Nonprofits and Technology: Fundraising in the Digital Age


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This presentation, done by Robert Evans of Evans Consulting Group, reviews the finer points of fundraising in the digital age that we currently live in. Learning how to stay current and cutting edge will help take a nonprofit's fundraising to the next level!

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  • Users of your social media:
    Staff & Board of Directors
    Stakeholders & Clients
    Funders & Donors

    “Write everything as if your grandmother is reading it.”
    -Ensure that there isn’t anything online that will compromise your agency’s reputation of prohibit it from receiving funding.

    Remember, your social media must be consistent with your other communications.
    -Don’t trust “just anyone” to create your social media.
    -Tone and voice must be consistent with your ORGANIZATION, not the person who is responsible for generating content
  • What is the primary goal? Secondary goal?
    -Exposure? Fundraising? Getting volunteers?

    What is success, and how will you measure it?
    -Specific benchmarks and outcomes
    -When will you measure it? Who will you present results to?

    Who will be creating and managing your content?
    -Is one person responsible for content, or many?
    -Have you given this person “permission” to spend the amount of time needed to create an effective and impactful program?

    Who is your “cheerleader” for this program?
    -Who will support the staff members responsible for the social media program? What Board members will review the work and support it? Who are your Board advocates that can help other Board members understand the value-added by such a program? What funders would be interested in moving this program forward?

    What will your primary brand name be?
    -Need to keep CONSISTANT across all platforms
    -Example: For EHL Consulting, we use either EHLConsulting, or EHLconsultGRP
  • Social media can be used to:
    Promote your cause, mission & vision
    Recruit volunteers
    Create “buzz” for a special event
    Sell tickets for special events
    Support your other communications

    Social media is NOT the ideal forum for fundraising!
  • Nonprofits and Technology: Fundraising in the Digital Age

