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Is #GivingTuesday Worth It?

Giving Tuesday. Like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it comes once a year. For some, it’s a breeze and for some, it’s a nightmare.

But does it have to be? Could the #GivingTuesday chaos all be avoided?

To many, Giving Tuesday is a strange concept. While the phenomenon of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is focused on consumerism and getting the best deals you can find, some would consider Giving Tuesday to not be of the same caliber as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Let’s take Engagement, for example.

Department store and website sales do not require long-term engagement. However, for non-profits, long-term engagement is the name of the game. The goal is to obtain donors that last throughout the years and can sustain the non-profit’s mission. While a large, one-day push may help immediate fundraising efforts, there’s no guarantee those donors will become long-term supporters.

 

Now, let’s discuss social media overcrowding.

Social media is all about whatever is trending at the moment. In 2016, there were over 600,000 tweets including the hashtag #GivingTuesday (https://www.givingtuesday.org/sites/default/files/2017-07/Giving-Tuesday-Final-Report.pdf). While we weren’t able to find a statistic about how many organizations had tweets for #GivingTuesday, we’re sure there’s quite a few! Be wary of spending too much time on your social media campaigns as most of the social media timelines will be flushed with #GivingTuesday posts.

 

However, we need to consider the payoff.

One great thing about #GivingTuesday is that it is a day of global giving fueled by social media. With the exception of paid advertising, social media is virtually free. Therefore, you can get the word out about your organization for little to no money at all! If your time is managed well, you could put together a fairly solid #GivingTuesday campaign without spending too much time on it (which we’re all guilty of doing).

 

Manage your time wisely. While #GivingTuesday can be a great asset to increase end-of-year donations, keep in mind that this probably isn’t an event that is going to create new sustainable donors for your cause. Take the day to give in to the hype a little and round up some donations if possible, but just be cautious of how much time you’re allocating to it!

Turn Your Volunteers into Fundraisers

It’s no secret that in the world of fundraising, your network is arguably the most important asset you can have. Who you know and how you know them makes a huge difference in your ability to secure a donation, whether it be one time or recurring. Just as your network in fundraising important, many organizations overlook a very important aspect of fundraising – your volunteers and their respective networks.

Volunteers can be easily overlooked, but it’s time to discuss the advantages of incorporating your volunteers and the networks they come with.

Your volunteers already know your organization inside and out and they care about the cause.

Your volunteers have already given their time and effort to your organization, so you know they are passionate about your organization’s mission and what it works to accomplish.  In addition, they have an experience with your organization that others may not. Your volunteers can turn into your best story tellers.  They see your mission in the works and they see the difference it makes in the lives of others.

They have experience with the programs your fundraising events are benefitting.

Odds are, your volunteers already have experience with the programs your events benefit and can tell the story of how your events and organizations have transpired. They’ve seen how the program operates when funds are limited and they’ve (hopefully) seen how it thrives and money isn’t an issue. Your volunteers can tell the story for both sides and stress the importance of funds and how it impacts your organization when those funds are limited.

Making it Happen
  1. Solid Technology

Technology can make or break your campaign’s success. Donor experience is a crucial piece of the puzzle when considering your technology.  If they’re going to give money, donating should be as simple as possible. Also, ensure your donation platform is mobile user-friendly. Mobile giving has increased 205% in the last year according to atpay.com

2. Great Instruction

Give your fundraisers a plethora of tools they can use to assist them in their efforts.  More often than not, a new fundraiser may not know where to start and can quickly get overwhelmed. Email templates, pre-made posts for social media, and testimonials are a great place to start!

3. Consistent Recognition

Many volunteers and fundraisers may feel as though their hard work goes unnoticed. Make sure you’re celebrating the milestones with regular updates, social media posts, and stories about how their work is helping.

3 Fundraising Ideas Your Organization Is Overlooking

Fundraising comes in many shapes and sizes.  From good old email marketing to crowdfunding giants, there are many ways to reach your fundraising goals.  With so many options, it can be overwhelming to try to choose the best idea(s) for your organization to ensure you get the job done! In turn, you may overlook some great options for you.

