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Website Best Practices That Will Make Your Donation Forms More Effective

Guest Blog: Abby Jarvis, Nonprofit Education Manager, Qgiv

Many nonprofits raise up to 50% of their annual revenue during the month of December. The end-of-year fundraising season is a whirlwind for fundraisers; there’s so much to do! That’s why we recommend planning your year-end campaign early… and why we’re sharing these nonprofit website best practices that will make your donation form more effective.

Encourage more donations with these 7 donation form design tips!

Design Tip #1: Make Sure It’s Mobile

This form is a great example of a mobile-friendly donation form. It loads quickly and is easy to use on all kinds of devices!

At this point, you know your donation form needs to be mobile optimized. Mobile internet traffic has outstripped desktop mobile traffic for a while now, and donation forms that aren’t usable on mobile devices will not perform as well as their mobile-friendly counterparts.

Mobile-friendly donation forms will include fields and text that displays nicely on various mobile devices. But other elements, like image sizes, lots of extra CSS, and other design choices can affect load times and usability, especially on phones and tablets.

One of the best (and easiest!) things you can do to make your donation form mobile-friendly is to compress your image sizes. When you compress an image, you make the file size much smaller. Smaller file sizes load much more quickly! Not sure how to compress an image? Try using a free image compression tool: I use this one, which includes options for both .jpeg and .png files.

After you’ve compressed any images you use on your donation form, try having a couple of friends visit your mobile donation form. They’ll be able to tell you if anything loads slowly or feels awkward while they look around.

Design Tip #2: Offer Suggested Donation Amounts

Have you ever had someone ask what you want for dinner and had your mind go blank? Even if you’re really hungry, deciding where to eat can be tough. Something similar happens to your donors when they land on your donation form: they want to give, but choosing an amount without any guidance can be hard.

This organization’s suggested donation amounts include a great range: whether you want to give $50 or $500, there’s an option for you!

Make your donor’s life easier by offering some suggested donation amounts. This can accomplish a few goals: it’s easier on your donors, who can choose from a range of gift amounts without thinking about it too much. Even if they decide to give a different amount (which, by the way, should always be an option), giving them a starting point will help immensely. Suggested giving amounts can also inspire donors to give more! If a donor lands on your donation form with the intention of giving $20 and sees a $25 suggested gift amount, they may well opt to just give the extra $5.

If you want to add suggested donation amounts to your form, here are some tips for you.

    • Base your suggested gift amounts on the average size of the donations you get online. If your average online donation is $30, try starting there or bump it up to $35. If your average gift is $20, start at $25.
    • Offer a range of gift sizes. Even if the majority of your donors gravitate toward $30 or $50 gifts, you may want to include a couple larger options for mid-level donors.
    • Always include the option for a donor to choose their own gift amount. If your lowest suggested amount is $25 and someone can only give $10, they should still be able to experience the joy of supporting your cause!

You can make the most out of your suggested donation amounts with this next design tip!

Design Tip #3: Include Storytelling Elements on Your Form

When a donor lands on your donation form, they’re probably there as a result of a story you’ve told. Whether that story was shared through email, a social media post, or something else, it was compelling enough that they clicked over to your donation page. You can make them more likely to donate by including elements from the same story that compelled their visit in the first place.

There are three real opportunities to include storytelling elements on your form. The first opportunity is at the top of your page; including a high-quality image and a short sentence or two that reiterates your story and the donor’s potential impact is a powerful tactic! The best images feature a single subject making eye contact with the camera and generally have a happy or uplifting feel. You can learn more about how to choose a great photo over here!

Your suggested donation amounts are also a great opportunity to add storytelling elements to your form. By adding some simple impact statements (and even photos!) to your suggested donation amounts, you can help your donors understand how their gift will make a difference and help them mentally tie their gift to the story that drew them to your form.

This organization combined a suggested donation amount, an impact statement, and a great photo to help donors understand how their gift can positively impact a real person.

You can also apply storytelling elements to your donation form by making subtle changes to the language on your form’s fields and buttons. Something as simple as changing the text on your submit button from “Donate” to “Feed a Family” or whatever impact statement is most suited to your campaign can make a big impression on donors.

Design Tip #4: Enable Recurring Donations

There are all sorts of reasons to try and recruit recurring donors. Regular donors give more over their lifetime than one-time donors, and they’re much easier to retain. Adding a few simple design elements to your donation form will help recruit new sustaining donors!

