Implementing a text-to-give campaign? Check out these best practices for amplifying your fundraising!

Text-to-Give Marketing: 7 Easy Steps to Scoring More Money

If this is your first text-to-give campaign (and even if this isn’t your first rodeo), it’s never too late to learn the ins and outs of marketing and launching a successful mobile fundraiser.

Admittedly, launching a text-to-give fundraiser can be a little daunting. But what fundraiser isn’t when you’re first getting started?

Luckily for you, we’ve boiled mobile marketing down into the 7 easiest steps that any nonprofit can follow and execute.

Here’s a little sneak peek of the steps we’re going to cover in this article:

  1. Test out your text-to-give technology.
  2. Perfect your peer-to-peer fundraising.
  3. Enhance your email strategy.
  4. Take advantage of live events.
  5. Stay social media savvy.
  6. Don’t forget offline strategies.
  7. Execute, track, and improve.

There’s no time like the present. Let’s get to it!


 

Test out your text-to-give technology before rolling it out to your donors so that your nonprofit will have a firm grasp on how it works.

1.) Test out your text-to-give technology.

As with any fundraising software, one of the first steps you’ll have to take before you can begin marketing is testing out text-to-give for yourself.

Many text-to-give platform providers will give you the option to view a demonstration before you decide to purchase. This step is crucial for your understanding of the platform and shouldn’t be skipped! If you find that the software isn’t user-friendly, chances are, your donors won’t be able to grasp it, either.

Of course, not only does your text-to-give platform need to be simple and intuitive for your donors; it also needs to be easy for your organization’s staff to use.

With a solid piece of software, your fundraising team should be able to easily export and import critical mobile donor data, like the data in the spreadsheet below:

Robust text-to-give technology should enable nonprofits to easily transfer collected supporter data in and out of the platform.

Of course, this is donor email data, but text donations work in much the same way. In fact, with some industry-leading platform providers, your email and text donations are able to cross-pollinate.

What does it mean to cross-pollinate?

Essentially, cross-pollination (in terms of mobile giving, not bees) means that a donor who has given via email or a donation page and has filled out a payment form once can give through any of your other giving portals without needing to fill out any more forms.

In simpler terms, a donor who has given to your organization one time can then give through text, email, or mobile/online donation page in just 2 clicks. It’s the simplest, most streamlined way to give on the go.

After you’ve landed on which mobile giving platform to use, it’s important to work out all of the kinks and ensure that all of your staff are clear on how to deal with data. Do a test run!

You can open up your text-to-give testing to people close to your nonprofit, such as:

  • Board members
  • Committee members
  • Loyal donors
  • Avid volunteers
  • Friends and family of staff

Have them give a dollar or two, then request their feedback on the platform. Are there any areas where your nonprofit could make the process easier?

Testing out your technology will not only help you work out any glitches, but it will also help familiarize your staff with the giving process. The more familiar you all are with your platform, the easier it will be to explain and market this giving option to your donors.

Bonus: Ready to start comparing text-to-give providers? Check out this list of the top text-to-give tools from our friends at Double the Donation!

To sum it all up: Testing out your text-to-give technology is the first step in getting comfortable with the way it works so that you can better market it to your donors.

Pairing peer-to-peer fundraising with text-to-give can spread your reach, help you acquire more new donors, and enable you to make more money from text giving.

2.) Perfect your peer-to-peer fundraising.

If you followed the advice in step 1, you’ve no doubt already opened your text-to-give fundraiser up to close family and friends, board members, and committee members alike.

Now is the perfect time to expand your reach—in more ways than one!

Peer-to-peer fundraising allows your organization to extend your reach and cast a wider net than ever before.

So how does it work? Take one part advocacy, one part social media, two parts being well-connected, stir in some fundraising know-how, and voila! Ten times the reach, ten times the donors.

Okay, okay. Maybe it’s not quite that instantaneous or fanciful. But it is pretty magical, if you set it up well.

What you actually need to do to launch a peer-to-peer fundraiser as a part of your text-to-give campaign:

Step 1: Enlist the help of your organization’s biggest fans.

Your “fans” should be key influencers within your community and people who are passionate about your cause and spreading awareness.

They’ll be your fundraisers on the ground, your foot soldiers, your champions, and your greatest allies. Choose these individuals wisely; they’ll represent you throughout your campaign.

Step 2: Supply your fundraisers with the necessary tools.

