In only its second year, #GivingTuesday is changing the way nonprofits and everyday consumers understand the post Thanksgiving shopping frenzy. #GivingTuesday is a day of giving, a soul cleanser in a barrage of consumption of material goods. This special day reminds us that we can always do more for those who have less than us.
That’s why it gives us great pleasure to announce this year’s FirstGiving #GivingTuesday stats!
Here are some incredible FirstGiving #GivingTuesday stats
- In 2012, the average #GivingTuesday gift on FirstGiving was $72. In 2013, that number jumped to $84.
- In 2012, the #GivingTuesday mobile donation total on FirstGiving was $11,837.88. In 2013, the total leaped to $16,332.30.
- The 2012 FirstGiving #GivingTuesday donation grand total was $159,102.96. This year, we are proud to announce that $438,018.50 was raised in a single day.
Here’s to you guys and helping make the world a better place! We’re just happy you let us join you for the ride :)
Even nonprofits that have bought into the idea of peer-to-peer fundraising still worry they don’t have the right supporter base for it. These organizations believe that their supporters are not socially connected, technologically savvy, lack fundraising experience, and are not engaged with the nonprofit’s events. However, many of these obstacles are misguided and/or out of date. Lets examine these “obstacles” in a new light.
The technology gap among generations is closing
A common misconception is that only the youth are tech savvy and baby boomers won’t use social media and fundraising pages to raise money. Yet, according to a study by the Pew Research Center Research, 83% of people aged 50-64 use the internet. This is not all that different from their younger peers who range from 92% (30-49) to 98% (18-29) in internet usage. Couple that with the fact that baby boomers’ donations make up 43% of annual giving and you quickly realize that your audience limitations aren’t what you thought they were.
Anyone can be a fundraiser these days
It’s true that a successful fundraiser needs more than just a social network and a personal page to collect donations. They need fundraising know-how and nonprofit organizations are expert fundraisers. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t exist. It’s time to pass that knowledge along. Before you know it, you have leveraged an army of fundraisers that are just as expert as you are in the art of fundraising.
Remember, engagement is a two-way street
If you’re worried that your supporters are not engaged with you enough to fundraise on your behalf, it’s time to re-examine your communication strategy. How often are you engaging with your audience and what’s the nature of your messages? Is it simply to update them on changes within the organization or does it go beyond that? Do you talk at them or with them? A strategy that strengthens your bond with your audience is one that nurtures them. Communication should not only update your supporters but show how their support impacts the work that you do. It should show momentum and ask them to help continue it. It’s time to start being bold and more connected. Engagement is a two-way street.
Peer-to-peer fundraising builds social connections
Peer-to-peer fundraising doesn’t just thrive on social connections, it grows them. If you’re hosting events or encouraging grassroots activities, your donor-turned-fundraiser is going to make meaningful bonds and friendships. Whether they are running a 5K or doing a polar plunge, they’re going to meet like-minded people who are going to support each other enthusiastically because of their shared experience. Remember, when a fundraiser participates in an event, they’re the focal point of the campaign. Their donors are supporting the fundraiser’s accomplishments.
Is peer-to-peer fundraising right for your nonprofit?
#GivingTuesday. If you saw this on your Twitter feed, you might just think it’s another hashtag that will trend for an hour or so then die off, like most obscure hashtags do.
But #GivingTuesday isn’t a hashtag that’s just after 15 minutes of fame – it’s after change.
In November, we celebrate Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and now we are also celebrating #GivingTuesday, the day after Cyber Monday.
So what exactly is #GivingTuesday trying to accomplish?
It’s about bringing people together and encouraging them to give something more. The founder #GivingTuesday, Henry Timms, wants to encourage us to give back, especially after we indulge ourselves with getting gifts during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. He’s on to something. Last year, #GivingTuesday brought in $10 million in online donations.
Organizations partner with #GivingTuesday and receive exclusive resources like:
A social media ambassador toolkit
Giving Day playbook
Sample emails and a press release template
A communication timeline
A #GivingTuesday fact sheet to supply to potential donors
Frequently asked questions and answers
All of these tools are available to partners to help nonprofits really ramp up their outreach efforts – it makes it easy for nonprofits to get involved, stay engaged and do so in a fast, effective way.
That’s all well and good but what do nonprofits have to gain by participating?
