1 HOUR 23 MINS
Resilient Fundraising in 2021 – Adjusting Strategies to Today’s Reality
Listen as our expert presenter shares a wide range of practical tips and tools designed to help you secure the support needed to fuel your mission.
Categories: Expert Webcast
Resilient Fundraising in 2021 – Adjusting Strategies to Today’s Reality TranscriptPrint Transcript
Good afternoon and welcome to DonorPerfect sexpert webcast with Darien Rodriguez Heyman. He’ll be presenting resilient fundraising and 2021. Adjusting strategies to today’s reality. Darien is an Read More
Good afternoon and welcome to DonorPerfect sexpert webcast with Darien Rodriguez Heyman. He’ll be presenting resilient fundraising and 2021. Adjusting strategies to today’s reality. Darien is an accomplished facilitator, fundraiser, social entrepreneur, and author. He’s the former executive director of Craigslist Foundation, best selling nonprofit author and nonprofit consulting coach and public speaker. We have a lot to cover in a short amount of time. So I’m going to turn the presentation over to him now. Darren,
great, thanks so much. And thanks to all of you for being with us today, very excited to have so many of you with us. And looking forward to a great presentation, we still got a bunch of folks calling in. So I’m just gonna give it one more minute here. Let me just get this set up. And we will get started in just one second.
Okay, let’s dive in. And then we’ve got some critical mass. So again, my name is Derrick Rodriguez, Haman really excited to be with all of you today. And we’re going to cover a pretty timely topic. I mean, I think I’ve talked to so many different nonprofit leaders who are really struggling with you know what to do in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic, that has fundamentally affected fundraising on such a deep level. And so that will be our focus today, I never like to dive into anything without talking about, you know, really beginning with the end in mind. And so I just want to start by saying really quickly, that, you know, if you leave this next 90 minute talk, it’s going to be pretty action packed. And as you heard from the introduction, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover, you know, the ground has really shifted underneath our feet as nonprofit leaders and as fundraisers. But the point is, if you leave this next 90 minute talk inspired, then that’s great, but it actually means I haven’t done my job. Because fundamentally, I’m here not just to leave you inspired, but really inspired to action. That is ultimately what success looks like and what I’m striving to achieve in today’s program. So let’s dive into it. You know, just a little bit about me. My background is, you know, my work in the world is helping people help. I do that in a variety of different ways. I really got my start about 20 years ago, as the executive director of Craigslist Foundation, where I started their nonprofit bootcamp. Since then, I’ve done a lot of work in the green economy, a lot of work around gender equality, I co founded a series that happens in London every 18 months, I’m on the board of Planned Parenthood. You know, I was the editor of blue avocado. So I’ve done a lot of writing. But I’m not just an academic or intellectual. I’m also a practitioner. I’m a part time executive director at NUMMI foundation. You know, I’ve started different conference series for nonprofits. I’ve also written a couple best selling books on nonprofit management and nonprofit fundraising. And some of what I’ll do today is lifting up some of the most relevant tips, especially as it relates to digital content from those books, but again, because the ground has really shifted so significantly, you know, under our feet, in the midst of this pandemic, a lot of this content is brand new, and you know, just tips that you haven’t really seen before. So, before we really get started, I do want to just share a really quick story, because you know, I never like to talk about fundraising without sharing this brief story. Because in my mind, it really speaks to what I see as the single greatest challenge and obstacle, the single greatest impediment to nonprofits raising more money. And it’s just as true in the midst of this pandemic, as it was before that. And, you know, specifically what I’m talking about is this sort of begging for alms approach to fundraising, this notion that we need to kind of hold out a tin cup, you know, and beg for resources in order to do our good work. And in my experience that is really fundamentally rooted in a failure of perception number one, but number two, it impedes us from raising more money from donors feeling better about the money they give, and from us as fundraisers and as nonprofit and community leaders feeling better about the work that we do. And so it’s a story that is best illuminated through, you know, this account of a young man who’d go on to become a big philanthropist and celebrity but when he was younger, he was actually the first in his family to go through college. And not only did he make it through undergrad, but he actually participated in a Master’s class and got his degree. And while he was doing that he had this hour and a half philosophy class just like the hour and a half that we’re spending together today. And he got into this big auditorium with 200 people in it one day. And up comes the professor. And he holds up this glass of water, kind of like this one. And he says, class is this glass half full or half empty. So philosophy class, after all, so, you know, you kind of see where this is going. But the point is, there’s these 200 students, all piping masters and doctorate students sitting around for two for an hour and a half, just basically debating in circles going round and round, and not solving the age old riddle, no big surprise there. And so this young gentleman, he’s really frustrated and despondent, he leaves class, they don’t solve the riddle. He walks home kind of huffing and puffing his way through the streets. And he gets home and his grandmother Gertrude is there waiting for and she says, you know, how was class today? Well, I don’t really want to talk about it, he blows her off. But she presses him his grandmother’s are prone to do no, really I want to know, how was class today? Well, if you really got to know it was incredibly frustrating. We had, you know, 200, masters and doctorate students sitting around for an hour and a half. And all we did the entire time is debate if the glass were half full or half empty, and his grandmother Gertrude, with all of a second grade education, mind you, without missing a beat says, Oh, well, that’s easy. It depends on whether you’re pouring, or drinking, pouring or drinking. And the point is, when we take this begging for alms, this tin cup approach to fundraising, as I said, it’s rooted in a failure perception. And specifically, that failure is that we think of ourselves all too often as the drinkers. And financially speaking, yes, of course, we do rely on the charitable contributions of people and organizations to do our good work. But fundamentally, at the end of the day, the main thing I want to start out by saying is that nothing could be further from the truth. We are not the drinkers, we are the pores, we nonprofits, as an as a global movement with a capital M, what we fundamentally do is we are the pores, we are the nurturers of society, and we all whatever your cause may be, we connect people in organizations with resources to the change that they want to see in the world, we are channel a conduit for impact. And that is the privilege that is, you know, an honor to do that work. And I think we as nonprofit leaders, and as fundraisers need to hold our head high need to be proud of this work, and need to invite people to join us just like you’re inviting them to a party. And it also needs to be okay for them to say no, if for any reason, it’s not a fit. So just bear that in mind. And remember, never forget, in fact, that we are not the drinkers we are the pores and the nurturers of society. So with that said, let me just quickly share what we’re going to talk about today, I literally have one slide just to frame sort of why we’re here today. Ultimately, you’re already taking time out of your busy schedules. And so I don’t feel like I need to spend a lot of time talking about what’s the problem statement? And why has the world really shifted. So fundamentally, these last, you know, 1215 months, because what we’re really going to focus on today, 99% of the content is on the concrete tips and tools, again, not just inspired, inspired action, what can I do? How can I do it, do this don’t do that? How do I raise more money in the midst of this pandemic. And specifically, we’re going to focus in on a couple tactical and strategic areas, starting with virtual events, then looking at online giving, as it relates to email to social media, to crowdfunding and peer to peer campaigns and online fundraising through your website. And then finally, we’re actually going to look at some tips to get your board more engaged with fundraising. And finally, we’re going to end with a resource review. And I always like to share a few different resources. I’m also going to end by sharing my personal mobile phone and cell phone, and email as I always do. And just as a standard course, whenever I do these webinars, I always invite anyone who’s interested in who’s attended to contact me, I’ll be sharing a variety of different free templates and tools that you can email me to get at no cost. And I also offer myself up for a free pro bono coaching session 15 to 20 minutes, just to talk with me one on one, answer any questions, you might have talked about how some of these, you know, some of these concepts might apply specifically to your organization. And so you’ll be able to reach out, get in touch with me and schedule something if that’s of interest. So let’s dive in.
