Doubling-Down on Virtual Engagement: Livestream Highlights

Last week, our Director of Business Development, Andrea Lloyd, teamed up with Foundation Center to take a look at the relationship between online engagement and online donation systems in a nonprofit livestream: Doubling-Down on Virtual Engagement with Online Donation Platforms. With 2016 quickly coming to a close, now is the perfect time to learn how your organization can benefit from online engagement, storytelling, and specific asks to maximize year-end fundraising.

If you missed the session, you can view a recording of the livestream here: https://youtu.be/h1YIBlMSU7U

Livestream highlights:

Andrea shared her expertise and insight around online engagement to help increase donations and strengthen support for small nonprofits. She discussed the benefits of online donation systems like JustGive, strategies and recommendations for implementing donation tools virtually, and what works and what doesn’t when it comes to maximizing your efforts at year-end.

Why should organizations care about online giving and engagement?

As we’re on our devices more and more, getting in front of a donor at the right time and allowing them to make a donation online is important to create a connection to donors and increase engagement.

How do online engagement and online donation systems work together to benefit nonprofits?

Storytelling is an important part of engaging users and online is a great place to do it. Emails, blogs, social media, whichever medium works best for your donor base and your budget, that’s the right approach to take.

According to a recent Cone report, 48% of donors would give online if given the opportunity, so we have to give them an opportunity. Having a way to donate online is a crucial part of the process.

Of all the online engagement systems and how they work together, email is still #1. A recent M + R benchmark study shows that 27% of online donation care coming from email appeals. Emails are your bread and butter.

How do you suggest one incorporate online giving into a giving portfolio?

No matter what kind of engagement you’re doing, including the link to donate is essential. Email, newsletter, offline or online, make sure there’s a way to donate online. Having an easy-to-remember link to your donation page allows donors to donate anytime, anywhere, from any device.

We offer our nonprofits a shortcut url so it’s easy to share the link online and offline. Learn more about creating a shortcut url for your Donate button: Customize Your JustGive Donation Page Address

How do online giving campaigns compare to more traditional giving campaigns?

Online giving isn’t that much different than traditional direct mail but it’s easier to target the right audience and there is more opportunity through social sharing. It’s also easier to make a change if something isn’t working – modify the content or change your approach.

What are the elements for a successful online giving campaign?

There are four elements to a successful online giving campaign: setting a goal, telling your story, continuing to engage, and measuring success.goals

  1. Set a goal. You need to have a goal to develop your strategy.Be specific in what you’re trying to achieve.
    • Have end dates so you can analyze your success before taking the next step.
    • Create KPIs (key performance indicators) so you can measure success—% increase or # of new givers
    • Set realistic goals.
  1. Tell your story. Make your message clear and compelling. What is your vision, what are trying to achieve? Donors need to understand where they fit into this story.
  1. Continue to engage. Once a donor engages, whether through social media or by making a donation, this is where your work begins to make them a long-term, committed spokesperson.
  1. Measure success. The last element of a successful campaign is to measure your success and learn from your failures. This sets you up for your next campaign.

What are some strategies for increasing online engagement?

likeOnline engagement and donation systems work hand in hand for increasing virtual fundraising efforts. Converting a “like” into a donation is difficult. With so many social networking sites and few resources to spend on them, it’s important to know your audience, understand the social networks they consume and decide which ones fit into your fundraising goals.

Because it’s so hard to get traction with all the noise on social media, it’s important to have a clear message and strong call to action. And that call to action doesn’t always have to be to donate.

Social media should be a two-way conversation so try get a conversation going. Conversations both online and offline help generate word of mouth, the best kind of conversation. That’s how social connections grow.

Do you have strategies or recommendations for implementing online donation tools on nonprofit websites?

The #1 rule for increasing online donations is access. Make sure that every page on your site provides access to a Donate button. Make sure every email that goes out offers an option to donate, even if it’s not your direct call to action.

Final thoughts? 

This is a stressful time for nonprofits as they try to maximize end-of-the-year gifts before the end of the month. It’s important to ask for what you need not what you think donors will give or what they gave last year. Make your message compelling with a clear call to action—Donate.

Learn more about how to implement JustGive’s Donate button on our recent Webinar: An Introduction to JustGive’s Donate Now button

If you missed the session, you can view a recording of the livestream here: https://youtu.be/h1YIBlMSU7U

Amanda Chun
Account Development Manager

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GreatNonprofits’ NEW Giving Basket

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About the author: Aimen Barma of GreatNonprofits, has more than 25 years experience in product management and marketing executive. She has served in CXO,VP or consulting roles for Fortune 500 brands and Innovative technology start ups, such as Microsoft, eBay, PayPal,and many others.

