1 HOUR 3 MINS
Raise More this Giving Season Using Content that Converts
Each fall, fundraisers hope and plan for their best giving season yet. What’s often overlooked is the appeal content – specifically, how to make it stand out, and how to factor in donor fatigue. Join industry disruptor Mallory Erickson for tips and tools to increase donor engagement with your end-of-year email, direct mail, and social media content.
Categories: Expert Webcast, Strategy, Tips + Templates, Webinar, Year End Campaign
Raise More this Giving Season Using Content that Converts TranscriptPrint Transcript
Okay, good afternoon and welcome to our webcast raised more this giving season using content that converts. Our presenter today is Mallory Erickson. Mallory’s an executive coach, fundraising Read More
Okay, good afternoon and welcome to our webcast raised more this giving season using content that converts. Our presenter today is Mallory Erickson. Mallory’s an executive coach, fundraising consultant and host of the podcast what the fundraising. It’s aimed at supporting nonprofit leaders have fundamentally changed the way they lead and fundraise. She has tried over 20 that she has trained over 20,000 fundraisers, and we’re happy to have her back again to share even more of her industry knowledge with you. So Mallory,
this is all yours.
Thank you so much, Lori, and to everyone at DonorPerfect. I’m so thrilled to be back here today with my DonorPerfect family. If you do not already know who I am, my name is Mallory Erickson. I’m the creator of the course the power partners formula host of what the fundraising as Laurie was saying, and it’s so nice to meet you and to be with you today to talk about content that converts, I can think of nothing more important, as you all are heading into giving season with giving Tuesday and end of year to make sure that all the content that you are sending out there is doing its job is doing the trick and helping you reach and surpass those end of your goals. So we are going to get into all of the things. But for those of you who are new to me, and you might not know a little bit about my history, I just want to quickly tell you that I like so many of you became an accidental fundraiser, I spent my entire career in the nonprofit sector found myself first in managing director roles and then Executive Director roles that came with big fundraising responsibilities. And I hated fundraising, I was so uncomfortable, I did not feel like I could make fundraising work for me. And I share this slide all the time. But this little bit of my reality. You know, I felt like I had to put this appearance up everywhere that I had it all together, when the reality was that things were a constant struggle and hustle, I was working 12 to 15 hour days, I ended up developing some serious chronic pain. And I got to this moment where I was like, I cannot do this anymore, you know, a year from now, if I don’t have a reliable donor pipeline that I trust that I’m feeling different in my work, maybe the nonprofit sector is not for me. And I knew I really didn’t want to leave the sector. But I knew I had to figure out a different way of doing things. So I ended up going and getting executive coach certified, I got trained in habit and behavior design and design thinking principles. And those frameworks really came together to fundamentally change the way that I fundraise. And that is what led me ultimately to creating the power partners formula. And that inspires everything that we’re going to be talking about today all together. So here’s a little bit of where we are going, we are going to talk about we’re going to help you understand what gets a donor to take action, we call this getting them over the action line, and habit and behavior design. So I want you to understand how that works. I’m gonna help you understand the truth about donor fatigue, what’s really happening around that, I’m gonna give you five of my top tips for writing content that converts. And then we’re going to talk about the number one thing that leads to conversion to make sure that you are including that in all of the relevant emails and content that you are sharing over these next few weeks. And if you are someone who comes to all of my webinars, I just want to say you might be like, Oh, my gosh, she’s a broken record about this part. But I am and I’m very proud of it. Because the reality is, is that everything we do in fundraising needs to start with awareness around how we feel about doing that thing. So as an executive coach, you get trained in a lot of the cognitive trends that happen inside of our brain. And so I show this image a lot. This is called the cognitive behavior loop. This is the idea that our beliefs and our thoughts inform how we feel. And then ultimately, how we show up and how we show up impacts our results, right. And I’m sure you guys have experienced this before, where you know, you’ve done something because you felt like you kind of had to do it. But because you weren’t all in behind the action, the results were a little bit like want law, right. And so a lot of times inside this sector, we think about the actions that we need to be doing. But if we’re not aware about how we feel, doing those actions, and the thoughts and the beliefs that are leading to that feeling, the results are never gonna match what we think they should. And so this is sometimes why some of the template things out there around fundraising don’t work for everyone, because folks haven’t taken the time to really understand how it impacts them to take that action or do that thing. And then what underlying beliefs and thoughts they might be holding, that are holding them back from actually fully integrating that strategy. When I started to look at my own cognitive behavior loop. And I started to understand okay, so I hate fundraising. I’m super uncomfortable. Every time I go into a donor meeting or click Send on an email, what’s happening, what do I believe about fundraising that is leading to that feeling? And it was like, Oh, I feel like I’m hounding people for money that I feel like I’m, you know, guilting someone enough so that maybe they’ll give me some of their money.
Ah, I feel like it’s inappropriate that I’m asking this person again after I asked them last year, especially my friends and family, right, those were a lot of the deep beliefs that I held about fundraising. So no wonder I was uncomfortable fundraising. And many of you might, you know, might understand those thoughts and beliefs and that feeling to feel free to tell me in the chat, I love connecting with folks. And I think for folks even to just know that that’s normal, that so many people out there are have those beliefs rooted inside of them. And that’s what’s making fundraising feel uncomfortable. But the great news about this is, is that this is something we can change. And when I started to really change my thinking around this, and one of the beliefs, kind of the mantra that I adopted is that great fundraising is not an ask, it’s an offer. It’s about partnership and opportunity. It’s about giving people a chance to plug into something that they care about. And I think sometimes in the nonprofit sector, we take it for granted the fact that we get to live mission driven lives in everything that we do. And there’s so many people out there that either haven’t chosen that path or can’t, or can’t make that decision for whatever reason. And so philanthropy and giving and donating is how they plug into the things that they care about. And so inviting them in to do that is such a meaningful thing. generosity, and giving is a really core human need.