All right, again, one slide. What are we doing here? I don’t need to spend a lot of time talking about this because I think it’s clear to all of us that we are facing what I would think of as a perfect dorium from a fundraising standpoint, there’s a huge and tremendous surge in need. Because of COVID-19. There’s incredible demands around public health, George Floyd has really brought racial justice into the fore, we’ve got wildfires, where I’m based here in California, and hurricanes in the Gulf Coast and snow in Texas, and just so many issues that are coming up. And so many of these things that were, frankly a lot of them there before, but they’ve all been laid bare as a result of the COVID crisis. At the same time, almost everyone in this country is struggling financially, with the exception of the point 1%, you know, billionaires are doing just fine. But most people are struggling. And as a result, there’s not as much, you know, of an ability for people to support causes. And on top of all of this, it’s really hard to get together with people in person, because the COVID protocols, and so everything’s happening, like this webinar through the internet, which has some merit. There’s definitely some pros to it. But it’s a challenge when it comes to really building authentic relationships. And you know, but on the plus side, people, as a result are increasingly living online, which again, does present some unique opportunities. So let’s dive into what we can do about this. And just so you know, you could feel free to use the question or the chat function in the app to let me know if you have any questions, I am able to see the chats but not the questions. So I may pause at a couple times throughout the presentation, to see if there are any questions and our moderator can ask those. Otherwise, if you have questions for me, specifically, you can feel free to use the chat function, and I’ll be able to see those. So let’s dive into how to work smarter and not harder. Starting with virtual events, again, events is a strategy that a lot of nonprofits I’ve worked with, as a coach and consultant and as an executive director have been able to leverage very effectively to raise money for their causes. But it’s a little tougher when you can’t get people into a room and do the silent auction and, you know, sit down over dinner, you know, and really be able to connect with people in an authentic way. And so how do we migrate those opportunities online? Well, you know, one of the most important things that I need to start out by saying is run the numbers, because in my experience, nothing. Nothing will let the air out of your organization sales faster than putting a huge amount of time and energy into a nonprofit fundraiser, whether it’s a gala, or whatever you want to call it. But if you and your staff are going into this event, thinking it’s going to be a fundraiser, and then you lose money, or your breakeven or you make, you know, five bucks, or whatever it might be, that is really disappointing to folks. And it really can undermine your work as an organization. I’ve seen this happen before the pandemic and certainly during as well. And so, you know, step one is putting together a simple straw man budget, it can be in a simple Excel spreadsheet. But the point is add up all the money you expect to spend, including the things that you’re hoping and assuming you’ll get donated in kind, but don’t count on that be conservative. And similarly be conservative on the revenue side, on the income side. You know, ideally, if you’ve done events in the past, you can look to those, especially if they were physical events, you might want to discount some of those numbers, but try to be conservative. And here’s the punchline on this tip, if you are not projecting and bear in mind, when you’re looking at your expenses, you should factor staff time into that, because that’s not free, you’re paying for that labor for the most part unless it’s volunteer based. But the point is, if you are not once you run the numbers, if you’re not bringing in twice as much money as you are spending, including staff time, then it ain’t a fundraiser. And that’s not to say you shouldn’t do it, but call it a fundraiser, call it something else to better manage those expectations. So you don’t wind up in that unfortunate situation where you don’t really hit your goals. And it really disappoints your staff, your board, your advisors, etc. Now, on the plus side, one of the real things that is great about events, and especially virtual events, is it is a phenomenal platform to reach next generation donors, especially millennials, and there are a lot of nonprofits out there who are worried about their aging donor database, and they want to try to reach younger people. Well, if you’re going after millennials, there’s a few things that you should know. I mean, there’s a whole chapter on this in my book, but just a couple, you know, top line points is that number one, you know, some people might complain about millennials feeling entitled I don’t necessarily subscribe to that belief. But what I will say is they’re not really great about doing busy work. So you want to put them in positions of power, make them a youth ambassador or even a host of your event and lift them up and now will really tap their energy and their potential. They’re also by nature a very social demographic. So put them into teams, that’s a great way to get them feeding off each other. If you have partners or key influencers that you have access to that are that are, you know, already have a base of followers who are young people, enlisting their support can be really helpful to leverage their credibility to leverage their audience. And one of the key drivers for millennials is this concept of FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. And so think about ways and I’ll share a couple specifics here that you can encourage FOMO in order to get people to sign up and buy that ticket to your event. One way to do that is by group discount codes, so hey, instead of just selling one ticket at a time, save 20%, if you buy 10 tickets, and then you know those people will go out and recruit others to join them almost like a table host. Now, when it comes to your actual registration page, since that is key real estate, that you’re going to need to really make the most of, you want to make sure that what’s you know, called above the fold. And that’s really just an old, you know, newspaper term, when the paper was folded in half visible through that little window that you put your quarter in, whatever you could see above that fold on the front page, that is critical real estate. So you need the what where, why when all that kind of stuff that you see here, is really important. You also want to make sure that you think about how to address what’s called the ticketing lifecycle. The fact of the matter is, if you look at the data, about 50% of people, on average, will not sign up for an event until two weeks beforehand. And as an event organizer, and as a nonprofit leader, I can tell you, that creates a lot of stress and anxiety, because you’re wondering if people are actually going to show up. And so anything that you can do to get people to sign up sooner, including a DonorPerfect, there’s some functionality around offering an early bird discount, which I would suggest is in the 10 to 20% range, maybe even have to tears, but you really want to invite people to sign up early, so that you can start to build up that momentum that FOMO you know, and make and be rest assured that you’re going to have that revenue. Another good idea to add in here is scholarships. If your nonprofit, like many of us serves you serves, you know, the homeless or other disadvantaged populations, who maybe aren’t in a position to spend 100 bucks 200 bucks on a ticket to an event virtual or otherwise, well, instead of just comping those people and giving them free tickets, let your donors let your event attendees pay for those tickets for them. Maybe it’s half off. But either way, it’s another opportunity to to drive revenue. And then finally, you also definitely want to make sure you accept donations through your event registration page, because some people might not be able to actually attend, but still want to support the event. Other people might be attending anyway, but also want to donate on top of that. So certainly offer them that option. And I should apologize for speaking a little quickly. But again, we’ve got a ton of content to get through, there will be a recording of the presentation. And again, I’ll offer my email and cell phone if people want to follow up and have any specific questions. So let’s talk a little bit about FOMO. I mean, really the the single best way you could do that as it relates to doing or perfect or any of the other platforms that accommodate event registration, is you really need to integrate with social media, you really need to show people who do I know that is attending this event. And in particular, after someone signs up to attend, just like after they donate. That is the moment of truth. That is the moment when people are typically about two to three times more likely to spread the word and to go from being a donor or an event attendee to being an ambassador for your cause. Hey, ongoing to this event, anybody wants to join me. And again, back to that idea of FOMO. It’s critical, you know, so you really need to make it as easy as possible for people to spread the word. And after they sign up, click a button here and boom, up comes a template message that they can share out and invite their home networks to attend, to donate, etc. Just to put a statistic to that which you can even tell your event attendees, every Facebook Share on average is worth four bucks. So let them know hey, you obviously care about our cause and want to be supportive.