By now, you’ve fought the crowds on Black Friday and worked your fingers to the bone on Cyber Monday, sneakily ordering holiday presents while your boss wasn’t looking. But there are still others hoping to receive a gift from you, one that will enable them to continue their great work of improving people’s lives.

Since 2012, the giving season for nonprofits that runs through the holidays until the end of the year has officially kicked off on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving—Giving Tuesday. Perhaps you were one of the donors whose generosity contributed to the $168 million raised this past Nov. 29, a 44 percent increase over last year’s Giving Tuesday total. But if you haven’t made your contributions yet—or you have and still want to do more—GreatNonprofits has worked hard to make your experience as easy as possible.

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Since 2008, GreatNonprofits has been the leading platform for community-sourced stories about nonprofits, stories submitted by those who know the nonprofit best—clients, donors, and volunteers. And our team of graphic designers and engineers are constantly striving to make the user experience as fun as possible.

And with that in mind we’ve recently launched a brand-new, more visually appealing page layout that’s sure to help a nonprofit’s profile capture attention. If a picture truly says a thousand words, then nonprofits will be able to tell a much more compelling story with the now-larger photos prominently displayed at the top of the profile.

Our reviews are also now in easy-to-read columns and displayed in their entirety—no longer just a snippet and needing to click a “read more” link to see the whole story. And it’s easy to start the process of leaving your own thoughts with the “Share Your Story” button at the top of the page.

These change are of course made with our ultimate goal in mind: To make sure that all the great nonprofits out there receive the attention—and donations—they deserve.

And on that note, we are proud to announce that we’ve streamlined the donation process with our new easy-to-use Giving Basket feature. After researching which organizations you’d like to contribute to, simply locate the large aqua blue “Donate” button conveniently located at the top of the page, as well as in the right nav. Upon clicking, you’ll see an overlay with the option to donate $25, $50, $100, $250, or “other.”

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Upon choosing the amount, simply click the “Add to Giving Basket” button to either give at that moment. . .

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. . . Or add additional nonprofits to your basket if you are feeling particularly generous that day!

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In the past, GreatNonprofits users would have to make a separate transaction for each nonprofit they wished to contribute to. But with the Giving Basket, you can donate to multiple organizations in one easy transaction!

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Thanks to the Giving Basket, making the world a better place has never been easier! It’s quick, efficient, and, best of all, simple to use, so log in right now and make this holiday season—and beyond­—a great one for your favorite organizations!

A look at our #GivingTuesday 2016

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Thanks to your hardwork, JustGive recorded a 64% increase in donations to our participating organizations this #GivingTuesday. The biggest increases were seen in donations coming through donation buttons. When compared to 2015:

  • Donation totals increased by 47%
  • Average donation amount increased by 72%

Our favorite highlight: an amazing 92% of donors chose to cover donation processing fees allowing us to pass through 99.4% to charity.

Here’s a glimpse of our nonprofits’ impact on #GivingTuesday 2016.

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Although #GivingTuesday is over, our work  is not done yet!  Engage past donors and turn new donors into long-term supporters by maintaining communication and asking them to give again before the year ends. Learn more about how JustGive can help.

– Amanda Chun
Account Development Manager

Don’t miss out on other helpful tips and tools: To automatically receive an email when we post more, subscribe to our Nonprofit Blog.

Offer your donors an additional way to give: Loyalty rewards points

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A look at how two of our corporate partners, PointWorthy and American Express, can help your donors turn loyalty rewards points into cash donations for your cause.

These days nearly every consumer earns rewards points through loyalty programs with their preferred credit card carriers, retailers, or hotel chains. If they’re anything like me, the majority of their points earned go to waste because the points go forgotten (oops) or expire before there’s a reason to redeem them. Luckily, PointWorthy and American Express offer charitable redemption options to make sure loyalty points never go unused again.

What is PointWorthy?pw-logo

PointWorthy’s website enables participants of select loyalty programs to redeem their rewards points for cash donations to charity. According to co-founder Mario Margolis, “PointWorthy was born from simple frustration: We’re successful technology entrepreneurs who had accumulated a lot of loyalty points and wanted to use the loyalty points we had stored to help fund different causes we believed in, but we couldn’t! Turns out there are $50 Billion worth of loyalty points distributed every year. Yet, even though close to 30% go unredeemed, there was no easy way to convert them to cash for any of the charities that we wanted to contribute to. Combining our social entrepreneurial zeal and the fact that consumers like to partner with socially responsible companies, we saw an opportunity to create a great business and to make the world better at the same time!”

How can this program benefit my organization?
Since 2014, over 4,000 nonprofits have benefited from donations through PointWorthy. By covering the processing costs with their loyalty provider partners, Citibank and Hilton, PointWorthy ensures 100% of each donation reaches the intended charity. This means that like the Fordney Foundation, who has received $4,000.00 in Citibank ThankYou points donations though the program, and Smile Train, who has raised $3,011.00, your organization can benefit from a new source of funding at no cost to you or your donors.

