As a major national event, Giving Tuesday is easily one of the biggest giving days for many organizations. But history shows us that you may have even more donor potential on the last two days of the year than you do in the days after Thanksgiving.
Diving into the data, we’ll look at what you can expect from the final days, and how to make the most of donors’ charitable habits at the end of the year.
In this webinar you’ll learn:
- Giving trends for year-end and what days you should focus on most
- How to target your donors to drive better results
- How to streamline your giving process
- Steps to cultivate your donors as we head into 2021
Bradley Martin: Hey, everyone, welcome to today’s webinar. We’re going to be covering how to take advantage of the two biggest giving days of the year.
So, without further ado, let’s just jump right in. Let’s talk a little bit about what we’re gonna go over today. But, first of all, let’s take a little bit of time to introduce myself and Scott, who are joining you today. Scott, I’ll let you go ahead and start. You’ll tell us a little bit about yourself, and your, you’re a non-profit experience.
Scott Dalton: Sure. Thanks, Bradley. So my name’s Scott Dalton, and I’m an account Executive here at Kindful now. In my previous life, or previous experience, I was an executive director of two different nonprofits over the course of a few years. So that’s my fundraising and development experience, That’s kinda what I’ll be drawing on today, and then obviously in my role working with Kindful now I interface with thousands of nonprofit professionals each year. So I’ll draw from some of that experience as well.
BM: Awesome. My name is Bradley Martin. If you have joined any of our webinars in the past, you have probably had the opportunity to see my face on the screen. I lead our marketing efforts here.
And I do not have a similar background in terms of nonprofit experience, but I do have a significant amount of marketing experience, and continue to learn every day about the nonprofit sector, and how you guys can impact the work you’re doing.
We’re talking about the end of the year, so, we’re going to talk about what you need to focus on. We’ve got just a few days left before the very end of the year comes. We’re gonna go through some of what we think is some pretty interesting data from the last couple of years, across all kinds of organizations, to show you what the trends actually look like for December year-end giving.
Then, we’re going to just dive into a couple tips and tactics, and we’re gonna hopefully have an interesting discussion about things you can think about as you’re finishing up your appeals and everything for the end of the year.
We also want to hit on making sure you have the right tools to streamline giving at the end of the year. And then let’s end off by just talking about how you can take all this information and make sure you set yourself up as you go into 2021.
Year-end giving data: Giving Tuesday is huge, but December 31 is bigger
BM: Let me jump into a little bit of information. Obviously, we just finished Giving Tuesday last week. It was huge. It was the biggest Giving Tuesday on record, not only for Kindful clients, but also across the fund raising technology spectrum.
If you look into what GivingTuesday.org put together, they have 60 different technology platforms—or online fundraising platforms—that bring data together to help them understand the impact of Giving Tuesday every year. We get the benefit of being one of those, and it was a massive year, right, for Giving Tuesday.
It’s eally amazing to see generosity continue to pour out for organizations as we go through 2020.
BM: But I want to hit on: December 31st is even bigger—not even bigger, much bigger, right?
So, as you’re thinking about your year, if you participate in Giving Tuesday: Great, but there’s even a bigger opportunity as we go towards the end of the year. I’m sure many of you already know that.
Know what to focus on.
BM: So, let’s look at a little bit of the data here in this chart. It’s good to just see the overall trends. So I’m going to go into a little bit more detail in the next chart.
You can see we’ve got the Giving Tuesday line here, the first red line. Then we’ve got October 30th and 31st. You can see these peaks in giving.
These are when we compare giving trends to the average. So, you can see where the average line just kind of goes across.
And then, we have these big spikes, again, on Giving Tuesday, and really the end of year giving starts on December 29th—which happens to be my birthday—but then rolls through December 30th and December 31st. So, there’s a lot of giving that’s going to happen over a three day period after Christmas as we go into the end of the year.
Let me let me share a little bit more detail.
BM: When we look at what happened in 2019, and we double checked some of the data, we went back and looked at what happened in previous years. and they were very similar to this. So we’ll take just a little bit of time here. It’s a lot of data, But I think it’s actually really interesting.
So, to start off, let’s talk about Giving Tuesday. Across the day, we saw 7,644 donations come in across all Kindful organizations. And that was a 770% increase over an average day, just an average, normal day throughout the year.
This single gift amount, though, goes down for Giving Tuesday. So it goes down 37% over an average online gift. And to be clear, this is really just online numbers, online giving.
When you look at total giving, it’s very similar. Over an average day, there’s a 448% increase for giving on Giving Tuesday. So when you sum it all up, we see almost 450% increase in giving on Giving Tuesday across an average day.
But what’s really interesting, if you look at December 30th alone, just December 30th, we see 3,617 gifts. And it’s a 300% increase over an average day.
You go, Well, that’s not impressive as Giving Tuesday. But what is impressive, is the single gift amount skyrockets on these last days of the year. So you go up 62% and average gift size, which then ends up making it a 567% increase over the average day of the year.
And then December 31st is just bonkers, right? So we ended up with 7,737 gifts, 781% increase in the number of gifts. The average gift amount, still higher than the average day. So 49%, almost 50% increase. So it equates to a 1,212% increase over the average day.
I just want to pause there and and, and what all this really boils down to is December 31st by itself, it’s almost 3X Giving Tuesday in terms of giving.
Really great data there to help you understand, set the stage for why we think year-end giving’s so important. And again, this is all based on online giving.
Now, well, when we look at Total Giving, it’s very similar.