Understanding these beliefs, and those thoughts back to that cognitive behavior loop is really like this is how he talks about it a lot really helps you understand that you can have all the strategy that you want, I’m going to give you these five top tips for content that converts and you’re gonna like, Alright, I got the tips. But without looking at the thoughts and the beliefs that you’re holding around some of these things, even as you tried to implement the tips that I give you today, it’s going to hold you back from realizing them to their full potential. So I really want to invite you to do that it will, you will start to notice even just from bringing that awareness in to your thought and belief patterns, you will start to notice a significant shift, and we can talk about more about some strategies you can use around that later. Okay, so let’s dive in. Let’s start to dive in around how you create copy that converts and or content that converts. And so I want to start with helping you understand what gets a donor to take an action, right? What gets a donor to take an action, so click a link or donate or reply to this thing or take a survey. Okay, any action? So donor behavior is a response. Okay? So a lot of times we hear things like our donors like this, or our donors like to give at end of year, our donors like blank, but the reality is, is that donor behavior was prompted by something, can you guess what it was prompted by you can tell me in the chat if you know,
fundraiser behavior. So when we think about, okay, our donors want to give it end of year, but we’re also asking them at end of year significantly more than we’re asking them at any other time of the year. And I’m not suggesting that you ask them less this giving season because we’re already here, we’re in October, so do the thing. But I also want to encourage you to recognize that so much of fundraising is really this self fulfilling prophecy around the fact that our behavior as fundraisers is the prompt that gets a donor to take an action. And when I bring in the cognitive behavior loop element to this, it’s because the psychology of us the psychology as fundraisers, what’s happening inside our brain and our body and with that brain body connection, that is directly impacting our behavior. And so it’s really important to just sort of understand this chain of response, because all of this is what ultimately leads to those fundraising goals, right, you want to raise $50,000, that end of the year or $200,000, that end of year, you’re trying to get a lot of donors to take certain actions to do certain behaviors. And the way to do that is to make sure that you’re prompting them to do that. Okay, so we’re going to be talking about the fundraiser behaviors that lead to this donor behavior, but I’m going to really encourage you throughout as well to recognize the connection between your behavior and what’s happening inside your head. Okay, and you can feel free in the questions or in the chat, you can throw in like what limiting beliefs you hold, or what beliefs you hold about fundraising, that you need some help kind of shaken right now. And we can talk about that at the end when we get to questions. Okay. So for any donor to take any action for donor to take any action, this is for any person to take any action, three things need to come together, motivation, ability, and a prompt and we’re going to talk about these things in detail. But anytime a donor is not doing something, right, so when I have a client comes to me and tells me you know, this donor didn’t I recently on one of the power partners coaching calls, had someone say this donor hasn’t increased their gift, they have the capacity to do blank, and they haven’t increased their gift at all over the last three years. So my number one question to
Time was have you asked them to increase their gift? And they said no. So that the donor was not getting over the action line, the donor was not being prompted. So the number one thing when a donor is not taking the action that you want them to take is to ask yourself, did I prompt them? Did I give them a prompt, a direct invitation to take that action? Then the step, the second thing that we look at is ability, how easy is it for that donor to take that action, if they need to, you know, write a check and get their own envelope and address it to this address that they have to find back on the website that’s made the action hard to do. And as you can see in the Fogg behavior model, when something is hard to do, motivation needs to be really, really high in order for them to get over the action line. So we always the second thing we look at is how do we make that action easier to do. And then the third element is motivation. And when we start to talk about the content that converts, I’m going to give you suggestions for each of these, I’m going to give you suggestions for how you make an action easier to do and address that ability line, how you can increase motivation. And we’ll talk about this a little bit later on as well. But motivation is the relationship between hope and fear. So hope drives motivation up, fear drives motivation down. So you’ve heard me talk about this a lot with fundraisers too. If you’re having trouble getting over the action line to look at that relationship between the fear you might be holding about that thing. So clicking Send on that email, and how you can increase your hope around what might be possible if you’ve sent that email. So this model is important both for your own work your own psychology around getting over that action line. And it’s a super important concept for understanding what gets a donor to take an action, what gets content to actually convert. So high motivation, high hope is the ability easy to do, and that they are actually being prompted and prompted clearly, which we will talk about at the end of this as well. Right. So that goes back to what I was saying before, which is that donor behavior is always related to whether or not there was a prompt. And then we get into the more detailed sticky parts around ability and motivation, which we’ll get to in a minute. But before we do that, I just really need to dispel this limiting belief in our sector right now. donor fatigue is a myth. donor fatigue is a total myth. People are not tired of being generous. People are not tired of being generous, if people are fatigued by your content that might be related to the quality of your content, which is why we’re talking about these pieces today. But they are not tired of being generous. So we earn and we honor people’s attention with value and quality. If we are having trouble with engagement, if we feel like our people are tired from hearing about tired from hearing from us, the answer is not they should hear from us less. The answer is they should hear from us differently, better. How do we do this better? How do we connect with them more? What are we missing here? Right? So it’s not about less emails, less touch points? Absolutely not. That’s not what they’re tired of. You earn and honor their attention with value and quality,
