Getting Noticed on #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is a powerful swell of support for philanthropy across the world. With over 1.5 million gifts given last year, it’s clear donors are paying attention. Make sure your content helps your mission stand out on Giving Tuesday!

Check out our video below for three tips for outstanding #GivingTuesday content, even with the smallest of budgets.

Do you need help planning your biggest #GivingTuesday yet? …or launching your first? No one has planned and launched more online giving days that Groundwork Digital. Fill out your contact info below and we’ll get back to you with a free, 30-minute #GivingTuesday consultation.

Online Ambassadors Lead to Major Donor Fundraising

The bigger the purchase, the more our peers influence our decision.

2014 Word of Mouth Marketing Association study found that “higher consideration purchases” – like buying a home or a car – are influenced by peer recommendation more than “lower consideration purchases” such as clothing or food.

Would you agree that a major gift is more of a big or “higher consideration” purchase than a “lower consideration” purchase? Of course that’s true. Learn more about how this translates into major gifts fundraising in the video below:

Is your organization or institution uncovering new major gift prospects with online ambassadors? Are your digitally savvy major donors leading seven-figure online fundraising campaigns? If not, send us your contact info via the form below and we’ll get right back to you with some ideas on advancing peer-to-peer for major gifts at your organization.

Trust in Influencers

 

The for-profit world has been placing value in peer-to-peer influencers or “online ambassadors” for years. And the results show that trust in ambassadors is paying off for many companies.

In fact, “trust” has a lot to do with why ambassadors are so effective in modern marketing and communications.

CHECK OUT THIS LINK FOR SOME STUNNING ONLINE AMBASSADOR STATISTICS

People buy based on what their friends tell them, because of trust. When a relationship starts with trust, it tends to last longer. Consider these stats from the above link:

  • 92 percent of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands
  • 74 percent of consumers use social media to make purchase decisions
  • 37 percent better retention is reported for customers acquired through word-of-mouth advertising

What does that mean for donor acquisition? …and retention? The fact is, online ambassador communication works just as well – maybe better – in the nonprofit world.

In reviewing online ambassador activity that that took place on the ScaleFunder giving day platform in 2016, each ambassador would, on average, raise $125 during a giving day.

Perhaps even more staggering is this 2015 Blackbaud study that found 1 in 4 emails from online ambassadors led to a gift – a whopping 25 percent conversion rate. That’s compared to 1 in 1,250 emails from the organization that led to a gift – a paltry .08 percent conversion.

Again, for those keeping score, that’s a 25 percent conversion rate for ambassador-sent email versus a .08 conversion rate for emails sent by the organization.

It almost makes you wonder if you should ever send a solicitation email that is not from an online ambassador?

And it works for major donors, too. Check out the video below that details how the higher the price tag (a major gift, for example), the more peer influence impacts the decision.

Now here’s the catch – it’s not easy. Online ambassador programs are volunteer programs and they require careful and frequent management …but if you do it right, you have the potential to transform your development operation for the 21st century.

And guess what? Groundwork Digital has built dozens of online ambassador programs. Click here to send us a message and set up a time to talk about how we can help revolutionize your development operation with peer-to-peer fundraising.

 

Want to increase online engagement? Stop being so serious!

FunderfulThis article was contributed by Funderful and originally appeared in the April edition of CASE Currents magazine. Click here to read more.

Working adults crave fun. Four out of 10 adults worldwide deal with excessive pressure on the job, according to a global workforce study by Towers Watson. A recent work survey showed that more than 80 percent of Americans are stressed about at least one thing at work—from low pay and long commutes to overwhelming workloads and annoying co-workers. Put another way, we want to laugh more.

Your alumni are also begging for something fun that will grab their attention. Let’s look at ways your university can dust the stuffiness off of its giving campaigns and attract the attention of long-lost alumni.

When we took over alumni giving as volunteers for the alumni association at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga in 2007, the participation rate was zero percent. Four years later, participation was at 11 percent, and we ambitiously decided to surpass the rate of the university that raised the most money that year—Stanford University, which received gifts from 34 percent of its alumni in 2011. Two years later, our Let’s Beat Stanford campaign came to fruition: Approximately every third alumnus donated, increasing participation by 318 percent. This multiyear campaign also allowed us to grant 60 scholarships and provide ongoing support to renovate an auditorium.

How did we do it? By challenging egos, inventing mascots, tapping into nostalgia, and having fun.

The annual participation rate is the best measure of the strength of an alumni network—and the only true metric, suggests Dave Celone, former head of the annual giving effort at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. Alumni participation has steadily declined throughout the last decade, even as total amounts of fundraising have grown. We as an industry are good at contacting prospects but struggle when old tools no longer engage the masses—and when alumni adapt to new technologies faster than we do. More charities are also competing for the same donors than ever before.

Traditional approaches seem to have reached their limits. 47 percent of people find it annoying to be solicited for gifts via phone, revealed a 2013 survey from the U.K.–based nfpSynergy, a research consultancy for nonprofits. It’s time to rethink your strategy.

You may be hearing a lot about gamification as a flashy way to change people’s behavior. Yet if you’re not addressing the innate needs and desires that get people to participate and care about something, it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on social media campaigns, fancy websites, or exotic scavenger hunts and adventure mazes.

