Around this time each year, I begin to notice an influx of prospects who are evaluating phonathon software for their summer and fall fundraising programs. This always leads me to read up on what our fundraising customers are facing for the year ahead. Here are a few interesting trends for 2015 that I’ve come across. Are these trends ones you face in your nonprofit or institution?
Emphasis on Conversion Optimization
Nonprofits and higher learning institutions are increasingly focused on their websites as an information and fundraising center. However, simply attracting visitors is not enough when it comes to capturing new and returning donors. Conversion optimization is a key trend in 2015. (source: The NonProfit Times)
Your conversion optimization strategy should include attention to:
- Email marketing campaigns & campaign effectiveness
- One-to-one email templates with links to landing pages
- Advertisements (Google offers ad grants – try Google AdWords)
- Social media
- Email drip
- Incorporation of website in outbound mailers and mentions in phonathon call scripts
Engaging with Millennials
Millennial donors don’t follow the same engagement patterns of previous generations. It’s more like a courtship. It’s more likely than not that a Millennial will check out your website. If he or she is still interested, that probably takes them to your Facebook page. From there, he or she will probably get involved as a volunteer. Finally, after a positive volunteering experience, a Millennial will donate. (source: ThirdSector Today)
Knowing this about the Millennial Generation, you can take some steps that may help proactively move them along.
- Create gated content that Millennials will provide contact information to access: mission-specific badges for their social profiles, emoji, etc.
- Develop ways they can engage publicly with your organization online – check out the World Wildlife Fund’s #EndangeredEmoji, for example.
- Organize email and phonathon campaigns to activate volunteers and convert/upgrade them to donors. Yes, they typically text or take to social media, but that doesn’t discount the power of a personal phone call follow up.
Reframing Donor as Partners
Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels of the Veritus Group believe that 2015 is the year when nonprofits will increasingly look at donors as partners instead of merely “sources of cash.” (source: Fundraising Success) This means a change in focus from just securing money to helping donors solve problems. This type of program will involve much more personal, one-on-one relationship cultivation and solicitation between fundraising professionals and mid- and major-donor program participants.
As Genie Parker pointed out earlier this year on the VanillaSoft blog, donor retention remains a big challenge for nonprofits. Check out our donor retention infographic below.