Recurring Donors: Why you need them and how to get them

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Salesforce and NextAfter hosted a webinar about the benefits of Recurring Donors. These donors can be a source of great value to nonprofits over time.

Recurring Donors vs. One-Time Donors

The 2018 Benchmark Report presented by NextAfter revealed interesting differences between the two groups. Recurring Donors are worth 5.4% more than One-Time Donors over their lifetime. In fact, in a single year, Recurring Donors give 42% more than One-Time donors. The longer the measurement period, the greater the gap in donations between them.

Your Recurring Donors are most likely those that donate monthly. Some organizations call them members as regular contributions are like a subscription.

Recurring Donors are more likely to stay engaged with you beyond their first year. This means you can expect to build a long-term relationship with them.

Why You Should Invest in Acquiring and Converting Recurring Donors

LTV is the most important metric in fundraising. Yet, it can be overshadowed by the value of a single donation.

According to NextAfter, LTV = amount given x time they keep giving

Development teams dedicate fewer resources to Recurring Donors. This is in spite of the fact that they generate a higher LTV.  The long-term relationship with a Recurring Donor makes planning and forecasting more predictable. Thus, your investment towards Recurring Donors should match the value generated by them.

More Recurring Donors in your database means greater savings. The longevity of their engagement means that you don’t have to keep spending on acquiring new donors. One-Time Donors usually cost more to convert as you have to do it many times over.

Additionally, studies have shown that nonprofits benefit the most from donations in installments. These are more valuable than upfront payments or waiting to accumulate larger sums.

From the donor’s point of view, it can be beneficial in two ways. Firstly, frequent giving lengthens the satisfaction received from the act. Research has shown that higher value contributions don’t always make for greater satisfaction. Secondly, there has been an overtaking of subscription models such as Netflix, Zipcar, etc.  Consumers are used to regular payments going out in smaller installments that seem less burdensome.

This means you can leverage this mutually beneficial arrangement. You can receive predictable payments in installments and provide greater satisfaction in exchange.

What to do Next

WealthEngine solutions help you find Recurring Donors from your database. We understand a person’s capacity to give, as well as propensity and intent. Our Wealth Intelligence comes from wealth data combined with demographics, lifestyle attributes, and affinities. This means you can see what causes your prospects support and how they support them.

WE Analyze can, in fact, help you examine your current Recurring Donors to identify patterns of traits. You can then create a custom model from these patterns. Further, the model helps you find more members using our Look-Alike tool.  This means your existing Recurring Donors can help you find new ones.

How to Acquire or Convert Prospects into Recurring Donors

A Recurring Donor is likely to stay with you if they remain engaged with your organization. The Benchmark Report has found that 38% of nonprofits have the same strategy for Recurring Donors and One-Time Donors. It pays to have a dedicated strategy and dedicated resources for Recurring Donors. Moreover, it is beneficial to have a separate value proposition for Recurring Donors.

You should pair a strong value proposition with a strong CTA (call-to-action). For instance, research has shown that “donate” is the most effective button to have on your website.  Recurring Donors should be able to understand how their contributions make a greater impact on your cause.

NextAfter says that there are other, universal best practices to consider:

  • Optimize your donation form so that it is short
  • Accept several forms of payment
  • Use multiple channels to communicate your message
  • Ask all new donors to become members. The momentum can push them to continue giving
  • Remind existing donors to sign up for a membership. This works even though it may seem counterintuitive

Customize Communication for Recurring Donors

Messaging should be more focused on cultivation rather than solicitation.

WealthEngine solutions can help you with this. We can help you keep existing donors engaged and convert them in real-time through our API. WealthEngine’s API allows you to feature on the spot messaging when a current donor engages with your channel. What’s more, the API integrates with Salesforce. This means you can cultivate Recurring Donors without added investments in technical infrastructure.

Learn More

Learn more about how you can convert your one-time donors into members. Fill the form on the right and a WealthEngine rep will contact you very soon.

Further Reading

WealthEngine Aware

How to Calculate Donor Lifetime Value to Predict Future Donations

Leverage Storytelling to Boost Year-End Fundraising

Are you a fundraiser for a cause or advocacy group that supports human rights, animal rights, or sustainability? Then you know that year-end giving can be crucial to your fundraising success.

