How to Find Fundraising Technology for Your Nonprofit

There is an amazing amount of powerful, game-changing technology on the scene today. Whether you’re launching a giving day, identifying online ambassadors, or engaging major donors around their social media behavior, in modern fundraising, if you want to do it there is probably a tool for it.

But this embarrassment of riches has its challenges.

First, there is option paralysis. In our efforts to continually improve Groundwork Digital’s services, I just did a search for “social media influencer platforms.” The first page of search results was littered with blog posts promising “25 best…” “40 best…” “57 best … influencer identification platforms!” Even artificial intelligence and machine learning now have multiple players in the nonprofit space with wonderful platforms like Gravyty and QuadWrangle continuing to expand their tool sets and client lists.

Then, once you’ve made a decision and purchased software, do you have the talent to make the most of your investment? This is the issue that we so frequently see in the nonprofit and higher education spaces – amazing tools that are collecting dust on the shelf, because the fundraising teams either don’t know or don’t have time to learn how to use those tools.

Some forward-thinking organizations have hired to manage new technology. The University of Connecticut Foundation is one of those organizations. After recently taking the reins, UConn President and CEO Joshua Newton quickly hired a “Director of Business Intelligence” to “change the way we communicate with and solicit our alumni.”

 UConn has hired a position to focus on "business intelligence" and finding the best technology to lead their engagement and fundraising efforts.

UConn has hired a position to focus on "business intelligence" and finding the best technology to lead their engagement and fundraising efforts.

“Knowing of the micro-targeting and customization in how we are approached as consumers, (the UConn Foundation) wanted to utilize that same approach and technology,” said Newton. “We hired a Director of Business Intelligence from the corporate world. It was a deliberate and intentional move on our part to begin to allow us, and each alum, to have an individualized relationship with the university.”

Hiring a technology expert is something we at Groundwork would recommend every large organization consider. Or, consider restructuring the responsibilities of your current team to better utilize technology your shop owns now or may soon acquire.

Whether you’re hiring or restructuring a position, the following are talents and skillsets present in the right candidate to lead your nonprofit out of the dark ages and into an innovative and more efficient future.  

First and foremost, your new technology expert should be a top-level fundraising strategist.

And they need to be more than a digital expert – they need to know multi-channel fundraising. Coordinated and aligned multi-channel fundraising campaigns typically perform best. That’s why your technology expert should know how email, direct mail, digital advertising, phone programs, and social media work together.

A technology expert also needs to be more than an annual giving specialist. Perhaps even more important than online giving software are the increasing set of tools that make major gift work more efficient and effective. This is why your technology expert should be aware of what keeps gift officers and directors of development up at night. The tech expert should understand what is possible in terms of data capture and management and which platforms can make the most of your data as it relates to your most capable donors and prospects.

Next, find an innovator to operationalize your technology.

An “innovator” is someone who can think out of the box and reimagine your current technology suite. The innovator can also recognize how the right new platforms could transform your fundraising shop. This is particularly difficult to do with in-house staff as their ideas and concepts are intertwined with your existing approach. With technology, a fresh perspective can be tremendously helpful.

Finally, you need unbiased ideas and recommendations.

It may seem obvious, but you can’t turn to a tech vendor for tech recommendations. Oddly enough, sometimes the tech vendors are not even the best ones to actually sell you their technology. A vendor only knows your team so well. The full toolset, the politics, the capabilities of your team – all are important factors in selecting new technology and an internal team member or consultant who knows you well is in a far better position to select the right technology based on these factors.

Between CRMs, websites, online giving technology, and a host of other platforms, your organization likely spends well into the six figures and possibly more on technology. This is a good thing, but also a substantial challenge. To make the most of this technology, you need a person or team focused on integrating the technology with your operation. Find someone who is equal parts fundraising pro and technology geek to take the reins of your tech and watch your operation grow because of their presence.

Need help? Groundwork Digital leads technology selection and implementation projects for our clients. Click here to email us and learn more.

M+R Study Shows Changing Face of Philanthropy Looks More Digital Than Ever

Online giving is continuing its meteoric rise in prominence with a 23 percent increase in 2017 after a 15 percent jump in 2016.

