Tag: donation

Giving Tuesday is the biggest single giving day of the year. And this year, Facebook is running a match campaign for US-based nonprofit organizations that has the potential to level the playing field for small nonprofits – to the tune of $7 million. Here’s how you can get your slice of that donor match pie.

Register as a nonprofit organization on Facebook

First, you should make sure that you are set up as a nonprofit organization with Facebook. It will take time for Facebook to verify your legitimacy, and they’re likely to get an influx of applications the week before Giving Tuesday, so don’t delay.

For example, here’s the setup page for an organization I work with, the Friends of the Multnomah County Library.

Facebook page setup

Deputize your donors

Facebook’s rules on matching stipulates that there is a maximum of $250,000 per nonprofit and $20,000 per donor. With competition for a share of the $7 million matching pot, you need to get in quick on Giving Tuesday – and that means increasing your number of donors.

A good strategy is to find deputies who are supportive of your cause to create fundraiser buttons. This works a lot like other crowdraising strategies, helping you reach not only your existing donors but their friends and connections.

Help them raise funds on your behalf

Start reaching out to potential deputies early with information on your campaign, how the platform works and what you need from them. Send them stories and impact data that they can reshare with their networks to help them see the importance of donating to your cause. Use your existing donors to seed your list of who to recruit.

Once you have your deputies in place, it is important that you communicate with them how this works and what their expectations are. At minimum, you should send them this article. You also may want to send them some Facebook resources and volunteer instructions that are unique to this task.

Make it a competition

I recently attended a gala for L&LS Man and Woman of the year. It was the final event of several weeks of fundraising initiatives, each participant being a member of a team that was trying to raise more than the others. And every team had a team leader who was in the running for the top prize. The event was not only an awards ceremony but an auction that served as a last-ditch effort for a team to pull ahead. By building this competition, hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised in the Portland area alone.

This is a rather grand example, but if you’ve ever been involved in a fundraising penny war, you’ll realize it’s the same basic principle. Even if you can’t afford to do something as big as L&LS, you can learn from them and apply it to this fundraising event. Make your own competition to encourage people to donate that has rules and prizes that speak to what your organization is about. Giving a prize that is relevant to what your organization does will be a more personal touch in reaching your deputies and remind people of why they’re advocates of what you do.

The early bird gets the $7m worm

Not only should you get the jump in getting verified by Facebook, recruiting and training deputies, you should be timely in the donation ask. The hungry, hungry hippos race for those seven million matching dollars begins at 8am ET. That’s 5am on the west coast. So you have to get rolling on this bright and early in the morning. Reach out to donors beforehand to encourage them to make a donation first thing in the morning on Giving Tuesday.

Get started right now to unlock your Giving Tuesday match.

Have you ever paid for a cup of coffee with your phone? Or gotten out of a taxi without touching your wallet? If so, you’ve seen firsthand how far payment processing technology has come in the past few years. The future is here: Pretty soon, we’ll be able to pay for absolutely everything using little computers we keep in our pockets. That’s convenient for consumers, but what opportunities does this technology present to nonprofits?

As consumer-side advancements like Apple Pay and Google Pay have grown in popularity, vendors like Stripe have also made it easier and more secure to implement these payment methods on platforms. Recently, Amazon even introduced the ability to donate to nonprofits just by asking Alexa.

With payment flows more flexible than ever, your organization can dream up whatever you think will be most effective and most enjoyable for your donors.

Benefits of new payment technologies for fundraisers

Vendors like Democracy Engine or Stripe take care of all the tough parts of accepting a payment, which allows fundraisers to focus on building a compelling front-end experience. With the right setup, spinning up a new fundraising page for a new location, cause, or campaign can be as easy as creating a new entry in your CMS.

We recently put this concept to work for an organization raising money for progressive candidates, helping them create a platform that allows donors to give to a bundle of candidates united under one issue. Using a Drupal eCommerce module and Democracy Engine as a payment processor, we were able to create a unified donation experience across their 100+ candidates.