Think about what drives people to spend. Everyone has to allocate money for necessities like housing, gasoline, insurance, and groceries. Beyond that, most money is spent on entertainment— dinners, movies, iPads, vacations. Fun makes people part with their earnings, not only when they want to but even when they know they shouldn’t. When you combine fun with great causes, you can give people the amusement they desire and are willing to pay for. But even more than fun, good appeals, regardless of medium, have to address the need for playing, being social, and receiving recognition for good deeds. Give your alumni a game, absolutely, but match that game with insights into your community, and you will have an approach that gives the best digital life to your campaign.

If you want prospective donors to fall in love with your cause, these components are crucial. Instead of considering the needs of the institution, remind alumni what makes it special.

The key to engaging more people is to appeal to a number of triggers: peer pressure (All your friends are donating! You should too!); competition (Can your class be the most spirited?); nostalgia (Remember how fun it was here?); and pride (Look what your university has accomplished!). If you can integrate these elements into your messaging and appeals, you will persuade alumni to part with their time and money. Participation rates will soar.

Go ahead, try it. We dare you.

BWF_social’s 2014 Higher Education Giving Day Survey Results

  • Columbia’s Giving Days raised $6.8 million from 4,940 donors in 2012, $7.8 million from nearly 9,700 donors in 2013, and $11 million+ from 10,400 donors in 2014.
  • The University of Sydney’s September 2014 “Pave the Way” Campaign raised $932,000 from more than 1,000 donors.
  • Santa Clara University’s April 2014 “Power of One Day” raised $795,000 from almost 3,000 donors.

The numbers are clear—when planned well, online giving days can be enormous fundraising tools. In higher education, colleges and universities are leveraging giving days to acquire new donors, meet fundraising goals, and engage major gift supporters. But you don’t have to take our word for it…

BWF_social recently concluded a survey of 45 higher education institutions. The respondents included schools of all size and scope—from public universities to liberal arts colleges. Much like the schools, the scale of the giving days varied, but the numbers are clear—giving days equal big fundraising for nearly every school that put resources toward the effort.

To view a summary of the survey’s highlights, click on the infographic below. For the full results of the survey, click here. Wanna join the list of institutions that have conducted leading giving days? Click here to learn more about how BWF_social can help ensure a big online fundraising event for your school.

2014 BWF_social Online Giving Day Survey

 

BWF_social to Tour West Coast with FREE Online Fundraising Workshop

BWF presents a FREE half-day workshop to help your nonprofit raise more money online.

BWF presents a FREE half-day workshop to help your nonprofit raise more money online.

Oh, the things we now know about online fundraising. For example, did you know that…

  • Online acquired donors give twice as much to your organization as those acquired off line via channels like direct mail? (Blackbaud/Convio study)
  • Donors who give online have much higher household incomes than those who don’t give online? (Blackbaud/Convio study)
  • Social media is the #1 way most Americans now learn or a new cause to support? (Georgetown/Waggener Edstrom study)

Online and social media isn’t a luxury add on to your nonprofit organization’s communication strategy anymore – it’s a necessity for the future survival of your organization that will also raise big money and acquire lots of new donors RIGHT NOW. And now is when you want to get started on a strategy that helps you connect with donors on this ever-expanding medium.

On July 21, 22, and 23, BWF_social’s lead consultant Justin Ware will join Bentz Whaley Flessner principal Josh Birkholz for a three-city road show focused on building your online and social media presence for fundraising. In each city, Justin and Josh will deliver a three-hour morning workshop that will consist of two sessions and wrap up before lunch (because we know how busy you are). Best of all, it’s free!

To register for the Monday, 7/21 Los Angeles event, click here.

To register for the Tuesday, 7/22 San Francisco event, click here.

To register for the Wednesday, 7/23 Seattle event, click here.

Looking forward to seeing you soon on the West Coast!

Higher Ed Online Fundraising and the Rise of “Money Bombs”

Arizona State: $3.059 million in 36 hours … Columbia University: $7.8 million in 24 hours (after raising $6.8 million just one year earlier) … Santa Clara University: 2,600+ donors in 24 hours – by far their biggest day for donor participation ever.

Thanks, in part, to a strong social media strategy, Santa Clara University saw record-breaking donor participation during their first ever "money bomb" online campaign.

Thanks, in part, to a strong social media strategy, Santa Clara University saw record-breaking donor participation during their first ever “money bomb” online campaign.

Short duration, online fundraising campaigns or “money bombs” are taking over higher education. But it’s not as easy as sending out an email and posting a few things on Facebook. The institutions that have had success have invested tens, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in three main areas to prepare for these online events:

  • Well-designed, donor-centric online infrastructure (campaign landing pages, giving forms, mobile sites, etc).
  • A long-term online and social media strategy (not just for the campaign, but throughout the year).
  • Peer-to-peer or online ambassador programs.

If you’re interested in learning much more about the above suggestions, check out the following web chat from the Chronicle of Philanthropy (full-length chat posted below). In it, I’m joined by Georgetown’s Joannah Pickett (chief architect and strategist behind GU’s perfectly executed City Challenge online campaigns), Ohio State’s Chad Warren (one of the best online campaign planners in the business who has both Florida State’s Great Give and Dayton’s I Love UD campaigns under his belt), and the Chronicle’s Cody Switzer:

 

Are you ready to plan an online fundraising campaign for your institution? We have plenty of experience helping our clients achieve online fundraising success during these money bomb efforts. Click here for my BWF contact info or here for my LinkedIn to connect with me (Justin Ware) and learn more about how we might work together.