This coming from the always wonderfully comprehensive M+R online giving benchmark report.

While the M+R reports shows online giving is up, securing those online gifts has become more complicated as the historically chief digital channel – email – is seeing engagement drop across the board with click through rates, open rates, and conversion rates all seeing reductions of six, one, and six percent respectively.

BUT, notably, email revenue increased 24 percent and accounted for 28 percent of all online fundraising. In part because we are emailing our supporters more than ever before.

So what does this mean? Ultimately, some nonprofits are doing online fundraising very well and gobbling up big numbers of the massive online audience. Which means those who are not taking advantage of digital will increasingly be losing their donors to the organizations that are doing digital right.

What can you do to be sure your development operation is among the digital winners? Below are three paths to consider following right away…

Everything starts with video – so start producing more video

57 percent of everyone who watches a nonprofit’s video will eventually make a gift to that nonprofit. (Google, 2013)

 Simple, authentic video on Facebook is both affordable and effective for engaging donors and landing gifts.

Simple, authentic video on Facebook is both affordable and effective for engaging donors and landing gifts.

Video is, by far, the Facebook algorithm’s top choice for allowing content to be seen by your fans. And the Pew Research institute’s numbers tell us that roughly four out of five North Americans are now on Facebook.

Yes, video can be expensive. But it is worth its weight in gold when you consider how powerful video can be on social media, online, and with email.

And video doesn’t have to be expensive.

According to ThankView, the more raw or authentic the video, the more likely it is to drive giving. When comparing “uploaded” and often higher quality videos to the spur-of-the-moment “webcam” variety videos, the webcam videos enjoyed a 15 percent click through rate on a call to action (most typically “give now”), while the more polished “uploaded” videos only saw a 10 percent click through rate. A five percent difference on clicks to a “give now” button is substantial and has an immediate impact on fundraising.

In other words, don’t allow a desire for perfection to paralyze your video production efforts. Instead, democratize your video. Train your staff, volunteers, donors, students, grateful patients – anyone with a smart phone – to become guerilla video producers for your cause. Not only is this an affordable way to increase your video output, but data is telling us this lower-quality content might even be more effective at securing gifts than more professional-looking video content – especially when viewed online.

Make sure your video (and all digital content) gets seen

As prominent as Facebook is, the platform’s algorithm is now rendering the network virtually worthless to organizations if you’re not willing to invest in ad spending. While that is discouraging, the good news is that it doesn’t take much spending to make a big difference on Facebook. A $200 campaign, boosted by online ambassadors, can have tremendous reach and real impact in terms of fundraising success.

And again – ambassadors matter. Facebook will reward content with far more views if it notices a large number of people engaging with that content. If you can reliably drum up a few dozen likes and shares with your ambassador core, that will lead to substantial viewership for that content. Couple ambassadors with a small ad spend and the reach will grow exponentially.

In addition to deploying ambassadors and ad spend on social media content through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, be sure you’re sharing content via email, as well. Groundwork’s clients have been enjoying newfound email success through a combination of simplifying email messaging and relying on video to carry that message. Here is a quick outline of how to make this happen for your organization:

  • Focus on minimal text in the email body – ideally, the email’s body should address the recipient by name, include a pithy one- or two-line message and a link (maybe with a thumbnail) to a website featuring a video. Essentially, the email is a gateway that introduces and redirects the recipient to your website to consume the content. (Don't try telling the entire story in the email ... email is a gateway, not a novel)
  • The website to which the email directs recipients should be a simple page featuring the video, a call to action (“Give Now” “Register Today”), and not much more (Resist the urge to send them to your homepage ... in most cases, you want to be more focused)
  • Test everything you can – sender, subject, format of content
  • Use the word “video” in subject lines …and test it against emails that don’t have “video” in the subject line

Ultimately, it’s about multi-channel donor engagement, because our donors use multiple channels. And when we produce a sophisticated, coordinated, and aligned campaign across email, social media, and traditional channels like phone and direct mail, we see gains in fundraising across all channels.

