It’s Not Too Late to Supercharge Your Year-end Online Fundraising

There’s a lot riding on your year-end online fundraising efforts. Some nonprofits raise a quarter (if not more) of all their online revenue in December. No doubt your team has been carefully planning its year-end online campaigns and is hard at work implementing the messages. Here are a few last-minute ideas to supercharge your fundraising.

Resend to Non-openers

So much of year-end fundraising is about persistence. For email appeals, that means resending your email message to people who haven’t opened your message. Wait a day or two, pull a report of who opened the message the first time, and suppress them from your resend. Yes, there is always a risk of over-messaging, so be sure to change the subject line.

You might also pick a different time to message such as very early in the morning, in the late evening, or on the weekend, all in the name of standing out to get noticed — and opened.

Add a Special Appeal for Monthly Giving

Year-end is traditionally the time for one-time gifts, but we know that donors are always in search of flexibility and options. Make sure you make the case for monthly giving, either in the body text or P.S. of your email message, and also on all your donation pages. This is one of the fastest growing segments of online fundraising, so jump on the bandwagon at year-end too.

Keep Sending Appeals to People Who Already Donated

We go to great lengths to avoid sending appeals to people who have already donated to our campaigns. But year-end is a great time to keep including recent donors, especially if you have a dollar-for-dollar match. Include a sentence recognizing and appreciating their gift, and many donors will be motivated to give again, or to spread the word via social media with friends.

Ask Your Donors to Tell Their Friends and Family

Your donors feel great after they make a donation to your cause. That’s what charitable giving is all about. Make it easy for your donors to share that feeling with friends and family by adding sharing options on your website “Thank You” page and also in the thank-you email/receipt that gets sent to each donor. Discuss with your online vendors to find out how to add these features.

Add a Pop-up Lightbox to the Highest Trafficked Pages on Your Website

It’s vital to grab the attention of your website visitors during the last two weeks of the year. The pop-up lightbox is a perfect tool to get in front of people and convey your year-end fundraising message, especially if you have a match. Set a cookie for your returning visitors so the lightbox only appears once every few days.

Increase Your Messaging out on Social Media

You’re probably planning some social media messaging at year-end to promote your fundraising efforts, but you’re probably not planning enough. Get creative with ways to promote your year-end campaigns, using tie-in graphics, thermometers, and thanking donors publicly. Your creativity and humor will pay off, especially for your followers who are also on your email list. And don’t forget to track your social media click-through traffic to your donation pages.

Michael Stein is a Senior Account Executive at Mal Warwick | Donordigital in Berkeley, California. With Nick Allen and Mal Warwick, Michael wrote the groundbreaking 1997 book: Fundraising on the Internet: Recruiting and Renewing Donors Online.

Growing your sustainer program

Mal Warwick | Donordigital Senior Account Executive Wendy Marinaccio Husman joined forces with Jeanne Horne of Share Our Strength, to present a dynamic session on “Growing Your Sustainer Program” at Blackbaud’s BBCON 2015 in Austin in October.

The session covered numerous facets of growing a sustainer program with a discussion of strategies for retention, stewardship, and upgrades. Wendy and Jeanne outlined No Kid Hungry’s multichannel promotion of monthly giving, with efforts spanning email, online advertising, social, direct mail, and telemarketing. They provided exclusive examples for how to improve retention, create a communications calendar for monthly donors, and more.

Here are the presentation slides:

Mal Warwick | Donordigital Announces Leadership Transition: Mwosi Swenson named CEO

Mwosi Swenson, President and CEO

Mwosi Swenson, President and CEO

Washington, DC and Berkeley, CA — September 21, 2015

Mal Warwick | Donordigital, a leader in integrated fundraising, advocacy, and marketing for the nonprofit sector, announced today the appointment of Mwosi Swenson as President and CEO.

After over a decade of leadership, current President and CEO Dan Doyle leaves the agency in the strongest position it has ever been. He will provide ongoing transition counsel through the end of the year.

Mwosi, most recently Senior Vice President of Mal Warwick | Donordigital, began at the agency 21 years ago. In her long career with the company, she has rapidly moved up the ladder, meeting every new challenge with great skill. Mwosi has provided expert fundraising strategy and oversight for some of the nation’s most respected environmental, advocacy, and political organizations. A decade ago she launched the agency’s digital fundraising division and in 2008 took the helm of Donordigital, the online fundraising firm acquired to support the agency’s move into integrated fundraising. Under her leadership, the agency now provides premier integrated fundraising services for the majority of our clients. Mwosi is widely recognized for her leadership in integrated fundraising and her strategic thinking, and is often called upon to speak at industry conferences.