Nonprofits like Action Against Hunger use services like PayPal to streamline the donation experience.

Another client, a large humanitarian aid organization, tasked us to find a payments platform solution that would fit into their global fundraising ecosystem. Built in Drupal, the platform used the customizability of a CMS to serve a Stripe-based payment module. This solution allowed non-technical users to quickly spin up new donation pages that supported their local language (including right-to-left languages), currency, and preferred payment method across multiple countries. The organization was then able to promote a single URL globally on email, social, and paid media, rather than targeting audiences by language or location. Plus, individual country offices had the ability to “fork” a page and take control of the content their audiences would see.

Differing currencies aside, regulations on charitable donations vary across countries—for example, some countries need to comply with GDPR, and some require a donor’s social security or ID number to complete a transaction. Partnering with a payment processor simplified the logistics of deploying a donation page, allowing our donation CMS to standardize the branding and security of donation pages around the world.

The increase in sophistication of payment processors has led to a new round of product innovation in software providers that nonprofits use on their websites. You may have seen ActBlue’s Express Lane, or Blue State Digital’s own QuickDonate, both of which provide one-click donations across many organizations for their millions of members. These tools are an easy way to create a seamless experience for your donors, and can even help strengthen your recurring donation program, bringing in a steady stream of revenue outside of large fundraising moments.

Payment methods you should have on your radar

It may feel like Apple Pay has been around for a while, but it hasn’t even been four years since the service was introduced to the public. While businesses and consumers increasingly warmed to the concept of using a smartphone instead of a credit card over the past few years, Google has quietly bolstered their proprietary payment product as well.

So how do these popular payment services differ?

Apple Pay

Apple’s mobile payment and digital wallet service allows users to make payments using an iPhone or Apple Watch at brick-and-mortar stores that support the service, or on the web using Safari (on either desktop or mobile). More to the point, Apple Pay’s simplified payment flow makes it significantly easier for donors to complete their contribution.

Google Pay

Google recently unified Google Wallet and Android Pay into one service that allows mobile device payments (similar to Apple Pay), peer-to-peer payments (think Venmo or Square), and web purchases (kind of like Amazon Checkout). Google Pay lets users store their payment information in Chrome and loads a payment window as a module native to Chrome on mobile and desktop—not a pop-up, not a new window. Not only is it convenient for donors, but it’s incredibly easy to implement a Google Pay button.

Takeaway: Payment processors are crucial to today’s fundraising landscape

These digital payment technologies seem to be here to stay. In fact, some fundraising best practices now revolve around the use of these smarter payment technologies. By using the latest technology to streamline your donation flow, you can make supporting your cause even easier for your donors—and that makes a real difference in your revenue.

This article first appeared on Jo Miles Digital and is republished here with permission.

You probably don’t want to think about year-end fundraising right now. Here in DC, it was in the 90s this weekend, the sun is blazing, and November feels far away. But winter is coming, and now is the time to prepare.

You’re no sweet summer child. You’ve seen year-end fundraising before, and you know that, however busy you are this summer, you’ll be busier come year-end. Anything you do now to set yourself up for stronger fundraising will help you succeed when it matters.

And the good news is, like the farmers of Westeros socking away extra food, many of your fundraising preparations are things you should be doing anyway. They don’t even have to take away from your current work. Here are a few projects you could take on now to save yourself some pain when winter (and year-end) arrives:

Tend your infrastructure

Is your Google Analytics set up to track donations? Are you tracking conversions on Facebook ads? Do you have the data you’ll need in your CRM? Now is a great time (especially while your coworkers are on vacation) to make sure your systems are all talking to each other and that your data is being stored correctly.

If you have time, do an audit of your data systems, paying special attention to fundraising-related data. If you notice something broken, during an audit or your daily operations, fix it now.

Set up your pilot projects

Remember last December when you said to your teammate “I wish we could…” but it was already too late to try it during that campaign? Maybe you wanted to take donations directly over SMS or Facebook, or thought you could finally apply for that Google Grant, or had a cool interactive content idea. Dredge up those project ideas now and decide which ones you want to tackle for this year-end.

