Posted by & filed under Campaign, Digital, Marketing/Communications, Mobile Giving, Next Generation Philanthropy.

Beate Sørum

Digital Fundraising Consultant, b.bold

Photo: Nick Ares

People like me always tell you you are losing money by not optimising your web page for mobile, making better forms and clearer content and calls to action. But do you know just how much? I’ve seen some real world-examples lately, and even I was shocked at the sheer amount of money left on the table.

I worked with several appeals for different charities over Christmas, but let’s focus on two of them. Traffic sources where quite similar, and the call to action was pretty much equal, and both campaigns where very successful, and the landing pages where both as close as possible to the actual payment.

One charity managed to get 8% of its mobile visitors to pay. The other only managed to convert 2,5% of its mobile visitors. I did the math. If charity two also managed to convert 8% of their mobile visitors, they would have raised CAD $56.000 more. That is some serious money to walk away from!

Even if we take a lower estimate, like 5%, they would have raised CAD $22.000 more.

So what does this mean for you?

It means that if on a dedicated landing page, you are converting less than 5% of mobile visitors, you are leaving money on the table. Lots of money. I strongly encourage you to find out.

These are some of the things you should look into fixing:

  1. Make sure forms work for mobile visitors. Even if they make up a small share of your donations today, that might just be because you are scaring them away.
  2. Don’t ask unnecessary questions. Yes, it’s nice to know how old your donors are, or how they found you, but is it crucial to processing the donation? If not – get rid of it. Every extra field in your donation forms lower your conversions. You can always ask follow-up questions later.
  3. Does your layout indicate clear paths forward for the user? Pressing the wrong button and having to start over might just make someone give up. This is especially true on mobile, where horisontal scrolling suddenly has to happen to find action buttons.
  4. Remove distractions. Does the landing page for donations have banners leading elsewhere? Is the form hidden far down the page, under menus, copy and unnecessary images? Make it front and center.

Good landing page design is an art and requires expertise, but the tips above should get you started pretty good! Think about the donor first – what are his or her needs in this situation? Make sure you fulfill them – and you’ll see your digital donations climb steadily.

Beate is a well-known international public speaker, who runs digital fundraising consultancy b.bold. She has more than five years of digital fundraising expertise, most of which is from  the Norwegian Cancer Society, where she among other things doubled the digital fundraising return. Her special interests are user experience, landing page and donation form design, content strategy and using social media for donor stewardship. You can follow her on Twitter @BeateSorum

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Annual Giving, Campaign, Marketing/Communications, Next Generation Philanthropy, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

Laura Champion, Donor Relations Coordinator – Direct Response

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada

I am bad with confrontation. My face turns red, I stare at my feet and my first instinct is to run and hide in the corner. It’s a good thing I’m on the phone!

But as fundraisers, we have all been there. The phone rings and on the other side is a very displeased donor. Someone has issued the wrong receipt, sent too much mail or not enough mail. Perhaps they were excluded from a guest list. The donor is unhappy and they want you to know it.

As a millennial, I have easily avoided phone calls most of life. Call display, voicemail, texting and email have made it all too simple for me to go through my whole day without actually speaking to anyone. This has made my conflict resolutions skills mostly text based.

But one of the reasons I am a fundraiser and more specifically, an annual giving fundraiser is that it gives me the chance to speak to so many people. Most interactions are positive and cause my heart to soar!  But every once in a while they are not the same type of inspiring.

laurachampion

Since I have met quite a few text based millennials among my fellow fundraisers, I have put together a few thoughts on how to maintain your composure and ease that pit in your stomach:

1) My motto both in the workplace and out is “Be a person”. Remember the reason that the donor is upset could be heightened by something else going on in their lives. It is a reminder to be kind, be honest and be present for those around you. A kind word from me may be all this donor needs to get through a tough situation.

2) Do not take it personally. It’s easy to internalize the criticism, especially if the mistake was your own. Remember that everyone makes mistakes. When you’ve completed the call with the donor, take a walk or get a coffee and settle back in. It is too easy to carry negativity – be careful not to let it burn you out.