and an overall positive experience. So I want to go through four of the things that people really hope for in their relationship with organizations that they give to right. They want belief that their involvement matters, okay? This is why we hear a lot about how donors want to know where their gift went, how the money was used. And sometimes that gets into this whole other conversation around overhead and all this stuff. But let’s take all of that out of the equation for a second. What they really want to know is belief that their involvement matters. And telling them often how a donation was spent is a way that nonprofits have done that. But there are many ways to demonstrate and help them understand that their involvement matters. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your $5 Did this exact thing. But how do you help them understand that their involvement in X campaign or an x element along with these other people allowed for the organization to do blank, so belief that their involvement matters, positive memories with the organization write positive memories with the organization? So that means either the warm thank you call that you’re giving afterwards or the photos that you show of an event they went to right are when they think about your organization? Do they think positive thoughts, okay, that’s really important as well. The third piece is a sense of belonging to the right group, like I’m in the right place. These people are like me, you know, I quote Seth Godin a lot here, but people like us
do things like this, right? Okay, I’m in the right place, the people around me are the right group that I want to be a part of. And then that also includes connection to their personal identity. So that’s the other side of the people like us do things like this. I’m someone who cares about the environment, and its connection to my local community. So people like that, who care about the environment and connection to their local community do things like this. So it’s validating and verifying our personal identity, what we believe to be true about ourselves. Okay, so I’ve shared those as just sort of overarching thinking for all of you, every time you’re writing copy, every time you’re sending an email out, think about these elements, right? Is this going to create a positive memory with that donor? Does it give them a sense of belonging? does it connect to their personal identity? You know, you might think that personalization of an email, like when you put the, you know, percentage, first name percentage, so that the email goes out and says, Hi, Chuck, you might think like, oh, that’s just a little thing. But it’s not a little thing that helps them understand number one, that they’re in the right place, somebody sees them, somebody believes that they, as an individual are welcome and important here. And it helps them connect to their personal identity to reflect that back as something personal and important to them. So those little things that really help increase conversion rates, they matter because of these overarching elements. Okay, so now we’re gonna get in to my thought, my five top tips to write content that converts. And I’m going to actually do this by walking you through the Fogg behavior model, and showing you how each of these tips impacts one of the levers that we pull. So motivation, ability and prompt Okay, so we are going to start with motivation.
So remember that motivation, hope drives motivation up fear drives motivation down, right. But even before maybe motivation to give, we also need to get their attention, right. And something I don’t see nonprofits doing enough is increasing problem awareness. Okay. So what’s problem awareness? Problem awareness is your organization solves a challenge in your community, you are very familiar with that challenge. Because you work for that organization, you are thinking about the problem that your nonprofit solves all the time. But a lot of the people around you a lot of your prospective donors, a lot of your current donors, they do not understand the problem the way that you do. And so when nonprofits go out there, and they start just talking about their mission and what they do, a lot of num, a lot of thunders are left behind, because they just don’t really understand the problem or the importance of the problem, the weight of the problem. And so increasing problem awareness really helps people understand and get engaged even in their ability to take action and their desire to take action. So one of the questions that I encourage you to ask yourselves in your team, oh, and I forgot the y there, as you can see, but if people understood X, they would be more likely to do Y, please excuse my little typo. But I’ll say that, again, if people understood X, they would be more likely to do why. So maybe why is give to your Giving Tuesday campaign. If people understood what they would be more likely to invest in your organization, or participate in your campaign, and go back and brainstorm this out, there’s probably like five to 10 to 20 different things. If people understood the impact this has on blank, they would be more likely to invest in our organization, if people understood the way this impacts their kids, they would be more likely to invest in our organization, those elements those answers to to the first x, if people understood X, that’s your problem aware content. That’s the type of content to include in nurture emails, that’s the type of content to really prime your audience, okay? So you want to make sure that in all of your campaigns and all of your content, you’re not just launching out there with what you do. But you’re also helping people understand why what you do is so critically important. Now, what I also see a lot out there is people who try to create problem awareness through really long blog posts, or really in depth and detailed pieces of copy, or, or 10 to 15 minute videos. And I just want to, I also want to say 100%. I did that as an ad. And I think part of the reason that I did that is because I understood the problem so deeply. And I wanted everyone to understand the problem as deeply as I did. I believed so, so strongly in what we were doing and what was happening in the community around us that I want
I need to make sure everyone understood everything that I did. But here’s the deal. People don’t have the time the attention span, especially if they’re just starting to build problem awareness with your organization in the first place. So I’m going to teach you a really quick way. And this is why you didn’t get the slides in advance, by the way, so I didn’t want anyone skipping ahead. Although some of you might have seen me do this party trick before. But I want to show you a really quick way to help cement a memory and a donor’s mind, make them more problem aware in a super quick way. Okay, so as I mentioned, some of you have seen me do this before. But please do not spoil it in the chat for folks who have not. Okay, so right now, most of you, hopefully, for the first time are looking at this image with a bunch of black and white blobs on it, right? And I can have you guess what it looks like, I’m really worried someone’s gonna read my party trick, okay. But for most people, they’re just seeing a lot of black and white blobs.
So it’s a snake, right? But here’s the coolest part of this.
