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.

Continue reading

December 2, 2011

StartSomeGood: Grow your social impact

social impact

Expanding online fundraising options for change-makers of all shapes and sizes

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, community organizations, social entrepreneurs, change-makers, activists, organizers.

Guest post by Tom Dawkins
Co-founder, StartSomeGood

The last half-decade has given rise to many exciting advances in the area of online giving and community building. The Obama for America campaign was powered by an unprecedented flood of small donations. Kiva made microfinance something we could all participate in, and Global Giving connected us to development projects around the world.

A variety of platforms, including Causes, Razoo and Jolkona, now allow nonprofits to leverage the power of social networks to aid in their fundraising goals. But not all nonprofits, or even most. Without an U.S.-based 501(c)(3) charity registration, an organization cannot use most of these sites. And while a newer group of “crowdfunding” (we prefer the term peerfunding) websites, including Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, allow fundraising by all kinds of groups, charities, nonprofits, for-profits and unincorporated organizations, none of these are focused on social impact projects. In fact, as stated in its guidelines, Kickstarter specifically prohibits “charity or cause fundraising.”

So despite the seemingly diverse fundraising opportunities now available, a huge number of potential social change-makers as well as for-profit social enterprises, pre-tax deductible nonprofit startups and unincorporated community groups (for example the Occupy movement) are not well-serviced by by those offerings. To address this gap and inspire more people to get involved in creating social impact, we launched StartSomeGood eight months ago. Continue reading

September 12, 2011

What social fundraising means for your nonprofit

A look at the growing phenomenon of social media fundraising

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, fundraising executives, social media managers, donors.

This article is part of our series on social fundraising.

Debra AskanaseI’ve been looking forward to the promise of “social media+fundraising” for a while now. There are plenty of fundraising solutions that leverage social media, relying on fundraisers to tweet, share, and post their fundraising pages to their social networks. There are also fundraising solutions that fully rely on and live within a social platform, such as a Facebook fundraising application or a fundraising widget you place on your blog. Then there is the newest evolution: fundraising that innately uses social media as a platform.

In the slide presentation above, I review the three categories of social media fundraising and my thoughts about how social media fundraising has finally arrived in a real way.

Sharing is huge

A report from Share This states that sharing generates more than 10% of all internet traffic. In order of frequency, most people click on links shared within Facebook, followed by “other” (blogs, social bookmarking, etc.), email, and Twitter. Facebook is the largest sharing channel, at 38%, which is why so many online fundraising pages are shared and shared again on Facebook.

sharing stats

Social fundraising is growing

By all definitions, online fundraising is growing. Social fundraising is also growing. Network for Good’s online giving study’s quarterly giving index illustrates that, despite the current poor economic outlook, social giving is still rising. In Q1 and Q2 of 2011, social giving increased (though Q1 giving may have been skewed by Japan tsunami relief fundraising). The 2011 Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report of US nonprofit social media fundraising reports that Facebook is the social media platform most nonprofits are using if they are participating in social media fundraising, though it is still a very small percentage who have raised significant money using Facebook.

Online giving growth

Social sharing of fundraising pages yields results: Social media fundraising that leverages social networks

When fundraisers share their fundraising pages to their social networks, giving increases. Blackbaud recently issued a report and created an infographic about the power of peer-to-peer sharing. Blackbaud found that Twitter and Facebook posts convert 0.25% of impressions into donations. It also found that Twitter users increased donations nearly 10x more than those who did not use Twitter. FirstGiving found that for every share to Facebook, 5 people returned to a fundraising page. FirstGiving also found that the value of a share to Facebook was worth $10.87 in donations.

Peer to peer online donation solutions (such as FirstGiving, Razoo, Crowdrise, Donors Choose) where a fundraiser creates a fundraising page and shares that page are increasingly being used by nonprofit organizations, and the culture of online donations is growing. Sometimes these solutions are also called social media fundraising, because they rely so heavily on social media for amplification. These solutions are ideal for leveraging an organization’s base, and increasing donations through personal social network sharing. However, it’s just as important that the nonprofit also have a vibrant social media presence to amplify these efforts and engage with fundraisers.

