

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a political junkie…when it comes to candidates’ campaign fundraising strategies, that is. As nonprofit fundraisers, there is much to learn from these seasoned pros. Their undeniable success at raising tens of millions of dollars to fuel their political campaigns is intriguing, educational and – most importantly – doable.The frontrunners in today’s election season, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, in particular, use varied methods to achieve success. This New York Times article offers an interesting look at the differences between the Clinton and Sanders approaches to fundraising. Using that as a stepping stone, I’ve compiled a few lessons I’ve learned from studying these campaigns that you can apply to your playbook: (more…)

Alumni Fundraising Ideas

Keeping Grads Connected to Your Mission

Cheers to the Class of 2016!

It’s graduation season. Mortarboard caps are being flung high into the air as graduates embark on a new adventure and the next phase of their life journey. For schools, these newly minted alumni are an important part of your organization and future funders of your mission. Regardless if they are graduating from 8th grade or college, you need to build on your obvious connection and their affinity for their alma mater. Take thoughtful – and creative – actions to develop a long-term relationship – really a friendship – that can pay dividends in the future. Just like the investment parents make in a child’s education, you too need to make investments in your alumni relations efforts. Here are a few pointers to remember to help you build an engaged and committed alumni community. These tips, while geared toward alumni, can certainly be applied no matter what donor group you are courting:

Also Read: Homecoming: A Great Time to Connect for Alumni Giving

Students first, alumni forever.

Transform your graduates into advocates – and supporters – of your school by engaging them while they are students. It’s the positive memories they build as students that they – and you – draw on when asking them to support your mission. As they transition to graduates, make sure you capture their contact information so you can continuing reinforcing and deepening your relationship. (more…)

Mobile Giving

The Age of Convenience

It’s the age of convenience. Everything – in every category imaginable – is geared toward making things easier and more convenient. We have a need for speed and ease!Today, we rely on the internet for just about everything: news, shopping, banking, socializing, and much, much more. Quick and easy is the name of the game in our increasingly online-focused world. Having instant – and seamless – access has become an ingrained part of our culture. As such, your donors expect the same level of ease and accessibility from your organization that they find elsewhere… and all from the palm of their hand.Regardless of where donors spend their hard-earned money – ordering groceries online, e-shopping, downloading music, paying bills electronically or supporting a worthy cause – donors are primed for and – quite honestly, expect – hassle-free online buying experiences. I know I do!To help ensure your supporters have a great giving experience, try these tips:

Make it mobile friendly.

Donors are on the go. Ensure you are optimized for mobile giving so donors can give anytime, anywhere, from any device. (more…)

Duck Race Fundraiser

Tips on Inspiring Year-Round Giving

Spring is (finally) in the air and with the blooming of spring comes the season for marquee nonprofit fundraising events. From grand galas to spring fling festivities, these cornerstone events are an important part of the fundraising mix, often raising significant funds.

While extra emphasis is rightfully put on these annual high-profile and revenue-producing events, don’t take your eye off the eight ball. Year-round giving is critical to your long-term viability and is the engine that drives your mission. Steady, recurring gifts add up and are foundational elements to your fundraising success.

The most successful nonprofit organizations integrate traditional fundraising activities such as annual galas with online giving options and ongoing donor communications. Electronic giving is an effective tool to not only facilitate donations, but also deepen donor engagement which results in increased year-round giving. When adding GiveCentral to their fundraising tool kit, our clients report a growth of up to 50 percent in total donations.

You can inspire year-round giving by deploying the latest fundraising technology and creating meaningful donor touch points throughout the year.

Try these proven GiveCentral tips: (more…)

Storytelling

Tips to Perfect the Art of Storytelling

Happy National Tell a Story Day! Do you know someone who is a good storyteller? Someone who can captivate an audience with the tale they are weaving. Someone whose stories you always want to hear because they are engaging and entertaining. For me, that someone is was always my grandfather. We would listen over the dinner table and walk with him through the memories of his youth, his love of the backwoods of northern Minnesota and his passion for Notre Dame football. Nonprofits can learn a valuable lesson for good storytellers. Storytelling is a powerful communications tool that can set you apart from other nonprofit organizations vying for your donors’ time, talent, treasure and attention. As you are well aware, donors give for altruistic reasons, so connecting with them on an emotional level is key to capitalizing on their generosity and desire to give. Storytelling is a great and incredibly effective way to do just that!Donors like (and respond to) the warm and fuzzy that comes from supporting a cause. Make sure you are continually warming their hearts through compelling and inspired storytelling that brings your mission to life. Try these storytelling techniques designed to help you speak to donors’ hearts:

Remember the three C’s.

Be clear, concise and compelling. Verbose, meandering and mundane content will be ignored.

Related : Storytelling and Transparency Encourage Giving

Tell the truth.