You can still see the snake. Right. So what’s happening? And what does this have to do with how you can help your donors become more problem aware? So what’s happening is that I just cured you of something called experiential blindness, okay, which is that before when we don’t have context for something, we can’t predict it into our current reality, we simulate our reality based on the context and lived experience and learning that we’ve had, once we have had our eyes open to something, we start to see it everywhere, right? I’m sure you guys have experienced this before, where you learn about something for the first time, and then all of a sudden, it’s everywhere around you, you’re like, what’s happening, right? The reality is, is that what’s happening is that your brain all of a sudden has context for this thing. I hate to break it to everyone, but those things were always around you all the time, but you didn’t have any context to simulate it into your reality. But because somebody cured you of that experiential blindness, you were able to start to simulate that into your reality. So this is what you can do with your content. Okay, you can create short, pithy, innovative, creative content that cures people of their experiential blindness. And once you do that, once you do that in a way that they are going to continue to see the problem everywhere around them. And when they do, they’re going to link it back to their learning from your organization. This is one of the most powerful ways that you can cement memory, that you can start to bring in consciousness into a donors mind about your organization, even if your specific email is not right in front of them. If you’ve taught them something unique and new, and you all have this, you all have this arsenal of knowledge. And so work with your team get creative. What do people not understand about the problems that we’re addressing? And how can we cure them of that experiential blindness in a really unique way? Okay, so curing them of experiential blindness here, the here are the elements of it that I really think about. So using the element of surprise, when people have that moment when they’re like, wait, what, you know, or no way or I didn’t expect that, that they’re having an A moment of surprise, right of shock, that’s sort of getting their brain to be like, wait a second, what, and then you want to give them that aha moments, you want it to make sense to them, you don’t want it to be so complicated, or have so many different elements, that they can’t make sense of it in their mind. So you want to sort of rely on other elements of human understanding, maybe you connect it to something else that you believe they are more familiar with, just like with x in our community, and how we’ve seen why the same thing is true about this, right? So you can help them have that aha moment in really digestible ways. This is all about inspiring them to think about something on a deeper level. And to say that I never thought about it that way before, okay, because then they’re going to start to simulate that into their reality all around them. And in this moment, there doesn’t necessarily need to be a call to action or a prompt to give because this type of strategy is really about attention getting an A nurture email, you could put it in your campaign as well with a donate button and inspiring them to take action right at the end of an email, but you could also use it as an earlier email to start to prime and get people ready to give later on. Okay, number two, content that converts strategy number two, create urgency with relevance. Okay, I don’t know about all of you, but holy moly, did the cringy fundraising urgency not work for me? Like I was just like, I cannot send out another email that is like 12x Your donation by
At midnight, or else, and we see this, I just want to say something we see really bad fundraising practices and political fundraising all the time. So if you’re like, but Mallory like I’m getting lots of text messages from, you know, so and so with this from a political campaign, please do not follow political fundraising strategies, I will tell you why really quick pull in political fundraising, they can behave totally outrageously in their fundraising, because our identity as a part of a political party is not in jeopardy if we don’t give right or if we aren’t inspired to take action and get over that mud. That line, right. Very few people, if any have ever said, Oh, my gosh, because of the way this party fund raises, I’m not going to vote for them. So they don’t have a huge risk in that slash and burn fundraising method. That is not true for nonprofits. So please do not follow political fundraising strategies. Because for nonprofits, crazy, cringy urgency is not your friend. And so I want to show you some ways that you can actually create urgency with relevance, instead of needing to do all that all that stuff. So you will get the slides after Do not worry. Don’t worry that you don’t have to screenshot or write this down really quickly. But I just want to explain this to you really quickly. Okay. So here’s the type of urgency that we see a lot of the time, if you don’t give the next 15 minutes, you know, your children will still suffer the environmental consequences. I’m exaggerating a little bit, but you get the idea. Here’s a way to really leverage those points that I made before about what do donors want to feel, and to do it in a very relevant way to that audience member. So like you and me, the average environmentally minded mom spends 43,000 seconds a day worrying about her kids future on the planet. But over the next 24 hours, 85,000 seconds, 180 of us will be investing in x so that we can worry a lot less. And then you know, people always tell me that that’s too many words. So the subject of the email, if you’re like, What do I swap out for that? 15x by midnight, 43,200 seconds a day, there’s your subject for an email like that. Okay, so you can see in there, right, I built belonging, I built identity, I gave urgency around a time block, I gave social proof, right? 180 of us 180 People like us do things like this. And then this is how we’re going to feel immediately relevance, relevance creates urgency. Here’s another example. Okay. 12 acts your donation tonight or to give your children the future they deserve. Okay?
too. 12 matching donors are holding their breath right now to see if our community you and me can come together to blank with your support or help depending on the audience segment, we can take the next right step towards blank, will you join us on this journey? Okay, so here’s a way to really build that relevance that belonging that identity, right, there’s still a timebox moment, but it feels real, it feels authentic. And that’s what actually gets people over the action line. Okay. So how to make sure you’re using a good kind of urgency. Number one is the seat the call to action. If you don’t know CTA means call to action. So that’s the button or whatever prompt you’re giving that is asking for a donor to take a very specific behavior. So is the call to action relevant? AKA does it answer the question why they should give right now? Okay, so that’s one of the things that’s really important, the call to action is the prompt. So think about BJ Fogg behavior model, the call to action is the prompt. We’re increasing motivation through our urgency and relevance and hope what’s possible when I’ll talk about that again, a little bit more later, we’re making the action easy to do, right, they can donate right through DonorPerfect are making this super easy to do right here. But in order for people to be inspired by the prompt, it needs to answer that question why they should take this action right now. That is what increases motivation enough to get people over the action line for that prompt to work in the moment. Because here’s the thing and I will talk about this again later. If people do not take action in that moment. When motivation, ability and profit come together, then they are going to need to be prompted again if you want them to take an action. Okay. Another question I ask folks a lot is What do you send this email with this title to your kid or your parent or someone else that you love? That can be a good good gut check. If you are cringing thinking about someone you love reading that subject line or reading that email, then it’s time to look at how you can create some more authentic content and copy in there. I also do something called the five year tests. So I asked my clients all the time, would you how would you feel sending out this email to someone knowing that in five years, you’re
We’re going to go back and invite them to participate again. And actually, every year for the next five years, you’re going to invite them to participate. Again, if you’re like, oh, I don’t want to save this, if I know they’re going to read something similar again next year, that’s another way to recognize that maybe you’re using some of that wrong urgency and to think about how you can make it relevant. Instead of using some of that more sort of cringy urgency that we’ve all used, by the way, 100%, every email subject line that I’m talking about, I did, because that’s how so many of us have been taught to do this. But then we have this feeling this inclination inside that this doesn’t feel good, this doesn’t feel right. And so I want to give you another way to do this in a way that really converts better, my opinion.