It’s no secret that to have a successful peer-to-peer fundraising page you need to effectively use social media.
Give your nonprofit exposure by publicizing that you’re a partner with such a worthwhile movement. You can even go so far as to check out the #GivingTuesday toolkit, which gives you instructions how to ask for a Mayoral Proclamation in your city.
Did you know? Last year, the New York, Philadelphia and Chicago mayors formally endorsed #GivingTuesday.
Matching donors could seriously increase your donations. Nonprofits can use the tools #GivingTuesday provides as resources (press releases, email templates, facts and stats from last year) to seek out matching gifts for all gifts donated on #GivingTuesday. In 2012, many #GivingTuesday partners leveraged small matching grants to bring in big donations.
Since #GivingTuesday is only in its second year, there’s a lot still to learn – and to gain. As this annual giving continues to build steam, will it continue to give opportunities and raise donations for nonprofits?
How are you planning on spending #GivingTuesday?
Nikki is an east coast girl at heart and enjoys spending time writing about things she loves, playing with her dogs and making delicious food. She is a firm believer in the power of helping others. Feel free to reach out to her at @NikkiDLongo and about.me/NikkiDLongo.
At its core, peer-to-peer fundraising is about nonprofits empowering their supporters with the tools to collect donations on their behalf. Many nonprofits are still on the fence on its potential even though thousands of organizations are using peer-to-peer fundraising.
Many nonprofits feel that they do not have enough official events throughout the year to justify peer-to-peer fundraising. Let’s squash that rumor shall we? It’s true that 5ks, polar plunges, and bowl-a-thons are ideal for peer-to-peer fundraising, but this doesn’t mean a nonprofit is limited to these events. Peer-to-peer fundraising can happen anywhere, anytime, and in practically any situation. All you need is a pool of supporters (even your immediate staff and your board will do) and a little creativity. Here’s some things to keep in mind.
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a fantastic way to grow your base
Start small. While your event schedule and your donor base may not be what you want them to be, peer-to-peer fundraising can help develop both. Consider this: 1 in 4 fundraising emails result in a donation. That’s a 25% chance that your supporters will receive a donation on your behalf, or 313 times more likely than if you just sent an annual donation appeal to your email list. More importantly, since the transaction is for someone fundraising for an event instead of donating to an annual appeal, the ability to bring in new supporters is far greater.
Grassroots peer-to-peer fundraising can supplement your schedule
If you’re already asking your board to fundraise outside of an event, why not ask your supporters? Ask your supporters to donate their birthday, wedding, or graduation to your organization. Grassroots fundraising activities are often more personal and effective. In fact, the average donation to a grassroots fundraiser is consistently higher than one to an official event. Additionally, encouraging grassroots activities nurtures your relationships with your supporters and serves to build momentum for your official events. Remember to reward them though.
Traditional events can still work with peer-to-peer fundraising
So you think your gala or auction is not a fit for peer-to-peer fundraising? Not so! Organizations use peer-to-peer fundraising to go beyond ticket sales all the time. Bring in more funds from those who can’t physically be in attendance at the event. CHERUBS, the Association of Congential Diaphragmatic Hernia Research, Awareness, and Support, holds an annual raffle to fund research. In addition to selling tickets to the event, they ask attendees to create fundraising pages to reach out to their friends and families for support.
Friendly competition is a great way to ignite your base
Friendly competition brings out the best in people - especially in a fundraiser! You’d be surprised by what your supporters can do when you inspire them to compete. You can use these competitions to generate favorable social media buzz as well. For example, you could ask your supporters to grow mustaches for Movember and have them post their pictures on their fundraising pages and social media platforms. Contests like these create a lively, fun, atmosphere to fundraise in.
Find out if peer-to-peer fundraising is right for you.
Picture this: It’s been two weeks since your fundraisers have sent their donation request emails to their networks and the open and click-through rates are leaving a lot to be desired. What do you do? What can they do? Instead of panicking and getting discouraged, remind your fundraisers to craft reminder emails for their supporters to donate. Remember, donors are just as busy as the rest of us and sometimes forget to donate, or simply don’t have the time to read your initial email. Supporters expect to hear from a fundraiser again. Note, your fundraisers must first understand that a donation reminder email is different from an initial donation request email.
Here are a few things your fundraisers will want to include in a reminder email.