3) Donors want to be heard. Whether it is a compliment, a complaint or a story, people want to feel heard. It is our job as fundraisers to understand that donors are giving to our organization because of a connection. When they take the time to call you – hear them. They are telling you what you can do to retain them long term.

4) Donors do not call unless they care. They do not want to leave your organization – they just want you to make it right. These crisis calls are an opportunity to learn more about these individuals and their motivation for giving.

5) Tell me about a time when… Remember you are always learning and growing in your role. These crisis calls may be difficult but it is important to think of them as an opportunity to improve your skills and gather material for the next interview!

With so much talk emphasis on being donor-centric and taking donors through their journey, we need to remember there may be some wrong turns or road blocks. Ensuring that everyone in your organization understands how to deal with dissatisfied donors without taking it to heart will lead to a healthier organization and a healthier donor base. Retention is the new acquisition.

And keep in mind – you are not alone. We have all been through a crisis – it is part of what forms a great fundraiser. Relationship management means working with donors when they are happy and when they are not.

Laura Campion Photo

Laura Champion is Donor Relations Coordinator at Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. She has a thirst for fundraising knowledge and is always open to discussion. You can find her on twitter @charitablelaura.

Posted by & filed under Campaign, Digital, Direct Mail, Marketing/Communications, Social Media.

Jessica Lewis, Fundraising Innovation Consultant, hjc

November is here, the leaves have changed colours and the air is crisp and cool. Most people are starting to think about the holiday season and shopping. Not fundraisers, many of us have been thinking of the year-end holiday season for the past few months. As a fundraising consultant at hjc, my office is in full swing helping our clients launch their holiday campaigns.

If you haven’t started planning yet, don’t fret! Here are 5 tips to help you get started:

gold-giftDetermine your goals for this year. Start by looking at last year’s results. Was your holiday campaign a success? What worked well and what didn’t? Establish benchmarks this year, so you can measure your results and improve year over year.

Develop your creative concept. What is the main focus of your campaign? Create your key messaging and calls to action. Don’t forget to make it personal and leverage stories, imagery and video content to illustrate the mission of your organization.

Leverage symbolic giving. Symbolic giving is an easy and interactive way for people to support you, give gifts and send cards to their loved ones during the holidays. Do you have an existing symbolic gift program? There are multiple ways that you can transition your traditional giving program to online, either with a simple campaign landing page and custom donation form or a more robust e-commerce microsite like The Redwood’s Safe Haven Store.

Integrate your campaign across channels. What is your DM team planning? How can you integrate your offline and online holiday program? Make sure you have consistent messaging across your end of year DM letter, email appeals and social media communications.

Promote your campaign online. Invest in online advertising. Have you thought about Google AdWords, Facebook Ads or blogger outreach? Leverage your Google Grant, but also invest in paid ads as the holiday season is a competitive time of year for popular key words.

The best thing about symbolic giving is that it’s the gift that keeps on giving! You can change up the design and messaging and use the catalogue all year-round. For more helpful tips on symbolic giving and how to launch a new program online check out my session with Wendy Bray from The Redwood at Congress called “Small Shop Success: Traditional Gift Giving Program Transitions to Online Symbolic Gift Store.”

Jessica Lewis is a Fundraising Innovation Consultant at hjc, a global consulting agency in the nonprofit sector. She helps her clients us web technologies to market, fundraise, advocate and build brand awareness. Jessica will be presenting at Congress 2014 and you can follow her on Twitter @jessklewis.

 

Posted by & filed under Analytics, Crowdfunding, Digital, Marketing/Communications, Mobile Giving, Social Media.

Beate Sørum

Digital Fundraising Consultant, b.bold

1. Not having clear, prioritized goals

If you ask around your organization why you have a website – the answers may be embarrassing. A lot of the time it’ll be “just cuz”.

