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5 Tips to Make Sure You’re Prepared for Giving Season

Giving Season

Giving Season is upon us, and it’s obviously more than doing a #GivingTuesday campaign alone. According to recent statistics, 34% of all giving overall is done in the last three months of the year–it can be a chaotic time for nonprofits to manage the increase in giving volume. So whether you’re planning your #GivingTuesday campaign or wanting to make sure that the whole last quarter of 2018 is a booming success for you, here are a few tips to prepare for and manage this giving season!:

1. Know your metrics. To break that down even more, what will success look like to you? Will it come in the form of greater awareness and engagement? Relationships established with potential long-term donors? Is it a specific dollar amount? It is critical that you know what success looks like before you start campaigning. If you don’t lay out a benchmark for success, you run the risk of running a campaign that accomplishes only a little bit in a lot of areas. What matters most to you this giving season? Not all organizations will have the same kind of needs this season. Establish your main goals and objectives for this year’s giving season and plan your campaigns around those specific goals. Remember that narrow focus is better–too many goals can also result in only minor successes in a variety of areas. Narrowing your goals and objectives down to one or two means that you can concentrate your efforts there and push for major success in those areas!

2. Make sure your campaigns are integrated and balanced. Even if you are not a nonprofit that does a lot of online engagement, know that many of your donors are engaging online with or without you. Online giving rates rose by 13% in 2013, and again in 2014 by 8.9%. Although in 2013, online giving only made up 6% of donations, that number is steadily increasing, and that’s 6% that your organization could probably use.

While your campaigns should absolutely reach your donors where they’re at in terms of direct mailers, fundraising events, phone banks, and street teams, do not forget online campaigns. Even if you have to keep your spend lean and not run paid campaigns, remember that people with money often live online, so make sure your messaging exists there. Get your staff and volunteers to share that messaging across their social networks during the season. Also, make sure to have branded giving pages, which have the potential to raise over 6 times what would be raised by a generic giving page.

3. Make it easy for people to give. One of the greatest roadblocks to increased giving is that it can take too long or be too complicated, especially online. Take a look at these staggering facts from Dunham & Company’s Online Raising Scorecard:

  • 9.5% of all online donations occur on a mobile device, but…
  • 84% of nonprofits don’t have their donation landing pages optimized for mobile devices, which leads to fewer donations when users leave the landing page, frustrated that they can’t see it on their device.
  • Donating money to an organization should be quick and painless. Except 65% of nonprofits have donation processes that take three or more clicks to get through before the donor can actually give their money.
  • When donors give money, they want to spread the word about the organization they gave money to. But 73% of nonprofits don’t have a social sharing option attached to their donation pages, making it more difficult for donors to share the goodwill.

These may seem small and insignificant–after all, people gave money before online giving, right? Can these things really be pushing donors away? In this day and age, yes. In an era where Cyber Monday is nearly as big a shopping day as Black Friday, online processes cannot be neglected. Some of these things are quick fixes, like including a social sharing widget on your landing page. Take note of how easy (or not) it is for a user to navigate your donation page. If you or your colleagues or “test subjects” find any process too long, difficult, or frustrating, make sure to fix those parts ASAP.

4. Mobilize your team. Chances are you’ve got a team who has experience in the nonprofit world around giving season. Great news–they already know what to expect! But be sure to prepare the rest of your team: your web developer for the new landing pages you’ll need, your marketing and creative department for the branding and collateral you’ll need, data security professionals to keep donor information safe, and phone banks, street teams, and admin staff for the workload of the coming months.

5. Thank your donors. This seems like a freebie. Of course you thank your donors. But how are you thanking them, and when? While 50% of donors prefer a thank-you to be personalized more than they like a fast thank-you delivery, that speed shouldn’t be an afterthought. Over 37% of nonprofits don’t send an email or letter within the first 30 days thanking their donors. Don’t fall into that category. In an age where things happen fast and everything is personalized, nonprofits must not be left behind. Make sure that your donors are thanked immediately if they are giving on a digital platform, and that the thank-you has a personal touch. For your mail-in or phone call donations, get letters sent out within the week to ensure timely follow-up.

Remember as well that donors like to know where their money is going. If you can provide them photos or stories with tangible things that their money helped to purchase, this goes a long way to making the donation experience much more real for them, increasing their likelihood of donating in the future.

We know that Giving Season is crazy, but with these tips, we hope that the chaos is a bit more manageable. For more tips on managing your nonprofit, be sure to visit the rest of our blog. If you’re also looking to better manage and organize your incoming grants and funding, schedule a demo with us today!

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