The same peaks, same spikes, but we have a lot more data readily available in the year on online giving. We have this instantaneously, the offline giving takes a little bit more time to come in.
I want to pause, Scott, what do you think about that? Is that surprising or interesting, you know, from your experience? Why does this happen? I mean, we know there’s some tax implications and things like that, but what are your just overall thoughts as we, as we look at these data points?
SD: When I first saw this, I’m sure a lot of you are really surprised, and I think that there’s a couple reasons why our perception may be different from the reality.
And this is one of the reasons why I’m so glad that Bradley did the digging into this data: I think the public perception around Giving Tuesday is like, this is the event—and we know that not every nonprofit participates in Giving Tuesday, but at least from a social media perspective.
And from a general media perspective, there’s a lot of hype around this particular day. But I think what Bradley tees there, that we all as nonprofit fundraising professionals have to be aware of, is that there’s still the tax implications for the end of the year. And, to be frank, there are a lot of families or individuals that set out an amount that they give around the holiday season. That contributes to this sort of end of the year push.
And I think that also is certainly not unrelated to the fact that there are also lots of professionals and fundraisers that are doing end-of-year appeals and campaigns.
But I was really shocked at the December 31st data versus Giving Tuesday. I mean, the fact that it’s a bigger day, it’s a 3X multiple on the revenue.
So, for those out there that are thinking, “Oh, my goodness. We didn’t have a great Giving Tuesday,” or “We feel like we could have capitalized more,” in a very real sense, the best is still yet to come.
And that’s very encouraging, especially in such an up and down year. And I think the data further shows that this is still a great year to continue your asks. And this isn’t necessarily a year to pull back. It’s a year to press and a little bit further. So surprising at first, but, when, we run down the logic a little bit, makes a ton of sense. Bradley?
BM: 100%. Scott, we’ve already got some questions coming in. So I’m going to keep this as conversational, semi-diverting my eyes over to my other monitor to look at questions. So do my best to try to keep up, and, and listen. And do everything.
So I just want to let everybody know, since I’m on the screen, Might be looking over here a little bit. So quick question we did have is: Is this individual giving, foundations, corporate giving?
This would primarily be individual giving. The data we’re looking at right here, it’s more focused on individual giving, because this is what this data truly is. It’s donation pages that organizations are using through Kindful. It could be some peer-to-peer giving, and it could be some event giving as well. We have some different tools that people can use, but this is recording all those different gift amounts, and averaging those out.
So Duane, to answer your question, this is primarily individual giving. Foundations or corporate giving typically comes on and through more of an offline transaction. So, obviously people track that in our system, but we’re not reporting on it here.
Find the right donors to impact your giving.
BM: What we’re going to dive into here, next, is, we just want to have a conversation around: What are some things you can still do with just a couple of weeks left before the end of the year? So, we’re gonna keep this pretty simple. Again, love to keep it conversational, so if you have questions, just drop them in.
But let’s talk about targeting.
So, one of the things I love to talk about as a marketer, and also as I talked to more and more nonprofits is, how do you target specific donors? And who should you think about going after, and how can you craft messaging that is relevant?
Alright, and so I’m gonna start off by saying, if you haven’t segmented your database yet, and you want to do it for the end of the year, great!
Number two: Keep it simple. Think about who you want to talk to, and what do you want to say to them? One of the most simple, or two of the most simple segmentations you can make is, 1. Who gave to you already this year, and 2. What would you say to those people?
Then who maybe hasn’t given to you this year but gave last year? So you could run a live report, or you could just look at all your lapsed donors, and maybe do an appeal specifically to them. It’d be a great opportunity to do that.
But I would also take just a minute to think about: Did you just run a Giving Tuesday campaign, and do you have a bunch of new donors in your database from Giving Tuesday? You might want to say something different to them than you would someone who gave, you know, at the beginning of the year or last year, or something like that. You can also segment by programming, say, by gift amount, like your major donors versus your smaller donors.
But, you know, Scott, as we think about stuff like this, how do you think about segmentation? What other ideas do you have that people could think about with just here a couple of weeks left?
SD: I think that those two or three that you mentioned are absolute necessities. Even if you don’t necessarily reach out, if you want to get more specific or you want to be more general, I think it’s very important to just have at least an understanding of: How many lapsed donors do we have? How many new active donors do we have?
I think there’s sometimes the perception—and, Brad, chime in if I’m wrong about this—but I think that there’s generally a perception in fundraising that once that one gift from some comes in, it’s, like, oof, we got their gift on Giving Tuesday. Thank goodness. Let’s move on. And, I think that, if, if you’re positioning your nonprofit in messaging the right way, people are coming on board to support the mission. And that means that they should be willing, and hopefully are willing, to continue to give. So, this is not the time to sit back and be like, alright, we’ll touch those new Giving Tuesday donors in February when it feels like things have cooled down a little bit.
This is a time again to say thank you to those people, and then show them other ways that you all are creating impact, to hopefully encourage them to give again on these peak giving days, December 30 and 31. So I would underscore what Bradley said, and even emphasize that those new people are so valuable to you. We may touch this a little bit more in just a bit, but we did a very large study on nonprofit communication trends, and we found that that’s so few nonprofits. It’s surprising to a lot of us, but it’s true.
So, if you think of those donors and a regular cadence after that first 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, and if you’re not doing that. now, that’s something to think about is: How can we reach out? You know, a few days removed from Giving Tuesday to keep us top of mind at the end of the year push. So, that kind of bleeds over into the communication piece a little bit.
