Top 5 Annual Giving Campaign Ideas

annual giving campaign ideas

Annual Giving Campaign Ideas to Boost Your Fundraising

Once your annual giving campaign starts, you’ll be actively monitoring your success. So, to keep your momentum going and to ensure that your donors remain engaged, it’s important to implement different strategies to help you reach your campaign goals. Let’s explore the top 5 annual giving campaign ideas you can implement to make your campaign a success.

1. Start with your Board of Directors to Gain Key Supporters

Once you form your steering committee, it’s important to reach out to those board members (who are helping oversee your campaign) to contribute donations. Since they’re working to ensure that your campaign is a success, by providing your organization with strategic direction and support, it’s necessary to involve them in creating a stable foundation for your annual fund. Other donors will then feel more inclined to give knowing that you’ve already received donations.

It’s also important to tap into your board of directors’ networks, to see which of their constituents would be most inclined to give. These individuals won’t simply contribute a small, one-off gift. Depending on how closely connected they are to a member of your board, they may feel inclined to give a more substantial gift to support your organization’s efforts. If someone they know is actively working to raise money for a cause they care about, how can they turn away?

The Connections feature on the WealthSignal within the WealthEngine platform can help you uncover potential major gift donors who are connected to your existing board members. Connection strength displays the number of familial and business connections an individual has. So, the more connections you have, the easier it is for you to potentially get introduced to other wealthy prospects.

2. Screen and Segment Your Supporter Lists

Another annual giving campaign idea is to screen and segment your supporter lists. Both processes will help you make more effective annual fund appeals. When approaching your donors for your annual fund campaign, there’s no need to ask for a universal gift amount. If a donor has the propensity and capacity to give more, it’s important to create the right ask for those donors. Let’s say there’s a potential major gift donor in your database, but instead of reaching out to them for a major gift, you ask them for a donation of only $50—an ask amount that you’ve been sending to donors of all levels. By not screening and segmenting your donors beforehand, you may miss out on an opportunity to boost your fundraising efforts with just one substantial gift.

How Screening can Help You Reframe Gift Asks

With a wealth screening, you can see which donors have the greatest propensity and capacity to give. So, not only can you segment your audience based on demographic traits such as age, but you can also append your database with wealth attributes. By doing this, you can easily understand an individual’s how much they’ve donated in the past (giving history) and how much they’re likely to give in the future (estimated giving capacity). Gathering these data points gives you a holistic view of your donors. You can easily use their demographic data and wealth attributes to take a data-driven approach to your outreach strategy. This makes it far easier for you to identify donors who would be just as likely as your donors to give.

By reframing gift asks using wealth screenings, you are articulating to your donors and prospects that you understand their needs, interests, and value their support. Also, by understanding your existing donors’ giving history, you can upgrade donors to give more if they have underperformed previously. Additionally, your annual fund campaign is a testing ground for future annual fund efforts.

3. Model Your Top Existing Donors to Find New Prospects

Another key annual giving campaign idea to implement is to model your top existing donors. Let’s say you’ve reached every donor, of every level, in your database. Out of the donors you’ve reached, you’ve managed to solicit gifts from all of those who had the highest likelihood and inclination to give. But, let’s say, in doing this, you’ve exhausted your efforts. What’s next? How do you identify and engage prospects who would be just as likely to give as your best donors? That’s where wealth models can help.

A model is a unique, custom algorithm used to help you do two things:

1. Describe your existing donor base

We can take the data you already have and show you the unique characteristics of individuals in your database. These types of models are known as descriptive models. Essentially, we can help identify and illuminate the commonalities your donors share. That ‘it’ factor that separates them from the average giver. So, we can help you identify hidden gems in your database, who you have yet to pursue. Or, we can help you find under-performers who have the propensity and capacity to contribute more.

2. Predict who else would be most likely to give

We can help you predict who’s most likely to contribute an annual gift to your organization specifically. This type of model is known as a predictive model. In this case, you’d use an Annual Giving Model. To create this custom algorithm, WealthEngine data scientists will employ proprietary data along with yours to determine who within your database (and beyond) are likely to contribute gifts to your annual fund. This model can also help you identify prospects with similar attributes to your best donors. You can then rank your list of prospects in order of similarity to your best donors to prioritize your donor outreach.

4. Find Creative Ways for Your Supporters to Give

Since your annual fund raises money on an ongoing basis throughout the year, it’s necessary to find new ways to keep existing donors engaged. A common challenge most organizations face is finding creative and innovative ways to bring supporters back. Although you’ll receive one-time donations, the goal is to encourage your supporters to make multiple donations during your campaign. Without their recurring contributions, your campaign won’t be as successful as it can be.

To re-energize your donors to give a second or third time, it would be beneficial to:

1. Start a Corporate Matching Gift Drive

By encouraging gift matching, donors have the opportunity to make donations and have their company either donate the same amount they have or more. Doing this allows donors to double their contributions, so you receive double the funds. Be sure to encourage your donors to see if their workplace will match the donations they make to your organization.

2. Promote Your Recurring Gift Program

As your donors contribute gifts, it’s important to create opportunities to redirect your donors to your recurring gifts program. This encourages them to give continuously throughout the year and in years to come.

3. Set up a Crowdfunding Page

Another annual giving campaign idea is to set up a crowdfunding page. Although crowdfunding pages have previously been used to support individual endeavors, they’re being used more and more for organizational fundraising. Just be sure to outline what you’re fundraising for, why you’re fundraising for it, and how this supports your organization. Once you set up the page, it can be easily shared over social media. So, given the viral nature of these pages, your donors can share it with their peers. They can then encourage people in their network to give. Not only is this a great opportunity to solicit gifts, but it also allows you to strengthen your presence on platforms individuals frequently visit.

Once your supporters make secondary contributions, they’re far more likely to contribute to future campaigns. To find more creative ways to engage your donors, check out our article on the 14 nonprofit fundraising ideas for the changing advancement landscape.

5. Humanize Your Goal with an Impactful Story

As you leverage wealth insights and find new fundraising tactics to reinvigorate your donors, it is important to actively forge deep connections with your donors. One way to do this is by sharing success stories with your donors. Remember: your annual fund is intended to help your organization realize its mission in actionable ways. So, it’s incredibly important to engage in nonprofit storytelling that will galvanize your donors.

You don’t simply want to tell your donor about your goals and intentions, but you also want to share success stories with them. If and when you reached your annual fund goal in the past, how were you able to help your community? How have their lives been positively impacted since then?

By creating and sharing impactful stories with your donors, they’re able to view your goal through a different lens. In that sense, empathy is the greatest impetus for individuals to support a cause. Now, your organization’s goal is not a random monetary mark. There’s greater recognition that these funds raised are supporting your mission, which supports your initiatives, which helps you support others. And that change starts with gifts contributed by your donors. They are at the core of everything you do. Once they’re reminded of that, they’ll feel inspired to give.

Discover Your Next Best Annual Fund Donor

Test drive WealthEngine to find your next best donor! Discover their Propensity to Give (P2G), Giving History, Connections, and more.

A nonprofit’s annual giving campaign is critical to the organization’s success. Implementing these key annual giving campaign ideas will help you engage your donors effectively, now and in the future, so that you have the funds needed to make a difference.

Other Articles in Our Annual Giving Series

This is the third article in our Annual Giving series. You can read more about Annual Giving best practices in our first article on What is an Annual Gift? and our second article on the 8 Phases of a Successful Annual Giving Campaign.

