Are you adapting ?

Often seeing organisations doing the same thing day in day out to gain funding can be frustrating. especially when you know they could do better and more if they adapted their fundraising activities.

For instance; if you used to only communicate with donors through mail and change to email, have you taken into consideration how you will communicate with those who do not have, or don’t want to be contacted through, email?

Will you be prepared to split your database so those without email are updated on your activities, achievements through information supplied with receipts? Or, do you, will you be like others and “forget” about this group and suffer through a drop in donations?

It used to be that organizations would only be known by those it supports and, by those who supported it. Simply due to lack of resources, skills and money; now though any organization, no matter its size can with the right skills can communicate with anyone, anywhere and virtually at anytime.

If your organization hasn’t or isn’t looking to adapt you can’t expect to keep growing. It’s that simple.

There’s more “competition” for the charity dollar than there was 10, 5, even two years ago.

No that organizations and, individuals have the ability to set up online fundraising campaigns, those not doing so need to at the very least look at how these platforms can work for them. If they don’t they will run the serious risk of being left behind.

Online fundraising will only continue to grow, either through organizations making use of the various tools, or by individuals doing it themselves.

Can your organisation afford to be left behind?

If you don’t want to be left behind, what will you do to change?

Have you changed the way you give charitable donations, are you giving more directly, or are you giving to organizations who have a higher presence in your social channels?

See also:

Online Fundraising, Impact on Traditional Fundraising

Does Profile Matter?

What’s Happening – are You Watching?

Who holds the keys to change?

Online Fundraising, Impact on Traditional Fundraising

Has, and can, online fundraising have impact on other, more traditional fundraising?

From my perspective, yes it can have an impact; I’ve seen first-hand organisations who have had to change their fundraising methods, dates and more because people are giving in other ways to different causes.

It’s interesting that I started thinking about this late last night and, this morning I wake to see this subject in an article in the NZHeraldIs it safe to give a little?

“Kiwis give millions of dollars to causes on the fundraising website Givealittle. But money handed back by the charity platform from one controversial appeal has raised concerns over whether the online model is open to abuse. Phil Taylor reports ..

Some areas Phil has touched on are the same as I had started penning, so instead of rehashing what he’s said, here’s some excerpts from his article.

“Internet crowdsourcing is changing the face of philanthropy. Platforms such as US-based GoFundMe and New Zealand’s Givealittle super-charge the amount that can be raised, no more so than for causes that pull heartstrings. If mainstream media picks up a cause, a zero or so might be added.”

“Causes that top the lists for dollars donated and number of donors are all from the past 12 months and reflect the sector’s exponential growth worldwide. More than half of the $32 million given to Givealittle causes in its lifetime was donated in the past year. When teleco giant Spark bought it in late 2012, it was doing about $55,000 a month. Last month it did $2 million.”

Read Phil’s full article here

See also 6 Fundraising Platforms That Have Disrupted Charitable Giving Forever

See also Digging deep for Kiwi generosity

A Disengaged Public

Having recently read “Charities Struggle with Disengaged Public” – it stood out that maybe we’re not understanding our donors … take for example “Do charity campaigns inspire people to act and are men better at ‘giving’? Well apparently not, according to two new research reports from the UK.”

Sure, this is the UK, but what’s the situation here?

I know from experience that engaging with men is different to engaging with women, more often than not organisations use the same words no matter if it’s a male or female audience they’re trying to engage with.

If we know who donors are, male or female, we can adapt our language to ensure that each is receiving our communication in the “language” they understand and will react to.

Have you segmented your database and do you communicate with each segment in a way that they will understand and, that will cause them to take action?

To Incentivise or Not?

Fundraising isn’t an easy job, ask anyone who has been doing it for some time; they’ll say they enjoy the work, the challenge and like the fact that what they are doing is helping someone else.

But, are fundraisers missing out. People in sales and marketing roles in the private sector receive not only their salary but also performance bonuses; often in the non-profit sector this doesn’t happen.

The reason why there’s no performance incentive is often because of perception that money given for charitable purposes is being redirected to pay over inflated wages; as anyone in the non-profit sector knows, wages, pay are not over inflated; actually often the pay scale in the non-profit sector is below what someone would earn in the private sector.

Staff turnover in the fundraising area of charities can be high, and it could be that those who are performing well are feeling frustrated and feel that their efforts aren’t being recognised (or rewarded).

It’s recognised that organsations have some hesitation in giving rewards, or paying any form of commission due to either public perception of charity money being “misused” or due to other restrictions (such as sector organisations not permitting such payments); that’s understandable. However, there are ways that fundraisers can be recognised, as said early, an extra day off or similar.

What we need to ask is, is it wrong for people to be rewarded for doing well in ensuring funds are available for the beneficiaries of an organisation?

