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Is Your Sustainer Program a Zombie?

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Even the most creative and strategic fundraisers can become mindless zombies when it comes to managing their Monthly Giving programs -- forgetting everything they've learned about stewardship, relationship building and targeting asks to individual constituents. As a result, organizations are leaving thousands of dollars on the table.

Join Dolores McDonagh, Principal Consultant at Charity Dynamics, for a session that will challenge attendees to re-imagine their acquisition, cultivation and solicitation of sustaining donors to build true relationships with this critical group of supporters.  On this webinar, you will learn how to:

- Balance acquisition with one-time gifts solicitation and create an annual benefits and cultivation plan for sustainers
- Utilize online platforms to upgrade monthly donors to higher levels of giving
- Calculate ROI for sustainer acquisition through a client case study

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Is Your Sustainer Program a Zombie?

  1. 1. “FEAR” THE WALKING DEAD Is Your Sustainer Program a Zombie? 1
  2. 2. 2 YOUR CHARITY DYNAMICS TEAM
  3. 3. FUNDRAISERS SAVE THE WORLD Like Carol… • We’re deeply committed to the cause • We’ll do whatever it takes • We know building relationships and community are key strategies • We’re ever alert to new opportunities to engage people in our cause …Right? 3
  4. 4. BUT IF WE DON’T WATCH OUT… 4 …WE CAN TURN INTO ZOMBIES
  5. 5. 5 KEYS TO SUSTAINER SUCCESS 5 • Know Your Program • Ride the Auto Pay Wave • Market Your Sustainer Program • Cultivate Your Sustainers • Upgrade Your Sustainers
  6. 6. “HEY CORAL… SUSTAINING PROGRAMS ARE A KEY SURVIVAL STRATEGY” Know your program
  7. 7. SUSTAINERS ARE A KEY SURVIVAL STRATEGY Sustainer giving is the fastest growing segment of online giving; grew 14.3% in 2016, compared with only 4.9% overall for online giving Sustainer revenue now represents 11.3% of all online fundraising, up from 9.5% in 2016 7 2016 Luminate Online Benchmark Report Online Revenue Sustainer Revenue Other Gifts
  8. 8. HOW DOES YOUR NONPROFIT STACK UP? 8 In sectors where organizations have focused on recruiting Sustaining donors, the numbers are even more impressive…
  9. 9. 9
  10. 10. THERE ARE NO ‘TYPICAL’ SUSTAINERS 9% 4% 47% 19% 39% 45% 5% 32% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 120% Typical Animal Welfare Typical Food Bank <$10 $10-19 $20-49 $50+ 44% give $20+ each 77% give $20+ each month 10
  11. 11. DON’T FUNDRAISE LIKE A ZOMBIE 11 • In spite of tremendous growth, Sustainer Giving is still a largely untapped source for most nonprofits. • Too many of us are ignoring this important group of donors!
  12. 12. What is your team’s holy grail?PROTECT YOURSELF FROM BECOMING A ZOMBIE - WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK! -
  13. 13. ACQUIRING SUSTAINERS 13 • Ride the Auto-Pay Wave • Marketing Your Sustainer Program
  14. 14. ACQUISITION ZOMBIE BEHAVIOR “Is that really the best we can do?”
  15. 15. ZOMBIE ASKS 15
  16. 16. ZOMBIE ASKS 16
  17. 17. TRY TARGETED ACQUISITION ASKS 17
  18. 18. TARGET ASK WITH SUGGESTED AMOUNT 18
  19. 19. TEST GIVING PEOPLE A CHOICE AT THE START 19 Offering a clear path to Monthly Giving increased new monthly gifts by 400%
  20. 20. UX THAT HIGHLIGHTS SUSTAINED GIVING 20 Drop Menu on Hover Persistent in Navigation
  21. 21. SUSTAINER INVITATIONS • Consider going ‘old school’ and calling to invite one-time donors to become Sustainers. • Targeted email invitations can also uncover donors likely to convert. • Target multi-donors via these channels 21 Hello, Rick? I’m calling to thank you for your past support and ask if you’ll upgrade your gift to become a monthly supporter?
  22. 22. INVITE ONE-TIME DONORS RIGHT AFTER THEY GIVE 22
  23. 23. ACQUIRING NEW SUSTAINERS • Offer sustainer-friendly ask amounts • Test UX • Invite targeted segments of one-time donors Fundraising Survival ‘DO’s’ • Just go with your CRM’s default experience • Tell donors that you won’t ask for $ again • Beat donors over the head with a clumsy ask Zombie Fundraising ‘DON’Ts’ 23