Here are three ideas (among MANY others) you may be overlooking:

  1. Gamify Fundraising: Everyone loves a friendly competition.  I’m sure you’ve heard of penny wars, but there are many other ways to turn fundraising into a game! Creating leaderboards, progress bars, badges, and points are just a handful of ways to increase competition during fundraising.
  2. AmazonSmile: Amazon has 300 million users, so odds are some of those users are your donors! While it’s not a large amount that’s donated back to your organization, if your donors are shopping on amazon anyway, you might as well take advantage of it! 0.5% of the eligible AmazonSmile purchases get donated back to the charitable organizations selected by Amazon customers.
  3. In-Event Content: This is one of the most genuine and successful ways to increase your fundraising. Showing videos or having testimonials given during events is a great way to show the donors that what you’re doing is working and making a difference in the lives of REAL people.  Tugging on the heart strings is one of the most successful ways to get donors to fork over some cash! Try having a video or in-person testimonial right before your live ask or fund-a-need to maximize donations!

If you’re looking to boost your fundraising, we recommend trying out some new techniques in addition to what already works for you!

Copyright: pixelliebe / 123RF Stock Photo

Increasing Donation Opportunities and Where You’re Going Wrong

The opportunity to donate to charities is all around us. The pairing of non-profits and technology makes it easier than ever for donors to give and organizations to receive. Checking out at a local grocer means adding a dollar to your bill to help feed a hungry family. You scroll through a favorite social media page and see posts from far-off friends raising money for an unexpected health crisis. A text message notification reveals its time to pay the utility bill which also features an opportunity to donate to the local animal shelter. But does easier translate into more for non-profits? Is it really that important for a non-profit organization to have an online giving platform and mobile donation app?

Donor Digital Data

Charitable giving studies for 2015 revealed the following data:

  • December was the strongest month of the year for charitable giving. 30% of annual donations were received during December, 2015, with the most revenue generated the last three days of the month.
  • Donors preferred to give on Thursday with Tuesday as runner-up. 20% of donations were made on Thursday, 19% on Tuesday.
  • Thursday’s average donation amount was $151.
  • 97% of charitable gifts were given through a desktop computer.
  • 90% of gifts were a one-time thing.
  • One-time gifts averaged $137 with recurring gifts averaging $52.
  • The most giving times of the day were 10am-11am, 1pm-3pm, traditional work hours. That means the majority of giving took place while people were on the job.

Traditional v. Digital

There is no doubt that statistics reveal giving trends are going digital. While overall charitable activities were up 2% in 2015 as compared to 2014, online giving was up 9%. But, exactly, where are people giving online? Who are these donors?

More than half of online donations are given on a particular branded charitable organization web page. The strongest givers, with a gift size average of $183, were employees donating through employer-sponsored causes. Whether it was payroll deductions, company sponsored charity events, or workplace fundraisers.

E-mail fundraising efforts grew in 2015. On average, 4.4 cents was raised per e-mail. For every 1,000 e-mails delivered to a potential donor’s mailbox, $44 in revenue, on average, was generated. It may not sound like much compared to digital giving that took place directly on a non-profit’s webpage. However, e-mail generated revenue for charitable organizations actually grew by nearly 20% last year. It far outpaced the previous year’s 12% growth.

Every opportunity to digitally connect with donors gives a non-profit the chance to grow. Sharing content and joining a non-profit’s email list is just as important to a non-profit’s growth as a supporter’s donation.

Out of all charitable giving, only 3% was non-digital. For charities dependent on cash or checks, this is bad news. The Salvation Army reported raising nearly $145 million through their holiday season Red Kettle cash donation campaign, which is the backbone of the organization’s annual fundraising. Such numbers simply can’t compare with the amount of money raised for donations online.