Draw attention to your recurring gift options by including language on your form about donors’ potential impact. Making your recurring options visible, then reinforcing them with a subtle impact statement, is a great way to let donors know about the importance of recurring gifts without overwhelming them.

This organization added some subtle language to their form that encourages donors to make a bigger impact without spending a bunch of money all at once.

When you’re setting up your recurring donation options, you may want to consider using a range of suggested donation amounts that are slightly lower than the ones you set up for one-time donations. A $50 gift may be a reasonable one-time donation, but it’s a big commitment for a monthly donation! If you have an existing base of recurring donors, find the average gift amount for that group and start from there.

This group got creative with their form layout and displayed their one-time and recurring options side by side! Check out the subtle “Greatest Impact” banner on the monthly donation side and how the suggested donation amount is $19/month instead of the $50 suggested donation amount for one-time gifts.

If it works for your nonprofit and your campaign, you may also opt to reinforce your appeal for recurring donations with a pop-up module that appears at the end of the donation form. This is a bold move, and it can be very effective! If you decide to use a pop-up reminder, make sure you include a note about why a donor may want to make a recurring gift; even if they opt to stick with their one-time donation this time, they’ll remember your recurring options.

However you decide to display your recurring donation options, it’s important that your primary donation form does not default to a recurring donation. If you’re running a campaign or sending appeals that specifically ask for recurring gifts, defaulting to a recurring gift is okay. For all other appeals and donation forms, though, gifts should default to being one-time transactions. Making recurring donations the default can make one-time donors feel like you’re trying to trick them into making an ongoing gift, and that can hurt your conversion rates.

Design Tip #5: Keep It Short

Have you ever had to fill out a long form? Forms like the paperwork you do at a doctor’s office and even long forms for online purchases can be annoying and overwhelming. Even the most enthusiastic of donors may be dissuaded from making a gift if the donation form is long and asks for lots of information. You can boost your conversion rates on your donation form by making your donation form as short as possible.

Asking donors to choose a gift amount before moving them into the next “chunk” of the donation form makes donors feel less overwhelmed.

When you set up your donation form, resist the temptation to ask your donors a bunch of questions. Demographic information, questions about why they donated to you, and other fields can be useful to fundraisers, but that information should be collected after your donor completes their gift. Adding any fields to your donation form that ask for information not necessary to processing their contribution can tank conversion rates, especially if donors don’t understand why you’re asking for that information.

Once you’ve eliminated excess fields, you can improve conversion rates even more by splitting the donation process into smaller pieces. This is called “chunking”—you’re splitting a task into manageable chunks. Cristina Ordaz, a Senior UI/UX designer at Qgiv, explains it this way: “’Chunking’ actually comes from psychology!” she explains. “This makes something feel less complicated, and sometimes that’s even more important than it actually being less complicated.”

Splitting your donation process into smaller chunks makes donors feel like they’re doing less work than they do on longer forms, even if they’re answering the same number of questions. When you eliminate unnecessary fields and split the donation process into a few smaller steps, you’re giving donors a better user experience and are improving the likelihood that they finish their transaction.

Design Tip #6: Remove Distractions from Your Donation Page

We’ve all done it at least once: we get online to knock out some work or answer an email, then we’re suddenly an hour deep into a Wikipedia wormhole about some obscure topic. Humans are easily distracted, especially when we’re on the Internet! That’s why it’s important to eliminate as many distractions as possible when building a donation form.

This organization removed navigation items from their donation page. When a donor is finished making their gift, the navigation items reappear on the confirmation page.

There are two big distractions to remove from your donation page. The first is navigation items and other outbound links. When creating your donation page, remove navigation items at the top of your form to eliminate the possibility of a donor clicking away from your giving page before they can finish their gift. Some nonprofits even opt to remove links in their donation page footers! You can always leave those navigation items intact on your donation form’s landing page so users can easily visit other parts of your site after they’ve made their gift.

The second distraction to eliminate is competing calls to action. If you include anything on your donation form that asks donors to volunteer, read an article, watch a video, or take any other kind of action, remove it! When a potential donor lands on your form, you want them to stay focused on giving to your nonprofit—asking them to do anything else, even if it’s something as simple as watching a video, can have a negative impact on your form’s conversion rates. Ask donors to get involved or do something for you on your confirmation page instead.