The first step in any successful strategy is to set goals. Web strategies are no exception. How does your webpage tie in with your organizations overall goals? Define 3-4 objectives in prioritized order, with measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).

The objectives should be decided by high level management to give you mandate to operate. Business objectives can be different; raising money, improving retention, providing a service to the public, raising knowledge of a certain problem etc.

2. Not knowing your users needsbsblog

It is really hard to attract users to your page if you don’t know what they want from you.

Invest in research to find out. From extensive surveys, to talking to a few users or potential users – anything is better than nothing. The more complex your webpage, the more research you must do.

Once you know what the users want, you know why they come. Focus your energy on the pages where business goals and users needs overlap. Make sure these are updated, prioritized and have clear ways forward to other actions you’d like them to take (like donating).

3. Violating best practice in donation forms

Since digital income is still a small part of our total income, we tend to forget about all the money we’re losing out on by not paying proper attention to usability and interaction design. The other day, I went to make a donation to a big international charity, only to find a non mobile-friendly page
that asked far too much information, and eventually crashed. No money for them.

Forms should be mobile friendly, ask as little information as you can get away with (need-to-know basis only!), field lengths adapted to the information that go in them, fields that belong together grouped (like name-fields, address-fields and electronic addresses), remove buttons that hurt more than help, clearly labelled buttons – just to mention a few.

Have an interaction designer look your forms over.

4. Presenting your donors with the paradox of choice

We want everyone to engage in our cause, no matter their level of commitment/income. So we heap on with ways to support us. Make a donation! Recurring donor! Become a member! Like us on Facebook! Post to instagram! Join the newsletter! Run a marathon!… you get the picture.

It’s nice that we want to allow anyone to support us. But then we’re not telling anyone what we need them to do. Your donors are confused. They want to help, but don’t what you need help with. Studies have shown that when presented with too many options, we don’t make a choice at all.

Have one preferred action prominent as the «normal» thing to do. Then by all means present all other ways to support, below. People who don’t want the default action will look for the others. People who just want to support you, will know what to do. Win-win-win.

5. Relying on your “Donate Now!” button

We write compelling impact stories, showing how we make a difference in the world. And then at the end of them – nothing. We expect people to go look for the donate now-button to give if they are so inclined.

What’s the number one rule of fundraising? Ask! Attention is on the content. Making the donate now-button bigger is just like making web banners flashier. They still won’t work. Studies show that we don’t see them. It’s not that we ignore them – if it looks like advertising, we don’t see it at all.

So ask in the content. “Would you like to make a donation to help us do more work like this?” Not only are you asking – you are also not averting peoples attention by having them start thinking logically to find how to give. Giving is an emotional decision – not a rational one. Making people think loses you the gift.

Even better than a text link, is including the donation form itself. Then you can keep people in the same emotional context as when they decided to give.

6. Not testing

The only way to know what works is to test. Think another default amount will give you higher donations? Test it. Think a different wording in your ask will be more effective? Test it! Think people are not finding things on your page? Test it.

There are many ways to do user testing, from looking at web statistics, to lab research with eye-tracking. Somewhere in the middle sits my favorite – guerrilla-testing. Grab a mobile device, go to the nearest shopping centre and ask people to do the tasks you’ve set up, from donating to finding information. You’ll learn lots from observing users trying out your product.

7. Not following up on your objectives and KPI’s

Once you’ve set your goals – how will you know if you’re reaching them if you’re not following up? Be sure to follow up on the right statistics, and making adjustments where you need to, to reach your goals.

If you avoid these 7 deadly sins, I see a bright web future for you! Come to my Congress session in November to learn more about all of the above.

Beate is a well-known international public speaker, who runs digital fundraising consultancy b.bold. She has more than five years of digital fundraising expertise, most of which is from  the Norwegian Cancer Society, where she among other things doubled the digital fundraising return. Her special interests are user experience, landing page and donation form design, content strategy and using social media for donor stewardship. Beate will be presenting at Congress 2014 in Toronto. You can follow her on Twitter @BeateSorum

 

Posted by & filed under Board of Directors, Leadership/Management, Major/Planned Gifts, Marketing/Communications.