Giving that relies on or lives exclusively within a social network

Social media fundraising can also be defined as fundraising that happens within a social network, rather than shared to the network. Most examples of these fundraising solutions live within Facebook. Examples include Causes, the What Gives or FirstGiving fundraising tabs that you can add to a Facebook page or profile, fundraising applications developed for a Facebook Page. These fundraising solutions rely on Facebook to thrive: You have to connect using Facebook, and they count on fundraisers sharing with their Facebook friends for amplification. Other examples include Google Checkout for nonprofits on YouTube or fundraising widgets placed on a blog. This type of fundraising is growing, but certainly is not mainstream, and best used where you have a fair number of supporters and know you can energize them. Continue reading

June 28, 2010

New ways for nonprofits to raise money online

Mobile devices, SMS, social networks are options for online donations

Guest post by Kemper Barkhurst

Irecently set up an online donation form for Rio Grande Community Farm, a nonprofit where I serve as board member and volunteer. This PayPal donation form was static and made me wonder about other ways in which nonprofits can raise money with online technologies.

After a little research, I found a few new tricks by which nonprofits can connect and accept donations from their supporters. These methods extend beyond just online payments or joining a social network. Check out the new ways nonprofits can collect donations from a mobile device, a text message campaign (SMS) and even social networks.

Credit card donations with Square

One of those emerging services is Square, a payment system that processes credit cards from a mobile device. This type of system will allow a nonprofit to accept on-the-spot donations. Imagine that your organization is tabling at an event and instead of having to rent a credit card terminal or go through a cumbersome paper-filled process, you grab your smart phone and accept a donation and email the receipt on the spot. There is a low transaction fee associated with each payment and is something that nearly any size, smart phone-equipped nonprofit can get started using fairly quickly once the service is fully launched. The only missing piece would be getting those donors automatically into a mailing list or in a CRM so you can follow up with them of the great work they are supporting (by the way, we can help with that).

SMS donations with mGive

Another way that nonprofits can raise money is through text message donations. A service such as mGive and a well-crafted campaign can open new fundraising opportunities. For a fee, nonprofits can receive text donations in increments of $5 or $10 sent to a designated number. This donation is then charged to the supporter’s cell phone bill, so money can be collected without credit cards or cash payments.

mGive isn’t for all nonprofits, however; service fees range from $400 to $1,500 per month in addition to a fee for each transaction. A free account for contact list building can get a smaller nonprofit started with SMS. This account also allows outgoing messages for a per-message fee. Outside of the free account, it might be difficult to make back the investment without a large media campaign. There are some successes, though, as mGive processed more than $37 million within three weeks after the Haiti earthquake. This is a good testimonial to the power of a well-crafted campaign. Continue reading

January 13, 2010

How to make giving on your site more social

Welcome to the 31 Day Challenge To Optimize Your Blog With Social Media. Today guest contributor Frank Barry talks about optimizing donation pages.

Guest post by Frank Barry

CC photo by cambodia4kidsorg

CC photo by cambodia4kidsorg

As the Web becomes more social in nature, people grow to expect more social behavior on your website. Have you thought about how that affects you? Or how it affects the way people give online through your site?

Here are a few things to get you started. Hopefully they’ll give you ideas about how you can make the online giving experience more social for your donors! Once you’ve put some thought into it, I’d love to hear what you’ve decided to do (or please share a link in the comments if you are already doing some of these things).

Follow the rules

There are some well defined guidelines that everyone needs to know, but I’m not going to rehash this because it’s been covered well by the industry leading  Nielsen Norman Group in their study Donation Usability: 58 Design Guidelines for Improving the Donation Process and the Usability of Essential Information on Charity and Non-Profit Websites. You can read more about it on Steve MacLaughlin’s Blog.

For now, here are a few key points you can’t miss when it comes to making the online giving process more social.

  • Explain why someone would be interested in donating.
  • Use real examples of people you have helped and situations you have improved.
  • Provide information about your organization’s presence on social outlets so users can connect with you on them.
  • All this info shouldn’t live right on the page where the donation form is. Just make it easily accessible from the donation form.

Continue reading