For this kind of peer-to-peer campaign, you’ll want to give your fundraisers the information they need to inform their networks about texting to donate to your organization.

You can give them pre-written copy to post as status updates, in emails, and more.

Provide them with the run-down of the purpose of your text-to-give efforts, and make sure they understand how it works so they can properly explain it to their friends and families. And of course, don’t forget to provide them with your shortcode!

Step 3: Be on-call.

Your fundraisers are lifting your organization up on their shoulders to do the fundraising heavy lifting for you. Be sure that you’re there for them if they ever have questions or concerns.

Let them know that you’re there to support them, whatever their needs may be, when and how they can get in touch—and that you’re eternally grateful for all of their efforts.

Step 4: Thank your fundraisers properly.

Your peer-to-peer fundraisers are an incredible hybrid: part fundraiser, part donor, all superhero. Thank them accordingly.

It might seem selfish to mention, but thanking your donors actually helps your organization raise more money in the long run.

A well-stewarded donor is a donor who will continue to give to you again and again and tell all of their friends and families to do so, too.

To sum it all up: Your nonprofit can launch a peer-to-peer fundraiser as a part of your text-to-give campaign and reach more supporters while doing substantially less legwork.

Email and text-to-give go hand-in-hand, so make sure that your email marketing strategy has been well established.

3.) Enhance your email strategy.

As you may or may not be aware, email is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to raise money and awareness from your donors, regardless of where they are.

It’s also an outstanding medium for marketing.

Because email is 245 times less expensive than direct mail, your organization can afford to send out more communications than ever before. But it doesn’t matter how many messages you send out if they’re not being opened or read.

To make the most of your email marketing for your text-to-give campaign, make sure you:

  • Craft eye-catching headlines.

The most engaging emails have creative headlines that make subscribers want to open them. When you’re crafting your own, make sure you think about what would make you want to open an email.

  • Draft each message with the preview mode in mind.

Many of your subscribers will have preview mode on in their inboxes. When they scroll past your message, make sure that you’ve designed an appealing and credible email from top to bottom. The look of your email should draw your readers in and entice them to open and click through your correspondence.

  • Make your text-to-give call-to-action clear.

The most important part of this whole exercise is getting donors to give to your organization via text. That’s why it’s crucial to make your calls-to-actions obvious and unmissable!

  • Segment and target your emails in a way that makes sense.

Not everyone who subscribes to your emails is doing so for the same reasons. When you’re redrafting your email strategy, consider segmenting your email list (if you haven’t already done so) to better target donors who are likely to give via text.

If you’re in need of some more stellar tips for asking for donations via email (and more), then look no further than this article!

To sum it all up: Perfecting your email marketing strategy will help springboard your text-to-give campaign. Few outlets are more effective or more efficient than email, so why not take advantage of a tried and true standard to boost your mobile efforts?

Offering the option to donate through text-to-give at your fundraising events will help you raise more money, since this channel is so convenient and universal!

4.) Take advantage of live events.

Another tried and true standard that your nonprofit should be taking advantage of: live fundraising events.

Live events were made for marketing. Especially when it comes to your text-to-donate campaign, there’s no better way to get the ball rolling than to make an announcement at an engaging event. After all, text-to-give was made to be used on the go!

Think about it: you have all of the ingredients needed for success.

Whether you’re hosting a 5K fun run, an elegant gala, or a rock ‘n’ roll benefit concert, the facts remain the same. You have at your disposal:

  • A captivated audience.
  • Some sort of platform from which to speak.
  • The spirit of giving that’s inherent at any fundraiser.
  • Willing donors who have their phones in pocket.

Take a moment and imagine that you’re standing backstage at a rocking benefit concert. You’ve spent months planning it, and that work has paid off.

People are dancing and having a great time. Many of them have their phones out and are swaying along with the music. The glow from all the mobile devices lights up the night.

There’s a lull in the music, and the band is tuning up for the next set. It’s the ideal time to hop on stage and explain your text-to-give campaign.

You throw some slides like these up on your projector:

King's House has projected a slideshow during their live event, walking their donors through the process of how to give over text.
Your attendees already have their phones out and are primed to donate. Once you’ve explained the process, you’re bound to be flooded with hundreds of text donations. What could be better?

That scenario could easily become a reality for your organization. All it takes is the proper timing, orchestration, and planning.

To sum it all up: Live events provide excellent marketing opportunities. Make sure that the next live event your nonprofit hosts includes mentioning your text-to-give campaign.

