Qgiv: Storytelling as Part of a Multichannel Content Marketing Strategy
DonorPerfect Community Conference 2022 with speakers Kimberly Funk, Megan Bailey, Jack Nelson, Brendan Smith, and Darryl Moser
Qgiv: Storytelling as Part of a Multichannel Content Marketing Strategy TranscriptPrint Transcript
Darryl: All right. Good day, everyone. Welcome to storytelling as a part of a multichannel content marketing strategy presented by Kim Funk and Megan Bailey. Kim is the channel marketing manager at Qgiv, a DonorPerfect integrated partner that provides online fundraising tools that Read More
Darryl: All right. Good day, everyone. Welcome to storytelling as a part of a multichannel content marketing strategy presented by Kim Funk and Megan Bailey. Kim is the channel marketing manager at Qgiv, a DonorPerfect integrated partner that provides online fundraising tools that empower non-profits to thrive and grow. Kim is a seasoned marketing and sales professional, having worked extensively in various industries, such as financial entertainment, solar employment, franchising, and most important, non-profit technology.
Her marketing expertise has helped thousands of fundraisers enhance their online fundraising programs. In her free time, she enjoys spending time on the tennis court, in the pilates studio, and being dog mom to her four St. Bernard rescue puppies. I’m sure there’s going to be a great discussion about that.
Megan, a fundraising professional dedicated to using her knowledge and experience to make an impact. Started her career at Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank as a volunteer coordinator 10 years ago. She now shares her expertise from working in direct response fundraising and development operations for more than seven years.
I welcome the whole team there from Qgiv as well as from Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Little bit of housekeeping here just before I hand the session over to Kim and Megan, I’d like to remind you all to be sure to add your questions to Q&A tab so that we can see them and answer them at the end of the presentation.
Any questions in the general chat may not get answered, but we’ll try and keep tabs on it and nudge you to go ahead and ask them. With that, I look forward to turning this over to Kim and Megan. We also have Brendan here from Qgiv. The two of us will probably drop off and just let Kim and Megan carry forward with it.
Kimberly: All right. Well, thank you, Darryl. Glad to be here. As Darryl had said, welcome to storytelling as part of a multichannel content marketing strategy. We are very happy to be part of this year’s DonorPerfect stories worth sharing conference. As he mentioned, Kimberly Funk, Kim to those who know me, and I am the channel marketing manager at Qgiv, which means that I work on all of the marketing channels involving our partners and major accounts. Some of that, the things that I do will become clearer as we dive in today’s topic.
I’ve been at Qgiv going on two years, and I have worked in some fun industries, as Darryl had mentioned, financial entertainment, solar, but so far nonprofit technology is my favorite. I am an avid tennis player. Yes, we will have a discussion about the four St. Bernard’s because I put them in the presentation for you. Here is the bunch. They are all rescue, not related. There’s Molly, Primrose, Justice, and little Penny. Yes, I have large dog food bills and a lot of house cleaning. They are so worth it. The stories I could tell you, but that’s just another time.
As Darryl mentioned, I am joined today by one of Qgiv’s favorite clients, Megan Bailey, the Director of Individual Giving at Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Megan has spent her entire professional career helping the people of her community at the food bank. Starting, as you heard, as a volunteer coordinator, and then moving through various positions within the food bank to her current role. Megan and the Greater Pittsburgh team put out some incredibly impactful marketing. I am so thrilled that she agreed to share some of it with us today. Megan, is there anything you would like to start off with?
Megan: No. I just want to say that I’m really excited to join today because I’m really passionate about storytelling and technology tools. We’re going to be covering all of that today, and how those work together to be dynamic and awesome. I’m excited to be here.
Kim: Awesome. Well, thanks, Megan. Let’s just go ahead and dive right into our topic. Now you know a bit about who we are, a bit about Qgiv and why we are here. Qgiv has been helping non-profit organizations implement and grow their online fundraising programs since 2007. As the importance of online giving has grown, our mission has remained the same, and that is to help others fulfill their passion to make a difference.
We do that through our comprehensive suite of fundraising tools, featuring donation forms, event registration, peer-to-peer fundraising, text giving without bound messaging, and auction events. We’ve been a DonorPerfect partner since 2018, and again, are so excited to be here today. Now onto the topic of the hour. At the close of 2019, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank was making the move to replace their online fundraising vendor.
They needed a customizable platform with which they could execute their monthly giving programs, their text fundraising, and their peer-to-peer events. Most importantly, they needed a platform that offered an out-of-the-box integration with DonorPerfect. Well, they chose Qgiv. In the entire time we’ve worked together, Greater Pittsburgh has successfully raised over $17 million. Megan, that is such an incredible fundraising total, can you please share the secret of your success?
Megan: I will try, and that 17 million is just online. That’s just what we are doing together with Qgiv, processing through Qgiv. I think the first thing I have to mention, of course, is to call out the elephant in the room, and that is the spotlight food banks have been in during the pandemic. We have experienced an exceptional surge in giving because of the spotlight on us. I would say, in fact, because of that spotlight, our relationship with Qgiv was put right to work immediately in March of 2020.