Design Tip #7: Embrace Trust Indicators

A trust indicator is any design element that reassures donors their transaction will be processed safely and their gift will be used wisely. For the sake of this article, we’ll split trust indicators into two different groups: security indicators that show donors their information is safe and trust indicators that assure donors their gift will be used well.

The lock icon and security certificates in this screenshot may not exactly fit your donation form’s aesthetic, but they’re a useful way to remind donors that their information is safe. 

The first group, security indicators, include things like security certificates and the “https://” URL prefix that shows your page is encrypted. Security certificates and the like are not known for being particularly aesthetically pleasing, but they’re useful! Your donors want to know that their personal and financial information will be kept safe, and security certificates reassure them that it will. Even small visual assurances that your form is safe will improve conversions on your form: in a study from NextAfter, including a lock icon to the payment information section of donation forms increases donations by 95%!

The second group of trust indicators show donors that their money will be used wisely. Some nonprofits opt to include badges from Charity Navigator or Guidestar to their forms to show donors they’re established nonprofits with good reputations. Others choose to include graphics that break down how they spend their money, which is a useful way to address donors’ concerns about how much of their gift will go to the mission. Either style of trust indicator shows donors that they’re supporting a responsible nonprofit that will invest their donation wisely.

With Matching Gifts, Everybody Wins!

Nothing gives your fundraising a boost like a great matching or challenge gift to inspire donors. As fundraising consultants, Kennari regularly suggests adding a match or challenge to clients’ fundraising design and the reason is simple: everyone wins!

The lead donor issuing the challenge or match enjoys making a meaningful investment in the organization’s future. They love to have others join them in supporting an organization that’s important to them. And, saavy donors know that the more broad an organization’s donor base is, the more sustainable it is in the long term.

The participating donors who respond to the challenge or match enjoy seeing their dollars go farther. Having their gift doubled or tripled, or seeing their favorite organization receive a large grant when they meet their goal, really makes them feel like a game-changer.

Of course, the organization enjoys meeting their fundraising goals. In addition to financial success, they likely have deepened the lead donor’s relationship with the organization, attracted donors they might not have gotten before, and likely met their goal in a quicker timeframe than they would have otherwise.

Whether a matching gift (where a lead donor doubles or triples gifts to a certain campaign) or a challenge (where a lead donor only makes their gift when a target goal has been met), there are a few key things to consider as you design your matching or challenge gift strategy:

1) Determine what you are trying to accomplish before you solicit your lead donor. Whether you are trying to finish a capital campaign, energize a particular segment of donors, or simply grow your donor base, it’s important to communicate your plan and the outcomes you hope to achieve so your lead donor understands what’s going to be accomplished.

2) Clearly define the parameters of the match or challenge. It’s important that the challenge or match is easy to communicate in both print and digital media as well as by word of mouth through your board, staff, and other volunteers. Having complicated criteria can be too difficult to communicate, and too difficult to track and report as well.

3) Set a timeline and stick to it. Of course you want to set yourself up for success, but one of the best things about a match or challenge is that it naturally lends itself to a particular timeframe, which then creates a sense of urgency for the donor. And, no matching lead donor wants to see it go on forever!

4) Develop a robust communication strategy. It is important that you have a specific plan for getting the word out about your match or challenge. If it is for a capital campaign, use your campaign cabinet to reach out to the prospects they have been cultivating. If you are matching gifts to appeals during a certain timeframe, identify exactly how many messages you’ll send and how often. If the timeline is long enough, using phases of communication plans that share progress dates can also be a really great way to keep those gifts coming.

5) Report, Report, Report. You especially need to report to your lead donor, but your participating donors want to know if you were successful also. And even falling short of a match goal can be ok if you’re able to share some point of success. Reporting how many new donors you had, or what you were able to do with the dollars raised can both be great ways to celebrate.

When done well, matching gifts can ignite your fundraising and elevate your message to a broad audience. It also can bring a sense of community to your donor base, including your lead donor, and provide the energy and dollars needed to move your mission forward.

Maximizing the Impact of Your Year-end Appeal

We learned a lot of lessons in 2020, especially in how we communicate with donors. We became more reliant on technology than ever, and online giving grew the most it has ever grown. But this also means we lost some personal connection with our donors. Gaining that back utilizing new methods of communication will be key.

