Industry Insights: You Need to Retain Your Donors to Succeed

2020 has been quite the year, and if COVID-19 has taught us one thing, it is that sustainability must be a primary focus for an organization that wants to survive and thrive.

Sustainability efforts do not need to be grandiose or complicated. If your organization is on the brink of collapse, don’t focus on Hail Mary passes – focus on what has worked in the past. One of the most impactful things you can do to promote sustainability in your organization is to implement measures to retain your existing donors.

It is much less expensive to keep a donor than it is to acquire a new one, and you can find the easiest, most-immediate impact by investing in retaining donors, rather than searching for new ones.

One of the simplest strategies to engage your donors is to say thank you – early and often. You need a plan to strategically engage your donors. Focusing on donor retention doesn’t just make it happen, so you need to plan strategically to ensure these details do not slip through the cracks and alienate your audience. It will pay off! In fact, retained donors tend to give more and are your key prospects for a major gifts\capital campaign.

Donor retention enables your organization to plan for the future.

Your donor retention rate and the average gift within your retained donors allows you to project income. (Click here to calculate your donor retention rate for free.) Track your donor retention rate every month and track it with rigor. Doing so enables your organization to project income based on the donors who have historically stayed with you and their average gift.

A consistent focus on retaining donors enables your organization to plan for the future, connect with an already-engaged audience, and promote sustainability through whatever 2021 may bring our way.

To learn more about donor retention, we recommend this article by Aly Sterling. 

How Facebook Fundraising Tools Benefit Your Organization

If you’re not incorporating Facebook’s Charitable Giving features into your philanthropy matrix, your non-profit organization is missing a valuable opportunity to capture donations. The fundraising tools enable you to connect with your audience, solicit donations, and empower donors to fundraise on your behalf. Ahead of Giving Tuesday, we broke down the pros and cons of utilizing Facebook and also how you can get started immediately.

Why You Should Use Charitable Giving Tools on Facebook

It is quick and easy to set up.

The requirements for you to use Charitable Giving are simple:

  1. Be a 501c3 registered with the IRS.
  2. Have a tax ID number.
  3. Have a registered bank account.
  4. Know the CEO/Executive Director’s address and date of birth.

Because Facebook giving tools are powered by Network for Good and Charity Navigator, any registered 501c3 organization can easily be found after clicking “Raise Money” when composing your Facebook post.

100% of funds raised go to your organization.

All of the money raised on Facebook benefits your organization. Compared to other fundraising platforms, such as GoFundMe, the cost to your organization to raise money is minimal.

Sharing features increase the size of your potential audience.

When composing a post and utilizing the “Raise Money” feature, you exponentially increase the size of your organization’s audience. When your followers share your post, they will also share the attached “Donate” button, exposing their Facebook friends to your organization and the opportunity to contribute. Posts can continue to be shared by friends of followers and so on, creating an opportunity to raise significant funds. Therefore, when composing your social media posts, be cognizant of your content, the impact it will make on your followers, and its shareability.

Drawbacks of Fundraising on Facebook

Facebook Charitable Giving is a long-term strategy.

Donations made via Facebook typically take up to six weeks to process. This lag between when donations are made and when your organization receives the funds can be challenging for some organizations that rely on the immediacy of other donation platforms. Furthermore, many posts may only bring in $20, $40, $60 due to decreased organic reach. Don’t get discouraged though, as these donations can add up!

Donors’ contact information is unavailable.

When donating on Facebook, donors have the opportunity to indicate if they would like to share their contact information with the organization, and donors who contribute to a birthday fundraiser in support of your organization do not have that option. This majorly limits your opportunity to add those donors to your database and target them in the future with your various campaigns and other channels of communication.

Some donors may be hesitant to utilize Facebook to donate.

It is no surprise that Facebook has faced some ethical challenges over the past few years and individuals’ trust in the platform may be wavering. Because this may lead some of your organization’s followers to become hesitant to donate on social media, consider offering alternative donation methods, such as Venmo, CashApp, or PayPal, in your post.

How to Fundraise on Facebook

Your organization is likely already included in Charitable Giving’s database.

Because Facebook utilizes Network for Good and Charity Navigator, your organization will most likely be pre-populated when you search for an organization to add to your post. If you’re having trouble locating your non-profit, you can refer to Facebook’s FAQ.

Add a Donate button to your Facebook posts.

You can easily solicit donations from your social media posts. When composing your post, click the “…” on the right side of the “Add to Your Post” box.

When the lightbox loads, select “Raise Money” and search for your nonprofit. Once you select your nonprofit, you’ll jump back to your post composition. Finalize your content and click the “Post” button to share.

Add a Donate button to your Facebook Page.

In addition to including a Donate button on your Facebook posts, you can also add a Donate button to the top of your Facebook page. Simply go to your Facebook page and click the “Add Button” under your cover photo and select “Donate” from the list that appears.