State why they are being emailed again
This seems obvious but it’s important that a fundraiser restates your cause right out of the gate. THis is best if it is kept simple. For example, “Dear John, As you may recall, I am running the Boston Marathon in April to raise money for CURE Childhood Cancer’s efforts to save victims of childhood cancer.” When a fundraiser restates your cause, they should always include a polite reminder. Using the words “as you may recall” might cause your reader to go back to your first email. This reinforces your message and increases the chances of a donation.
Provide a campaign progress report
In the initial donation request, your fundraisers didn’t have the opportunity to show their supporters the progress of their campaign. That’s not the case anymore. Supporters need to know what fundraising progress has happened since they were last contacted. A fundraiser is more likely to generate more contributions if they have a proven record. Make sure your fundraisers call attention to their campaign highlights and needs. For example, a fundraiser could write “In the last couple of weeks, I have been touched by the heartfelt and generous support of people like yourself that want to find a cure for childhood cancer. I only need X dollars to reach my goal to help CURE equip the doctors that are carrying out this groundbreaking research.”
Make a specific appeal and give instructions
Oftentimes people want to give but don’t know how much is appropriate. Being specific in an appeal doesn’t just clear up that confusion, it’s been shown to increase giving levels. As always, appeals should be tied to impact. Also, your fundraisers shouldn’t forget to give instructions on how to give. The instructions must be simple to follow, stress security, and give options to make their donation either online or offline.
Thank the donors and supporters
Donors are busy people. In spite of this, they have taken the time to read a fundraiser’s email. End the message with a sincere appreciation for considering your cause and thank them on behalf of the organization (that’s you!) they’re supporting.
Think your nonprofit can take advantage of peer-to-peer fundraising? Find out!
Nonprofit organizations take on a few new responsibilities when they decide to partake in peer-to-peer fundraising, among one is coaching their supporters to become successful fundraisers. Success lies partly in the quality of a fundraiser’s donation request email. Here are four pointers you’ll want to share with your fundraisers as they email their network of family and friends, asking to support your mission.
1. A strong subject line ensures a higher open rate
Any email that inspires action will have a strong subject line. Apart from the sender’s name, the subject line is a call-to-action to the recipient to click-through and read. The best subject lines are simple but descriptive, personal, and use active language. For example, “Support my run for ______ (Insert organization’s name) in the fight for ____ (insert cause name)” is much more effective than “Run for (Insert organization name) in the fight for ______ Insert cause name)”. Do you see how the first is more personal and powerful than the latter?
2. Personalized copy keeps a reader engaged
Once the recipient opens an email, it’s important for its content to resonate with him or her right away. The simplest step to ensure this is to make sure that it’s personalized. Generic greetings don’t cut it anymore. Address the recipient by name. After all, these emails are being sent to a fundraiser’s network right? No need to be generic with people you already know. Be sure to remind your fundraisers this simple guideline.
3. A fundraiser’s story ignites a reader’s empathy
Personalization isn’t all. A fundraiser’s email must explain why they’re making the appeal. This is a fundraiser’s chance to tell your organization’s story. Remind your fundraisers to share how they’re connected to your mission. Why did they decide to fundraise? Is this they’re first time? A fundraiser should share their journey. Include these details and the reader will have a higher chance at feeling connected, engaged, and more willing to donate than if they had read something that was impersonal and lacking a personal story.
4. Recommend giving levels and tie it with impact
It’s important to be specific about how much the fundraiser is asking for and what the donations will accomplish. More often than not, donors are looking to the fundraiser to set the expectation. The average donation on FirstGiving is $56 so asking for $50 isn’t a bad place to start. But for a great donation request email, you have to kick it up a notch! For example, if you’re fundraising for a school, asking for $50 to pay for a student’s books for a class is much more effective than asking for $50.
With thousands of nonprofits competing for attention and donors, just having a fundraising page isn’t enough anymore. It has to be stellar. A great fundraising page should serve as a platform for all your fundraising efforts. To do this, it should have a strong call-to-action and great branding, incorporate videos, pictures, and social media, and have clear contact information. This post breaks down the elements of a successful fundraising page in simple steps that any nonprofit can follow.