Okay, number three, I really want to make sure I have time for some questions at the end. So number three, leverage hope in your coffee. So I’ve already talked about this one quite a bit. But hope drives motivation up, fear drives motivation down. So this is what this means when a donor answers like gets over that action line, when they take the prompt that you’ve been giving them. That means that they have had enough hope, inspired by that coffee to get over the action line. Now I’ve done a number of webinars and workshops with DonorPerfect on storytelling, where we talk about the journey through a story, and I’ll talk about that in a moment. But this is about what happens at the very end in the moment of the prompt. Okay, so in the moment of the prompt, you want to make sure that’s where hope lies. So this is from my earlier workshops with DonorPerfect, I’m sure we can get you those slides in that link as well if you want. But when you’re doing your storytelling arc that we went over before, all together, the places where you can have maybe a little bit more fear, or you can share some of those challenges that’s happening in the conflict and in the rising action and in the climax, once you start to get to the falling action, and in the resolution. That’s where we need hope. what’s possible when here’s the journey, we’re on to do blank, here’s what can happen when, right. That’s where you really want to leverage hope. And so you want to make sure right before that prompt, right before that prompt, you are increasing hope to get them over the action line. So here are two kind of prompt questions for you all to think about this, you know, what does it look like when that’s one thing that you can answer right before you’re inviting them to, to give in that prompt. The second is social proof and example of other donors. So the other thing that can really increase hope, especially around a campaign and achieving a campaign goal, is seeing the participation of other donors, right. This is why it can be so helpful to see when donors are coming in around a certain campaign or the ticker of how much progress you’ve made and how many donors have given all of those things are really valuable, because they’re giving social proof. And they’re giving donors hope that you’re almost at your goal or that you can get to your goal or that you all together are going to be able to do blank. And depending on your capability to show that on your donation page. You have other ways of doing this, like sending social proof through your email newsletter telling the story of a donor, doing things like I showed you in that urgency example 180 of us will, there are a lot of different ways that you can show social proof. So I want to encourage you to do that as another way of increasing hope right before the prompt to help with your conversion rate.
Okay, now let’s talk about ability for a second. Right. So we’ve just talked about a number of strategies to help with motivation. And now I want to talk about some strategies to help with ability. So number four is align the ask with ability. So what does that what does that mean? So ability? When I think about ability and donations, there are two things that I think about. One is I think about the ability to make a donation, how easy is it to actually make that donation, right, we hear a lot about frictionless giving, okay, so how easy is it for them to make a donation on your donation page, right? That they don’t have to go back and write a check and mail it in and all those different things. Okay, so you’ve made the action really easy to do by having that form collecting that donation on that page. The other area of ability is asking people to participate in a way that is that they can actually do. So for example, if you ask someone to give you $1,000, who doesn’t have $1,000 to give like they they don’t have that type of liquid cash in their bank account, then no matter how motivated they are, they are not going to get over the action line, because the ability is too hard to do. Right. So this is another thing that’s really important to understand. I think sometimes we over focus on motivation. And we’re like, gosh, we can if we just do this, then it’ll motivate them. But if you’re asking outside of their ability, then that is actually going to hurt their ability to get over the action line. So
If you want to make sure that you’re aligning the AST with the ability, this could be in sort of customize putting in amounts that you want to encourage people to give. Sometimes this happens just by saying in an email, things like every $25 allows us to or every $10 allows us to write it gives people across an income level ability. And you can segment your lists or group your donors to make sure that the numbers that you’re putting in those emails align with their capacity, or perhaps how they’ve given before with a 10, or 20% increase. That is one way to make sure that you are aligning your ask with the actual ability of your donors. But there’s another piece to this in terms of ability, which is their perception of their ability to do something. So some really interesting data that has been done recently is around the difference between using language that says, show your support, or make a difference. And I did a great podcast miniseries with DonorPerfect. And so I talked about this on my webinar in the spring with a yellow Fishbach. And she studies the science of motivation. And so she looked at what happened with donors when they were given these two options, show your support or make a difference. Very interesting. Here’s what happened when when it said show your support, more people gave, but they gave smaller amounts. So this meant that the term show your support felt like an easier entry point for people, I can show my support with $10, I can show my support with $5. Maybe I can even show my support with $1. Right? There’s no there was no sort of differentiator there, Ron, who felt like they could get over the ability line to show their support. Okay, so that made it very easy to do make a difference. However, way less people donated, but they donated much higher amounts. So think about that people in their head, subconsciously, of course, were thinking about what it means to make a difference. And they didn’t believe that, that they could make a difference with $5, or $10, or $25, they really thought that making a difference meant being more deeply connected to that organization making a more significant gift. And so the less people gave, but they gave higher amounts. So this is another reason to encourage you to segment your list and speak directly to your different populations. Because maybe certain donors, you want to invite them to make a difference. And maybe certain prospects, you want to invite them to show their support. And so using language like this also really helps you leverage that ability line and make it as easy as possible to do. So here’s the three things summarized right, what impacts ability, how easy it is to give, can they give the amount that you’re asking for? And do they believe they can make the impact you’re inviting them to make, right. So this is where that genuine connection and that honesty around the way that they’re giving impacts the organization is really going to help you stand out because they need to believe that they can do what you’re asking them to do, not just in the numbers, but in what you’re saying. It will do to right. Okay. Let me take a sip of water.
