Best Practices for FUNDRAISING SUCCESS

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1 Best Practices for FUNDRAISING SUCCESS Diversifying Giving Channels KATYA ANDRESEN, MELISSA BANK STEPNO, AMY BRAITERMAN, DANIELLE BRIGIDA, MARK DAVIS, CASEY GOLDEN, TOM KRACKELER, SUSAN ULRICH MCLAUGHLIN, KATHERINE SWANK & CURT WEEDEN

2 Best Practices for Fundraising Success Diversifying Giving Channels Authors Katya Andresen Melissa Bank Stepno Amy Braiterman Danielle Brigida Mark Davis Casey Golden Tom Krackeler Susan Ulrich McLaughlin Katherine Swank Curt Weeden 2012

3 Copyright 2012 Blackbaud, Inc. All rights reserved. ISBN-13: ISBN-10: X All Blackbaud product names appearing herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Blackbaud, Inc.

4 Table of Contents Introduction: Foreword by Chuck Longfield Multichannel Fundraising: Best Practices Pay Long-Term Dividends... iv Chapter One Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: Turn Constituents into Advocates and Advocates into Donors... 1 Chapter Two The Mobile Frontier: Successful Strategies from Text-to-Give and Beyond... 7 Chapter Three Understanding the Value of Your Social Media Influencers Chapter Four Principal Giving: The Race Is On for Transformational Donors Chapter Five Analyzing the Value of Special Events: Strategies for Success Chapter Six Corporate Giving: How a Deal Trumps an Appeal Chapter Seven Best Practices and Cultivation Strategies for Planned Giving Programs About the Authors... 55

5 Best Practices Introduction Multichannel Fundraising: Best Practices Pay Long-Term Dividends Chuck Longfield, Chief Scientist, Blackbaud Fundraisers have been asking for donations since the dawn of time, employing new strategies, revenue streams, and communications channels along the way. In ancient Greece, the wealthy donated to the building of temples and theaters, motivated by peer pressure and high ideals. From time immemorial, religions have raised funds for places of worship and to help the poor, calling on donors relationships with a higher power. American colonists solicited funds for schools and fire engines, citing the greater good. In 1865, the Salvation Army used personal appeal letters to raise money, food, and clothing. The Civil War fueled women-led fundraising fairs and bazaars, and the First World War saw the rise of nonprofits here and abroad, committed to supporting soldiers and affected citizens. They used word of mouth, events, posters, newspapers, and film. Radio appeals during World War II raised millions. In 1917, Girl Scouts began selling cookies to their friends and neighbors, and early in the century, direct mail emerged as a powerhouse an emotional appeal, an address, a stamp and fundraising was revolutionized. In the 1940s, television gave rise to the telethon, and in the 1990s Greenpeace popularized street-corner fundraising. Telemarketing was hot on its heels, and then the World Wide Web changed it all again by enabling one-to-many communications. Today, social media empowers new networks and channels in ways that we re still trying to understand. iv

6 It s an innovative history, but in every case, the early adopter was quickly copied by thousands of others, reducing initial gains. Discouraging? Quite the opposite. Our willingness to share what works is one of the strengths of our industry, because it allows us to identify and implement best practices techniques that consistently deliver better results than other methods. The trouble is, too many of us don t follow best practices. The medical industry, for example, has a number of best practices that are routinely ignored. Boston surgeon and Harvard professor Atul Gawande found and reported that while hand-washing is a proven best practice in reducing patient infection, doctors wash their hands only one-third as often as they are supposed to, resulting in thousands of unnecessary infections and deaths. 1 Our own industry has a classic example. A number of years ago, Penelope Burk, president of Cygnus Applied Research, Inc., wrote about the importance of thank-you calls in retaining donors. Through research, she found that when nonprofits call new donors to say thank you those donors feel significantly more valued and reward the organization with increased loyalty and money. In fact, there is a direct relationship between thank-you calls and the following year s giving donors who received thank-you calls give 40 percent more the following year. 2 I have repeated this research many times over the past two years, and have found similar results. And yet, in my work with clients, I see very few organizations that consistently make these thank-you calls. While there are any number of reasons why people and organizations don t follow proven best practices, there are always more reasons for people to do so. It improves results in hospitals, in nonprofits, in the airlines, and in other industries. v

