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When it comes to giving, your first priority should be convenience for your donors.

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…)

closeup of a man's hand holding a mobile phone

How Mobile is Transforming the Giving Industry

by Stacey Kiran

Giving is evolving – and mobile is at the forefront

GiveCentral - Mobile Giving (two shoppers using smartphones)Now that we’re in 2015, it’s getting hard to remember a time before mobile phones. Odds are you might even be reading this blog post on a mobile device. According to Pew Research, 90% of American adults own a mobile phone.That’s pretty incredible.We’re performing tasks on our devices that we wouldn’t have dreamed of performing just five years ago. But these ubiquitous devices have become our go-to choice for quick, convenient transactions.Giving is evolving—and mobile is at the forefrontWe recently wrapped up our 2015 Nonprofit Giving Survey Report with predictions for nonprofit giving. In it, participating organizations spoke loudly—they are ready for mobile. Right now only 6 percent receive donations via mobile, but 23 percent are able to measure mobile payment processing and nearly two-thirds (64 percent) would embrace real-time donor transactions.In that same survey report, 84 percent of respondents believe their staff generally embraces technology change. You’re ready to start accepting mobile donations, now it’s just time to start.Here are three ways mobile is poised to transform donor giving and make a real impact on your organization:

  1. Mobile giving can actually reduce overhead. New technology doesn’t always have to be expensive. In fact, mobile giving can be one of the most cost efficient methods. With our GiveCentral tool, 98 to 99 percent of the donations go directly to the charity, with donated funds automatically debited from donor accounts. That’s an 8 to 9 percent increase in funds direct to charity versus the traditional mobile giving model.
  1. Mobile giving makes it easy to give. Donors (new and existing) are on their mobile devices, but they’re also on social media, they’re at home on the phones, they’re reading their email. The point of mobile giving isn’t that it’s replacing traditional giving methods, but that it’s ensuring you are where your donors want you to be. It’s an “and” world right now, not an “or” world—be everywhere your donors are, and they’re more likely to give. Mobile can also enable you to stay more connected to donors. On average, recurring donors give 42 percent more per year than one-time donors. Your donors are on their mobile phones—stay with them.
  1. Mobile makes it easy to receive. Without a doubt, enabling mobile giving will make it easier for your donors to give, and (hopefully) give often. But it can also make receiving significantly easier for your organization. GiveCentral Go is revolutionizing how organizations accept credit card donations during events. For example, auctions and other nonprofit events can be massive affairs—months or years of planning come down to a perfectly execution. GiveCentral Go provides a simple, quick interface for giving at your events, plus a simple system for receiving and processing donations. Your smartphone serves as the hub with encrypted transactions sent securely from your device and synced to your GiveCentral account. Receipts are automatically emailed to donors.

Want to learn how mobile giving can fit into your organization? Email me directly at stacey@givecentral.org and we’ll walk through it together.

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 NonprofiGiving, 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.

mixed group of business people standing in a hallway and chatting

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 arriveYou 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!