But I think, let’s start with that segmentation. Then start having conversations about building a strategy to get in touch with those people in those particular segments. And we’ll talk wealth, we’ll talk big donors in just a bit.
I know that’s queued up on Bradley and our minds both, but from a basic level, getting those segments. And then starting to figure out how you want to communicate to them new donors versus lapsed donors versus old donors. All in those three buckets.
BM: And let’s combine this with talking about appeals for just a second, and then we’ve got some questions. So, before we move on to the next section around data, I want to just take just a few minutes that there’s some really great conversational questions coming in.
As you’re thinking about targeting your donors, then, obviously, the next natural step is, what are you going to say to them? And in some cases, you might want to start with: What do you want to say, and then to write. So, like, these two things just go so hand in hand.
Alright, well, a couple of quick tips on sending the right appeal, I think, especially in 2020, while people are going to use email this year, we’ve seen email communications go up significantly. And there are going to be more online requests this year.
So Sophia asked, “Are there significant differences for online giving this year versus last year?” Absolutely. So, we’ve seen a drastic increase in online giving this year compared to previous years.
To give you just a couple of data points: We asked organizations at the beginning of 2020 what is their most successful giving tactic. And online was less than 25%, through email, through website, and social media. It was one of the lowest.
But with social distancing, as we haven’t been able to have events, things like that, online giving has just skyrocketed across the kind of platform. We’ve seen organizations upwards of increasing their online giving by almost 300% across an average day.
So again, online giving is definitely increasing. We’re going to talk about streamlining your online giving here in just a little bit. But I wanted to hit on that, as you’re thinking about a lot of these filters that we’re using, assuming you’re going to be sending maybe an email appeal and things like that, number one: Be specific. Like, be specific with your ask. Be specific with the impact the gift is going to make.
Set a goal, let your constituents know that you’ve got a goal out there that you’re trying to hit. Also, being specific could be just breaking down how a goal is going to be impacted, like $17 does this, $23 does this, $32 accomplishes this, $150 accomplishes this/ Give them different targets that are incredibly specific.
Because when someone says, “Wow, if I give $17, it’s going to feed someone, or it’s going to provide this result,” they’re more likely to give that specific amount.
One of the things we saw, maybe more than I’ve seen it before, is finding matching donors, Like, a major donor who is willing to give anywhere from a thousand dollars to $100,000, depending on who you work with and what your mission is on, how far along you are.
But finding a matching donor, who says, “Anybody who gives during this day, or these several days this week,” if you think about the end of year after Christmas on, through the beginning of the year, you can find maybe a matching donor who says, you know, “I’ll give up to $10,000 matching every dollar that comes in.”
I do want to highlight one example, I thought was great, on Giving Tuesday, Vanderbilt University here in Nashville did a campaign where they had a matching donor that was going to match up to $100,000 on Giving Tuesday.
And so, then on welcome Wednesday, the day after Tuesday, they sent another note out, or email out, to say, “Good news, our matching donors are willing to double anyone who gives the rest of the year, up to another $100,000.” That was way planned out in advance, but it was such an interesting way to position it to their donors.
And the last thing I want to say is, authenticity wins. That’s something I’ve really paid a lot of attention to, as we have gone through the current situation. These people are bombarded with online messaging, with Zoom calls, with things like that. And with the lack of just regular normal human interaction, one of the things that I feel like we’re missing is authenticity. And so, maybe this year, think about taking the production down a notch instead of up a notch.
And so what I mean by that is, instead of sending an email with a big banner and a bunch of images in it, what would it look like if you just sent an email from your executive director? Or, if you are the executive director, from yourself. And it’s just from you with a note in it that says,
“Hey, thank you so much this year for everything you’ve done, for the gifts you’ve given, here’s what we’ve accomplished so far. We’ve got one last goal before we end the year, here’s what it is, We would love your support.” Or something like that.
Or, we all have these things laying around, iPhones, Android devices, things like that—take a video just with your phone and just send that out in an email and just explain what you’re trying to accomplish.
But I just think, you know, maybe taking the production level down just a bit could really provide some great results. So I know I just covered a lot there. Scott, what are your thoughts on on all of that as well?
SD: I agree, I think there’s a few things on this right-hand side of this slide that resonates. I think one is, people, just love to have a sense of what the goal is.
This is, as you all know, Fundraising 101, but I think things that we sometimes forget, which are an actionable way to get to where we’re going, you know, just kind of a broad appeal of, “Hey, we could use some help,” doesn’t quite have teeth to it. But if it’s, “Hey, we’re trying to go for $35,000 in the next 35 days,” or whatever that looks like, you can insert numbers depending on what your budget and goals are—they’re giving them something tangible to strive for. I think just helps people understand what their actual tangible contribution is to what’s going on.
And then I think the other thing I want to underscore there is that authenticity piece. Bradley brought this idea a couple of days ago when we were chatting about authenticity and kind of toning down some of that production. I think it’s a great idea.
I would love to see in my inbox more personalized messages from organizations that I’m donating to as opposed to just sort of a generic boilerplate, like, “2020 was a hard. It made things hard this year.” And that’s, of course, true, and true for all of us, but it’s different in each person’s unique way.
And I think as a director, as an associate, whatever your your role might be, you have a unique lens to not only provide, possibly, ways that things have been challenging, and ways that people have helped. Or at least just a thank you. And I think finding ways to just get little tweaks and what that messaging looks like, so that it doesn’t go immediately to trash or delete or swipe left on the iPhone to archive wherever those emails go. You know, I think trying to take a step back to be creative about reaching out in a human way is needed, I think, this year, perhaps more than any other.