7 Best Practices Today s fundraising landscape is complex and changes quickly. To navigate in this new world, we need to follow best practices, to share our experiences, and to benchmark our results. In this book, industry experts share proven best practices for various channels and revenue streams; the information has been broken down into easy-to-adopt guidelines. I hope that it will help you as you set strategies and plan your campaigns and events. In summary, I would like to thank all of those who have generously shared their experiences and best practices with us. It strengthens the entire industry and positions us for a future that will be assuredly even more complex. 1. ATUL GAWANDE, Better: a Surgeon s Notes on Performance, Metropolitan Books, Penelope Burk, Cygnus Applied Research, Inc. History of Direct Mail, Direct-Mail.org, Duneroller Publishing, Recommended Reading 1. The Pre- and Early History of American Corporate Philanthropy, Benjamin J. Soskis, PhD, the Center for Ethical Business Cultures, Soskis_-_History_of_Corporate_Giving_wp_final.pdf. 2. The SOFII History Project, The SOFII Foundation 2010, term/315 Rallying a Nation: American Red Cross Advertising During World War I, 3. Women in the American Civil War, Lisa Tendrich Frank, ABC-CLIO, vi

8 Chapter One Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: Turn Constituents into Advocates and Advocates into Donors by Amy Braiterman, Principal Strategy Consultant, Blackbaud Today, peer-to-peer fundraising is practiced primarily by voluntary health organizations, but the strategy is becoming increasingly popular with community, arts, cultural, environmental, faith-based, international aid, higher education, and other organizations. Why? It s simple by incorporating peer-to-peer fundraising into your existing marketing programs, you can increase revenues without significantly increasing costs. Here s an example. Let s say your zoo is raising money for a new elephant exhibit via a brick-buying campaign. While you ve offered engraved bricks at $100, $250, and $500, the reality is, not everyone can afford a $100 brick. So ask yourself: How many of my volunteers, members, and visitors could raise $10 from ten family members to buy a $100 brick? How many could raise $25 from 20 family members and friends to buy a $500 brick? Most likely, many of them could. What you have to do is give them the opportunity and the support to fundraise for your cause. In this chapter, I outline five best practices for a successful peer-to-peer fundraising program, offer tips on how they can be integrated into your campaigns, and provide examples of organizations that are successfully using peer-to-peer strategies. The benefits of peer-to-peer fundraising There are many benefits of peer-to-peer fundraising, including relative lowcost, productive personal appeals, and extended reach into the community. 1

9 Best Practices Low-Cost Appeals: Today, peer-to-peer fundraising is often done online, which generates interest in an organization at little to no cost. Management is done via a website with online tools, significantly reducing the cost of operation. A great example: The University of New Haven Athletics program was raising money in a variety of ways from membership dues to bake sales to annual campaigns. Adding an online peer-to-peer fundraising component to these existing campaigns proved inexpensive and effective. By sending s and connecting with their social networks, student athletes were able to meet their fundraising goals. Personal Appeals: Another benefit of peer-to-peer fundraising that is often overlooked is that it s personal so giving is less likely to be influenced by the economy. Compelling Ask : Your supporters are able to make personal appeals, resonating with potential donors in a way an organization can t. Extended Reach: You can reach donors otherwise unknown to you by tapping into your supporters social and family networks. Online social networks are powerful, and your supporters have compelling stories to share. If you can identify your super social people, all the better they will spread your message and deliver support. Inclusive: Even if volunteers or members are unable to give financially, they can solicit their family and friends to support a cause they feel strongly about. Compatible with Existing Programs: Peer-to-peer fundraising is supplementary to not competitive with your development portfolio. Incorporate it into your current campaigns, and reap the benefits. Best practices for a successful peer-to-peer fundraising program Based on quantitative research, qualitative findings, and interviews with leading nonprofits, five best practices emerge: 2

