Consider this post our gift to you. Well, one of many coming this month! Here at Engaging Networks, our staff hear a lot from all sides of the nonprofit sector. To kick off year-end fundraising prep, some of us wanted to share some tips and tricks. We want every cause to have a successful year-end campaign and hope this helps.
These are just a few tips from some of us here at Engaging Networks. For more year-end fundraising ideas, follow our content through the end of 2019 . You can also sign up to get notifications on that page.
Kathy Powers, Director of Marketing
Two words, Paid. Advertising. Unless you just opened your doors and have a small following or somewhat obscure cause, you should absolutely be running paid ads from mid-late November (definitely on Giving Tuesday) through midnight on December 31st. This time of year, people are searching for causes they care about to make donations. You’ll find sometimes your major donors will just ‘Google you’ rather than responding to an email. You’ll receive a gift from someone you’ve never heard of before who searched ‘ocean nonprofit’ and gave a $10,000 gift. The point is, if people are searching for relevant information, you want to be the one right in front of them with an ad and a donation form – not someone else. Likewise for social media where you have an engaged audience or can find like-minded individuals to target with ads. In past work, I’ve seen as high as 600% ROI for select paid advertising at year-end. If you don’t have budget for this, try to find some for this worthwhile investment. Here are a few quick tips but if you want to learn more, register for our upcoming webinar on this topic:
- If you’re getting started with Search Engine Marketing, consider a Google Grant and also consider a partner to help get you off the ground. I’ve tried to do this on my own and unless you do it professionally, you’ll waste endless hours trying to be an advertiser when you’re a digital fundraiser and you have other things to do. Engaging Networks has many qualified partners who can help you, just email our Account Services team for more information.
- Segment your audience as much as possible, set goals and test. By segmenting, you can set a goal for each audience and adjust messaging, asks and offers to best suit the target group. For example, you wouldn’t ask your prospects on Facebook for a $1,000 gift would you? Maybe they would convert better if you offered them a t-shirt since they haven’t given yet. Map it out and test it.
- Very important. Send supporters to an appropriate landing page and be sure you have tracking to analyze your results. Imagine you are the person clicking the ad. Don’t send people to your homepage from an ad if they just clicked ‘donate’ in search. That’s a recipe for page abandonment. If they click on ‘donate’ from an ad, be sure they go straight to a donation page with a clear ask.
Joe Gallant, Manager of Account Services
Share impact. Donors in various surveys overwhelmingly report that they want to give more, but choose not to because they are not seeing the impact of their giving. Impact is the measurable, tangible way that your organization is making change and should be one of the central components to your end of year communications plan. It is the reason why you do what you do, and why donors are giving to your cause. Donors want to know that their money is being used effectively and that there is a high return on investment from their contribution. Cultivate your best stories and impact metrics during EOY and make sure all donors at each level of giving receive multiple communications reminding them of the great work you’re doing, and how they played a central role.
Seth Merritt, Director of Business Development
Don’t be afraid to test. For many organizations, there is understandable anxiety around meeting fundraising goals at year-end. There’s also a lot to juggle when managing multi-channel campaigns. It can be tempting to streamline your content and cut testing out of your year-end digital campaigns. However, you might be cutting off significant revenue.
With Engaging Networks, you can split-test donation forms using the same URL – making it easy to answer questions such as “Will a premium perform better with our social media ads?”
Often, however, the best tests are the ones you can actually implement. This could be as simple as testing email subject lines on a sample of your file, and sending the winner to the rest of your list. Depending on how you structure your sample size (a common formula is 10/10/80), if you get even a 1 percent differential on your test, the final results could be increased by as much as 9 percent. Imagine if you could boost your year-end results by that much across the board, and get testing!
Jonathan Purchase, UK Business Director
If you’re collecting recurring donations, you can set up dedicated thank you emails specifically for these donors, meaning their engagement with you is customised straight away. This in turn could help them to remain committed givers to your organization. You’ll see what to do when you go into the ‘auto-responders’ section of your page or you can find information here.
Michael Sabat, Director of Business Development
From Engaging Networks’ marketing automation, send SMS reminders along with email donation asks.
Of course many organizations build marketing automations or welcome series in Engaging Networks. Most of the time an automation will include a few emails asking for donations.
For these “ask” emails it’s possible to also send an SMS message that reminds the supporter about the email. When tested in the past, the SMS reminder message increases conversion rates on the email by 77%!
John Siemiatkoski CFRE, Sales Engineer
Test everything, and test it again! Put your page in “New” status and test every combination – payment options (credit card, bank payment, PayPal, etc.), thank you emails (branding, content), and view the results in the Manage Supporters dashboard. Test your Google Analytics or Tag Manager tracking – make sure your ecommerce tracking is working.
Don’t stop with Donor #1. Easily add social share and link to ecards to encourage Donor #1 to get their friends and family to give too. Get some good eCard ideas here.
Use Peer-to-Peer to crowdfund for gift cards and holiday presents for the families you serve. This was wildly successful at a large hospital where I worked.
Josh Miller, Director of Client Support
Plan ahead. You can use the email scheduler to get a jump start on year end communications. Build out to emails ahead of time and schedule them so that you don’t have to work on content creation last minute.