Wednesday, November 30, 2016

#GivingTuesday 2016 Secret Shopper Review!

This is the fourth year in a row I've done a #GivingTuesday online giving challenge. I really enjoy the time spent focused on giving. And I am excited to once again share the results of the study. This year I gave 46 gifts on #GivingTuesday. I have documented 33 of those experiences here for you in this spreadsheet.

While a vast majority of online giving experiences have improved in the last four years, we still have a great deal of work to do. Nonprofits NEED and MUST invest in the online donor experience. I gave gifts ranging in amounts from $10 to $1500 online on both my ipad, iphone and my laptop. Some nonprofits have invested in a great donor experience and it shows, others have not and it is apparent. There is a huge difference between those that get it right and those that struggle. Not just in the donation process, but also in the responses of confirmation emails and pages.

Some of the biggest disappointments:

1. A nonprofit wouldn't accept my gift if it was under $20, so I didn't give, such a turnoff.

2.  Someone thanked me on social media but spelled my first name wrong, sigh. DETAILS MATTER.

3. A few organizations will MAIL me my tax receipt, for an ONLINE gift during a day focusing on digital giving. sigh.

4. Many organizations aimed way too high in their targeted ask amounts and have the potential to really offend someone.

5. Many are asking me to pay for bank or credit card fees with my gift. This is the cost of doing business.  I don't think it's ever ok to ask donors to pay these fees. Think donor relations, restaurants, hotels and stores don't make me do that, why would you?

6. Social media sharing is still sorely lacking. It's 2016 people, social is here and could really increase my impact by asking me properly to share on social media- this is an example of social media sharing gone wrong-

7. Readability is an issue- it's great you want a fancy design- but who is the genius that came up with black on black as selections? I couldn't even read it to finish my donation!

8. Someone is asking me for my DINERS CLUB card- seriously? 1984 called, they want their giving options back! LOL

There are many more offenses in my list but these are my lowlights. The confirmation pages and  emails are boring and without creativity as well. Almost a perfunctory measure.  

Now the heavenly- Organizations that scored big points with me and understand the online donor behavior here are examples of doing it right!!

1. These targeted ask amounts are mission based and dreamy!

2. This donation button is so amazing- so much better than "submit" or "proceed"

3. Loved that this place encouraged me to give monthly, didn't just let me slide with a one time gift- great use of a pop up window!

4. Loved WPI's Twitter thank you! Woo hoo! I received far TOO FEW personalized thank yous this year. :(


5. Enjoyed this nonprofit showing me impact and inspiring me from the beginning of the process: Look at how clear and easy these two make it for a donor!!

6. Once again FIT blew others out of the water! Great theme, personalization and infographic of progress!! 


Folks, we still have a ways to go!   We CAN make this experience better for our donors. Join me in taking the challenge to do better for ALL donors. Who did you give to? What was your experience? What did you like and what did you not like? I can't wait to hear from you! Let me know!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Giving Gratitude- The BEST Fundraising Job!

At this time of year, many of us are focused on the things we are fortunate for. One of the things I am most fortunate for is my career. I have the opportunity to travel and share the unique mission of gratitude with those near and far. Fundraising is a wonderful profession, donor relations even more so.  When the endowment reports get you bogged down and the thesaurus runs out of good words for generosity, think about the fact that you are playing not only an important role in the world of fundraising, but also an important role in the life of your donor and the world as a whole. You are expressing gratitude and telling donors the impact of their uncommon generosity. Your thank you note might hit someone's mailbox on the day they need it most.

Don't think in terms of numbers and dollars here people. Think about giving souls and generous spirits. If 35% of the population doesn't ever give, no matter the cause and need, our joy is spent recognizing the heart of those who are ever so generous. Think about those extraordinary donors, those that have the courage to make their first gift to your organization. Or those special folks that venture, even when times are tough, to double their donations. Or those very special rainbow unicorns, donors that have been giving constantly for years and years. Find them, seek them out each of these special snowflakes and thank them for their spirit, for their heart and for sticking with you and having the courage to give. Treat them well and personalize their communications. they will come back again and again.

If you're not having so great of a November, and many of us are still struggling with this month, take some time out to give gratitude. It changes your perspective on the world, reminds you just how many good people there are and how much they deserve your praise. Think about also your team, those folks who stand by you and your organization through the good times and the stressful ones. Have you thanked your gift processor today? Remember these folks are the backbone of your organization and are already feeling overwhelmed, even before the end of the year gifts begin pouring in. These folks deserve our praise and generosity. Go help out for a few hours there and your job will be transformed. Help open the mail and watch the generosity pour in. You will be reinvigorated in your purpose and your plan.

I hope you have a great end of year season and remind you to do something wonderful for yourself and others. I'm compiling my list of organizations to give to on Giving Tuesday. If you would like yours added, please comment below and I will make a gift.

I am so thankful for each and every one of my readers and attendees. Without you I would not be able to live my dream and give gratitude.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Bad Decisions with Donors- THASKING!

At times, we all have to take a step back, look at the work we are doing and wonder if we are doing the right thing. We see behavior replicated in the fundraising industry all the time that makes our stomachs turn just a little too much. What are you doing to help solve the problem? I am on a one woman mission to end one of the most frustrating, non donor-focused, retention killing practices of all time, the THASK. That's a word I made up, true as it may be. It's when an organization goes out to communicate with its donor base and sends them a thank you only to ruin it by not resisting the urge to ask for more. See a theme here? We just can't help ourselves. But we MUST. We have to stake a stand against thasking and do the right thing. Imagine if you had someone in your life that every time they talked to you, wanted something from you. They wouldn't be in your life for too long now would they? Here are some of the egregious examples of thasks I've received this week. They make me queasy.

This behavior is wrong. You sent me a Thanksgiving card with an envelope in it? You sent me a survey telling me how much you value me and my opinion, then when I completed the survey, sent me to a link asking me for $5000? What gives, fine people in nonprofit land? I picked three of these but I have a stack of over 20 thasks I've received in the last two months. What if we did this in our everyday life? A guy holds a door open for me, I say thank you then immediately follow him around town and stand behind him waiting for him to do it all day? Someone gives you a present for your birthday and you in the thank you note tell them that Christmas is coming and they shouldn't forget you on their list? Whaaaaaat? If you wouldn't do it in your daily life, why is this ever acceptable in your relationship with a donor? 

Folks it's time we took a stand against this vile behavior. Is your organization thasking? Time to find out and put some energy into stopping it. I've heard all sorts of excuses for doing this from nonprofits: 
              It's a convenience so they can make their next gift- 
              It works, we get in donations this way-
              If we don't ask them, they won't give-
              A vendor told me it works-

Look at your retention- is it under 50%? If it is, oversoliciation and thasking is a key answer. Look at your soul- is this how you want your donors to think of you? Look at how you feel when you see these- does it make you feel warm and fuzzy inside or like someone is trying to fool you?

Let's hear it- are you pro thasking, or against it? Send me your examples, your thoughts and your attmpts to kill this disturbing practice. I can't wait to hear from you.

It's time to take a stand. On behalf of our donors, kill the thask.