I’m just so thankful [inaudible 00:06:02] that integration that we had, out-of-the-box integration we had between DonorPerfect and Qgiv, allowed us to be fundraisers rather than troubleshooters of technology. We were able to just focus on raising money and really helping donors give easily, and then all their information flowing into DonorPerfect in real-time. Just super thankful that somehow it worked out that we switched to Qgiv when we did.
Kim: Well, we’re happy to. You guys have definitely been an inspiration. I’m sure the fine folks that are tuned in would love to learn more, so here we go. We will be covering a lot today. Storytelling is one of the hottest topics in the non-profit world right now, as a well-told story will connect donors to your mission, inspire them to give, and keep them engaged. It is a critical part of your marketing strategy, but what do you do with that story?
For the answer to that, we will also be discussing selecting marketing channels, developing a content marketing strategy with marketing personas and personalized branding. Of course, we will tie that into a data-driven marketing approach. Let’s dive in, by the end of the hour, you are going to be an expert.
What exactly is storytelling? It is using a narrative to communicate a message with the goal to make the viewer feel something, that they’ll be inspired by to take an action. It helps donors understand why they should care about your organization. The art of storytelling can boost your fundraising efforts when you incorporate it into your communication channels. Those channels are things like email, websites, direct mail, social media, and there’s just so many more.
As we will discuss and see with some Greater Pittsburgh examples, storytelling is an integral part of your multichannel marketing. Before diving in, we need to cover a few more marketing definitions. What exactly is multichannel marketing? Well, it refers to the practice of interacting with donors, using a combination of indirect and direct communication channels as part of a single strategy. You’re maximizing opportunities to interact with prospective donors.
I like to think of it like the lanes in a swimming pool. The ropes can be arranged so there are lanes of equal size, or moved so that some lanes are bigger than others. Imagine each lane as a marketing channel. Continuing with our swimming pool lane visual, your lanes can be set up as inbound, outbound, or traditional marketing.
As seen here, inbound focuses on educating potential donors or volunteers, by gaining their trust with the purpose of developing relationships with them and growing your brand’s familiarity. Some examples of inbound are social media, pay-per-click, SEO, referrals, public relations, website, and content marketing like podcasts. Dependent on the content, some of these can be in both inbound and outbound.
Outbound marketing refers to activities where you’re reaching out with the explicit intent of achieving a specific action for prospective donors to give. Prospects are pre-selected or segmented from your DonorPerfect data and communicated with, via one or more channels. Channels include emails, mobile, SMS messaging, telemarketing, and direct mail.
Traditional advertising mediums differ from direct marketing as they communicate messages on a many-to-one or mass messaging medium. They use an intermediary to circulate or promote your message. Some of these channels could include outdoor, print media, and broadcast media. Content marketing is all about creating valuable content for your audience to answer their questions, to educate them, and to eventually help them become donors. The primary goal of content marketing is building your brand authority and a community of leads who trust and like the information you provide.
This approach is a great way to reach a wide range of audiences and hold their attention for a longer time. It is also one of the most obvious examples of inbound marketing and can include blogs, media, public relations, podcasts, and videos. As you can see, there’s a lot that goes in communications before anything is produced. Megan, can you speak a little bit about the type of planning that goes on with Greater Pittsburgh’s communications?
Megan: Of course. We have quite a few players that play major roles in our communications. Planning is critical. I think the most important thing is that our teams form detailed annual plans before we start day one on the fiscal year because it allows us to do a couple of key things. The first being, it allows us to review everyone’s plans and goals to ensure we have collaborative plans that work together and not against each other. Then, of course, plans can help you stay focused and prioritize what is important and what will yield results. In a world of lots of options, that can sometimes be really, really difficult, and if you don’t have a plan to help you stay focused, you’ll get lost.
Kimberly: I wholeheartedly agree. It’s a perfect segue to the next part of the presentation. We’ve covered a lot of things as we’re talking about to think about all before we see the Greater Pittsburgh examples. I wanted to share some donor stats to hopefully inspire you to develop your storytelling, your content, and your strategy.
According to nonprofit source, 95% of donors consider content created by nonprofits to be trustworthy. 51% rely on that content to make decisions. It isn’t a one-and-done scenario though, as 47% of them receive three to five pieces of content before taking any action. On the other hand, here are some nonprofit stats.
80% of nonprofits have put in the thought and the research needed to establish an effective content marketing strategy while 70% of nonprofits lack an integrated content strategy. Meaning they haven’t implemented the clear consistent message they created across all their marketing channels. Only 51% have an executive responsible for content strategy and only 29% reuse and repurpose content. When I see donor stats and stats like that, I see all of the items that we’re discussing today that are really of the highest of importance.
Where to start? Well, with a data-driven marketing approach using your DonorPerfect data. Data-driven marketing uses data to inform all marketing decisions from creative assets to campaigns. It places donor data front and center to ensure all marketing efforts are relevant to donor interests and behaviors. It relies on segmenting your audience, as not every member is the same, and through that exercise, creating different donor groups, ultimately, letting you target and personalize messages to reach the right people at the right time.
