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Fundraising Just Got Much Easier: Introducing the GiveCentral Go App

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The work of nonprofit fundraising is about so much more than just raising funds. It’s about building lasting relationships with your donors and, ideally, it’s about working so efficiently that you don’t have to spend all your valuable time hunched over a spreadsheet. At least, that’s the dream. But the reality is often slow, confusing, and overwhelming, and chances are you spend as much time thinking about fundraising as you do actually fundraising. If only there was a way to streamline the process!

That’s exactly where the GiveCentral Go app comes in. As the mobile app and card reader partner to our GiveCentral online donation tool, GiveCentralGo enables you to raise money anywhere, at any time, without slogging through paperwork or having to organize a bunch of volunteers. With its clean, organized interface, you can use GiveCentral Go to collect funds securely and efficiently and generate engagement and donation reports all in one place. The app integrates accounting and communication tools, too, meaning that your managers and administrators will save precious time and increase the accuracy of their record-keeping. It also makes it easy for donors to support your cause. You might call it a win-win; we call it the future of giving.

How GiveCentral works

Our online donation tool GiveCentral has more sophisticated capabilities than any donor management system out there. It enables nonprofit organizations to carve out a unique online presence by creating a customizable donation page on the GiveCentral website. Independent administrator accounts can be used to manage donor accounts, send out communications, or make changes to fundraising events. And if you’re worried about bringing donors to your page, we help with that, too, by providing free customizable marketing materials like email templates, donor signup cards, and more. Plus, we provide you with ongoing technical support by phone, email, or webinar. Our goal is to ensure the long term sustainability of organizations like yours.

Our robust web-based giving tools let donors contribute whenever they want without installing any software. They can make a one-time donation, set up recurring gifts, or simply allocate funds to a chosen category. Payments can be made by all major credit cards or electronic checks, and are secured using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. Donors then receive emails confirming their transactions, and they can also view or save all information related to their payments. It’s easy, convenient, and quick—just like giving should be.

One major pain point that our GiveCentral tool solves on the administrative end is—wait for it—the dreaded paperwork. Most nonprofit organizations are used to spending serious time and energy on paperwork, accounting, and data management—including tracking down delayed payments and updating expired payment methods—but GiveCentral consolidates all of that. When you use our online tool, all of your collection, fundraising, and communication activities are neatly gathered in one place, so that nonprofit organizations like yours can raise more money in less time.

GiveCentral Goes Mobile

We love our online tool and think you will too. But what happens when you’re out and about at a fundraising street fair or a charity dinner? That’s where our app GiveCentral Go comes in. It makes the fundraising process even easier, quicker, and more portable, so fans can turn into donors with the mere swipe of a credit card.

GiveCentral Go is a mobile app and card reader that lets you process credit card and debit card transactions on mobile devices. It can be used with iPhone, iPad, iPod and Android devices, and you can use it for both real-time and preauthorized transactions. It eliminates the need for POS machines as well as the need to establish separate merchant accounts for each fundraiser, making fundraising more convenient than it’s ever been before. We are constantly innovating, evolving, and adding new features, and we encourage you to grow with us; our large resource base of blog posts, press releases, articles, webinars, and videos will help you stay informed and efficient.

The Nitty-Gritty

Curious what else you can do with GiveCentral and our new mobile app? You can:

  • Easily set up giving categories for a wide range of fundraising activities. Church collections? Scholarship funds? Selling merchandise? Collecting donations at an event? Quickly set up a new category for whatever you need and start raising money.
  • Access the most sophisticated donor management system in the business. With GiveCentral, you can review real-time analytics, generate comprehensive donor reports, and use the information to build effective, lasting relationships with donors.
  • Communicate in new and exciting ways. From requesting donations to acknowledging donor gifts, you can reach out with customizable email messages. You can also manage recipient lists and link back to your website or social media to keep your community engaged.
  • Engage with donors securely and confidentially. With GiveCentral, donor information is never compromised. Personal information is shared with no one other than the recipient organization. Credit card and bank account numbers remain confidential. Our servers are protected, industry standards for online payment security are applied, and information related to transactions is transmitted using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. While quarterly audits are performed by an independent third party to ensure the GiveCentral website meets PCI DSS requirements, internal audits are performed at least once every month.

If you are looking to improve your fundraising and make the process much more efficient and far less stressful, GiveCentral and GiveCentral Go are here to help. 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.

Peer to Peer fundraising – an introduction for non-profit organizations.

peer to peer fundraising

The growing ease with which we can share information has created the feeling of being connected with the rest of the world. Social media and other such technologies allow us to influence without undue difficulty the decisions made by our peers and colleagues, whether in relation to the food they eat, the clothes they wear or the organizations they support.

