Humility, listening, new technological keys to convince donors
Humility, listening, new technological keys to convince donors
Fundraisers can persuade more people to donate if they admit they don’t know everything and are willing to experiment, an expert in the field told the seventh annual Innovation and Technology Summit recently. Optimization of Nonprofit Organizations (NIOs) in Kansas City.
“The number one trait of successful fundraising is humility,” said NextAfter agency president Jeff Giddens. “When you say I don’t know, it opens up this whole new world.”
Around 880 people attended the event, which offered advice on how to grow fundraising online.
Giddens said humility fosters curiosity, which nurtures experimentation. For example, someone at a nonprofit might want to know if inflation is affecting donor donations. “I’m not a global economist,” Giddens said. “I don’t know. But, we might find out.
Giddens cited a case where an organization contacted potential donors who had never given and asked them for smaller donations. The result was a 56% increase in donations and a 28% increase in revenue.
“So does that mean inflation is affecting donor donations?” I do not know. But I know for this organization and this call, if you ask people a little less, you might get a lot more,” he said.
In another example, Giddens cited an organization that was failing to get people on its donor list to sign up for emails that would keep them informed. “Sign up and stay informed” didn’t work, nor did “get updates and stay connected”.
Finally, someone who didn’t work on this particular account suggested asking people if they would “like” to stay informed, and this “micro-request” was successful in getting more people to sign up.
“All of these experiences show you that it’s really hard, as a fundraiser, to rely on your own intuition and your own best practices,” Giddens said. “I’ve heard that best practices, if you repeat them often enough, sometimes become collective ignorance. Everyone starts doing the same thing. But through testing and optimization, you can get more people to say yes.
Dan Brown, direct response management consultant for consultancy American Philanthropic, advised attendees on how to maximize digital and mail efforts in times of inflation. Brown gave a hypothetical example of an organization that generates 2,000 responses and an average donation of $100 from 50,000 snail mails. He said he would recommend data modeling in such a case.
“You model your file from 50,000 to about 40,000, dropping the people least likely to respond,” he said. “That saves you about $10,000. You have to pay for modeling, but paying for modeling helps you send mail smarter and you reinvest the savings into digital efforts. »
Brown said content for a digital giving campaign should be clear, concise, compelling and consistent.
“It needs to be clear to someone outside your walls, so they can understand what you’re talking about and what you’re asking them to do. It should be concise. If you sent a four-page letter, you should condense it to five to seven words in most display ads. It must be convincing. You have to give them a reason to click. You need to have some consistency in certain words and phrases and look for them to work together.
Gabe Cooper, founder and CEO of fundraising platform Virtuous, said too many nonprofit managers are stuffing donors into a “direct-response sausage grinder”. No matter how or why these people came, they all receive our November call. They all receive the same newsletter. They all receive the same end-of-year campaign.
But since most giving involves a personal connection to a cause, fundraisers need to foster more relationships with donors based on the things that interest them, Cooper said. Nonprofits can learn what interests donors by noting behaviors such as volunteering, attending an event, opening an email, downloading an e-book from the organizing or demonstrating an affinity for a particular cause, he said.
“If you’re not doing a cross-channel donor welcome series, start with this,” Cooper said. “Think about other behaviors that your donors typically engage in that might be a signal for both of you to treat them differently. Identify three. Send an email, a text, maybe a phone call, maybe a card mail, all related to this behavior.”
Cooper said fundraisers who follow these strategies see increases in donor retention, donation size and engagement. “And that shouldn’t surprise us, because giving is personal.”
Other speakers at the summit include:
- Marcus Sheridan, keynote speaker and owner of IMPACT, said nonprofits need to build trust with donors through transparency and produce videos that answer donor questions about nonprofits. “Ask donors what excites them.”
- Ardee Coolidgedigital strategist at NextAfter, said organizations should humanize their giving pages, ask donors for less money, and “talk less about yourself and more about your donors. Donors want to be the hero of the story.
- Bart Schutz, co-founder and owner of the company Online Dialogue, said fundraisers should create content that resonates with donors’ emotions, for example through nudges. Examples include the use of images of people appearing happy or sad.
- Courtney Gaines, senior vice president of NextAfter, said organizations need to turn donor emotions into lifelong feelings to build better relationships. “Be human and personal. Cultivation emails must come from a person.
- Nathan Hill, vice president of the NextAfter Institute, said too many organizations are abandoning their donors. “We found that 45% of nonprofits didn’t send anything to new online donors.” He added that organizations should stop asking donors to do things that might prevent them from donating, such as following the organization on social media.
- Dana Snyder, founder and CEO of agency Positive Equation, said fundraisers need to know what their donors are thinking, feeling and doing, including what they’re looking for. “Delivering the right content to drive engagement on the right channels.”
- Shawn Oldco-founder and CEO of the boodleAI platform, said organizations can implement a micro-fundraising campaign in four weeks by understanding who their donors are, finding more people like those donors, and running ads targeted digital.
- Emily Taylor, director of teenyBIG, said organizations should engage in prototyping and listening to “create ideas, put them in people’s heads, and listen to them to improve our ideas. Welcome negative feedback.
- Michael Kingfounder and CEO of search engine optimization company iPullRank, said “the more authoritative the content, the better it performs. Avoid duplicate content on your website. King said there is too much content management systems to choose from and that organizations should choose systems that offer speed, flexibility and accessibility.
- Krista Seiden, founder and principal consultant at KS Digital, said fundraisers should maximize their use of Google Analytics 4, a web analytics service. She said users can enter donation funnels at different times to see how many donors are entering at those times and see what steps people are taking to donate.
Julius Karash is a Kansas City, Mo.-based freelance business writer and longtime contributor to The NonProfit Times. He is based in Kansas City and his email is [email protected]