How do I get my organization involved?
If you’re an IRS approved 501(c)(3) organization that has maintained good standing for over 12 months, you’re already eligible to receive donations through PointWorthy. Simply follow the steps below to get started:

  1. Visit PointWorthy and use the search box at the top of the home page to find your organization
  2. Click on your organization’s name in the search results to view your donation page
    1. Note: Learn how you can update your page with custom text or images by contacting Poinworthy support
  3. Share the link to your donation page on your website and in donor communications to let them know they can use their Citibank ThankYou or Hilton HHonors points to donate to your organization

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Once a points donation is made to your organization, PointWorthy converts those points into dollars that are then disbursed by JustGive in the following month.

What is Members Give?

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Developed by American Express, Members Give provides American Express Cardmembers a convenient way to donate dollars or Membership Rewards Points to charity while providing nonprofits with a low-cost solution for accepting donations online. In partnership with GuideStar, Members Give offers donors a comprehensive charity list of over one million 501(c)(3) organizations in the United States to select from.

How can this program benefit my organization?
Similar to PointWorthy, there are no transaction fees on Membership Rewards points redemptions through Members Give providing the opportunity for an additional, cost-effective source of funding for your organization. Since signing up with Members Give and sharing their donation page with supporters, Food for the Poor has received 141 Membership Rewards points donations totaling $13,015.00.food-for-the-poor

Young Adult Institute, promoting their donation page with a Members Give banner, has received 2,000,000 points or $20,000.00 in donations since signing up.

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How do I get my organization involved?

Members Give uses the same nonprofit database that is maintained by GuideStar. If your 501(c)(3) organization is already listed in GuideStar, you are likely already in the Members Give database as well. To start collecting donations:

  1. Create an account on Members Give using your organization’s Employer Identification Number
  2. Once your account is created click “Collect Donations Online” in the Manage Nonprofit Account box on the right-hand side of the page
  3. Follow the steps listed to retrieve your donation page url and add a donation banner to your website, email campaigns, and other communications to make it easy for your supporters to donate

For a donation of Membership Rewards points there is a waiting period of 6-8 weeks, as the points are processed and converted into a dollar amount, before a check is mailed to your organization.

Offering easy implementation and proven results, PointWorthy and Members Give programs are a simple and cost-effective way to bring in additional funding to your organization. Visit PointWorthy and Members Give to sign up and start receiving loyalty rewards points donations today.

– Amanda Chun
Account Development Manager

Don’t miss out on other helpful tips and tools: To automatically receive an email when we post more, subscribe to our Nonprofit Blog.

National Adoption Month. #FlipTheScript

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Honoring and listening to the most underserved  voices in adoption and foster care.

About the author: Katie Stickles-Wynen, MSW, a Colombian adoptee, has a Masters in Social Work. After college, Katie worked at Hyde School in CT where she helped design a program for adopted youth and parents. Katie studied under Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao in Boston before moving to California and joining the Pact staff where she leads groups, works with tweens and teens and provides psycho-educational counseling to pre-adoptive parents.

adoption_month1November is National Adoption Awareness Month. This month originally started as a week in the state of Massachusetts to promote the need of adoptive families for children in foster care and was eventually expanded to a month by President Bill Clinton. The month now recognizes all adoptions, but does continue with a focus on children in the foster care system.

The adoption narrative/discussion is often lead by adoptive parents; the triad member most directly served in the adoption process. The voices of birth/first parents and adoptees is ignored; the triad members most directly affected by the adoption process. Fed up with the shiny, happy, lucky, narrative of adoption, The Lost Daughters began a movement in November 2014 called “Flip The Script.” This movement features the voices of adult adoptees who have lived experience. They share the struggles, complications, loss and trauma of adoption and their personal journeys.

While adoptee voices are becoming louder, the voices of birth/first parents are still being silenced. Birth/first parents are often painted in a negative light as parents who “threw away” their children. If birth/first parent voices were honored as much as adoptive parent voices, the public would know that each journey is different, that the media representation of birth family is not accurate and that the voices of birth/first parents are essential to understanding the adoption process and supporting adoptees.

Adoption is complicated. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. All voices of the adoption constellation need to be heard and honored, especially those of adoptees, foster care youth/alums and birth/first parents.