Get mobile right

The M+R report was clear about the necessity of providing a quality experience on mobile. For example:

  • 40 percent of nonprofit website visitors arrived at the sites via mobile in 2017, up 9 percent from 2016
  • Mobile transactions increased by 50 percent in 2017

Groundwork’s clients are seeing similar trends. During our most recent client giving day (a large, land grant university), mobile donations were nearly three times greater than then were in 2017 (from 106 in ’17 to 287 in ’18) and accounted for roughly 1/3 of all giving in ’18 after accounting for roughly 1/5 of all giving day gifts in ’17.

If you want to be positioned to secure your organization’s share of the critical online audience, you must have a website, content, and giving experience that is optimized for mobile. Not just in technology, but also a fundraising strategy that lends to easy giving opportunities from mobile devices.

The continued rise in online giving is a difficult adjustment for some nonprofit fundraisers. Unless you are magically experiencing a boost in your operating budget, doing more in digital means doing less in traditional channels such as mail and phone. But the ROI is there. Savvy, digitally-minded fundraisers are raising more money, more efficiently. To learn more about how, click here and send us an email. We’re happy to share more clients stories and offer tips for your organization to revolutionize fundraising with tested and proven digital tactics.

HOW TO Build Multi-channel Fundraising Campaigns

Whether a giving day, end-of-calendar-year campaign, #GivingTuesday, spring appeal ...whatever the cause for the solicitation, TRUE multi-channel fundraising campaigns are proven to significantly increase fundraising outcomes. (Online and offline)

So what is a "true multi-channel campaign?" We explain in the video below. Just click to watch... *NOTE: the content starts at the 2:10 mark. (There is nothing wrong with your audio!)

Do you want an expert leading your multi-channel fundraising strategy? Groundwork Digital offers packages to align and modernize your fundraising efforts across social media, email, direct mail, and phone. Click here to send us an email for more information. 

Find New Major Donor Prospects Through Online Campaigns

Online ambassador programs continue to prove their value in the leadership and major gifts spaces.

Groundwork client Trinity Health Foundation is enjoying the fruits of a project that finds, engages, then deploys leadership annual giving and major donors through digital campaigns. Watch the video below as Trinity's Beth Marsoun talks about how this online fundraising effort is uncovering new major donor prospects for the hospital:

Here are the numbers for the first (of many) Trinity digital leadership annual giving fundraising campaigns:

  • $15,000+ new money raised in just 72 hours
  • 94 gifts
  • 80 percent new donor acquisition rate
  • Three new major donor prospects uncovered through the mirco campaign

It's simple - the more wealth a person has, the more active they are online (according to a massive and growing number of studies from researchers at places like Fidelity Investments to Accenture).

And wealthy people know other wealthy people. When we empower our leadership and major donors with online campaigns built around their generosity, we not only raise more from the initial donor organizing the online campaign, but we also unlock wealthy prospects within their networks. All the while, feeding the annual fund with exciting new giving opportunties.

Going digital for major donors provides a short-term boost to your operation with small gifts while spreading rocket fuel on your new major donor prospect recruitment efforts. It's a win-win now and next year (and beyond).

And Groundwork knows exactly how to build a program like this for your organization. Click here for our "contact us" form and we'll be in touch to discuss potential strategies for your organization.

HOW TO Launch Ambassadors for Big Giving Day Success

This post originally appeared in the February 8th, NP Engage blog.

“What’s next?” is becoming a common question for digital fundraising strategists.

We’re hearing it about online giving days, about crowdfunding, about email – and now we’re starting to field the same question about peer-to-peer or online ambassador programs.

One of those organizations is the University of Minnesota. In 2016, they added an online ambassador program to their giving day and saw great results. Their ambassadors then helped to celebrate the public launch of Driven: The University of Minnesota’s Campaign in September 2017, aiming to raise $4 billion.

But then they asked, “What’s next?” The answer was a combination of a more sophisticated ambassador program and the launch of a new initiative around digital major donor engagement. These efforts led to the institution’s biggest ever online giving day and a robust volunteer opportunity for the University’s most fervent online advocates.