Given the explosion of technology, the growing popularity of peer to peer fundraising in recent years is hardly surprising.

Of all donors, 81% say they have no problem getting themselves approached for a donation by a friend: in comparison, 69% find it acceptable to mail.

Almost all donors have already responded to a request from a peer: 84% of donors say they have given at least once for a friend’s cause in the last year.

Young donors are ready to raise funds for you: 51% of Generation Y donors and 49% of Generation X donors say they raised funds for a charitable cause or non-profit organization in the 12 months prior to the survey (Compared with only 36% of the baby boomers and 25% of the silent generation).

What is peer to peer fundraising?

Peer to peer fundraising is “a way of encouraging supporters of a cause to solicit members of their network of family, friends, colleagues and others.” In addition, fundraising has been individualized, enabling supporters to choose almost any activity they like to attract the attention and support of their peers.

The three main arguments for a non-profit organization to organize peer fundraising campaigns are:

  1. The activities at the centre of these campaigns are likely to encourage people, who would otherwise remain isolated, to engage actively with a specific group.
  2. They allow people who do not have the means (but who are passionate about a cause and want to make a contribution) to raise large sums of money.
  3. They are very popular with Generation Y and have the best online donation rate compared to other forms of fundraising.

The Test of Reality: The Challenges of Peer Fundraising

One of the primary concerns with peer-to-peer fundraising is its potential for retaining new donors. Charities and non-profit organizations have not yet succeeded in transforming people who have given a friend as part of a peer-to-peer fundraiser as a direct supporter of their cause.

Often these people are motivated by the relationship they have with the participant rather than the organization or cause in question. In the study published by Blackbaud in 2013, it can be seen that only 6% of donors to a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign have donated to support the charity. More people (24%) gave support to the campaigner and 65% gave for both reasons.

The key to success: what you need to succeed

Because peer-to-peer fundraising attracts a host of new people to your organization, it represents a tremendous opportunity to convert these people into as many new direct donors.

In addition to segmenting your donor communications social media becomes an important tool. Let your supporters integrate social media into their own fundraising campaign as easily as possible. If, for example, the person can post calls to donations on his or her Facebook or Twitter account, they can seek support from people they do not communicate with via e-mail or in person. To get started with a Facebook page for your non-profit or cause read more here.

More and more charitable and non-profit organizations are launching peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, and it’s hard not to be impressed by the scale of some events. What ultimately counts is the same criterion as for any other fundraising effort: It has to be well organized and you have to create an emotional connection with the participants.”

 

GiveCentral Go Fall Fundraising Tips

Fall Fundraising Tips To Boost Your Campaigns

Autumn is officially here!  As I look outside, I see the leaves slowly starting to change; turning that warm red and deep gold that signals Autumn has arrived.  

Fall is for layering and cozying up.  The same “fall rules” apply to your organization…it’s time to cozy up to donors and layer in some easy-to-organize FUNdraising activities to engage your supporters and/or raise funds to fuel your mission.  From tailgaters to Oktoberfest and Halloween parties, and everything in between, for many nonprofits fall is brimming with fundraising events.  It’s also an ideal time to prep for your year-end appeal.

Here’s some fall fundraising tips to keep in mind:

Show Donors Some Love This Fall

Making donors feel loved and helping them understand the important part they play in your mission is a key ingredient for successful fundraising.  That’s why you need to nurture donor relationships throughout the year, not just when asking for money.  Fall is the perfect time to “hunker down” and connect with donors to thank them for all they do to help your mission thrive, without asking for money.  Why not host a tailgater at your next football or soccer game?  Or, invite donors to a coffee where you share stories of the impact they are making.  These easy-to-implement activities will go a long way in showing your gratitude.  

Are you ready for some fun?

FUNdraising doesn’t have to be a chore (or a bore), it can – and should – be fun.  Fall is the perfect time to bring donors together – after being away for the summer – and there’s no better way to do that than planning a fun Fall Fest! Put your fun cap on and dream up activities that will draw donors to your event.  Remember the golden rule, you need to at least double your expenses to make any event worthwhile.  

Grab Them On The Go

One of the great things about fall is the weather and that means outdoor fundraisers.  GiveCentral Go is great for fundraising activities because you can accept payments on the spot, regardless of location.  The GiveCentral Go mobile app and card reader process payments on smartphones and tablets with the simple swipe of a credit or debit card. Funds are deposited directly into the online GiveCentral account.  Try GiveCentral Go at your fall fundraising events.

