Posted by Bryan on October 23, 2012
Network For Good has announced that this Wednesday, October 24th, is its inaugural ‘Be Your Donor Day‘ – when they’re hoping to inspire nonprofits to set aside time to put themselves in their donors’ shoes and test the experience being provided for them. Whether it’s calling your main office phone line to see what they make of new donor questions, or enduring the trial by tick box that far too many online donation experiences turn into, it’s an opportunity to highlight any problems in time to get them sorted before the peak time for donations over Christmas.
Given how much effort and budget is invested in getting people to visit donation pages, I’m amazed by how many organisations still focus minimal effort on ensuring their donation process is as simple as possible for the potential donors who reach them. This explains why 47% of potential online donors in the UK apparently give-up before making a donation because the website journey is not intuitive or engaging.
In the light of this, ‘Be Your Donor Day’ is a great way of bringing the real donor experience to the fore and identifying both quick fixes and areas that might require further thought and investment across all of your donor touchpoints.
In support of the day, Network For Good has created a range of resources including a Be Your Donor Day Checklist, and a simple guide to website donation process testing.
Go on. Give yourself some time to see how it feels from your potential donors’ point of view. It needn’t take-up much of your day, and if you can rope-in some colleagues then you can share the testing around. I have no doubt at all that you’ll discover something that you can fix to help improve your donors’ experience – and your fundraising results.
Don’t forget to test your website on different browsers (not everyone runs the old version of Internet Explorer that your IT department forces you to) and different devices (get those smartphones and tablets out) – and also test-out the donation journeys for any SMS shortcodes you might have live.
Rest assured – whatever issues you discover, it won’t be as bad as the customer experience in the great Google video above! (Or will it?)
Posted in Online fundraising, SMS, Web design | Tagged: Be Your Donor Day, Bryan Miller, nptech, Online fundraising | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Bryan on June 20, 2012
Since writing my last post on what makes for great digital fundraising content, I’ve had the privilege of travelling to Malawi with a small team from WaterAid and Misfit Inc, who were training WaterAid field staff in the use of smartphones to live blog from the remote communities they work with. All with the aim of enabling them to create fantastic digital fundraising content for WaterAid’s ‘The Big Dig’ Appeal that launched earlier this week.
The Big Dig (#thebigdig) aims to raise the £1.2m needed to provide safe water and sanitation for over 134,000 people in some of the poorest communities in rural Malawi, with all money donated by the public over the three month appeal (to September 18) being matched pound-for-pound by the UK Government.
But WaterAid also wanted to use the appeal as a unique opportunity to bring supporters closer to the real work their donations make possible in Malawi, by enabling them to follow progress day-by-day throughout the three months of hard work that needs to happen before the ultimate highlight of drilling safe water boreholes for the communities in September. To achieve this two WaterAid field officers, Michael Kalawe and Nathan Chiwoko, equipped with Smartphones running the wonderful Instagram photo sharing App, have become the eyes and ears of the appeal – recording the highs and lows of their day-to-day work with the villagers of Kaniche and Bokola, live as they happen.
It’s an incredible fact that while the people in these villages have no access to clean water, instead being reliant on filthy scoop holes in river beds which make them and their children sick, through the wonders of the mobile internet as you stand in their village you can take and upload an Instagram photo in under a minute – and see it shared globally through Facebook and Twitter just minutes later. As I did with this photo of the scoop hole at Bokola.
As far as I know, the use of Instagram in this way by a development non-profit’s field officers to share their day-to-day work with supporters in support of a rolling fundraising appeal is a world first (at least @ajleon from Misfit Inc hasn’t heard of it being done before – and he should know!). However, given the compelling authenticity of the content that results – telling the real story of the need being faced and the impact your donations can have, day-by-day, as it happens – I’m sure it won’t be the last.
For more of a feel for The Big Dig appeal, take a couple of minutes to watch the great appeal promo video below and then click-on down to their website at thebigdig.org (and perhaps even give them a donation? Remember every pound you give is doubled – and it is a great appeal!-)
Then, have a think about how you can come-up with your own innovative fundraising approach using some of the wealth of digital storytelling tools available to us today.