What does this mean for your year-end appeal efforts? It means that more than ever, a multi-channel approach should be part of your overall communication plan. Digital communication is an important and essential method of engaging with prospects and donors, but it should still be paired with hard copy mail. The advantages of digital communication are that it’s free and can help you broaden your reach. It also provides an easy way to utilize multiple mediums and lenses.

The first step to take is to determine what your message should be. Do you or do you not focus on COVID? To answer that, consider whether your programs and services still look different because of it. It is still important to keep donors updated about what is happening but also think about how you can highlight the future, share stories of resilience, and a message of hope. What defined the past year, or what are some accomplishments or stories you can highlight? How can you highlight that theme or those stories through different lenses and mediums?

So, what do we mean by mediums and multi-channel approaches? Sending a hard copy letter cannot be skipped. But taking that same message and story (note I didn’t say the exact letter) and using it to craft a digital version (preferably a segmented email) helps broaden your reach. When crafting that emailed version of the letter, think skimmable (this should be a word!) paragraphs, hyperlinks to donate, and bolding key messages. Think of what prompts different people to give – stories, videos, compelling yet brief facts.

Now look at how you can utilize your social media platforms to amplify your message. Take your year-end communication theme and use it to craft social media posts with videos and pictures. It all starts with planning, so start early and have hard dates for when each of these pieces should be shared.

While the multi-channel approach is necessary, so is one last important step – segmenting your year-end communication as much as possible. Start by segmenting that hard copy letter, spending the most time with that major donor segment. Review the list of your top key donors and determine if now is the time they typically give. If so, what do you want to ask them for this year? For some donors, asking for the same amount this year will be the right ask, and for others you may feel like you can ask for an increase this year. Utilize your board and your donor engagement committee members to help hand write notes on letters and also to help call donors and ask them to consider a gift at this year-end.

Remember that for most nonprofits, 30% of their annual giving comes in the month of December! This means that you should be devoting about the same amount of time to your year-end appeal efforts as you would your largest fundraising event. Starting in August may seem early and it’s hard to think about winter holidays but trust me, you will be glad you did!

Getting Back to In Person Events

Many nonprofits are making plans for in person fundraising events – and there are great resources out there for making the shift back. Mobile Cause recently came out with “8 Strategies to give donors confidence attending in-person events” and the list is full of good information on how to adapt in this new normal. The report shared that 79% of nonprofits polled are holding in-person events before the end of 2021.That statistic seems to hold true for Kennari Consulting clients, both in the local Grand Rapids, Michigan community and also with our clients in other areas. Another tip from the report was to “make it easy to donate anywhere and anytime” – encouraging nonprofits to have online donation forms and text to give options for in-person events (as well as virtual). The average text to donate gift size is $122, which is larger than many would assume.

More information can be found here. We appreciate Mobile Cause making this resource available to all!

Solving Four Challenges with Recurring Giving Programs

We love a great recurring giving program! Why? They are easy for donors to set up. Donors rarely cancel their recurring gifts. In fact, donor retention is higher for recurring donors. According to The Nonprofit Recurring Giving Benchmark study, recurring donors have an average retention of 90% – compared to an overall retention average of 46%.

Recurring giving often comes with a few behind the scenes challenges though.

1. Back End Management and Reporting

Even though it is easy for your donor to “set it and forget it”, a recurring gift requires a little more TLC on the backend. Make sure you are familiar with editing the gift transactions in case the donor must update a credit card, increase or decrease their gift amount, or even pause their gift for a moth or two. Keep a close eye on expiring credit card data, also. Create a plan for communicating with your recurring donors when their card is nearing its expiration date.

Reviewing any failed charges should be simple through the back-end management of your giving platform. Many platforms have a series of attempts to recharge a failed transaction. Make sure you know if yours is one of them – whether you’re using your donor software online gift management, or a third-party tool such as Qgiv.

Running any reports on recurring gift transactions should be easily accessible, for you and your finance team. Work with your finance team to understand how often they want to see data for recurring transactions. Some may want data when the deposit batch is processed every few days. You might also consider setting up an integration between the giving platform and QuickBooks if one is available.

2. Forms Management

While you might think your giving form is a piece of cake to make a gift, test it out just to be safe. Ask a colleague or two that are not part of the fundraising team to try the form also.