Now let’s talk about prompts. So we’ve had strategies to increase motivation, I just gave you three strategies bundled in one around ability. And I want to talk about prompts. So prompts, that is the call to action. That is the actual ask. So I just want to make sure this is very clear, you can write the most amazing email. And you can make, you can talk about well ability, if you talk about show your support, that’s the call to action. So that’s a little bit of the of the prompt right there. But you can have the giving form on your site, super easy to use that donate button super clear, and maybe even that email links to the website. But if you do not prompt people to give, if there is no prompt, if there’s no direct ask, people are not going to get over the action line. And I think this is so important, because I remember as an executive director saying things like well, we’re a nonprofit, they know we always need money if they wanted to give they would give to us. That is not true. People take an action when they are prompted to do so. And if you want to tell me that Mallory sometimes people give and we didn’t prompt them something else in their life prompted them a person, their accountant, something on their calendar. Those things prompted them to take action but 95% of donor behavior prompts come from fundraisers. So the first question to ask yourself if people are not taking the action that you’re asking them to change is are you prompting them to do so. Okay, and then I have an additional suggestion around your prompts and
Your copy as well to help with your conversion rate. Many of you are not going to like this one.
But I told you, I’d tell you the truth. So I’m gonna tell you the truth. I want in each of your emails in each of your social posts for you to have one objective in every piece of copy.
This is what helps make that prompt really clear. One story, one call to action. This is not a newsletter with element or element or element on top of each other with lots of different links going to lots of different places, because that is not a way to track your conversion rate. You want to drive everyone towards one prompt, one call to action. The only exception to this, in my opinion is to ad test. If you want to test a story, and you want to test a call to action and a button, please do so an AB test away on that. But every email itself should have one story, one call to action, one purpose, okay? Those things are all linked back to the core issues that your organization addresses the core problems that your organization addresses. So there can be repetition and overlap between those elements. It doesn’t mean they have to be completely unique and standalone elements. But in the moment where you have that person’s attention, you want to drive it towards one action and one goal and that’s when it what’s going to help people stick with you. That’s what’s going to help people because think about the Fogg behavior model, right? Motivation, ability prompt, think about how confusing it is for your motivation to be up and down and up and down throughout an entire email, because it’s all these different elements and all these different things, some that you care about some that you don’t care about some things that make you afraid, some things that make you hopeful, there’s no way to design conversion around that. Right? Same with ability. And then the prompts are all over the place. Right? In order to use this type of strategy to increase your conversion. The motivation, ability and prompt need to be tied together, and they need to be done. So in one story and one call to action.
If you’re like oh my gosh, Valerie, that means we might have to do more copy more content. Yes. But repetition is your friend. So repurpose your content for multi channel messaging, okay, this means that you can use, here’s what I do, I write out my longest form content. So whether that’s a blog, or whether that’s an email, and then take from every single one of those, I take those and I turn them into multiple social posts, or I turn them into a little video, so you can repurpose your content. Okay, repetition is your friend. It doesn’t mean say the same four sentences every time. But it means talk about that same core problem, share stories that address those same core issues, and responses and hope from a number of different angles, and then repurpose that content for multi channel messaging. Okay, I know I just gave you a ton of different advice around content and copy and I know it’s already October 20. So I also wanted to offer a little bit of extra support to write your content. So let me just explain this really quickly. So I have a friend I have advised a business called Laurel’s who does volunteer.
It’s kind of like Fiverr, but free, okay, it’s all these skill based volunteers offering their services to help people help nonprofits create different things. And so I’ve created some templates to make it really easy over the next two weeks. There’s this challenge. There’s tons of copywriters in there, a lot of social media experts, you can go if you go to Mallory erickson.com, backslash florals, it’ll forward you to my page. And I’ve actually already created four different templates, all you have to do is click Use Template, you create a profile really quickly, you add in your own mission and vision and website, just a few things. And then you launch it. And you’re going to start to get some sample emails written by experts that you can start to integrate into this because I recognize that I’m inviting you to do a lot of additional types of content or copy that you might have not considered before. And the last thing that I want to do is be adding to your list right now. So I also wanted to add an opportunity to get some actually like real time real human support around this. There’s no catch. That’s just an additional resource that I want to provide. Okay, before we get to two questions, I just want to hammer home these final few points. Okay. The number one thing that impacts a donor is behavior is a prompt. Okay, so just maybe screenshot this one and print it out and put it next to this is so important. And I also want to make sure you know that the number one thing that impacts your ability to prompt are your beliefs. So if you’re starting to hear things
Like, they don’t want to hear that much from us, or they don’t want to hear that right now, or they won’t understand blank. Those are beliefs and thoughts that you really need to address. And I’ll also say, you know, I have started here as I’ve opened a free community for for my folks as well. And we’re doing a lot of thought and belief work right now to get everyone through this time of year. So if you want to join us, it’s over in the what the fundraising community, and I’m in there every single day answering questions, providing resources, and a lot of folks are sharing the thoughts and the beliefs that are holding them back and getting in their way. And I it’s creating this really beautiful community of folks, you know, helping everyone get over the action line right now, because I know that that work, the thought and the belief work requires some some support and feedback. And so I’m in there coaching every single day. And I hope you will join me. Okay, I want to make sure we have at least 15 minutes for questions. So join me inside with the fundraising community, here are other ways to connect with me, you can follow me along on Instagram connect with me on LinkedIn, I am so grateful. I mean, I say this every time but I’m so grateful for fundraisers. I’m so grateful for the money movement that you do into this sector. Your work is so sacred, like it’s not we hear about fundraising as this necessary evil a means to an end. I don’t believe that at all. That actual movement of money towards the work that you’re doing is incredibly powerful, incredibly important. It is the work it is the work. This is how movements are created, not from some money tree that funds the programs. It’s each and every person you invite to be involved. Each and every person, you make more problem where each and every person that contributes and gets to feel a part of something, making the difference that you all are making your work. I feel so honored to get to work with fundraisers, I just could not believe in what you do more. So thank you for having me. Let’s spend these last 1213 minutes answering all your questions. I think Laurie is going to come on in and help me because I tried to stay focused.
all right. So we do have some good questions that came in, like from the get go.
