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The #GivingTuesday Countdown

#GivingTuesday – the global philanthropic movement celebrating and encouraging a national day of charitable giving – is one week away.  How are you celebrating it this year?  

Ideally, your planning is in the final “finishing touches” stage with your communications ready to roll and your online/mobile giving site ready to accept donations.  For some, however, we know that despite the best intentions your #GivingTuesday plans may still be in the works.  

With that in mind, we developed this quick-and-easy last minute #GivingTuesday Checklist to help you capitalize on this big day of giving and pull together a successful #GivingTuesday campaign:

  • Determine Your Campaign Theme and Goal

The first step is to figure out what you are raising money for and how much you aim to raise.  To make things easy, if you already have a holiday or end-of-year campaign in place, simply tie #GivingTuesday to that campaign.  It’s a great way to bolster the campaign and increase support.

If not, create a specific campaign goal that will resonate with your supporters.  Donors want to know what their donations support so be specific – i.e. raising $50,000 for a scholarship fund or $10,000 for sprucing up a local family shelter.  You may even want to consider taking a menu approach:  allowing donors to direct funds to multiple ongoing projects you  support.  

  • Craft Your Communications.

Compelling communications are the backbone of your #GivingTuesday fundraising campaign.  Donors are more likely to give if they know how their dollars help.  Be sure to craft stories that demonstrate the impact donations have on your campaign.  Use strong visuals to help bring your story to life and be sure to make it easy to give by including a link to your online giving page in every communication.  Your communications need to inspire and breakthrough the clutter of the day.  

Time won’t allow for a full donation page overhaul, but at the very least make sure your donation page references your #GivingTuesday effort and the donation options mirror your campaign.  And, be sure to add the highly recognizable #GivingTuesday logo to your page.   

  • Get Social

#GivingTuesday expertly leverages social media to encourage giving.  Be sure you create social content that is not only compelling but easily sharable.  Invite your supporters to share your story – and link!  

You can still make the most of #GivingTuesday but you have to act fast!  Happy fundraising.    

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…)

Your festive events bring them in, now keep them around with year-round giving.

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…)

Your donors' generosity peaks at certain times of the day and year.

Generosity Varies by Time of Day – When Do Your Donors Give?

When you’re appealing to the generosity of your donors, every second counts… and when that second happens matters, too. Your donors are busy, and their time is just as valuable as their money.So what’s a nonprofit to do? Make it easy for your donors to give when it’s most convenient for them by offering online giving!GiveCentral’s recent survey of over 800 American donors told us that people are far more likely to donate in the evenings (36 percent) or on weekends (26 percent) than during the “normal” business nine-to-five. That’s a lot of generosity you might be missing if you’re not ready for off-hours giving.

  (more…)

Small nonprofits get a five-star rating for their mission.

Small Nonprofits: How Do You Stack Up?

So your nonprofit isn’t as big as the United Way or Goodwill, but you’re still doing good work. But all the Big Research that you could compare your organization to is based on the big-budgeted, big-named orgs… how can small nonprofits measure up? What’s the best way to reach out to your donors in a way they’ll be receptive to? How do they prefer to give?Today we’re taking a look at another aspect of the Individual Donor Benchmark Report (IDBR), which takes a deep dive into the data of small nonprofits (anywhere from $5,000 to $500,000). And one of the biggest things they’ve discovered is that online giving presents a HUGE opportunity for you.The “Individual Donors” studied in this report generate about 36% of a nonprofit’s budget, giving an average of $435 apiece. (About half of that was “major” gifts over $1,000.) While gift size certainly varies by the size, focus, and organizational strategy of a particular nonprofit, that’s still money you want to ensure makes it into your budget.

Online Giving is Massive for Small Nonprofits

Now the big news: among nonprofits surveyed, the average growth in online fundraising between 2013 and 2014 was 403%. That’s incredible!Nonprofits with under $5,000 in online revenue are at the head of the class, with 1,083% growth in online giving from 2013 to 2014. While organizations with new online giving programs are the most likely to experience such explosive growth, even the 25% growth experienced by larger organizations is nothing to scoff at. That’s an amazing benefit to offering an online giving option to your donors!

bar graph showing the growth in the average online donation between 2013 and 2014 for four categories of small nonprofits
When your donors prefer to give online, you make sure it’s an option!
The average nonprofit is currently raising about 17% of its revenue online, and that number is growing every day. With the rate of growth mentioned above, it’s in your best interests to devote some resources to the exploration and development of an online giving program such as GiveCentral.

Recurring Donors Give More

Once you’ve got an online giving program in place, offering recurring giving options is a no-brainer. Letting your donors set up weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even annually-recurring gifts makes it incredibly easy for them to keep giving in the ways they prefer to give.  Letting them plan ahead lets you plan ahead, knowing that at least some of your revenue is essentially guaranteed. (more…)

Your team's time is money, too.