If you have a branded recurring giving club, you should have a separate donation form for it. This will differ from the general form by showing giving impact and outcomes. The donation amounts will also reflect your giving levels for your giving program, or they should at least be relative to typical recurring gift amounts, $10, $25, $50, and $100 for example.

Almost all donation platforms offer the option to let your donors pay for the credit card processing fee. Use it – because donors do!

3. Managing Your Recurring Donors

When a donor sets up a recurring gift, it is important to communicate with them accordingly. Determine the steps your organization will take for their first initial gift transaction, each additional charged gift, and any extra communications they might receive. In the initial thank you, let them know how they’ll hear from you in the future – extra news for recurring donors, consolidated receipts in the mail in January, monthly transaction email notifications, etc. Let them know how your recurring giving program works, too – the gift goes until they stop it, for example. Make sure the donor has the right contact name should they need to make any changes.

Reviewing any of the automated email responses that the giving platform has is also critical. Many platforms have automatic emails for: initial gifts, each transaction, and failed transactions. If you aren’t sure what auto-generated emails your platform has, reach out to support.

4. Database Tracking

Now that the donations are processing, make sure it is clear in your database who your recurring donors are! Your database should have a tag or group function to label them as a recurring donor.

If known, use the notes function to provide any background information on the donors giving intention. Why did they make the gift? Are they friends of a board or staff member? Any important details that might provide history on why the donor made the gift – or cancels in the future – will be helpful. Likewise, use the database action or task tracking function when any contact is made with the donor. Examples include sending a sticker or decal for the giving club gift, the donor called to increase the gift amount, or their yearly receipt was sent in January.

While these are common challenges with a recurring gift program that’s already in place, we’re also including a few resources to build your program.

Is Your Organization Fundraising Legally?

Nonprofits need a “license to solicit funds” in many states. Soliciting is very broadly defined. Basically, if the organization is communicating with anyone directly (mail, email, peer-to-peer campaign, social media, etc.) and there is any kind of opportunity to donate, you need to be licensed in the state where the person receiving the communication lives. Each state has different requirements, exemptions, and renewal processes, so it is important to look at the regulations individually by state. To make matters even more complicated, different departments manage this in different states. In Michigan and Indiana, this is managed through the State Attorney General’s office. In Florida, it’s the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

This is not meant to overwhelm, but to inform! Below are a few steps you can take if you are unsure of what to do next:

1. Make sure you have a license to solicit in the state your nonprofit is registered. There are some nonprofits that are exempt, so don’t panic if you aren’t licensed (for instance, in Michigan, exempt organizations include churches, some schools, and certain veterans’ organizations). Do your research on qualifications and requirements for an exemption, as you may still need to file paperwork in that state.

2. If you only solicit in a couple other states beyond your home state, google “license to solicit donations in ” and research what the next steps are in those states.

3. If you solicit more broadly or have active social media fundraising where it is difficult to determine geographic reach, it might be worth engaging a partner to help! Start by consulting with your organization’s legal counsel if you have it. We have worked with the firm Copilevitz, Lam & Raney, PC, who are professionals in this space. Another great resource is Harbor Compliance. They have provided key information on Fundraising Registration Solutions as well as a Fundraising Compliance Guide.

4. If you solicit donations in a state and you aren’t licensed, you may be contacted by the state’s licensing body at some point. Our experience has always been that states are very flexible in working with you to get things rectified and are not typically punitive right off the bat.

5. Being compliant and transparent builds trust with donors – so take this seriously and commit the time to making sure you are on track!

Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Receives Grant to Help Students “Be Ready” for High School

Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth has provided quality after-school programming to children and youth in the Grand Rapids community since 1938. A crucial part of their mission is to support youth in graduating from high school and one of the best ways to achieve this is by ensuring that students entering high school are prepared and ready. Kennari Consulting is honored to support their work and has assisted with strategizing and writing grants to help them acquire the funds needed for their essential programming.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids was recently awarded a $50,000 grant ($25,000/year for two years) from the New York Life Foundation to establish the Be Ready program, which is an evidence-based, comprehensive program to prepare students for a successful transition into high school. The program provides a range of classes and activities for 8th and 9th grade students that focus on information about high school, social-emotional support, and positive academic behaviors. The program includes activities during the 8th grade year and the summer before 9th grade, a focus on parental/familial involvement, and continued support once they begin high school.