8 Reasons to Hold A Nonprofit Giving Day

nonprofit giving day

A nonprofit giving day is intended to help different organizations and higher education institutions bring awareness to their efforts and help them raise as many donations as they can within a short, defined period of time. Let’s explore the importance of giving day, how you can launch one for your organization, and how you can leverage wealth insights to boost your fundraising.

What Is a Giving Day?

So, what is a nonprofit giving day? A Giving Day is a 24-hour, online fundraising event. The purpose of holding one is twofold. The first reason to hold a Giving Day is to collect as many gifts as possible within a limited time period. Additionally, nonprofit Giving Days are held to increase awareness for your charity, foundation, or university. They are a great way to draw attention to your organization and incorporate your organization into the greater community.

Giving Days are initiated primarily by community foundations, cause-based nonprofits, and higher education institutions. They typically center on a specific geographic area, such as a city, state, or region. But, they can also be national or even international in scope. Technically, anyone, anywhere, can donate to your cause.

Examples of community foundations hosting a nonprofit Giving Day for charities in their regions are GiveMN and Arizona Gives Day. Another well-known global Day is Giving Tuesday. Created in 2012, Giving Tuesday is held every year on the Tuesday following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It was designed to kick-off charitable “giving” during a season when people are already in a giving mood. What better way to encourage donations from those who are eager to contribute?

The Success of Nonprofit Giving Days

Holding a nonprofit Giving Day has increased in popularity. There are now hundreds of Giving Days happening across the United States and several on a global level. In fact, Giving Days are becoming a standard part of fundraising.

As their popularity increases, the question is: are Giving Days worth all of the work involved? Consider some of the proceeds from these 2019 Giving Days:

  • Horizons Giving Day 2019 raised over $1.6 million for its 41 affiliates.
  • The Big Give, a Giving Day supporting nonprofits throughout South Central Texas, brought in over $4.7 million for 545 participating nonprofits.
  • Contributions reached over $11 million for A Giving Day for Amplify Austin, which supports Austin, Texas nonprofits.

With proper planning, promotion, and organized effort, nonprofits definitely have an opportunity to see rewards from the Giving Days they hold. Setting a limited time for these special donations creates a sense of urgency to raise funds. Of course those who are most interested in your cause will be more likely to give their support. And this is also a chance to gain new supporters because of the nonprofit’s increased visibility.

Reasons to Hold a Nonprofit Giving Day

A concentrated fundraising effort within such a limited period can go a long way toward getting people excited about your work. In the short-term, Giving Day helps connect supporters to the causes they care about. Long-term, you can continue to engage with donors in various ways to maintain and grow their contributions.

Here’s how your organization can benefit from a Giving Day:

1. Raise funds for your organization.

A primary reason for a Giving Day is to bring in the dollars necessary to continue your work.

2. Increase visibility and community awareness of your group.

The exposure gained through a Giving Day can boost your nonprofit’s standing in the community.

3. Re-engage with past volunteers and donors.

Chances are, those who contributed in the past will support you again.

4. Add new donors to your list.

This is the time to pick up those who have an interest in what you’re doing but have not yet contributed.

5. Enhance your donor data.

Giving Day will allow you to collect more information on the donors who are involved with your organization to aid future prospecting.

6. Strengthen the sense of community pride.

People like to be part of events that help others and creates a positive vibe.

7. Benefit from the work of others.

If your Giving Day is part of a multigroup effort, you can share the workload and make new connections.

8. Learn more about fundraising.

Your staff will learn new skills as part of creating a Giving Day fundraising event.

Participating in a Giving Day not only benefits the organization, but its supporters and surrounding communities as well. Many people like to give back when they are able to. And they like knowing that their contributions made a difference.

Launch a Giving Day for Your Organization

Giving Days take plenty of planning, enthusiasm, and follow up with both donors and prospects. A Giving Day is designed to run on the target day for 24 hours. But smaller nonprofits sometimes extend fundraising to a week or longer to allow supporters more time to contribute.

Additionally, a nonprofit can partner with community and civic foundations for a joint Giving Day event, That can be an effective way for the organizations to assist member nonprofits with the work involved. As it’s been said, many hands make light work.

Also, nonprofit Giving Days provide an excellent opportunity for a nonprofit to hone its marketing skills. It’s only by trying out different strategies will you know which ones produce the best results. And you’ll have new tactics you can use in other fundraising campaigns.

While raising funds in just 24 hours takes work, it is a worthwhile endeavor for a nonprofit. Raising funds is important, but so is gaining visibility and building your donor base for the future. That’s how you’ll be able to bring in even more contributions.

How WealthEngine Can Help You Find Giving Day Donors

So, as you begin searching for Giving Day donors, it’s important to identify which donors (of the ones you are already looking at) may be likely to give in the future. Using our platform, you have access to 250 million profiles in our database. Each of which contain insights on an individual’s wealth, Net Worth, Income, Propensity to Give, and more. With insights on an individual’s giving behaviors and history, you can easily focus your efforts and pinpoint which donors you’ll want to deepen your engagement with.

Additionally, using WealthEngine’s new WealthSignal™,  featured in the upper right-hand corner of each individual profile, you can make quick appraisals about the individuals you look up within our database. With this indicator, you receive pertinent information on your existing and prospective donors. For example, WealthSignal™ can help you pick up on a donor’s Estimated Giving Capacity—how much an individual could give in the next five years. So, this section is especially helpful for prospect researchers as they determine how much an individual may give in the future.

Additionally, by conducting a wealth screening, you can upload a list of your contacts, apply wealth insights to that list, and uncover new information on your donors’ propensity and capacity to give. So, with these insights, you have the opportunity to identify existing donors who can give even more than you thought possible.

Uncover Your Next Best Giving Day Donor Using Wealth Insights

Test drive WealthEngine to find your next best prospect for your day of giving! Discover their Propensity to Give (P2G), Estimated Giving Capacity, Net Worth, and more.

This is the first blog in our Giving Day series. Check out our second post that explores Giving Day vs Giving Tuesday, and how to determine which day best suits your needs!

3 Ways to Leverage WealthEngine to Recruit Diverse Board Members

recruit diverse board members

 The diversification of boards is not just a benefit. It’s a necessity. Goldman Sachs recently announced that they won’t take companies public if they don’t have at least one diverse board member, specifically one female board member. Similarly, California amended the Gender Corporation Law in 2019, stating that all publicly traded companies must have at least one female director on their boards by 2020. Additionally, companies with at least one diverse member saw a 44% jump in their average share price. As opposed to those that didn’t, which only increased by 13%. These changes illustrate a much greater need than meeting diversity quotas. Boards are now moving to recruit diverse board members in order to maximize their effectiveness by creating space for different perspectives. 

As boards begin prioritizing diversification, it’s important to be mindful in your search as you sift through potential new members. Not only do you want to make sure that you’re looking at a more assorted pool of candidates, but you also want to make sure that you’re engaging individuals who are well connected, influential, and will provide a unique skill set that will benefit your board. Let’s explore how our platform can help you recruit diverse board members

Things to Consider As You Recruit Diverse Board Members

Even before you begin using tools in WealthEngine to search for new board members, it’s necessary to adopt a new approach to your search. The steps you took to bring together the existing members of your board may not serve you as well now that you’re looking for new individuals with different skill sets. Taking a page from McKinsey, there are 3 best practices you should implement in your diversification process: 

1. Adopt a New Mindset

Make your commitment to gender diversity known and back up that value with sustained action throughout your organization. When creating significant change, outlining your purpose, intention, and goals will help underpin decision making. To do this, you can set new principles in your decision-making process. For example, establish a target number of board positions that should be filled by women and make sure the list of prospective members you’re compiling is diverse. 