If fundraisers can’t be recognised or rewarded for doing well, organisations could run the risk of having empty desks and empty bank accounts; that would be more harmful to the organisation and its beneficiaries than some small acknowledgement of a job well done.

I have seen some fundraisers being rewarded through special gifts from major supporters; supporters who acknowledge the hard (and stressful) job of fundraising; such as a hotel that would make a room available once a year for an extended weekend to be used by the fundraiser who brought in the most new donor support.

There are ways fundraisers can be rewarded, often it only needs some lateral thinking to come up with a method.

Do you incentivise your fundraisers?

Should fundraisers be rewarded?

Fundraising and School Holidays – Survey

It’s been mentioned by a few people recently, myself included, that school holidays can make a dent in fundraising, as to the extent of the dent it doesn’t seem to be that anyone has conducted and in-depth study. However, some discussion have shown that this could be anything from 13-15% – my feeling is that this is conservative.

I’ve put the following quick survey together to get some feedback – please complete and, if you’re able please share the survey with others you may know involved in charities and fundraising.

Please complete the quick 3 minute survey

Recognise Regular Donors

Your regular donors generate your regular passive income, don’t ignore them and the contribution they are making to the success of your organisation.

Praise, praise, praise … it may sound trite but it is the best thing you can do to help retrain and recognise the importance of donors in your regular giving programme.

That’s not to say that they are better or more important the your one-off donors, it’s simply to recognise the importance they have in allowing your to manage the work you do, knowing that there is regular income that allows you to do what you do.

When communicating with regular donors; ask for feedback, feedback about who, why and how they give through the regular giving.  These can be used to help entice others to your programme.

Regular givers should be segmented in your database to allow for specific updates to be sent to this group.

Some organisations develop donor reports specifically for regular donors, and hold events for regular givers to give them the opportunity to invite others who may be interested in joining your regular giving programme (think Tupperware without the commission).

Remember that you should also bear in mind that, although any donor can be converted to a regular giving programme, you should never stop asking anyone for a one-off donations. Even though you’re receiving a regular contribution from your regular donors, this group are known to give more when asked for a one-off contribution to something specific.

Regular giving programmes can help with increasing donor contributions and can help to reactivate delinquent donors.

When talking with regular givers, make it personal, using this style of communication can help not only retain donors, but can also help reactivate those who have stopped giving.

Often the simple messages of how important regular giving is to help maintain the work carried out, who is benefiting from regular giving, and that regular giving allows work to be carried out with reduced administration and fundraising costs can too help regain donors.

Some organisations make a point of restating regular giving levels to help retain and regain donors, perhaps a donor who offered $50 per month has had a change in their personal circumstances, but by suggesting a lower level they will come back on board, what have you got to lose by asking for less when they’ve stopped giving altogether.

All donor communications are important, just because someone has said they will give on a basis doesn’t mean they don’t want to hear from you – perhaps they may even need to hear from you more often.  But, don’t make your communications too frequently – this could be a turn off.

How are you communicating with your regular donors?

Could you be communicating with regular donors more frequently or change your message?

Are you a regular giver through a regular giving programme – if so, what is your experience?

Fundraising – Simply Going through the Motions

Ever stopped and listened to your fundraising pitch?  Would you support you?

All too often fundraisers fall into the trap of “repetition” and simply “going through the motions” – not engaging supporters, simply asking for more support.

If your supporters aren’t being updated about the work of your organisation, how their support has helped and what your next plans are – you’re not engaging with them, and simply are using them as ATMs.

If you’ve been around fundraising for any length of time, you will know that it’s important to treat ever donor as an individual.

With the competition for the “charity dollar” different tactics are used to try and connect with people, and those who know what they are doing are more “personal” in the way the approach their supporters.

Knowing who your donor is, age, sex, marital status, and knowing where they live; gives you the ability to truly “know” them and thus connect with them in ways that will likely have more positive and greater response rate, a better return on investment (ROI) to use business speak.

The knowledge that you have of your donors, their giving pattern, what makes them “tick” means you’re more likely to be able to lower the cost of fundraising by having less “hit and miss” attempts.

Those who are truly good at what they do know how important it is to give feedback to donors, donors want to know that their support is making a difference.

Donors need to know that charity is important, what it’s doing and that if it wasn’t for them (donors) they work wouldn’t get done.

Next time to write, email or contact a donor – remember they have a name, use the right salutation, Mrs Brown may be better replaced with Mary – it’s more personal.

By knowing who your donor is, you’re able to adapt copy to specific donor groups – if you know who your donors are, what makes them tick, use language, phrases and information that hits the mark. What works for one group won’t necessarily work for another group.

As part of the planning for your next appeal, stop, think how you can better engage with donors, it’s worth the little extra effort. And, could improve your ROI. What have you got to lose?

See also:

Pick up the phone and say Thank You

Do you know why people lose interest in your organization?

