DonorPath Delivers Fundraising Results

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Fundraising is the instant answer from any director of a nonprofit who’s asked about the hardest part of their job. Your mission is to support a great cause and generate social change, and money is the only way to make that possible. Keeping a nonprofit funded is a never-ending challenge.

Our partner, DonorPath, is an organization that matches nonprofits with experts to support their fundraising efforts. Think of it as getting a fundraising consultant that can help you with strategies, tactics, tracking and campaigns. DonorPath’s experts have a minimum of 10 years experience and have worked for at least three nonprofits in a professional capacity.

Getting started is easy – just visit DonorPath.org, create a profile and select from a list of matching experts to begin building your virtual fundraising team.

The first 30 days with DonorPath is free. During that time, you’ll connect with a fundraising expert and gain access to two important products that they offer:

  1. An analytics tool that helps look at your organization’s existing data, identify trends and make recommendations. (It syncs with your existing fundraising software.)
  2. A library of DonorPath guides, templates and checklists to help manage fundraising. This covers more than just raising money online.

If you decide to continue your DonorPath subscription, the cost is $239 a month for a variety of support services including solution sessions, direct communications with your expert, and building a 12-month fundraising road map. Ongoing reporting and customer service are part of it too.

“We’ve helped nonprofits increase fundraising results by as much as 61% over 12 months when they fully leverage the coaching, tools and insights in a DonorPath subscription,” says CEO and Founder Brian Lauterbach, who’s also a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).

“We created a technology and a community that allows small and mid-sized nonprofits access to best practices and ongoing coaching in raising money. Traditionally, only the upper 25 percent of the 1.8 million nonprofits in the United States have the budget to afford these things.”

Check out the video to hear firsthand from a nonprofit that’s used DonorPath.

To find out more about DonorPath, visit DonorPath.org.

For more valuable tips, tools and resources—subscribe to our blog today.

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

3 Tips for More Online Donations

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There’s no single magic bullet for raising more money online. It’s finding the right combination of what your organization says and does to reach out, capture donors’ attention, and be persuasive.  There are, though, several best practices for increasing online donations. Here are three of the most effective ones:

1. Optimize your site and emails for mobile donations, and use responsive design.

Make it easy for donors to give when and wherever they are online. With the use of smart phones, tablets and iPads increasing all the time, you don’t want to miss out on any donations because it’s difficult or impossible to give from a mobile device.

Click to view full info-graphic

Click to view full info-graphic

In case you’re skeptical it’s really that important, here a recent Blackbaud study and stats from 2014 end-of-the-year giving season:

  • Donors were 34% more likely to make a gift after reaching a donation form when the website was responsive. Read details at npENGAGE.
  • After the 2014 Giving Season, a study of nearly 350 small and medium-sized nonprofits found 16.6% of mobile giving come from an email. (You can read more in this article by Brandon Granger.)

Take a look at your own Google Analytics stats for mobile transactions and see what you find. You may be surprised!

If you’re not sure how to start making this change, check out these Tips for a Mobile-Friendly Site.

2. Tell donors what their gift can do – communicate impact.

Donors want to know how you’ll use their money and what difference their gift makes. Several surveys, including Cygnus Research 2014 Burk Donor Survey and Money for Good II found that up to 70 percent of donors are looking for this information.

On website pages where you describe programs and services, include results. Pull compelling photos, stats and stories from your annual report or newsletters and weave them into content or graphics. Showcase results in an infographic. Talking about your accomplishments in multiple places on the site helps convince visitors your organization puts money to good use:  it builds your case for support . . . before they reach your Donation Page.

Click to view larger

Click to view larger

On your Donation Page, list several programs and levels of giving, and be specific about what each donation can do. These impact statements can persuade donors to give more, knowing what a donation accomplishes.

JustGive’s Donation Page for nonprofits was built to include this option, and you can quickly customize and even change it several times a year. Then don’t forget to carry this practice through on partner sites where your organization appears, like GreatNonprofits.

Are you giving donors the option to automatically donate every month? If you’re not set up for this, it doesn’t take much to do. JustGive offers free Give Monthly buttons you can easily add to your site to generate a steady stream of support.