2. Expand Your Criteria

Not all ideal board candidates may have prior board experience. That being said, it’s important to look beyond current CEOs or members of C-Suites. Be open to creative solutions and focus more on people who will help you meet your goals. To do this, define what expertise you require from potential board members and then define what is flexible, so as to deliver on gender diversity goals. 

3. Create and Maintain an Active Pipeline

The last thing to consider as you recruit diverse board members is to create and cultivate an active pipeline of candidates. Once you actively create a pipeline of potential female candidates, you can begin cultivating and nurturing long-term relationships with your prospects. This will serve you well in your board-inclusion efforts now and in the future. 

These considerations, in combination with wealth insights, will help you establish a more inclusive and diverse board. 

Before You Begin Your Search

Before you begin looking for prospective board members, it’s necessary to understand what you look for in one. So, as you develop your board member persona and evaluate prospects, ask yourself: is this individual well connected? Do their interests and actions align with our work? Are they a major gift donor? Are they an active participant in our organization or business already? Do they have experience on other boards? If so, which other boards do they serve on? 

Using WE Analyze, you can examine screening data on your existing board members and gain a holistic view of them. This gives you a clearer picture of commonalities, or unique qualities, among them. This will help you more easily visualize your board members, learn more about them, and create a board member persona. Using this information will make it easier to evaluate who would be a good fit for your board. So, this will help greatly during your selection process.   

How WealthEngine Can Help You Recruit Diverse Board Members

1. Use Search and WealthSignal to gain a Holistic View of Board Members

Using Search, you have access to 250 million profiles, with insights on an individual’s wealth, Net Worth, Income, Estimated Giving Capacity, Propensity to Give, and more. So, when looking up the name or profile of an individual you feel may be a fitting candidate for your board, you can gain information on how connected they are, what their propensity and capacity to give is like, as well as demographic information. By understanding their behaviors and interests, you can gain a clearer impression about what (demographically and in terms of their skills), they’ll be able to provide to your board that is unique. 

This is further supported by WealthEngine’s new WealthSignal™. The WealthSignal™,  featured in the upper right-hand corner of each individual profile, will help you make quick appraisals about the individuals you look up within our database. Like search, you receive all the same pertinent information on your candidate (Propensity to Give (P2G), Net Worth, Income, etc.), but it’s all displayed in a visual, similar to a bar-signal. So, you can easily skim through a candidate’s qualities, and make informed decisions quickly about whether or not you’d like to pursue them further, without having to scroll through their info. This cuts out time and energy as you determine who you’d like to engage. 

2. Use Inner Circle to Find Connections of Your Close Contacts

The Inner Circle feature within WealthEngine allows you to discover the close connections or relationships of your existing board members. When looking for potential board members, it’s helpful to find individuals who have some affiliation with your organization or business. Someone who harbors a similar value system and influence as your existing members. And, what better way to find these individuals than through your existing board members’ network? 

All you have to do is upload a list of your Inner Circle members into WealthEngine. The question is: who do you include in that list? Your Inner Circle list can include board members, trustees, long-term advocates—anyone you have a close, personal connection with who has influence. If they’re important to your organization, be sure to include them in your list. Once you label or mark individuals as Inner Circle members using our Inner Circle badge, we’ll store those profiles in your account in a list.

So, the next time you Search or Screen, the system will automatically compare individuals to those marked as members in your Inner Circle list. This will help you determine which people are Inner Circle Connected or people who know those members. Those profiles will then be flagged with Inner Circle Connected badges. These markers will help you navigate profiles with ease as you determine which individuals have networks that could benefit your board. Either through business relationships, nonprofit board members, or personal connections.  

Now, you’re able to reach out to these candidates in an effective way: through a personal connection. These warm connections provide you with an amiable introduction when you’re engaging potential members. These individuals may feel inclined to join your board because you have a mutual connection. So, Inner Circle, and their connections, allows you to find exemplary candidates in no time. 

3. Use Prospect to Recruit Diverse Board Members

Using Prospect (specifically Prospect’s Audience Builder) in WealthEngine, you can generate lists of new individuals (outside of your database) from distinct demographics and hundreds of different attributes. So, if you’re looking for new prospective board members, outside of your known connections, you can plug in qualities into Prospect to view a list of individuals who fall within the parameters you’ve set that resemble your existing board members— or what you’re looking for in new ones. 

Under the ‘Professional’ section of the  ‘Attribute List’ in Prospect, you can flag pertinent criteria for your prospective board members. For example, you could flag attributes such as ‘business owner’, ‘executive’, ‘on board of directors’, and more. You can also flag interests or charitable causes you’d want your candidate to be affiliated with under the Giving Section. Most importantly, under the Demographics section, you can factor in the gender or ethnicity of your ideal candidates. The key here is to find those unique qualities. By narrowing your search, you are identifying individuals who you’d most want to be represented on your board. So, the individuals you identify won’t be far removed from your missions or values as a business or organization. 

Uncover Your Next Best Board Member Using Wealth Insights

Test drive WealthEngine to find your next best board member! Discover their Propensity to Give (P2G), Estimated Net Worth, Connections, and more.

By honing in on the qualities of your ideal candidates, not only will you be able to welcome new board members who were previously underrepresented, but you will also be able to diversify the interests and skill sets brought to the table. With insights like these, you’ll be able to propel the efforts of your organization now and in the future. 

Wall Street Bonus Schedule 2019: How Nonprofits Benefit

wall street bonus schedule 2019

In the first quarter of each year, the financial industry celebrates Wall Street bonus season. That’s when the previous year’s bonuses are paid to Wall Street workers.  Depending on the firm, Wall Street bonuses may be paid anytime from late December through the end of February. The 2018 bonus pool, paid in early 2019, was $27.5 billion, which amounted to roughly $153,000 per worker. Although down 9% from the previous year, the Wall Street bonus is twice the average salary of a New York City worker. This year, however, the 2019 Wall Street bonus schedule, based on last year’s performance, is expected to be lower overall. Yet some Wall Street workers will see a slight increase in their bonus. 

Some fixed income traders could see 5% less and corporate management could see 10% less. The Wall Street bonus for commercial bankers looks to be about the same. But investment banking advisors and hedge fund managers may see a 5% higher bonus. Let’s explore the impact of these payouts in the 2019 Wall Street bonus schedule and how your organization, and your donors, can benefit from them.

Wall Street Executives Bonuses: Impact of Payouts

Regardless of whether Wall Street bonuses are up or down slightly, a lot of money will flow into New York. The financial sector represents 5% of New York City’s private workforce, according to Moira Boyle, Director of WealthEngine’s Luxury Sales Strategy. “Those large year-end paychecks have a disproportionate effect on the local and regional economy.”

Wall Street bonus time has been described as inciting a type of “March madness” in terms of its exhilaration.  Part of that elation is tied to some big spending. “People are going to spend most of that money where they live,” commented New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in a Newsday.com article. Not only New York City, but Long Island, the northern suburbs and the entire state profit. Wall Street bonuses also contribute a significant amount of tax revenue to the city and state.

The Nonprofit Share of the Wall Street Bonus Market

The question for nonprofits becomes, how will Wall Street bonus recipients spend that money? And even more importantly, how much of their Wall Street bonus may be donated to charitable organizations?

Including salary and bonus, the average compensation of Wall Street workers was $399,000 in 2018. As Boyle pointed out, the more senior executives receive the largest payouts, several times larger than their salary. “That’s enough to finance a high-priced investment,” she said. “Approximately 177,000 individuals will be buying real estate, cars, watches, bags, trips, and donating to their favorite charity.” 