Dan Doyle noted, “I have every confidence Mwosi will build on all that we have accomplished together. My years with the agency have been incredibly exciting, and now that our Board of Directors is willing to make the transition to new leadership, I am in a great position to leave. I’m proud of our many achievements, and Mwosi and the agency are perfectly poised to rise to even greater heights.”

Founder and Board Chair Mal Warwick added, “This is an exciting time for our agency. Dan has done a brilliant job introducing professional management procedures, building the best fundraising team in the industry, leading our merger with Donordigital, expanding the business to Washington, DC, and attracting more and bigger clients, including some of the most notable organizations in the nonprofit world. For some time now Dan has been assigning key responsibility to other members of the team so that this transition can take place smoothly. He leaves the company in the most capable hands with Mwosi.”

For more information contact:

Mwosi Swenson, President and CEO, 510-225-0403 or mwosi@malwarwick.com

Donordigital Heads to #15NTC

ntc-logo-1Many of our staff will be traveling to Austin on March 4-6, for this year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference which is organized each year by NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network. With over 100 sessions about the latest trends in nonprofit technology, we’re excited to dive into this annual festival of educational experiences, networking, and the legendary parties.

Several of our staff will be participation in breakout sessions:

Wednesday, March 4 at 10:30 am
Play it again, Sam: Monthly Giving Programs for Sustaining Donations ‘As Time Goes By’
Wendy Marinaccio Husman, Senior Account Executive, Donordigital
will be presenting with Jeanne Horne, Senior Manager, Digital Communications, Share Our Strength.
This is a must-attend session to gather ideas for growing your monthly giving program as well as strategies for retention, stewardship, and upgrades once your sustainer file is built.

Friday, March 6 at 10:30 am
What Has Your Donation Page Done for You Lately? Testing, Optimization & Best Practices
With Mwosi Swenson, Vice President, Donordigital
We’ll do a review of the tools, technology and methodology needed for effective testing and then dive into best practices and real testing results – things you’d expect, things that you need to know, and things that surprised us all!

bar96-logoThursday Night Progressive Party: Party Like It’s 1996
And speaking of parties, we’ll be hosting one of the Thursday night Progressive Parties and you’re invited to join us to “Party Like It’s 1996”. In 1996, we literally wrote the book on online fundraising … since then, online engagement has certainly evolved! But, for one night only, join the fundraising team from Donordigital for a ‘90s throwback, from 8pm to midnight at Bar 96 (96 Rainey Street). Come meet, socialize, and reminisce about the founding days of fundraising on the Internet with your fellow NTC techies. Don’t forget your NTC Badge for street tacos and drinks, including a taste of our signature e-Martini. Learn more about the #15NTC Progressive Parties.

Mal Warwick | Donordigital Team heads to 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference

ntc-logoWe’re excited to be returning to the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC), organized by the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network (NTEN). This year’s event is being held in Washington, DC from March 13-15.

Mal Warwick | Donordigital staff are participating in five different sessions:

photo-thumbnail-mwosiVice President Mwosi Swenson will be speaking at:
DIY: Blueprints for Building Your Best Multichannel Fundraising Campaigns
Thursday, March 13, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

This session is for nonprofit professionals that are looking to integrate and optimize their fundraising across all channels. It is filled with tips, tricks and tools to help you jumpstart, enhance and refine your multichannel fundraising program. This hands-on session is for nonprofit fundraising professionals that want to use multichannel tactics to find new donors, retain the ones you have and grow your revenue. In this session you’ll learn how a nonprofit collaborated internally to integrate the direct mail and online fundraising program; easy things you can do right now to integrate your program; and proven tactics to increase online giving by integrating social channels and behavioral psychology into your donation flow.

photo-thumbnail-mattSenior Account Executive Matt Burghdoff will be speaking at:
Breakthrough Trends & Strategies for Online Peer-to-Peer Campaigns
Thursday, March 13, 10:30am – 12:00pm

This session is for fundraising teams, event managers, development officers looking to expand and grow the impact of their peer-to-peer programs. Join this session for an intensive look at what’s new and innovative in peer-to-peer fundraising. We will take you beyond the basics to give you the collected best practices you need to plan and manage successful peer-driven (or crowdsourced) campaigns. We’ll explore the latest strategies for web, social and mobile channels, giving you data-driven insights to help you understand donors and participants in your online programs.

photo-thumbnail-mattSenior Account Executive Matt Burghdoff will be speaking at:
Online Testing – Practical Insights & Lessons Learned
Friday, March 14, 10:30am – 12:00pm

Are you a Nonprofit professional looking to enhance your programs and campaign pieces based on experiential data? Then it’s time to dive deep into putting your online presence to the test. In this session, industry experts will walk through setting up rigorous testing procedures, and share their findings on what is and isn’t working in the online space. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own campaign pages and emails to brainstorm potential tests with the experts. What you’ll walk away with: 1) Practical data on what has worked for nonprofits online; 2) Take-home tools to get started testing; 3) Optimization tests to implement right away.