3. Say thank you

Immediately sending an email donation receipt makes donors feel appreciated. That starts your relationship on a good foot, paving the way for more communication. (JustGive sends these emails right away to thank donors for donations that come through our website or your customized Donation Page.)

pink_thank_you_14471215Use your Donation Reports and donor data for a second follow up. You can do this effectively with an email that talks about a recent/newsworthy accomplishment of your organization and, at the same time, reminds them again about the impact of their gift.

For donors who give large gifts, consider a handwritten note or call to personally connect – without making another appeal. Just acknowledge what they’ve done and say thanks again.  This creates a positive vibe and can take them by surprise when you don’t ask for more money right away, making them more likely to donate again.

– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant

P.S. Subscribe to our blog and we’ll send you an email every time we publish more helpful tips and tools.

Can Donors Make Recurring Donations?

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Featured Nonprofit FAQ:
Can a donor make a recurring donation to our organization through JustGive?

When it comes to processing donations for nonprofit organizations, one question we’re often asked is if it’s possible for donors to set up a recurring donation using JustGive’s services.

Question
Can a donor make a recurring/ongoing monthly donation to our organization through JustGive?

Answerrecurring screenshot
Yes! When you use JustGive to process your online donations, donors have the option to check a box to make their donation recurring. When they complete the transaction, they are charged for the initial donation and then again each month for the same amount. Donors can modify this recurring donation at any time through their JustGive account.

TIP: Encourage recurring donations and ongoing support from your donors by pre-checking the box on your Donation Page. To do that, just add some text (“&isRecurring=true”) onto your custom JustGive Donation Page website link, like this:

https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=94-3331010&isRecurring=true

When donors click your donation button or link from your website—with that additional text included—they land on your Donation Page with the “Make this a monthly recurring donation” box already checked. (Donors can easily uncheck this box if they do not want to make their donation recurring.)

For more helpful question and answers, visit the JustGive Nonprofit Support Center.

And don’t miss more fundraising tips & tools: Subscribe to our blog today.

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

Email Best Practices & Tips

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You need your nonprofit’s emails to break through inbox clutter so your supporters will open them and take action. Especially since the 2015 M+R Benchmarks Study shows 22% of all online donations are from emails (and it’s growing).

The best way to do that is to make the emails relevant. Include information your readers care about. Keep them opening your emails by timing them well and sharing information they didn’t have before—so they’re inspired to pay attention whenever your name shows up.

Let’s take a look at three key steps for creating effective emails.

1. Planning

Set a schedule that taps your supporters with the frequency and for the reasons and occasions that strategically match your fundraising approach.

For best supporter retention, pay attention to your ask to thank ratio for emails. Lynne Wester, The Donor Relations Guru, recently wrote a good blog post about this.

Select a dependable, responsive email provider, and take advantage of all its services. JustGive uses the VerticalResponse (VR) platform. VR has a full suite of online tools to manage and track marketing programs, including email. In a special offer for nonprofits, Vertical Response includes 10,000 emails per month for free, and a 15% discount on monthly plans for high-volume senders. It also offers a wealth of email tutorials, webinars and articles to help you.planning_ux-787980_1280

Use a mobile design for your emails to make them a quick read and skimmable. Latest stats show that up to 66% of emails are now opened on a smartphone or tablet.

Build and maintain your email list using your donor database. Ask them to opt in and give permission for emails (either through sign ups on your website or in a direct mail appeal), and include the unsubscribe choice in every email. Lists could be a blog topic by itself . . . but here are a few free guides and more information from Vertical Response. Don’t forget to get donor information from your JustGive Donation Report to keep growing your email list!

2. Writing & Sending

Write content that’s clear, compelling and action-oriented. Short and sweet, with words that speak directly to your reader (use “you” and write as if you’re talking to a real person). A simple rule of thumb for content: around 20% images and no less than 80% text.

