Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Counter intuitive ideas

I am blogging live from Pareto Fundraising with Jeff Brooks of Future Fundraising Now fame presenting fundraising ideas to our staff. We are discussing donor retention for mail and email appeals. One advantage Jeff has over us is that his clients have much, much bigger data files so he is able to get more testing done.

Testing is great because lots of best practice fundraising is counter intuitive. For example, longer letters tend to work better, more frequent mailings asking for money increase retention and total lifetime giving, calling people at dinner time and asking them to upgrade their monthly gift works.

If you were to ask donors, in advance - perhaps in a focus group - about the tactics above they would suggest that these tactics won't work. But they do.

So here is a new counter intuitive idea that he says works, and we don't do here.

With the volumes of data available to him, he has been able to test the use of thank you letters as asking delivery mechanisms. This is not done by charities in Australia, and Penelope Burke who wrote Thanks! advises against it. But, according to Jeff, her research is based on opinion through surveys etc. He, however, has tested it on data and over many years has found that it does not increase attrition, but does increase income by 10-15%.

So, if you may appeals and ask for money here are some tips.

1) If you send more than one wave, do not remove donors who give to wave 1 from the subsequent waves. You are reducing your income now and in the future.

2) Test including an additional ask in the actual thank you letter. For example, a tear off option on the thank you letter, or a self mailer envelope. Always include a return envelope.

We have seen some recent success in sending a regular giving ask with thank you letters to newly acquired donors based on an American idea, so this cash ask approach seems an obvious thing to test, even it if feels wrong.  More forward thinking charities could try testing a regular giving self mailer or 'pack' which goes out with all thank yous to non-regular givers, not just new donors.

If you try it in the future, or already have - please let me know the outcome!


Monday, August 23, 2010

The Best Fundraising Resource Online

I have mentioned Jeff Brooks' and his Future Fundraising Now blog before, but here is a reminder about how brilliant it is.

In fact, if you manage fundraisers and they don't subscribe to the blog, you should get them in your office and have a stern word.

At a recent consulting session at World Vision, I mentioned how great it was, and we signed up about a dozen new subscribers there and then - all will be better fundraisers for it!

Recent blogs from Jeff include:

* Why young fundraisers get it wrong
* What to consider before you blog
* Why stories are so important
Not so recent, but brilliant...
* Stupid non profit ads, featuring WWF, Movember, Red Cross Spain, United Methodist Church and more.

Jeff is flying out to Australia next weekend, to present at the F&P conference (and spend a day with Pareto staff having some fun) - if you are in Sydney 1 & 2 September, come along to the conference and see him live.  But whatever happens, please subscribe to his blog!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Very clever stuff

How clever is this?  My colleague at Pareto Fundraising is trying to tell me to move on I think.  But check this out, and think about how you could use this technology to communicate with your donors or customers.

Sean Triner is about to become Australia's Prime Minister

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ted Hart at Pareto Fundraising

Digital Integration, Ted Hart

Following Kate from Google, Ted Hart from p2pfundraising.org is telling us all about social media and fundraising.

Some key points:

- for all the technology out there, it doesn't change the fact that people give because they are asked. Online you kneed to ask or you can't fundraise.

- it is all about integration. You need a real strategy; these free tools - Google, Facebook etc are free but they are not the strategy.

- Think about your donors. He says that, in Canada (and probably same here) only 30% of online donors are gen X. Nearly all the other 70% were born before 1962.

- Regardless of how good your online stuff is, it is no good if you are not an organisation that looks after donors, and understands the importance of relationships

- Whatever you do or don't do online, on social networking sites someone else is talking about you. And on these sites people have a desire to connect.

- Good communications online give you an instant larger audience - if they are good communications they could get forwarded

- True measure of a fundraising professional is not shaking people down for $1000 now, it is getting them giving $25,000 over the years

- Don't worry about about the fact that non email based communications (like Facebook)are growing. Be aware, plan for it but for now your audiences are still using email.

- Amazing tool for Outlook, xobmi.com, when an email comes in it tells you if they are on Facebook etc

- Forget social networking completely, until you have a proper website strategy. He was lovely here and plugged Pareto to help charities do that, thanks Ted!

- Reckons that of the $15.48bn raised online in 2009, a third was generated online the rest was things like people following up an offline promotion and just signing up online, or printing out a form and sending it in

- Website should give the full complement of you, not just your online stuff
- ASPCA shows that people who supply their email give 112% more on and offline. He thinks because they've received more communications. They also gave 85% more donations and 15-20% higher average donation

- Nearly half of annual giving happens in December, in America

- Ted says email is not direct mail, electronically. It is more than that, use it to build relationships, engage and inspire.

- check out Nonprofits guide to Facebook, and Executives guide to Twitter

- Facebook, according to iStrategylabs has plenty of old people on it. Old people = good donors, but reiterated that you need to get the basics right first. Like website design....

- Websites have ten seconds to get across to the browser who we are, what we do and what we want you to do

- Note that according to Marketing Sherpa 79% of visitors don't come in through home page

- Privacy policy does not need to be complex, but should be here. Saying what information is collected, who can access it and how it will be used

Ted then went on to 'review' (slaughter) several charities' websites. People from Vision Australia, Wilderness Society' Wild Endurance event, Starlight, Centenary Institute, Cancer Council NSW and House With No Steps were all brave enough to get publicly ripped apart, especially Martyn Hartley at Vision Australia who really got some flak!

I am not going to be cruel enough to write up here what was said, but it was very, very useful...

More information on Ted here. Bottom line, if you are 'doing social media' and are a fundraiser then read his books.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Digitial Integration Day - Google Adwords

I am writing this at Pareto Fundraising's Digital Integration Day. Right now Kate Conroy from Google is explaining how to get Google AdWords up and running.

Google gives charities $10,000 per month to spend on AdWords. Combined with goodSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) it is great way to drive people to your website or a landing page.

It doesn't take long to set up, just go to Google Grants and click on apply now. You will need a scan of your DGR certificate - evidence that you a 'deductible gift recipient' which is how Google defines an eligible charity in Australia.

Interestingly, there are fifty odd people here, all fundraisers from more than 30 diverse organisations from giants Red Cross to the new to Fundraising Indigenous Community Volunteers. Only two organisations actually have a grant. We are hoping that by the end of next week there will be a lot more.

If you are reading this outside of Australia, then don't despair, they are available in other countries too. For the full list click here.

She is showing us how it all works by creating some ads and keywords live. Really useful stuff and she has given us a link so we can have a look at how it looks and feels inside. If you want to have a look, then log in as grantsdemoview@gmail.com, password charitiesonline (from 6 August).

One of the main criticisms of Google Grants is how long it takes to get approved. Although I am still not happy about the delay, at least I now know why. Amazingly, Google runs the whole scheme by asking it's staff to volunteer time to work on Google Grants.

Good on Kate and others for putting in their time, and knowing that, I would ask charity staff to be gentle on these Google volunteers. Thanks!
Disaster Fundraising Guide download it here