Terry asked, she said when donors see the financial information on an annual report, and recognize that organizationally, the company is not doing well. It impacts their motivation to donate. How does that get resolved? It is difficult to prompt a donor if they think that their donations are not being utilized. Well. Hmm. So what Okay, one thing I’ll say is that there’s a difference between perception and reality, right. So sometimes those charts on our impact reports give people a certain perception that’s disconnected from reality. And that’s what budget narratives are for. Right. And so I would say, if you recognize that this is an ongoing problem, whether it’s directly in the impact report, or whatever that document is that folks are looking at, there’s a budget narrative that explains why folks might be seeing what they’re seeing. And I think the other thing is, you can increase hope, you can still actually increase hope, intentionally by helping to deliver that narrative in a way that really aligns with what your donors actually want. So there are a number of different sort of realities of what just got shared, right. Sometimes, for example, an organization is taking a big step function. So they are starting to invest in their operations at a much higher level than they were before. And so for a year, for a few years, it starts to look like their operational spending is a lot more than their program spending. But there is 100% a way to to explain to donors and increase hope around how that operational spend ultimately eradicate or impacts the program that you all are working to solve. So I think the the thing is, is to when you’re prompting, acknowledge and recognize what what would have been driving their motivation down based on that other piece and an address that specifically related to your prompt.
I hope that’s helpful.
I think so.
Okay, um, Kylie asked, actually not Kylie. It’s Kyle. Sorry. When convenient. Please share this sample urgency text, such as the environmentally minded mom.
Yes. Okay. That will be in the slides. Yes. I’ll give you the whole side. So you’ll get you’ll get all of that.
And there’s asking, Could we have an example of the five year test? Hmm. So a lot of times what I see So the five year test is I think sometimes
is when we send out emails, recreate our copy, we are just thinking about its impact in that present moment, right. So we’re like, I want to send this copy out now, because I got this template online. And I’ve kind of plugged in played with it.
But what we say inside that email doesn’t make it that easy for us to go back to those donors later. So maybe we’re making a promise, like, every $25 will allow us to do blank, but it doesn’t really allow us to do blank, or we’re going to be able to eradicate this in our community with your support. But there’s no explanation around the journey to get there or the timeline that’s going to take. And so I think what happens a lot to fundraisers is then the next year, they’re out there trying to email that same list or meet with that donor. And they’re like, oh, but member we like promised that thing, or we sent that thing without a whole lot of context. And so now I feel super awkward asking them to give again, because we didn’t do that thing, or we couldn’t have done it that quickly. Like that’s like a five or 10 year thing. So the five year test is just like, if you know, you’re gonna go back to these exact same people every year for the next five years. Are you comfortable with what you’re saying in this email right now. And if you’re not, then there’s something to look at there around how some of that urgency probably isn’t coming from the most authentic or transparent place.
Taylor asks thoughts on the phrase, make your best gift.
Make your best gift.
I’ve never seen it tested. So I always feel a little bit uncomfortable answering that without some data, I don’t know I feel a bit torn about it, I would actually a B test it and depending on your ability to AV test it. So what a B testing is basically pick 100 people in your donor database, tests that send 50 of them an email with that call to action, and 50 of them with an email 50 of them the exact same email with a different call to action and see how they perform and see what your specific, your specific, you know, audience responds to, I would say that this year, given the economic climate, it’s probably not a phase, a phrase that I would recommend, because that means that people have to think that they have the capacity to give their best gift in order to give at all. And so it might not be the easiest time to use a phrase like that. But I don’t know for sure. And I don’t. The other thing I’ll say is that every donor population is slightly different. So the things I share on this webinar are things that have been tested across multiple types of nonprofits. So I feel comfortable saying like, here’s the data around these two phrases, but you all have really different donor donor bases. And so sometimes we will ask me, like, what’s the best day of the week to send an email. And I’m like, that really depends on the organization. I have one organization where Sunday’s are like the golden ticket days. And I have other organizations who are faith based organizations who would never send an email on Sunday. So this is where testing can really come in. The way you do that is use the exact same copy with two different randomized groups of people and you change one thing, and you test which performs better and then take the better performing one, and you use it with the rest of your list. So that’s what I recommend for that phrase.
Well, I know that we’ve done that quite a few times, and it is helpful.
Okay, so Mallory is asking, Maureen, I’m reading your name. And it’s Maureen asking.
Because she said, Could Mallory share a few more specific examples of effective copy? As she did with the urgency examples?
Well, I don’t have them right away. But But yes, I mean, how about this, if you guys, I will post I’ll write some and post some coffee inside the community later today, if you want to go over there. And I can create some examples. But here’s some things that I will say, short is better. So think about and check out the storytelling work that I did with DonorPerfect earlier this year, the webinar and then also the workshop. I think folks can still get the recording for that. But that will talk to you a little bit about your storytelling arc and help you pull out pieces of content from your story. I think if you really start with okay, if people understood X, they would be more likely to do Y and then start to brainstorm around that x. And think of how that relates directly to and try to do it in five sentences. And actually, here’s a little fun activity for your teams. Have you guys ever played
that improv game where you write one sentence, and then you pass it to the next person, they write the next sentence and you pass it to the next person. So this is actually also really fun with email copy. So one sentence at a time. After you guys identify some, you know, your theme for the campaign, some of the core issues and core stories that you want to share throughout the campaign, do that with your team, have one person write one sentence, like each of you pick a different core issue, start with one sentence, pass it to the next person, see what’s created, right, the actual you want to make them problem aware as quickly as possible, you want to increase their hope. So what’s possible when you want to provide social proof around how other people are participating in this thing, one connection to their identity, call to action, do you can do those pieces in each email. That’s how you’re going to create those those copy elements. So I hope that’s helpful. And I will and I’ll find some more specific ones that I can throw into the community later today as well.