Over a quarter of nonprofits studied by NonProfit Hub reported that 26-50% of their fundraising success can be attributed to year-end giving. A majority of nonprofits begin planning in October to execute year-end asks and marketing in November. Now is the time to get a head start on year-end activities and kick your fundraising plans into high-gear starting right now!

Getting started can definitely be a challenge. Several organizations struggle with understanding the right way to communicate their year-end ask. Once you have identified your donor or prospect list with the highest potential, it is important to communicate with them effectively.

Most nonprofits send two touches at the most during this season in order to avoid overwhelming their prospects. While this frequency may be enough to get their attention, you have to ensure that your message does not get lost in the clutter.

Employing storytelling tactics can be a more effective way to get your message across and cut through the clutter.

Why Storytelling is Effective for Year-End Communication

  1. Emotional Appeal– It all comes down to logic vs. emotion. An emotional appeal is more likely to be memorable. Prospects are surrounded by logic and it is easy for them to rationalize their way out of making a year-end contribution. Evoking an emotion makes them feel more compelled to make a difference to the community or animals being affected.
  2. Empathy– A story has the power to humanize your cause. Stories about animal rescue, preservation, or community upliftment have the ability to generate empathy in your prospects. They can find themselves relating to your story, making your year-end ask much stronger.
  3. Narrative Form– A story has dips and curves, a before and an after making it gripping for its readers or listeners. If you have a strong opening, you are more likely to keep your prospect engaged during your communication.
  4. Imagery– Words can create strong mental images, better yet they can be supported by actual images of the cause. Images make for a more visual appeal and visuals make messages more memorable, therefore creating a lasting impact.

Now that we understand the ‘whys’ of storytelling for fundraising, we need to understand the ways in which we can ensure that your communication makes the lasting impact that can resonate with a donor even after he or she has engaged with your message.

How to Optimize Storytelling to Boost your Year-End Fundraising

People tend to be more emotional around the holidays. This means that they are also more likely to feel generous during this season. The following ways will help ensure that your communication appeals to their spirit of generosity in the right manner.

  1. Communities- First and foremost, focus on the communities impacted. If your sustainability efforts have impacted the health of a particular community, if your organization has provided a platform or voice for a marginalized group of people, or if your impact has changed the lives of animals for the better; tell the story from their perspective.
  2. Authenticity- Use real images in your stories, be authentic. Use a voice that fits with your organization and its vision. Stock images or facts and figures have a way of taking away from the impact of your story.
  3. Testimonials- Take narratives from impacted communities to the next level by including actual testimonials from community members. Tell their stories in a way that showcases their lives before and after the impact of donations. Testimonials can add to the authenticity of your message. Using video can be especially powerful here as it can increase the level of engagement with the storyteller.
  4. Work in Progress- Even if you have projects that are still in process, share this with your prospects. Show them how far you have come, how much of a difference you have made. Include them in your plans, this is a great way to make an appeal. This provides a platform for you to show your prospects how their donations can help you get closer to your goal. Work in progress can create a sense of urgency in your prospects, especially when you tie your goals to end-of-year deadlines.
  5. Find a Hero- Telling the story from the perspective of impacted communities can be very strong. However, another technique for year-end asks is making your prospect the hero of the story. This can be used to show past donors the impact of their contributions and the potential difference that a future donation could make. Showcasing them as a central figure can prove to be inspirational. Donors gain great satisfaction from acknowledgment, this can be heightened during the holiday season, making them a hero and acknowledging their impact can help crystallize your message in an extremely effective way.

We hope these reasons for leveraging storytelling and our best practice tips help boost your Year-End Fundraising.

Learn More

Learn more about finding your top prospects and the stories that will deliver the most impact on them. Fill the form on the right and a WealthEngine rep will contact you very soon.

Healthcare Fundraising: Boost Grateful Patient Programs with the P2G Score

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Healthcare fundraising success often relies upon running efficient Grateful Patient Programs. WealthEngine’s P2G score plays a key role in healthcare fundraising.

For instance, we talked to a large Midwestern Health System that was already using a different wealth screening provider. The other solution, however, failed to identify a significant number of patients as major gifts prospects.

Continue reading “Healthcare Fundraising: Boost Grateful Patient Programs with the P2G Score”

After Giving Tuesday Has Come and Gone

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Giving Tuesday (or your Local Giving Day) has come and gone. While your “heavy lifting” is done and you’ve raised some money, what can you do to leverage these efforts? 