1. Strong Call-to-Action
A fundraising page is only as effective as it’s call to action. Simply put, you cannot get anyone to fundraise on your behalf if you don’t inspire them. A great way to do this is to pull at the heart-strings. But that isn’t enough, thoroughly explain what the fundraiser is supporting, how they can help, and what impact your organization has had.
Hoops of Hope does this well. Their call to action stands out and aligns with their mission statement. They show impact not just by showing how much money they have raised but by showing the projects they have worked on and how many people they have helped.
2. Great Branding
As a study done at Harvard University’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations confirms, the role of the brand is becoming increasingly important for nonprofits. According to the study, “a brand is a psychological construct held in the minds of all those aware of the branded product, person, organization, or movement.” In lay terms, a brand carries more than just a logo and a color scheme. It carries your organization’s credibility. The most effective fundraising pages capitalize on this association.
The Boomer Esiason Foundation’s fundraising page, Team Boomer, demonstrates the importance of branding. It not only carries the logo and color scheme, but Team Boomer has its own logo with a tagline. Moreover, the text of their appeal stresses the organization’s brand identity. These factors help convince the reader that the fundraising page they are looking at is legitimate, credible, and not to mention, beautifully done.
3. Effective use of pictures and videos
Want more donations to your fundraising page? Post more videos and pictures. Conversion rates increase as much as 55% when a video precedes a donation form. Your fundraising page should include a video that has all the elements of a strong call to action. Be sure to include some pictures of people that work at your organization and the communities that have benefited from your work. Project Athena has done a great job with this. Just look at those results!
4. Social Media tools
Social media platforms amplify your message. They also maximize the potential of your fundraising page. Sharing remarkable content along side your fundraising page link can have a positive impact on results. As much as 18% of donations are now referred from Facebook and studies have shown that a presence on social media can increase your fundraising by as much as 40%. So when you’re looking to create a great fundraising page make sure its compatible with these tools.
5. Contact Information
Just because you fundraise online, it doesn’t mean that everyone wants to give to your page. Make sure you include all your contact information on your fundraising page. It will convince your audience that your page is legitimate and give other options to those who are still skeptical about online donations or simply have general questions.
Curious if peer-to-peer fundraising is right for your nonprofit? We’ve got an ebook just for you.
Peer-to-peer fundraising grows your mission by engaging your network’s network, empowering one time donors to become life long fundraisers. It’s about giving passionate people the tools to do more for a cause than they ever thought possible. However, it’s your job to help your fundraisers be as effective as possible. This means arming them with all the necessary information they will need.
A nonprofit should arm their peer-to-peer fundraisers with the following:
1. Promotional materials
Your fundraisers are promoting your organization. Make sure they look and sound their best. In order to do this, you may need to share with them some high resolution logo images, provide them with promotional t-shirts, and maybe some donor perks they could give away on their own behalf.
2. Email templates
Not all of your fundraisers are born marketers. Some may have the best intentions but simply don’t know what it takes to craft an engaging, action driven email. Share a few email templates that they can easily work off of, ready the many occasions fundraisers will be engaging with their network.
These occasions are as follows:
- Donation requests - A fundraising campaign is as good as the donation request. Help your supporters make the most compelling ask they possibly can.
- Thank you emails - Can’t forget to thank those who gave when they didn’t have to.
- Donation reminders - Best practice suggests that even the best intentioned donors could use a little encouraging.
- Fundraising updates - These emails update a fundraiser’s network on their campaign.
3. Fundraising best practices
You’re a professional. Your job is in fundraising. Your supporters, however, will most likely be doing this as a side project. Typically, they don’t have the knowledge you’ve acquired in this industry. Share your pearls of wisdom with your supporters. Give them links to social media best practice posts, a personal fundraising page checklist, and a campaign timeline. Anything helps!
4. Event day details
Peer-to-peer fundraising works best when it’s tied to an event, making the success of the event directly tied to the success of a fundraising campaign. Be sure that your fundraisers know event day details well in advance. When should they arrive? Should they dress in layers? What’s the parking situation like? Will there be food and beverages available? Will the walk/fun run expose participants to the sun for prolonged periods of time? Should they bring sunscreen? Do your best to answer these questions upfront.