Excuse me, you know, but go ahead and share this and every single person you share it with is generating another $4 On average for our cause. So please to spread the word. And when they do that, they’re becoming ambassadors. That’s really how you leverage that FOMO. Alright, let’s talk about Twitter walls, I’ve used these to great effect even before the pandemic, I think they’re even more important with virtual events. But the idea is there are some free platforms out there. You can use Twitter, Fowler, Hootsuite, where you could sign up, you enter in a hashtag. I had previously started the first global conference series devoted to social media for social good. And then a couple points during the conference, we would do these tweet outs, kind of like a shout out. But we would ask people a simple question and include a hashtag. And then they would write their answers via Twitter, and include the hashtag and boom, it would appear up on the screen along with their little photo, and their quote, people loved it. And at att live and virtual events, it’s another great way to generate what I would call traffic, right. So people love seeing their faces up on that leaderboard. They love seeing the words that they wrote. And so it’s a free way to generate a lot of traffic, a lot of people talking about your event to help you go viral, to create that FOMO once again. So really think about is there a way you can use a tweet out whether it’s asking questions, whether it’s talking about, you know, what’s your what’s the thing that connects you to our work? How has organization benefited you, you know, the more people that are tweeting that out, adding in the hashtag, the more your events going to trend. We’ve also got this idea of live streaming. And, you know, there is an incredibly wide spectrum here, I literally that gender smart event that normally happens in London that I mentioned, we just finished a virtual only summit for people from 53 countries, many of whom were finance and investment decision makers, we’ve spent over a million dollars on that event between staff time, virtual production, etc. So that was a very high end program. And you can spend literally an unlimited amount of money on these things. But the reality is, that’s not going to be possible for most nonprofits. And so most of the tips, if not all that I’m going to present today are things you can do for free or incredibly cheaply. And so when it comes to live streaming, you can use Facebook Live, you can use YouTube, and as a nonprofit, those are completely free zoom, you’re going to spend, you know, maybe 3040 bucks a month to upgrade to the pro version, but again, not a huge expense. And so look at some of those free streaming platforms, you can do it off a cell phone, maybe get a little tripod, it doesn’t have to be, you know, top notch production. There is a great article in social media today that provides an overview of effective live streaming for nonprofits. So there’s something there that you can take a look at and read more into. But even if you’re just Google around, there’s a lot of resources out there that tell you how to do this on the cheap. Now another tip that is really important, because this one tip will actually help you raise over a third more money at your fundraiser at your virtual event. But it’s also true for live events. And it’s even true for peer to peer and crowdfunding campaigns is you gotta get a thermometer, you need a thermometer. Because when you have one, when you have a donor wallet leaderboard, you are going to raise a lot more money, at least 35% more, I’ve seen this have a significant impact, you know, compared to the same event that didn’t have a thermometer the year before. And so make sure you have a thermometer, make sure you talk about what is our goal for this event for this campaign, and let people know the status of where you’re at. And just like with the Twitter wall, if people want to text to give, if they want to donate, boom, they go up on the wall, they can be anonymous, you see a couple examples here. But you want to make it really clear to them here is the impact that we’re looking to unlock with your support. And this is our progress against it. Help us get there. Right, help us get there. And let’s recognize the Valerie’s in the yen hands in the Mary Poppins of the world, everybody on this leaderboard list as they come through, and let’s call them out verbally from the stage, even if it’s a virtual stage. So that functionality is really critical. Another one that’s important, I mentioned text to give as it relates to that donor wall. Well, whether you tied into your donor wall or not, you know, you can bring in an extra 100 Plus bucks a pop, by allowing people to text to donate, and especially at events. It’s the equivalent of you know, offering packs of gum on the checkout line at a grocery store. This is kind of the impulse buy it, it reduces or removes a lot of the friction that can stand in the way of people actually giving. And so you know there are functionalities through DonorPerfect and other platforms that really make this super easy. You do want to look into the costs in terms of not only from the provider but also from the mobile companies. But this is a great way to get donors into your database. And from there to really build up a relationship. So you can kind of see a little bit about, you know how this works and DonorPerfect here, people can even sign up to volunteer. You know, there’s all kinds of different options here. Now, another interesting tactic that I wanted to share is the idea of promoting digital donor democracy, basically letting people vote with their dollars. And so let’s say, you know, I’ve got a calendar that was put out from an animal shelter, my wife runs, public animal shelters. And one of the most successful fundraising things the Friends of affiliate did was they had a calendar, where whoever donated the most or the most times would get their cat, their dog their bird, as one of the pinups you know, for a specific month, they’d have a photo of their dog in there. And there was basically a bidding war. And you can do that same kind of thing at your virtual event, where donations count as votes, whether it’s about the amount of times or the amount of money that people give, but that is their way to express their voice. And, you know, this could be a vote who should be, you know, the, the prom king, or whatever it might be, you know, you can vote on which of our programs feel most compelling, or should we build a playground at this school or that one, all those kinds of things can be really powerful, they can give you great insight into what people care about, but they can also help you raise some money. Now let’s talk about corporate matching, because this is one of the better kept secrets in the world of nonprofits. And you can see a short little video from our friends at DonorPerfect here. But the point is about $5 billion a year of corporate philanthropy go untapped every calendar year. And I do a lot of work in corporate social responsibility, I run a small corporate foundation for numi tea. And I can tell you that so many of my counterparts at other organizations struggle to get their employees to take advantage of corporate matching programs. And a lot of big companies out there have these programs in place. But most people, even the employees of those companies don’t really know about the details. So you want to make it easy for people to double their donations. There’s functionality through DonorPerfect and other folks, where people can very easily as they’re giving just enter in their employer, and then boom, it’ll say, Okay, here’s how to give. Here’s how to get it matched. Go click here, and we’ll do it for you. Really great tool. So let me, you know, pause before we head into online fundraising. I’m going to set the stage and share a little bit of statistics here. But let me see if there’s any questions that came in. Before we dive into that. We’ll take just a second to see if anybody wants to chat. Any questions to me? Or if our moderator has any questions that came through the chat that the questions app that she wants to share?
