Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The 2012 #GivingTuesday Challenge

What can we learn about giving by donating to others? A great deal. 
Today, I decided to put Giving Tuesday to good use for us all.  I have decided to analyze the online giving experience for donors for some organizations.  In partnership with Giving Tuesday, I'm doing an online giving challenge from those who want to join and some are selected via a "random" method... I asked via social media for volunteers and also by asking a random sampling of coworkers who the nonprofit is that if given $1 million and it had to go to one charity, who would that organization be, thus my test group of 15 organizations. I have places from habitat for humanity to American Cancer society to many others, please see the attached spreadsheet.  I plan on giving online in amounts ranging from $10-$1000.
Here’s the things we will measure together: How many clicks it takes to get to their giving site, how long the gift takes to complete, is it mobile friendly?, how am I receipted and acknowledged?,  and also is it linked to social media for sharing, if I tweet the org saying I just gave, will they tweet back?
Also later we will examine acknowledgment and stewardship for the gift and also how quickly I am re-solicited and whether or not this happens before I am properly thanked...
Here we go, let’s begin…
Here is the Spreadsheet...

Fascinating info and I will update the data as the day goes along... here are some screenshots of the Good:

The Bad:

and things we can implement:

THIS IS FANTASTIC!!! Charity Water Wins the Response Screen Mesaging

Here is what I have learned:
1. Not enough Social Media Exposure
2. Giving  Websites were not mobile friendly
3. Not enough places gave me the option to give in honor of someoneand even then only in written format, not through email. The Red Cross told my honoree how much I GAVE!! ARGH!
4. I've already been solicited again!
5. There is no excuse for having a "CAPTCHA" hurdle to jump in order to give
6. Sites are arduous and repetetive, too many sitews prescribe dollar amounts
1. The impact can be shown, look at Charity Water
2. Sites are starting to be better about showing where to find social media
3. So far a good response from some of those I tweeted
4. I saw a site's button that said: "Save a Life" much better than "Add to Cart" or "Submit"
5.  We have room to grow
6. I gave away a lot of money today, join me on #Giving Tuesday

The offer stands: I will make a gift to anyone and discuss their online giving site and response should they want it... be ready for honesty.
I would love to hear what you think, we have one more step to go to find out how I am formally acknowledged and how fastthey resolicit me!

I look forward to your commentary and let me know if you want to join the experiment.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Two New Insightful Donor Studies

Hello Everyone.

As those of us in the US prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday ahead, I thought I would provide you with some resources to take home and read after your food coma wears off or as you wait in line for Black Friday deals (I myself am a cyber Monday girl) or watch football. 

I also wanted to introduce you to Giving Tuesday. http://givingtuesday.org/ is a great new idea to help non profit organizations raise money by designating a day for it on our calendars. It is  social phenomena and is spreading quickly. I hope you will join us in the effort.

The first report I want to share with you is here: http://www.nonprofitdonorengagement.com/
 a first-of-its-kind survey and report designed to help better understand individuals' giving behavior, engagement preferences and motivations that drive their support for charitable organizations and causes. Great reading!

Finally, I have this report to share here: https://www.blackbaud.com/donor-perspectives In this study Blackbaud sheds light on what drives donor behavior and seeks to help nonprofits maximize their strategy, increase gifts, reach new audiences, and retain current donors.

I hope for those of you that celebrate Thanksgiving it is an enjoyable, stress free one.  I'll be with a friend in Brooklyn, with liquid courage in hand and attempt to cook (chinese take out menu close by). Be thankful for as much and as many as you can, as I am most thankful and grateful for you.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

8 Innovative Ways to Thank Your Donors

Happy National Philanthropy Day! On behalf of this under celebrated day, allow me to share with you some innovative yet cost friendly ways to thank your donors.

1. Have others stop and recognize those who give so much. Many of you have installed thank a donor weeks at your organizations, with great success I am happy to report! Here is one such example from my friends at Elon College.  Make sure those outside of your development office are aware and help you thank your donors getting a note from those who benefit from your support is priceless.

2. Set up a Skype booth in your office. Here's what you need: a banner or sheet or some type of wall covering, a computer or tablet or phone with Skype installed and some willing staff or volunteers. We have our students call their scholarship donors who are far away even international ones and offer to Skype with them so they can see the face behind their philanthropy. It is widely successful and popular. Students are teaching donors if they already don't know how to use Skype and the interactions are fabulous. What a pleasant surprise if this happened once a month! It is completely donor focused, scheduled around them, at their time and convenience, unlike events.