Donor management or data management is critical to the success of your data-driven marketing efforts. It helps you better understand your donors, routinely analyze your donors’ data, evaluate new marketing and acquisition opportunities, and it saves you time and resources. Absolutely leverage your data, as segmenting helps you identify different members of your target audience and send them the right message at the right time.
A good example. If a store sells both men’s and women’s shoes, you need two sets of marketing messages to reach both of those segments. Megan, I know you spoke before about partnerships, and I know Greater Pittsburgh has assembled a cohesive team of staff, volunteers, and partners. Would you mind sharing how you guys handle data and segmentation?
Megan: For sure. First, we do work with a direct response agency that helps us stay on top of segmentation in all of our major direct response solicitation campaigns, so mail, email, phone, et cetera. Beyond that, we are using segmentation across all communications including acknowledgments, cultivation, stewardship. We leverage DonorPerfect clean data into DonorPerfect allows us to segment appropriately. I think the best example to give, and a real good example that probably many other folks on this webinar, listeners on this webinar have are monthly donors.
Our monthly donors sign up on a donation form hosted on our Qgiv donation forms. Their information flows into DonorPerfect immediately, and then we flag those donors as monthly donors in DonorPerfect so that we can start giving them different mailing treatments. They’re getting a donor statement instead of a thank you letter every month. They don’t want that likely. We’re not sending them monthly conversion campaign emails. We’re sending them upgrade emails. Just really trying to make sure you’re talking to monthly donors as monthly donors.
Kimberly: Got you. Makes sense to me. Society is going through a period of rapid transformation. In 2020, Qgiv conducted our generational giving survey where we surveyed over 1300 people. What we found was that the baby boomer generation has become the number one source of revenue for charitable organizations. The transfer of wealth from the boomers to the gen X and millennial donors has absolutely already begun. Our findings are consistent with Greater Pittsburgh’s donor profile, which their agency completed for them.
We will make our generational giving report available in a follow-up email that’s going to go out to all registrants of today’s session. Another important item to discuss in all of this is the marketing or buyer persona. Personas are semi-fictional representations of segments within your target audience, and it’s important to help you identify your ideal donor and can help you create an effective marketing strategy. When you know your donor attributes, you can more effectively segment your data and personalize your communications.
Marketing personas are important because without knowing who your ideal donors are, it’s very difficult to create an effective marketing strategy to attract more of those types of people. Using personas in an email campaign as an example, can improve the open rate and the click-through rates, ultimately driving 18 times more revenue. Megan, would you share how Greater Pittsburgh uses marketing personas?
Megan: We have used marketing personas both indirectly and directly. Indirectly through leveraging the partnership I mentioned earlier with direct response partner. Those folks are always doing marketing personas to make sure copy content is relevant across their verticals, like food bank verticals. More directly, we’ve used marketing personas with, most recent, website revamp. We were able to develop marketing personas to help us really think through the user experience, the various audiences that would be visiting the website, the journeys they would be taking.
It’s really important on a website like ours where you have to balance the get-help give-help content to make sure you are serving the families that need access to hunger services, and then, of course, helping folks take action and support the food bank’s work. It was really important. Then we’ve also appended demographic data into our DonorPerfect database. One of the big ones we’ve done in the past is PRISM data, which actually has set marketing personas, segmentations, that takes a lot of the guesswork out of developing those fictional personas and might remove some of the time spent on doing that for you.
Kimberly: I should mention that we are going to be sending an expanded version of today’s presentation with a resource page, and what Megan has just mentioned, the PRISM data is definitely in there too. Thank you, Megan. I actually think your website’s wonderful. We’re going to go to that in a minute or two with an example.
Finishing up though on the personas, some of the information you can capture to help identify patterns in your data like donation amounts, education, occupation, income, they’re just a few. You can take the information and create an actual persona like the one seen here. It’s a fun exercise.
Earlier, we touched on storytelling, and a few things about putting your story together is that every story should feature at least one character, and that character and their story elicits emotion, and it helps your audience connect. Every story should have a closing and with the resolution that leaves your audience with a call to action. Storytelling enables marketers to develop a deeper connection with the audience by communicating, educating and sharing.
When you see statistics on storytelling, you realize how much it is a part of our daily communication perhaps without even realizing it. As consumers, we are exposed to over 5000 brand messages every day. Stories help your brand message be remembered, and they can actually boost your conversion rates by 30%.
I’m going to throw in another definition as I think it’s pretty important here, and that is what does a high conversion rate mean? Your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors, as an example, to your website that complete a desired goal out of the total number of visitors. A high conversion rate is going to be indicative of successful marketing and web design.
In this storytelling stat, 30 out of every 100 visitors are completing the established goal, and that is a nice conversion rate. Megan, I truly do love some of the stories in your marketing. I would love it if you would discuss Nancy and her story, how your team selected Nancy. I know one of our tips is about repurposing content, so I would love to know the channels that you use Nancy’s story in?