BM: And it’s something I think we saw happening, even before COVID. We did a study with NextAfter. I want to call out a couple of NextAfter stats. If you don’t follow NextAfter, you should go check them out/ They work with some of the largest organizations in the world, but they have an institute where they provide a ton of data. And it’s just fascinating information about what works and what doesn’t work with as it pertains to fund raising.
But, one of the things that they have said is that there are three pillars to a good email, as it should come from a person. The subject line should be very specific, and you should remove all images, unless it’s like a body copy image. So, like, a video, or some of that. But no header image, it should be from a person with a signature at the bottom that shows it’s an email from one person to one person.
And we talked about this, and we had someone challenge it and tell us that, “We thought we were crazy on a webinar earlier in the year,” and they’re like, “that would never work,” and we challenged them back to just go test it. She sent me a LinkedIn message a couple of weeks later, and she said, you were right. I can’t believe it, but we increased giving by sending a text-based email versus a branded. So, you know, it’s one of the things that I would, I would just challenge you to try.
Try some of these things that, you think, you know, best practices say, emails should be pretty, right? But here’s the one thing I would challenge you with, is when you’re going through your personal inbox. I don’t know if you guys are like me, but my wife shop at Target a lot. I get 18 emails a day from Target, and they’re all very good, and they’re very targeted. But, I delete every single one of them, you know? Unless it’s this time of year. But what does catch my eye is when I see an email from a person, it makes me stop for a second, and it makes me go, OK, is this a personal email to me, and do I need to read it?
And so, just that moment of pause, if you can create that moment of pause in an inbox, you’re going to get more interaction, period. So, just something to think about. Sorry, I’m an email geek, so I get really deep into those contacts.
So, talking about e-mail, Diana asked, we plan to send email reminders on the 26th and 31st. Do you recommend adding one also on the 30th?
Let me jump in here quick and say NextAfter also did a study, I actually saw it on Twitter today, that 24% of online giving will happen on December 30th and 31st for the whole year.
And so, I would, Diane, I would say yes.
And they also recommend that you send an email in the morning on the 31st and in the evening on the 31st to remind people first thing when they wake up.
So, they have it in their inbox, right after they get off work, you know, or, and maybe a lot of people have off 31st, but 6:00 PM somewhere in there, remind them.
I think this is a time of year that yes, you do risk getting some people to opt out and things like that, but the benefit should outweigh the risk. I think, Scott, what are your thoughts?
SD: I agree with that. I think there’s a sense in which it’s easy to be tentative. I think you’re already on the right path there with at least getting two emails in the hopper, which is great. I think there’s a sense in which it can be easy to feel tentative like, I really don’t want to bombard people’s inboxes—and you don’t. I mean, if you think about you, look at those two emails a day. If you did that two days in a row, it’s four emails.
And if you’re not blowing it out with some, you know, crazy HTML coding and like 30 videos, and each slide.You do it in a real way that’s accessible. One of them can be personalized, and kind of text-based. If you wanted to do one that was a template. and you certainly can, and just kind of tweak that messaging a little bit and, you know, make it not just the same thing over and over again.
In that period, I think it would be totally acceptable to send somewhere between one, four, or five emails, especially because it’s different from Bradley’s emails from Target, which they’re clearly trying to just get you on the hook to buy something. But this is the beauty of being a nonprofit, is that you’re not trying to just hook people in, you’re actually trying to push a mission forward, which I think people have a little bit more receptivity to.
Folks that are out there that are trying to figure out, like, when, and, how, and, should I get those things together? I would say, definitely run, don’t walk on that. It’s totally OK to send a few emails in that period. Especially, one in the morning, one at night. That’s a good strategy.
BM: OK, so we’ve got a lot of questions coming in, I want to make sure we get to the content, We got a little bit time here, so I’m gonna go onto the next one, but I see your questions. We’re gonna start to put some of them in some different categories, but, we’ll make sure we get to as many as we can. So, let’s go on to the next slide.
Streamline your giving.
BM: We want to talk really quick about streamlining giving, using online fundraising tools. So again, we’ve already hit on this a little bit. I don’t think we go too far. I’m sure many of you are already doing this, but we just want to say it just in case: Use your online fundraising tools.
Is it easy to give online? Is there a clear call to action at the upper right of your website? Do you offer various payment options? A lot of people are getting more comfortable using Apple Pay and Google Pay, or ACH. Especially if people want to give a bigger donation, many want to use a ACH instead of using a credit card or something like that. But, just having the option to allow people to pay from their bank account is a really big option.
And then, lastly, recurring giving options. One thing that we saw on Giving Tuesday was that, as we calculated recurring gifts given, they would equate to an additional million dollars over the next 12 months, given on Giving Tuesday and signed up for recurring transactions via Kindful. Because the option was just there, right. So I think it’s a huge opportunity.
So, it was about $90,000 was given on Giving Tuesday through Kindful’s platform set as recurring monthly, that would turn into almost a million. So recurring giving is really valuable.
Scott, you present this to everyone every day. What are the things that they should be thinking about as it pertains to online giving?