    1. 1. Nonprofits & Technology: Fundraising in the Digital Age Robert Evans Founder & President Evans Consulting Group, LLC
    2. 2. Evans Consulting Group, LLC. • Our team has more than 20 years of experience in… – Creative Fundraising & Campaign Management – Strategic Planning – Leadership Development – Nonprofit Business Planning – Donor Research • Advised more than 400 nonprofits • Member firm of the Giving Institute • Editorial Review Board of Giving USA • Regular columnist for • National committee member for #GivingTuesday
    3. 3. Total Giving: 1972-2012 (in billions of dollars)
    4. 4. Corporations $18.15 6% Bequests $23.41 7% Foundations $45.74 15% Individuals $228.93 72% Total Giving = $316.23 billion How America Gives: 2012 Totals Source of contributions by billion
    5. 5. Giving by Individuals: 1972-2012 (in billions of dollars)
    6. 6. Individual Giving as Percentage of DPI
    7. 7. Trends in the New Economy: Evolving Expectations for Nonprofits • Increased competition for charitable dollars • Donors want to be personally engaged with their philanthropy and see outcomes leading to impact • Trends such as crowd-funding and micro-giving encourage low-involvement giving • Nonprofits must find ways to turn one-time givers into multi-year donors and lifetime givers • Total giving is up, but donor retention is down
    8. 8. Technology & Nonprofits • Use of technology promotes clear and effective communication • Technology should help propel institutional visibility • Technology should strengthen brand messaging • Use of social media allows for consistency with other tools Nonprofits generally lag behind when it comes to adapting to new technology
    9. 9. Online Giving: Facts and Figures • In 2013 online giving accounted for only 6.4% of all charitable giving • Educational institutions have the largest online average gift size with an average gift of $629 • Online average gift size has seasonality. The online average gift size more than doubles in the month of December • Online gifts tend to be smaller but larger gifts are starting to pop-up: – In 2012, six organizations reported receiving gifts of at least $100,000 – In the same year, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center reported a $1 million online gift
    10. 10. Fundraising and the Internet: A Growing Trend Source: Network for Good • Online giving still represents less than 10% of total giving but is a growing trend amongst donors • While overall giving is growing - a 1.5% increase from 2011 to 2012 - online giving has grown an astounding 14% over that same time
    11. 11. Fundraising and the Internet: An Emerging Path • A clear, branded message is key to online fundraising • Peer-to-peer giving is a growing trend. Find your engaged donors and “employ” them. Don’t be afraid to ask for more than money - get your fans out there talking about your cause. Source: Network for Good
    12. 12. Giving Tuesday is Going Viral!
    13. 13. Giving Tuesday is Going Viral! During peak hours on December 3rd, 2013: • A reach of over 2 billion individuals on Twitter (a 338% increase from 2012) and over 300 million on Facebook • #GivingTuesday was tweeted as much as 700 times per minute • #GivingTuesday trended for over 10 hours straight • Over 7,000 #UNselfies were taken The hashtag #GivingTuesday was used 269k times on December 3rd, 406k times in 7 days, and 514k times in 30 days. An average of 11,208 tweets per hour & 186 per minute
    14. 14. Making a List and Checking it Twice • In the digital age, your website is often the face of your organization. Make sure your site is up-to-date with these key components: Gift acceptance policies should be posted Your “Donor Bill of Rights” should be published Proper website and donation page security is a must Re-fresh content regularly Obtain formal permission to use images Highlight your Case for Giving Show “real world” examples of where a donor’s money goes Your organization must be registered in each state where you solicit donations online
    15. 15. Financial Transparency: Use Your Website More! • When asked, donors all too frequently express concern that the nonprofit is not financially transparent – even when financial documents are made available • Nonprofits have been very slow to use their website to foster financial transparency • Be proactive: add key financial information to your website for donor review – Post your Form 990 on your website – Include a brief summary of your annual budget
    16. 16. Going Mobile Smartphones and tablets account for about 25% of all Web traffic. Google recently adjusted its mobile search algorithm to account for websites that are tailored to mobile users. • A mobile friendly site - a website that will function correctly on a mobile device. It essentially looks like a tiny, scaled down version of a website. • A mobile website - a completely separate website that has been specifically designed for usage on a mobile device – you will often be redirected to Mobile websites are usually geared more towards the content that is relevant to mobile users. • A responsive website, also known as adaptive or responsive design, is one that “responds” to the size of the viewing device. Nielsen reports that over two-thirds (67%) of mobile subscribers in the U.S. owned smartphones in Q4 2013—and in December they spent 34 hours using apps and the mobile web on those devices. Many of these people are visiting your website on their smartphones! Make it a top priority for your organization to go mobile in 2014.
    17. 17. Giving Mobile “Greater emphasis on strategy, organizational alignment and process design will be applicable to all nonprofits, large or small. Essentially, being more sophisticated and savvy when it comes to supporter engagement won't be just a ‘nice to have' — it will be a necessity.” Vinay Bhagat, CSO for Convio •Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – 19% of the $13.6-million the cancer center raised online last year came from mobile sources. In 2011, mobile donations accounted for just 9% of its total online contributions. •Marine Toys for Tots Foundation says 21% of its online giving in 2012 came from mobile devices—an increase of 75% over the previous year. •Mobile users for the health campaign, Movember, accounted for 26% of their Web traffic and gave about 5% of the $131.1-million raised globally during its 2012 campaign. In a study where 135 large charities were surveyed about their mobile fundraising efforts, 43% said they have made no efforts to make it easier for donors to contribute on smartphones or tablets. Those that are making the investment are seeing significant returns.
    18. 18. Key Questions to Ask Before Using Online Fundraising • What is the primary goal? Secondary goal? • What is success and how will you measure it? • Who will be creating and managing the content?
    19. 19. Google Doesn’t Know Everything • In researching prospective donors, Googling names will only get you so far. • Sophisticated software exists that culls from public sources to paint a picture of an individual’s giving habits, including information on past giving, gift capacity and charitable interests. • Together, the internet and new software have taken some of the guesswork out of donor research and cultivation.
    20. 20. Wealth Screening: Revolutionize “The Ask” With wealth screening software you can: • Easily identify your best major and planned gift prospects • Attract and retain wealthy donors with improved donor service • Maximize gifts by asking for the right amount at the right time • Determine the wealth potential of your entire database • Set reasonable campaign goals • Free up staff resources for person-to-person fundraising
    21. 21. Crowdfunding • Stunning visuals are key. Engage potential backers with images, videos and design. Create a short 2-3 minute shareable promotional video to romanticize your project. • Set a realistic monetary goal. • Have money already committed – crowdfunding can be psychological. People want to see that others are already involved. • Develop a strong social media and marketing campaign – crowdfunding is about your relationships, your community, your outreach and storytelling. • Make sure your rewards fit the donation – provide appropriate “gifts” that will further entice backers to get involved. Examples: Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, CrowdTilt, Go Fund Me
    22. 22. Ticketing Sites: The Next Era of Event Fundraising • Costs: free events vs. paid • Benefit? Information and access! • Examples: TicketLeap, EventBrite, MeetUp • Do donors know where the money goes? • Ticketing sites take a percentage of each ticket sale or a flat-fee per ticket, plus processing costs
    23. 23. Why Do Nonprofits Use Social Media? • Social media can be used to: – Promote your cause, mission & vision – Recruit volunteers – Create “buzz” for a special event – Sell tickets for special events – Support your other communications – Raise money for specific projects • Social media policy – What is appropriate? – Picking the right channels
    24. 24. Social Media: Know Your Audience
    25. 25. Nonprofits on Facebook: Messaging & Visibility • Facebook has launched a Nonprofit Resource Center which includes educational materials, tutorials and a downloadable non-profit guide geared toward raising awareness and funds for causes specifically through the social network. • Best used for broadcasting and feedback, not fundraising, with some exceptions: - Seattle Children’s Hospital has created personal Facebook pages for current and former patients where they can raise money for the hospital • Donors now see the Facebook page as a “second website” • No Facebook page = damaged credibility
    26. 26. Twitter Essentials Don’t Overcomplicate @dontovercomplicate 11m Be real, be human, be honest Tweet in the Moment @tweetinthemoment 19m Be current and don’t be afraid to live tweet at your events Twitter is especially suited to nonprofits because it allows your organization the freedom to spotlight a broad range of issues and newsworthy items that relate to your cause. Be Strategic @bestrategic 23m Follow and schmooze with influencers in your sector Be Supportive @besupportive 37m Follow like-minded users and engage with them Use Hashtags @usehashtags 45m Join in relevant conversations & trending topics by using a # Be Gracious @begracious 1h Respond. Reply. Retweet. Follow back.
    27. 27. Final Thoughts Engaging with stakeholders online is increasingly important for nonprofits, but should be approached thoughtfully and strategically.
    28. 28. Required Reading • The Chronicle of Philanthropy: • The Giving Institute:
    29. 29. For More Information: Website: Bob’s email: Facebook: Twitter: @EvansConsultGrp