3. Recycle or donate those tchotckes you've been wanting to... go ahead, they serve no purpose... Allow your key volunteers or donors amazing experiences instead. Have them attend a rehearsal, have them "conduct" your band, give them inside access to your organization, have them meet others who volunteer, nominate them for an award, write a blurb about them for their local newspaper, the point is, do something!

5. Ok, this one is good... Go get a notecard, piece of paper, etc. write yourself a note of the things you're proud of, grateful for, or dreams you may have. Self address it and give to someone else and ask them to send it to you in a month or two. Remember, gratitude and acknowledgment is something we don't often give ourselves, so force your own hand at it today. You'll thank me later... Lol

6. Take the time to ask your constituents, either by phone, email, or better yet, social media, someone who had an impact on them. It could be anyone, a certain professor or staff member, a mentor, or even the guy at the cafeteria who always remembers you like blueberry pancakes on Wednesdays, and listen to their story. Then make it your mission to reconnect those two and then share their story everywhere you can. Stories like that are powerful and profound, and frankly we need more good news like that daily. As for me, I'm going to write the two professors that changed my life today at lunch.

8. Finally, now that you've done all of that, you should have some leftover money in your budget-ha! I would ask you to pick one volunteer or donor a month and make a contribution to a cause they care about or a fund they have with your organization. Giving is the best gift. Philanthropy is the type of behavior that loves to be replicated. You want to truly thank a donor, thank them in kind, not with items or stuff they can buy, but by giving. It doesn't have to be a significant gift, just one that honors them and their spirit.

Speaking of a good spirit, I'm now collecting thanksgiving, holiday and new year greetings, either digital (links to videos or emails) or in print (pdf) to share with the greater community. Send me yours to wester@yu.edu by December 7th to join the swap! Thank you so much.

#7. Pay attention to what you read... LOL! Fooled you! I jut can't count!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Still think your organization doesn't need social media?

Think again. For those of you that haven't lately, try going through a hurricane, flood, gas shortage, election and a nor'easter without it...

I know some of you are saying stop whining, nothing could be further from the truth. Through it all, through the scary nights and unsure days the one thing that has kept me going was people, but the tools that kept me connected weren't my phone or a latter in the mail, text messages didn't even work... Social media was it.

The power of social media has even profound during these weeks. It has helped loves ones find each other, allowed photos to emerge, held reassuring messages through the height of winds and rains, found gas and other resources in real time, aided a mayor (Cory Booker) in helping his citizens at all hours, and allowed millions of dollars in donations to pour in during times of need. It informed me who won elections, how bad the snow was and even allowed for a great night in a bar in remoteish Massachusetts with colleagues and friends. All without fail, all without a hiccup or a blip. I have been able to send messages to our constituents and aid those who needed it as well. The value of social media these past 10 days cannot be measured or its importance understated. 

So if you're still not helping your organization find its place and your place in the social media realm, if you still aren't operating a smart phone, I'm imploring you to wake up. For those of you who are already connected, I challenge you to do more. Recently I was speaking at a conference on the modern fundraising campaign. I drove home the fact that you CANNOT run a modern campaign without integrating social media from the start. The resources are out there, you just have to tap into them.

This week amidst all the election and storm hoopla was a great announcement, Facebook is now going to help nonprofits raise money through its platform in a new tool called Facebook Give. You can read about it here.  While only starting with a few organizations, I can easily see this developing into a powerful tool, especially for peer to peer fundraising, by far and away the most powerful ask out there.

Here's the thing, before you get to Facebook giving you need to build your following and social network! YOU need to invest in your constituents where they communicate and in the manner in which they speak. You need to take action now. Need help? Call me up! Yesterday I spent some time sending new Linked In invitations and was shocked and aghast at how many people didn't even have profiles for me to link with! Come on already! Linked In is a great way to score visits and meetings with donors in business. Enough of my lame attempt at preaching the social media gospel, I'm here to help and serve as a resource anytime.

Oh wait, I just have to pause and stop answering my cell phone... A little anecdote for you in the two days following hurricane Sandy when my city and I was devastated beyond belief, when nothing was normal, I received 3 solicitation phone calls from nonprofits asking me for money. I was aghast and dumbfounded... REALLY?? Lets have some sensitivity and common sense here folks. You might wanna cut us a break from your solicitations for a minute.

But in better news, I received two emails and 3 Facebook posts from the lovely development team at the University of South Carolina asking if I was ok and seeing if there was anything they or their Gamecock network could do for me. BRAVO! A class act I tell you. Don't think that the next time we talk turkey/donations I won't remember that. It made me feel loved and warm inside no matter how bad or cold the day. That is donor relations at its finest folks, it's about awareness and relationships. And, they knew that I was a digital girl, reaching out to me via social and digital media. A great example for others to replicate.

Still not convinced? Watch this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SuNx0UrnEo