Give to the Max Day

In 2016, in preparation for the University of Minnesota’s giving day – held on Give to the Max Day, Minnesota’s statewide day of giving held every November – the digital fundraising team sought out social media users who demonstrated affinity for the institution. The digital team then engaged this organically-grown group of ambassadors and asked them to share content during Give to the Max Day.

The effort paid off. The U’s 2016 Give to the Max Day was a tremendous success, significantly outperforming their past giving days. And there is little doubt the early ambassador effort was a key contributor to the U of M’s success on Give to the Max Day.

In 2017, the University wanted to expand on the strong ambassador foundation built in 2016 for Give to the Max Day.

“On Give to the Max Day 2016 and for our Driven launch, we saw the power of U supporters helping share messages about the impact of giving, helping us trend in social media and drive an increase in traffic to our website,” said Robyn White, Associate Director of Digital Marketing at the U of M Foundation.

First, came a partnership with Groundwork Digital to craft a strategy for expanding the ambassador program.

Next, came technology. The University partnered with Blackbaud and used Attentive.ly to scan nearly 100,000 email addresses for those in the database who have a strong social media presence.

“This tool provided an efficient way to gain extra insight to which U supporters are publicly talking about us and have a great online network for sharing,” said White.

The results were powerful. The influencer scan of nearly 100,000 records returned influencer results on more than 40,000 individual social media users.

In addition to the technology and consulting firm, the same U of M Foundation staff person dedicated to the effort in 2016 took the lead on refining the ambassador list for the 2017 Give to the Max Day.

Digital marketing specialist Karina Carlson worked alongside the Groundwork team to implement an engagement plan to activate ambassadors throughout the fall and especially during Give to the Max Day, partnering with key constituent groups across the U system.

“It was fun to see our supporters celebrate the U in a more grassroots way,” said Carlson. “And to have a new way to engage passionate supporters on our biggest giving day of the year.”

The results speak for themselves – 109 individuals from the U of M’s “UMN Influencers” group were talking about Give to the Max Day on social media. This activity boosted the University’s total reach on Give to the Max Day to 174,119 social media users. That represented a +99.4 percent gain from 2016.

More importantly, the fundraising during the giving day saw a tremendous lift. In 2017, the final fundraising numbers were:

  • $1,436,000
  • 3,300+ donors

The 2016 numbers were:

  • $1,054,500
  • 2,900+ donors

Sophisticated technology coupled with an innovative strategy around their “UMN Influencers” helped the University of Minnesota achieve a roughly 36 percent boost in dollars and approximately 400 more donors from one giving day to the next.

Where to next?

In 2018 and beyond, the University of Minnesota will be focused on growing the ambassador program, Give to the Max Day, and digital fundraising overall – more involved management of ambassadors and major donor engagement.

For the ambassadors, having that authentic, personal touch appears to be increasingly critical. A more personal connection will grow between the staff person tasked with managing the volunteer “UMN Influencers” and the ambassadors themselves.

For major gifts, an enhanced digital major donor engagement strategy for the U of M’s Give to the Max Day is key. The University did enjoy some big major donor contributions during the 2017 Give to the Max Day. Donors gave gifts of $75,000 and $100,000 to support the effort while many more offered thousands of dollars for matching gifts.

While that activity is impressive, the U is excited about 2018 efforts as the new digital donor engagement strategy gains steam and Attentive.ly is used in partnership with the U’s digital marketing and prospect development teams. Beyond Give to the Max Day, the University will be pursuing targeted major gift crowdfunding campaigns and other personal fundraising efforts for the institution’s most capable supporters in 2018. Stay tuned for exciting results soon…

Groundwork Digital builds online ambassador programs. Click here to get in touch with us and learn more about how we can help you fundraise with volunteer social media influencers.

Small Nonprofit Records Big Hits with Facebook Ambassadors

The fast-paced and dynamic nature of social media can be dizzyingly unattainable for small nonprofits who often have only one full-time person to dedicate to the effort (if that). That's why we at Groundwork Digital are so impressed with the work being done by Jessica Poskozim, Development Director at Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, Wisconsin.

Jessica has organically built a dependable base of online ambassadors who are a key component to Cathedral's video-based content marketing strategy. Check out the following video for the details on how Cathedral of Christ the King is enjoying social media success thanks to Jessica's work...