Instagram was used in this case because it proved to be by far the easiest way to share stories from these remote communities, live. We would have loved to use live video, but while the mobile internet there is good – it’s just not that good. So video content like this has to be uploaded separately.
Your cause might not be the same as WaterAid’s and the situations you work in may be very different – all this means is that the tools you can use and the approach you take to bring your supporters closer is likely to be different. But used in the right way, the positive impact on your fundraising should still be the same.
And one last thought. Just incase you think this type of digital storytelling is too much to ask your front-line workers to help you with, I’ll leave the last word to Nathan in Malawi (that’s him liveblogging in my photo at the top of this post). When asked if he was happy to keep-on liveblogging throughout the project he replied “How can I stop? I feel the future development of Kaniche and Bokola is in this phone”.
Posted in Blogging, Online fundraising, Smartphone Fundraising | Tagged: #thebigdig, @ajleon, Bryan Miller, Instagram, Misfit Inc, Online fundraising, smartphone fundraising, The Big Dig, WaterAid | 2 Comments »
Posted by Bryan on June 8, 2012
I mentioned this simple “test” that I use when reviewing or planning digital fundraising content when I wrote about Truly Personalised Video Thanking back in January, but it has generated so much positive discussion when I’ve been using it in workshops and planning sessions since then that I thought I’d give it a short post of its own. So, here it is again:
Does your content make good use of the digital opportunities available to really bring someone closer to your work; help them understand the impact their support will have; motivate them to give (or give again); and make the experience of supporting such that they want to share it with their friends?
Breaking it down, to help illustrate what I mean:
- Does it make good use of the digital opportunities available to really bring me closer to your work? Through digital we have a whole host of new ways to engage supporters in more relevant, authentic, and genuinely interesting ways than ever before. Yet all too often I still see online fundraising content that looks just like traditional printed material pasted onscreen or into an email (especially when it comes to those generic, text-heavy monthly eNewsletters that so many orgs persist in sending me). Take a look around at how other brands (nonprofit and commercial) are capitalising on new ways to engage through digital, and think about how you might be able to use some of these to really bring your supporters closer to the work they enable you to do. And remember – just because you send me a video doesn’t mean that you’re bringing me closer, especially if it’s more along the lines of a corporate promotion than an authentic window on the work you want me to support.
- Does it help me understand the impact my support will have? Fundraising is all about inspiring and enabling people to help change the world for the better – and a key part of this is helping them understand the impact their personal support will have on what may well be a massive and complex need. Again, digital potentially offers new ways to achieve this that simply aren’t possible through traditional print or broadcast content – if we use it well.
- Does it motivate me to give? If you’ve ticked the previous two boxes then you should be well on the way to motivating me to give. But don’t just bask in the warm glow of great content and take my donation for granted. You still need to make it very clear that you do need my support – and make it really easy for me to give it.
- Does it make the experience of supporting such that I want to share it with my friends? Thanks to the ubiquity of social media these days, I can share your content with my whole social network with just one click. But my making that click depends on the experience I have when I engage with your content, and make my donation, and whether I feel it would be interesting/fun/relevant for my friends to experience too.
To help get some new content ideas moving, you can check back to a couple of my related posts on Personalised Video Thanking, and Strategic Blogger Outreach, as well as taking a look at the latest Oxfam ‘See For Yourself’ campaign to find a non-supporter to visit one of their their projects and report back on how donations are being used.
Plus – if you’ve seen any great content that you feel passes the ‘test’, then do share it by leaving a comment below…
Posted in Online fundraising, Video | Tagged: Bryan Miller, digital fundraising trends, Email, Online fundraising, Oxfam See For Yourself | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Bryan on April 30, 2012
One of the 12 Digital Fundraising Trends for 2012 that I wrote about in January – Contactless Mobile Payments – looks to have continued to develop in the UK with the news that Barclays are to trial a ‘stick-on’ NFC-enabled mini credit card called PayTag. The plan is that Barclays Visa account holders will be able to attach a PayTag to their mobile phone, enabling them to ‘wave-and-pay’ for items of up to £15 (£20 from June) using contactless payment terminals at over 100,000 different retail outlets across the country.