If you’re a nonprofit, this is your opportunity to get a share of that Wall Street bonus spending.  ”We know from human nature that their attention will gravitate to what caught their attention most recently,” said Boyle, “so marketing and visibility are key. Charities should also take note of the time of year—this is a time when a major gift campaign can have a large impact on an organization.”

Getting Donors to Respond Positively

When it comes to major donor fundraising, you want to be able to pinpoint which potential donors are worth pursuing and build relationships with them. Your existing donor data is your starting point. Here are some questions that can help you target Wall Street bonus donors:

1. Who are your current donors?

Use your donor data to create profiles. Conduct a wealth screening. Screenings will help you determine key attributes, like income, lifestyle and interests. In doing so, you can identify common traits, along with each type of individual’s tendency and ability to donate. Build statistical wealth models of your best donors. You can segment top prospects and create personalized offers.

2. What type of donor fits the Wall Street bonus category?

To bring in new donors, you have to know as much about them as you can. Once you know what your major donors look like, you will gain a clearer picture of whom to target. WealthEngine data, combined with your database, can help determine who would most likely contribute to your organization.

3. How do they prefer to communicate?

How are you engaging your donors, based on what you know about their donation influencers? To encourage a positive response, always consider donor communication preferences. Then send your donors and prospects personalized messages that highlight their interests and align with their values.

4. Are you following up and keeping in touch?

Thank donors for their contributions and show them how their gift will be used. Continue communicating with your qualified prospects who have not yet donated. And keep in mind the “quality over quantity” motto. Besides standard donations, some donors may make choose to make a legacy gift through a will. 

A Look At Millennial Wealth

Download WealthEngine and Coldwell Banker’s A Look at Wealth 2019 to understand the motivations, behaviors, and trends of millennial millionaires.

Understanding your current donors will help you determine who are your best prospects and how to engage them. The above steps are more complex, but have been simplified here. WealthEngine can assist your organization in targeting the most likely Wall Street bonus donors. Then it’s up to you to keep them donating. 

Wall Street Bonus Schedule: Leveraging Luxury Spending

wall street bonus schedule

The first quarter of the new year is when financial industry workers in New York City receive their Wall Street bonuses. This Wall Street bonus schedule, or these payouts, represents the performance of workers and the market in the previous year. Wall Street bonuses tend to be higher in years when the market does well. 

Depending on the firm, employee bonus distributions may be paid anytime from late December through the end of February. This Wall Street bonus schedule time has been described as creating a sort of “March Madness” in terms of its euphoria and spending. After all, who wouldn’t want to celebrate such a financial reward? The 2018 bonus pool, paid in early 2019, was $27.5 billion. That amounted to roughly $153,000 per worker. Although down 9% from the previous year, that bonus is twice the average salary of a New York City worker. Let’s explore the impacts of these bonuses on the luxury market and how they can benefit your business. 

Impact of Wall Street Bonuses on the Local Economy

This year’s Wall Street bonus schedule, based on market performance in 2019, is expected to be a bit lower for some Wall Street workers. However, for others, they may experience a slight increase. That’s according to Bloomberg. For example, investment banking advisors and hedge fund managers may see a 5% higher bonus. The Wall Street bonus for commercial bankers looks to be about the same. Fixed income traders could see 5% less, corporate management 10% less. And the Wall Street bonus for equity traders could dip as much a 15%.  

Still, even if bonuses are down slightly, that’s a lot of money to be pumped into the area. The financial sector represents 5% of New York city’s private work force, according to Moira Boyle, Director of WealthEngine’s Luxury Sales Strategy. “Those large year-end paychecks have a disproportionate effect on the local and regional economy.”

It’s easy to see how Wall Street bonuses boost the economy of New York City. “People are going to spend most of that money where they live,” commented New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in a Newsday.com article. But Long Island, the northern suburbs and the entire state profit, he pointed out. Wall Street bonuses contribute a significant amount of tax revenue to the city and state.

Wall Street Bonus Purchasing Power

Spend it, save it, or donate it? Just what are the recipients of those Wall Street bonuses likely to do with that extra cash? “A prudent employee would treat it as salary,” replied Boyle.  “However, history has shown that non-discretionary spending and real estate transactions increase during the first quarter of the year. “r

As Boyle pointed out, the more senior executives receive the largest payouts, several times larger than their salary. That’s enough to finance a high-priced investment. The average compensation, including salary and bonus, of Wall Street workers, was $399,000 in 2018. “Approximately 177,000 individuals will be buying real estate, cars, watches, bags, trips, and donating to their favorite charity,” said Boyle. 

DiNapoli concurred. Wall Street bonus income is often spent on vacation homes in the Hamptons and on the North Fork. Or for luxury items such as boats and jewelry. East End restaurants and tourist attractions also benefit from stockbrokers’ spending.

The Luxury Market Is Growing

The luxury market grew 5% worldwide in 2018. That growth represents the sales of three major items: luxury cars, luxury experiences and personal luxury goods. Luxury experiences grew by 20% in two areas, high-end food and wine and luxury cruises.

Luxury product marketing targets consumers who have both the propensity and capacity to buy your luxury product or service. It may be apparent Wall Street bonus recipients have the capacity for a luxury purchase. But what about their interest? Are your targeted consumers interested in what you have to offer? It’s not enough to know that your prospect can afford it.

How well do you really know your customers and prospects? Consumers expect more from luxury brands. They want to do business with companies that know enough about them to provide a relevant and personal shopping experience. Luxury marketers must respond to consumer desires for those customers to take them seriously.

Getting Your Share of the Wall Street Bonus Market

If you’re a luxury marketer, this is your opportunity to get your share of Wall Street bonus spending. How are you engaging your customers, based on what you know about their purchasing influencers? ”We know from human nature that their attention will gravitate to what caught their attention most recently,” said Boyle, “so marketing and product visibility is key.”

To bring in new luxury customers you have to know as much about them as you can. And your existing customer data is your starting point. Understanding your current customers will help you determine who you want to reach and how to engage them. Here are some steps you can take to best identify your luxury buyers:

  1. Gain knowledge and insight on your customers. Segment them through analytics such as profiling and cluster analysis.
  2. Make evidence-based decisions on where to allocate your resources and the strategies to use to target prospects.
  3. Identify the data that supports your initiative. Determine the data you need to further understand your customer and create compelling offers.
  4. Approach prospects who have both the financial ability and behavioral characteristics to join your exclusive circle of customers.

A Look At Millennial Wealth

Download WealthEngine and Coldwell Banker’s A Look at Wealth 2019 to understand the motivations, behaviors, and trends of millennial millionaires.

Leverage wealth data to reach luxury consumers. And Wealth Engine can help you build a customer profile to target Wall Street bonus recipients.

Annual Gift Definition: What Is an Annual Gift?

what is an annual gift

What is an annual gift, and how do these types of gifts support your nonprofit? In this article, we’ll discuss the key components of annual gifts. In this article, we’ll discuss the key components of annual gifts; the importance of these contributions; how best to set gift levels; and finally, the types of annual giving programs that can fuel your fund. Let’s begin with a definition of an annual gift.

What Is an Annual Gift?

So, what is an annual gift? An annual gift can be a contribution made to a nonprofit organization or higher education institution, provided on any given annual basis (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) with unrestricted purposes. In short, these gifts are contributions raised on an ongoing basis for a variety of uses.

Your organization’s purpose and overall goal are at the center of annual giving. So, all the funds you raise help you continue to serve your mission. As a result, most organizations primarily use annual gifts to cover their operational expenses. By raising money for the operational needs of your organization, you are able to keep your nonprofit up and running.  This allows you to continue making a difference in the ways you’ve set out to. Annual giving, in that sense, is the backbone of any healthy fundraising program.