Megan: Nancy is one of my favorite examples that we have used recently. Our internal marketing communication team does constant resource gathering. They met Nancy at a drive-up distribution. They took her name and information and quick little visit with her, but then followed up with her later to get a long-form story. Nancy, her story is that she not only gets food for herself, but she also gets food for her elderly neighbors. It’s just really inspiring, and she also has this adorable little dog in the video.
We have used Nancy’s story in a few different channels, both for awareness and to show impact to current supporters. My two favorites are an awareness TV commercial that aired locally and guided folks to visit pittsburghfoodbank.org/love, where the visitors landed on a landing page with an extended long-form YouTube video about Nancy, and our tagline, Food is love. Share the love.
Then, we also included Nancy’s story quotes in a seasonal stewardship letter to donors, and the PS included the same link, pittsburghfoodbank.org/love to guide donors to the long-form video. Just trying to send folks to the same resource and make sure we’re really sharing Nancy’s inspiring story.
Kim: Just for everyone, in the resource link that’s coming, we did put a link to Nancy’s story. If you’re curious to see it, it’s a good one. Let’s jump to content marketing strategy for a moment. This approach focuses on creating and distributing content that attracts and retains your audience. When we look at a few stats, we see that consumers, your donors, are online and they are doing a few things like checking out your social media before they go to your website and engage with that content. Megan, would you mind discussing how your team maps out the content creation? Also, do you find these tips accurate? Is there anything additional you might want to add or share?
Megan: I think these tips are fantastic. I think there are some really great questions here to ask yourself to start generating those ideas that can help you get a better sense of your plan. I think the thing I would add is to be realistic in your planning and set yourself up for success. Like I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of different things you can do, a lot of options out there that you really want to do them well, and make sure that you’re executing appropriately.
I think the other thing I would add, and I sort of alluded to it in the last question is allowing your story collection to guide you in your planning. You want to be authentic in your stories, and so you don’t want to force anything. I think our consistent story gathering allows us to do that so that we can plan around our stories rather than our plans forcing certain stories if that makes sense.
Kim: Yes, I agree, wholeheartedly. Jumping back here, as I mentioned, marketing channels are like the lanes in a swimming pool. The lanes don’t need to be equal size and we don’t need to actually have a swimmer in all the lanes, so a well-balanced approach is optimal. If too many or two few channels can drastically affect your marketing, and there are so many channels. We will move through some of these quickly and spend more time on some of the channels that Greater Pittsburgh is utilizing.
As we mentioned, the website. A thoughtfully designed website is key. A few stats that I would like to highlight of the over 1.9 billion websites worldwide, 48% are viewed from a mobile device, and that number continues to grow each year. Visitors are very decisive. 93% will leave your site if it doesn’t display properly. In about 50 milliseconds, they will form an opinion about your site. Based on that opinion, 38% will stop engaging with your website, right then and there.
Initial impressions are very important. Megan, I know we talked a little bit about it. I think the Greater Pittsburgh website is wonderful. When I was putting together these top tips, I reviewed your website, and it really does look like you have all of these. Also, is there anything additional you wanted to add?
Megan: Thank you. First of all, I’m pretty biased too, I love it a lot. I think these tips are really great, they can help you stay focused on what is important about web design. I think something to consider as well is design responsiveness as mentioned here, but beyond the design, also considering how far is import and copy or the call to action button, down a page, on a mobile version of the site. You never want something to be real far down a page if you actually want someone to take an action.
Then, I would say, ensure your website is designed for the audience visiting it and not for the internal audiences to look at and see themselves in it. It’s not about you, it’s about everybody else. I think that’s something that was really critical in our design. Then, of course, reviewing insights and testing. We have somebody on staff that is constantly looking at heat maps on the website and reviewing it with the teams that are in charge of that copy on it or content on a page and iterating and testing. Don’t let the website just sit there and get stale.
Kim: I wholeheartedly agree, I do. I think you just have a great segue into some of the other things we’re going to talk about. Jumping from websites to SEO, a great website needs to be search engine optimized as SEO is the highest converting marketing channel. You want and need your website ranking as high as possible, and you want to be on that first page of the search. “How,” you ask?
Google’s ranking systems are designed to sort through hundreds of billions of web pages to find the most relevant, useful results in a fraction of a second. Many things go into their calculation, like the use of backlinks, keywords, page speed, but also the framework behind the website, making sure you have titles, header tags, meta descriptions, and more. These are constantly being updated, and there’s so many more factors added all the time.
Because of that, I would say, like Megan just alluded to and said that your website and its upkeep is of the highest priority. It is so important that if you don’t have a dedicated resource working on it, you may want to think about finding an outside partner. I know you just talked a little bit about it, Megan, but how many folks internally, partners, do you have working on your website?
Megan: Lots of folks working on it. We have teams on the direct response partner side working on this, we have the consultant that helped us design our website, they are on retainer to help manage this, and then, of course, we have our marketing communications team internally. It’s a major marketing tool. Your website is a 24-hour banner or billboard that also has a button that people can click to give you money. You want it to be solid and you want it to work for you, so it’s important to really make sure you’re doing your best to make it good.