Being truthful and transparent are extremely important. Don’t take creative liberties and exaggerate your stories. Donors can separate fact from fiction, so don’t embellish for effect.

Be your authentic self.

Every organization has a personality. It’s the way you express and represent yourself — it’s your heart and soul. Be genuine and let your persona shine through so donors can better relate to you and your mission. Stories without personality fall flat. (more…)

storytelling nonprofits

Connect with Your Donors: Tell Your Parish Story

Churches are lucky among nonprofits; time to connect with your community is built into religious life. For Catholics, that means Sunday Mass. And as you know, evoking an emotional connection with your parishioners is the foundation to getting them more involved in the community with their time, talent or treasure.While this is easy when they are sitting in the pew at Mass, how do you carry this connection on throughout their week? They have work concerns, children to care for, obligations with friends and family, and, of course, they have other nonprofits asking them, “donate to our cause.“The fact is, your parishioners’ attention is being pulled at by several other nonprofits, possibly many times each day. Compare this to the fact that they may only hear from you at Mass on Sunday. They might take home the bulletin, but that could just sit under a stack of bills. So how can you make sure your parish stands out?

Why Connect?

According to Giving USA, charitable giving grew 7.1% in 2014, and religious donations still hold the largest piece of that pie. However, that slice has been shrinking in comparison to other types of giving, a trend that has been going on for 30 years. This is due in large part to the influx of nonprofits reaching out to your parishioners, evoking a competing emotional connection for their organizations’ cause.So how can a church keep up? Well the good news is, a parish has an innate emotional connection to its parishioners – spirituality. Your parishioners get a very tangible refresher from hearing your pastor speak, so all you need to do is remind them of that refreshing feeling they get from your masses during the week. This will strengthen your relationship with your parishioners!

Related Articles: 

Storytelling and Transparency Encourage Giving
Tips to Perfect the Art of Storytelling
What’s Your Narrative? Stories worth telling.

What’s Your Story?

Your parish already has a mission, and in it lies your story. Tell your parishioners a little bit about your church, and connect them to the history of your parish.

  • Why did your pastor decide to become a pastor?
  • Is there a message from the homily that could be repeated in a mid-week email?
  • How did you come to work at the parish? What about your colleagues?
  • What happened at your last big parish event, behind the scenes in preparation for the fun?
  • When was your church built? Is there a story of its founding you can share?
  • Can you share a weekly or monthly “Spotlight on a Parishioner” as an email or newsletter article?

Small stories like these are just the thing to help build up the sense of community that’s so crucial to your mission. Connected parishioners are engaged parishioners, and the more they feel like they’re a part of the church the more likely they are to volunteer, donate and participate. To help you share your story, I want to share a favorite, easy resource of mine with you.

Share Your Stories

My story-telling knowledge is inspired by a woman named Vanessa Chase. Her website, The Storytelling Nonprofit, is chock-full of resources, ideas, inspiration and motivation that you can learn from and adapt to fit your parish. I cannot recommend her website enough!Vanessa encourages non-profits to think of their donors as intimate relationships – and what keeps you supporting your friends, families, and loved ones more than the emotional connection you share with one another? It’s that emotional connection with your loved ones that is built so much by the stories you build together and tell one another, so Vanessa teaches us how to begin that conversation with parishioners and donors.Your parishioners come to you for a very intimate reason, and communicating your story with them not only validates their spirituality but also strengthens their desire to support your mission. Connect over stories and watch your community grow!

National Volunteer Week

Three Cheers For Volunteers

Mark National Volunteer Week with an Appreciation Activity

National Volunteer Week, April 10-16, offers a chance for you to show your volunteers how much you appreciate them and value the work they do for your organization.It’s no surprise, volunteers are the backbone of nonprofit organizations. Volunteers help with fundraising, lend their expertise to your organization and help spread the word about your mission. They fuel your programs and services and help you fulfill your mission.  In short, you wouldn’t be where you are today without them.National Volunteer Week is the perfect time for you to praise your volunteers and show your gratitude.  Here are some simple ideas to help you get your ideas flowing:  

Send a note of gratitude.  

A simple thank you note goes a long way.  Show your appreciation by sending volunteers a handwritten, personal note.  In today’s world of texts and emails, a handwritten note will stand out.   

Host a thank you coffee or cocktail reception.  

Invite volunteers to come together to raise a glass in celebration of their hard work.  But don’t stop there, you may want to consider hosting the gatherings on a quarterly basis.  Consider giving each volunteer in attendance a small token of your appreciation.  

Showcase volunteers.  

Spotlight volunteers and the incredible work they do by including features on them in upcoming newsletters, bulletins and/or on your website.  Show  volunteers some love and let them know how valuable they are to your organization.  Small gestures like these can go a long way to fortifying these important relationships. Want more inspiration?  Points of Light – the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service – is the host of National Volunteer Week.  Visit their website for free National Volunteer Week resources.