Research shows that supporting students transitioning from middle to high school can be helpful in easing that adjustment and ultimately reducing school dropout rates, significantly increasing the likelihood of graduating from high school. The Be Ready program will ensure that youth transitioning from middle school to high school in Grand Rapids are prepared both academically and in regard to social-emotional development, with special attention given to addressing learning loss that may have occurred in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program represents one of many initiatives Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids has implemented to ensure access to equitable recreational and educational opportunities for all youth in the community.

“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this competitive grant,” said Angie Stumpo, director of development. “This funding will greatly help our future high school freshmen to be extra ready for the transition to high school. We are so grateful to Megan and Josh at Kennari for all their work on this grant and many others. We highly value their partnership, and they have been instrumental in our ability to achieve our financial goals.”

To learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth, visit bgcgrandrapids.org.

Intern Spotlight – Rebecca Rowland

Meet Rebecca Rowland! Rebecca is a senior at Western Michigan University, graduating this summer. Rebecca is majoring in Organizational Communication and minoring in Event Management and Psychology.

 

My expectations coming into this internship were pretty high. I was going to be able to work with multiple organizations to help them with communications, marketing, fundraising, events, and campaigns. I did just that and more. Being able to use skills I have learned in school in an actual work environment was definitely a highlight. The staff at Kennari is truly a team; they all have roles that intermingle and personalities that work so well with one another. I felt so welcomed and learned so much from each of them. I also enjoyed working with so many different client organizations. From working on campaigns to helping with sponsorships and events, I really learned so much about the work and planning that goes into running and funding a nonprofit. 

The best experience I had at Kennari was being able to be a part of their client roundtables. Each month, one or two of their consultants would pick a topic that they are an expert in. They then would hold a meeting for all of their clients to attend and learn more about that topic. Some of the roundtables I participated in covered how to engage board members and fundraising volunteers, mobile and text giving, and corporate sponsorships. I felt like I was getting an upper hand in the field because I was able to learn about these topics along with our clients. I want to thank Kennari for giving me this opportunity and teaching me so much!

 

Rebecca was a wonderful addition to our team this semester! She was willing to take on any project, big or small, and produce results that exceeded expectations. Our team and our clients benefited from her positive attitude, eagerness to learn, and quality output. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for Rebecca!

To learn more about Kennari Consulting’s internship program, check out our careers page.

Engaging your Board and Fundraising Volunteers

Connecting your volunteers to your organizational needs and goals is important work; volunteers, including the board, are a key to significantly increasing your fundraising outcomes. However, keeping your volunteers engaged and feeling like they are making a meaningful contribution can be challenging.

Effective volunteer engagement cannot happen without the right support structure in place. Meeting structure, technology, administrative support and follow up are key foundational pieces that need to be in place to inspire the most engagement. Other key components of volunteer engagement in fundraising include advocating for your organization, providing guidance, establishing connection of your organization with potential supporters, and raising money. Understanding the role of fundraising volunteers is crucial to utilizing them towards to achieve organizational goals.

The Four Roles of Fundraising Volunteers
Donor Intelligence: Nonprofits need to know the community of donors well to grow their donor base. Volunteers can help the organization learn more about their existing donors and provide input on donor prospects. The more detail about preferences, connections, and history the board and other volunteers can provide, the better a nonprofit is able to treat the donors like the individuals that they are.

Inviting the Donors: We all are drawn to organizations that someone we know introduced to us. Based on what is known about donors and donor prospects, volunteers can invite them to the appropriate events or cultivation activities. This can include luncheons, galas, tours, and also donor specific events designed to further engage them in the mission like one-on-one coffee get togethers or house parties.

Thanking the Donors: Adding personalized thank yous to your stewardship process is a simple but very effective way to cultivate donor relations and to increase their giving. Volunteers can play an important role by making thank you calls or sending personal notes to donors who have made significant gifts or attended events.

Asking for Gifts: Asks made by a volunteer are sometimes the most effective! There may be times when a volunteer is the best person to make an ask, either for sponsorship of an event or in a face-to-face setting. Sometimes, even having a volunteer in the room while the ask is made can make the difference needed to secure the gift.

Getting the Most Out of Meetings
When meeting with your volunteers, include opportunities to engage volunteers by sharing successes or inspiring stories that relate to your organization or board in some way. That being said – only have meetings together when there is news to share or work to do! Prepare for the meeting so that it includes a variety of speakers, and make sure you have time to follow up with those who were unable to attend (or encourage other attending volunteers to help with contacting non-attendees!)