Implementations often take longer than you expect, so an early start could be the difference between having it ready for year-end, or not.

Gather your stories, photos, and videos

Great stories are often the key to great fundraising content, but finding the right stories isn’t always easy. The same goes for great visual content. Start keeping an eye out for the stories you want to re-tell during year-end, and when you find a good candidate, record it. Get in touch with the subject, do a write-up, and get photo and video if you can. That way, it’ll be easy to repurpose when you start creating fundraising content.

Grow your list

You should be growing your audiences all the time, but the second half of the year is especially important. Now is the time to step up your recruitment, and get as many new supporters as possible onto your email list so you can build a relationship with them before a big flurry of fundraising asks.

Test your forms

Testing is another task that, ideally, you should be doing regularly. If you’re not, think about your donation forms and the experience they’re providing your supporters. What questions have come up in internal discussions about your forms? Now is the ideal time to undertake some testing to prove or disprove your hypotheses about what drives donations, and it’ll boost your conversion rates down the road.

There is a plethora of research out there indicating that your nonprofit will raise more money with an SMS (short message service, aka texting) donation service in your fundraising mix than it will without one. Offering SMS donations to your donors increases the number of opportunities your organization has to collect donations from your prospects.

Consider these statistics:

The data indicates that SMS donations can increase your overall reach, giving you new audiences that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to connect with. As younger audiences have begun to move away from traditional giving and towards mobile giving, adding this technology to your fundraising mix means your nonprofit will be better positioned to meet prospective donors where they are.

Two Main Types of Text Giving Services

Basically, there are two types of text-to-donate services. One is text-to-give: Donors text a keyword to your short code, and later their mobile carrier charges them $5 or $10 extra on their bill. Once donors pays their bill, the mobile carrier sends you the donation.

The second type is a service whereby donors make a pledge by text message. It works the same as the other, except that the donor’s phone bill is not billed. Instead, the donor is sent a payment link (like Paypal) to complete the donation.

Is Donating By Text Effective?

Absolutely. People carry their cell phones everywhere nowadays: on the beach, in the delivery room, in the movie theater—there is almost nowhere people go where they do not take their phones. Texting is one of the most ubiquitous, effective forms of communication ever invented.

Texting is fast, simple and easy. And it’s built in by default into every phone manufactured. No app to download, you don’t even need a data plan or WiFi in many cases. With text to donate services like Gnosis, you can reach prospective donors wherever they are, and know with 97% certainty they will read your message—because they initiated the conversation.

So the moral is: If you’re not taking advantage of texting for fundraising, you could be missing out on an essential component of your fundraising marketing mix.

(This article was originally published on Nonprofit Tech for Good and is reprinted here with permission.)

Currently only nonprofits in the United States can take advantage of Facebook Fundraisers. This is frustrating to many NGOs, charities, and nonprofits located outside of the United States, but it’s due to the fact that the United States has a database of nonprofits called GuideStar USA that Facebook can sync with theirs to easily verify a nonprofit’s legal status. Facebook is likely working on expanding their fundraising tools to the United Kingdom and Canada where other such databases exist and eventually (hopefully, finally) a similar database will exist on a global scale (perhaps the BRIDGE Registry or the OnGood Global NGO Directory).

All that said, any Facebook user can now create Facebook Fundraisers for nonprofits listed in the GuideStar/Facebook database which currently numbers around 750,000. For details about Facebook Fundraising Tools and for information about how donations are distributed to your nonprofit, please see: nonprofits.fb.com/topic/fundraising-tools.

Facebook currently has 1.94 billion monthly users. Empowering your supporters to fundraise for your nonprofit inside an online community where they already connected to their friends and family is smart strategy. At the very least, the tools are worth experimenting with.

1. Verify your nonprofit is in the Facebook Fundraiser database.

Go to facebook.com/fundraisers and search for your nonprofit. If listed, your supporters can create Facebook Fundraisers for your nonprofit. Sign up for Facebook’s Fundraising Tools if you want access to daily fundraising reports.