Feasibility Studies: Worth It or A Waste?

You have likely considered kicking off a major gifts or capital campaign with a feasibility study to examine the factors that could contribute to your campaign’s success or failure, such as leadership, target audience, brand impact, and costs. Some nonprofit leaders do not believe in the value of feasibility studies. James LaRose, founder of the National Development Institute, claims, “the studies… are outmoded and a colossal waste of money.”

In contrast, however, we at The Killoe Group consider feasibility studies to be capital campaigns’ best friends – and incredibly valuable investments.

While LaRose asserts feasibility studies are not worth the time, effort, and money required, these studies have a number of benefits. For example, a feasibility study enables you and your team to analyze your target audience and cultivate a deeper understanding of donor demographics. This information will enable you to more accurately and successfully target your supporters. Other benefits include identifying organizational strengths and weaknesses and creating buzz about your campaign.

Download Feasibility Studies: A Capital Campaign’s Best Friend to learn more about feasibility studies and how they can benefit your organization’s development efforts.

Industry Insights: Monthly Giving

Subscription-based shopping for common products like toothpaste and cleaning supplies has increased exponentially in popularity over the past few years. For example, I receive a bulk order of dog food from Amazon every eight months. Before I recognize the food is running low, Amazon automatically ships the refill and “ta-da!” it arrives at my door just as Toby needs it.

Your non-profit can tap into this “set it and forget it” culture through automated monthly giving programs.

These types of programs can minimize the hesitancy donors may have by breaking larger donations into smaller, equal contributions over a set period of time. For example, ask a donor to make a $10.00 per month donation over a 10-month period, rather than $100.00 upfront. The monthly contributions become revenue you can count on without having to expend resources to secure.

Automating philanthropy and stewardship can be extremely successful…as long as you are cognizant not to take your donors for granted.

There will come a time when monthly donors must update their credit card information so you must consider donor retention throughout the length of their automatic monthly donation period. Creating a branded program for this subscription-style giving can help your members feel as if they are part of something special. Provide exclusive content – such as an email newsletter, videos, photos, or handwritten notes – to keep these donors engaged and increase the likelihood they’ll stay with you.

To learn more about Monthly Giving Programs and how to get yours started, we recommend this article on the Re:Charity website.

5 Reasons Non-Profits Should Continue Fundraising – Despite COVID-19

Fundraising – like pretty much everything else – during a global pandemic feels confusing, uncertain, and slightly uncomfortable; however, it is critical you recognize that your non-profit organization continues to meet needs in your community and contribute to it in essential ways.  Frankly, you must continue to generate income to support your mission and work.

Don’t pull back from sharing your mission, your message and giving donors an opportunity to contribute to your organization and support their communities.

Here are five reasons we believe you should continue fundraising, despite COVID-19:

1. Fundraise because you CAN.

Donors see first-hand how non-profits positively impact their communities – when the world is running “business as usual” and when the world is in a crisis like the one presented by the Coronavirus. Many people desire to support their communities and turn to non-profit organizations as a vehicle to do so. Your organization can capture donors’ goodwill by enabling the community to support your organization through donations.

2. There is uncertainty in the future.

Many states have laid out clear plans for phased reopening and while this may bring some clarity around what communities can expect in the future, there is still an element of uncertainty that requires non-profit organizations to prepare for the unknown. Non-profits, such as food banks, animal shelters, and workforce development organizations, have all had increased need over the past few months and this trend could continue. No matter what the future holds, your community will continue to require the support your organization provides.

3. Non-profits are economic engines.

According to a recent article from Forbes Nonprofit Council, “nonprofits employ more than 10% of the [national] workforce [and] the nonprofit sector contributed an estimated $985.4 billion to the United States economy in 2015” (source). On both national and local levels, non-profit organizations are creating jobs, purchasing products and services, and contributing to the economy. Continued fundraising is critical to ensure your vital economic engine continues to contribute to your community.

4. Stay at the forefront of your stakeholders’ minds.

Stay relevant to donors, volunteers, and clients by continuing to communicate with your audience. Be transparent with your stakeholders and share how COVID-19 has impacted your organization and the necessary changes you’ve made to align with the “new normal” and everchanging community needs. Connect your organization’s mission, vision, and work to the current climate and share stories that exemplify impact.

5. Donors can decline.

Both in times of crisis and more “typical” climates, individuals can decline your organization’s requests for donations. Don’t miss the opportunity to solicit donations because you assume people don’t want to, can’t, and won’t support your organization. It is worth the ask – donors always have the option to say “no.”

If you have a mission that is relevant, shout it from the rooftops and if not, connect your mission and work to the measurable impacts your organization makes on your community despite the unparalleled experience we’re living through. Use this time to continue to connect with your audience, share your good work, and generate the donations that are vital to sustaining your organization’s work.