This is an interesting move from the company that pioneered contactless payment cards back in 2007 with its OnePulse card, and a clear attempt to overcome the barrier to smartphone-based contactless payment adoption caused by most smartphones not yet being enabled with the NFC chip needed to make ‘wave-and-pay’ transactions. But with the related report on the BBC News website receiving a mixed response through the several hundred comments it has generated, it remains to be seen how customers will feel about sticking a mini credit card to their phones to be able to join-in the contactless payment revolution.
An initial trial of the cards is to be conducted next Month, and then we’ll have to see whether it has been sufficiently successful to justify a full roll-out to all account holders.
I remain convinced that we will see mass market adoption of contactless mobile payments for low cost transactions – including donations – at some point. However, with a research study released last month reporting that of 2,000 British adults questioned, 60% said they would avoid mobile payments altogether, it may be that it will become important to fundraisers over a 3 to 5 year timescale rather than over the next year or so. Mind you – Visa and Samsung are still set on making the forthcoming 2012 London Olympics a showcase for contactless payment, in the hope that they can use their sponsorship of the event to help accelerate adoption. So, perhaps I should wait until later in the year before flagging this as a slow burn trend?
Posted in Mobile, Online fundraising, Smartphone Fundraising | Tagged: Barclays PayTag, Bryan Miller, NFC Donations | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Bryan on April 23, 2012
While I don’t have hard and fast data to prove it I strongly suspect that, after Emergency Appeals, Sponsored Event fundraising is the largest generator of online donations in the UK – with leading sponsorship fundraising site Justgiving recently announcing that its users have passed £1billion in funds raised since it launched 10 years ago. As such, I was particularly interested when I came across Guess2Give, a new fundraising site which is aiming to complement traditional sponsorship sites by adding a £3 per entry sweepstake element to any type of event – with a proportion of the money raised being given to the winner and £2.50 for each entry going to the event organiser’s chosen charity.
Launched in beta last year, and to consumers just this month, the site has already attracted a range of big and small brand charities as well as picking-up a handy financial boost in the shape of a £50k award from NESTA. The heart of its refreshingly distinctive proposition is that far from competing with traditional event sponsorship fundraising it will actually generate additional income from events as supporters fundraising for their chosen charity set-up both a sponsorship fundraising page and a Guess2Give sweepstake fundraising page.
I love the innovative thinking here – such a wonderfully simple fundraising idea and yet no-one seems to have come-up with it before (unless you know better?). However, I’m not so sure about the idea that event participants will set-up two types of fundraising pages and then promote both to their networks of friends and colleagues.
What I suspect might actually happen is that people who have asked their friends for sponsorship before and who like the sweepstake idea will go to Guess2Give so they don’t have to send around yet another sponsorship ask – which could have quite an impact on the amount raised. Assuming that the average sponsorship fundraising page generates around £600 (which doesn’t seem too far off, based on this presentation from Jonathan Waddingham of JustGiving (p8)) then the sweepstake fundraiser needs to secure something like 240 sweepstake guesses to generate the same amount. That’s a lot of friends doing a lot of guessing.
However, on the up-side, new income may well come from people taking part in less challenging and more fun events where a Guess2Give sweepstake is more applicable than traditional sponsorship. For example, one of the site’s promotional videos involves a charity paper plane challenge.
Only time will tell both whether event participants take to the sweepstake idea and whether the innovative approach generates additional funds for the sector or cannibalises traditional sponsorship fundraising by offering a novel but lower value way of raising money. The team at Guess2Give are certainly working hard to get their name out into the public arena – with quite a bit of media coverage related to last weekend’s London Marathon and a spoof face-to-face fundraising promotional video. So, it’s definitely worth keeping track of their progress.
Posted in crowdfunding, Online fundraising, Sponsored events | Tagged: Bryan Miller, Guess2Give, justgiving, Online community fundraising | 2 Comments »
Posted by Bryan on February 27, 2012
I first posted about the potential for QR Codes to be used by fundraisers back in early 2008 and, while it’s been some time coming, it’s been interesting to see how their use has started to take-off over the last year or so.
However, as explained by Scott Stratten in the fun video clip above, right now QR Codes seem to be coming-out like a rash in a range of places where they make very little if any sense.