Importance of Annual Gifts

Besides covering the operational expenses of an organization, annual gifts serve multiple purposes:

1. They Garner Unrestricted Funding for Your Organization.

Unlike a planned gift or donations made for a capital campaign, annual gifts raise awareness for your cause. These donations fund your regular and ongoing expenses, so they support your broader goals and serve to remind your donors of the values of your cause. Annual funds are a good way of reinforcing your goals and identifying ways to amplify and expand them.

Although annual gifts can be used to offset an operational deficit, they can be used for anything. Since annual gifts are an organization’s source of unrestricted contributed income, they should be the central component of an organization’s fundraising efforts. Annual gifts can also be used to supplement other campaigns or events. If anything, annual gifts strengthen your chances to reach your overall organizational goals.

2.  It Helps Broaden Your Donor Base.

The majority of individual donors who donate to an organization for the first time usually do so through its annual campaign. So, for many organizations and higher education institutions, the collection of annual gifts is an opportunity to broaden their donor base and increase retention.

It’s simpler and advantageous for nonprofits to focus on cultivating relationships with donors who have already given. If you’ve already received a donation from a donor, it takes fewer resources to persuade them to give again. So, as you make direct asks, you can emphasize recurring giving to your donors.

One way to do this is by forming a membership program. Membership programs reward donors who join by providing them with special perks in exchange for contributions or “membership fees”. These perks can range from exclusive fundraising event invites or merchandise from your cause. This method of cultivation incentivizes donors to give and gives your organization control over the gifts you receive.

3. It Can Serve As Your Pipeline for Major Gifts and Planned Giving Gifts.

Annual gifts can also serve as your pipeline for major gifts and planned gifts. The question is: how do you determine which donors (who have previously given) have the inclination or ability to give more?

By conducting a wealth screening, you can determine which donors have the greatest propensity and capacity to give. This is a good indication of which donors you should cultivate and nurture further. You can also use a wealth screening to see what or how much your donors have given in the past. These insights into your donors’ giving history can help you determine how inclined they are to give to your other programs. You can create conversations with interested donors about additional ways they can create lasting change.

This is an opportunity to direct donors to your major gift programs or (depending on their age and giving history) your planned giving program. So, if a donor already gives to your cause, and can give more, it’s important to continue developing your relationship with them.

Setting Annual Gift Levels

Although annual gifts don’t fund targeted projects, it’s necessary to remember to plan out your gifts and how best to acquire them. So, be sure to set gift amounts that are reflective of your donors’ giving habits. In order to do that, it’s important to consider the following factors:

1. Your Campaign

What goal have you set for your campaign? How much do you need to raise to meet the needs of your organization this year? By assessing a specific amount to raise, you can feasibly create a solid foundation for your most basic needs.

2. Giving History

How much has your donor given in the past? Do they donate sporadically? Or do they give in regular intervals? By understanding your donor’s habits, you can get a true sense of their propensity for general philanthropic giving. It also allows you to estimate how much they could give in the future based on their current giving habits.

3. Average Annual Gift Size

Similar to evaluating your donors’ giving history, you can set gift amounts based on their giving habits. This can help you secure gifts more easily, since the amounts you set are within the range in which your donors give.  For example, the low to mid-level gifts collected should make up about 15-25% of your campaign goal. Over time, you can begin increasing this set amount, and ease donors into giving a bit more.

Types of Annual Fund Programs

So, when it comes to supporting and fueling your fund, there are a number of different fundraising programs you can implement to raise annual gifts:

Year-End Fundraising

Year-end fundraising is the process of engaging and following up with prospective and existing donors towards your end-of-year giving season. Donations collected in this type of program support specific projects and your annual fund. So, when deciding upon your year-end goal, it’s important to pick a broad theme that fits with your organization’s mission at large. The goal should serve as a reminder to your audience of what your purpose and values are as an organization and why your cause is worthy of your donor’s support. Show your donors how their contributions create the foundation off of which your organization can thrive.

Sustainer Programs

For those donors who’ve committed their support to your organization at any frequency and through any method (also known as sustainer donors), it’s important to increase their retention. This is becoming easier through the emergence of automatic giving. Donors can now make regular, automated contributions to organizations. Not only is this option convenient for donors, but they also provide nonprofits with a more predictable revenue stream.  These small, recurring gifts fall well within the structure of an annual fund. Donations received within this automated structure are made for general use, so they’re relatively unrestricted.

Viral Fundraising Initiatives

As we become increasingly connected across social platforms, we are constantly sharing content with each other. Now, nonprofits are leveraging these channels to create initiatives where the public has a chance to donate to their cause at large. This is usually done by engaging your donors in an activity or conversation where they can show and share their support via social media. For example, the ALS ice bucket challenge (a viral fundraising initiative intended to raise money for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) was a viral video sensation in 2014. Every video posted of people participating in the challenge raised an incredible amount of awareness for ALS. Supporters ended up raising $115M for the ALS Association.

In that sense, social media-based fundraising initiatives grab the attention of individuals and help nonprofits collect a high volume of one-off gifts in a short amount of time, due to the viral nature of the fundraiser.

A Look At Millennial Wealth

Discover the best prospects you can target for your annual giving campaign. Download WealthEngine and Coldwell Banker’s A Look at Wealth 2019 to get inside the minds of millennial millionaires.

Other Articles in Our Annual Giving Series

This is the first article in our Annual Giving series. You can read more about the structure of annual giving campaigns in our second article on the 8 Phases of a Successful Annual Giving Campaign and strategies you can implement during your campaign in our third article on the Top 5 Annual Giving Campaign Ideas.

WealthEngine 2019: A Year In Review

As the year comes to a close, we want to extend a big thanks to our WealthEngine community, and especially our customers, for allowing us to reach new heights.

At the beginning of 2019, we, as a community, made a commitment to level up. Not only did we strive to provide more for our users, but we were also driven to enhance their experience in every way. This steadfast commitment has enabled us to uplift humanity, within WealthEngine and beyond. Now, as we look back on our year, our accomplishments serve as powerful reminders of what can be achieved when we come together and dedicate ourselves to pushing our own boundaries.

Here are some year-end highlights:

We launched our most innovative platform to date, welcoming users to the new world of Engagement Science™!

This year we launched our most updated platform to date, WE9. Using breakthrough technology, the WE9 platform consumes trillions of data points to create more than 250M pre-scored profiles. These profiles are all complete with scoring and insight into propensity, capacity, and intent– or, what we know as Engagement Science. And with the launch of WE9.1, we have enhanced our existing platform and have introduced many new capabilities for our integration.

Speaking of new capabilities within our integration, welcome WealthSignal™. WealthSignal is our newest graphic, giving users a holistic view of the most important scores of their donors, customers, and prospects. These scores include attributes including propensity to give or spend (P2G and P2S), giving history, and net worth. In addition to these scores, WealthSignal further enables fundraising professionals, marketers, and wealth managers to segment and personalize their best prospects more efficiently.

Now, WE9 is every client’s one window pane to reach prospects in all channels thanks to our 250M+ emails refreshed and 140M+ new personal phone numbers added. Aside from the development of this robust omnichannel communications strategy, WE9 offers a confidence score on each donation record to indicate the quality of match to that specific profile helping clients make informed decisions. We can now help clients act with confidence in driving their mission forward, as they continue to uplift humanity.

We expanded our team in one of the world’s budding tech hubs!