Advertising text-to-give through social media will help you reach more new donors and raise more money.

5.) Stay social media savvy.

In a perfect world, you would be able to catch up with your donors and speak with them passionately about your cause on a daily basis.

In the real world, you can—with the help of social media.

Sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow nonprofits to be a part of a larger conversation and remain more connected with their donors on a day-to-day basis.

Daily, weekly, or monthly, your organization can update followers on the progress of your latest projects (in real-time!), inform them of the latest volunteer opportunities, and—you guessed it—market your text-to-give campaign.

Of course, there are different best practices for each social media site. Luckily for you, we’ve gathered some of the most useful tips for each of the major players on the world wide web.

We’ve broken them down by site here:

i.) Facebook.

With over 1 billion monthly users, Facebook is one of the most popular and widely used sites on the internet. As such, it’s vitally important that your nonprofit become a part of the social network.

If you’re already on Facebook, make sure the posts that you’re creating include either a video or an image. Studies have shown that content that’s visually simulating is 60,000 times easier for followers to interpret.

Engage your followers with eye-catching photographs and draw them in with explanatory videos. Always remember to include clear instructions for your text-to-give campaign—just like the Willamette Humane Society does:

Including photos in text-to-give advertising on Facebook, like the Willamette Humane Society did, will help your nonprofit capture the attention of more donors.

As you can see, they’ve made the image their focus, and they’ve made their text-to-give campaign abundantly clear.

ii.) Instagram.

Instagram is a rapidly changing medium. They’ve recently instituted a new algorithm that will highlight only the top 30% of posts on a user’s feed.

What this means for your nonprofit: If you’re not engaging with your donors and volunteers on a daily basis, or you don’t have many followers, your nonprofit’s Instagram won’t get the coverage it needs.

How you can combat this: It’s important to connect and engage with followers. On a practical level, that means liking and following and commenting on other user’s accounts.

This advice, of course, is all in addition to posting quality photos with obvious links to your mobile fundraiser, as in this example post from the Disaster Relief Fund:

Disaster Relief Fund has included a high quality photo on their Instagram that creates impact and convinces more supporters to give to their text-to-give campaign.

The image they’ve chosen to post is meaningful and demonstrative of the work they’re trying to do. Because of that, it’s garnered over 1,000 likes.

iii.) Twitter.

You probably already know that Twitter limits posts, which are called “tweets,” to 140 characters. For a basis of comparison, Facebook status updates allow over 63,000 characters.

Keep this in mind when you’re drafting tweets. You’ll want to keep your messages short, sweet, and to-the-point. And don’t forget to include instructions or a link to your mobile fundraiser.

A great example of a concise tweet comes to us from SealSaviors:

SealSaviors effectively advertises their text-to-give campaign over Twitter by keeping their post short and sweet.

In under 10 words, they’ve let their followers know what they’re about and how to help out.

To sum it all up: Having a solid social media strategy that follows best practices is a fantastic way to market your nonprofit’s text-to-give campaign.

It's important to promote text-to-give offline, too, to spread your reach as far and wide as possible!

6.) Don’t forget offline strategies.

So much is done directly through phones these days. You can pay your bills, keep up with old friends, and find your way in an unfamiliar city.

But that doesn’t mean you should move completely away from traditional marketing methods to promote your text-to-give campaign.

There are several avenues for your nonprofit to explore outside of mobile. Avenues like:

  • Direct mail
  • Letter writing
  • Bus stop signs
  • Promotional T-shirts
  • Billboard advertisements
  • Flyers

As far as these avenues go, feel free to get creative. The Willamette Humane Society sure did!

The Willamette Humane Society has gotten creative with their text-to-give advertising by showcasing their campaign on custom t-shirts!
They’re walking billboards for their text-to-donate campaign. Speaking of billboards, they also pulled out all the stops and created a bus stop sign to promote their mobile fundraiser:

The Willamette Humane Society took their text-to-give marketing to the next level by taking out an ad at their local bus stop.

So the next time someone is just standing at the bus stop, waiting for their ride to work or school, they can use that time wisely and donate to a worthy cause in just 2 clicks.

Bonus: If you’re looking for advice on how to write the most effective fundraising letters, look no further than Fundly’s guide!

To sum it all up: Don’t feel limited by mobile strategies just because you’re hosting a mobile fundraiser. Explore several different offline strategies to enhance your online marketing efforts.

Continually tracking your text-to-give performance will enable your organization to pinpoint areas for improvement so your text-to-give fundraising will be even better!