The Winning Digital Recipe

What does all this data mean? To take advantage of the obvious generosity of donors, a charitable organization needs all the elements of a winning recipe:

  • Connect with an online giving platform that donors trust.
  • Create a mobile app.
  • Connect with employers interested in sponsoring your non-profit’s cause so that you can tap into the contribution resources of a company’s employees.
  • Create the opportunity for potential donors to share content and sign-up for e-mail notifications.

All In One Place

 Online giving performs strongly for a number of reasons that are all tied to together in the same place:

  • Convenience.
  • Anonymity.
  • No pressure.
  • Opportunity to research the organization before giving.
  • Donors can set-up a recurring donation.

Today’s donors are not just technologically savvy, they are also informed, consumers. While online and considering giving a gift, a supporter has the opportunity to learn about a non-profit’s cause. That is why it is so important for a non-profit to be connected with the right giving platform. Just as a brick and mortar storefront’s success is all about location, location, location, the same can be said for any organization’s cyberworld address. When donors arrive at a site that they know is as reputable as it is easy to navigate, they not only give with confidence, there is a greater chance that they will become a regular benefactor. So, whether you are a non-profit or a donor looking to connect with the right cause, get connected in the right place.

Copyright: brandonkleinvideo / 123RF Stock Photo

5 Tips to Ensure a Successful Golf Outing

With summer quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about your organization’s annual golf outing. Summer is a great time to supplement your larger fundraising events, or possibly create a golf outing that becomes your donor’s new favorite way to benefit the cause during the warmer months.

There are many ways to take advantage of a golf outing, but it’s important to make sure you have the ability to maximize its potential. We’re bringing you 5 tips to ensure your next golf outing is a successful one!

Have a flow planned out

Many times, golf outings are day long events. While you only have a few hours to wow your patrons in a charity auction event, impressing your donors at your golf outing is just as important. Not keeping their experience a fantastic one throughout the day can make for a VERY long event. Make sure you have a set schedule that has every moment coordinated with everyone involved to make for an enjoyable day.

Add additional activities

In addition to the golf tournament, you may want to add in additional activities throughout the tournament.  Think about adding in contests for longest drive, longest putt, and drive closest to the pin.  You can even add this in as a different ticket option during registration that allows the golfers to participate in the extra games for a few extra bucks!

  1.  Offer a ticket for dinner only. Be sure to offer a dinner only option for your golf outing.  This can often be overlooked, however, it’s crucial to increase attendance and fundraising opportunities! Offering a dinner only option allows you to include friends or family of the golfers to attend the dinner portion of the evening.
  2. Include an auction.  While the golf outing takes up the majority of the day, it may be beneficial to include an auction during the dinner portion for those that did not participate in the golf outing.  Auctions at a golf outing tend to be a tad smaller than an event based around an auction.  You should be set with 10-25 items up for auction!
  3. Provide merchandise.  Be sure to offer some cause branded merchandise to your golfers for participating. This could also be a great way to showcase your sponsors! Allow your sponsors to offer some merchandise to the participants as well. You could do this for a few bucks or give it out for free!

There are many ways to make sure that your golf outing goes well. Be sure to start your planning early and offer some great options for the golfers, as well as their family or friends!

Copyright: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo

3 Ways to Boost Your Event’s Ticket Sales

Ticket sales are something that every nonprofit struggles with at some point. Whether your event is in its first year,  or your organization just celebrated 50 years of fundraising – everyone starts somewhere. Overcoming this challenge can be one of the most frustrating obstacles you come across when building your event.  Over the years, we’ve found a few things that can help increase ticket sales at your event, so why not give them a shot!

Pricing Tiers

We know this can be a bit overwhelming at first, but hear us out. Why not add a couple ticket options for your ticket sales? You can offer a VIP option at a higher rate – include a free drink or a free raffle ticket, maybe even early access to the event! In addition, you can also add a lower pricing tier. If you’re doing mobile bidding for your auction, maybe someone just wants to bid off-site and can’t make it to your event! You can easily list a ticket for off-site bidding only and sell it at a lower rate.