5. Mission news and cause updates
Many give to a personal fundraising page just because of who the person is in relation to them. Donors often give to their mother’s page just because they’re related. That’s a peer-to-peer fundraising strength. This is also an opportunity to bring new donors further into your nonprofit’s world by not only engaging them through a personal connection but through your cause and mission. You need to arm your peer-to-peer fundraisers with news surrounding your organization’s mission as well as the cause at large. Do your fundraisers’ donors know that their nearest major city has a public education problem on its hands? Does the local food bank need extra funds? Help your fundraisers become cause ambassadors.
6. A designated contact person
A designated contact person from your nonprofit to act as a fundraiser liaison will make sure your fundraisers are being heard. Consider this individual as an account manager and coach all rolled into one. Consider your peer-to-peer fundraisers as investments, the more you nurture them and pave the way for success, the more return you will get.
Curious if peer-to-peer fundraising is right for your nonprofit? We've got an ebook just for you.
Peer-to-peer fundraising grows your mission by engaging your network’s network, empowering one time donors to become life long fundraisers.
Great fundraisers are cultivated from a strong supporter base
You need to have an established, positive relationship with your supporters before the big ask. If you don’t, you won’t give peer-to-peer fundraising a proper chance. The request will fall on deaf ears. Consider an engaged supporter base as a foundational issue. Your organization should focus on building this base (if it hasn’t already) before even thinking about peer-to-peer fundraising.
Taking the supporter-nonprofit relationship to the next step
Your supporters believe in you, but what can you do to incentivize your supporter base to raise money on your behalf? How can you get them to increase their commitment to your cause? Asking them to join you as a fundraiser, in addition as a donor, is a good next step in the relationship. The question is, are you two “ready?”
Remember, everyone responds to the right incentives
Apart from the warm fuzzy feeling your fundraisers will get from helping the world become a better place, what’s in it for them?
Here are some great fundraiser participation incentives:
- Waive event registration fees for your fundraisers. You’ll be bringing in less revenue upfront but fundraisers typically bring in 10x more than their donor counterparts. Consider it an investment.
- Provide VIP finish line spots for their spectating loved ones.
- Hand out freebies - t-shirts, posters, water bottles, etc.
- Promise to highlight your supporters with fundraiser spotlights. Social media is a fantastic tool for this.
What can you give/offer before you ask your supporters to commit a little more of their time, energy, and reputation? You have to meet them halfway with something sweet. Afterall, this is a relationship. It takes two. Make sure you’re fulfilling your half of the bargain.
Is peer-to-peer fundraising right for your nonprofit? Find out!
Peer-to-peer fundraising grows your mission by engaging your network’s network, empowering one time donors to become life long fundraisers. It’s democratized fundraising - giving passionate people the tools to do more for a cause than they ever thought possible.
However, not every nonprofit is destined for peer-to-peer fundraising glory. For some, it’s simply not a fit. There are a few foundational requirements an organization must have in order to take full advantage of peer-to-peer fundraising.
A nonprofit ready to take advantage of peer-to-peer fundraising will have the following:
A strong supporter base
Fundraisers are cultivated from a strong supporter base. You’re already engaging regularly with your donors right? You should be updating them on your mission’s work, where their donations go, the next volunteer opportunity, etc. This way when you approach them to become fundraisers, the request won’t fall on deaf ears. You need to have established a positive relationship with your supporters before the big ask.
A peer-to-peer fundraising worthy event
You need a fundraising vehicle. Peer-to-peer fundraising worthy events typically fall into a few categories.
- Traditional endurance events. These include runs, walks, and cycling events.
- Non-traditional events. Nontraditional events that have had success with peer-to-peer fundraising are polar plunges, bowl-a-thons, dance-a-thons, and meditate-a-thons.
- Third party events. Community and athletic events like marathons or triathlons make a great fit.
Information to arm the fundraiser with
Help your fundraisers help you. It’s your responsibility to help your fundraisers be as effective as possible. Arm them with all the necessary tools and information they will need to speak well on your organization’s behalf, share your cause, and bring in donations through an engaging personal fundraising page.
Be sure to share:
- high resolution logo images
- donation request email templates
- fundraising best practices
- event day details
- cause and mission updates
- any other important information they will need
A designated contact person from your nonprofit to act as a fundraiser liaison will make sure your fundraisers are being heard. Remember, your fundraisers are your cause ambassadors and nonprofit advocates. They’re marketing your mission, make sure they sound and look their best.
Wonder if peer-to-peer fundraising is right for your nonprofit?