SD: Yeah, I think I want to underscore that fourth bullet point there on the payment options. I think we’re just in a time where, you know, if you caught us 2 or 3 years ago, not everyone had Apple Pay set up. There were maybe some scanners at checkout places that could possibly accept it. And we all were confused about what that looks like, or how you did it. And I think now with Kindful, it’s just more important than ever to open up those potential payment options. Because people now have Apple wallets because they’re doing contactless payment. If you’re in a city or a town, where things are open, that’s happening.
And same with Google Pay. So, I just think that we’re having a higher adoption of these kinds of tools across the board. And it’s important to just open up as many possible options for people to donate on that front. So, that’s what I hear a lot from clients coming in. They’re interested in Google and Apple Pay being there, and obviously the recurring donation thing, we ring that bell all the time. But as Bradley mentioned, that is the most powerful way for people to give.
I was listening to a guy chat about the fundraising conversation the other day. And he said he asked a donor for, I think it was, a thousand dollars for a one-time gift. He says, I definitely don’t think I can do that, That’s too much. But I could do $100 a month for the next year, OK?
Sounds great, right? And I think that’s one of the things that you gotta think about there. There are a lot of challenges going on for many people.
And so a lot of people might be more willing to sign up for a recurring gift than a one-time lump sum. And also, it creates a lot of predictability for your organization. I love recurring revenue as it pertains to nonprofits. I think it’s something that more and more organizations should take advantage of.
BM: And in the follow-up, we just produced an ebook that’s all about how to create a recurring giving program. We’ll make sure we provide a link to that, so you can download it, and, and look into that, if that’s something you’re interested in.
Spring into 2021: Cultivate your new donors.
BM: So, moving on, real quick, too, um, really thinking about going into 2021, so this is the cover of our current given guide, right, but cultivating your new donor. So again, Scott already mentioned this, but number one, have you thank them? I know that’s so simple.
A lot of people have asked about NextAfter. We’ll provide a link to that as well. But NextAfter.com, go check those guys out. They are phenomenal.
When we did the study, we found that 30% of organizations—and these weren’t small organizations, these are organizations, raising $1 to $5 million—sent absolutely no communication in the first 30 days after an online gift was given. I mean, that is no receipt. No thank you. Nothing at all, right, Just radio silence.
That’s mind-blowing, right? And it’s borderline malpractice. It’s not borderline—it is malpractice, right? You’ve got to thank your donors when they come in. Again, we’ve already hit on this a little bit. But can you turn your donors into recurring donors in 2021?
So as Scott mentioned, you can oftentimes upgrade your donors to a larger annual giving amount by asking them to give a smaller amount throughout the year, on a recurring basis. So, the big thing to think about is it obviously takes, sometimes, takes a lot of planning. But, in a lot of cases, if you just have the option on your donation pages, people will interact with it and take it up.
And then, lastly, do you have a communication plan for 2021? What do you know? This is a good opportunity just to start to segment your list a little bit. Think about how you want to communicate it. Everything seems to be pointing toward 2021. Unfortunately, it’s gonna look a lot like 2020 for at least for the first half. So how are you thinking about making sure you’ve got all your online tools to place community, able to communicate easily online, giving people the option to the online things?
Think about that a lot. So, Scott, we’ve got a little bit more to go through on, but what’s your thought on cultivating your donors?
SD: I think you said a lot. I think that on this piece, you know, one: If you all are thinking about actionability, like, hey, Scott, what can I do today to think through this? If you have access to what percentage of your donors have active, recurring gifts, then I would take a look at that and maybe set a goal for yourself over the next month since we’re coming on a new year. And then starting in 2021 to convert a certain percentage of those to recurring, you know, based on what your budget is and what that looks like, For you all to decide what will be reasonable.
But, think about taking, you know, if I’ve got 20% of my donor base, or recurring donors, it can be modest, so, it could be, “What if we saw an increase of 5% on that?” And then over time, you all can do the math and work that out to see how significant that’s going to be over one-time gifts. So I would encourage looking at that number, finding something tangible and then shooting for that over the next four to six weeks.
BM: Yeah, and someone was asking, What’s the difference between recurring gifts and pledges? Do you want to explain that a little bit, Scott?
SD: Yeah. So a recurring gift would be a commitment on a regular basis to give an amount. So, I think it’s kinda like the rectangles are squares, square’s a rectangle thing. But the recurring gifts would be, you know, it could be typically indefinite. So I could say, “I’ll do $50 a month until whenever I decide to cancel that.” Or it could be for a period.
A pledge is usually a fixed amount paid out over a period of time.I think it’s just a slight tweak in the sense that a recurring gift would be time first, like, “I’ll give $100 a month.” Maybe I’ll do it for three years or indefinitely. Pledge might be, “I’m going to give you $3,000 over the course of this period.”
The reason why I like recurring over pledges—and I’m not knocking pledges, there’s a lot of successful organizations that have pledge models and I’ve seen them work great. So I’m not saying, abandon your model if it’s working.
The reason why I like a recurring gift model is, sometimes pledges can be hard to like hunting people down to get those done. You’d get a commitment upfront, then, basically, your admin work on the backend is going to be making sure people follow through on those payments. But if you set a recurring gift up, then those payments are typically going to be automatic.
With Kindful’s platform, that’s going to be automatically billed whenever that data is designated. Whether you are designated as a donor wants to do that themselves. So, that way, you don’t have to worry about the backend admin work on that.
So that’s why I would recommend the recurring routes. But, again, not to knock those that are taking pledges and are successful. It can be a very helpful thing if you’ve got a system down and if you do, I’d love to actually hear how that works.