photo-thumbnail-anthonySenior Web Designer Anthony Blair-Borders will be speaking at:
Start at the Start: Using Storyboards, Wireframes, and Mood Boards
Friday, March 14, 1:30pm – 3:00pm

If you’re new to web design, you may find yourself intimidated how complex it can be creating assets for the online paradigm. We will explore how to use storyboards to plan animated functionality, how to use wireframes to create mobile-friendly designs and help guide and inform your final design, and how to use mood boards to help determine color, texture, and the overall look and feel of online communications. We’ll discuss how to properly start an online design project to help give you a launching point and to help save valuable time and resources by nailing down the basic elements of your assets before you even begin initial design comps.

photo-thumbnail-wendySenior Account Executive Wendy Marinaccio Husman will be speaking at:
Digital Marketing That Gets Results: 30 Ideas You Can Use Monday Morning
Saturday, March 15, 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Learn more about trends and opportunities around social media tools and digital marketing big ideas. Join our experts and learn about tools that exemplify the latest innovations that get results first thing Monday morning. This session is for audiences of all types who want to gear up their digital marketing plans with Big Ideas. Attendees will walk away with: 1) Up to 30 ideas that you can use out of the box; 2) A look at Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and how you can ramp up those channels; 3) and a plan that will help guide your digital marketing strategy.

Typhoon Haiyan spurs humanitarian and fundraising response

Philippines Typhoon HaiyanThe super typhoon that struck the Philippines on November 8th is believed to be the most powerful storm on record to make landfall, damaging more than 16 million homes and causing over 6,000 deaths. The humanitarian and fundraising response around the world was immediate.

Two Donordigital clients sprung into action to raise money online from their supporters to fund urgent humanitarian campaigns in the Philippines and the region.

AmeriCares and International Medical Corps closely followed the news of the approaching storm. Within hours of landfall, both organizations sent out email appeals to their supporters, providing news of their humanitarian response and asking for financial support. Speed of communications requesting donations is critical as a means to engage potential supporters, particularly during a time of very high media coverage of unfolding events on the ground. Additional email updates were sent over the following weeks, keeping supporters informed and encouraging additional donations in support of emergency relief efforts.

To increase the fundraising response of email appeals, two other tactics were used. One tactic was resending one of the appeals to email subscribers that did not open a message (“non-openers”). Another tactic was to introduce a match, which encouraged supporters to make a gift and also encouraged larger gifts. Due to the scale of the humanitarian disaster in the Philippines, both organizations used their messaging opportunities to distinguish their emergency response from other organizations by focusing on their unique response role. AmeriCares focused on its efforts to provide medical supplies to an established network of local clinics, while International Medical Corps focused on its efforts to provide relief on remote Philippine islands.

On their websites, both organizations dedicated homepage carousel slides to the situation in the Philippines. Half of available slides were used to promote Philippines fundraising, featuring media coverage of their work on the ground and providing specific details of the organization’s humanitarian response. Special donation pages were built to accept donations, featuring pointed messaging about work being done on the ground.

On social media, both organizations presented timely and frequent updates from the field along with numerous photos, interspersed with fundraising appeals. The photos were heartbreaking and provided an invaluable channel to keep supporters informed and engaged with new developments.

As the year-end fundraising season is now in high gear through December 31, both organizations have implemented strategies to encourage donors that gave during the Typhoon Haiyan relief emergency to also make an additional gift at year-end. New and returning donors that give during emergencies are always deeply appreciated by charitable organizations, and the challenge is keeping them engaged year-round with the important work of the organization.

mstein-photo-thumbnailMichael Stein is a Senior Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company. Contact: michael@donordigital.com.

Laura Domingo and Nick Garcia contributed to this article.

No Kid Hungry Month dines out to fight hunger

This past September, Donordigital’s client Share Our Strength celebrated No Kid Hungry Month to raise awareness that 1 in 5 children in America face hunger. As part of this effort, No Kid Hungry supporters dined out to fight hunger with their forks at 9,000 partner restaurants. In just one day, called the “twEAT out,” there were 19 million tweets promoting No Kid Hungry month.

On September 8th, 30 cable networks including the Food Network committed to Go Orange in solidarity against childhood hunger. In No Kid Hungry month alone, the organization raised $203,500 online—an amount that provides over 2 million meals for kids struggling with hunger.

Watch the video and learn more about No Kid Hungry Month

BOOK: How to Write Successful Fundraising Appeals, Third Edition

How to Write Successful Fundraising Appeals, Third Edition
By Mal Warwick, with Eric Overman
Published by Jossey-Bass (2013)

Includes Sample Letters, Real World Examples, Style Tips, New Chapters on E-mail, Websites, Social Media, and More…

Now in a completely revised third edition, this classic book shows how to create winning appeals that will realize the full potential of direct mail and online fundraising. Written by fundraising guru Mal Warwick, with assistance from Eric Overman, this comprehensive resource gives nonprofit fundraising staff the information needed to write compelling fundraising appeals for any medium. If you follow Warwick’s guidelines, your direct mail and online fundraising campaigns will produce better results, year after year.