Take time to develop attention-getting subject lines and headlines. If you keep the subject line to around 45-50 characters, readers will see all of it on mobile devices. For subject lines, check out this list of 21 words that came from analyzing billions of emails—to get you rolling or help if you’re stuck.  For headlines, you may be surprised to know that Upworthy’s editorial process is to write 25 headlines for each article before selecting one . Twenty five seems extreme to me, but you get the idea.fonts and colors

In your content and design:

  • Limit your overall color scheme to 2-3 colors and use basic fonts to keep the email professional-looking. Colors from your logo work well. For high readability, consider 12 point type, and check out this study about fonts.
  • Use prominent call-to-action buttons. Try different colors, shapes and words in your buttons to see what works best. And hyperlink phrases or sentences for easy clicking from mobile devices.
  • Integrate social media icons to connect with supporters through your other channels.
  • Add Google Analytics links to buttons, images and key phrases to see what gets readers’ attention and most drives action. If you don’t know how, here are get-started instructions. Test and double check those links!

When to send your email? Studies suggest 10 am in a reader’s time zone, Tuesday through Thursday. But the real answer is it all depends. Your best bet: Experiment with different times of the day, chart the performance you get, and see what your audience prefers.

If you’re converting direct mail fundraising appeals to email—Check out these 8 Commandments from Kivi’s Leroux Miller’s Nonprofit Blog.

3.  Measuring Results

analyticsAnalyze your Google Analytics stats and Reports from your email provider to monitor results. Review open rates, click through rates, unsubscribes, and most importantly, conversion.  Nonprofit benchmarks give you a good idea if you’re moving in the right direction.

Drilling down to what links, buttons and visuals draw clicks can also help you create more effective emails.

  • Do some testing (A/B). Split your mailing list randomly to test one change at a time—the subject line, time sent, message or image (positive image vs. “needy”)—and see what generates the best response.
  • Identify what’s working, what’s not, and adjust. On a regular basis. Bottom line: How much did the email generate in donations or bring in new donors?

For more info, check out the Nonprofit Tech for Good’s 10 best practices and the Top Takeaways and Strategies article from the 2015 Marketing Sherpa Email Summit.

Don’t miss out on more fundraising tips and tools: Subscribe to our Nonprofit Blog today.

– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant

Tips For A Mobile-Friendly Site

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“Mobile first” That’s been the mantra for many tech companies in the last several years. With Google’s recent announcement that it will favor mobile-friendly websites in search results, this mindset is even more important for every organization with a website.

Mobile use and the difference it makes

Stats clearly back up increased mobile use too. According to the 2015 Internet Trends Report from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, U.S. adults spend more time using mobile (51%) than desktop devices (42%).

Image via thirteen23.com

Image via thirteen23.com

In fact, a 2014 Mobile Behavior Report from Salesforce says consumers spend an average of 3.3. hours on a smartphone and 3.1 hours on a tablet every day.

And for donations? As DonorDrive reports, responsive design doubles mobile giving. (Download their whitepaper for details.) Here’s some proof: Last year, the United Way Bay Area found that responsive design led to a 34% increase in mobile traffic and 28% growth in online donations.

Top mobile-friendly tips

Thinking mobile first means creating a simplified, usable website experience for your potential donors. No clutter, extra steps or complicated elements that aren’t easily clicked while on the go.

Here are some top tips for being  as mobile-friendly as possible:

  • Make sure your website loads quickly (check all devices). On mobile devices, users are often using a cellular connection which is slower than a typical internet connection. So the faster and more lightweight your pages are, the better. (Check out the JustGive home page on a mobile device to see how quickly it loads.)
  • Make sure your content is accessible when scrolling in an up-down manner on a narrow device (accommodating all size screens). Resist making your users turn their phone to landscape view, and instead, use a mobile responsive template that will resize your content based on the viewing screen size and aspect ratio.
  • Make sure all your buttons—especially your Donate button!—or other action links are highly visible on a mobile screen.

More tools

Google has posted a guide to help ensure that your website is mobile-friendly according to their guidelines. There’s even a handy test you can run to assess the mobile friendliness of your website.

If your website runs on WordPress, there are a hundreds of free, mobile-responsive themes (Google Search) and plug-ins like WPTouch that can quickly make your website more mobile-friendly.

Subscribe to our blog to keep getting helpful tips and tools for raising more money.