WealthEngine can help. WE have put together a great resource to help you in the wake of Giving Tuesday.

Download our free tip sheet, After Giving Tuesday Checklist, and get started on maximizing your year end fundraising efforts. 

Giving Tuesday Tips: Thinking outside the box

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Giving Tuesday. Colorado Gives Day. One Island Giving Day.  Arizona Gives Day. New York Gives Day. Illinois Day of Giving. Giving to the Max Day. All – and there are many more —  are founded with a single goal of bringing awareness to the importance of philanthropy and giving back to the local community.

The Giving Tuesday idea is simple, piggybacking on the post-Thanksgiving sales cycle of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”. The other state-wide giving days simply pick a date – ranging from sometime in October to early December – and are generally championed by a community foundation which provides an online portal and often, an incentive fund.

So what can you do to make the most of this? After all, many nonprofits rely on year-end giving for a large portion of their philanthropic budget. 

Some simple ideas:

  1.  Plan ahead. It’s just about impossible to mount a successful giving day effort without beginning to plan as early as spring or early summer. 
  2. Pick a financial goal. Do you want to raise $10,000 or $50,000? More?? Make sure the goal is feasible and not pulled out of thin air.
  3. Create a communications plan using all possible channels: your newsletter, social media, your website, your blog and email blasts.
  4. Do you have an online giving portal on your website? It’s essential.
  5. Segment your donors and prospects by their P2G score (lower is better) and giving history.
  6. Make it personal. Engage your board and other key volunteers to send the message to their friends and colleagues.
  7. Plan a live event and on the day, tweet out your results as they come in. Make sure it’s fun and festive. If you can get one of your corporate donors to help underwrite it or if you can secure donations of food and drinks, so much the better.
  8. Be thankful. Show your gratitude using all your communication channels and share your results. Consider a simple You Tube-type video communicating the thanks of your team and those you serve.
  9. Steward your donors, new and old. Be sure to get all gift acknowledgement forms out within 48 hours. Set aside an entire day to do so and make it a team effort.

For more tips, as well as some planning guides, visit your sponsoring community foundation’s website, https://www.givingtuesday.org/organizations#block–the-complete-toolkit , www.razoo.com/givingdays and http://givingdayplaybook.org/planning — a service of the Knight Foundation

Turn Your Event Participants into Donors

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As summer draws to an end and we prepare for fall, we are about to enter the season of “-Thons”.  Hosting a fundraising walk-a-thon, bike-a-thon, dance-a-thon, swim-a-thon, read-a-thon or other fundraising –thon can be a great way to build support for your cause, identify new prospects, build a relationship with new donors, and build your base of support. Whether you work for a charity, hospital, university, theater or advocacy organization, now is the time for development offices to create a plan for how to turn event participants into donors. Turning event participants into donors can be easily done, but requires careful communication and a moves management strategy.

Here are five steps to consider when planning your event to find new event participants, identify fresh prospects, and maximize your relationship with existing event participants:

1. Promote your event via social media to find new participants.

Don’t put on the same event for the same participants who are donating year after year! Find new constituents to invite using social media. By casting a wide net you will find prospects who are interested in your cause or activity and, with the proper follow through, they can be turned into donors.

Publicize your event on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Be sure to include a call to action with every post, either a way to request more information or to register directly on your website.

Have your loyal supporters and advocates publicize your event for you to ensure it is being viewed by as many eyes as possible. By asking existing event supporters and past participants to share the event via their own social networks, they are giving your event a credible voice by publicly showing their support and also finding you new participants (and new potential donors!).

2.) Build out your invitation list and find new high potential prospects to participate.

As you build out your event invitation list, consider ways to expand your universe to include more high potential prospects. Be sure to leverage board relationships, and consider tools that will inform you of who in your board’s circle of friends might participate, as you work to strategically develop this list.  Consider new avenues to pursue as you market the event broadly, such as local interest groups and clubs.

Questions to ask yourself might include:

  • How do I find new constituents with high giving potential that might be interested in my event?
  • Which are the most capable prospects to invite to our event?
  • Who do our board and other VIPs know that may respond to a personal invitation to our event and who should ask for their participation?

3.) Screen event participants before and after your event.

It is important to review your event participant list both before and after your event. This ensures that you know the financial capacity of participants and that no wealthy prospects slip through the cracks.