Would you like to learn more about online ambassadors and video-based content marketing strategies? Email us here and we'll chat!

Happy Holidays from Groundwork Digital!

Happy holidays!

What a year it has been … Groundwork Digital launched in early 2017 and we are SO happy to be working with incredible nonprofit partners who support a wide array of causes across multiple continents.

From planning giving days and building online ambassador programs … to innovative new concepts around digital major GIFTS campaigns and multi-channel strategies that elevate direct mail, email, and social media fundraising all at the same time.

We are grateful this season for the brilliant partners who we call our clients and can’t wait to discover what 2018 has in store.

Happy New Year everyone!!

Rethinking the Online Giving Day

Online giving days and events like #GivingTuesday are adding hundreds of millions of fundraising dollars to nonprofits every year. And this trend shows no signs of slowing any time soon.

So it makes sense that nonprofits would be feverishly trying to find the best, most significant dates in their calendars to launch an inaugural online giving day. Or maybe improve a long-standing giving day.

But maybe the organizational calendar is the wrong place to look for the right date for your giving day? Instead, shouldn't we be asking our donors - individually, in some cases - which date makes the most sense to them?

Have a look at this astonishing online-ambassador fundraising event conducted by Marquette University...

MarcusLemonisChallengeCrop.png

The $1 million Challenge launched in 2016 when Marquette alumnus Lemonis offered up a $300,000 match to spur giving at all levels. Using his enormous social media clout, Lemonis led the charge in tandem with the Marquette development team to raise more than $1 million, including Lemonis' matching gift.

Lemonis and Marquette teamed up again in 2017, this time on a $1.5 million matching gift from Lemonis. The result? An additional $1.7 million raised in addition to Lemonis' match for a total of $3.2 million.

Major Donor Online Ambassadors

The key to successful campaigns like Marquette's giving challenges with Marcus Lemonis is in finding your online ambassadors who also have major gift capacity. And they are out there. Right now Groundwork Digital is combining influencer screening with wealth screening to single out the big-time social media users with the capacity to give transformational gifts.

But finding these large-gift-donor ambassadors is only part of the process. Next, work with gift officers and prospect development to enhance solicitation strategies with the newfound digital data on prospects. This step includes merging gift officer knowledge with donor info in the database plus the psychographic info pulled from the social listening data (the data that came about via the influencer scan).

The goal is uncovering digital campaign concepts that match important aspects of a major gift prospect or donor's life. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations - any life event could be leveraged to build an online campaign that has deep personal meaning to the donor or prospect. And that deep personal meaning translates into fervent online ambassador activity from the major gift donor or prospect.

This major-donor-centered digital campaign could be short and intense like a 24-hour giving day or it could be longer duration, like a crowdfunding campaign. Regardless of the specific parameters, building digital fundraising events around a personal milestone or cause of a major donor can both lead to new major gift prospects from the donor's network and a significant boost in small-gift giving in support of the campaign.

How to Build Digital Campaigns Around Major Donor Ambassadors

For a quick recap, here is how Groundwork Digital works with clients to develop major-donor-centered digital campaigns:

  1. Conduct a social media influence screening for your entire database of donors. (In addition to uncovering major donor ambassadors, you can use the larger group of annual fund influencers to build a comprehensive online ambassador program to assist fundraising and communications at all levels)
  2. Segment your influencers based on existing wealth data or conduct a wealth screening on the list of those with significant influence. (Klout scores of 50+, for example, would indicate significant influence)
  3. Meet with gift officers and prospect development to merge existing knowledge with new data from social media and online sources to create enhanced, hyper-targeted solicitation strategies.
  4. Leverage digital campaign opportunities as part of your ask to unlock big gifts from these digitally savvy donors.
 Innovative nonprofit Charity:water leverages personal events to build substantial online fundraising campaigns around celebrities and major donors.

Innovative nonprofit Charity:water leverages personal events to build substantial online fundraising campaigns around celebrities and major donors.