Kim: It sounds like you guys have a dedicated team. Absolutely, so good job. Donation form, something after my own heart. At Qgiv, this is what we do. Did you know that 54.8% of donors now go online to make a donation, and 83% of people who land on your main donation page won’t make a donation? By making your site and your form mobile-friendly, you can increase donations by 216%. In our follow-up email to everyone, we will be sharing some donation form best practices and some additional information, but we did want to offer a few quick tips that we can share now.
Greater Pittsburgh has different donation forms for various campaigns throughout the year. This is a great example of using high-quality images, impact statements, intentional donation amounts, and it is simplified to make the donor experience easier. Megan, great job on your donation form. Would you mind sharing more on the different types of campaigns and donation forms that you guys do throughout the year?
Megan: Certainly. I love this donation form too, bias again. Everything on this donation form, we really tested into through optimization testing. Testing images, copy headlines, everything here, the way the monthly gift is viewed, everything. When we do different campaigns throughout the year using this template here, whether it be matching seasonal campaigns, et cetera, we just ensure that we’re never compromising the integrity of the form and what we have learned through optimization testing.
Just like the tips say here, we’re not adding unnecessary fields, copy bad imagery, et cetera. Just really trying to stick to what we know will work and eliminate any, or keep donor friction at bay. We don’t want people to abandon the form. In the same way, we have different templates that don’t necessarily look like this for things like monthly donor conversion campaigns.
We have an email series that we send to current donors a couple of times a year where we encourage them to become a monthly donor. That donation form does not take folks to a donation form that looks like this. It takes them to a monthly-only form. If they’re clicking a button where they said they want to sign up to be a monthly donor, we may as well remove some of the additional options they need to choose to get there.
We of course have a link for folks to go to a one-time form if they so choose. We’re trying to be as transparent as possible. We don’t want to trick people into monthly giving, but you do want to set folks, who do want to become monthly donors, up for success in completing that gift. That’s something that’s important.
Kim: Well, good job. This is a fabulous form and you guys are obviously having success with your marketing. Here, jumping to a fun channel, emails. A few stats to note here that personalized subject lines have a 26% higher open rate, click-through rates are three times higher when a free resource like a template is included.
This is where I can share a bit about Qgiv’s content strategy. We produce blogs and other resources like eBooks, templates, checklists, webinars, which we promote and share year-round, so it really does work. If you are like me, you look at your campaign numbers, and you want to see how did they compare to the average.
There are numbers for open rates and click-through and click-to-open and unsubscribe rates, but really interesting to me here is that Tuesday and Thursday are the best days to send emails, 1:00 PM being the best time on those days. I found comfort in that there is really a method to the email madness. Megan, you see the stats and the tips. Does anything stand out, and then also, would you please talk a little bit about these email examples?
Megan: Certainly. These are really great tips. I think the one I want to highlight is the analyze and adjust. I think this is so important, and you can make your job easier in the process of analyzing and adjusting, through building testing and tracking into everything. I love the examples here because they’re some of my favorite stories, story-driven fundraising. They’re both emails that feature our current monthly donors, and they were sent to current donors to inspire them to become monthly donors, as I just mentioned in the last slide about our monthly conversion campaigns.
What is really fun about our friends, the Guyses here. They responded to a monthly donor conversion campaign in 2020. I was able to see, through Qgiv associated info tracking that I had built into the donation form URL linked in the email, that they responded to the previous year’s conversion campaign. I reached out to them in 2021 and asked them to be featured in the 2021 campaign. I think you can take advantage of a lot of the tracking availability in Qgiv and DonorPerfect and the integration between the two, to help you analyze and adjust a little bit easier.
Kim: I love hearing stories like that and I’m glad it’s working. Jumping a little bit here. As a society, we have definitely moved digital. Did you know that people receive an average of 121 emails a day? You know, good old-fashioned direct mail still has its place in a marketing plan, and direct mail can still be a great channel to add and supplement another.
Printed mail comes in all shapes and sizes, some with better response rates. One thing to note, a house list that you produce from your data is almost two to one better than a purchase list. If you choose direct mail, don’t forget to personalize it, and also, include a way to measure the performance. Megan, you were sharing with me how you guys include direct mail URLs that only goes on that specific direct mail piece and how you’ve used QR codes. Would you mind sharing that here too with everyone?
Megan: Sure. We have a donation form that is set up specifically for our direct mail campaigns. It’s pittsburghfoodbank.org/give. Don’t everybody go there, you’ll mess up my analytics. It has content that’s relevant to the package in the mail at the time, and then, of course, I can see that indirect attribution in Qgiv and DonorPerfect because that URL is not published anywhere else. Then, of course, QR codes. This example here is a stewardship piece where we featured a QR code to send folks to the website, where it featured a thanksgiving recipe and our donate page.
I think being factual about tracking, as I’ve said multiple times– [laughs] I could talk about tracking, we could probably have a whole webinar about tracking. I think create something, and think about how you can track it, that and in the world of, as I’ve said, where there’s lots of options, attribution can be really difficult, so just try really hard to think of ways that you can have that indirect attribution.