  24. 24. CULTIVATION ZOMBIE BEHAVIOR • Sustaining Gifts are not just easy for donors, they are easy for nonprofits. • That’s no excuse for laziness in cultivating these loyal supporters.
  25. 25. CULTIVATING SUSTAINERS 25 • REALLY AVOID ‘Out of the Box’ user experiences • Bring the Love Every Month • Other Cultivation Tips
  26. 26. MINDLESS CULTIVATION 26 This exact ‘thank you’ has been received like clockwork for the past four years!
  27. 27. MINDLESS CULTIVATION 27 ‘Out of the Box’ language devalues the donor – and your organization!
  28. 28. LEVERAGE MARKETING AUTOMATION TO DELIGHT SUSTAINERS 28 September TKU August TKU
  29. 29. REPURPOSE EXISTING CONTENT IN YOUR MONTHLY THANK YOUS 29 February 2017 TKU
  30. 30. OTHER WAYS TO CULTIVATE SUSTAINERS • Reference my monthly support in Donor Portals and email asks. • Avoid Giving Club ‘silos.’ If my giving level entitles me to ‘Giving Club Benefits’ welcome me to the fold! • Pick up the phone and call me when I join, or send a personal email introducing me to a special contact at the organization. 30
  31. 31. DON’T LEAVE MONEY ON THE TABLE Use Your Existing Reports to: • Monitor Bounced Emails • See – and respond to – Credit Card Declines • Monitor Duplicate Pledges (and merge when appropriate) 31
  32. 32. CULTIVATING SUSTAINERS • Integrate your timely messaging into monthly thank yous • Recognize the special impact their recurring support makes possible • Bring some drama to your Sustainers Fundraising Survival ‘DO’s’ • Siloing Sustainers • Ignoring Data Zombie Fundraising ‘DON’Ts’ 32
  33. 33. SPEAKING OF REPORTING…BE SMART • Set an alarm to revisit the impact of your Sustainer Invitation efforts. • Don’t rely only on early projections on the extra revenue of converting one-time donors to Sustainers. – Not including lost revenue from repeat gifts from one-time donors can take a bite out of revenue projections. 33
  34. 34. STRENGTHEN YOUR GROUP BY UPGRADING SUSTAINERS
  35. 35. UPGRADING ZOMBIE BEHAVIOR • Life in the Zombie Apocalypse is hard. • If you only focus on making it easy to sign up as a Sustainer, you may survive, but you won’t thrive. • Upgrading is key to maximizing your Sustainer program.
  36. 36. SURVIVING, NOT THRIVING While one-time average annual gifts tend to increase over time, Sustainers are much more likely to remain ‘stuck’ at their entry gift level. 36
  37. 37. AUTOMATIC UPGRADES Example: Save the Children • One time email – let us know if you want to stop being a Sponsor 37
  38. 38. UTILIZE NATIVE DONOR CENTERS TO EMPOWER SUSTAINERS • Does your online CRM have a Sustainer Center? • Make sure it’s enabled (and mobile friendly). • Make sure your donors know how to get here! 38
  39. 39. CASE STUDY: GREATER CHICAGO FOOD DEPOSITORY 39
  40. 40. CUSTOMIZED EMAIL SERIES FOR EXISTING SUSTAINERS Three messages over a 7 day period emphasizing donor impact and ease of upgrading.
  41. 41. ASK STRATEGY: MATCHING THE ASK TO THE DONOR Customized groups created to offer meaningful upgrade amounts to individual donors.
  42. 42. USER EXPERIENCE: STREAMLINING THE PROCESS Step 1: Customized email with autologin link. Step 2: Landing page/ donation form with customized asks matching email. Total clicks to upgrade after opening email: 3 Step 3: Thank you for upgrading!
  43. 43. RESULTS Almost 50%opened at least one email in inaugural invite… 43 Only 1 unsubscribe! Donors at all levels upgraded… Almost 12% clicked through to the landing page... 48.5% of people who landed on the form completed it! 5.1% of all eligible sustainers have upgraded their gift… Avg. monthly upgrade is $18.04 ($216 annual impact) Increases range from $4 to $115 per month…
  44. 44. UPGRADING SUSTAINERS • Have an upgrade strategy • Focus on User Experience • Communicate Impact + Convenience Fundraising Survival ‘DO’s’ • Requiring user names and passwords • Making ‘cookie cutter’ upgrade asks • Solicitating without cultivation Zombie Fundraising ‘DON’Ts’ 44
  45. 45. What is your team’s holy grail? EMBRACE YOUR SUSTAINERS AND SAVE THE WORLD!
  46. 46. • Know your program • Put out a welcome mat • Invite at the right time – with the right ask • Show them the love they deserve • Upgrade to maximize Return on Investment EMBRACE YOUR SUSTAINERS AND SAVE THE WORLD
  47. 47. 47 QUESTIONS?
  48. 48. ©2017 Charity Dynamics THANK YOU 48

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