All right, hearing none, we’ll have a couple other opportunities for people to weigh in as well. So no problem there. So you know, even before COVID, again, a lot of these trends that I’m talking about were taking place, even before COVID. What has happened is COVID has really catapulted a lot of this stuff forward, they’ve said that we are probably five to 10 years ahead of where we would have been if not for COVID. From a standpoint of technology, adoption, people being comfortable working from home and on Zoom, etc. That’s probably going to happen anyway. But now it’s here, and it’s not really going anywhere. Same thing is true for online fundraising. If you look at online fundraising as a percentage of online giving, it has been surging, right, you’re talking about over $300 billion a year of non governmental income coming to nonprofits every year. And that number is fairly steady, it only grows by about 2% a year. But if you look at onlines portion of the pie, it’s growing by you know, 50 to 100% every year. So it is absolutely where the growth where the opportunity is. And if we break that out into sort of four different components, the four wheels of the car, if you will, from a standpoint of just pure web based fundraising, you see that last year online giving grew by over 20%, compared to like I said, only about 2% growth for online giving, in terms of traffic to your website, on average, every 1000 people that come to your site generated over $600 in donations. So keep that in mind. I’m going to share a variety of tips today, that hopefully will really enable you to get that number up to about $1 per visitor, which would be the gold standard and apply Part of that will be what percentage of visitors to your website actually contribute? The average range is pretty wildly from, you know, under, it’s going to be under 1%. If you get up to 1%, that would be the gold standard. But you know, typically it’s about point 172 point 8%. So how do we get those numbers up? And ultimately, that means how do we get the average number of the amount of donations per visitor up, and we’ll share some tips on that today. Email, this is really critical, because historically, it has been the single highest ROI for online giving, you know, according to salsa labs, about a 40, to one ROI for every dollar you invest in email giving campaigns and email marketing, you’re gonna get 40 bucks back, right? In general, the averages are that you’re going to generate 42 bucks per 1000 fundraising emails, we’ll share some tips here that will hopefully get that number up to 6075. Especially by maximizing that open rate, usually only about 15 to 20% of people will actually take the time to open your email, I’ll share some tips that will get that number of hopefully to 25 30%. Because if people don’t open the email, there’s no chance they’re going to click through and gift, right. And ultimately, the industry average is about $57 for a one time gift, or $20 a month for a recurring gift. And we will definitely talk about recurring giving, because that is sort of a blind spot for a lot of nonprofits, you can run the numbers really simply here and see that within three months, a recurring donor is going to be more valuable than a one time donor on average, using these email metrics. And the reality is that people are lazy. So anything that requires them to do something more like turn off a recurring gift, or donate again next year is going to be fundamentally unlikely. And so keep that in mind. Let’s also keep in mind that just like online, giving the surging mobile within the context of online is really where the growth is, it is already over 85% of all online giving. And we saw a 50% jump in the number of transactions last year. As it relates to events, which we were just talking about, it’s already about 20% of all events are coming from a small screen. So you really cannot disregard this. Whether it relates to your emails, since two thirds of emails are opened on a mobile device, or the donate page of your site event registration, etc. But over half of all nonprofit website traffic is coming from a small screen. And finally, from a crowdfunding standpoint, this is a great way to reach those millennials and younger folks, everyone across generations has historically had a positive view of of crowdfunding campaigns, but youth are really the ones who are most actively engaged in it. In general, you should expect about a $66 average contribution, I’ll definitely share some tips for how to get those up. But one tip just off the bat is bear in mind that if it is a personal crowdfunding campaign, on average, you’re going to raise a little over 500 bucks, whereas it’s from your organization. And that’s not to say that individual voices shouldn’t shine through. But if it’s hosted by an organization, you’re going to raise closer to 10k 20x. So keep that in mind. All right, so let’s dive in to email. Again, this is sort of historically where nonprofits get the highest ROI, lot of opportunity to raise a lot of money through email. And in the past, I’ve seen numbers showing this is, you know, email accounts for over 1/3 of all online giving for nonprofits. Now, first of all, I talked about the critical importance of optimizing your subject line, right, that by itself, is going to dictate what percentage of people open your email, as we talked about 15 to 20% is average. Ideally, you’re gonna get up to 30%. How you’re going to do that? Well, a couple things. I talked about the idea of just because a crowdfunding campaign, you know is hosted by your organization doesn’t mean voices can’t shine through. Same thing is true for email. People don’t give the organization’s they give to people. So the email should be coming from a person. It can be Darian at NUMMI foundation, but it shouldn’t just be no reply. And the actual subject line is the critical determinant of whether people are going to open it or not. And so put a lot of time and energy into thinking about what should your subject line be? Remember, first and foremost, that less is more. You don’t want to be any more than 15 To 30 characters that is a not a lot of real estate. So you need to be very intentional about what words you want to use in there, keep it short, keep it punchy, ideally, ask a question, instead of just a comment, but ask a question. So you’re sort of enticing them to learn more and to respond. And we are in the attention economy. So anything that you can do to create a sense of urgency includes word like important or now urgent, to get people to take this seriously and not, you know, oh, maybe I’ll look at that later. And then they never do.
Bear in mind that again, less is more, and you don’t want to try to boil the ocean, in your email, you don’t want to invite people to do one of 10 different things. The old saying is, if you say 10 things you say nothing. So pick one call to action, right? If there’s only one thing you want people to do, is it good? Is it register for your event? Is it sign up for your newsletter, whatever that might be volunteer, focusing on that one call to action, and then ask them for something different next time, right. And ultimately, try to use as few words as possible, use short paragraphs instead of lengthy ones, and no more than two, maximum four paragraphs. So you’re talking about three to 500 Total words, focus on photos, focus on videos, those are a much better way to communicate via email via crowdfunding, etc. And also bear in mind that whether it’s through email, or social media, or at events, or whatever it might be, fundamentally, I mean, I interviewed 50 experts for my nonprofit fundraising book. And every single person and every discipline I spoke to said the same thing. Nobody likes to be treated like an ATM. Nobody likes to be treated like an ATM. Meaning if every single time you reach out to a donor, you’re asking them to give again, they’re going to get turned off, they’re going to feel like an ATM, and they’re gonna start to tune you out and either unsubscribe or just delete your messages. You don’t want to do that. And bear in mind that fundraising is about building a relationship. It’s not just about a transaction. What does that look like? Well, ideally, you’re going to map out a series of touchpoints, a series of contacts and communications between asks. So somebody just gave right off the bat. Hey, thanks for giving. Here’s your donor acknowledgement letter. You know, I’m going to share some tips for that when it happens through your website in just a sec. But just a simple thank you is one of the first tips, but then after that, maybe there’s a newsletter, maybe there’s an impact update, thanks so much for the impact that your gift made possible. It could be a wide range of things. Here’s a profile of, you know, the keynote speaker at our upcoming Gala. Whatever it is, right, we just released this new report, your support made it possible, thank you. But the point is, you want to try to map out and it’s not always doable to do seven touch points in between. But that’s the gold standard. That’s the best practice that we’re striving toward. And ultimately, the key thing is not to make sure that it’s every communication is an ask, you can have a donut option and sort of like part of the navbar. But it’s not that one call to action you’re focused on. And again, I talked about the importance of personalizing the message, who it’s coming from with the person’s name, but ideally use the functionality in your email client to personalize the greeting to instead of saying, Hi there, Mr. donor, you’re saying, Hi, Darren, glad to be back in touch, excited to invite you to support us. Now there’s a wide range of email platforms out there. I’m not really here to endorse anyone in particular constant contact and MailChimp are both certainly some of the most common ones. But what I do want to talk