10 1. Ensure organization-wide support 2. Encourage or expand online use and ecommunications 3. Provide support 4. Standardize tracking and reporting 5. Create a recognition program 1. Ensure organization-wide support Nonprofits with organization-wide support for their peer-to-peer programs are more successful. Why? Because when everyone agrees on the value of building partnerships with online constituents, good things happen. Once engaged, peer-to-peer fundraisers can become avid champions and long-term supporters of the organization. How can you make it work for you? Learn who your online fundraisers are remember, many of them are directly affected by the cause you represent and personify the very audience your mission serves. Treat fundraisers like major gift donors, honoring the time, talent, and treasure they give so freely and passionately to your organization. 2. Encourage and expand online use and ecommunications Ask yourself: Do we have a traditional fundraising channel that could benefit from a complementary online element? The Salvation Army did just that when they took an offline holiday tradition and added an online program to acquire new donors and appeal to a younger audience. You ve probably seen a traditional Red Kettle outside a local retailer, but now everyone has the ability to be a bell ringer via the Online Red Kettle program. Individuals are able to sign up online, create their own Red Kettle and fundraise to support the work of The Salvation 3

11 Best Practices Army. In 2011, online bell ringers raised an additional $1.8 million to support services in 5,000 communities nationwide. Encouraging peer-to-peer fundraisers to register, communicate, and fundraise online is a win-win situation. Fundraisers can avoid writing receipts, staff can spend less time processing manual offline donations, and the chance of error can be significantly reduced. In practice: Set the expectation by requiring everyone to register online. Test your website to ensure the registration, donation, and online fundraising tools are intuitive and user friendly. Offering a positive end-user experience is an easy way to encourage repeat usage. Communicate the benefits of using online tools and ask your supporters to encourage their supporters to donate online. Benefits include fewer costs to the organization and more time for individuals to fundraise. 3. Provide support Your supporters are caring, motivated, and asking for guidance. Respond with a support program that educates, empowers, and encourages their participation. They don t want you to run their fundraising program, but they do want assistance and guidance on how they can be successful. Help them marry their passion with your mission: Staff a part- or full-time employee (available by phone and ) to provide personal customer service to your peer-to-peer fundraisers. Provide materials on that can easily be downloaded. For example: An organization fact sheet A basics of fundraising or hosting an event fact sheet Instructions on how to use online tools Approved logos ( Proud Supporter Of ), letters of support, Ask, and news release templates 4

12 Stay in touch with all of you peer-to-peer fundraisers, recognizing, and supporting them. 4. Standardize tracking and reporting Tracking fundraising progress is a crucial step to make sure you re on target to meet your revenue goals. The same rule applies to peer-to-peer fundraising programs. It s important for organizations to standardize reporting to monitor the program s success. Make a list of the standard metrics your organization intends to monitor regularly to measure the program s progress and performance. Consider: Number of participants Number of repeat versus new participants Participant fundraising activity Track the engagement level of participants (number of gifts, s sent, Facebook messages sent, goals achieved). Proactively communicate with participants regarding their activity levels to encourage them when and where it is needed. Number of donors Total peer-to-peer online revenue Plan on reviewing overall program reports weekly, every other week, or monthly to monitor progress, respond to participant needs, and forecast the future. 5. Create a recognition program There are three primary reasons a volunteer, participant, or donor gives his or her time, talent, and treasure: To belong, feel good, and be acknowledged. A recognition program is the final element to keep your supporters motivated and committed. 5