2. Update your Facebook Page Cover Photo.

Your cover photo will be the default photo for the Facebook Fundraisers created by your supporters.

3. Create a “Day of Giving” Facebook Event.

Give your nonprofit four to six weeks to promote your Facebook “Day of Giving” campaign. In the Facebook Event, list the ways that your Facebook Followers can give to you on this day and how they can create a Facebook Fundraiser for your campaign. Then, post your event to Facebook and pin it to the top of your page.

4. Promote your Facebook Event on your website, in your email campaigns, and on social media.

The Humane Society of the United States is an organization regularly in the habit of early adoption of new social media tools and trends. They created a landing page on their website for their “Day of Giving” campaign that is easy to promote online. Study and learn from HSUS: humanesociety.org/dayofgiving

5. Thank your Facebook Fundraisers and donors.

You can’t post a “Thank you” comment as your page on Facebook Fundraisers. If you have a staff person willing to use their personal profile, then your fundraisers would appreciate the acknowledgement. You could also post a link in your Facebook Event where they could sign up for an email list so you can thank and engage them via email. Also, if your nonprofit has signed up for Facebook Fundraising Tools, in daily transaction reports you will receive the email addresses of your donors if they have opt-ed in. Create a system to email and thank them immediately!

It took me three months into my social media dream job to realize why the word “online” was part of my job title. It was 2010, and I had finally found a job that had social media marketing at its heart, at a small AIDS nonprofit that planned to use Facebook, Twitter and dating apps to connect with people living with and at risk for HIV.

Even before my first day, I’d had a run-in with our horrible, outdated and very difficult website, but I knew there was a web developer on retainer and I figured it was his problem. Or maybe it was the Executive Director’s problem. Or perhaps the office administrator. I don’t suppose there was someone on the board who could help? A volunteer? Bueller?

As anyone who works in digital marketing or fundraising knows, your organization’s website is at the crux of how people relate to your organization and its work. When something is wrong, it hurts your ability to attract, engage, and convert the people you need to make your work a success. As it turned out, our website was my problem, and to solve it, we needed to build a working digital strategy.

What is a digital strategy?

For many nonprofits, technology adoption isn’t hard. We’re smart people, and we’re perfectly capable of finding the tools we need to help us perform particular tasks. But what often happens is that an organization will accrue a slew of tools, all of which maybe do what they should perfectly, but still aren’t getting the results that you need them to. Perhaps your content strategy is bringing scores of people to your website but you aren’t capturing them in your email list for fundraising campaigns, or you’re gaining lots of Instagram followers but none of them know about your online forum. A good digital strategy will knit your tools and aspirations together into a cohesive plan to meet your goals.

We’re here to help. NTEN is producing two conferences this fall—in New Mexico and Oregon—and both are designed to help you develop and refresh your digital strategy. The program includes case studies, workshops, panels, presentations, and tactical sessions, to help you formulate the best strategy for your organization, and show you how other nonprofits have done it.

That seems like a big task. Where do I even start?

I am a people person and NTEN relies on members to survive, so I like to start with personas. What are the groups of people that want to engage with your organization, how did they find you, what do they want to know, how do they want to engage, and what do you most want them to do? Plot their journey from an unconnected community member to engaged part of your inner circle, donor or member. What’s their ideal journey? What roadblocks are in the way right now? How can you clear them?

Identify the top handful of actions you really want your constituents to take—for example, donate, advocate, join or inform others—and consider the technologies they need to do that easily. Find data that can tell you how you successfully moved them to that action (or “converted” them, in marketing-speak). How many touch-points do you need? What’s the story to tell them, and where and how is it best told? Which are the channels that net you the most success, and why do you think that is?

Like me, when I finally realized the website monster was mine to tame, you will have a lot of questions. But it’s only through considering the (sometimes difficult) questions that you can build a digital strategy, pulling together your organization’s disparate parts and making them work better, for you and the communities you represent.