about is some of the most important criteria when selecting a platform to make sure that it integrates with your donor management system like, you know, DonorPerfect, and that it enables you to enjoy the functionality that is most critical to fundraising. And probably the single most important criteria is that you can segment your email list so that you send a slightly different message to people who have given multiple times versus one time or who attended the gala, you’re inviting them to last year versus those who didn’t. Whatever it might be. Anything you can do to make it feel more personalized is going to improve your results on multiple fronts. You also want to make change irresistible and one of the things that most of these platforms provide is free templates that you can use so that you could just plug in a plug and play in terms of adding in your logo adding in your copy, you know excetera maybe some images but it looks really professional and it’s on brand Really important. Now, again, I talked about this idea of mapping out these seven touch points via email marketing, right? What does that look like? And how do you do that. And the super simple tool and I have a free template, I’m happy to email out to folks if you want to reach out. But the super simple tool that I like to use is what’s called an editorial calendar, you can do this in a Google spreadsheet, you can do it in an Excel spreadsheet, you could do it on a paper calendar if you want. But the point is, all you’re doing is mapping out, it could be for the month ahead, it could be Hey, we’re doing a crowdfunding campaign over the next two months. So let’s meet at the beginning of that and map out our communications. But the point is, you want to map out who is going to say, what, where and when, right. And the reason why you want to do this is because if we look at social media, for example, traditionally, the typical nonprofit allocates 1/3 of one person to social media, right? About 15 hours a week. Now, as opposed to having one person do all of your social media, you are infinitely better off having three people do five hours a week, or even five people do three hours a week. Why is that and this is true for email, this is true for social media, you name it, well, number one, people need to take vacations, and some people are even going to leave their job occasionally. And so you don’t want to have all that institutional knowledge in one person. We also talked about this idea that people don’t give to organizations they give to people. And having multiple people have different voices, different areas of expertise, means different people can focus on different issues, allows you to be a little bit more versatile and diverse in terms of the topics you can talk about. And so having a team of people, you know, on multiple levels is really helpful. And at the same time, it can also be challenging, because what happens, you know, how do we coordinate? How do I make sure that if I’m going to send an email out today, I’m not being redundant to what Bob sent out yesterday? Or what Christina is gonna send out tomorrow? And the answer is, you use an editorial calendar and you map out at a sketch level, here’s what we’re planning to send out over the next month, or throughout the course of this campaign. And this is ultimately what that spreadsheet looks like that I’m happy to email out. But the point is, it’s super simple. Pick a given day, you know, you can have multiple communications in a day. But you’re mapping out and each, you know, at certain times, which person from our team is going to post, you don’t need the details of the post just vaguely speaking what is it all about? Will there be a photo or video or a blog or any kind of media attached to it? And where’s it going out? Is it an email blast? Is it Twitter? Is it Facebook, right. And one of the things you can use this for is with an email blast, especially for a big fundraising campaign, like end of year, instead of just sending out that blast and spraying and praying that works, you can actually carve out, you know, a little like some segments of your email list. And you can send out trial messages to look at the data and see which of those different subject lines we’ve talked about which one generates the best open rate. And then you let’s say you’ve experimented with 5% of your list, you send that optimized message, the best subject line to the remaining 95% to get much better results. Now, as you are mapping out your consent, your editorial calendar, some things to keep in mind as it relates to email. Number one is email open rates will vary by time of day and by day of week. So keep that in mind. And typically during the middle of the week, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, is usually when you’re going to get the best results and toward the end of the day. Why is that? Well, in general, you want to avoid being unread message number 62 out of 84 When people come back in the office Monday morning and just go delete, delete, delete, or even Wednesday morning as opposed to Wednesday afternoon. If you come in, in the afternoon, if you come in midweek, you’re more likely to pop up at the top of their inbox and get the attention you deserve. Your mileage may vary. So I would definitely test this out and look at those open rates, you know, look at different times a day and see the impact. So those are a couple of tips on the email front. We’re going to dive into social media and crowdfunding now. But let me see if there’s any other questions or chats. Again, you can feel free to chat directly at me. And I’ll also wait and give our moderator just a quick minute to see if there’s any questions that came in through the app that she wants to share.
We do have some questions actually. We had quite a few that came through
what We’ll take two or three right now. And we’ll see if we have time for some more later.
Okay, so we’ll go back a little bit. Okay, so you have thrown some numbers at them a little while ago. And somebody had asked it was Francoise had asked, Are all the numbers coming from the same source? And if not, will the sources be made available after the webinar?
That’s a good question. Francois. They’re absolutely not coming from the same source. This is a vast compilation of some digital research that I’ve done. I do have, you know, I can send out the actual deck, I generally don’t do that. But if you’re specifically focused on looking at the sources of the different data points, that is all in there. And so again, you’ll have my email at the end of this Francoist shoot me an email, and I’ll be happy to share that with you. Okay,
and we have Elizabeth who asked, which kind of teeters on, you know, the the change over this happening now? She says, we have our first in person event coming up in June? And how can we use this information in advance of to promote an in person event like that, especially post COVID, where some people may not want to come in person?
Yeah, I mean, I think that is really interesting, as we sort of return to normalcy, it’s, it’s a difficult and a delicate dance. What I would say is, most of the tips that I’ve shared today are appropriate for both in person and virtual events, I think it’s absolutely critical to include a virtual component, because no matter how hard you try, even if it’s an outdoor event, even if everyone gets their vaccine card checked, like there will be some folks who are just not comfortable socializing yet. And that’s going to continue to be the case for a while. And so even if it is a really simple freestyle, you know, live stream option, offering some kind of virtual component to the event, is totally critical. But there are I mean, again, most of these tips are applicable for hybrid live and virtual events. And then there’s also a whole event planning chapter in both of my books that might be helpful. So let’s take one more question. And then we’ll dive into social media and crowdfunding.
Okay, so this seems to be basically a compilation because I feel like a few people have asked this for some good examples of subject lines for emails that you’re sending out.
Yeah. I don’t have those on tap, there have been a wide range of articles written on that. So if you just Google nonprofit, email marketing subject lines, you will find a wide range of of samples and articles that talk about what makes a good subject line and then provide a variety of examples. So hope that’s helpful. I also hope people are able to see my video, I’m having a couple issues with the app. And I can’t quite bring down the the questions functionality. So but thanks to our moderator for asking those. And let’s dive into social media and crowdfunding. All right, so I talked about this a couple times in the context of email. But again, remember, people don’t give to organizations they give to people. So letting your voice shine through is actually a good thing. Whether it is who’s posting to your Twitter or your Insta, or who’s sending that email, or who’s hosting that crowdfunding campaign, the organization should be behind it for credibility for posterity, it’s going to help you raise more money, like we talked about with crowdfunding. But ultimately, it’s people who are making the ask and we’re driving the success of your fundraising efforts. And in particular, one of the things that we professional fundraisers like to say is that the most powerful form of ask is a peer ask. And that sounds something like I’m so honored to support the good work of NUMMI foundation, I invite you to join me in supporting the good work of this organization. Right. I invite you to join me, that’s the operative term there. The point is, I’m not asking you to do something I haven’t done myself, I’m not telling you to sign up to attend an event that I’m not going to, or give to a cause that I haven’t already given to. This