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By Jennifer Liu-Cooper

MIND YOUR MILLENIALS

 

Millennials, (those born from 1981-1996) are the future—and current—generation of philanthropists.  As the current major gift prospect population of Baby Boomers retire, Millennials will advance into leadership roles across businesses, governments, and the social sector.

Fact:  Millennials are now the largest living generation (75 million strong)—their income and giving power is only going to grow in the coming decades.  The ability to channel their financial, social, and political power will determine which organizations thrive and fail. 

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By donorsearch

K-12 Fundraising: 6 Fun and Easy Ideas for Every School

Looking for a new quick and easy fundraiser for your school programs that the students will think is fun? Fundraising for school programs is no easy feat and requires a lot of thought and effort—so why not do everything possible to ensure your fundraiser is a success without piling on more stress? Your kids and students have so many activities that they want to participate in, and they should be able to. But there needs to be a source of funds for every event you support. Students, therefore, if they want to participate in the event, should be involved in the fundraising efforts. Fundraising doesn’t have to bring with it a dark cloud of stress and challenges that you can’t see through. Fundraising can be fun and enjoyable for everyone involved, including the students who participate. Your fundraising ideas should be specifically geared toward student participation so some of the weight can be lifted off of your shoulders. As you consider your upcoming fundraising campaign strategies, you should aim to give the students a unique opportunity to have a hand in working to support the programs they love. Fun events for your students to help lead to success include:
  1. Hosting a walk-a-thon.
  2. Selling merchandise.
  3. Holding a charity auction.
  4. Organizing a school carnival.
  5. Producing a talent show.
  6. Supporting a read-a-thon.
Utilize one of these awesome school fundraising ideas during your next fundraising campaign and you will be sure to boost your fundraising revenue and increase your student’s interest in raising money for their favorite programs. Let’s dive in and prepare you for an epic school fundraising season.

1. Hosting a walk-a-thon.

Schools have long been taking advantage of walk-a-thons because they are a tried-and-true, effective way of raising money for schools. They allow students to be the driving factor behind the fundraiser and have a role in supporting their own program. If you are unfamiliar with how walk-a-thons work, the process is simple:
  • Step 1: The school plans where and when the event will take place.
  • Step 2: Students promote the event.
  • Step 3: Friends and family of the students donate or pledge money to the student’s individual fundraising campaign.
  • Step 4: The walk-a-thon occurs (Make sure to keep track of distances walked by each student).
  • Step 5: The event organizer determines how much the pledgors owe to each student’s campaign.
  • Step 6: Collect the money and put it toward your school program!

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By Ryan Ponzurick

5 Fundamental Website Design Tips for Modern Nonprofits

When you start to think about designing (or redesigning) your nonprofit website, you need to make sure to keep your main purpose in mind. That purpose is providing valuable content and a positive user experience for your constituents. =&0=&What do you want to accomplish with it? What do you want people to see? Then, put yourself in the shoes of your supporters. What type of information would you look for? Where would you expect to see it? Even if you’re working with a web design firm, you’ll still want to answer these questions for context about your website. The answers often provide stepping stones to a more actionable website. The resulting priorities for your nonprofit website often include:
  1. Providing information about your nonprofit’s mission.
  2. Collecting donations from your supporters.
  3. Encouraging involvement from the community.
  4. Promoting your upcoming events.
  5. Recruiting volunteers for your initiatives.
If you’re looking for ideas about how other nonprofits have structured their websites to incorporate these priorities, check out Morweb’s list of the best nonprofit websites. These industry leading websites may inspire your creative side. Let’s get started to learn more about designing websites.

1. Provide information about your nonprofit’s mission.

When people visit your nonprofit’s website, it’s often because they’re looking for more information about your organization. They may have seen your name from your other marketing materials, on social media, or heard about your organization from a friend. =&1=& This means that your home page should have some element that explains what you do. Put your full mission statement either on your home page or on your “about us” page. If you put it on the “about us” page, you’ll also need a condensed version on your home page outlining the key points. By providing this information up front, you’ll answer your new website visitors’ main questions. Then they’ll be able to dive in and learn more about your nonprofit. If you use a CMS designed specifically for nonprofits, you can simply use the nonprofit website templates as a guide as to where to place the mission statement. morweb-donorsearch-impressive-web-design-features-modern-nonprofits-mission.png

2. Collect donations from your supporters.

Not only do you want to capture the attention of your website visitors, but you’ll likely also have a goal in mind that you want them to complete. For many nonprofits, this goal is often to collect donations. There are two main steps that nonprofits must take to encourage more donations from their supporters: first, they must ensure their donation page is top-notch; second, they must make sure their navigation makes it easy to find the page.