8.) Execute, track, and improve.

Just as you would with any other major fundraising campaign, your nonprofit should be tracking key metrics and improving your strategy over time.

With regard to marketing your campaign, you should be keeping an eye on the conversion rates of all of the tactics you try out.

If you send out emails promoting your text-to-give campaign, and you only measure a 3% click-through rate, you might want to take a look at your email strategy.

Likewise, if you pour a ton of work and energy into your social media promotions and see dismal results, it might be time to work smarter, not harder.

If your text-to-give campaign is a part of your larger annual fundraiser, it’s doubly important that you pay attention to how your marketing plans are panning out.

Your organization should be tracking:

  • Email conversion rate.
  • Social media conversation rate.
  • Bounce rate.
  • Donor retention rate.
  • Donor acquisition rate.

Keeping an eye on these metrics (plus any other measurements that make sense for your organization to track) will ensure that every effort that you make is worth the investment of your nonprofit’s time and money.

To sum it all up: One of the most important steps you can take in launching a mobile fundraiser is to track and improve along the way. A successful campaign is one that’s in tune with the needs and wants of its donors.



That’s all, folks! We sincerely hope you learned a thing or two about marketing a text-to-give campaign to your donors.

Now that you’ve got some best practices in your back pocket, you’re more than ready to get out there and start promoting your mobile fundraiser!

Black and White Place Setting

The Fundraiser’s Guide to Managing Monthly or Recurring Donors

Have you ever had something be a total letdown the second time around?

Imagine that you eat at an amazing restaurant.  The host is friendly.  The server is the perfect balance of personable and knowledgeable.  The food is beyond tasty.  Even the bathroom has cool sinks!

Fast forward a month.  You’ve waited as long as you can.  The day of your return to foodie heaven is upon you and you’re like a kid on Halloween.

Then the unthinkable happens, you hate it.

The host loses your reservation.  Your waiter has an “I might spit in your food vibe.”  Your steak is overcooked.  And, you slip on a wet floor in the bathroom.

Don’t put your monthly and recurring donors through this psychological torture.

Guarantee that the great stewardship that brought them back to donate a second time happens during each and every experience. 

What’s the best way to keep donors happy and returning?

Exemplary monthly and recurring donor program management. 

Monthly and recurring donor programs are great ways to improve yearly fundraising for nonprofits.

They provide consistency in a world of financial uncertainty.

To help your fundraising process, here’s an outlined 6 step guide to boosting monthly and recurring donor management proficiency.

STEP #1 PLAN, PLAN, PLAN

Plan as much as you can in advance and save yourself major effort down the road.

Truly think through how your program will work when establishing it.

Ask yourself:

  • Who will manage the process?
  • What communications will donors receive after sign-up?
  • What thank-yous will you send donors?
  • What will be the suggested pledge amounts?
  • How are you going to be communicating with participants?
  • What will the communications say?

If that list seems extensive, it is because it is.  And it is likely that even more questions will come up in the pilot stage of your program.

Address these planning questions early and thoroughly. 

The more you know about the ins and outs of your program, the better equipped you will be to run it.  You might need a monthly gift team, or you might be able to allocate duties to existing staff.

The only way to know is to plan.  Then plan some more.

STEP #2 AUTOMATE THE GIVING PROCESS

If you have the capability of automating any part of this process, do it!

The rewards of a monthly/recurring giving program are plenty, but running one is not without its difficulties — one of which is the time it’ll take your staff to execute.

This step is when having a well-chosen CRM comes in handy.

A great CRM software (like NonProfitEasy) has a pledge function within the donation process.  This can save staff time and increase donor engagement.

A CRM can also identify expired cards, flag denied cards, and process recurring payments.

It’s important to have a good CRM in your corner, and this step is just one example (of many) why.

STEP #3 CONNECT THE PROGRAM TO SOMETHING CONCRETE

People like certainty when giving their money.

Donors who know what their money is accomplishing feel more secure in their decisions to give.

Give a few examples of what certain pledge amounts equate to in terms of mission fulfillment.

For instance:

  • $5 monthly pledge = the training for a new volunteer
  • $10 monthly pledge = school supplies for a kindergartner

And so on and so on.

Solidifying the donation trail does more than comfort your donors, it can incentivize them.

If I’m a donor and I see that for just $5 I can help your organization train more volunteers, I’d sacrifice the funds I’d spend on one fancy coffee drink.

It is hard to say no to guaranteed results.