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

The Community Corps: Free Tech Help for Your Nonprofit

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As a nonprofit organization, you’re often stretched thin, scrimping and saving to cover costs and get the help you need with a variety of tasks. For your technology projects, The Community Corps (TCC) is a great, no-cost resource to bridge the digital divide.

twitter-292994_1280_pixabayOur partner, The Community Corps connects nonprofits to experienced tech volunteers from top companies who can assist with technical training, resources and programming—throughout the country.

Since its start, TCC has matched thousands of volunteers to nonprofits, with a large focus on the advancement of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and fostering the development of women in technology.

Kelli Antonucci, TCC’s Nonprofit Outreach Manager, tells us this is a great time for nonprofits to get tech help.

“We’ve had a huge surge in volunteer interest and are barely keeping up with getting enough projects for them,” Antonucci said.

“This is a wonderful time for nonprofits to post projectsas soon as they are posted, we have volunteers signing up.”

The type of tech help TCC volunteers can provide ranges from training on software platforms like Excel and Salesforce to updating websites to adding enhancements like a calendar or a blog.

macbook-624707_640_pixabayTCC volunteers can also advise nonprofits considering a large software or hardware purchase.

When you post a project on TCC, there are 10 major categories for assistance: technology planning and assessments, STEM career development, website, Microsoft Office, infrastructure, STEM events, Social Media, STEM program design, The Cloud, and data.

Best of all, tech help from The Community Corps is free.  To get started, just create your TCC account and post your request or project to attract volunteers.

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

P.S. Don’t miss out on other valuable resources you can use. Subscribe to our blog for more tips and tools! 

Your Donor Information

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To answer your frequently asked questions, we’re including them in our nonprofit blog. Subscribe to the blog and use it as a place to check for answers. Each month, we’ll feature a question we get asked on a regular basis.

Featured Nonprofit FAQ
Donor Information

When using JustGive to process your online donations, you’ll want to keep a record of your donors and their contact information so you can thank them and add them to your donor database.

Question
Will we receive contact information for our JustGive donors?

Answer
That depends on the donor’s preference.

When you view your donations through JustGive’s online donation report, you’ll see the donor’s name, email address, and/or mailing address—unless the donor chooses to remain anonymous. If they make an anonymous donation, we honor their request and will not disclose donor information (per our privacy policy).

Here’s an example of what the donation report looks like:

donation report

JustGive takes care of immediately sending a tax receipt to each and every donor for their gift. It’s not a bad idea to send a thank you note from your organization too. Just make sure to thank donors for the full value of their donation.

Allowing donors to choose their own privacy settings is one of the benefits of JustGive, and it’s one way we break down the barriers to giving.

For more nonprofit FAQs, visit our Help Center

– Alex Mechanic
Service Team Manager

Your Donation Button Options

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

To answer your frequently asked questions, we’re including them in our nonprofit blog. Subscribe to the blog and use it as a place to check for answers. Each month, we’ll feature a question we get asked on a regular basis.

Featured Nonprofit FAQ
Your Donation Button Options

When you’re researching online donation options, of course you want to know what the JustGive Donate Now buttons look like, and how they can be used. We offer you choices:

  • You can add our buttons to your site, emails and more. We have easy-to-copy-and-drop-in-place Donate Now and Donate Monthly buttons. No programming skills required! (With the Donate Monthly button, you can inspire supporters to conveniently and automatically make monthly gifts, giving you a steady stream of money to count on.)
  • You can use your own button design and add a customized JustGive link.

Question
Can I see some examples of organizations using JustGive’s Donate Now buttons?

Answer
Here are several examples of what the buttons look like on our partner nonprofits’ websites:

JustGive’s Donate Now and Monthly Donate buttons:

Visit this nonprofit's website and c lick through for the full experience.

Visit this nonprofit’s website and click through for the full experience.

A nonprofit’s own button with a JustGive link (General Operating Fund) and our Monthly button:

Visit this nonprofit's website and click through for the full experience.

Visit this nonprofit’s website and click through for the full experience.

A nonprofit’s own button with a JustGive link:

Visit this nonprofit's website and click through for the full experience.

Visit this nonprofit’s website and click through for the full experience.

Just log in or sign up today to start using the buttons or links and raise more money for your work.