Kim: Sound advice. From snail mail to social media, both appear here to stay. As for social media, over 48% of the world’s population used social media last year, and on average, people spend two and a half hours per day in their social media accounts. With so many social channels, which are the top three?
It’s no surprise that Facebook is solidly in first place, they’re number one, but we basically have YouTube in second, and Instagram in third. With such cohesive planning and design in everything that you guys do, it’s not a surprise to me, Megan, that you guys have great social media channels. I did screenshot your Facebook page, and I would love it if you would discuss a little bit about how you guys approach social media.
Megan: First of all, can we just talk about how cute this little kid is.
Kim: She is.
Megan: Love it. Just to say too, that that image and images on our website donation form, et cetera, all came out of optimization testing and learning that folks convert more to eye contact singular person in the frame. I think that’s a good example of some information we talked about earlier, but back to planning around social.
Similar to other things we’ve discussed, our team does a lot of planning and assessment. Our internal marketing and communications team plans in advance for all of our channels, and then after the fact, they review and comb through all the insights available to them to make sure we are relevant and featuring content that our audiences want to see.
Just like with our website, we have dual audiences. We have get-help, give-help, and so we need to make sure we are relevant to both of those audiences, because if we aren’t relevant, our social channels will not perform as we want them to and they will not be seen by people, and we would never want people to miss out on having access to a service because we have ruined the algorithm for our Facebook page.
Kimberly: Well, you guys have definitely got a fine-tuned machine going there. We can’t discuss marketing channels without covering events. As far as fundraising goes, there’s so many reasons to incorporate hosting fundraising events in your plan. Stats show people like them and they help strengthen relationships, raise awareness, and they expand your network.
At Qgiv, we see so many of our non-profit friends host successful peer-to-peer events and auctions. There are so many creative ways to host events. These days, setting up an event type that works with your donor base is key as is reaching out to past fundraisers and securing sponsors. Gamification is a big thing, too. Megan, I know you have several events each year, but would you mind sharing a bit about this one, the empty bowls?
Megan: Yes. Empty bowls is our main signature event that we do in tandem with the local food justice organization called Just Harvest. It’s a simple meal of soup made by local chefs and restaurants. Then folks also get to go home with a handmade bowl by a local potter. It’s something we’ve been doing for many, many years, but I think something we did recently this year is we switched all of our ticketing over to Qgiv. The events platform and we were able to have the ticket purchases go directly into DonorPerfect in real-time through the integration.
Whereas in years past, we’ve had to hand enter all of those transactions, which is not fun, and takes up a lot of time and holds back the acknowledgment and thank you portion for those folks who attended the event. We were able to, because of the direct integration. We also have a direct integration with Constant Contact from DonorPerfect. We sent an email to all of our attendees the day after they attended thanking them for coming. Then also including another one of our long-form YouTube stories about Amy here.
Kimberly: Well, it looks like a fabulous event. I wish I was closer, but maybe another time. Another channel to consider is text fundraising. You may often hear fundraisers refer to text-to-give by several different names, including text-to-donate, text giving, mobile giving, text to type specific to churches. With 10% of donors preferring giving via text, it is so worth this being on your radar. This channel has grown 205% over the last year and text messages surpass all of the other channels with a 98% open rate.
This channel is great as part of event campaigns, but also for year-round year-end and giving day campaigns. As with all the channels we’ve discussed today, there are some tips. A mobile responsive donation page is the foundation here. Additionally, choosing short and simple keywords and testing those keywords, something as simple as typing it in and seeing what spell check changes it to, but then promoting your campaign, offering instructions to supporters, and having a post-campaign plan.
In this example here, greater Pittsburgh promoted Project Hunger and ways to give, including via text “4HUNGER” to 50155. This is another area Qgiv can help you with. In our follow-up email that DonorPerfect is sending will make sure we include some texting best practices for you. We’ve covered a lot of information on many popular channels.
There are pros and cons for each one, but hopefully, dependent on your market, your donors, and your prospects, you choose a good marketing mix.
There are many additional channels. Some Megan mentioned; TV, but others radio, outdoor, print, online advertising, influencer, word of mouth marketing, public service advertising, and all of these channels can be utilized to promote corporate sponsorships. Here are a few examples greater Pittsburgh had shared. Donation day with KOKA2 and PPG Aquarium Season Saves with Giant Eagle, and I think my favorite: the Let’s Huddle to End Hunger with UPMC, Embrace Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
We don’t have time today to go through all of these, but I will make sure that in the expanded version of today’s presentation that you’ll get that you’ll have access to all of the extra information to review at your leisure. Time to wrap up with, before we go to Q&A with just a quick recap. Hopefully, between what you learned today and what you will learn throughout the conference, you will realize focusing on storytelling as part of your planning is an absolute must.