Top-Notch Donation Page

You’ll likely want to direct the majority of your supporters straight to the online donation page. Once they get there, they should find the donation page easy to use and pleasing to the eye. =&2=&CMS offers features=&4=&Don’t direct donors off-site to donate through a third-party platform, as the simple act of a new window opening is often enough to drive prospective donors away. =&5=&This visual consistency will build an element of trust for your donors. =&6=&

By Ryan Ponzurick

4 Top Software Tools Every School Should Consider

Many of our world’s future Presidents, CEOs, artists, and musicians spend day after day in school. They learn and practice and study to become the greatest they could possibly be in their chosen field. =&0=& Technology is revolutionizing the way schools function. Software companies are developing ways for schools to run more efficiently and effectively as the programs they provide expand beyond traditional academic offerings. =&1=&right fundraising techniques=&3=& The right software will help take many time-consuming administrative duties off your plate. The software that you choose should accommodate your school’s evolving nature and cater to your needs and the programs you support. When you are considering enhancing your operations with school program management software, remember that you need features that will facilitate your administration of:
  • Before and after-school programs.
  • Summer school and camps.
  • School-based registration fees for athletics and clubs, trips, laptop rentals, parking and transportation, and more.
To maximize your efforts in these areas, you should keep an eye out for school program management software that features tools for:
  1. Registration.  
  2. Centralized student information.
  3. Digital attendance.
  4. Tuition management.  
There are plenty of things to worry about as a school administrator, so you should take advantage of software that is designed specifically for school-based programs and makes your job easier. Let’s dive into the tools you should consider as you contemplate incorporating new technology into your school!

1. Registration.

Throughout the year, your school and its faculty are responsible for hundreds (perhaps thousands) of children who participate in various extracurricular activities and summer programs. Your school program management software should offer an easy-to-use online registration tool specifically designed for the needs of your program, like CommunityPass’ afterschool registration software.   Whether a parent wants to enroll his child in the after care program, pay for the laptop rental fee, or sign up for the summer STEM camp, he should have easy access to all the information required to complete the registration process from the comfort of his own device. =&4=&This will ensure your forms contain all the information your school or program needs. Consider offering custom forms for:
  • Medical information and allergy alerts.  
  • Permission slips.
  • Emergency contacts.
  • Waivers.
With the addition of school program management software, you will forget all about the days when you had to keep track of paper forms and worry about updating registration waitlists. Your software will automatically update waitlists and monitor your programs’ maximum capacity limits. =&5=& Your software should prompt users to donate during the registration check-out process and encourage school-centric fundraising. Your users will already have their wallets out, making it the perfect opportunity for easy giving.

2. Centralized student information.

One of the most important features of your software is the ability to provide centralized student information. Your software should offer: =&6=&

By Ryan Ponzurick

Making Your Organization A Donor Retention Powerhouse

Image provided by Flickr. Donor retention is a topic that has been getting an increasing amount of attention by nonprofits but is still greatly misunderstood. With a heavy focus by boards and executives on revenue intake, the nuances of keeping donors engaged can sometimes get lost when reviewing a P&L Statement at the end of the year. Neon One is part of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, which is the largest dataset of individual giving data in the world. That project looks at hundreds of data points relating to giving information, but there is a particular focus on donor retention. Donor retention is simply ensuring that you keep a donor giving to your organization year over year. The data doesn’t lie on why this is important – when Adrian Sargeant researched lapsed donor behavior, he demonstrated that increasing the level of retention by 10% would improve the net growth in giving for a “typical” charity database by 50% net growth. Yet how can we get to this point? In an environment where we are being asked to deliver results immediately, how can we not only convince our stakeholders that retention is not only important but the key to long term success? The cost to acquire $1 from a new donor averages $1.25, yet retaining a donor comes at a significantly lower cost. Let’s unpack a few strategies to help us become a retention-centered organization.

Understand your current retention rates

In order to know where to go, you need to understand where you are starting from and getting a grasp on your retention rates as they stand will be the first step. Luckily the Fundraising Effectiveness Project has developed free resources to analyze your own data and you will need three simple fields to get a full audit of your situation. When you run through the Fitness Test that they provide, understand that industry-wide retention is very poor. At best, the average retention rate for a nonprofit is 46%, yet it is important to unpack what the reality of this number even is. First-time donor retention rates are drastically lower, typically in the 25% range and a healthy amount of donor retention rates overall are being driven up by increasing amounts of donors giving online.

Establish a data-driven culture

Organizations that are driven (but not constrained) by data are the most creative and high-functioning nonprofits. Having information at your disposal that can accurately tell you about your organization’s performance is empowering. These organizations are able to use their time more effectively — not worrying about “where they are” or “how they’re doing.” They know, because they’ve used the data at their disposal to find out. Certainly, a data-driven culture has an effect on the fundraising side of the nonprofit. The ability for your organization to make decisions based on data and not “gut instinct” or because “we’ve always done things this way” will be the difference between increasing retention and growth in giving rates for your organization or scrambling to make up gaps in your end of the year giving hoping things get better next year. Review where your current retention rates are and make a realistic goal to increase them over the course of the year. Being optimistic yet realistic is the key here and this is why understanding your current standing with your donors will allow you to address retention properly.