is part of why getting our board to donate is so critical so they can make more powerful asks, right. So you know, part of what social media and crowdfunding does is it really facilitates these peer asks and fundamentally the single biggest opportunity with social media is turning your donors into fundraisers really, really powerful. We talked about with event attendees, turning them into ambassadors for your cause. Same thing with donors, but it actually brings money in which means more money for your cause. It’s often coming from people you’re not already connected to. And it can also be a great way to engage those millennials and next gen donors, you know, especially once one of those young people give, and then they encourage their networks to follow their lead, that can be a great way to recruit millennial donors to your cause. So let’s get into crowdfunding and peer to peer campaigns in particular. And a couple things that are really important when you’re thinking about this as a virtual fundraising strategy. And this can absolutely tie into a run, walk ride or some kind of physical strategy as well, especially once COVID Time settle down a bit, the probably the single most important thing to keep in mind is that you absolutely Step one is to pick a SMART goal. And if you’re not familiar with the acronym SMART, it stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time based. So the point is, rather than saying, Hey, give us money, the more money we raise, the more kids we can feed, you are infinitely better off saying we’re raising $20,000 We’re doing it by July 1, whatever the date is, but certainly no more than 90 days out. Ideally, more like 30 days, again, we’re in the attention economy. And if something is too far over the horizon, people will say, Oh, maybe I’ll look at it next time or down the road, or I’ll put it in that box of emails that I never actually read, but intend to, you don’t want that to happen, it’s got to have that sense of urgency just like that, you know, subject lines. So we’re raising 20 grand, we’re doing it by July 1, we’re gonna raise that money. So we can build a playground at San Francisco Elementary School, and it’s going to benefit the 647, low income youth. All the data shows schools with playgrounds have better attendance rates, better graduation and GPA rates, you know, so help us help these kids. Here’s a photo, here’s a video, go, boom, that is the way to raise money through a crowdfunding campaign and peer to peer efforts. Right. So and really, you know, the premise here. And this is something one of my mentors and sheroes once said, Kay sprinkle grace is that people don’t give to you because you have means the key thing to remember is that they give to you because you meet needs. And this is probably the single biggest mistake I see nonprofits make in the real world and online, is, hey, give us money. So we can hire this person. Nobody wants to give to that, what people want to give to is give us money. So we can feed 50 more people, the way we’re going to do that is by hiring a food program coordinator. But that’s not what they’re giving to they’re giving to the need, that you are fulfilling. Keep that in mind as you’re raising money is it’s all about the people, the clients that you’re serving. And again, back to that story of the glass being half full and half empty. And we are a channel we are a conduit connecting people to the change they want to see in the world. So focus, get out of the way, and focus on that need on that impact and not on what your organization’s, they’re not giving to you is the other way that she likes to say this, they’re giving through you. Now, one of the other things that’s really critical with online giving is, you know, in the event equivalent, this would be called a funder need, right? So for 50 bucks, we can cover the cost of to hope X, you know, given to these sexually exploited women, for 2500 bucks, we’re gonna get another van on the road for three months to raise awareness of this film that we’re releasing, to talk about modern day slavery, whatever it might be. The point is, you want to offer people a range of different giving levels, typically four is the magic number. And then there’s always a blank that people can fill in if they want to donate $20,000, that’s great. But but at least for all of the explicit levels, which called what’s called a donation or gift string, you want to give them a number. And you want to give them the kind of impact that each number will unlock. So they can really understand and wrap their heads around why they should give, and why they should kind of give one level higher than they might have thought of otherwise. And I’ll talk about how to get those average numbers up in just a second, those average online gifts. Now, we talked earlier about the editorial calendar as a really helpful scheduling tool, you know, but the point is that’s mapping out what you want to say when and who’s saying it. Does that mean if the data comes back and shows that your posts are much better, whether it’s for email or social media, or what have you, that people will really respond to our stuff at midnight, or on the weekends or over holidays. Does that mean you can never take a holiday again and you have to work 24/7? No, the point is that there are very free and very low cost tools out there that you can use to pre schedule a post months and years in advance if you want to and there’s always going to be You know, some stuff that you might want to add in that’s timely, there was just an article that came out or what have you. But the point is the evergreen content, the stuff that, you know, you can write in advance, using a free tool like HootSuite or TweetDeck, or a low cost tool, like Sprout Social that has some additional, you know, analytics functionality can be really helpful. And it allows you to bring a little bit more sanity and balance into your life. Again, nobody likes to be treated like an ATM. And you also cannot do what most nonprofits do probably the single biggest problem and pitfall that nonprofits face with social media. And with crowdfunding campaigns in particular, is, you know, they launch a campaign, they shout it from the mountaintops and tweet it out, and, you know, put it on their Instagram and Facebook and send out emails, and then they go quiet for two months. And then when there’s a week left in the campaign, they freak out and they start shouting from the mountaintops. Again, that does not work. You want to find your drumbeat, and maintain a consistent strategy that you map out in that editorial calendar. And bear in mind that the best practice that you should plan for with a crowdfunding campaign is every five days, you are letting people hear from you, whether that’s to say, Hey, we’ve made it to 50% of our given goal. Thanks so much for your help. We’re at 100%. And now we’re going to we’re going to move the goalposts and raise even more to build a second playground, whatever it might be, let them know certainly those impact updates, those progress updates are helpful, there might be other things you want to share. But when you communicate about your crowdfunding campaign every five days, on average, you’re going to raise three times as much more money. And you should know that this sort of optimal, you know, sort of frequency is for total updates, so that a 20 day campaign tend to generate the best results, right. So less than a month again, sense of urgency. And on the flip side, bear in mind, if you only ever share one update, you might as well not even bother with your campaign, because on 97% of the cases, your campaign is going to fail. Keep that in mind. Alright, here’s a really, really simple but effective tip, probably the simplest thing I’m going to share today. But literally by doing this one thing, you will double the amount of likes, comments, shares, retweets that your posts on social media get. And it is as simple as saying, if your post ends in a period
versus a question mark, then only half the people are going to respond. Right? Meaning ask a question, and you will double your response rates. Why is that? Well, bear in mind that social media is nothing but a virtual cocktail party. And if you think about the real world, and if you think about, you know, being able to walk up to someone in a crowded room and say, you know, take a look at what the New York Times had to say about the state of homelessness in their paper to date period. Versus what do you think about what the time said about homelessness question mark, which is more likely to solicit a response to elicit a response. The question is, same thing is true with social media, ask questions, and you will get a lot more engagement twice as much engagement on average. Photos and videos are gold, whether it’s with social media, or we talked about earlier with your emails. If you’re doing a crowdfunding campaign, by having a video you’re going to raise at least one and a half times as much more money. I’ve heard statistics as high as eight times as much money with a video photos on average your posts are going to get about double the likes, comments and shares if you have a photo. On Twitter, I’ve heard the number is 4x. So really critical here. But bear in mind, this does not mean that you need a Hollywood production budget you don’t need to hire and hire Steven Spielberg to develop a 90 minute beautiful video for yourself. I want to share a really short clip. I think it’s less than a minute I have a 13 year old girl named Sarah, who has a disease that I had never heard of before this video and I’ve shared this with 1000s of nonprofit leaders. I’ve only had one person who has never actually heard of the disease. And yet she raised $30,000 In three weeks with this video. So take a look and if Sarah the 13 year old can do this, think about what’s possible for you.