Best of luck! We hope to see you in the fall.

The following article was originally published on Creative Suitcase’s blog. It is republished here with permission.

A well-designed donation form is an easy-to-overlook, but critical component of an effective fundraising program. We all understand how important it is to get a user to our online donation form. What we sometimes fail to understand is that the design and experience of the form itself can be a major factor in whether or not our users actually complete the donation form, and whether or not they’d consider doing it again.

When they’re done right, online donation forms can elevate our users’ experience from a clunky, painful, overwhelming test of patience into a swift, effortless, and enjoyable act of sharing.

What follows are some broad tips and best practices that we try to implement in our projects. We continue to search for ways to make the form completion process easier and more engaging, and we recommend that any nonprofit that wishes to increase their online donor engagement do the same.

Clear a Path

This may seem obvious, but a donation form—no matter how well-designed—isn’t going to produce results if there isn’t a clear path to it for a user to follow. We want access to our donation page to be omnipresent without being annoying. We want our users to want to engage without being assaulted by calls-to-action (CTAs).

Making CTAs that draw attention without becoming pestering eyesores is a balancing act. We don’t want our donate messages to be a torrential downpour. We want them in healthy, measured bursts.

  • Design large “Donate” buttons that stand out on the page. Be consistent with the placement and style of your “Donate” buttons, and try to use a bold color that is unique from the rest of the design to grab a user’s attention.
  • Place “Donate” CTAs strategically, in places where people are more likely to click them. Avoid cluttering your pages with an overwhelming amount of “Donate” CTAs. Instead, focus on placing them strategically—near a particularly moving story, in the context of some powerful results-based metrics, or in a place where people expect to find calls-to-action, like in the header or footer.
  • Test the exact language of the button. While “Donate” is universally recognized and straightforward, a more emotional call-to-action like “Lend a hand” or “Bring hope to those in need” might be more appropriate in certain situations and prompt more action. Don’t be afraid to test button language (or color), and adjust on the fly based on the results.

Make It Quick, Painless—and for Pete’s Sake—Mobile-friendly

In today’s technological landscape, a responsive website isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. This goes doubly for a donation page, because we’re often trying to engage our audience at a moment when they aren’t at their computer but do have their phone handy. More and more, users are viewing our donation pages on their smartphones or tablets. If our websites aren’t optimized to work well on a small screen, we’re missing out on a large—and ever-growing—percentage of potential donor traffic.

The best thing we can do to keep our donation pages mobile-friendly is to simplify them. We should try to strip away as much non-required content from the form as we can, and focus on getting a user through the form fast and error-free.

  • Break lengthy forms down into smaller pieces. An easy way to make a large form less intimidating is to display it in segments (“Donor information” and “Payment information,” for example), whether it’s several segments arranged on one page or several individual segments displayed one-per-page. If you can get a user to fill out just one simple segment (perhaps by only displaying one segment to begin with), they will be more likely to complete the entire form. It gets them invested from the first step, and makes it harder to abandon the form later.

segments

  • Provide pre-determined giving amounts. You can better guide your users’ giving by suggesting specific donation amounts. A pre-defined set of giving amounts displayed as easy-to-click buttons is not only a way to help speed a user through the form (one less field to fill out), but it makes it tempting to give more. It’s as easy as clicking a button!
  • Only include required fields in your form. If you find yourself wanting to include several “optional” fields in your donation form, be diligent and ask yourself if they are truly necessary. Assume that every optional form field you include on your form will increase the time-to-completion, add to user frustration, and decrease the overall completion rate. Oftentimes, the information we attempt to collect from optional form fields is information we could have just as easily collected from the user later, after they’ve successfully completed the simpler donation form and established trust. A user is surprisingly more willing to provide additional “optional” details after they’ve completed their transaction, as opposed to while they are in the process of completing it. Consider asking your users for follow-up details on the validation page (or email) that is generated after they’ve submitted their donation. They’ve already accomplished their goal and are invested in helping, so providing a few follow-up details feels like no big deal.
  • Keep your users on the form. When you get a user to your donation form, you don’t want them going anywhere. Proactively address any barriers to form completion that a user might encounter on the form page itself instead of sending them to a different section of the site (an “FAQ” page for example). Common concerns like “Will you keep my personal data private?,” “Is this contribution tax-deductible?,” or “What will my donation be used for?” are easy to address within the context of the form itself.
  • Use stepper controls and radio buttons instead of drop-downs. Drop-down fields require multiple clicks or taps and are cumbersome to navigate, whereas stepper controls and radio buttons are one-click interactions that are speedier, easier, and more delightful. Styled as buttons, features like this become even more engaging.