Amy Eisenstein, MPA, ACFRE

Consultant, Tri Point Fundraising 

Are you as happy as you could be at work? Do you have good work habits? Think of how much more you could accomplish (and raise) if you adopt a few proven strategies to not only to survive, but to thrive at your organization.

photo credit: Mykl Roventine via photopin cc

.         photo credit: Mykl Roventine

Two Key Strategies

There are two strategies that will help you lead a happier life AND excel at raising major gifts. Two birds with one stone.

  1. Think Happy Thoughts
  2. Build Better Habits

.Happiness, Habits, and Major Gift Fundraising, one of my sessions at Congress, covers these key strategies.

1. Think Happy Thoughts

It has been well documented that meaningful work, happiness, and productivity are all interconnected. In other words — if you’re doing meaningful work you’ll be happier, and if you’re happier you’ll be more productive. But as you know — perhaps even from your current job — sometimes even the most meaningful work can be stressful, tedious, and discouraging.

The good news for us is that a study called the Happiness at Work Survey showed that people who work in caregiving or direct service are 75% more likely to be happy. That includes a lot of people in the nonprofit sector. Of course, as fundraisers, we’re not always on the front lines, but we’re pretty close. So how can we change to make ourselves as happy as the people on the front lines?

  • It starts with positive thinking

I am a true believer in the power of positive thinking. If you think you can, you can. I assure you, this is not a case of “wishful thinking” — there’s actually science behind it. So, what if when we’re asking for a major gift, we expect the best, instead of assuming the worst? How might you act differently if you expected the very best?

  • Happier people are more generous

Another reason to “Think Happy Thoughts” is that happy people give more to charity. That’s pretty important information for you to have as a fundraiser. Harvard Business School produced a working paper called Feeling Good About Giving, which showed: “Happier people give more and giving makes people happier.” Incredible! The more you give, the happier you are, and the happier you are, the more you give. How awesome is that? And doesn’t it make sense that happy people would want to be around other happy people? So if you’re happy, it’s more likely that your donors will want to be around you. That’s pretty important for major gift fundraising.

2. Build Better Habits

According to current research, in order to break an old habit and create a new one, you need to find a reward to help you feel happy about whatever you’re trying to create as your new habit.

  • Make a habit of meeting with donors

One of the bad habits many development directors have is working from their desks, instead of being out, meeting with donors. How can you have relationships with your donors from behind your desk? You may feel stuck at your desk and overwhelmed with work. But being stuck at your desk is only a habit or work pattern — and it can be broken. Once your make getting out and meeting with donors on a regular basis a top priority — that will become your habit. It’s not easy, but the long-term payoff is huge.

  • Properly train your board members

Another bad habit your organization may have is recruiting and training board members without any expectation of fundraising. It’s something I run into all the time. It makes me sad when board members haven’t been recruited properly or trained, and then are expected to raise funds. So if one of your organization’s bad habits is recruiting board members without the expectation of fundraising, or not providing your board members with ongoing fundraising training, I strongly encourage you to replace your bad habits. Change the culture of your board and organization by starting to recruit and train your board members properly. Download this board member expectation form from my website.

  • Reinforcing your good habits

As I mentioned, in order to eliminate bad habits and reinforce good habits you need to reward yourself. So, after you get out and meet with your donors or recruit a new board member with a good understanding of their roles and responsibilities, what can you do to reward yourself and reinforce the new habit? It doesn’t have to be big: It can be a walk around the block, listening to your favorite song or even dancing around the office. Of course, we’ll go into much more depth at Congress, so I hope to see you there.

You’ll find more super-useful tips for becoming a better fundraiser and building a better board in my complementary eBooks Simple Things You’re NOT Doing to Raise More Money and 6 Essential Secrets for Board Retreats that Work.

Best wishes for your fundraising success!

Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE, is a respected author, speaker, and fundraising consultant, as well as the owner of Tri Point Fundraising, a full-service nonprofit consulting firm. Her specialty is simplifying the fundraising process for her followers and clients. She will be presenting at Congress 2014 in Toronto.

Posted by & filed under Analytics, Marketing/Communications, Mobile Giving, Next Generation Philanthropy, Social Media.

Philip King, Founder, The Donation Funnel Project

You’ve probably heard about the new Apple watch, but don’t plan to buy one soon. Unless you’re super geeky, and if so please see me after one of my presentations at this year’s Congress!

But I’ll bet you’ve upgraded your smartphone in the past 18 months.applewatch

Did it hit your radar that Facebook purchased WhatsApp for $19 billion earlier this year? Wonder why a social networking company would pay so much for a messaging app that is popular in Africa and India? The world is changing, particularly from a marketing and communications perspective, and it is becoming harder to get anyone’s attention, including donors.

Let’s consider your new smartphone: I’ll bet you spend more time on it than you did on your old one. In fact, I’ll bet you read your email pretty easily now on that small screen. You may even spend more time on Facebook than you did when Facebook was a desktop/laptop-only experience for you. And with recent upgrades to the cellular data speeds you spend more time using your mobile browser to visit websites, often linked from your email or Facebook.

If you’re having this experience, it’s not hard to imagine that your donors are too. Of course you’ll have all sorts of demographic tribes in your donor base: young/old, male/female, rich/not-so-rich. And these tribes will all behave in slightly different ways. But one thing is for sure: they’re all going mobile!

I’ll jump straight to the punchline: take out your smartphone. Go to your charity’s website. Make a $5 donation.

How did that feel? For most of you not so great. Still using only your smartphone try registering for that run/walk next month, or buying tickets to the gala dinner. You get the point. Our websites haven’t kept up with our donors’ handheld technology. Even websites that are “responsive” can be clumsy to use and result in “bounce” or an “abandoned visit”: two of the most dreaded terms for online fundraisers.

Now fast forward to the not-too-distant future and imagine when donors start reading their email, checking Facebook and visiting websites on their watch… Last year we could comfort ourselves and say “that’s OK, most of our donors visit our website or Facebook page on their laptops or desktops.” But for many fundraisers this changed in 2014. The mobile tipping point has already passed, or will happen sometime in the next 12 months. Try this: get your team to estimate which month your “tipping point” will occur for your organization: the month at which most of your website audience will view you through a mobile device.

If you’re interested in topics like this I hope you’ll join me for one of my sessions at Congress, and we’ll discuss questions such as:

  • How much lower are average smartphone donations compared to laptops and tablets?
  • Who is doing a great job with mobile communications, and what does that look like?
  • What opportunities will mobile give us to find new donors and new dollars?

Philip King is the founder of The Donation Funnel Project: an experiment in online and mobile fundraising. Prior to that he has a long and successful track record as a digital fundraiser as the President and CEO of Artez Interactive, VP of Mobile for Cornerstone, and VP of E-Business at the United Way of Greater Toronto. He has worked with some of the world’s leading fundraising teams including Comic Relief in the UK, Leukaemia Foundation in Australia, UNICEF and SickKids Foundation in Canada, and the Humane Society of the United States. Philip will be presenting at Congress 2014 and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilipKingIV

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Leadership/Management, Marketing/Communications, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

Siobhan Aspinall, CFRE
Senior Manager, Major Gifts, Junior Achievement of British Columbia

At Congress this year, I’m going to talk about involving non-fundraising staff in donor stewardship. You’d be crazy not to! So let’s think about who to take on that next donor visit and how to make them successful.

In the past, I was guilty of defaulting to the chiefs. I’d automatically bring along a board member, maybe even the chair or my CEO.

But if donor stewardship is about showing people the impact of their gift, then why not go straight to the source and bring along a person who actually delivers your programs? They might not be as polished as the CEO, but I bet they’ll be more interesting – mainly because they are so much closer to the work.