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all right, that was Sarah. So yeah, like I said, not a Hollywood production. I mean, she literally had no budget, she had a cell phone, some flashcards and some markers. And she raised $30,000 for disease in three weeks, a disease that very few people have ever heard about. So it’s Sarah, the 13 year old can do that. What can your organization what can your cause do with all the resources you have at your disposal really great point of reference here. So let’s dive a little deeper into crowdfunding campaigns and fundraising, social media, there’s this idea of seeding the tip jar, and the idea here is you will never walk into a cafe and see an empty tip jar. Why is that because the way human nature works, if people see an empty tip jar, they will not give this has been, you know, proven through research. And just like the baristas know that your nonprofit needs to know that. And the point here is that if you are launching any kind of campaign with a thermometer, you know, especially a crowdfunding campaign, you want to have that thermometer 20 to 30% filled up, before you share it with any kind of public audience. People want to be part of a winning team, they don’t want to show up, see an empty store and be the first one to give, they’ll come back and say, I’ll give once other people do. So how do you do that? Well, you kind of stack the deck a little bit, you go out to your board, to your staff to some of your key advisors, or, you know, some really loyal donors from the past. And you let them know as a position of honor, that you are excited to launch this new campaign, you’ve heard that, you know, it’s going to be much more successful if you can get 20 or 30% of the funding in there to begin with. And as one of your most loyal supporters, you’re wondering if they might consider a private gift before we launch the campaign publicly, really, really great way to do this and to build those donor relationships so that when you go out to the public, you don’t show an empty tip jar and people actually get. Alright, so let’s dive into some website fundraising. And then we’ll pause for another couple of questions after we get through this section. So first of all, you know, we talked about picking a platform for email, we’ve also talked about for scheduling platforms. It’s also important when it look when you look at your website. And obviously DonorPerfect is a leader in this space. But you want to make sure that you take the time to integrate that platform with your site. Right? So rather than having somebody click and wind up going to a third party website, like a lot of the folks who have PayPal configured do that is a big no no, you don’t want to have someone walk into your store, pick out a sweater they like and send them next door to pay for it. They’re going to bail. Same thing is true for online giving. So it needs to look and feel like the rest of your website really important. You also want to make sure that we are promoting recurring giving, we talked about those statistics as it relates to email how within three months you’re going to make more money. Well the same is true for online giving. The average online gift is 52 bucks for a one time gift but 128 bucks, you know, sorry, 52 bucks a month versus 120 bucks for a one time gift. So once again in three months, you’re making more money, but the reality is only about 35% of people who give a one time gift this year will give again next year as opposed to 89% of people who are signed up as The monthly donor will continue to give next year. Again, people are lazy. So they’re not going to take action in, you know, for the most part, whether that’s opting out of something they signed into like a recurring gift, or giving a new gift that they only need a one time. So, you know, bear in mind that you’re going to make on average 42% More money with recurring gifts, but actually, it tends to be hundreds of percents more money, because they stick around a lot longer. And within three months, you’re making that up. Excuse me. Now, we talked about turning your donors into fundraisers, this is one of the biggest opportunities to raise more money. And this is really where social media kicks in. Because just asking people to give on Facebook or Instagram, generally speaking, yields relatively poor results, what does yield great results. And this one tip alone will double your online fundraising results is that once somebody donates instead of just saying, Thanks for giving, we’ll be emailing you a donor acknowledgement letter, it is absolutely critical that on the thank you page, you are saying thanks for giving. Now, please invite your network to follow your lead, click here to share on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. And if somebody clicks Facebook, they see a message like this that said, you know, I just gave join me in supporting this good work. And as you see here, once they click, they can customize it and then send it or they could just click Send, super, super easy. But this one tip, and DonorPerfect. And other platforms offer this functionality. But you do have to activate it, this one tip is going to enable you to double the amount of money you raise online. And again, it’s going to allow you to do it from those two degree contacts, people who you probably don’t already know, but who are connected to your donors when they get really critical. We already talked about mobile and how this is surging over the years is where a lot of the growth in online giving is coming from, you know, we saw a 200% increase last year. So this is a trend that is not going anywhere. And it’s critical that you make sure your website your emails, that they’re all responsive, meaning that there’s some basic technology under the hood that can see what size screen people are looking at it from and resize it accordingly. What does that mean to you? Well, when you’re teeing up an email, when you’re looking at that test email on your laptop or your computer, you should also really look at it on your phone, in your in your, in your iPad, your tablet, because the majority of people typically are going to be looking at it through that screen. Same thing for the donate page on your website, break out your phone one day, and just make sure that that looks right. Because otherwise you’re going to lose a lot of people. The other way that you’ll lose a lot of people is if you say too much if you get in their way, right, somebody just click the donate button. The last thing you want to do is keep talking is ask them to click through and jump through some hoops Do they really want to get well they just click donate. And actually, the data I’ve seen is that for every field that you add to the Donate form, you’re going to lose 2% of those people. Meaning if there are five fields that you add unnecessarily 10% of the people who click donate are not actually going to give as a result of that. You really don’t want to let that happen. Right. So you just need to keep your donation form as simple and as streamlined as possible. Remember, we want to get in contact with people seven times before we ask them for money again. So this is a perfect way instead of asking when they donate, which of our programs do you care most about? Or how did you hear about us or whatever it might be, send a separate message to ask about that and get to know them better. Great way to leverage those touch points. But keep it simple, super streamlined here. Probably one of the best tips that nonprofits don’t know about we talked about the fact that on average of 1000 visitors you get to your site is going to generate 612 more bucks for your cause in the form of donations. Well, one of the best ways to get a lot more traffic to your site is to sign up for a Google grant, you just go to google.com forward slash grants, and any nonprofit in about 60 Something countries, as long as you’re not religiously affiliated or fiscally sponsored, you can sign up for 10 grand a month of free Google AdWords. And this is not actual money you can take to the bank. This is sort of a company store credit that you can use on Google. And you know, whenever you search on Google, you see the sponsored links. Well, that’s all based on a platform called AdWords. So they’re gonna give you 10,000 bucks that you can play with to buy different keyword responses, right? And there are some limits, so you’ll need to be creative, you’ll need to allocate a little bit of time to not only get set up maintain this But what can you do with $120,000 ad budget? I know when I ran Craigslist Foundation, we used all 10 grand. And then they only charged us five cents $1 for another 50 grand on top of that, for anything we use. So really, really great opportunity.