 

button-inputs

  • Avoid user “Submission Error” messages. Submission errors are deadly to form completions. Help your users avoid painful red error messages by providing useful hint text for fields that may give a user pause (e.g. “What does a ‘recurring donation’ mean?”). Use inline validation to provide a user with real-time feedback; this will let them know if they have filled out a field correctly, or help them correct a mistake before they get to the end. And if a user does generate a form that has an error, do not, for all that is holy, make them fill out the entire form all over again.

 

Twitter's registration form uses inline validation to let users know when they've made a mistake.

  • Don’t settle for technology that doesn’t work for you. Many nonprofits have contracts or long-standing relationships with donor platforms or payment processing services that are not easily broken or overhauled. If your service is having trouble implementing the functionality you desire (“Why can’t we combine the ‘First name’ and ‘Last name’ fields?”), be diligent and try to work with them to implement the changes you seek. Streamlining your donation form and getting as many users through it as successfully as possible is not only a benefit to you, but to them as well. Your ability to collect online donations is critical, and should not be hindered by the technological limitations of a third party.

Make a Human Connection

The functionality of our donation forms is one critical component to their success. A less obvious component is the emotion baked into that functionality. Emotional, human interaction is just as critical (perhaps even more so) to the long-term success of our online fundraising as smooth functionality. As a nonprofit, it’s important that you make a human connection with the people who choose to donate to your organizations (through something as decidedly non-human as a computer interface), and engage them beyond the moment.

  • Show the impact of giving. Transparency is important to donors, and tying real-world impact to specific dollar amounts is an easy way to show donors where their money will go. When a donor selects a $100 donation, show them what that $100 will do in easy-to-understand, relatable terms.

 

This form from Saturday Place lets users see what kind of real-world impact their dollars will have.

  • Make the most out of confirmations. After a donation has been received, don’t miss the opportunity to confirm your donor’s gift and thank them for their contribution through a confirmation page or email. It will assure them that their transaction was successful, but more importantly it will recognize the importance of their contribution and show them the gratitude they deserve. Take every opportunity to engage with them further; ask them for some of that “optional” follow-up information that you removed from the donation form!
  • Make every donor feel like a big-dollar donor. By giving your organization money—no matter the amount—a donor has performed an incredibly generous act. It is critical (especially since we know that current donors are your best source of future contributions) to make sure they really feel and understand how important their contributions are. Find creative ways to celebrate every $10 donor like they were a $10,000 donor, and do it in a personal and emotional way that feels real. Consider sending them a personalized “Thank you” video via Instagram. Automatically enter them into a lottery drawing for an exciting prize. The possibilities are endless. If you can make each donor feel like a big-dollar donor, you’ll be well on your way to securing even more lifelong givers.

While neither comprehensive nor gospel, these are a few of the general best practices we attempt to implement in forms that we build. We are always searching for ways to evolve our best practices and keep them current. You can do the same.

Don’t be afraid to observe how people interact with your forms, even if it’s casual. Be proactive about fixing common issues or problem spots that you see. Follow form design experts like Luke Wroblewski to stay updated on current best practices in form design, experience, and technology (his work informs much of our thinking on form design, as evidenced by the numerous citations in this post).

