By Amber Alarid, JVA Consulting
Yesterday, Tuesday, July 24, JVA was honored to host a Guest Presentation on Colorado Gives Day with online giving guru Dana Rinderknecht. Rinderknecht, who is the Manager of Online Giving for the Community First Foundation’s Giving First program, shared best practices for online giving along with some of her own personal experiences on both sides of online giving. She focused on Colorado Gives Day, but gave pointers that can benefit online fundraisers all year long.
“Don’t over-segment your donors.”
Never assume anything about your donors, Rinderknecht advises. Just because someone is an online donor doesn’t mean they wouldn’t like a handwritten thank you note. Just because someone wrote you a check doesn’t mean they won’t give online if asked. She shared a story of a woman who saw an announcement about Lutheran Family Service’s participation in Colorado Gives Day on her church bulletin. The woman was so enthusiastic about the organization and its services that she made her first time donation on Colorado Gives Day for $20,000. Focus on ways to bring attention to your fundraising efforts on a larger scale. You never know who may be moved to make a first time donation or a larger donation than usual.
Communicate with your donors
One of the most important ways to communicate with your donors is by thanking them. Rinderknecht quoted a study that found that “46% of donors decide to stop giving for reasons that are tied to lack of meaningful information or to a feeling that their giving is not appreciated.” Don’t let your Colorado Gives Day donors slip away after the first year because they feel underappreciated. Rinderknecht even suggests that this is a good time to communicate with your donors about ongoing giving opportunities. Thank your donors and ask them how you can continue earning their dollars. For example, ask if they would like to receive a reminder email from you about the next Colorado Gives Day, or if they would like to be added to your mailing list. Maintain meaningful contact with donors, and always remind them how grateful you are for their support.
Create a concrete goal
Build a sense of “urgency” around your cause, says Rinderknecht, by giving donors a concrete goal. Last year, Habitat for Humanity asked Colorado Gives Day participants to lend a hand in building a home for a family of four, and donors responded to the tune of $95,358. How do the dollars you raise support essential services that donors can relate to? Give donors a clear vision of how they are directly contributing to your mission.
Make giving easy
Visit your website via smartphone, tablet and computer to pinpoint any obstacles that may hinder online giving. If the donation process is too difficult or doesn’t seem secure, you could lose potential donors. Anticipate any problems and tackle them head on before any major giving campaign.
Throughout the presentation, Rinderknecht stressed that GivingFirst.org is open and excited to hear feedback from donors and participating nonprofits. If you have ideas to make the site better or have questions on how to maximize your organization’s potential, contact Giving First. If you have participated as a donor or nonprofit before and have advice to share with others, we encourage you to leave a comment below.
If you would like to learn more about making your Colorado Gives Day campaign stand out, or how to balance your end-of-the-year giving campaign and your Colorado Gives Day campaign so they don’t compete, join us on Friday, November 30, for our Development Director Breakfast Club session: Getting through the noise of Colorado Gives Day.