BM: And if I can add to that, Scott, I would just almost say it, like, a pledge is a promise to give some money in the future. But you’ve got to, oftentimes, invoice them for that plan. You’re basically going to say, “You committed to giving us this,” but it’s a promise. There’s no contractual agreement or anything like that. Well, I don’t think so, in most cases.
But a recurring gift is someone actually almost creating a subscription with your organization, I want to be careful using that language because a lot of people think about that more as a membership. But it’s basically someone giving you the credit card information, saying, “You have the permission to charge this $100 a month,” on a specific timeframe that they choose. So they say, you can bill me $100 a month, $100 quarter, $100 a year. But they’re giving you their billing information, “So just go ahead and charge me, and then I’ll let you know when I want to stop.”
Where a pledge is: “I’m going to give you a bigger amount, over a certain period of time. But I’m pledging to give that to you in the future. I’m not giving it to you now.” So that’s a little bit of a nuance there.
But I would take recurring all day because you typically have their billing information. And they’ve given you permission to build them on some recurring basis.
Spring into 2021: Get your data organized.
BM: OK, so, Again, get your data organized. We talked about this a lot, but let’s spring in 2021. Let’s talk about getting your data or create segments and groups. Think about who’s given so far this year as you go into 2021, and then who gave last year, Things like that. Very simple.
Also, segmenting by program. If you have different programs, it’s a really impactful way to segment, especially as you think about your messaging and storytelling.
We have an organization that does quite a bit of work in Africa. They do water, they do education, and then people give to different segments or different programs.
And so you might want to be really specific if someone’s passionate about making sure that people have water in Africa. Let them know how many wells you’ve created, let them know how much water you’ve provided, if that’s what they’ve given to in the past.
Make a plan for your lapsed donors. Thinking about how you’re going to re-engage those again. Recurring options are a great way to engage lapsed donors.
And then identify potential major donors. If you’ve had a successful Giving Tuesday, and you’ve had a successful end of year, and you have got some new donors, how are you identifying whether or not they could potentially be major donors for your organization in the future?
Oftentimes, a single first gift is not necessarily indication of what they could give in the future, so you might need to do a little bit extra work to figure out how you should nurture different individuals’, not necessarily on what they’ve given on the past, but what the propensity to give is in the future.
Scott, what are your thoughts there?
SD: Definitely want to highlight two of those pieces.
Getting an NCUA scrub is a helpful thing to just make sure you’re not sending to the wrong person.I know that every dollar matters. And so you’re not sending mail that’s gonna bounce and paying for stamps for hundreds or thousands of dollars of things that are going to go to the wrong address. So that’s the first thing.
Second, I wanted to highlight that major donor piece. This is why at Kindful we built an integration with Donor Search called our Wealth Insights tool, so we can bring in this kind of data. I was reading there was a study released a couple of days ago by the Fed, and this may surprise you all, but on average—and every locale is different—but on average across the country this year with the stimulus measures that have come through and a variety of other things, household savings for the average American household is at a 45 year high.
So, if you all are are feeling tentative that the money may not be out there, let me tell you it is. People have more savings now than they’ve had in almost half of the century.
And that, I think, is more impetus to find who those people are and get a sense of their propensity or capacity, which are things that we can do for you Kindful. But if you don’t have that, find a way to look at some data and figure out who those people might be.
And I think a first nice actionable step might be finding those propensity pieces, looking at, like, what your top 10% of your donor base looks like. And then I would reach out personally, maybe that might be a call or an online visit or whatever that looks like to get in front of them.
Because I think the data across the country is telling us that, you know, there’s still wealth out there, and this could be a good year for people to step up and support you, and I think it’s worth the ask. You know, obviously you do it with tact, and you do it appropriately. But, I want to encourage people that it’s there, and this is a great time to identify those people. Especially as we move into 2021, when everyone wants to turn over a new leaf. And that’s also a good time to begin to have those conversations, To say, “What is 2021 going to look like? Will you all come on board for X amount? Or a recurring gift?”
BM: Yeah, it could be a great opportunity. You know, we’ve been talking about the value of recurring, but this could be a great opportunity to use pledges. They both go hand in hand, but it’s a great opportunity to do that.
I’m getting lots of questions around this, and it’s clear that we use some lingo that not everybody else is used to, but we had quite a few people ask, “What is an NCOA scrub?”
So NCOA scrub is a national change of address scrub. It’s actually when you change your address because you’re moving with the USPS, there’s a database that you can access or Kindful can access on your behalf to look for anyone who’s changed their address. So, it’s a great thing to do right before the end of the year, when you’re going to send out your tax summaries.
What a segue! But it’s a really valuable thing that you may want to consider doing, so that you know that you have the right physical address for individuals. So what do you need to be able to do that is their first name, last name, and a United States address for people—it does work in the US only, the service we provide—and what it’s going to do is scrub all those people and look and see, has their address changed, and if so, what is the new address and update those records for you.
It’s something that Kindful offers, most donor databases out there offer some sort of thing, or you can go get it done individually, just through CSV or Excel sheet, if you find the right organization to do it. That’s something that is valuable. Sorry about the insider lingo there.
Spring into 2021: Get set for tax summaries.
BM: Last thing: We did want to hit on tax summaries, because we think this is a really valuable moment that people don’t take as big of advantage of, and it’s also something that can be a big burden if you don’t have the right tools in place.