Any improvement to your form that you can make will be worth it, no matter how trivial it may seem. Even incremental increases in form completion percentages can lead to noticeable differences in your organization’s bottom line—which translates to more real-world impact that your organization can generate.

For this month’s Connect theme, a number of speakers are previewing the great breakout sessions they are preparing for the 2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Austin, TX March 4-6. Following is a preview of one of over 100 breakout sessions.

Monthly giving programs are essential to a nonprofit’s ability to plan projects and budgets. Sustainers make it possible for organizations to rely on a broad base of monthly support. We work with our clients to help launch, grow, and improve their sustainer programs. Today I’d like to share a few digital strategies for improving your organization’s monthly giving program. Here are a few techniques that we’ve implemented for No Kid Hungry, a national organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America. We’ve used these ideas and more to more than double their monthly giving club, The Hunger Core, in the past 3 years.

Monthly donor upsell lightbox
This technique encourages single gift donors to convert their donation from a one-time gift into a monthly gift. Donors are presented with a “pop-up” lightbox while making a donation on the website, with a recommended monthly gift amount that is proportional with their intended one-time gift. If they choose to convert their donation into a monthly gift, their credit card is immediately processed with the initial sustaining gift only; if they prefer to make the one-time gift, their credit card is processed with that gift only. The process is completely secure and does not involve any additional steps for the donor—the next page is simply a thank-you page.

We have tested this lightbox technique to ensure that it does not significantly increase donation form abandonment. We have found that this technique increases the number of monthly gifts collected via a website donation form, over and above simply including a monthly giving checkbox on the form. For No Kid Hungry’s recent campaign, the lightbox is mobile-optimized and also mentions a $100 match offered by the Arby’s Foundation for each new monthly donor.

Upgrade request to current sustainers
It’s important to ask current monthly donors to upgrade their gifts after they’ve participated as a monthly donor for some time. We recommend asking at least once per year—but waiting at least four months after activation to request an upgraded gift. Of course, prior to this request, you need to ensure you’ve properly stewarded your monthly donors.

When requesting an upgrade, it’s best to choose a specific upgrade amount based on the current monthly gift amount. We created a special field in the database to house the requested upgrade amount so that we’re able to use it in donor communications. We also created a special form on the email landing page so that the donor would not need to re-enter their credit card information to upgrade their giving—saving hassle for the donor as well as eliminating the hassle of duplicated monthly gifts for No Kid Hungry.

Triggered email series to prevent attrition due to credit card issues
One of the most difficult issues with a monthly giving program is involuntary attrition as a result of credit card expiration and re-issuing. We worked with No Kid Hungry to create a triggered email series for monthly donors whose cards were about to expire, whose cards just expired or were not charged because of another issue, and donors whose cards lapsed several months ago. These messages are launched automatically on a rolling basis and direct people to call the donor services line or make a gift online if they prefer.

I’ll be presenting on these ideas for improving nonprofit sustainer programs and even more in March at the 15NTC with Jeanne Horne, No Kid Hungry’s Senior Manger for Digital Communications. Please join us for Play it again, Sam: Monthly giving programs for sustaining donations ‘As Time Goes By’ to gather more ideas about how to bring on new sustainers, bring back lapsed sustainers, and upgrade and retain your current sustainers.

Last year, NTEN Community Champions helped to raise over $36,000 to support the NTEN Community Challenge, which enhanced NTEN’s program accessibility, including sending over 50 people to the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference (14NTC) and the 2014 Leading Change Summit (14LCS) with scholarships.

To whom did the scholarships go, and what was the impact of your donation? As we raise support for 2015, we wanted to share the impact of your donation from last year, from the voices of our scholarship recipients. Today, we want to introduce you to Johanna Cricenti, Program Coordinator of InnovATE (Innovation for Agricultural Training and Education), a USAID-funded project led by the Virginia Tech University Office of International Research Education and Development.

johannac.jpg

What is your organization’s mission?