Group Discounts

This is becoming more and more common! Instead of only selling single tickets, you can group them together. Pairs, foursomes, you name it! We see this done very commonly when selling tickets based on how many seats are at a table.  If you have an 8 person table, consider selling a pack of 8 tickets at a ‘buy 7 and get 1 free’ type of rate. This way your attendance will increase at a faster pace!

Increase prices

While this is usually a last resort, increasing pricing on tickets is something that should still be considered! Let’s break this down. For example, your event last year sold 300 tickets at $100 apiece. If that was the case, you brought in $30,000 in ticket sales.  Let’s say that this year you decide to increase your pricing by 10% and bump your tickets up to $110 apiece and you sell 300 tickets again. That puts you at $33,000 in ticket sales. So a 10% increase, which in this case is only an extra $10 a person just gave you an extra $3,000!

There are so many ways to increase ticket sales for your event, but we figured these were pretty feasible for everyone! Try these methods out at your next fundraising event. Happy fundraising!

How 2016’s Business Giving Trends Affect 2017

With 2016 entering the end of its final quarter, a new fiscal year is just days away for businesses. What were the strongest business giving trends of 2016 thus far? It seems that non-profits continue to experience the effects of an economy rebounding from recession. Analysts of charitable giving trends report that just as donations were trending upward throughout 2015, that trajectory has been sustained in 2016. Non-profits reported an overall growth rate of 1.6 percent. Things are looking good for charitable organizations in 2017. To determine a direction for the upcoming year, let’s examine what was behind the strongest growth that occurred in 2016.

Going Big

Perhaps no one went bigger than Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. In December of 2015, Zuckerberg celebrated the birth of his first child by pledging to donate 99% of the net worth of he and his wife over their lifetime. At the time of the pledge the pair were worth an estimated $45 billion. Making good on that promise, the couple started with a $600 million donation to a San Francisco facility that conducts research on childhood diseases. When such a phenomenal gesture is made in such a public way, it encourages imitation. Non-profits can expect similar big moves by Zuckerberg’s peers.

Consumer Modeling

Today’s successful charitable organizations are taking their cues from the business sector. Consumerism drives business. Shrewd marketers are some of the most coveted employees, especially in the retail and service industries. By knowing who their target market is, what they want and how they are inspired to buy, businesses are able to fine tune their advertising and marketing strategies for maximum potential. Non-profits who come around to model their own approach to visualizing potential donors as consumers are seeing the benefit of this perspective. In February of this year Jay Ferro, CIO of the American Cancer Society, coined the phrase “360” view with regard to how non-profits should see their potential donor market.

Personal & Now

It has often been the case that a philanthropic person has chosen a cause and funded it until the day they die. There is a growing trend where benefactors give to different causes that they personally identify with. One other condition that determines where they put their donor dollars is the possibility of being able to see results within their lifetime. Many modern donors want their giving to be deeply meaningful on a personal level and transformative in the here and now.

Social Change

Social movement organizations are on the receiving end of a Millennial generation that is energized by a worldview dominated by social awareness and fairness. Organizations that provide support for the effects of inequality, such as non-profits that are a safety net for the underprivileged and underserved, are also competing with organizations that are striving to change the source cause of those conditions.

What It All Means

When you tie together the strongest trends of 2016, it is easy to see that the priorities of donors have not necessarily changed. What has changed is their expectations and how they operate. Non-profits need to recognize a consumer group that are accustomed to being highly regarded in the consumer market arena where they put their spending dollars. This same esteem must be extended by charitable organizations in order to garner the confidence of the donor.

Just as consumers expect to see immediate results when they spend consumer dollars, they expect to see results when they donate. They are practical enough to not expect immediate results. However, they have a minimal expectation to see enough rapid progress to become confident that their goal could be realized within their lifetime.

There is a vast non-digitally connected donor market to tap into. Non-profits should focus efforts on reaching this market and assisting them in getting connected. This, in and of itself, is also part of the dynamic of bringing about positive social change. In today’s digital age, it is practically impossible to consider one’s self as living a life of equality on a level playing field if one does not have Internet access.