As you get to know your list inside and out and identify the participants with the highest giving potential, develop a plan for your high potential prospects. Consider inviting them to pre- or post- event VIP activities, such as breakfasts or post-event celebrations. If the idea of planning an event around your event is too much for you, consider sending invitations for meetings or “grabbing coffee” a week or two after the event itself. Personal follow through with each high–potential prospect is a must to create ongoing engagement and to understand the individuals’ motivations and interests.

4.) Use metrics as you wrap up your event for the year.

Applying analytics to your event list for both segmentation and tracking is crucial as you wrap up the event and before you move on to your next big challenge – the ask. Metrics to consider include:

  • Event Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Cost to Raise a Dollar (CRD)
  • Cost per person for event
  • # of gifts received from event
  • % of giving from event
  • Dollars contributed from event
  • Average event gift size
  • Event cost

Be sure to segment your event list to determine who needs immediate follow up, based on his/her wealth profile. Follow steps in our Growing Individual Gifts workbook for best practices on how to set up a meeting to build a relationship with potential donors. Strike while the iron is hot to stay in touch and build a relationship.

5.) Once you know enough, make the ask!

Before asking your prospect for a substantial gift, there are a few questions you want to be sure are already answered:

  • What is this donor’s interest or passion and where does it align with our mission?
  • What is the project they will be most interested in funding?
  • What is the correct ask amount for this donor? This should be in harmony with the project or need you are seeking funding for, as well as the donor’s capacity to give.
  • Who should be involved in the solicitation? The president or CEO? A board member? A friend or colleague?
  • Is this the right time to ask? Should we wait until after the recession is over? After their pledge to the [insert charity] building fund is over? After their children are out of college?
  • Who else may be involved in the decision to give? A spouse? Other family members? Financial or tax advisors?
  • How does s/he want to be recognized for a gift? Knowing their stewardship desires before asking for the gift ensures you handle any gift negotiations appropriately, and also that you accomplish post-giving appreciation and recognition in the most meaningful way for the donor(s).

When you know the answers to these questions in advance, you will be making a solicitation that is hard to say no to.

For more information on growing your development program, download Growing Individual Gifts: An Analytical Approach to Data-Driven Success

Consider the Whole Prospect Picture: Going Beyond P2G and Estimated Giving Capacity

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When conducting research on your prospects it’s important to work efficiently to identify who best to cultivate. If you’re using WealthEngine you more than likely use our Propensity to Give (P2G) score and Estimated Giving Capacity (EGC) to help segment and prioritize your donors and prospects. That’s fantastic! And we absolutely encourage you to use these. 

But there are many other scores and data within the prospect profile that can further enhance your knowledge of the individual. If you aren’t making use of these additional scores, you may be missing out on valuable information about your prospect.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of WealthEngine scores you should also be utilizing.

Cash on Hand:
This modeled score predicts the amount of available funds that are readily accessible for the household; such as checking, savings, and money market accounts. This score can also be used as a proxy for discretionary income.

If your fundraising program is in need of immediate funding for a particular project or initiative, your prospects with higher Cash on Hand range may be some of your best targets.

It can also be helpful when in a gift conversation with a prospect who has not yet made a major gift. For example, you know that their EGC is $1M-$4.9M, but their Cash on Hand is $50K-$99K. Iit may be more realistic to make an initial ask for $50K and build the relationship further from there.

Influence:
This score identifies an individual’s influence in the community based on how many boards (corporate or philanthropic) they are affiliated with. This is done on a scale of 1 to 4, corresponding with quartiles.

Your prospects with a high influence score of 1 or 2 are individuals who are engaged with a larger group of constituents in your community and likely have more corporate and philanthropic connections. This could be helpful if, for example, you wanted to look for some new potential board or committee members. This score could enable you to select and target more dynamic board members who are well-connected.

GuideStar Foundations-High/Medium Quality of Match:
Individuals who serve on boards of private foundations are a somewhat elite group of individuals. Whether it is their own family foundation, or they have been invited to serve on the board of a private or corporate foundation, both are equally significant in displaying that individual’s commitment to philanthropy.

GuideStar Directors-High/Medium Quality of Match:
Delving into the types of organizations where your prospects serve on boards can you give a keen insight in to the causes and charities that they are most passionate about. They have agreed to give their time to serve on a board of this organization, hence, likely displaying a deep commitment to this type of cause and mission.