I want to share before we wrap up the online fundraising section on social media and crowdfunding, I want to share a specific framework, a three part experiment that I have shared with 1000s of nonprofit leaders all over the country, that I will guarantee I’ve offered this guarantee to 1000s of leaders, I’ve literally never had a single person come back to me and complain that it hasn’t worked. But there are three simple experiments that you can do. Typically, they’ll only take about 60 days. And if you do this, I promise you that you will double your online giving within those 60 days. So let me run through this briefly. And then I’ll take some more questions. Point number one, when I created my first book, I worked with the folks that Network for Good on the online giving chapter. Those of you that don’t know them, it’s kind of like a big shopping mall for nonprofits. They’ve transacted The point is they’ve transacted $2 billion of online gifts to nonprofits through their website. So this is a huge behemoth of an online fundraising platform. And they ran a little experiment, they changed their donate button from this old school, you know, looking gray donate button to red. And when they did that, in an instant, they got 35% more people to click on that donate button, and to corresponding give donations. So their online giving went up by 35%, just because they went from gray to red. And the point here is I don’t know of gray or red is your color. If it’s purple, I don’t know if your donate button should be a square or a rectangle. Or if you’re doing mountain lion preservation, maybe it’s a mountain lion paw. But the point is, it is very much worth your time to experiment, the only metric you’re going to optimize against is what percentage of people that come to your website, click on Donate. And again, as we shared at the very beginning, the gold standard, the metric you’re shooting for, is to try to get that number up to 1%. But in any case, you want to optimize it get it as high as possible. And the way to do that is you dabble for a couple of days, you have a gray, then you go to green, and you’ve got a red, you test around with different fonts with different shapes. And eventually you land on pay, I guess it’s a purple square, right with this Times New Roman font, whatever it is. And guess what we just increased our you know, our click through on the donate button and our online giving by 40%. That’s found money really, really critical. That’s the first step. And you can do this within two, three weeks, depending upon your website traffic. Again, all you’re doing is looking at those click through rates to see what percentage of your website traffic clicks on Donate. The next two experiments that follow are both rooted in the same metric. And I shared earlier that I was going to share some tips for maximizing your average online gift. That’s where these two experiments come in. And that is the only metric you’re looking at is what is the average online gift, you can break it out as one time versus monthly. And again, we talked a lot about the importance of promoting recurring gifts. But the point is, first of all, you want to optimize the gift string, right? In this case, you’re looking at giving 1015 2550 100 bucks a month. In the case of a one time gift, maybe it’s 50 100. You know, 200, what have you. And the point is you want to first off, experiment with the actual amounts at each level. Right. And you should bear in mind as you do this, that typically almost always, the most popular giving level will be the one that is second from the bottom. People don’t like to feel cheap. So they usually won’t give the smallest amount. You know, the one one up from that tends to be the most popular, you’ll get hopefully a smattering of gifts at all levels. But based on the fact that the second lowest level 15 bucks a month in this case will likely be the most popular. You want to look at what is your average, in this case monthly recurring gift right now. And maybe it’s $52, like we said is average. And then you want to bump that up by about 15 20%. So in this case, maybe the giving levels will be 3560 75 100 Other per month, right? If it’s online and your typical and we saw $153 A month is the average one time gift, then maybe we want that second from the bottom level to start out at 175 or even $200 a month. So maybe it’s 100 200 500 1000 Other but the point is you want to experiment With this, so as a guideline, you want to really focus in on that second from the bottom number and bump up your current average by 15 to 20%. Ish. But try going a little bigger, try going a little smaller, and then look at the data and see what actually generates the highest average online gift. And similarly, once you’ve optimized the actual giving amounts, you should also optimize the description at each level. What is 50 bucks a month give me? Is it about providing a child with two weeks of summer programming? Or is it about, you know, helping one kid learn to read, you know, experiment with three or four different examples for each giving level. And again, instead of embracing your gut, look at the numbers and see what drives the highest average online get. And if you do these three things, optimize your donate button, optimize your gift, string amounts, and also the descriptions and each level. Within two months, you will be doubling your online fundraising results. So let me pause there. I’ll take a couple questions before we get into the homestretch with the board fundraising section.
Okay, so we covered some areas. Let me scroll up a little bit. Oh, Brom. Yeah. Okay, so we had a few. They were I want to say they’re somewhat similar. I think it was more around the it sounded more of a restriction type thing. When it comes to, where are we at here? I’m sorry, we have we have a list. And I just lost it.
You know what I think I probably know what the question is, if the concept is restrictions, if you are talking about a gift string, like I just talked about, right? For 25 bucks, or 50 bucks does that come in are restricted or unrestricted, because obviously, every nonprofit is looking to generate general operating support. Well, just because you’re using these illustrative examples so that donors can help understand what kind of impact they can unlock does not mean the funds have to be restricted. And the best practice that I would look at is Heifer International. And if you just look up H ei Fer, you’ll see they’re the ones that like, if you give 50 bucks, this family is going to get a hive of bees and have honey and wax to give 100 bucks, they’re going to have a calf with milk and meat, etc. And so but there is language there that says These examples are just illustrative, the money goes towards general operating support. And so I would just look at that language and see the way they do it as one point of reference. So hope that’s helpful. And let’s bring it home with board fundraising. So first of all, you know, this is probably the most popular type of consulting work I do, because I do fundraising work, I do board governance where and when you put the two of those together, getting your board to fundraise, it can really be a challenge for many organizations. Typically what happens is, number one, organizations are not setting proper expectations of what it means to be a board member, and they just assume people know. And number two, a lot of board members say Oh, I don’t want to fundraise. I don’t want to ask people for money. Right? And that needs to be okay. You can’t force people into making events. What you can do, though, is you can address this misconstrued notion that fundraising is all about making the ask. That’s like saying dating is all about the proposal for marriage. It is very much a point of culmination. But there’s a lot of work that goes into it, and that flows out of it. The best way to help them really wrap their head around that is to stage what’s called a thank Athan, where you divvy up a call list of your existing donors. Remember, we want those seven touch points. And this is a beautiful one. And you just give people a short little call script to say, hey, Darien, this is Bob over at NUMMI Foundation. And I just wanted to call the thank you for your $500 gift in December. With your support, we launched a whole emergency food relief program and delivered half a million pounds of fresh organic produce to low income families. Just wanted to thank you for making our world possible. Have a good day. Click, no asked no invitation, no pitch, just saying thank you. And number one that connects your board to give hang in to fundraising. Number two, how do you think that donor feels? And are they going to be more likely to give more next time you better believe it? And when they do and when you let that board member know, hey, remember Bob? Well, he just went from being a $500 donor to a $5,000 donor. Way to go thanks so much. And all of a sudden the board members feeling like maybe this fundraising stuffs not so hard after all. So really, really great way to help board members experience and internalize the notion that fundraising is about more than the ask the other you know sort of iteration of this that’s really powerful is the The data I’ve seen from Bloomerang suggests that if a donor especially a new donor receives a call from a board member of the nonprofit within two days, 48 hours of a gift, their lifetime value goes up by 50%. So having a small committee of board members together, who are there is like the Bat Squad where, hey, we just got $1,000 gift, can anybody call this person and just say thank you, today or tomorrow, that is a really, really great fundraising strategy. And all of these board giving tips are critical in the midst of COVID. Because we need to build up our internal capacity to raise more money. And in general, the best way to do that and to engage your board in fundraising. The smartest thing I’ve heard in general about fundraising is that if you want advice, ask for money. If you want money, ask for advice, right. And the idea is, most often, again, nobody likes to be treated like an ATM, if you just expect board members to like have zero input on the impact and the mission of the organization, but be there to go raise money, it doesn’t work that way. And on the flip side, if you get them explicitly engaged in the mission in the impact, and you really give them a deep sense of ownership, they will naturally and organically give more and help raise more. Very, very critical. So what does that look like? Well, first of all, you have to internalize the fact that it is not the board’s fault. If they’re not engaged in fundraising, it is your fault. And you need to think about how to better engage them. The three best tools in my experience for doing this and I have some templates, I can email out to anybody that wants them, or a board member agreement, a board matrix and a consent calendar. And in short, a board member agreement is a super simple job description, two or three pages that every board member signs along with a chair that lays out exactly what is expected of them as members. And this is where you put the pill in the cheese to get the dog to take its medicine. This is where we talk about fundraising responsibilities. The board matrix is a powerful tool to help really makes sure your approach to recruitment and expansion of the board is strategic and intentional, specifically that the entire board and executive staff at all points in time, have a clear sense of and consensus around what are our top three recruitment priorities. And then finally, the consent calendar is a transformative tool that allows you to migrate your board meetings from 80 to 90%, monologue updates, FYI, eyes into 90% dialogue, problem solving and moving the mission forward. So let’s talk about these real quick. Again, I do have some examples I can send out. This is sort of just like an example of a board member agreement. I don’t know how well you can really see it on the screen. But again, I can send this out afterward. The point is, it’s a super simple word document, you put it on letterhead, it starts out with a really brief description of the organization because they already know about you. And the most important point is there is a checklist here of exactly what it means to be a board member of this organization.