In an effort to double down and invest in innovative products, support, services, and engineering capabilities, we expanded our in house team across the pond in Bangalore, India and welcomed over 40 new members to our growing team. As the central hub of where our core products and innovations are being developed, our Bangalore team plays a pivotal role in the company’s growth story. Situated in what’s now considered to be the Silicon Valley of India, our new Bangalore office will enable us to strengthen, enhance, and expand our platform capabilities in innovative ways. We’re excited to see how quickly our team members have transformed our platform and contributed to the advancement of our mission.

We built on the momentum and success of last year’s WE Prosper Summit!

In 2019, we held our second annual WE Prosper Summit at The Newseum in Washington D.C. This year, we assembled a group of thought leaders, experts, partners, and clients from global causes and international brands for a day-long conference to discuss the power of personalized engagement.

Over 250 guests gained fresh insights from industry speakers such as Bob Ghafouri, Founder of Accenture Bloom; Amy Pirozzolo, Head of Marketing at Fidelity Charitable, and Patricia Eisner, former Chief Development Officer of The Malala Fund. Additionally, participants networked and engaged in rich conversations exploring the latest trends and best practices in data-driven prospecting. Not only are we witnessing the impact that personalization is having across industries, but we’re also unearthing the ways data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning can drive positive social impact.

We leveraged our data to unearth major insights into Millennials, and other segments, on their wealth!

In partnership with the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury program, we created  “A Look At Millennial Wealth 2019” analyzing the key aspects of the millennial millionaire lifestyle. The population of young wealthy people is growing. By 2030, millennials will hold 5 times as much wealth as they have today. They are expected to inherit $68 trillion from their predecessors in the Great Wealth Transfer. So, in order to effectively reach millennials, it’s critical to understand how they approach wealth.

We’ve been completely blown away by the response we’ve received. It’s been featured on broadcast media and top-tier media, such as Forbes, US News & World Report, and Business Insider (among others), with about 240M media impressions.

We bolstered our existing partnerships and forged new ones!

In 2019, we continued to strengthen and cultivate an ecosystem of trusted partners such as:

We shared the power of wealth and lifestyle insights at conferences such as Dreamforce; the Salesforce Higher Education Summit; Salesforce World Tour; Salesforce Connections, and Ellucian Live. We also launched Wealth Insights on US Business Owners and Wealth Insights on US Consumers on the AWS Marketplace. Thanks to our partners, and our participation in their events, we’ve been able to provide our users with holistic, integrated solutions and resources that enable them to boost their marketing, sales, and fundraising efforts. Progress made with our partners in 2019 was a cross-functional team effort with Product, Customer Service, Marketing, and Engineering all supporting business partner activities.

We pledged to uplift communities around the globe!

This year, we’ve continued to uplift humanity through our commitment to philanthropic leadership with the Pledge 1% movement. Spearheaded by Atlassian, Rally, and Salesforce, the Pledge 1% movement is a corporate philanthropy movement dedicated to making the community a key stakeholder in every business. This year, we are proud to support the following causes and their efforts in their communities:

Along with a network of entrepreneurs and companies, we’ve leveraged 1% of our product to better communities around the globe so we can continue empowering communities and individuals everywhere.

We expanded our social media reach across LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

Our team is always looking for new and innovative ways to engage with our network and broader community. This year we invested in growing our social media presence and building our social networks into an environment that fostered new ideas, shared valuable best practices, and facilitated discussion and engagement. As a result, we experienced a major spike in our social media following and engagement across 2019.

At the beginning of the year, we had a total audience of nearly 11,000 across all of our social media platforms, with an average growth of 80 new followers per month.

However, as the year has progressed (and through the creation of our new Instagram account), we’ve gained significantly more traction. As we invested in developing and sharing more thought leadership content, our social media following has grown to more than 47,000 followers, with an average growth of over 3,000 followers per month. Thank you to all of those who keep up with us on social media, and for those who haven’t yet, be sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.

Looking Ahead

As we look toward 2020, WealthEngine will be advancing investments in three major areas that we believe will change fundraising and marketing for nonprofits and for-profits alike:

  • Analytics: We’re building new data-driven insights from our vast array of 500 billion data points and applying machine-learning techniques for accurate scores and models. Our investments in Engagement Science, data science to untap actionable intelligence, enables our clients to know exactly how to personalize a message that resonates with their audience.
  • API: Our engineering team will keep adding more capabilities to our API so clients who require integrated connectivity to WealthEngine’s growing insights can see and use results directly inside their tools of choice. This includes instant access to highly segmented audiences and scores from models that tie in seamlessly with their digital outreach tools, CRM/DMS and other software.
  • Activation: Launch campaigns using new smart segments, smart donation buttons and pages, digitally activated profiles across media channels or just plain effective direct mail. WealthEngine’s activation capabilities are a great way to drive higher yields with better accuracy using insights that have been specially curated for you.
  • WealthEngine Partner Innovation Network (WIN): We will integrate over 30 different systems and make it easy for you to reach your next best donor, patron, and prospect to maximize your yield on campaigns while reducing your cost of donor retention and growth.

Thank you to all our customers, partners, and associates across the globe for helping us further our customer’s mission. We are committed to advancing the ways we use data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to augment how we understand data to generate new insights for our clients. When pairing those insights with the gift of human touch, we can reach our collective goals more efficiently.

And this is just the beginning. Here’s to taking even greater strides to uplift humanity in 2020. Until next year!

Planned Giving Marketing Plan: Best Strategies to Approach Donors

planned giving marketing plan

The Humane Society generated a $43 million pipeline from planned giving strategies last year. See how they did it in heir planned giving marketing plan.

The core of planned giving is donor relationships. If a donor has given to your organization over time, and you’ve cultivated a relationship with them, they will be more inclined to create a future gift. But, before you can discuss planned giving with donors, it’s important to understand how to approach them. Let’s explore the necessary steps you should implement in your planned giving marketing plan. With the help of Steve Maughan⁠—VP of Planned Giving and Estates at the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society International—we’ll also explore some tips on how to navigate challenges you may face.

Planned Giving Marketing Plan: 4 Key Steps

Step 1: Creating Your Planned Giving Donor Profile

The first step in your planned giving marketing plan is to identify which donors and prospects to reach out to. As discussed in our previous article in our Planned Giving series, there are two primary planned giving tools you can use: wealth screenings and modeling. Both tools allow you to gain insights into the unique qualities of your planned giving donors. At what age have most of your donors contributed planned gifts? And, what are the commonalities among these donors in terms of interests and behaviors? By screening and modeling your donors, you can also identify which have the greatest propensity and capacity to give. So, you can get a clear impression of how to segment your donor base and who you should target.

For the Humane Society, they have been highly data-driven in their approach. They have primarily looked at the wealth affinity and ages of their donors to determine who to target. For example, the average individual who contributes a planned gift to the Humane Society is either a single or married woman or man with no kids. And, they typically have a liquid net worth between $500k and $5M. Individuals within these segments have the highest likelihood of making a bequest. Additionally, out of these segments, they identify which individuals have the highest likelihood of making a decision in their lifetime. In short, the more decisive the donor, the more likely they are to reach out. So, not only is it important to reach donors based on their potential interest, but it’s also important to reach donors based on the likelihood that they’ll take action.

Step 2: Pinpointing the Best Channels to Communicate With Donors Through

The next step in your planned giving marketing plan is to determine how best to communicate with your donors. This is best done through a highly coordinated, cross channel marketing system. So, instead of just doing a direct mail campaign, you would do email and social media campaigns as well.