Okay, I love that idea of passing it on. And that’s awesome. So fun. It’s so fun, and then you can edit it later. And the other thing that I’ll say is that is that, you know, photos, of course, videos are fantastic and plain text emails. So plain text, emails being like, it looks like an email that was sent directly from you. And then the fourth thing I’ll add is that varying senders also helps. So even though the email address could potentially be the same, if you vary senders by your executive director, your development director, a board member, a recipient, that actually increases opening click and conversion rates as well. So there are a few more additional tips.
Okay. Susana is asking if you can share the URL to the free templates.
Oh, yes. Okay. So if you go to Mallory erickson.com, backslash laurels, it should forward you straight to my page on laurels. And then what you’ll do when you get there is you will, if you scroll to the bottom of my page, you’ll see the four templates that I already created, click on one of the templates, open it up and in the right hand corner, it will say Use Template. When you click Use Template, it’ll prompt you to create a profile really quickly, you just need to like add in a little bit about your organization. And then you will go back, go back to my page. So go back to my erickson.com/laurels because it doesn’t auto redirect yet. And then you will be able to go through that process. Again, click on the template you want click Use Template, and you can just fill in the blanks really quickly and launch them right then in there.
You’re providing so much today. It’s great.
I feel like any webinar at this time of year, you know, it’s like I want to help you guys get over the action line. And so I want to give you the tips and tools that can help you do that in your own work. And I want to provide some additional resources. Because I know I know how crazy this time here is.
Speaking of this time of year, Tiffany, this will probably be our last question as I look at the time. First, she said thank you so much. She loves your podcast.
How does Giving Tuesday fit in or not to end of year? Are they totally separate? Do they link together? When do we start asks for the end of your appeals? And how many are too few or too many prompts? Hmm. Wow. Okay, there are a lot of questions in there. Also, I don’t know if my links went through to the chat if the chat is open. But if not, I can send them again. I just don’t know if my if my chat opens the chat. I can’t remember. Okay, so there’s a number of different things in there. So there are a few different ways there are many different ways to do it. So some, some people disconnect. They’re giving Tuesday and end of year campaigns. Some people have them be a part of their whole overarching campaign. A lot of the time with organizations that I recommend I that I work with, I recommend them starting the GivingTuesday campaign early and then actually ending the campaign on Giving Tuesday, technically, and then using end of year to really focus on lapsed donors with a few additional touch points. So that could be like a diff different thematically, or it can be related thematically, but it helps sometimes smaller fundraising departments really concentrate their efforts. It builds on the momentum around giving Tuesday using that time box moment of generosity, I highly recommend even if you’re like we weren’t gonna do Giving Tuesday Mallory send an email on Giving Tuesday. Like there is natural motivation in the environment around your donors. They are giving to other organizations
They are thinking about giving that day. So utilize the natural motivation to prompt them for your organization, they are not going to go to your organization’s page by themselves without you prompting them. So even if you don’t want to do a huge Giving Tuesday campaign, do something on Giving Tuesday, I highly recommend it. And so you can either have your campaign, as I said, be sort of leading up to Giving Tuesday ending on Giving Tuesday lapstone or focusing on lapsed donors with a few additional touch points through end of year because some people will give to Giving Tuesday, and they will give again at end of year. So it doesn’t mean don’t email those people at all. But you have maybe more concentrated campaign around lapsed donors, and then you’re still prompting other folks throughout the end of the year as well. They can be split in theme that can be part of the same theme, I would just have some type of goal related to getting Tuesday and some type of goal related to end of the year, that’s just going to help sort of increase momentum across the entire across the entire thing. So like if you could announce, if you have matching funds, right, you could have a certain amount of the match announced through giving Tuesday, and then you could have another donor come in following Giving Tuesday to try to get it matched towards the end of the year. And then in terms of the amount of emails that you should be spending, I know we’re a minute over here, that also really varies by organization. So if you have not emailed your folks in six months, which I really hope is not the case. But if that’s the case, you shouldn’t start emailing them four days a week right now, right. But if you email your folks twice a week already, then you can really start to scale start to nurture start to prime start to open up the campaign. Right. So the number of emails, I think really depends on your organization. But I would say most of the folks that I work with, they’re writing 12 to 20 emails between now and end of year. They’re sending 12 to 20 emails between now and end of year. And those are not all as emails, there’s lots of nurture emails, there’s lots of problem aware emails, there’s thank you email. Thanksgiving is just a thank you email, no donate button is even in that email, right there doing lots of other types of communication. But this is a communication heavy time. Also, it’s an election year. So if you want to go lighter on your communication through November, whatever that is eighth or ninth. And then because there’s a lot more congestion right now, same with mail, direct mail might be something to take into consideration. I hope I answered all the questions that were in there.
I think so. And I have to admit, I didn’t even think of it being an election year and having that whole thing involved. So yeah, always makes NBR a little bit more fun.
Okay, so that’s all the time we had to answer your questions, and I apologize if we did not get to yours. Is it possible they could ask any of those questions in the community? That yeah, yes. Yes. Come on in asked me to post questions all the time. You can find me on LinkedIn as well. And Instagram. Yeah, I’m answering questions. It’s what I do. So if you are leaving, and you didn’t get your question answered, copy and paste it and come ask me in another form, and I’m happy to answer it.
Okay, that sounds good. All right. Well, Mallory, thank you so much, again, for presenting for us. This was great. Like I mentioned the other day, I always learned so much from you. And I’m sure our clients and prospects anybody who attends learns just as much, if not more. Thank you. Thank you for having me. I love the donor, perfect audience and all of you guys in the DonorPerfect community. So I feel so grateful to have gotten to spend this time with all of you. So happy end of your fundraising, and I look forward to being in touch with a lot of you soon.Read Less
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