Don’t get me wrong – I know this approach can backfire. There’s maybe a very good reason that we don’t often invite the programs team along for sensitive visits as you can’t possibly prep them for every question or comment that might come up. However, I think it’s worthwhile to try. Start with these tips to set up your colleague for success on a donor visit:

  1. Book your program colleague for an informal briefing a couple
    of days before the donor meeting.12177981144_bd277b7ea4
  2. Tell them about the donor – how much they’ve given, what their interests are, and above all, what kind of personality they have.
  3. Emphasize more than once that the visit is informal and that we’re not going to ask for money.
  4. Do a bit of a role play. The fundraiser should start, as she has the relationship. Then let the donor talk, then cue up the program person.
  5. Have a signal for your colleague to let them know when they’ve said enough on a given topic. Let them know this is
    necessary because it is SO important to let the donor talk too. (I had a system with one scientist where I’d put my pen down on the table. He stopped so abruptly the first time we did it, it was like someone had punched him in the neck. We improved over time!)
  6. Figure out a “leave.” What’s the follow up we will offer when we close the meeting? An advance look at a pending report? A promise to send along an event invitation? Make sure it’s never just “goodbye.”
  7. Write a thank you for your program colleague to send from her email address (with you cc’ed) encouraging the donor to get in touch directly with any questions or comments. This creates a nice value add where you’re giving your best supporters exclusive access to the change-makers of the organization.

And don’t forget to tell your colleagues why this is so important. At the end of it all, we are looking to secure more funds for their work!
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Siobhan has been fundraising for over 15 years for organizations including the Canadian Cancer Society, the David Suzuki Foundation and United Way. She is currently the Senior Manager of Development at Junior Achievement working primarily in grant-writing and major gifts. She teaches fundraising courses at BCIT, consults, and is a board member for the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She holds a BA in from UBC and an Associate Certificate in Fundraising Management from BCIT. She writes for her fundraising blog at siobhanaspinall.com and surfs in Tofino. Siobhan will be presenting at Congress 2014 in Toronto.

Posted by & filed under Major/Planned Gifts, Marketing/Communications, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

David Kravinchuk

Chief Advice Dispenser, Fundraising Pharmacy

There is one powerfully simple way you can instantly begin creating healthy, effective and rewarding long-term donor relationships:

Ensure your donors can easily find the name, phone number and email address of a real live person that can help them with an enquiry, complaint, compliment or even a donation. Then invite them to use this information.  Invite them to call, email or pop by. For any reason.

Does your charity direct donors to call a toll-free or auto-attendant line instead of a real person who can help?  Or do you invite donors to email info@charitymeh.com on your Planned Giving webpages?  If so, this is what you are really saying to donors desperately trying to connect to a human being at your organization.

Does your charity direct donors to call a toll-free or auto-attendant line instead of a real person who can help? Or do you invite donors to email info@charitymeh.com on your Planned Giving webpages? If so, this is what you are really saying to donors desperately trying to connect to a human being at your organization.

Next, make sure this information is everywhere your donors’ eyes are… thank you letters, direct mail reply/donation forms, annual report, newsletter, brochures and on every single page of your website.

Why?

  • Donors won’t just figure it out.
  • It speaks volumes that your organization is thoughtful and takes donor relationships seriously.
  • Most donors will never call, email or pop in, but there’s a comfort and trust factor knowing that they can.
  • You will create a culture shift to focus on donor needs and service.
  • You will build loyalty and loyal donors are incredibly valuable (monthly, midmost and bequest donors usually start as loyal donors).

The simplicity of this gesture belies its power. It can deliver millions to your organization long term.

Take a few minutes now and find the places you can make this change quickly and easily. Then take a few more minutes tomorrow to make sure it happens. You’ll be prepared to really maximize that massive effort you’re putting into your fundraising this busy holiday season.

It’s an incredibly effective way you can show your donors the respect and love they deserve.