The mission of the Innovation for Agricultural Training and Education (innovATE) Project is to cultivate the human and institutional capacity necessary for developing countries to promote rural innovation needed to achieve sustainable food security, reduce poverty, conserve natural resources, and address other rural problems. This capacity will rely largely on in-country agricultural education and training programs and institutions to be cost-effective, sustainable, and relevant.

Can you describe your experience at the 14LCS?

I had not considered digital strategies for our work until having the opportunity to attend the LCS. Technology sometimes is an afterthought in program management, and there is little exposure and training on how to best use much of the new solutions out there. Having the chance to step back and see what other organizations are doing has helped to reinvigorate our approach to communicating our mission and vision to our stakeholders and participants. Read my post for more on the lessons learned.

Can you give an example of how you applied what you learned from the 14LCS to your daily work?

We have developed an online community for AET professionals, and the summit sessions and networking opportunities were very helpful for us to think about using our tech tools to better recruit and engage our members.

Why should people donate to the 2015 NTEN Community Challenge to support opportunities such as NTC/LCS scholarships?

New tech solutions are always emerging, and there needs to be more discussion and training for programs in the nonprofit sector to utilize and create partnerships with the private sector as well as donors. NTEN bridges the gap for our organizations and serves in training and delivery of tools and strategies that are not always budgeted for in programs.

Special thanks to Johanna for putting tech to work for social change at her nonprofit, and huge thanks to all who helped make her experience at the 14LCS possible! Read more stories from 2014 scholarship recipients about the impact of your donation. 

This season, we’re trying to raise $50,000  through the 2015 NTEN Community Challenge to give more people like Johanna access to NTEN’s activities and initiatives that advance nonprofit technology. Support NTEN’s Community Champions and Board Members today by donating directly to their fundraising pages on the NTEN Community Challenge campaign on Crowdrise.  

Last year, NTEN Community Champions helped to raise over $36,000 to support the NTEN Community Challenge, which enhanced NTEN’s program accessibility, including sending over 50 people to the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference (14NTC) and the 2014 Leading Change Summit (14LCS) with scholarships.

To whom did the scholarships go, and what was the impact of your donation? As we raise support for 2015, we wanted to share the impact of your donation from last year, from the voices of our scholarship recipients. Today, we want to introduce you to Ivana Braga, Communications and Development Manager of Rede Amiga da Criança.

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What is your organization’s mission?

Rede Amiga da Criança is committed to ensuring the rights of children and youth vulnerable and at risk, primarily the street kids in São Luís (MA), through collective actions by governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Can you describe your experience at the 14NTC?

The NTC was a turning point in my journey of learning in the USA. I hadn’t seen so many qualified people interested in using communications to empower nonprofits before. It was a big conference with the best content on marketing, development strategy and technology solutions I have been a part of in the USA.

Can you give an example of how you applied what you learned from the 14NTC to your daily work?

I came back to Brazil in July, and I am doing a lot based on what I have learned at the NTC. The sessions that I attended showed the way and gave me tools to change communications and development strategies in my home organization. We are rethinking our web presence, building social media channels, and redesigning our website; in all those, I apply things I learned at the NTC. Another important takeaway from this conference were contacts: a network with experts, professionals, peers, and specialized companies.

Why should people donate to the 2015 NTEN Community Challenge to support opportunities such as NTC/LCS scholarships?

I would never have been able to attend NTC without the scholarship. I am very grateful to everyone who contributed. And I ask you to continue to help others. We are the ones who will make the changes in ourselves, our organizations, and our community. Donating to someone to attend the NTC is giving someone the opportunity to make these changes.

Special thanks to Ivana for putting tech to work for social change at her nonprofit, and huge thanks to all who helped make her experience at the 14NTC possible! Read more stories from 2014 scholarship recipients about the impact of your donation. 

This season, we’re trying to raise $50,000  through the 2015 NTEN Community Challenge to give more people like Ivana access to NTEN’s activities and initiatives that advance nonprofit technology. Support NTEN’s Community Champions and Board Members today by donating directly to their fundraising pages on the NTEN Community Challenge campaign on Crowdrise.