13 Best Practices To have an effective recognition program, you don t need to spend money on gifts, but do you do have to be thoughtful about it. Think of it this way: If you give a gift to an organization you feel connected to, how do you want to be recognized? Design a recognition program around your objectives. Share the successes of top fundraisers and top teams with stories in enewsletters and on your website. Consider offering a Legacy or Super Star program for long-term and high-achieving peer-to-peer fundraisers. Include an honor roll on your main page and on participant pages. Use social media to celebrate online fundraising efforts, including YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Include a message board on your website for others to comment and support fundraisers. Offer the ability to post tributes allowing fundraisers to share who they are acting in memory of, if appropriate. Above all Say thank you! Send or handwritten notes it s one of the most powerful things you can do! If you follow these best practices, you ll drive revenue, create greater awareness, and acquire new supporters. That is, with a little help from your friends and their friends. 6

14 Chapter Two The Mobile Frontier: Successful Strategies from Text-to-Give and Beyond by Katya Andresen, Chief Strategy Officer, Network for Good Tom Krackeler, Former Vice President of Common Ground, Convio Smartphones,Quick Response Codes, texting. Everywhere you turn there seems to be a new story about mobile, be it on your Facebook page or your local evening news. Mobile has expanded beyond simple text-to-give campaigns designed to aid in times of emergency. For nonprofits, the magic of mobile is having a way to reach constituents regardless of where they are. Mobile is the most immediate communication channel out there, and there are many proven strategies and emerging techniques for using it to engage your supporters. Fundraise via mobile, allow participants to register for your event, encourage the community to advocate for your cause, or simply use mobile to be accessible and create a dialogue. It s up to you. This chapter provides a brief overview of mobile, outlines its potential benefits, and explores the ways in which your organization can use it for deeper, more personalized engagement. We ll help you ask the right questions to determine if mobile is right for your organization and who should be involved in the effort. And we ll explore ways to successfully integrate mobile into your other fundraising efforts for the most impact. What does mobile include? Here are the basics: Smartphone: A mobile phone built on a computing platform, allowing you to do more than just make calls. Many smartphones such as the Apple iphone, RIM Blackberry, or those powered by Google s Android 7

15 Best Practices software allow you to manage your daily schedule, take photos, check , and browse the Internet. Mobile Web: A browser used to access the Internet via a mobile device. The mobile web poses unique challenges. Because screen sizes are smaller, many organizations streamline the information and work to make sure any site content or forms are easy to use. App: If you re familiar with the iphone, you re familiar with apps, which are small applications that are built to work with smartphones. They do not generally access the mobile web via a browser but instead help the user focus on a specific task organizing a grocery list, looking up information on a favorite film, booking an airline ticket, etc. Recent research indicates that 35 percent of U.S. adults have cell phones with apps, a number that s expected to continue to grow. 1 Text Messaging: Text messaging allows users to exchange brief messages over a network. The messages can be limited to text only or can contain images, video, or sound content and many include a call to action, either to visit a website or respond with a code to make a donation. Text is also among the most popular means of mobile communication with The Pew Research Center reporting that 72 percent of U.S. adult cell phone users send and receive text messages. Numbers like 72 percent sound impressive but who s doing the texting? Who s going mobile? In short: Everyone. Generation Y, defined as the generation of people currently between the ages of 18 and 27 and representing 82 billion consumers, continues to lead the way. Almost 90 percent of users in this age range use their mobile devices to share pictures or blog posts. Additionally, 51 percent of Generation Y in the U.S. report that they use their mobile phone as their primary access to the Internet. 2 According to Convio s research in The Next Generation of American Giving, these mobile users aren t just surfing; they re taking action and mobile devices are frequently cited as an emerging channel for Gen Y donors. 8