Passionate about prescribing annual giving and bequest marketing solutions, David opened Fundraising Pharmacy to dispense name-brand advice (at generic prices!) for Canadian charities including United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The MS Society of Canada, The Sunshine Foundation of Canada and Community Living Toronto. Earlier, David was the Senior Philanthropic Counsel at Good Works where he was responsible for a legacy marketing client roster that included Red Cross, UNHCR and Canadian Cancer Society. Follow David on Twitter  @DavidKravinchuk and join his session on annual giving at Congress 2014 in Toronto.

 

Posted by & filed under Crowdfunding, Gamification, Marketing/Communications, Mobile Giving, Next Generation Philanthropy.

Angela Simo Brown – Director of Social Change Strategy and Co-founder

AIR MILES for Social Change, AIR MILES Reward Program/LoyaltyOne

Gamification is here to stay – and charities would do well to use this concept to make giving fun. It is important for charities to capitalize on our human habits and desires in order to grow donations in a shrinking donor base environment. We like games, we like our phones, and we like being winners. We also are looking for purpose and meaning and how we can make a difference. Mobile gamification for charitable causes can give us what we need.

And it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive either. Instead of building a game from scratch, charities should look to a corporate partner to co-create the solution. One example is mobile game developer XEOPlay who created Tilt World, a game that helps to reforest Madagascar. Points earned in the game translate to tree seeds purchased for and on behalf of the tree-planting charity WeForest. XEOPlay’s goal is to plant 1 million trees in Madagascar, which is suffering from the effects of deforestation. Another example is Games for Good, who donates a fraction of a cent to charity every time you play their games. Or more simply, it can be a voting game, like Fido and Evergreen’s 2011 ‘Share Your Care’ program. Fido donated $100,000 that was divided between 20 different local environmental projects based on Canadians voting online for their favourite project.gamification

AIR MILES for Social Change has been partnering with different charities for the past 4 years by using reward miles as a carrot to increase giving and engagement with nonprofits. We infused gamification and behavioural economics motivational concepts into these initiatives with good success and have learned a lot in the process. Here is a list of top 5 lessons we’ve observed on how charities can best engage with today’s donor:

  1. People give to be personally recognized, not necessarily because they are emotionally connected to the cause: People like to be seen giving – in fact for many nowadays this is the main reason they give. They want their peers to see the good they have done, and some are defining their giving as a social measure of their personal success. So a tax receipt and thank you letter just aren’t enough anymore. Charities need to make sure that they are giving the types of recognition that people want today, and often social media recognition to the most cost-effective tool to use.
  2. People give to support their friends vs the cause more than ever: Fundraisers where donors reach out to their network have been around for years. These programs are generally more successful because people like to support their friends. The next evolution of fundraising is in driving more value from peer-to-peer donor networks. Crowdfunding is exploding. See the amazing success of pooling platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Causevox. Charities should piggyback off of these platforms and capitalize on their popularity.
  3. People want frequent touch points of thanks and celebration for their giving: Social media has trained us all to expect frequent virtual hugs and celebration by way of badges, trophies, congratulations and thank yous. We want to be told all the time how good we are. Rightly or wrongly, these are the new table stakes and charities need to give this recognition and appreciation to their donors more frequently. The thanks and recognition can be small, fleeting, and inexpensive to deliver at a regular cadence via social media.
  4. People want experiences to be social and fun: Gamification is one way to do this, as well as events where donors can be active participants, plus consumer-led social media movements like the Ice Bucket Challenge. Although movements are a fleeting and time-limited way to fundraise, the way that people engaged with the Ice Bucket campaign is different than ever before. Making giving into a game has proven to be a great way to engage a high number of people across multiple demographics and regions, and is an emerging trend that charities can’t afford to ignore.
  5. Youth want to make a difference hands-on: Youth want to tangibly experience the difference they are making, and just making a donation to an organization to do the work for them doesn’t suffice for this cohort. They want to donate their time, energy, spirit and dollars to grassroots organizations, and the most successful programs are going to be led by youth. See the popularity of giving initiatives such as community Giving Days, or PhilanthroTeens.” In addition to the hands-on experience, youth want to be able to share their experiences with others.  Social media and games are the best way to engage the new youth donor segment.

