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Frank Barry is a digital and online marketing strategist at Blackbaud. He's spent close to ten years helping nonprofits be more
We recently released the most comprehensive analysis of online giving trends in the nonprofit sector.
Ok, ok ... that sounds a little bit like bragging, but I promise the report is worth the read.
In our 2011 Online Giving Report we've combined findings from The Blackbaud Index of Online Giving with additional multiyear giving data, which allows us to pull out a very rich set of insights. Here are a few of the highlights.
Download the Complete 2011 Online Giving Report for FREE Today
Understanding the data and where the nonprofit industry is headed can be useful, but without action it's purely academic. It's important that you take the appropriate steps to ensure your making the most of your online fundraising efforts.
To that end, here are five tactics that every nonprofit should be using to improve their online fundraising effectiveness.
It's pretty well known that most fundraising happens in the last few months of the year.
Our research shows that 34.8% of online giving happened in October, November, and December of 2011 with December accounting for 20.3% of the 34.8%.
The key take away here is that you should be thinking of ways to more evenly distribute your online fundraising throughout the year.
Don't rely solely on end-of-year campaigns and the giving season.
Get out there and make something happen in Q1, Q2, and Q3 by doing things that drive people to your nonprofits website on a regular basis.
Search engine optimization, paid search through Google Adwords, content marketing, social media engagement, and display advertising all come to mind as very successful ways to drive traffic to your website on an ongoing basis.
Once you have someone on your website it's important to make a good impression and put the right opportunity in front of them.
The Humane Society decided to make recurring giving, instead of "give now," the opportunity they'd present website visitors with.
This tactic is genius because it helps do two things.
First, it solves the end-of-year giving problem by getting people to give on a monthly basis. This increases giving throughout the year and decreases the Humane Society's reliance on people supporting their organization in October, November, and December.
Second, it solves the retention problem that every nonprofit deals with by getting people to commit to more than one gift right from the beginning. The more they can get people to do this the type of online giving the less they'll be affected by one-and-done giving.
If you've done the work to get someone to your website and presented them with the right opportunity then you'd better be ready to close the deal.
Once someone makes the decision to take advantage of the opportunity you've given them and they get to the donation page on your website, it should be mindlessly simple for them to complete the transaction.
Charity:water has done a very nice job ensuring their donation form is simple to complete.
The basics are in place. They've got a clear title telling you what to do, a simple form, visually clear markers telling you what fields are required, and a nice layout.
Beyond this they've done three additional things very well.
First, they removed all the clutter. You can't sign up for their newsletter, register for an event, learn more about their programs, or anything else that might otherwise distract you from completing the transaction.
Second, they've boldly told you how much of your gift goes to the work they are doing.
Third, they tell what type of things they do with your money. Cement, pipes, taps and pump heads, hardhats and safety gear, motorbikes and trucks, salaries for local drillers, hygiene education, project maintenance, and so on.
They make it very clear that your money is being used to do the work on the ground.
Once someone has decided to give you money it's important to stay in regular communication with them.
Email is a great way to do that.
Send regular updates about the work you're doing. Include photos and videos if possible. The more effective you can be at helping your donors see how their money is making a difference in the world the better off you're going to be.
In today's social world it's important to be thinking about the "sharability" of everything you do.
If you've done everything in tips one through four above it's likely you're already on your way to having something that people want to share, but sometimes it takes a little more creativity to make people want to share with their friends and family.
Autism Speaks created a unique and fun way to raise money online that was so engaging that people couldn't help but share it.
Instead of trying to get people to give a one-time gift through a donation form, Autism Speaks created Puzzlebuilder - an engaging app where supporters can create a puzzle with their personal photos along with giving a donation of $10 per puzzle piece in support of a great cause. Once someone completes their puzzle they are prompted to promote their work via email, Facebook and, Twitter.
Sharing baked right in.
I had the opportunity to present this material along side Alec Stern from Constant Contact at an event in San Francisco hosted by TechSoup. We'll be doing a number of webinars on related social media, marketing, communications, and fundraising topics from now through June.
Take a look at the upcoming schedule and don't forget to register for my upcoming session on April 10, 2011 Online Giving Trends and 5 Tactics Your Nonprofit Must Implement Today.
Check out the presentation slides for 2011 Online Giving Trends by Blackbaud.
How does your nonprofit measure up? Are you seeing results that mirror what the research shows or something different? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Oh, and don't forget to Download the Complete 2011 Online Giving Report for FREE Today.
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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