Segment your donors

Grouping your donors into easily targeted segments will ensure you can message them properly. The most common reason a donor stops giving to a nonprofit is poor communication and the last type of communication a donor wants to receive is one where your organization makes it clear you have no clue who they are. Data suggests that regardless of the age of the donor, an omnichannel approach to donor engagement will be the most effective way to increase your retention rates. Segmenting your donors to create targeted messages in an omnichannel way will ensure that you are speaking to where the donor is, not where you personally want them to be. If you are donor-centered in your communications then your ability to upgrade a small donor into a major donor becomes much easier. Segmentation is also vital when doing prospect research on your donors, since you will be able to craft a pipeline management strategy that your major gift officers will be able to put into practice much quicker.

Utilize strategy and tactics

Once you have segmented your donors, start to scope out the strategy for engagement and the tactics you will use to achieve your objectives. Many organizations start with the tactical first and try to lead with the flashiest ways to engage donors, such as costly events. Instead, your organization should take a step back and calculate the return on investment it will take to retain the largest segment of your donors. A solid example of this is around how we speak to donors. A strategy your organization would employ is donor stewardship, or the ability to make donors feel welcome. The tactical application of this strategy could come in the form of well-written gift acknowledgement letters

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By Ryan Ponzurick

Donor Management Software: 5 Features All Nonprofits Need

Your donors are the backbone of your organization: without their ongoing support, your nonprofit wouldn’t be able to complete any of the projects that are vital for achieving your goals. Every donor is unique, with different passions and motivations. They give at different levels, for different reasons, at different times of the year. And that can be a lot to keep track of, especially when you want to maintain strong relationships with all of them! So what’s a nonprofit team to do? Invest in donor management software! With a strong centralized database to keep track of your donors’ personal information and engagement history, you can strengthen your fundraising strategy, moves management, event planning, and marketing tactics, all within one software platform. =&0=&Our favorite donor management software features are:
  1. Software customization and flexibility.
  2. Major gifts stewardship tools.
  3. Reporting and analysis capabilities.
  4. Event planning and management.
  5. Subledger capacities for contribution income.
With these five features, you’ll be able to improve your relationships with existing donors, cultivate new ones, and strengthen your nonprofit’s strategies across the board. If you’re ready to learn, let’s get started!

1. Software customization and flexibility.

In order to effectively use a donor management software as the central database around which to build your fundraising strategy, you have to be able to customize the software solution to fit your organization’s unique needs. There are many ways that software needs to be flexible—appearance, user permissions, and the ability to integrate with other programs are all important ways that your donor management software needs to be able to adapt. But those aren’t the only things to keep in mind! As a nonprofit, your organization has unique needs that your donor management software should address. With your new software, your nonprofit’s team should be able to:
  • Create custom donor profiles. A robust donor management software should provide you with comprehensive donor profiles, but you should also be able to add custom fields based on your organization’s unique relationship with its donor population. These additional fields also improve understanding of a donor and strengthen your database management strategy.
  • Build custom reports. Your organization needs to be able to make data-driven decisions in order to strengthen all facets of your strategy. To do that, you’re going to have to analyze and understand your data. With custom reporting abilities, you can create reports based on any criteria your organization needs.
  • Design custom dashboards. Every member of your organization’s team has a slightly different job and will need to see different things. With customizable dashboards, each team member can design their homepage to include the information most crucial to their position and daily tasks.
Customizability and flexibility of your software solution is important for an organization that wants to increase efficiency and strengthen donor relationships in a consistent and predictable manner.

2. Major gift stewardship tools.

Major gifts are a nonprofit organization’s crowning fundraising achievement. These gifts represent months of careful cultivation and personalized solicitations, and your donor management software should be able to help your team gain more of these donations. =&4=& But what does this look like in practice?
  1. Use your donor management software to identify donor prospects with an integrated wealth screening tool, and analyze existing donors for opportunities for cultivation with a comprehensive search tool.
  2. Create a personalized dashboard for major gift solicitation opportunities that includes donors, active proposals, and other important information for your major giving strategy.
  3. Strengthen your moves management strategy with the ability to track meetings, phone calls, event attendance, and other interactions, as well as schedule follow-ups automatically.
  4. Create specific cultivation timelines for each major gift prospect, and monitor the status of their cultivation process on an individual basis.
Using software to manage your major giving strategy allows your major gift officers to set standards and create a predictable, consistent process for your cultivation and solicitation strategies. =&5=&
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