The trends going into 2017 are all connected through connectivity, digital, and human alike. Groups like SimpliGiv help donor and non-profit organizations achieve their connectivity and charitable goals. By meeting the demands of this common thread of 2016’s business giving trends, this type of non-profit model may be the strongest trend to come in 2017.

Best Way to Utilize your “Donate Now” Button

Donations:

We’ve come across this begging question a few times in the last month and we want to share with you what we have learned about the infamous, Donate Now button on your event website…

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We can all agree that any occassion to make a donation to your cause is considered a favorable time. To make things simpler for our clients, the Donate Now button guarantees a chance to increase donations right on the spot. You can do it at the touch of a button while your alone, or, you can utilize it up on stage in front of your crowd.

What WEDO Suggests’:

Depending on your audience, one of these options may work more than the other. If you choose to use the Donate Now button after a Fund-a-Need portion of your event, you can utilize our user-friendly Donation Thermometer Display to engage the audience in a real-time donation session. By displaying the Thermometer, this can give your guests’ a visual while donations are taking place. If you have a specific goal for funds raised at your event, this is a great option to utilize.

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5 Ways to Promote Your Fundraising Event

Ok. You decided that you are going to put together a fundraising event. You know that you want to raise a lot of money for a great cause and you want a wonderful outcome for attendance, but now you have to make it happen! There are a variety of different stages of planning that need to be completed in order to have a successful fundraiser. From the location to the food & beverage to how to entice people, etc. If you’re new to event planning (or even if you’re not) it can be overwhelming trying to put a big fundraiser together all while raising awareness so people will actually come to the event. Well, not to worry. We have narrowed down the top 5 ways to promote your fundraising event to make sure you have a full house!

Social Media: It’s no secret that social media is taking over the internet in strides. If you don’t already have a Facebook page for your Cause/Organization, then making one would be an A+ idea. More and more people are turning to Facebook to send out invitations to events than sending it via mail. Once you have a Facebook page setup, start posting daily reminders and information regarding your event, it will be sure to grab attention and get people talking.

Print Advertising: It’s time to get some coverage! Send out some key information about your fundraiser that you want to get out to the public to your local newspapers and magazines. Think outside of the box on how to cover every important detail of your event. Do you have big name sponsors? What cause does your fundraiser benefit? Be sure to mention these fine points to your audience.

Flyers: If your fundraiser is not invite-only then flyers could be very beneficial to spread the word. It may be 2016, but print advertising is still in style. Post your flyers in popular destinations throughout the area to create a buzz about your event. To really direct attention to your flyer, using bright colors and highlighting what the fundraiser is about would be a good way to start.

Powerful Partnerships: The more connections you make in your efforts to promote your event, the more success you will have with expanding your audience. If you have speakers coming to your event, make sure to let people know! Think locally when finding a partnership that way you can engage your community that much more.

Photography/Video: A photograph says a million words. Well, if that’s true then a video says a billion! Spread the word about your fundraiser by means of photos and videos posted on the web. Photographs can be used to document important details about your event. For videos, think outside of the box. Your videos don’t necessarily have to be professionally done, sometimes a short clip taken with an iPhone will get the same results. Both photos & videos can be a very useful tool if done correctly.

And there you have it! Those are our top 5 ways to best promote your event properly to ensure a grand attendance.

Indy WNBA Gets Involved With Nonprofit

Indianapolis WNBA Gets Involved With Nonprofit

Tamika Catchings, the star of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, created the Catch the Stars Foundation in 2004. This foundation empowers the youth to achieve their dreams by incorporating goal-setting programs which promote literacy, fitness, and youth development. Tamika & the Catch the Stars Foundation just recently had their 10th Annual Back to School Celebration this past July and it was a huge success.

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During the Back to School Celebration event, over 500 local youth in Indiana are able to receive backpacks, school supplies, and a fun community fair to participate in. Since most of the children at the event are unfortunately not able to afford the items, such an event is invaluable. Without the help of Tamkia and the Catch the Stars Foundation as well as all the donations, these 500+ kids coming to the event would have much less in their hands today.