A marketing channel that should be leveraged, which is gaining more traction, is social media. Most baby boomers (who are now being targeted for planned gifts) flock to social media to stay connected with their networks. In a 2016 study done by the Pew Research Center, experts found that 81% of adults over the age of 65, with an income over $75K, owned a smartphone. Additionally, the average Facebook user is a 63-year-old woman. So, it’s important to focus your marketing efforts on the areas where your target demographic is communicating. Once you’ve done that, you can create tailored messages that allow donors to begin thinking about planned giving, without you having to persuade them to contribute a planned gift.

Step 3: Meeting Interested Donors in Person

Once you’ve focused your marketing efforts, the next step in your planned giving marketing plan is to set up time to meet with interested donors. Through your cross channel marketing approach, interested donors may begin approaching you, expressing that they are considering contributing a planned gift. So, when you meet with donors in person, it’s important to invite them to learn more about your organization, your mission, and the results you’ve seen.  If donors feel that their personal values align with the mission of your organization, they’ll feel more inspired to give. This is especially important as most baby boomers typically give to two or three charities. So, it’s incredibly important to cultivate and nurture your donor relationships. Show your donors how their interests can be realized in actionable and impactful ways.

Also, if a donor is ready to give, it’s important to follow the donor’s lead when it comes to determining gift size. Since a planned gift is made for future use, the amount can be pretty nebulous. So, it’s important to discuss gifts in terms of the percentage of an estate, or other tax vehicle, rather than a specific amount. That’s for the donor to decide.

Step 4: Collecting Planned Giving Donor Testimonials

The last step in your planned giving marketing plan is to ask donors to share their testimonials. By collecting stories highlighting why donors decided to contribute a planned gift, you have authentic anecdotes that have the ability to connect with prospects. Most donors can look at the testimonials of people who have given and empathize or identify with them. For the Humane Society, they noticed that most of the testimonials didn’t come from wealthy donors. They came from average middle-class donors. They had the opportunity to explain their passion for the cause; why they wanted to give; and how they hoped their story would inspire someone else to do the same.

Connections like these (in-person conversations, donor testimonials, and social media engagement) can also have a major impact on how much donors give. For example, at the Humane Society, they noticed that when donors hadn’t been reached out to, they contributed about $40k. But, when a dialogue had been initiated with them, most would gift $130k or more. That’s a 225% increase. So, by prioritizing connecting with your donors, in different forms through different channels, they’ll feel more inspired to give all they can to support your efforts.

Potential Challenges in Your Planned Giving Fundraising Strategy

Although these steps should help you navigate your planned giving campaign, there are always challenges that may present themselves along the way.

One of the biggest challenges organizations face is receiving gifts from individuals who may not know enough about the cause. Some have very specific ideas of how they would like their gifts to be used. This can be restrictive if their goal doesn’t align with the projects or strategic plan of your organization.

In situations like these, if you can’t fulfill the obligations associated with the proposed gift, it’s better to decline it. No matter how large the contribution may be. It’s important to remain true to the intentions of your donor and how they seek to create change, while also continuing to serve your organization’s mission. Be sure to refer these donors to other resources they can use so their intentions and goal intersect, and can be seen to fruition. Additionally, be mindful when you’re communicating with prospective planned giving donors. Make sure that they have a clear impression of your objectives and initiatives going forward, so your future projects can be supported.

Planned Giving Campaign: Tips for CDOs and Gift Officers

Now that we’ve gone over the necessary steps to implement in your planned giving marketing plan and how to navigate potential challenges, here are some additional things to keep in mind as you communicate with your donors and prospects:

  • Focus on donors who have contributed consistently over time.

If you’re building a program, don’t just focus on individuals who’ve contributed large sums. Talk to the donors who have contributed $5, $10, or even $15 every year for the past five to ten years. These donors consistently support your efforts and display loyalty and passion for your work. If approached for a planned gift, they’ll likely feel inclined to give.

  • Have a board member who’s an advocate and will keep your program going.

When you upsell to your board, it’s important to keep an eye on your progress. Be sure to track the number of new donors and bequests you’re working with annually. It’s also important to track the dollar value of people who’ve committed to contributing a planned gift and shared the confirmed value of their bequests. This reinforces to your board that you’re gaining traction in your program and that it can continue on. Also, don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. If you start and stop your program, it can impact your momentum and potential success.

  • Remain donor-centric in your approach.

It’s important to remain cognizant of your supporter’s time. If you’re having a meeting with them, they know exactly why you’re there. So, be very clear and focused on your objectives in your conversation. Remember: it’s the donor’s timeline and decision, not yours. If you establish a system around needing goals, donors may feel that their connection to the cause isn’t valued. This may inhibit them from supporting your efforts beyond their lifetime.

  • Don’t disregard the use of social media.

As most baby boomers flock to social media to stay connected, it’s important to communicate with them in those spaces. You can generate tailored and relevant messages to connect with them. And, because they are active on these platforms, there’s more likely to see and respond to the messages you’re generating about planned giving. Additionally, this also gives potential donors an opportunity to familiarize themselves with your organization’s mission and initiatives. So, they can see how they fit into your efforts, and find ways to make a significant impact.

Driving the Donor Journey: Guide to Descriptive Modeling

Boost your fundraising using WealthEngine’s modeling tool. Discover your next best donors you have yet to connect with.

5 Nonprofit Trends Influenced by Technology

nonprofit trends

This past year, we’ve seen the power personalized engagement had on donors. The question is: what other things will influence the nonprofit sector? And how are nonprofits changing based on their integration of predictive analytics, AI/ML, and other technologies? Let’s explore the top 5 nonprofit trends (influenced by tech) that will impact the industry as we move into 2020.

Nonprofit Trends Influenced by Tech & Analytics

1. Fundraising is becoming more accessible because of social media reach.

The first nonprofit trend influencing the industry is social media’s influence on fundraising. As competition rises, technology is helping nonprofits reach out to donors in ways that are focused. Donors can now be reached on a local, national, and global level. Social platforms allow people to connect and share information from anywhere at any time. And, most platforms allow people to donate to causes.

For example, Facebook birthday fundraisers have gained more attention over time.  Users can now make posts redirecting to a cause they support. They can then encourage their network to donate on their behalf.  Within the first year of creating birthday fundraisers, Facebook users raised more than $300M for causes. As of now, Facebook allows you to choose a cause to donate from a list of 750,000 nonprofits. So, donors can now give to any cause at any time from anywhere.

Webinar: Build & Grow Your Mid-Level Donor Program

Interested in learning how to build and grow your mid-level donor program? Register for our webinar this Wednesday at 1 PM!

2. Constituent Relationship Management systems & analytics will allow nonprofits to identify, segment, and engage donors more effectively.

The second nonprofit trend that is influencing the industry is the increased use of CRM systems and predictive analytics. As these tools advance, nonprofits are relying on them to find and engage donors. Fundraising teams, large and small alike, now have the tools to clearly organize donor data according to their preferences. This lets them strategically manage their fundraising.

Using predictive analytics, gift officers can gain insights on their donors and prospects. For example, they have the ability to learn about their donors’ propensity and capacity to give; their behavior; their personality; and their giving history. And, as they update the information they have on them, they can tweak their outreach. This will help organizations adapt to donors’ evolving interests. So, they will always remain relevant to them and be able to engage them purposefully.

Take the University of Maryland for example. Mary Beth Nibley, Director of Prospect Engagement, needed an easier way to manage her prospects. At the time, her team was managing prospects from Maryland’s Med school and school of social work. As a small group, they found it difficult to determine which prospects were worth pursuing. But, using predictive analytics, they found it easier to sort through their donor pool. So, they were able to segment their donors effectively and efficiently. With a CRM and predictive analytics, organizations can gain relevant donor information instantly. They also have the tools to appeal to donors in personalized ways.