STEP #4 HIGHLIGHT MONTHLY GIVING

Do you know what frustrates me?  Whispering.  If you want me to know what you’re saying you have to make sure I can hear you.

Donors won’t know about monthly giving if you don’t noticeably tell them about it.  They won’t learn through osmosis.

Take advantage of your organization’s preexisting communications portals to let your people know about the programs in place.

Use social media platforms, newsletters, director’s letters to donors, etc.

Vary how you address your prospects and donors about the program.

In one correspondence explicitly outline the details of monthly giving.  In another choose a monthly donor to recognize and then briefly discuss how others could get involved.

By showcasing the benefits of monthly giving, you make it clear to the donor why you’re asking them for something other than a typical donation. By making your intentions clear, it helps both your organization and potential donors who are ready to give.

STEP #5 BRAND THE MONTHLY GIVING PROGRAM

Make monthly giving appealing by branding it as an exclusive club.

Name it what you want, but just make sure you treat the donors who participate like members.

The branding as an elite group can only go so far if you don’t back it up with some legitimate rewards.

Offer members-only rewards and giveaways from time to time. A little money spent will go a long way towards growing that recurring donor base.

STEP #6 PROVIDE STEP-UP OPPORTUNITIES

This step applies to the handling of one-time, intermittent, and monthly donors.

With care and attention to donor relationships, ask your donors to step-up their giving practices.

Effective donor segmentation will be a huge asset in this process.  The better you know these donors, the more successful your asks will be.

For one-time and intermittent donors this ask will be about getting them to transition onto your monthly giving platform.

Send specific communications geared towards one-time or intermittent donors that offer an upgrade to your recently branded monthly giving program.

For those already involved in the program, wait a relatively lengthy period of time, make sure the donor is committed to the giving program, and then ask him to up his monthly pledge.

These asks won’t be about getting huge increases but pledge bumps across many monthly donors.

Don’t forget that your loyal monthly donors are prime candidates for major gift donations.

Members of your monthly giving club have already demonstrated a vested interest in financially contributing to your cause.

There’s a good chance they’d be willing to make the jump to a large gift if the funds were available and the opportunity was presented.

This is all about giving people as many opportunities as possible to join the recurring donation crew.

Donor retention should be a goal of any nonprofit. 

With monthly and recurring donor programs in place, you’ll be on your way to successful donor retention.

Want to see how a  CRM can help run your monthly giving program.  Try a free NonProfitEasy demo today.

Schedule a demo with NonProfitEasy today!

airplane wing

Are You Ready to Lead? The 11 Best Nonprofit Leadership Conferences of the Summer and Fall

Love ’em or hate ’em, conferences are part of the game.

Sometimes you may feel that a conference is pulling you or your team away from more pertinent work, but attendance can have major value.

  • Conferences are a great opportunity to expand your team’s industry knowledge.
  • The mass gathering is the perfect place to network with peers and industry thought-leaders. Never underestimate the value of a face-to-face meeting. Conferences make in-person introductions that much easier.
  • By attending and/or contributing to the conference, you’ll be able to position yourself as an industry authority.

And hey, getting out of town for a few days ain’t so bad either.

As you map out your conference schedule heading into the summer and fall seasons, plan strategically about which members of your team to send.  Typically, those you send will fall into this list:

  • Executive Directors
  • Presidents
  • Board Members
  • Major Gift Officers
  • Various C_Os (Chief Development Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, etc.)

Before you set your calendar, take a look at our list of summer and fall nonprofit leadership conferences.

Let’s take this month by month.

JULY

10th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference

National Harbor, MD from July 7-9

The 2015 Bridge Conference will focus on educating attendees on the newest fundraising trends, solutions to nonprofit marketing challenges, and methods to improve ROI.

2015 AMA Nonprofit Marketing Conference

Washington, D.C. from July 13-15

This conference’s aim is to help nonprofits’ marketing approach through four main topics.

  • Motivating the generations
  • Getting personal with storytelling
  • Making cause marketing work
  • Amping up integrated communications

AUGUST

Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) 2015 National Conference

Little Rock, AR from August 6-8

This annual event brings YNPN leaders from around the country together for chapter collaboration, knowledge sharing and expansion, and networking.

Social Media for Nonprofits Conference — Austin

Austin, TX on August 18

Designed to share practical advice and techniques for advocacy, marketing, and fundraising via social media, this conference is a part of a national series.