WE want you to be successful in your fundraising and provide you with detailed profiles so you have a complete picture of your donors and prospects. With our wide range of ratings and scores we give you a sense of not just an individual’s propensity and capacity, but also their financial position, potential influence, and philanthropic interests. Remember to dig deeper into your profiles to learn more about your prospects, which will likely in turn, provide greater returns!

For further information on segmenting and prioritizing donors and prospects view our webinar Best Practices in Prospect Management for Year-End Fundraising Efforts.

The Data-Driven Annual Fund Part 3: Reporting and Return on Investment

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Just as it is with a capital campaign, it’s important to track and measure your annual fund progress, allowing you to pivot and adjust as needed. Evaluate the success (or not such a success) using reports that focus on previously agreed upon metrics. 

Remember, good metrics are:

  • Relevant – they fit with the organizational and campaign goals and objectives
  • Measurable – they are quantifiable and data can be collected in order to provide reporting
  • Actionable – they allow for corrective action to be taken as needed

Tracking the right metrics can only be an asset to your organization, but what if you’re not sure which metrics to track?

We developed The Data-Driven Annual Fund to help organizations with data understanding and use; strategies for segmentation, solicitation and stewardship of donors and prospects; and measuring and analyzing fundraising ROI and other key metrics.

Part 3: Reporting and Return on Investment discusses evaluating annual fund results and measuring the return on investment. It covers, in deeper detail, metrics, ROI, and benchmarking. Examples and templates are provided so can get started right away.

Download The Data-Driven Annual Fund Part 3: Reporting and Return on Investment.

In case you missed them, download Part 1 and Part 2

Giving USA 2017 Proves Why Wealth Screening is Crucial for Your Sustainability

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Linda Garrison, CFRE, Senior Consultant, WealthEngine

Hot off the press, the newly released Giving USA 2017 draws a line in the philanthropic sand: Of the $390.5 billion given to philanthropy in 2016, nearly 88% of that came from individuals in the form of outright gifts, gifts from family foundations, and planned gifts.

The single largest factor in giving growth was an increase of $10.53 billion in giving by individuals.

That’s astounding.

And it’s exactly why your organization needs to immediately invest in – at the minimum – a wealth screening of your database.  You need to know who you have in there, and who your donors are who could afford to give you more. Without wealth intelligence, many of your best donors will fall by the wayside, perhaps wondering why you never asked them for a more significant investment.

Knowledge truly is power.

Additionally, Giving USA 2017 noted that giving to religion, education, human services, health, public-society benefit, arts/culture/humanities, international affairs and the environment or animal-related causes all experienced a significant uptick, with giving to religion showing a 32% increase. Education and human services received less than half that, with a 15% and 12% jump, respectively. Giving to foundations, including community foundations managing donor advised funds, as well as to family foundations, increased by 10%.

Each charitable subsector grew in 2016 except for giving to individuals, with growth rates ranging from 3% to 7%. Of note, environmental and animal-related causes experienced a 7.2% increase in giving, the largest gain of any philanthropic subsector.

Wealth screening is a core part of our business and now is the time to do it. Your organization can reap the rewards of growing philanthropy prior to the great wealth transfer between Boomers and Millennials.

Giving USA 2017 is produced collaboratively by the Giving USA Foundation™, a public service initiative of The Giving Institute, and The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Top 3 Missed Opportunities to Utilize Wealth Screening for Advancement

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When preparing for a campaign, colleges and university advancement teams have a large number of prospects available to them including alumni, the parents of incoming students, etc. Conducting a wealth screening provides you with data and insights on these prospects that can, and should, be used in your campaign planning. All of this data, however, can become overwhelming and underutilized, resulting in missed opportunities.

Join WealthEngine and Heller Consulting on Tuesday, July 18th at 2:00PM ET for our webinar Top 3 Missed Opportunities to Utilize Wealth Screening for Advancement. We’ll discuss strategies you may not have thought of that can only benefit you and your campaign including:

  • Using your wealth screening to its fullest potential
  • Proper campaign planning so you get started on the right track
  • Ensuring your screening information is integrated into your CRM/DMS
  • How you can quickly take action to maximize opportunities
  • And more!

Register now for Top 3 Missed Opportunities to Utilize Wealth Screening for Advancement.