To be clear, the traditional online giving day is a tremendously effective fundraising and marketing tool for your organization. The exposure and excitement around broad-based giving days rapidly grow an nonprofit's culture of philanthropy adding new donors and enthusiasm to a development program. 

In addition to the traditional giving day model, consider expanding your digital fundraising by rethinking the giving day and adding a number of major-donor-ambassador-led campaigns throughout the calendar.

Are you interested in finding digitally active major donors and prospects and working with them to launch huge online campaigns in 2018? Groundwork Digital is helping multiple clients do exactly that right now. Click here to send us your email and we'll be in touch on how we can help your organization rethink the giving day in the new year and beyond.

How to Make Next #GivingTuesday Your Biggest Ever

#GivingTuesday 2017 is behind us and this year's event appears to have once again set astonishing fundraising records. More than $177 million raised from more than 1.64 million gifts.

Did your nonprofit reap the benefits of this enormous, mostly online giving event? If not - or even if you did, but want to see bigger numbers next year - check out the following three tips to help exponentially expand #GivingTuesday (or any online giving day).

Produce more video

No other form of content drives fundraising like video. A 2013 Google study found that 57 percent of donors will give to a nonprofit after watching a video from a nonprofit. If that staggering statistic is even remotely accurate, you should probably be producing more video regardless of how much video you're currently producing.

And it doesn't have to be perfectly polished video. In fact, studies are showing that "authentic" or "amateur" videos perform better in terms of securing gifts.

Video stewardship platform ThankView allows its clients to quickly produce donor thank you videos after a donor makes a pledge over the phone by either using a webcam to record a thank message from the caller (immediately after they hang up) or uploading a more produced video. The results clearly show donors favor the lower quality webcam videos. According to the ThankView stats, webcam videos lead to donors clicking on "Give Now" buttons in emails that feature the webcam videos 15 percent of the time. That click through rate drops to 10 percent when the email includes the more fully produced, uploaded videos.

The lesson? Amazing, high quality video will always have its place. But don't avoid producing and sharing lower quality video that might be shot with a smart phone or webcam. Ultimately, more video attracts more donors and results in more gifts given.

Also - don't neglect Facebook Live. The Facebook algorithms reward Live videos more than any other form of non-promoted content. Facebook Live requires a well conceived and coordinated effort, but the views are worth it. Need some tips for producing a donor-grabbing Facebook Live? Check out our free webinar here.

Find and Empower Your Online Ambassadors

Emails from online ambassadors are 312 times more effective at securing a gift than the otherwise identical email sent with the organization as the "sender." (Blackbaud, 2015) Especially for those under 40, our peers heavily influence our philanthropy.

But it's not as easy as it sounds.

First, you have to find your influencers. If you have an email list of any size whatsoever (think 5,000+ donors) it's worth it to use a vendor to help you identify your influencers. (Groundwork offers this service along with many others) A review of ScaleFunder giving days has found that the average online ambassador brings in $125 during an online giving day. Similarly, Groundwork has witnessed major donor ambassadors raise more than $60,000 in a single day. (Not to mention a bundle of new major donor prospects) Most ambassador identification technology is under $10,000, making the ROI incredible.

Once you find your ambassadors, now you need a clever engagement plan. Leveraging ambassador-friendly events is one sure-fire way to increase participation in the program. Online giving days are a great example of events that perfectly fit the peer-to-peer model. So are alumni reunions, #GivingTuesday, national awareness days ...anything influencers might naturally be talking about online. Find the event that matches your mission and invite ambassadors to join your volunteer social media sharing program around that event.

Then, get out of the way and let your online ambassadors drive the fundraising and communications activity. Only interject to offer suggested posts. And ALWAYS be ready to recognize and thank your ambassadors for their service! Increasingly, we're seeing ambassadors encouraged to continue sharing the more they are thanked for their digital advocacy.

Build or Buy a Great Online Giving Platform

Online fundraising is two equal parts strategy and technology. You can have great tech, but with no strategy driving donors to that technology you'll find limited success. Similarly, putting a massive effort behind marketing with a giving tool that barely functions and inspires zero trust is a little like the Fyre Festival - all hype and no substance.

 Bad online giving day technology is a little like the food at Fyre Festival - all hype and no substance.