Social media is going to continue to grow as a method of online communication and fundraising, so it is a great idea to stay current on all of the strategies in the growing field.

Visit the website for conference dates for the other series’ cities including: San Francisco, New York City, Washington, DC, Silicon Valley, Boston, and Dallas.

SEPTEMBER

10th Annual Nonprofit Management Institute

Stanford, CA from September 9-10

Celebrating 10 years, 2015’s conference will focus on the theme of building resiliency.  The theme is broken into three components: yourself, your organization, and your society.

Social Good Summit

New York, NY from September 27-28

Taking place concurrently with UN Week, the Social Good Summit will investigate the effect technology and new media have on social good movements globally.

With a forward focus, this year’s conference centers on the theme #2030 and the question,

“What type of world do I want to live in by the year 2030?”

The Communications Network Annual Conference

San Diego, CA from September 30 – October 2

The conference is an annual meeting place for communications leaders from across the social sector.

OCTOBER

Alliance for Nonprofit Management National Conference

Portland, OR from October 6-8

This conference is run by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management which employs a research-oriented approach to help increase the success of nonprofits and similar cause-based organizations in achieving their mission goals.

It is engineered by and for nonprofit leaders, grant-makers, academics, and nonprofit capacity builders.

Embark 2015: Independent Sector’s 2015 National Conference

Miami, FL from October 27-29

Embark 2015 will be a gathering of over 1,000 thought-leaders from the nonprofit sector who want to network and learn from other forward-thinking peers.

TechNow Conference

Cranberry Township, PA on October 29

If you’re near the Pittsburgh area attend this long-running conference to gain the knowledge and connections to fully utilize the technology resources available to nonprofits.

A well-run CRM can be a lifesaver, so just imagine what other tech is out there waiting to be optimized.

BoardSource Leadership Forum (BLF) ’15

New Orleans, LA from November 9-10

The largest annual meeting of nonprofit board leaders, this gathering focuses on newest trends and best practices for nonprofit management.

Pick and choose your conference schedule based on where your organization has knowledge gaps, as well as authority.

Mix and match.  Just get out there.

Before you hit the road, make sure you’re doing everything you can do improve your fundraising and download our free checklist of nonprofit CRM best practices.

Click here to download our free fundraising software checklist.

Reel in Millennials

7 Proven Strategies for Millennial Donor Engagement

The millennial age group is not and should not be the white whale of fundraising.  Reel them in!

Yes, they’re young and grew up with a different sense of the world than perhaps your older donors did, but they’re still just people looking to support a good cause.

To build a strong donor pipeline, it is important to have donors of all ages and giving levels.  One of the biggest challenges facing our nonprofit clients is how to reach the mysterious millennial.

We’ve created a list of strategies that will facilitate engagement with this age group.

Feel free to use any or all of these tactics as you move forward with donor engagement.

ENCOURAGE VOLUNTEERISM

Typically, the younger the donor, the smaller the disposable income.  Millennials, like most people, want to be charitable.

Unfortunately, the combination of a tough job market and hefty student loans limits the ways in which the 20-35 age range can contribute financially.

Luckily, there is an alternative way of participating that is just as viable for your cause, volunteering.

Volunteerism is an excellent way to engage the millennial demographic without them having to worry about a fiscal commitment.

Encouraging volunteering helps connect people to your cause and grow your organization’s community.  Plus, once they are volunteers and ingratiated into your nonprofit, millennials will be more likely to give monetarily when they can.

GO ONLINE

If I want to go to a movie tonight I can go to the theater website and buy tickets in about two minutes.

Yesterday, I made an appointment for a haircut on my salon’s online scheduling system.

The internet makes almost everything more convenient.  Just like online retailers have figured out, it is easier to make a purchase when you can do so without leaving your home.

Make donating online easy.  Your millennial donors are accustomed to using the web for just about everything.  Play on their field.

Raising money online still feels like new territory for many nonprofits, but with the proper approach your fundraising, especially with younger age groups, will soar. 

A 2015 NonProfitEasy survey found that only 11.9% of nonprofits surveyed reported that more than 75% of their fundraising will be through online donations.  That 11.9% will only increase as more and more millennials join donor networks.

Stay ahead of the curve!

GET SOCIAL

Social engagement is key!

Many of your donors, especially millennials, have an incredibly active social media presence.

With the amount of time people spend *cough* waste *cough* on social networking sites, it is so important that your organization is part of the community and conversation.