So, number one, let’s talk about streamlining the process. If you don’t have a platform that helps you send out tax summaries through a mail merge or through email—which ones can you send to each person which ones are undeliverable? Those are things that you definitely want to take some time to evaluate because it can save you hundreds of hours, depending on your database size.
The other thing is, when you send the tax receipts, and especially via email or via physical mail, you’re gonna get an opportunity to provide some copy or provide an email format or something. Use that as another opportunity just to show gratitude, to create a personal message, make it personal.
Then, the other big thing is prep for requests of copies as you get close to April 15th. There are going to be a lot of people reaching out to you, if you haven’t experienced this before. People aren’t going to be looking for those documents until they’re doing their taxes. And we know that there’s a lot of procrastinators out there, that, on April 14th, are going to be crunching the numbers into QuickBooks trying to work through there or in TurboTax trying to work through their taxes for the year and they’re gonna reach out and say, “Hey, I never got my proof of donation,” and they’re going to be asking for that.
Scott, I know a lot of those are your ideas, so I should probably just let you speak to them.
SD: Yeah, those are the, “Bradley and Scott’s Save you 50 Hours Free Tips.” Shout out to my people out there that are doing this now, if so, we should use your chat—but doing the 10 key plus Microsoft Word, and you’re just going for it. You’re blocking off your calendar for two weeks and you’re just getting it done.
There are easier ways to do it. We can definitely help you there. But I’ve done it before. so I know firsthand. It’s the worst, and I think my, my wife was running a nonprofit one year, and it just got so bad, they didn’t even do them, which, I’m pretty sure is illegal, but I would not recommend doing that.
BM: I actually don’t believe it’s illegal. I think that donations are tax deductible, but it’s the responsibility of the donor or the individual to show proof of the gift.
So, they could do that from a copy of a check, copy of whatever, but just pointing out that it’s definitely good for your donors for you to provide that data, right. Make it easy for them to show proof. I think that the burden of proof is on the donor themself.
SD: Otherwise, I think they’ll come and knock knock on your door in April to produce those anyway. I think for all of you, if you don’t have a streamlined process, let’s talk. There’s an easy way to do that.
As Bradley mentioned, any time you have an opportunity to get in front of your donors, you have an opportunity to say something personalized and to thank them in a way that’s meaningful. So don’t throw away that opportunity just because you think it’s standard fare to send the tax summary.
And then lastly, those requests: one of the reasons we keep a log for the contact profile inside of Kindful is because we know that those requests come, and digging through Dropbox or Google Drive is tough. So, I would recommend getting a strategy. You’ll thank yourself in April when you get, you know, dozens or hundreds of requests for a re-send of those. Just keep that in your back pocket and help yourself down the road to do that. It will be beneficial.
BM: OK, Scott, we’ve got 11 minutes left. We’re done with the content and data that we wanted to go through, but let’s do some Q&A. We’re going to do a little bit of a fire drill session here. We’re going to attempt to get through every question, and so I’ll tackle some, I’ll let Scott tackle some.
“With the changes in the CARES Act, and Charitable Donation deductions, are people talking to donors about this as more reasons to give?”
So I’m not an accountant, nor am I a tax expert, so I don’t know the specifics about the CARES Act updates and how that impacts the deductible amount. But I would say, if you can find documentation on that, Scott, do you see any reason why organizations shouldn’t educate their donors about those additional benefits if they’re there?
SD: If you find documentation, send it. That’d be my recommendation. I’m not aware of it, so, we’d actually be interested in seeing anything that you find. But it sometimes depends on organization type, like if you’re in healthcare or something like that, then it’s different. And there may be some additional things there, you know, there’s HIPAA and things, all sorts of stuff.
But if information that’s coming out directly affects the donor base, I would communicate that. People just like to know that stuff upfront, before they get some letter that they don’t understand.
BM: I would agree with that. If you can educate people, absolutely do it. You might want to do it a little bit out in advance of the end of the year, so you could put an informational blog post or something out, and just say, ”As you’re thinking about your end-of-year gifts, we just wanted you to be aware of how the CARES Act affects your taxable donation amounts.” I’m sure many people would appreciate that information. I know I would if I were on the receiving end of that
And you could do that separate from an ask, so that it’s more of a cultivation email and that can be really great, I think, like just to provide some value to your donors, and they come back later with the ask.
Linda asked: “We’re a membership organization. We plan to send the end of your holiday card to members, some of whom have recently donated and others who have not. How can we best tune our message?
I think, you know, Linda, one of the things I’ve been saying a lot: Give people the opportunity to give and maybe not create such a direct ask. So, if you’re ending the year, and you’re coming from a place maybe of gratitude—you said it’s a holiday card, so maybe it could go with gratitude—and then just kind of leave it hanging out there, what you’re still trying to accomplish, and how you’re still trying to meet this goal, to do this thing. “We really appreciate your support. If you’d like to donate, go here,” or something like that.
There’s a way to do it if you don’t have time to segment based on who’s given recently. Ideally, you might segment by who’s given recently and do a more direct ask for people who gave at the beginning of the year or last year. You agree with that, Scott?
SD: Yeah, I think there’s a disarming way to say that. So, maybe in that kind of last or second-to-last paragraph that note, you might say, “We’re still striving for X, Y, or Z,” or “Wanting to get X Y as you’ve done for the new year. We’re so glad that you’re a part of our community. If you feel compelled to give, we would love to have that conversation. Either way, we’re just thankful for you being aware of who we are and what we’re doing.”