Structure for Success
Your fundraising volunteers, board members, and committees must have a clear structure in place for them to be successful. Setting clear goals for the group and for each volunteer will make sure everyone knows their role. If they feel as if they can no longer serve on a committee, listen to them and try to find another way to engage them in a way they can continue their support. Most of all… when it comes to interacting with your volunteers, don’t forget to have some fun and celebrate your achievements together!

Mobile and Text Giving

In today’s fundraising landscape, mobile or text giving is no longer avoidable. In 2020, mid-size nonprofits saw a 25% increase in online giving, and 28% of contributions were made through a mobile device, so it’s time provide your donors with the proper tools to make their gifts easily.

Did you know that 98% of all text messages are read, and 90% are read within 3 minutes of being received? Adding options like QR codes or mobile giving by text messaging to your already existing toolbox of fundraising options, will not only simplify your donors giving experience, but will also give an added benefit of being seen quickly. To adjust to this new way of fundraising there are multiple resources and platforms available to help get you started.

When should I use a mobile giving option?

  • Fundraising Events – offering a mobile giving option is most beneficial when repeatedly displayed and viewed by donors throughout the event by providing constant reminder to donate by scanning a code or texting a number.
  • Appeals or Giving Campaigns – provide your mobile giving option on a reply device or letter for donors to make a quick gift from their mobile device.
  • Specific Tangible Needs – If you are communicating with your donors by text message, it’s easy and convenient to notify them of a specific need. For example, “text MASKUP to 12345 to make a gift that provides masks to our volunteers”.
  • Monthly Donor Acquisition, or Bonus Donor Acknowledgement – Communicate with a new or existing donor by text message to direct the donor to a video on your webpage that includes a testimonial of a monthly donor. Send to people who have donated in the last 6-8 weeks as a reminder that monthly giving is an option, OR as an added thank you – because an extra thank you is never a bad idea!

What are my options for mobile giving?

  • QR Codes – These are free scannable codes that are easy to print on newsletters, event handouts, signage, etc. When scanning the code, the URL you link to the code will come up on the users device, taking the person who scans it to your donation page or any other link you want to be easily accessed.
  • Text to Donate – Your organization designates a specific keyword that is sent by text message to a specific number and the auto-text response will have a link to donate to your organization. This works especially well in live situations when your donors are captive and are ready to make a gift. There are several providers like Qgiv, Simple Texting, or GiveLively that offer this service.
  • Text to Give – Another form of text giving through keywords, but it is limited to a specific dollar amount of $5, $10, or $25. The donation flows through the donor’s mobile carrier bill and is then sent to your organization some time later. This is a popular method for crisis fundraising, however, it does have a lower rate of actual gifts received because the charges can often be dropped off mobile bills before they reach the intended organization. You also are unable to collect any contact information for the donor aside from the cell phone number unless you engage in a more detailed mobile communication strategy.

What platforms are recommended for mobile giving?

  • Qgiv – Multiple options and packages are available for online fundraising, including donation pages, mobile giving, events, peer to peer fundraising, etc. allowing your organization to choose the package that fits your needs. No long-term commitment is needed, but the quarterly discount is an added bonus to allow some time to familiarize yourself with the products offered.
  • SimpleTexting – A platform to create keywords for text communication with donors. The text response typically contains your own link that you choose for donations or any other purpose. Cost is affordable and based on the number of outgoing messages sent.
  • GiveLively — A donation platform that has no cost outside of credit card processing fee. Multiple packages are available with options that include donation pages, mobile giving, peer to peer giving, etc. It is user friendly and allows the ability to customize to send content of your choice.

How do these platforms work with our existing database?

  • When using QR codes or SimpleTexting, donors are usually directed to the online form you choose. If that form is integrated with your database, it is an easy transfer of data in the method you’re familiar with using.
  • Qgiv and GiveLively use their own donation merchant accounts and forms, thus requiring manual entry or importing of data. Qgiv does have some templates available for downloading convenience, depending on the donor software.

Mobile and text giving is an easy way to engage donors and spread awareness for your organization. By adding these simple tools to your preexisting events or fundraising efforts, your giving and captured donor information will increase! For more information or have any questions please reach out to us; we are happy to help.