Bad online giving day technology is a little like the food at Fyre Festival - all hype and no substance.

Invest in technology and strategy, build a great content marketing strategy, then find and empower your online ambassadors. It's a simple template that requires smart execution. Do all three and you'll have your biggest #GivingTuesday ever in 2018!

Ask us how to build a record-breaking #GivingTuesday or online giving day by clicking here.

Video Campaigns that Drive Huge End-of-Year Fundraising Results

57 percent of everyone who watches an online video produced by a nonprofit will go on to give to that nonprofit. (Google, 2013)

Keep that in mind, then go look at the number of views you have on some of your strongest Facebook or YouTube videos. And imagine 60 percent of those views becoming donors. Technically, that should be the case.

If only it were that easy ...or maybe it is?

The following are three tips to build a video-driven content strategy that leads to your organization's strongest ever end-of-calendar-year fundraising push.

Facebook Live - do it and do it often in December

Launch an end-of-year Facebook Live telethon. On New Year's Eve or the week before, invite your best supporters who are also digitally active (your online ambassadors) to a special end-of-year party. Be sure there are plenty of food, drinks, and entertainment ...and an experienced Facebook Live crew.

FacebookLiveOldCam.jpg

During this event, conduct several interviews with attendees and have them talk about why they gave back to your organization in the previous year and why they will continue giving in the new year. You might also interview a person or two who has been positively impacted by your mission. This could be a student, a patient, or a dog-in-waiting to be rescued ...you get the idea.

To increase the audience for your Facebook Live, make sure everyone you're interviewing shared the Facebook Live with their friends and family as soon as you go live.

And of course, throughout the Facebook Live event, be sure to frequently remind donors they "can give to support your mission by clicking 'donate now' in the Facebook post.

We call this the "modern Facebook pledge drive." For more details on how to conduct a Facebook pledge drive, click here to watch our webinar

Keep it simple for more video

You might have heard from various digital experts that lower quality, more authentic video is more effective for fundraising. 

At least in some cases, that's true.

According to Thankview, lower-quality, webcam-recorded videos are watched to completion 61 percent of the time, while higher-quality, uploaded videos are watched to completion only 47 percent of the time. More importantly, webcam-recorded videos lead to call-to-action clickthroughs on an email link 15 percent of the time, while uploaded videos only lead to CTA clickthroughs 10 percent of the time. 

If you're sending 10,000 emails, that's an extra 500 people who go to your gift form from the lower-quality video.

That's not to say high quality video doesn't have it's place. (Wait until you see what Groundwork is doing with virtual reality and major donors) But we should never avoid sharing videos with our donors, because we feel the quality is unbecoming of our mission. Can you see the video? Can you hear the video? If you answer "yes" to both and the message is on point, then share that video with your donors and prospects. Especially via year-end appeals. This approach will lead to more video messaging and, ultimately, more gifts.

Sell virtual seats to your holiday season gala

If you've experienced virtual reality, then you are aware of the medium's transformative power. VR can place a person in a different time and space while giving them an emotional experience similar to being present (in the literal sense).

VirtualRealityPurple.jpg

Imagine using this technology to democratize your high-priced, end-of-year donor galas. Of course, nothing beats the real thing - actually being there - but for $50, a donor can experience the event virtually as opposed to paying $5,000 for a table. Access to watching the speakers, hearing the musicians, enjoying the celebrity keynotes... can all take place from the comfort of home and at a more approachable price point. This gives the annual fund donors unique access to high-end experiences without cheapening the experience for large gift donors, because the large gift donors still have the exclusive benefit of literally being there.

This tactic could also be used as a leadership annual giving tool by moving the $50 up to $500. Especially if you're concerned about cheapening the high-price live gala experience.

Using VR to widen the reach of a gala could be done through Facebook Live or could be recorded and edited for later use. For example, gift officers could carry VR headsets with them to donor visits and allow those who couldn't attend in person to watch the next best thing.

Is your development operation ready to transform your fundraising outcomes with video? Groundwork Digital builds sophisticated digital strategies and produces award-winning videos for clients. Ask us about it by clicking here and completing our contact form.