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Steps for Safer Online Giving Experience

Steps for Safer Online Giving Experience

Donating money to your intended cause has never been easier. There was a time when you could donate money only when someone representing the cause came knocking on your door, or you had to walk down to a local centre.

The internet has given nonprofit fundraising a renewed hope. E-giving is easy, convenient, and by a general consensus, safer too. That is not to say that risks aren’t involved. As is common with all good things, there are a few people who are determined to spoil this experience for everyone. Let this not scare you though.

GiveCentral understands the risks involved and we are determined to make sure this doesn’t deter your goodwill. So, read on! And with the tips we’re giving you, you’ll never have to think twice before deciding to give online.

  1. Know you cause.

This is true regardless of risks involved. But the risks make it all the more important for you to know the cause for which you’re contributing to. Research the cause and the means through which you’re trying to donate to the cause. Learn the particulars and the important dates regarding the cause. With this information, you can be an informed donor.

  1. Know where your money will reach.

It is important to learn details about your recipient. This is not limited to the name and location of the organization you’re donating to, but also includes knowing more about their account details. Make sure you’re donating to a bank account registered to an organization as opposed to a bank account registered to a person. As a general rule of thumb, a bank account registered to a person is something you’re supposed to stay away from.

  1. Practice safe e-giving.

Make sure you don’t enter your card details any other place than required. Don’t send over card details to a third party handler if he or she tells you that they’ll take care of it.

Make sure that when you enter the payment portal, the portal is secured with a “https” encryption. Just observe the URL of the payment page and see if there’s a “https” at the beginning. And if there is, you’re mostly good to go and if there isn’t, you should contact the organization and ask them why their payment portal isn’t secured.

  1. Obtain adequate contact information.

Make sure you know the contact details of the concerned persons at the organization you’re donating to. Write down the name, address, email ID, and other contact details in a safe place before donating money. Establish contact and make sure you know them well enough before you’re comfortable enough to donate.

  1. Be wary of spam emails.

Spam solicitations are very commonplace. And more often than not, spam emails asking for money are scamsters and fraudsters. That is not to say that all of them are. After all, email solicitation are still one of the most ways to ask for money. So when you receive a spam email asking for money, make sure you do the proper research before even responding to the email.

  1. Store receipts.

Once you’ve donated money to your intended cause, your job is mostly done. But there’s one last thing you must keep in mind. Make sure you store a copy of the payment receipt of your contribution, either in digital form or a printout. Make sure you store these receipts in a safe place. You never know when you might need them.

With these tips in mind, GiveCentral hopes you’ll have a pleasant e-giving experience.

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

fundraising plan

Why Your Fundraising Plan is Critical in 2016

As the development director at a “small but mighty” nonprofit, Heather Yandow was interested in data to back up her fundraising plan.But while she was looking at reports and surveys to compare her organization to, she realized that the data from many reports like GivingUSA just surveyed the big guys… where the smallest organization they surveyed had a budget of $5 million.Now, if your budget is only 10% of that and you’ve got just one part-timer working on multiple fundraising projects at once, how can you compare your success?Realizing that research and information directed toward smaller nonprofits just didn’t exist, her studio later initiated a survey that would become the Individual Donor Benchmark Report (IDBR), answering questions similar to those she’d had herself.Now in its third year, the IDBR has become a reliable resource for smaller nonprofits (meaning those with a budget under $2 million), giving you the data you need to compare yourself to organizations with similar resources as you have. With the kinds of data contained in the IBDR, you can really see where you’re doing well and where you have opportunities for growth.

We Hold These Truths

With the data collected over the past few years, theIDBR has found some universal truths that have carried over from year to year. First, the single most important thing you can do as a small nonprofit is to make a plan. The single thing that really mattered, through all the data, was whether an organization has a fundraising plan. The plan is what ties everything together, makes the data correlate, and shows you just where your money comes from… or where it could be coming from.The second universal truth demonstrated by the IDBR is that there is a HUGE opportunity in online giving. Organizations with new online giving programs have the potential for massive, almost exponential fundraising growth, and even established programs saw 25% growth from 2013 to 2014. Online giving is one more channel through which your donors can give, and you’re missing out on that stream entirely if you’re not ready to maximize online gifts.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Understanding very well how much a difference in budget can affect a nonprofit’s fundraising ability, the IDBR offers benchmarks for organizations with varying amounts of revenue. Compare your own organization, at a glance, to small (under $200K), medium (up to $499,999), large (up to $999.999), and super (up to $2 million) organizations, with a nice “average” category included for good measure. For example, the average nonprofit raises 36% of their revenue from individual donors, but the various categories range from 25% to 57%.You can compare your numbers by total dollars raised, number of gifts, and even break things down by the issue your nonprofit seeks to address. Be reassured, though… every size of organization saw double-digit percentages in revenue growth between 2013 and 2014!The IDBR also looks at fundraising strategies and challenges, including a Fundraiser’s Wish List. Unsurprisingly, the top wish was “more help for fundraising activities,” and the number 2 item was a wish for more time to spend with donors.

It’s All in the Plan

The data expert at Third Space Studio collected the survey results from 87 different nonprofits and found that the ONLY thing that really matters is whether your organization has a fundraising plan. Everything else, no matter how well-intended, was “no better than a crap shoot” without a plan. And who wants to shoot crap, anyway?Two-thirds of the organizations polled say they have a fundraising plan, and using it at least “sometimes.” And the difference between the haves and the have-nots is significant. The IDBR found that there’s no correlation between staff time and revenue, or fundraiser salary and revenue, or number of donor meetings and revenue… unless you have a plan.It’s that plan that is key to your fundraising. The survey results show that “for every $1 more you pay your primary individual donor fundraiser, you are able to rase another $4.25.” So all you need is a plan to recoup that expense more than fourfold? Yes, please!With a plan, you can expect a full-time individual donor fundraiser to bring in about $280,000. With a plan, individual donor meetings can yield over $5,000 in increased donor revenue. With a plan, you are simply able to raise more money. So what are you waiting for? Get planning!There’s so much more in the IDBR that it might be overwhelming to try to sum up in one blog post. Check back here soon for more info on recurring giving, online giving, technology, communication, and even the people who make it all happen, or visit Third Space Studio to download your own copy of the Individual Donor Benchmark Report.Happy planning!

GiveCentral Go Mobile App Donation

How Mobile Donations are Transforming the Giving Industry

by Stacey Kiran

Giving is evolving – and mobile is at the forefront

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. Mobile donations refers to donating to an organization through 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.

Mobile donations could unlock huge potential in the market for small and big organizations. We 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 mobile donations, 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.