Fresh out of the Nonprofit Technology Conference 2011, here’s some bite-sized insights for the development crowd. You know I’ve always got your back, fundraisers!
Relax your social media expectations
The 2011 Nonprofit Social Network Survey revealed data on what we knew instinctively to be true — Social media is not an enormous channel for fundraising … I don’t care what Mashable has to say on the matter and neither should you.
Only .4% of charities surveyed by Blackbaud & Common Knowledge were raising more than $100,000 on Facebook (the best performing commercial social network). The majority of organizations reported either NOT fundraising at all, or raising less than $1,000.
Nobody is saying you can’t use social media for effective fundraising, but let’s stop having meetings where we compare our programs to Charity:Water and wonder why we haven’t raised eleventy-billion dollars from Twitter.
Offer your online donors the option to give monthly
This is probably a no-brainer for you Canadian and UK organizations (organisations), but all charities can benefit from Network for Good’s insights. Their Online Giving Study: A Call to Reinvent Donor Relationships session explained that charities offering the “give monthly” option on their pages found that 30% of their volume was recurring.
We all know what sitting on a database of recurring gifts means in a down economy – it means a hell of a lot. Start testing monthly donation call-to-actions everywhere you are in contact with donors on the web. You might be surprised how many supporters choose to give you a sustaining gift.
You have the data to segment – so do it!
Don’t send a donor who previously gave $500 to a landing page with giving levels starting at $25. Take the time to segment your lists and target your mailings. It’s easy to test your results. The 2011 eNonprofit Benchmarks report presented by M+R Strategic Services noted that the average charity has 1000 email addresses for every 110 Facebook fans – so, how are you treating those supporters?
Are you segmenting your email copy too? It’s not difficult to put this in place. Red Nose Day (Comic Relief UK) is a campaign with targeted emails. Here’s two examples – on the left, an e-newsletter to a fundraiser who raised over £100 pounds (my coworker Kathy). On the right, to a supporter in the mailing list (me).
Kathy is praised specifically for raising enough money for 30 people to receive life-saving surgery.
Send an email on December 31st
We joked this insight would clog up email servers around the world, but a best practice is a best practice.
You already know 1/3rd of all onling giving occurs at year-end, but did you know the highest volume happens in the last two days of the year?
Katya Andresen advises you to send an email early on December 31st to maximize your online donation performance.
Mobile is happening whether you like it or not
… But it may not be a text-to-donate program that you’ll be deploying. Mobile messaging might be part of your communications strategy, but we heard one theme over and over again about SMS giving: Without a recognizable brand or large-scale event associated to the campaign, charities can struggle to raise significant funds from micro-gifts.
With smartphone adoption rising and an increasing number of users on mobile browsers, 2011 is your year to research how you’re going to reach your supporters with mobile-optimized web sites and donation forms. My prediction for 2012 is we will be all obsessing about the mobile web. Start now!
Btw, if you don’t know what a QR code is and how to use one – you’d better read up.
Bonus Insight: Nobody likes ‘Vote For My Charity’ contests.
My question for attendees … Sure, many of you were complaining about these, but why are your Communications Coordinators & Social Network Community Whatevers still spending so much time posting about them every few hours?