16 But mobile use isn t limited to younger users. Numbers vary, but Nielsen reports more than 1 in 10 adults aged 55 and older are using smartphones. 3 While the numbers are small today compared to younger users, it s important to note that mobile use among baby boomers is growing in surprising ways. Many are using the phones to play games, and tablets like the ipad offer excellent examples of mobile devices that are empowering a broader audience of adults to access and explore the web in new ways. And remember: While this number may seem small, the quality of the boomer audience using mobile devices represents the technology-savvy, often well-educated and affluent who may be good major donor prospects for your organization. Gen Y: 90% use their mobile devices to share pictures or blog posts. Boomers: One in ten aged 55 and older are using smartphones. Civics: 50% were aware of text-to-donate campaigns for Haiti relief. Gen X: 13% have made donations via text/sms. The New Frontier: Text-to-give & beyond The growing prevalence of mobile in American society, along with the broadening audience for mobile technology like text messaging and apps, is great news for nonprofits. Users from all walks of life are becoming more familiar with mobile as a channel and are willing to engage with the organizations they support from the palms of their hands. How quickly are nonprofits and donors adapting to the new channel? Mobile giving is already outpacing the historically high adoption rates of online giving. In their recent report, Real Time Charitable Giving, 4 the Pew Research Center s Internet & American Life Project discovered that one in five U.S. adults (20 percent) have made a charitable contribution online and that one in ten (9 percent) have made a charitable contribution using the text messaging feature on their mobile phone. That number is rapidly growing. 9

17 Best Practices While standalone mobile campaigns have begun to produce impressive results for their causes, mobile can be even more impactful as part of an integrated campaign because of its ability to provide a relevant, ondemand connection. The mobile web is the most immediate channel available for engaging your audience, providing an at your fingertips way for volunteers, donors and supporters to organize their lives, access information and interact daily with the causes they care about most. Bear in mind that harnessing the power of mobile as a channel beyond text-to-give campaigns offers nonprofits other benefits, including the ability to quickly and easily send messages to constituents, giving nonprofits a way to build an opt in database that can be integrated with overall marketing efforts. In other words, mobile is both a great fundraising channel as well as a great way to market to donors and prospects. Haiti Prior to January 12, 2010, little more than $1 million had been raised via mobile text; however, in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, close to $50 million was raised via mobile campaigns. The vast majority of mobile donors (89 percent) heard about the campaign on television and half (50 percent) made their contribution immediately thereafter, for an estimated total of $43 million. This unique phenomenon of impulse giving where donors admit to making a spur-of-the-moment contribution without much additional research has since extended to other natural disasters including fundraising to assist in the cleanup of the U.S. Gulf Coast following the BP oil spill and the March 2011 tsunami and earthquake in Japan. With the success of mobile fundraising efforts for the Haiti earthquake and Japan tsunami in mind, many nonprofits look to micro-donations via mobile to support their fundraising efforts. However, for many organizations, the economics of text-to-give may not make sense without forging a 10

18 partnership with phone companies and the sheer marketing muscle necessary to make most text campaigns a success. American Red Cross Text-to-Give Haiti Disaster Relief Campaign: Text to donate $10 100% of donations went to Red Cross $800K raised in 24 hours $5 million raised via mobile by day 26 Mobile as a channel Ready to think outside the box? Consider the following alternatives: Text message ticklers Let s say you work for an animal welfare organization. While you d like to raise funds via mobile, it s not the right time yet there s not an emergency in your community and you re reluctant to risk donor fatigue by using mobile to fundraise for your big yearly ask. According to recent research, 5 85 percent of people read an unread text message within 15 minutes of receiving one providing a great click-through rate and, in some cases, a click-through rate superior to what can be accomplished with . Why not use text messaging to share some fun facts and successes about your organization? By sending just a couple of text messages per month, you can keep potential donors excited about your cause and keep your organization top of mind with supporters. Gateway to the telephone Interested in moving donors up the giving ladder? Mobile may be a great place to start. Doctors without Borders, an Australian-based organization, partnered with a local carrier to send text messages to wireless customers asking if they could be contacted by telephone to contribute funds for Asian tsunami relief. 6 Sixty percent of SMS recipients opted to participate in the monthly solicitation with an impressive 50 percent subsequently 11