Have a cuppa with your sponsors

Prostitutes or Clients – How do you treat your donors?

Charity Muggers – Skills Shortage

After reading “‘Charity muggers’ offered free flights” – I got to thinking about a couple of things here.

Firstly, how can this “group” be seen as having a skills shortage, in essence it’s a sales function – and secondly, does this reflect badly on the companies employing and training “chuggers”?

A skills shortage, I don’t see how – this is a role that with the right training, coaching and support that could be undertaken by almost anyone with an outgoing personality.

Those employing and training “chuggers” need now to look at the way they are doing this.

“Charity marketers and industry watchdogs believe there are not enough experienced bucket rattlers in New Zealand and are asking Immigration NZ for street fundraisers to be added to the immediate skills-shortage list, to make it easier for them to enter the country for work”.

Having done bucket collections, coached people to do this, and having also done “subscription” style supporter acquisition, I will say it’s not for the faint hearted. But, for people with an outgoing attitude, who enjoying talking with others and want to see others helped it can be a rewarding job.

What’s needed is adequate training before people hit the streets, then ongoing coaching on how to interact with others to gain the “sale”.

Give me a team of passionate people who have never done any form of fundraising before and I’ll give you a team of passionate people ready to hit the streets. Immigration doesn’t need to change criteria to “allow” others in to the country to do this work.

What about those organisations who use the likes of “chuggers” through agencies such as Cornucopia – how do they feel about the perceived needs for Immigration to relax it’s rules?

This could easily turn into a PR disaster not only for agencies such as Cornucopia  who supply collectors, but also for those organisations who use these services.

Would you sooner support a kiwi who is doing their bit (for pay) to raise funds and awareness of local organisations, and give locals jobs, or would you sooner locals sidestepped for people arriving – temporarily – to fill vacancies?

 

Fundraising Manners

Fundraising can be hard enough without your fundraisers alienated themselves from the very people they’re trying to gain support from.

How often have you come across a fundraiser, either face-to-face or over the phone who has talked at you – not with you, has cut you short when you’re speaking, or perhaps just don’t seem interested in any dialogue – they’re just going through the motions?

It would appear that this happens all to often; why, there’s no need for it, it all comes down to selecting the right people to “front” your organisation, the right and timely coaching and training and, then it’s up to you to monitor how they are doing.

If you’re organisation undertakes tele-fundraising, do you have the ability to either listen into calls while they’re happening or to listen to recorded calls? Are you reviewing calls with those on the phones?

Doing face-to-face fundraising, do you have people who can act as “mystery shoppers” – people who can listen to what the fundraiser is saying, their actions, manners – it’s worth getting some “unknowns” to monitor on your behalf.

It’s vital that you know what your fundraisers are saying, how they’re interacted and most importantly – how they are representing your organisation.

It only takes a few disgruntled people to start talking openly about their experience with your organisation to cast doubt in the minds of others. They could be thinking – if that’s how those on the “front line” – they’re quite possibly the only people supporters have regular contact with – any bad experiences can quickly turn support off.

You owe it to your supporters and your organisation to be monitoring your fundraisers, even where you’re using an external agency you need to have monitoring in place.

If you support and organisation, what are your experiences and expectation of fundraisers?

Tele-Fundraising isn’t Dead

Tele-Fundraising isn’t Dead

Recently I’ve heard people say “fundraising on the phone is irrelevant” “tele-fundraising isn’t needed today.”

Tele-fundraising is still relevant and is needed today, it should be part of your fundraising plan, it is also, or should be seen as a way to measure what people think about your organisation.

This article 3 Ways Fundraisers Can Leverage Telemarketing is a good read, if you are doubting the effectiveness, relevance of fundraising it will help you see that it still has a place in your fundraising arsenal.

If you only read the 3 ways the tele-fundraising can be used – do it …

  1. Message matters. Telemarketing is made for urgency. Nothing says “this is really important right now” quite like calling someone and saying those very words. Be specific, be timely and update the script as many times as it takes to keep the pitch as urgent as possible.
  2. Listen to the donors. A phone call can be a mini-focus group, giving an organization the opportunity to make the message work in the most compelling way possible. Take what you learn on the phone and apply it to other channels.
  3. No channel is an island. The value of telemarketing goes beyond the revenue raised on the phone. Receiving a phone call increases a donor’s likelihood to give a gift via mail or online by 20 percent over the next 30 days, even if the call results in a refusal. Bolster a call’s performance by integrating a pre-call email or a post-call pledge follow-up, making the approach truly multichannel.

 

Are there other ways you see tele-fundraising as beneficial to your organisation – please share in comments below.

See also:

ASKphobia – A Great Term

It’s not you they’re turning down

Tele-fundraising Tips

Fundraisng – Planning is Needed

Why you suck at fundraising