Time is Money

The words of Benjamin Franklin –“Time is Money” – are particularly apropos for nonprofit organizations. There never seems to be enough time in the day to get it all done, particularly for those organizations running on skeleton staffs. Nonprofit executives often wear many hats, which can keep them from spending enough time developing donors. Wouldn’t it be great to have a mini-me to help get things done and free up time to spend engaging donors and actually fundraising?But how? One way is to put the right fundraising tools in place. Sophisticated tools developed specifically for the nonprofit sector can increase efficiency and productivity. The outcome? You reclaim time for activities that can increase your bottom line.One of the most impactful, must-have fundraising tools is a system in which to track and communicate with donors. Without an effective system you needlessly spend time chasing down information or contacts and likely miss fundraising opportunities as a result. If your system can’t provide informative reports with a push of a button, or provide a easy way to stay in touch, valuable staff time is being wasted. How does your current system compare to the platforms available today?GiveCentral consolidates fundraising, reporting and communications activities in one convenient place. Partnering with GiveCentral is like adding a super-smart, seasoned and productive member to your team to help ease and streamline the workload. Advanced system features put real-time analytics, comprehensive reports and integrated communication templates at your fingertips. GiveCentral saves staff time and hard-earned money on accounting and data management and makes it easier than ever for donors to support your mission.Does your system stack up?

How do party lines affect how we give?

Red Gift, Blue Gift: How Giving Crosses Party Lines

It’s Super Tuesday. As thousands of voters head to the primary polls, I thought it would be interesting – and fun – to look at charitable giving patterns along political party lines. Our recent Insights on Nonprofit Giving report revealed some interesting partisan similarities and differences.

Where Party Lines Agree

According to the national survey, regardless of whether people identify as red or blue, they donate for the same reason – wanting to help people in need.What’s more, generally speaking, Democrats, Republicans and Independents prefer the same methods of giving – with top preferences being cash in-person and checks in the mail. For example,

  • In-person with cash:
    • Republicans, 33 percent
    • Democrats, 29 percent
    • Independents, 32 percent
  • By mail with a check:
    • Republicans, 28 percent
    • Democrats, 31 percent
    • Independents, 32 percent
  • By credit or debit card using a computer:
    • Republicans, 19 percent
    • Democrats, 23 percent
    • Independents, 19 percent

Where Party Lines Diverge

We are, however, divided when it comes to how much we give.Average contributions over the last 12 months by Democrats and Independents are roughly the same: $598 and $596, respectively. Republicans, on the other hand, average nearly double that amount at $1,146. 

When looking at the median amounts, there is somewhat less deviation, though Republicans still lead the pack at $300, with Democrats and Independents in a dead heat at a median amount of $200.Other relevant statistics include:

  • Republicans may favor tax breaks: Republicans were almost twice as likely as Democrats to indicate they’d made a charitable contribution for a tax break: 19 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Though these statistics are generally within the survey’s margin of error, it may still be something to consider.
  • Feeling fortunate motivates Democrats more: Only 36 percent of Republicans gave because they “felt fortunate and wanted to give something back,” while that’s what inspired 42 percent of Democrats to give. In both cases, this was the second most popular reason to make charitable donations.

Democrats and Republicans rally together

The most popular reason for giving – “I wanted to help people in need” – was chosen by 56 percent of both Republicans and Democrats.

Across the board, the reasons cited for giving were altruistic. 58 percent said “I wanted to help people in need.” A significant 39 percent told us, “I felt fortunate and wanted to give something back.” And tied for third place were religious reasons and “It’s just part of how I was raised,” at 29 percent each. Only 15 percent of those polled indicated they donated because they “wanted a tax deduction.”While the survey results won’t tell us the candidates that will come out on top, it does provide some interesting insights. Perhaps we’re in less of a race than we might have thought.GiveCentral’s Insights on Nonprofit Giving report is full of other insights, tips and recommendations. Be sure to get your free report!Get The Survey Report

A smiling woman takes the time to sip a coffee and make an online gift to her favorite charity.

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

Let GiveCentral help you achieve financial fitness!

Financial Fitness: Tips to Keep your Fundraising in Good Shape

Strengthen your financial fitness

Seems like everyone is on a fitness plan these days, myself included. Which got me thinking… applying the same principle to work life makes a lot of sense. So this year, put a twist on an old new year’s resolution standby – to get in shape – and apply it to your nonprofit. Get your fundraising in shape by creating a health and wellness plan for your organization’s fundraising efforts. Here are some expert tips to get you started:

Bulk up your database.  

The path to long-term vitality is cultivating and growing your donor database.  Simply put, donors are the lifeline of your organization. That’s why it’s critical to have a donor (customer) relationship management system (CRM) in place. The world’s most successful companies wouldn’t dream of operating without a CRM system, and you shouldn’t either.And while growing your mailing list and donor database may seem intimidating, it may be easier than you think. You can ask your volunteer leaders to share the email addresses of their group members, or ask current members to invite a friend or three who might be interested in learning more about your mission.

Repetition.  

The key to success for any exercise is repetition and the same goes for your donors.  Do you have a way for your donors to easily make recurring donations? 

Flex your fundraising muscle.

Offering your donors flexibility is key. Anytime, anywhere they are ready to give, make it easy for them! Make sure to provide donors options so they can donate on their terms, not yours. 

Stay Active.

It’s no secret regular communication is an important driver of donation growth.  Keep your organization top of mind through consistent, compelling communications.  Make your first message of 2016 a big “Thank You!” Include a positive story about the great ways your donors have positively impacted the community by supporting your mission.


We can help you put these proven tips (and lots more) into action. Think of GiveCentral as your fitness trainer, a partner dedicated to keeping your fundraising in great shape!

a hand with the index finger extended upward and a string tied around it

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.