Take a cross-platform approach.  Just a word of warning though, what you get out will be what you put in, so only use a platform if it works for you.

Social media is the ideal resource to brief your donors on all of the great work you’ve done.

It is a perfect place to showcase accomplishments and keep donors in the loop about what their money has enabled.  You can even use the sites to thank donors on a public platform.

The social networking opportunities are there, so take advantage of them!

GO MOBILE

I’d like to wager a bet.  Survey a group of 25 year olds and ask them to name one of their possessions that they could not live without.  Survey says?  Cell phones.

Mobile phones have become appendages.  People sleep with them on their pillows.  They use them to avoid eye contact in elevators.  Smart phones are now basically pocket sized computers.

Give donors the opportunity to use their best friends for charity.  Make sure your giving platform is compatible with smart phones and break down the barriers to donations!

CONTINUE ENGAGEMENT

So you’ve mastered the millennial miracle and you now have a solid base of 20-35 year old donors.  Now what?  Follow-up.  Just like with any donor, once you’ve acquired a millennial make it a goal to retain him and his funds.

You have to stay in touch and there are a bunch of ways to do so.  Donors appreciate emails and shout-outs on social media.

Much of the approach to millennial donor engagement is about getting into their world and going online.  Continuing engagement provides the perfect opportunity to surprise those donors with a throwback fundraising technique, direct mail.

Most people’s true mail is populated with bills, magazines addressed to previous residents, and more bills.  Break-up the monotony with a wonderfully crafted direct mail package.

Your cause will stand out to those younger donors.

CREATE A JUNIOR BOARD

Boards are a vital part of a successful nonprofit.  A junior board of directors populated by young professionals will help your organization engage with millennial leaders for your cause.

Much of fundraising is about who you know.  A board that is populated with those ages 50 and up is unlikely to have a bevy of millennial contacts.

Millennials looking and able to donate are certainly out there.  A junior board is a great point of access for connecting with those millennials.  Build it and they will come, right?

HOST EVENTS WITH LOCAL COLLEGES OR UNIVERSITIES

Start ’em young.  College students are the perfect storm of energy, time, and boredom.  If they hear your event is going to be fun or their friends are all going or they are interested in your cause, they will show up.

It doesn’t matter how you get them there, just that you do.

If you encourage involvement early on, they will be more likely to contribute monetarily once they enter the professional world.

A campus or campus-sponsored event is a great way to reach valuable donors and help them discover your cause.

Consider, for example, hosting a 5k on university grounds.  That type of event in particular is going to bring a variety of students to your cause.

  1. You’ll have the students focused on community service who are actively seeking opportunities to volunteer.
  2. You’ll garner support from runners, both students and not, who are simply always looking for a race to run in.
  3. You’ll get the sort of “walk-in” benefit of finding students who maybe were looking for something to do or heard about a free t-shirt.

No matter how many people involved stick with your cause in the short-term, you’ve taken a great step towards building long-term awareness and the foundation of your relationships with young donors.

At the end of the day, millennials are donors like any of your others.  It’s important to view them as donors first, millennials second.  There should be plenty of cross-over between your typical donor acquisition strategies and those you employ for millennials. 

Determining why millennials are interested in your cause and what drives their philanthropic motivations will lead to success.

Any strategies we missed?  Send us an email at nigel@nonprofiteasy.com if you have more proven techniques for attracting millennials.

Want to raise more money from millennials?  Download a free checklist of nonprofit CRM best practices that can improve the efficiency of your fundraisers.

Click here to download our free fundraising software checklist.

Online donor thank you tips

Quick and Dirty Guide to Online Donor Acknowledgement

With online charitable donations steadily on the rise, it is more vital now than ever to make your organization as online donor-friendly as possible.

A major component of success in that market relies on your nonprofit’s ability to properly acknowledge the donations you receive.

Thank yous are obviously critical to any type of fundraising, whether the donation was given on the phone, in the mail, or online.

Online donations, in particular, present a unique opportunity for cross-platform acknowledgement.

In order to effectively show your gratitude to your web donors you have to be keyed into the potential pitfalls of online fundraising.

Web-based interactions are noncommittal in nature.  The combination of the lack of interpersonal connection and the ease with which someone can participate and forget make online donor retention a tricky beast.

Despite the challenges, tapping into the digital age of donating can prove fruitful if handled correctly. 

If you are going to target online funders, you have to first be prepared to acknowledge them in a way they would expect and then go further to anticipate a method of thanking them that exceeds expectations.

