August 1, 2016

3 Ways to Make a Lasting Impression with First-Time Donors


john-haydonAccording to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, most first-time donors never come back to make a second gift.

Nonprofits as a whole are losing 57% of their donors every single year. And 71% of first-time donors never return!1

Any fundraising professional will tell you that retaining existing donors costs less than acquiring new donors. The quickest and surest way to a positive net revenue is to focus on retention.

What makes donors stick around for the long haul?

The factors that influence donor retention have been well researched and documented. In his amazing book on Retention Fundraising, Roger Craver shares 7 reasons donors keep giving after that first gift:

  1. Donor perceives your organization to be effective in trying to achieve its mission.
  2. Donor knows what to expect from your organization with each interaction.
  3. The donor receives a timely thank you.
  4. Donor has opportunities to make her views known.
  5. The donor is given the feeling that she is part of an important cause.
  6. Donor feels her involvement is appreciated.
  7. Donor receives information showing who is being helped.

As you can see, the first experience a donor has with your nonprofit is key. Is their first impression glorious or lackluster?

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July 14, 2016

How to Double Online Giving in Six Months

Blog post pic

By Darian Rodriguez Heyman

More and more nonprofit donations take place in today’s digital landscape, but how can causes ensure their online storefront is not only open for business, but optimized?

As I explored this critical issue in my new book, Nonprofit Fundraising 101, I interviewed Roderick Campbell, the CEO of nonprofit fundraising platform CommitChange. He shared a few takeaways from their efforts to maximize digital donations for Mercy House, a $3.8M nonprofit that has provided housing and support to California’s homeless since 1989.

This simple formula helped Mercy House double online giving in just six months, and I believe it can do the same for your nonprofit, too:

  1. Break it Down: CommitChange helped Mercy House break the donation process down into four steps: recurring versus one-time; amount; info; and payment. Instead of asking for the information all at once, they simplified the process, which is especially helpful for digital donors contributing on their mobile device. Another great example of what this looks like is charity: water, also profiled in the book.

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October 31, 2012

Why can’t I raise any money with social media?

Help your donors climb the ladder of engagement

First of two parts. Next:
Tips & tools for effective online fundraising

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, cause advocates, fundraising professionals.

John HaydonWhy does it seem that raising money with social media is almost impossible?

We all know that retweets can travel faster than an earthquake and Facebook is basically word of mouth on steroids.

But why do so many social media fundraisers fall flat?

The answer lies in understanding exactly how people use social media, and why these tools even exist in the first place.

Four ways you use social media

If you think about your own behavior, you’ll realize that you use social media in at least four different ways:

  • Connect – Facebook is a friend network. The reason you visit your Facebook news feed is to see what’s happening with your friends. Updates from brands, including nonprofits, are mostly interruptions.
  • Discover – Twitter is where you discover interesting pictures, videos, and blog posts. You’ll also make new friends who might eventually become Facebook friends. YouTube is where you discover awesome videos, either by searching or browsing categories and trending videos.
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September 12, 2012

How to use social media to reel in big fish donors

Image by Canolais on Flickr

Techniques to lay the groundwork before approaching prospects

Guest post by Geri Stengel

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs.

Many nonprofits already use social media, including mobile, to raise money among individual donors. Small donations add up, as Mark Hanis found. His first Facebook campaign raised $250,000 in 2005 for Genocide Intervention Network, now known as

But few nonprofits use social media to build relationships with potential big fish donors. Yup, you can target and build these important relationships by engaging with them through LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. The relationship starts online, but the “ask” happens offline, perhaps on the phone, but most likely face to face.

Building these relationships is hard work, but the benefits are enormous. Effective social media outreach takes at least 25 hours of staff time per week, according to the Ditch Digital Dabbling research report. Hanis has tips for those willing to undertake the task, based on his experience as head of the Genocide Intervention Network:

1Identify prospects using annual reports and gala invites from nonprofits working in that sector, which are among Hanis’ favorite methods. The Foundation Center also recommends reading press releases from nonprofits announcing donors as well as newspapers, magazines, etc. They also recommend using database such as WealthEngine or DonorSearch. The Foundation Center subscribes to DonorSearch so you can use this for free from their library.

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