Then making sure to incorporate that story in your content marketing and into the channels you choose as part of your plan. All the while, remembering to create personas, personalize as much as you can. Your starting point is looking within your DonorPerfect data, and then realizing that you may need to reach outside your organization to find partners who will complement your internal team. We’ve covered a lot. Are there questions?
Darryl: Wow, you indeed, you cover a lot. This was full-blown marketing, I think, semester-long course. This was really a great content for the DonorPerfect clients. There are a few questions in the Q&A, one of them just reading off the top here, we’ve got– and slide be available somewhere. I know we’re going to be actually providing the recordings and we can certainly find a way to get the slide decks to you. There were some really good stats in there, so that’s great. Jennifer Brody ask, was the donation form created in DonorPerfect forms? I know the answer to this, but Kim or Megan, I thought you might want to expand on a bit.
Kimberly: Well, Megan, it’s your form, so I’ll let you answer it.
Megan: All of our donation forms are hosted by Qgiv. They are created in Qgiv. They are custom-built forms that we created with our direct response partner. As I alluded to earlier, based on optimization testing, we did on our form in a former platform. Really that was actually one of our maker breaks for moving to Qgiv beyond the DonorPerfect integration, but allowing us to have a custom build that enabled us to implement our learnings from our optimization testing.
Darryl: Great, great. I don’t mean to put you on the spot, Megan, but I know that there was a lot of growth in terms of the integration that Qgiv had built with custom fields. Are you using any of those components to map fields from Qgiv into DonorPerfect?
Megan: We do use custom fields to map into DonorPerfect. I think one of my most favorite things about the integration between Qgiv and DonorPerfect, one of the fields, is the gift memo fields. In DonorPerfect, I can dump like anything I want into the gift memo from Qgiv to DonorPerfect. Options are really endless then what I can then do with the gift memo. I think that’s one of my favorite parts about the integration.
Darryl: Got it. Got it. Excellent. Excellent. A couple of questions, and I think they’re overlapping here questions about the difference between your fundraising site and your website. I think maybe if we start with, what platform is your website built on?
Megan: We have a WordPress site but it’s a fully custom template. It’s not an out-of-the-box template. Then our donation forms are hosted by Qgiv, as I mentioned. When you click a donate link, you are going to a Qgiv-hosted page. It is not an embed on a WordPress page. It is a Qgiv-hosted page.
Kimberly: I’ll chime in there and I know that Brendan might want to as well. The process of being able to brand those pages so that it really is seamless going from site to the form is one of the things that we love about our platform.
Darryl: Right. I think and may be embedded in some of the questions here, is there a drop-off if you get taken to another site, do we see any of that? I think if you do it really well from both a graphical as well as the URL perspective that you don’t end up seeing that. Another question that popped up here was, how do you do storytelling when your non-profit is protecting clients and their experiences are confidential? I was actually thinking that as well.
Megan: Yes, this is a really good question. I think, first of all, any story you use, if you do use image words, et cetera, you need clearances for. We have waivers that are completed by anybody who participates in a story gathering with us. In addition to that, we really do try to pay folks for their time to provide stories, so we do that through gift cards. Because this is a mutual relationship, we don’t want to exploit the people that we are gathering story from. Then beyond that, to answer the question, I would say you can feature a story and then maybe gather an image from Shutterstock, Pixabay, et cetera, to anonymize a bit, especially when it comes to vulnerable populations that you really don’t want to be sharing the faces of. There’s a way to anonymize things and still have authenticity to the stories that you’re sharing.
Megan: I want to chime in. One of the things that we had shared or I’d shared earlier is that they can be semi-fictional. They don’t have to be 100% that person’s story. You can take some elements out that would be identifying or a little sensitive.
Darryl: Great answers. This was actually our first question that was asked and telling for times, how do we proceed with crafting and posting compelling storytelling with so much heaviness and sadness currently occupying the social media space due to the current events? For our organization, engagement is down. It is also difficult to inspire people to give right now.
Kimberly: That’s a tough one. I’m going to say, Megan, you’re probably the expert at this one. You guys have that exact situation. How are you positioning it? How are you not just telling the story, but telling that type of story that’s needed to maybe inspire the call to action the giving?
Megan: I mean, this makes me think of firsthand the experience of being an organization that has been serving populations during COVID at a time when services were so necessary. I think, A, you need to build trust with your audiences. They have to trust what you’re saying and believe that the things that you’re saying are true. If the trust isn’t there, you can’t really tell a story effectively. Then to keep that trust, you need to be authentic with your story, not forcing anything, not trying to make any story work for any media trends going on at the moment, I guess, is what I would say.
Then I would say, you need to decide are you going to be the lightness that folks need at a time of despair and sadness? Are you going to step back and really take a pause to compete on what you’re doing at this moment because you don’t want to interfere? Also, people want to hear from you if they do trust you. I would say maybe assess how you’re delivering those messages and show the impact, focus on the impact that you have, rather than, I don’t know, trying to align with any media trends. I might not be describing that, right?.
Kimberly: It sounded sound to me. I mean, remember those stats we talked about. A high percentage of folks really take the content given by nonprofits to be trustworthy. I think that’s a good starting point.