Do something disarming like that, so it’s not a direct appeal to that particular person, but just to let them know, “We’ve got something going on. If you want to do it, you can. But if not, that’s not the point of this card. It’s just to say thank you.”
BM: I agree. Scott, I think you might be interested in this one, andI think we can tackle it from two ways.
What are your recommendations for effectively cold calling corporate donors? How to get in the door for matching?
I want to hit on one thing real quick now: it depends on how you’re asking. If you’re asking just to find employees and be able to match their gifts because the corporation has a matching gift program, you should go check out Double the Donation because they have a program where the donor themself can see if their company has a matching gift program once they have given. That’s great and it integrates with Kindful, it’s awesome.
But if you’re looking for a corporation to be more of a major donor to put up a matching gift, Scott, how would you handle that?
SD: I would first start with your personal network. If you’ve got a LinkedIn profile, I would start there and see if you have mutual connections with people at that organization.Let’s use a bank as an example, because donors know they’ll typically do something like this.
If you’ve got people in your mutual connections or network, I would maybe try to back door through them, so you can get either a virtual meeting or a face-to-face meeting, because they’re aware of who you are, are going to be supporting you, and be on your team from the beginning, if it’s a totally cold situation.
There’s probably a lot more there than we can cover in this time. But, generally, I would do a couple of things. One: Make sure that you’ve got the right contact person. That actually might be kind of a decision maker, or a person with a vested interest. So a bank teller may not be the person that would be making decisions on that. You’re probably looking for an executive or something of that sort.
And then in that call, I would certainly not like just word vomit pitch per se. I would just say something very short and say, “This is Scott Dalton with whatever nonprofit, and we’re looking at a couple of organizations to come alongside of us to do some matching and some corporate donations. We do X, Y, and Z. I know I’m calling you out of the blue, but is that something you’d be interested in at all?” And just kind of make it very broad and give them a chance to say.
No, we’re tapped out,” or, “Yeah, I know we’re always looking for new opportunities like this.” And then move along in that process. But there’s probably more there than we can cover, but there’s a 20-second call script skeleton. Make it your own.
BM: We’ve got five minutes left in the hour, and I’m gonna go through a couple of these
Betsy asked, “If the emails are personal and not branded, then how do you send more than one on the same topic?”
Let me make sure I clarify what I was saying. So let’s say you use a tool like Mailchimp and Constant Contact. All I’m suggesting is that when you build that template, that you don’t have a header image and you make it appear, that it’s coming from an individual. So, you still use your donor list to segment however you want, then you say that the sender name is Bradley Martin, the reply-to email address is bradley @ kindful.com. You could use a different reply-to email address, like a group messaging email address if you wanted to.
But the most important thing is that it comes from Bradley Martin, not from Kindful. So that’s the little differentiator. And then, maybe the subject line is, “Hey Bradley, quick question,” using a personalization tag in there and then the email is, “Hey, Bradley” with no image at the top. Nothing just, “Hey Bradley, I wanted to reach out,” just like you’re sending an email to an individual. But assume it’s going out to many people and you can do that all with Mailchimp, with a plain text template. All these platforms have what looks like a personalized template, so you should be able to do that.
I hope that helps, Betsy. What I am not suggesting is for you to sit down and have to write a Gmail email to every single person. You can do that if you want, but I would express that you might want to do that to major donors, not to all your donors. So hopefully that helps.
“Is there any data that says we should be fundraising between Giving Tuesday, December 30th, and 31st?”
Yes. December in and of itself is the biggest giving month of the year, I should say. So, yes. I think a lot of people were running into your campaigns that started on Giving Tuesday and then they do updates throughout the rest of the year, so I think it would probably not be a great idea to only send an email on December 31st.
Probably could be a better idea to let people know at some point earlier of what your goal is. What are you trying to accomplish and why, and what is the impact going to be? And then remind them of that opportunity to give all the way up until the night of December 31st. Do you agree with that, Scott?
SD: Yeah, I agree. If you don’t have a strategy in place now, and wish you had this data six weeks ago, it’s totally fine. Just scramble to get a couple of emails together. Don’t haphazardly throw them together, but we’re still only on December 10th, so you’ve got a solid 20 days. If you take a couple of days to formulate those emails, maybe send your first one out starting on Monday morning and get them to the top of the inbox, you’ll be in a good place.
No need to panic. If you’re already executing a strategy, maybe do some tweaks, or don’t change anything. But we’re still very much in the go zone, in terms of biggest giving month of the year, and how much time we’ve got left. There’s still time to cultivate that strategy and build it, And I would say a couple of other touch points in December are necessary in a lot of ways.
BM: OK, we are just about out of time. I did want to make a quick plug: If you are interested in learning more about Kindful’s platform, we’re a donor management and fundraising tool. You can feel free to go over to our website and, when one of our employees reaches out, just to hear a little bit more about your organization, let them know that you saw Scott on the webinar, and you’d love to talk to him about how to streamline your online fundraising. And that will get you in touch with Scott.
If you do need online fundraising tools, just keep in mind, it’s still not too late.
On November 30th, we were having people sign up for Kindful, and we were getting their donation pages set up for December first, Giving Tuesday. We can get you a donation page set up within about 24 hours and get you off to the races and being able to raise funds online, if that’s something you need. So, we can help in any way like that, Just let us know at kindful.com/demo.
Scott, thanks so much for the time. Everybody, thanks for hanging out with us today. We know it’s incredibly busy time of the year. Have a great rest of the year, we hope it’s super fruitful.
And we hope you have a great time with your families and things around the holidays.