Avoid End-of-Year Pitfalls

 October is the beginning of the year-end homestretch. Our last idea of the fall fundraising tips series, is to set aside time in October to properly plan for your end-of-year appeal.  Create your fundraising plan and make sure you have the tools and team in place to make it your most successful year yet!  
A brand new season is on the horizon.  Are you ready to take it on?

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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?

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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

Charitable Giving

Would You Like a Larger Slice of the Charitable Giving Pie?

Giving Grows, but Religious Donations Still Slide

Great news for nonprofits was just released this week: donations grew in 2014! According to Giving USA, charitable giving in the United States increased by 7.1 percent overall, rising to $358 billion. This is even higher than the amount projected in 2013 and a level of giving unseen since before the Great Recession. Individual contributions made up 72 percent of the increase, so you can tell that people are feeling generous.

ALSO READ: Charitable Giving On the Rise for Second Consecutive Year

Religious Donations

Another encouraging discovery: the ongoing upswing in charitable giving increased by 5.4 percent in 2014, far outpacing the five-year average growth rate of 3.4 percent.And once again, religious organizations received the largest share of charitable dollars (32 percent) and the estimated amount contributed to religion reached its highest value ever. The downside? As a percentage of charitable giving, religious donations remain in a 30-year slide. Dropping from 54 percent in 1987 to 32 percent today, religion is claiming an ever-shrinking piece of the charitable pie.So what is a faith-based nonprofit to do?First, be aware that there is ever-growing competition for your donors’ time, attention, and generosity.Excellent causes abound, and they’re all asking for the same dollars you are. Don’t let this discourage you from telling your story, but get comfortable with the idea that you might not be a donor’s top priority on a given day (and try again later, of course).Second, give your donors a reason to notice you and not the other guy.Inboxes are filled with tempting offers, social media is chock-a-block with interesting links, and other demands for attention are almost literally everywhere you can imagine. Consider what you are doing differently to stand out, and highlight what makes your cause unique.Third, follow up graciously.A thank-you note is certainly in order for every donation, but stories of what-happened-next speak to both donors and prospects alike. Demonstrating the good work that you do encourages potential donors to support your efforts and makes current donors consider giving more.The findings from the 2015 Giving USA report are encouraging, but this news is only the whipped cream on our delicious pie. Don’t eat your slice and assume more is always on the way! Many ingredients are needed and we’ve got to keep doing the work that mixes them all together.To learn how GiveCentral has helped hundreds of organizations find the right mix, just ask! Sign up for a webinar or contact us here

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.

Holiday Giving

‘Tis the Season for Giving

Holiday Giving

‘Tis the Season for Donations

While Christmas is still more then seven weeks away, a trip to the mall or a dial of the radio says otherwise. Many aspects of the holiday season are already out in full effect, and that includes donors looking to give to charitable causes before the end of the year.

In fact, according to the latest GiveCentral press release, charitable donations will soon reach their peak levels of the year, with the Chronicle of Philanthropy reporting that one-third of all annual donations are made in December. This heightened giving activity requires that nonprofit organizations of all types and sizes be prepared to maximize donations and handle the influx of transactions and dollars.

So how do organizations maximize donations and handle the influx of transactions and dollars?

The simple answer is that technology must be leveraged. We will continue to see this trend increase as more and more donors and nonprofit organizations become comfortable with electronic giving options such as online giving, mobile giving and text-to-give:

  • online giving – online giving has grown 11.8 percent year-over-year, while overall giving has grown only 3.8 percent.
  • mobile giving  – According to a 2013 Google/Compete study, 25 percent of donors report that they donated on a mobile device, with almost half doing so through a mobile browser.
  • text-to-give – Nearly one-in-ten Americans has made a donation via text message, according to Pew.

With so many donors using technology to make donations, GiveCentral has prepared its clients for the heavy giving season by arming them with the electronic tools necessary to best leverage the season. This includes centralizing all collection, fundraising and communication activities in one place.

We also recommend the following solutions to ease the burden for nonprofits and increase donations:

  • Provide customized holiday templates for all types of communication, including personalized mobile texting solutions.
  • Offer quick, smooth account set up for new clients, including donor and contact upload for a seamless transition.
  • Create consistent tangible support materials, such as flyers and enrollment forms, for donors who want to sign up for electronic giving, but may not have immediate Internet access. Make these materials available in the languages that are important to  your community.
  • Anticipate a need for flexibility, allowing donors to give late at night or on the weekend.

For more information on holiday giving, and additional tips on how your nonprofit can best manage the season, please see the latest GiveCentral press release here.