Darryl: Impact is key. I think maybe the nature of the question dealt a little bit with feeling like the content gets pushed down on social. The idea of how to bubble up that private communication that you can have with the donor, a component of that is trust. Is there anything that you could point out that you’re doing? Email, arguably, could be a private channel, except you’re fighting with the inbox a little bit. Besides personalizing some headlines, we know that there’s some good tips that are out there for titling emails. Is there anything that you’ve used, Megan, that you could talk about, maybe some of the email open stats or anything like that?
Megan: Yes. I think you bring up a good point, and how to think about who is listening to your story. You have folks who are listening to your story. It’s a form of awareness. They’re just finding out about you. You’re just beginning your relationship with them. Then you have donors, current supporters, volunteers, people who know about you. They’re easier to talk to you via email and other channels where you already have a different means of reaching out to them. I do think building trust happens outside of social media often.
You need to build a relationship with folks beyond social media, the current supporters. Develop a regular cadence folks want to hear from you. If they’re on your email list, they want to hear from you. If they unsubscribe, that’s okay. They were just going to mess up your insights anyway. You want to talk to the people who want to be on your list. Have a newsletter. Make those raising asks. Just build a regular cadence with email. I guess, I think to go off what you were saying, Darryl, use other channels to access folks and build engagement beyond social media.
Kimberly: That’s where events is a really good one because you can interject events to really get that relationship started or to the next level.
Megan: Yes. Mail is still a very alive channel for both solicitation and cultivation and stewardship. Expressing impact like the stewardship letter I mentioned earlier, through seasonal stewardship letters, quarterly. Stewardship letters, I think is important. Talking to people in different ways is important. Only focusing on one channel to bake all your goods in is not going to be successful typically.
Kimberly: I do think that when you guys get our follow-up email with the generational giving report, I think you’ll see some of the different channels and mediums that speak to the different Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and it’ll help.
Darryl: Yes, for sure. Somebody asked a question, and I know this is going to be a challenging one, is they’re new to the marketing world, no marketing plans before hiring me. Where is the most crucial place to start?
Kimberly: Oh, I say website. What do you say, Megan?
Megan: I say website, too, and then naturally flow off of that donation form. You can’t have a place to send your audience. I mean, it’s chicken egg stuff, though but you can have a place to send your audience without a good website and donation form. Then, of course, you need folks to talk to. I would say website and lead generation, some lead generation sign up to build out an email list.
Kimberly: Then I wanted to add, I’m going to go to my next slide, just because I wanted to mention it. Qgiv offers tons of free resources. You don’t have to be one of our customers to access them. As we talked about the content marketing, we’ve got great blogs and ebooks and webinars that are really informative for everyone at different stages of their marketing and their fundraising development careers. That might be something that really speaks to you and helps you as well.
Darryl: Awesome. Then there was one down here that talks about, is there an efficient way to process and segment the data in DonorPerfect other than manually adding and sorting flags? Megan, I don’t know if you can talk about that. I know for our email, segmentation is a direct flow to Constant Contact. You can build lists dynamically based on any of the fields that you might have. As far as collecting attributes, I mean, it really depends on what kind of attributes you’re trying to collect about the person. What are some examples, Megan, that you do today, and how does that data get attached to DonorPerfect records?
Megan: Yes. I think one of the most recent examples for us that we implemented within the last few months is using The Other tab in DonorPerfect to collect plans giving attributions. We are adding if someone’s a prospect potential or current plans giving donor in the other tab, attaching a date to it. Then we’re able to pull lists based off of that to send them emails, newsletter, mailing, communications, et cetera, about their planned giving. We just launched a new plant-giving society called the Heirloom Society. That is one of the biggies for me, but I think the Constant Contact link, and I know this is super critical for us the dynamic list based off of recent gift or any other, as you said, field within DonorPerfect is really, really essential for us. That’s how we efficiently build lists in Constant Contact to use on a regular basis.
Darryl: Got it. Great. We are actually out of time. I know this could be a one-word answer. Is there a QR code generator, you recommend or a link or website?
Megan: There all the same.
Darryl: I think, if maybe you reach out to the DonorPerfect for support team, I know we use them, we can certainly definitely make you a connection to that. That said, I want to wrap up here. Kim, you’ve got a great closing slide. We want to thank Qgiv. Thank you so much, Megan, for describing how you handle your marketing inside of the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Here’s all of your contact information for Qgiv. I just want to thank Kim and Megan.
Next up is a power session on Donor Tiers and Reporting as well as a presentation on AppealMaker, which is automatic thank you letters via direct mail. No matter which session you choose, you will not miss any content. All sessions are recorded, including this one. I will either look into getting your slides attached to the session if you can still access them after this closes or we may put a link into an email.
Kimberly:The email has a link to the slides that as well that we gave you.
Darryl: Perfect. Great. Great. Great. Well, we hope you enjoyed this and we hope you jumped into another session as we head into the final stretch of day one. Thank you, everyone.
Kimberly: Thank you.
Megan: Thank you. See you, everybody.Read Less