3. Technology will enable nonprofits to stay personally connected with their donors, remotely.

Another nonprofit trend influencing organizations is the use of technology to connect with key donors. It’s becoming more and more important to engage donors in ways that are novel. Each donor wants to create change with significant impact and influence. So, they want to give not only to benefit communities, but also to reach the people with the most influence. In short, the CEO, or the face of the organization. Technology, in that sense, has allowed donors to connect with those channels more easily.

Take the Malala Fund for example. Patricia G. Eisner, former CDO of the Malala Fund, was able to connect with donors by doing more than sending out a personalized email or note. Using technology, the Fund was able to have Malala connect with her audience remotely. They were able to create and send personalized videos where Malala was able to address each donor individually. So, the messages weren’t just personal. They provided donors, especially major gift donors, an added incentive to take greater action, give more,  and inspire others to as well.

4. Apps and Tech Intermediaries will Re-Invigorate Donors to Give

The use of apps, and other tech intermediaries, to boost fundraising is also a rising nonprofit trend. As stated in the Giving USA 2019 report, the state of charitable giving in the United States is shifting. The number of non-donor households is continuing to increase. So, we’re experiencing a decline in mid-level donors. This is greatly impacting the revenue streams of nonprofits across the country.

So, in order to seamlessly engage donors, nonprofits are partnering with brands and services. In short, they’re creating new and easy ways for donors to give. For example, customers can now donate through apps like Lyft, Uber, and Venmo (among others). These options make it easier for nonprofits to interact with their donors and prospects. It’s also a more approachable and affordable way for donors to remain involved. So, as donors make purchases, they have the opportunity to round up the cost of their purchase so they can give. They also have a chance to give more specific amounts to organizations of their choice through these apps. The use of intermediaries will make it easier for nonprofits to gain a steady stream of gifts. They also have the potential to push donors towards everyday giving.

5. More Nonprofits are Moving Towards Crowdfunding

The last nonprofit trend that’s gaining traction is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding was, and is, primarily used for contributors to fund an initiative, online. Usually through a collection of small investments. However, crowdfunding is now projected to become an over  $90 billion industry by 2025, so it can be a valuable tool for fundraising.

Crowdfunding is beginning to help nonprofits raise money for specific projects or causes. It can also help nonprofits reach diverse audiences. This further enables them to meaningfully engage donors and spread messages that increase their impact. Additionally, projects funded on this platform can be shared via social media & can be linked to live giving portals. This encourages recurring giving and allows donors to engage directly with your organization.

Top 4 Major Donor Fundraising Strategies

major donor fundraising

In order to create an impact, you need the support and action of your donors. Major gift donors, in that sense, play an integral part in helping your organization create change. In a 2017 study conducted by the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, it was reported that 88% of gifts were contributed by 12% of donors. Now, fundraising fits well within the 80/20 rule. So, since it’s confirmed that the majority of gifts given come from a small percentage of donors, it’s clear that each donor must contribute substantial gifts. The question is: what are the best ways to find and cultivate relationships with major gift donors?

When it comes to major donor fundraising, you want to be able to pinpoint which donors are worth pursuing; forge and nurture relationships with them; and create the “ask”. Let’s explore the necessary steps you should take to create the best major donor fundraising strategy.

Major Donor Fundraising Strategies: Top 4 Ways to Enhance Your Efforts

1. Determine What Qualifies as a Major Gift for Your Organization

Before you identify, cultivate, and solicit gifts from major gift donors, it’s necessary for you to determine what qualifies as a major gift for your nonprofit. Major gifts (which are the largest monetary gifts your organization receives), as a donation type, are varied. In short, every organization determines the size of their major gifts differently.

This can be dependent on the size of your organization, the length of time it’s been around, and what you’re fundraising for. For example, a gift over $5k may be large for some organizations, such as a local theatre company. Meanwhile, other organizations may consider gifts over $100k to be major gifts, like a state university. To establish a major gift starting point, it’s important to evaluate and understand the largest gifts your organization has received in the past. It can also be helpful to identify your top individual donors and determine what their propensity and capacity to give is. This should be determined in relation to their giving history with your organization and organizations similar to yours. Additionally, you should make sure that your major gift range aligns with organizations within your industry. Adopting a similar major gift range ensures that your organization isn’t being unintentionally undervalued.

2. Identify Optimal Donors and Prospects

Before you can cultivate deep relationships with major gift donors, it’s important to understand who in your database, has major gift potential. That’s the next step in major donor fundraising: conducting a wealth screening and modeling your best donors.

Ask yourself: which of our donors has given the most in the past few years? Which of our donors give on a recurring basis? And, which of our donors displays a passion for our mission and our initiatives? Screenings help you pick up on key attributes like an individual’s wealth, income, lifestyle, and affinity. This allows you to find, segment, and prioritize your prospects and donors accordingly. So, you can identify what each individual’s propensity and capacity to spend is.

The next best practice in major donor fundraising is a major gift model. Once you know what your major donors look like, and once you’ve identified common traits among them, you gain a clearer impression of who to target. Using WealthEngine data in combination with information from your organization’s database, we can create a custom algorithm to determine who would be most likely to contribute major gifts to your organization. These can be people among your list of donors who haven’t been reached yet or prospective donors who exist beyond your database. Additionally, you can score prospects to see how they compare in relation to your best donors. Screening and modeling allow you to hone in on your most relevant donors. So, you can focus all your energy on developing long-standing relationships with them.

3. Personalize Your Outreach Strategy

Now that you’ve identified which donors have an ability and willingness to donate major gifts, it’s time for the next step: reaching out. One way to develop a relationship with major gift donors is to personalize your outreach. You can personalize your outreach through tailored messaging, creative touchpoints, and donor involvement in other areas of your organization.

When donors decide to contribute major gifts, they aren’t giving to your organization at random. They’re giving because they feel connected to the work you’re doing and want to make an impact by funding your services. So, by sending your donors messages that highlight their individual interests, you have an opportunity to bridge the gap between what they value, personally, and how your organization works in alignment with those values.

So, your organization can communicate with donors through standard channels like direct mail, email, or invitations to public events. You can also take your efforts a step further and generate personal ‘thank you’ videos; send major gift donors or prospects ‘insider’ updates; invite them to observe your projects as they come together; or even invite them to intimate events where they can meet with the CEO and senior staff. This gives them an opportunity to discuss upcoming initiatives they may have a vested interest in. Involving donors in other areas of your organization is an integral part of your major donor fundraising strategy. By inviting them to see your programs in action, they have a greater opportunity to deepen their passion and interest in the work you do.

4. Implement a Stewardship Program

The final step in your major donor fundraising strategy is to express gratitude for your donors. Once you’ve begun cultivating and nurturing relationships with major gift donors and prospects, it’s important to engage in stewardship. Donors are the catalysts for all your major goals. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to enhance the programs and services you have in place. So, if major gift donors aren’t treated as key players, they may not feel that the impact they’re making is valued.

Essentially, you want to continue communicating with your donors so you can effectively meet the gift intentions and expectations they’ve set out. Show your donors how their gift will be used and what kind of effect it will make on your cause. It’s also important to express thanks in multiple ways. You can do this in-person, publicly (in your newsletter or on your website), in a handwritten note, or on a phone call. Recognition like this will inspire major gift donors to give again and again. Not only are they doing something of value, but their contributions are also being put towards something actionable.

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Above all, make sure to follow up with your donors so they know how their gifts have been used. By showing them that you created something impactful because of their contributions, they’ll see themselves as agents for change. Now, and for the future.