As a nonprofit fundraiser, you need to find a way to make the rather impersonal world of online donating feel personal.  People donate continually to the organizations that they feel most connected to.

The donor has already taken the first step in the relationship by contributing.  Your thank you is the perfect opportunity to reciprocate and deepen the connection.

Before we move on to the “how” of online donor acknowledgement, I want to first briefly mention the two main means of donating.

  • The first channel is through an organization’s website.  This is a direct approach and leaves the door open for how you choose to handle follow-ups.  The donor who uses this method is already familiar with your cause.
  • The second donation channel involves “giving sites.”  These websites, like Network for Good, aggregate various types of nonprofits.  Therefore, it can be expected that a donor through this site might not be as familiar with your mission.

Both options are good to use, but the respective audiences should play a role in how you acknowledge your donor.  When sending a thank you to a donor who used a “giving site” it is important to remember that the donor’s knowledge of your organization is probably less than that of a donor who donated directly through your website.

An acknowledgement is a great opportunity to close that information gap.

To help you maximize the effectiveness of your thank yous here is a list of seven tips to remember when acknowledging online donors.

Tip #1: Thank quickly and often.

This tip is perhaps a bit obvious, but its importance cannot be overstated.  Donors who are not appreciated do not stick around.

There are a few methods and systems for going about thanking your supporters.  Whether the donor has given directly through your website or through a “giving site,” two things should automatically happen.

The donor should receive both an automated thank you and a donation receipt.

There are often options in your fundraising software to add an acknowledgement to the receipt. However, it might show added care if you were to keep these responses separate.  From there it is your organization’s prerogative to determine if a step such as a thank you call or mailed letter is needed.

These added steps can certainly make the donor feel appreciated, but always keep in mind who your audience is and if multiple thank you avenues would seem considerate or overboard.  I’ll address an option for striking this balance in tip number two.

Tip #2: Let the donor dictate his communication preference.

Are you worried that you are overwhelming your supporter with information?  Are you worried you are not interacting enough?  Rather than play a guessing game, why not just ask?

Many email providers give you the option to allow the donor to choose how frequently she wants to communicate.  If you are unsure of a donor’s preferred method of contact, you could send out a quick survey.

The basic thinking behind this approach is simply that more information will lead to a better relationship. 

You always want your donors to be excited to hear from you and clarifying their preferences is a great start.

Tip #3:  You should always keep a dialogue going.

If someone decides to help you meet your fundraising goals and you thank them properly, you will have a good start to a hopefully longstanding and productive donor-organization relationship. 

At that point, it is up to you to find a way to transition the donor from a one-time participant to a longtime ally.  The best way to do this is by following up.  After your initial thank you, continue communicating by sending emails with further info and updates about the organization.

Just remember, vary the message content.  People will get frustrated and start ignoring emails if they feel they are redundant.

Tip #4: Quality over quantity.

One excellent email every two weeks will get you a lot farther with a donor than three hastily written messages a week.

Tip #5: Diversify the way you use media.

A donor of yours is likely a donor for other organizations as well.  In order to standout, make some innovative decisions regarding donor communications.

A client who regularly receives thank you notes would be pleasantly surprised by a personalized video.  The trick to varying media types (emails, videos, letters, infographics, phone calls, etc.) is to find what plays to your organization’s strong suits.

This answer will be different for everyone, but by alternating how you communicate you keep the donor more interested.  A donor who knows exactly what an email will contain is less likely to open it than one who is intrigued.

Use mystery to your benefit.

Tip #6: Create a donor appreciation page

Creating a donor appreciation page is a great way to show your gratitude and publicly acknowledge your donors.

This page will be a special place on your website that recognizes businesses, individuals, and foundations that contribute.

It is a simple step that demonstrates thoughtfulness and care.

Tip #7: Social media is your best friend.

The benefits of donor acknowledgment on social media are two-fold:

  • First, it is a great way to thank your supporters and make them feel part of your organization’s community.
  • Second, thanking donors on social networking sites helps to inform more prospects about your cause and in return generates new followers.

There are no set standards in regards to online donation acknowledgment.  The platform is still relatively new, and as such it is still evolving.

Although the online facet of donation is fairly young, thank you correspondence has always been a major part of the fundraising world.  Many of the practices of the analog donation community logically extend to the online community.

If you keep the mantra “thank more than I ask” in mind while pursuing your fundraising goals, you will be off to a good start.

Click here to download our free fundraising software checklist.