Written in an easy-to-read style, the book is filled with practical techniques, proven approaches, and illustrative examples of both successful and unsuccessful appeals based on the authors’ wealth of experience fundraising for hundreds of nonprofits. Step-by-step and appeal by appeal, the book shows how to navigate the fundraising appeal process with ease. To meet the demands of today’s socially connected donors, this new edition explains how to mesh today’s online technologies with direct mail to produce optimal fundraising results. You’ll learn how to use e-mail, websites, Facebook, Twitter, and mobile technology to recruit more donors and raise more money. The book includes current research on timely topics such as online vs. offline behavior, online giving statistics, demographics, and best practices in integrated fundraising.

If you’re a nonprofit professional eager to master the latest methods in fundraising, or simply need to write direct mail appeals for your organization, How to Write Successful Fundraising Appeals will help you hone your skills and create appeals that will hit the mark every time.

Available for purchase on Amazon.com and other retailers.

Vote for our sessions at the 2014 Nonprofit Tech Conference

Donordigital is excited to have put forward ten session proposals for the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference taking place in Washington, DC, March 13-15.

We invite your support for our proposed sessions by casting your vote on the Nonprofit Technology Network website:

Where Do I Start? Hands On Tips & Tools to Jumpstart Your Multichannel Fundraising Program
http://www.nten.org/ntc-session/15407

Start at the Start: Using Storyboards, Wireframes, and Mood Boards
How to properly start an online design project.
http://www.nten.org/ntc-session/15120

Transform Blackbaud/Convio Modules to Present a More Dynamic User Experience
http://www.nten.org/ntc-session/15254

Be the Star of Any Screen: Design and Implementation in the Mobile Age
http://www.nten.org/ntc-session/15255

50 Live Online Tests
Where you should begin a testing program, and how to invest limited resources in the most valuable tests.
http://www.nten.org/ntc-session/15132

Become a Jedi Master of Persuasion – and get better conversion rates on your donation pages
Persuading a visitor on your donation page to complete the form and click the donate button is a top objective for any online program.
http://www.nten.org/ntc-session/15337

A Gift a Month, That’s All We Ask – Building and Sustaining A Monthly Giving Program
An interactive case study of the No Kid Hungry monthly giving program, The Hunger Core.
http://www.nten.org/ntc-session/15308

Peer-to-Peer Perfection – Taking your tools to the next level
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a rising star in the online fundraiser’s toolkit, and research is showing that it is delivering very strong fundraising results as donors get friends and family involved in their campaigns.
http://www.nten.org/ntc-session/15131

Managing the Changing Landscape of Facebook Marketing
http://www.nten.org/ntc-session/15307

Turning Slacktivism into Activism: ROI of Online List Building
http://www.nten.org/ntc-session/15336
Hear from a number of nonprofits about their experience building a program to convert constituents acquired from list building efforts to ongoing advocates and donors.

Michael Stein is a Senior Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company. Contact: michael@donordigital.com or phone (510) 473-0364.

Mobile Fundraising: The impact of mobile technology on peer-driven fundraising campaigns

This is a very important and timely research paper by Artez Interactive which is one of the solution vendors that serves nonprofits in the U.S. and around the world.

They examined the success of 83,866 participants in a variety of fundraising campaigns to help answer the question of what impact the use of mobile technology has on peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. Peer-to-peer are campaigns where one fundraiser reaches out to friends, family, co-workers and neighbors to raise money for a cause that is meaningful to them.

There’s a good deal of evidence piling up that peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns on behalf of a charity are becoming as effective as regular appeals coming directly from a charity. And this report suggests that the use of mobile devices is having a positive impact on the success of peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns.

Clearly donors are inspired to donate to a campaign when asked by someone they trust. And the pervasive use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets increases the fundraising response rate within that circle of trust.

The Artez Interactive report discovered:

  • 15% of traffic to fundraising and donation pages comes from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
  • 23% of participants in peer-driven events and campaigns choose to use mobile technology to help them fundraise for good causes.
  • Participants who use mobile technology to fundraise in a campaign raise up to 2.95x more than those who do not.
  • The percentage of donations made on mobile web browsers has grown 205% in the last 12 months!
  • Event participants using iPhones raise just slightly more than participants on Android devices.

Download the Research Paper and learn more about Artez Interactive.

Michael Stein is a Senior Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company. Contact: michael@donordigital.com or phone (510) 473-0364.