Check out these 3 non-profit organizations that support the underserved members of the adoption and foster care communities and learn how you can help:

slm-for-web-e1432840609939Silver Linings Mentoring is a non-profit in Massachusetts that empowers youth in foster care to flourish through committed mentoring relationships and the development of essential life skills. If you live in MA learn how you can become a mentor. If you live out-of-state your donation will help provide services for foster youth. Donate Now »

On Your Feet Foundation empowers, unites, and supports women who have placed a child for adoption.oyff-logo OYFF provides critical services to support and empower birth parents who currently live in California or who have placed a child for adoption in California. Academic and counseling grants are offered to birth parents in addition to Birth Mother Retreats three times a year to provide birth mothers with a unique opportunity to share common experiences, participate in therapeutic workshops and build community. Donate Now »

pact-logoPact, An Adoption Alliance serves adopted children of color by providing not only adoptive placement, but lifelong education, support and community for adoptees and their families on matters of adoption and race. Pact’s adoption placement program serves families of color seeking to adopt, as parents of color are greatly underserved in adoption. Pact also leads support groups for adult adoptees and foster alum of color, birth/first parents of color and hosts two, week long camps that provide support, community, education and empowerment to adopted youth of color and their families. Donate Now »

#FlipTheScript, get involved and donate to these and other organizations whose mission is to serve the underserved in the adoption community.

Katie Stickles-Wynen, MSW
Pact, An Adoption Alliance

5 Easy Ways to Help the Homeless

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Many of us could be steps away from homelessness. The loss of a job, sudden illness, or family death could be the route to total despair. People on the streets and in shelters across America have lost their homes and been deserted by family and friends. Here are 5 super easy ways to make a difference that you can incorporate into everyday:

  1. Develop lists of shelters. Figure out where your local shelters are and what services they offer, you can find shelters through the Homeless Shelters Directory. Print them on some cards or papers and hand them out to homeless people that want that information.
  2. Carry extras. Keep stuff in your car or a few items in your bag and hand them out to people that need them.
    • Things like hats, gloves, socks, heat packs and blankets can go a long way in the winter. (Knit some stuff for fun instead of buying it!)knitting_unsplash_small
    • Feminine hygiene products are SUPER important, and can be difficult for homeless women and girls to get a hold of.
    • Walgreens or Starbucks gift cards, so they can decide what they need.
    • Keep some food items with you, try to be aware of common food allergies when you decide what to carry. When you pass someone who asks for change, offer them something to eat.
  3. Give them money. You never know a someone’s life situation just because they are on the street. Something you can give to anyone that is useful, lightweight, and portable is MONEY. That money can be used by a number of things. For more information on why money is important check out Lily A Rayne’s response to blessing bags which features a great response from a homeless person about what they really need.
  4. Volunteer. food_line_unsplash_smallThere are so many ways you can volunteer, pick what feels best to you: Shelters, follow-up programs and soup kitchens, can almost always take more help. Find out where you can provide your professional services or your hobbies (no matter what you are good at, you can find ways help the homeless with your talents and skills).
  5. Donate to nonprofits. One of the most direct ways to aid the homeless is to give money. Donations to nonprofit organizations that serve the homeless go a long way.

No matter what, don’t judge people you see on the street, you don’t know why they are there. A little compassion and kindness goes a long way…especially in winter. Go help someone today!

Are People in Your Neighborhood Going Hungry?

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43 million Americans are going hungry. Can you tell who in your neighborhood is going without food? 1 in every 8 people you pass by on the street could be missing meals.

The latest statistics on hunger from Feeding America tell us:

  • 1 in 8 Americans go hungry every day.
  • 1 in 6 children in the United States don’t have enough to eat.
  • 1 in 12 seniors in the U.S. struggle to access enough food.

Feeding America provides an interactive map of food insecurity in the United States. Check out your district to see how you compare to others. Is your neighborhood hungry? What can you to do change that? How can we make this better?

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Easy Ways to Make a Difference for Hunger

Donate Food. Find a local food bank that’s collecting food. Check their website or call and ask what food items they need, but them and deliver them to the food bank. Make sure to check their hours for accepting donations.

Start a Food Drive. Move for Hunger has great information on how to set up a food drive in your area. Check out their tops, find a great location and get your community involved.

Fundraise. Create an online fundraiser and get others involved in raising money for charities solving hunger issues. You can set one up in minutes on JustGive and post your appeal on social media to get your friends and family involved. When someone asks what’s on your holiday gift list, tell them gifts of charity for the hungry would mean the most to you.

Volunteer. Find a local food banks, soup kitchen or rescue mission serving meals and collecting food.  Find a few and call around to see who can use the help and set up a time to go. Their need is ongoing; offer to help as often as you can.

Give.  There are a lot of nonprofits doing great work to fight hunger, and your donation gives them the ability to do more. It doesn’t take much to make a big impact. We have a short list of recommended hunger charities on the JustGive site, and here are a few examples of what your gift can do:

Let’s take action today and do something for the more than 43 million Americans who don’t have enough food to eat . . . so no one goes hungry.