Where’s the next major gift coming from? What are the strategies needed to retain existing donors? And how can you convert one time donors to regular givers?
Just a few of the everyday questions you are likely asking yourself if you’re focused on fundraising.
You probably have good answers laid out as part of your fundraising strategy and as a Blackbaud user you're certainly focused on maximising insight around the donor record. But answering all these questions without increasing the time and cost required to hit fundraising targets isn't always easy.
It’s a challenge and one I hope to offer, at least in part, a few new ideas to help you on your way to over achieving on fundraising targets.
What we'll cover in this blog post:
- Today’s donors and their high expectations
- Building trust through increased transparency
- Transforming your volunteers into ambassadors
- Selling your impact - Blockchain and NFT’s
- Beginning with Millennials
Today’s donors and their high expectations
There’s been a big shift over the past couple of decades in regard to donor expectations with respect to nonprofits. In the past donors were generally satisfied with the act of giving itself, and trusted in the word of the nonprofit that their funds were being put to good use.
The playing field has changed!
Today’s donors want to understand more - how nonprofits are applying their funding contribution and what is the measure of impact created. Donors want to be far more involved and feel closer to the action. They are acting more like investors in a for profit business, demanding greater transparency, accountability and clarity on the results of their social and environmental investments.
So what has changed?
Our advancement in technology has been rapid and significant to the point where all business sectors now have access to systems that were previously only available to the government and the scientific community. This has driven a thirst for data that is prevalent across all industries and acted as a catalyst for a plethora of data centric business enterprises.
Add to that the fact that most of us now carry a powerful personal computer in our pockets, it was only a matter of time before donors would apply these technologies to the nonprofit sector, scrutinising how money is spent and what impact is being achieved in the process.
The real question is how to adapt and successfully meet these challenges.
Building trust through increased transparency
2019 research from Villanova University and University of Wisconsin discovered that organisations earning a rating of transparency from the nonprofit GuideStar gained on average, 53% more contributions when assessed a year later.
GuideStar gives different rating levels depending on the thoroughness of public disclosure and the more transparent organisations are, the bigger the funding gain. For example, silver-level awardees earned roughly 26% more contributions than bronze.
There’s also Charity Navigator, a US based non-profit that rates charities by evaluating areas of performance around financial health and accountability & transparency. They have 11 million annual visitors to their website, providing further evidence of the hunger for greater insight into how charities are operating .
These are just a couple of examples of the many ways to present levels of transparency to the donor community.
But what more can be done on a daily basis and how can you better nurture and develop the existing donor base?
I’ve talked about technology a little and this is where it really comes to play. As a Blackbaud user you are focused on the fundraising/donor related data and how to best use that to market to your donor community.
How about stepping out into the field to gain deeper insight into program performance by assessing what's happening on the ground and creating a data driven story that can be presented to donors - it's a great next step to increasing your fundraising.
Let's take a closer look...
Transforming your volunteers into ambassadors
Depending on the structure of your organization you may have a few, or many, volunteers compared to paid staff and though in this section I talk volunteers, it's really about the entire team - how you engage them effectively and what that means for your fundraising strategy.
Volunteers help with administrative tasks and the day to day operations. They assist in the delivery of programs. They are the eyes and ears with what’s happening on the ground.
Effective program management means planning, executing, coordinating, and completing the work as a team so that you can achieve the specific goals of the program. This is all tied to costs, whether it’s people, time or materials and the measure of success takes into account all of those aspects when assessing the impact that’s being achieved.
Engaging with the volunteer delivery teams is essential to understanding what’s happening on the ground from day to day
Ok, so nothing new but what about sharing those real time insights - in the form of reports and analytics - with your donors?
It’s a great way to bridge the transparency gap and increase donor confidence - an essential ingredient for converting single donors to regular givers, retaining the ones you already have, and adding new donors to the database as you share the stories of the impact that's being created.
At Task we’re using blockchain to assist with donation transparency. Allowing nonprofits to easily gather data from systems and teams and present data driven stories about the work being done.
The base technology isn’t new but there are some exciting recent features that bring a whole host of new opportunities for fundraisers and donors alike.
Selling your impact - Blockchain and NFT’s
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been a hot topic in the news recently and they aren’t just a way to claim ownership over digital art. People are also finding ways to use NFTs to support the nonprofits they love.
What is an NFT? In simple terms an NFT is a unit of data stored on a blockchain ledger, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. This data (the NFT) is in the form of a token that can be bought and resold.
How can your charity take advantage of an NFT? The most obvious way is to have an ambassador for your charity who has a strong following, to create some artwork and then auction it off using an NFT marketplace.
Perhaps the best example is that of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey who made an NFT of his first ever tweet and sold it for US $2.9m - he converted the proceeds to bitcoin and donated them to the Give Directly's Africa Response fund.
But you probably don't have a Jack Dorsey in your rolodex and anyway as fun and lucrative as this gamification process can be we need long term, sustainable fundraising solutions.
NFTs have had a huge impact on the charitable sector. We see a huge increase in donations related to NFTs. - Alex Wilson, co-founder of The Giving Block
What's the answer?
Impact NFTs - Volunteers in the field who are tracking program data on blockchain are already creating NFT’s - digital validation of the impact that’s being created. This is represented through text and images with geolocations and other verifiable data, resulting in a piece of content that can then be published on an impact marketplace.
Whether it is the number of animals rescued, trees planted, or food distributed, it’s the ideal way to provide donors an opportunity to invest in verified impact - an investment marketplace where donors can purchase impact as a digitalised tradable asset.
Beginning with Millennials
To sum this all up l'll end where it’s best to begin - Millennials.
I’ve written about Millennials a fair bit over the past couple of years and for good reason. Millennials, and the younger generations, make up a huge proportion of the population - more than half based on American statistics.
And they are big supporters of the nonprofit sector.
- 84% of Millennials give to charitable organisations
- Nearly 3 out of 4 millennials have donated money during the pandemic
- And they view charitable giving as a way to build their reputation - 74% value having their contributions recognised publicly
All of this is great news for fundraisers. However, while Millennials are more likely than other generations to see giving as intrinsic to their identity, they also have lower levels of trust in the sector and are more likely to want increased transparency around how funds are spent.
This is exactly why many of these new methods for engaging teams, collecting impact data, and being able to present it to the donor communities are so important for keeping ahead of the game.
It’s a challenge yes, but perhaps it's also far more of an opportunity.
Are you interested in learning more about how blockchain can help you retain donors? Maybe you'd like to create your first NFT and raise funds? Get in touch and let's chat!