19 Best Practices choosing to enroll in the organization s monthly giving plan. While it may be difficult to navigate the ground rules around proactive outreach via text, using it as an opt in for more personal means of communication may offer a new approach, particularly for organizations responding to crisis. The sweet ring of success Mobile engagement extends beyond the text message look for ways to harness media and entertainment content. For example, special ringtones can provide a unique and audible call to action reminding donors frequently of your cause and/or providing an opportunity to share your story with friends, family, and coworkers. A children s arts organization could provide a brief clip from a performance while an environmental organization may look to sounds from unfamiliar species to pique the interest of passersby. For example, the Marine Mammal Center offers ringtones for the Pacific Harbor seal, the Steller sea lion, and humpback whale songs at no charge. Engage them on-the-go Simple calls to action work best for the mobile constituent. For instance, you could provide a mobile-optimized form to encourage them to donate or participate in a petition or other campaign component. If you re a community organization, how about asking supporters to photograph and report activities in their local neighborhood using Facebook, Twitter, or other mobile-enabled social media? In your call to action, focus on one or two key actions and prioritize them so that one is clearly at the forefront. If you re giving away an asset such as a tip sheet, reference guide, or top-ten list, make sure it s easy for your mobile constituent to download, digest, and share. Share tips and easy-to-reference information on a variety of topics, from safe-to-eat seafood, to 16 seasonal suggestions to support a caregiver, or even a visual guide to local poisonous plants! Empower your organization Mobile is more than a powerful channel to engage supporters; it can transform your organization s development office and beyond if you know 12

20 how to use the tools available. Think about a board meeting with major gift prospects for a Sunday brunch why not give board members the power to log conversation information or understand the relationship between this prospect and others while waiting in the restaurant s parking lot? CRM systems make this possible through easy-to-use mobile access. Coming from a successful meeting? You don t need to be at your desk to start running with the ideas that resulted use your mobile device to assign tasks to various members of your staff to keep the positive momentum going. Or, while you re out delivering programs in the community, use your mobile device to track client progress in your CRM and share the exciting news through social media. Is mobile right for you? So you re thinking about adding mobile to your outreach strategy. How do you determine if it s right for your organization? The best way to ask yourself if mobile is right for your organization is to ask if mobile is right for your audience. Mobile is no different from other forms of marketing and fundraising in that good strategy starts with your audience and works backwards from there, rather than starting with your organization and thinking of audience at the end of your planning process. So with that mindset, let s explore mobile potential for your audience. Here are a few strategic questions to lead you to the right answers about whether to pursue a mobile program. 1. Who are your constituents and what are they like? Mobile is all about reaching the right people, in the right place, at the right time. First, think about your audience and where, when, and how you interact with these people. Think about the segment of people that you are hoping to reach with mobile. What are their ages? They most certainly own mobile devices, 13

21 Best Practices but how do they use them? Current mobile donors tend to skew slightly younger and are more tech-savvy than average donors. If your constituencies are older and don t have smartphones, it s important to come to terms with that though mobile still may make sense if you re trying to reach a new group of supporters beyond your current base. Now consider why and how this audience typically chooses to support you. What is the driving concern that binds people to your cause? Which types of appeals are they most inclined to answer (legislative alerts, timesensitive campaigns, end-of-year appeals)? What times that you interact with them are conducive to inspiring action via mobile (for example, a walk or gala or volunteer day, when staff interact with individuals interested in learning more about your organization, or when your supporters are checking on their smartphones)? 2. What resources do you have to commit to mobile? Before delving into the exciting possibilities mobile has to offer, it s important to do a reality check. What investment can you afford to make in mobile? Take a moment to consider what resources you have in the way of: Time Expertise Money Staff In considering your staff, ask yourself who needs to be involved at each stage of mobile, especially in the beginning. Who needs to be involved in the decision to embark on mobile? Who will be engaged in implementation? The staff who are typically included in mobile decisions and implementation include: the executive director; technology, marketing, and communications department members; program managers; development professionals; and advocacy professionals. Ideally, you ll want to include those people in your discussions of the questions we pose here and the planning process that we recommend. 14

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