For more nonprofit FAQs, visit our Help Center

– Alex Mechanic
Service Team Manager

Nonprofits: We Want to Feature Your Organization!

image source: flickr

image source: flickr

One of the things I love most about working for JustGive is learning about new (to me) nonprofits, and seeing the passion behind their work. I can’t wait to tell the world about them.

Introducing donors to the great work that nonprofits do every day is fun and rewarding for me. I love sharing what I learn….which means that I love spreading the word for you!

If you’re a charity that uses our Donate Now button, don’t pass up this chance to connect with more donors who can support your efforts.

Check out the ways we can feature your organization:

JustGive features nonprofits on facebook

Facebook and Social Media

Our Facebook features include a short description of the charity’s mission, along with a large photo (we usually “share” a cover photo) and a link to their donation page.

JustGive features video from charities

YouTube and Video
We upload video submissions to our YouTube Channel and may also feature them on our homepage, blog, or Facebook page. In fact, we have a video on our homepage right now — check it out to see an example. You don’t have to do any fancy editing for your video; just use your smart phone or mini cam.

Our Blog

We periodically feature nonprofit organizations in blog posts focused on individual causes—promoting a single charity or several like-minded organizations to raise donor awareness. Here are a few examples:

For more information, check out our criteria for being featured.

We’d also love to connect with you on social media: If you are active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Pinterest, please send me an email so we can connect.

We hope to hear from you soon!

—Sara Olsher, Marketing Manager

Skin Cancer: Know Your Risks and Check Your Skin

Skin Cancer: Know Your Risks and Check Your Skin

image source: flickr

This weekend, my daughter and I went to a pool party. I was wearing: long white pants, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and approximately 10 gallons of SPF 45. Obviously, I looked amazing.

This is what happens when you’re a fair-skinned redhead and burn the moment the sun rises. I must admit, though—as much as I hate having legs so white they blind people, it is sort of a blessing. Sunscreen is not optional for me. As a result, I’ve had to be responsible about my skin all my life.

If I’d been born with my daughter’s skin, I might have been more daring. She has the most gorgeous olive-colored skin I’ve ever seen, and doesn’t seem to burn. Putting sunscreen on a toddler is no fun at all (it’s sort of like trying to catch a fish with your hands), but it’s 100 percent worth the effort—she may not burn easily, but it’s simply too dangerous to go without protection.

image source: flickr

image source: flickr

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world and more than 2 million cases will be diagnosed this year. Consider the statistics:

  • One bad sunburn doubles your chances of developing melanoma.
  • Melanoma is the second most common cancer in children and teens, and one of the most common in young adults.
  • Fair skin and red hair mean you have a higher risk of getting skin cancer.
  • You’re also at a higher risk if you have more than 50 moles, a weakened immune system, or a family history of skin cancer.
  • Tanning beds are very dangerous: One indoor tanning session in young adults increases melanoma risk by 20 percent. The risk of basal cell carcinoma increases by 25 percent after only one to two indoor tanning sessions. The risk soars to 73 percent after six or more sessions.

The statistics are depressing, but the good news is, you can help yourself (and others):

  • Wear sunscreen. No excuses. Yes, it’s a pain to apply, but it’s worth it. I like a spray sunscreen– it makes application a lot easier.
  • Avoid the sun during peak hours. Never use tanning beds.
  • Check your own skin. The Skin Cancer Foundation’s step-by-step guide tells you how.
  • Have a doctor check your skin. Visit a dermatologist if you find a rough, sandpaper-like patch, discover a new mole, or have a mole that has changed color, shape, or has started bleeding.

Now that you know how to protect yourself, help others. What we know about skin cancer is, for the most part, because of the work of skin cancer-focused organizations. Give today so they can continue their work, saving millions of lives.

image source: flickr

image source: flickr

You can also help with cancer research yourself. I recently signed up to participate in Cancer Prevention Study-3 through the American Cancer Society. If you’re between the ages of 30 and 65 and have never had cancer, please sign up for this long-term study. We will only stop cancer if we continue to support research, and fund programs searching for a cure.

Enjoy your summer…and don’t forget that SPF!

—Sara Olsher, Marketing Manager