The other key success factor is of course, mobile. People love their phones and the more they can do with their phones the more they will engage with your brand and the cause.

A megatrend of our time is that people are actively looking for new and impactful ways to make a difference. Charities offer up all the things we are looking for but they need to proactively shake up the way giving is done today. Gamification, crowdfunding and behavioural economics will be three key elements for successful, fun and rewarding giving programs of the future.

AngelaSB

Angela leads the shared value, cause marketing strategy and program development for the AIR MILES Reward Program, Canada’s premier coalition loyalty program. Under Angela’s leadership, AIR MILES has developed over 25 innovative program partnerships across the public, nonprofit and private sectors that have driven record increases in positive behavior change in healthy living, energy conservation and increased transit use. An engaging speaker, Angela has spoken at many conferences about the power of creating shared value using social change and cause marketing strategies.

Posted by & filed under Inspiration, Marketing/Communications, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

Gayle Goossen

President and Creative Director, Barefoot Creative

I am a storyteller.

I personally write hundreds of appeals and newsletters every year. I love crafting a fundraising offer – it is personal, attention-gripping and, yes, it can be transformational. But let me share a tiny insight – a challenge I run into almost every day.

Fundraising organizations exchange organizational information for the power of a story. I have no idea why. We know that a story engages far more centres in the brain. We know that a story invites the readers to read more. We know that stories motivate compassion and response.

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                                                   photo credit: Enokson

It seems to me fundraising organizations should be champions of storytelling.

Perhaps it comes from the misnomer that education happens in a lecture. I’m not sure who started that myth. I know that educators world-wide perpetuate it. But it is simply not true. Current studies in brain response to story affirm the power of storytelling

As a young student I attended two graduation exercises. The same speaker spoke at both of them. Idealist that I am, and the fact that there was significant overlap in the audience, I expected him to deliver 2 different speeches.

But he didn’t.

Fascinatingly, I didn’t catch on until his first story. Then, as I listened more attentively, I realized that he hadn’t bothered to change anything. I only remembered the story. It seemed to me that he would have been brilliant if he had simply replaced the story – no one would have known. The most poignant memory of his speech was the story.

The story challenges the listener or reader to link analogies, discover the journey, build the bridges between characters. Most of all, the story introduces us to people who are  like us and not like us – but just enough like us to make us interested in their lives. Listeners and readers immediately begin to solve the story’s core problems, cheering for the hero and booing the villain. The brain imagines the scene, the character, the problem and the solution.

The great storyteller begins with an innate sense of curiosity. The storyteller is on a quest to understand why and who and how and what and where. They want to understand the poignant details. (Join me at the national AFP conference…. I’ll share concrete examples there)

My husband just doesn’t get it. Seriously (but then, he’s not a story teller). When he gets off the phone with his mother – I have about 57 questions. Did he think to ask one of them? Curiosity didn’t kill the cat – it got the story. (More at the conference… )

Your depiction of the people in the story must be human – even if they live in another country, there are thousands of ways they can relate to your audience. You need to find them in your neighbourhood, down your street, in the mall… you can make them human by the way you describe them. As the longevity and universal appeal of Shakespeare has illustrated many. Many times – the human story has not changed all that much.

As a writer/fundraiser/ storyteller you tell some extremely difficult stories. That is a distinct gift. Hone it!

Gayle is the founder and president of Barefoot Creative. For more than 20 years she has been walking alongside nonprofits, helping to develop and implement fund raising strategies that inspire donors to engage and contribute. Her academic background and graduate degree in Canadian Literature and Post-Modern Critical Theory inspire a unique approach to applying foundational fund development and marketing strategies to help non-profits grow. She will be presenting at Congress 2014 in Toronto.