I’ve now got used to seeing QR Codes at the end of some emails, linking back to the sender’s website. Clearly offering no advantage at all over a standard clickable link and presumably stuck there in the vain hope that I’ll scan their email on my computer screen with my Smartphone, or scan my Smartphone with a notional ‘other’ Smartphone when I’m reading my email while on the go. That just makes me smile at how daft some people can be.
However, what prompted me to mention this whole subject here is that a week or so ago I saw QR Codes under each of the prompt values on the proposed screen designs for the donation pages of a new charity website. When the client questioned this with their agency, the designer apparently wasn’t sure where these might link to but thought it might be good to offer the option. Good to offer a diversion away from perhaps the most important point in the transaction journey to an unspecified location viewed on another device by scanning the computer screen? No wonder almost half of all potential donors give-up without completing transactions if that’s the sort of thinking going into donation page design these days.
For more such examples of where QR actually stands for ‘Quite Ridiculous’ take a look at this list from eConsultancy (Top ridiculous points go to Bromley Town Football Club for shaving unreadable QR codes onto players’ heads).
The moral of the story – while everyone knows that mobile is becoming increasingly important in our new digital world, there is still a very important place for good old-fashioned common sense when it comes to how you should try to capitalise on the new opportunities on offer.
Also, never be afraid to ask your agency why they are recommending something that seems wrong to you. You never know, it might well be that what they are recommending is simply wrong – and by asking the question you can save yourselves both some embarrassment.
Posted in Online fundraising, Smartphone Fundraising, Web design | Tagged: Bryan Miller, qr codes | 3 Comments »
Posted by Bryan on February 20, 2012
Back at the start of January I set myself the target of publishing twelve posts on trends I think are going to prove important to digital fundraisers this year – both as a means of kick-starting my own thinking after the holiday season and to help inform your planning considerations at this key time in the year.
Judging by the comments, emails and RTs, the posts certainly do seem to have struck a chord with a lot of you – which is great!
Just incase you missed some, or want a single jumping-off place for all twelve trends, I thought I’d post a quick round-up here:
Hope you find them useful as you plan for 2012 and beyond.
If you’d like more information, or perhaps even a tailored briefing or workshop to help your organisation consider the implications and opportunities specific to you, then drop me a note using the contact form here.
Posted in Online fundraising | Tagged: Bryan Miller, digital fundraising trends | 2 Comments »
Posted by Bryan on February 13, 2012
Over the last few weeks I’ve been posting about some of the key trends I think are going to be important for digital fundraising over the next year. I’ve covered some interesting but as yet pretty nascent technology trends related to augmented reality and contactless payments; some brass tacks, back to basics trends relating to website design and email; and a couple of planning trends related to how Social Media is being viewed by fundraisers and the shift towards more integrated digital planning.
For the last in my 12 digital fundraising trends posts I’m going to leave the technology and theory behind and put the focus on the one crucial resource that will make the difference between your digital fundraising flying or not in 2012 – and that’s the people you have on your team who can actually make it all happen.
One of the most common questions I get asked when discussing digital fundraising is whether I know of any good digital fundraisers looking for a job. No surprise, given that (as shown in the chart above) the recent Third Sector State of the Sector survey identified ‘Web/Digital Media’ skills as those second most in short supply after ‘Fundraising’. Put together ‘Digital’ and ‘Fundraising’ and you’ve got an even worse supply/demand imbalance
In years to come, applying digital communications in support of fundraising will be built-into many fundraisers roles, but right now we haven’t reached that point and organisations are still typically reliant on specialists supporting the rest of the team when they need to employ digital activity. However, the number of experienced digital fundraising specialists around simply isn’t nearly enough to match the scale of the opportunity presented and the ambitions of most organisations in this area.
Agencies and Consultancies can help-out at key times such as strategic planning and website or campaign development, but you can’t just outsource every aspect of your digital fundraising and supporter engagement if you’re going to maximise on the benefits available for your whole organisation. Specialist suppliers are best managed by someone who really understands the areas they’re working on and who can truly own and guide their projects to successful completion – there’s just no escaping that. Hence the growing challenge for any organisation looking to capitalise on digital fundraising – of finding the right people to employ as their in-house specialists. Plus, of course, the growing opportunity for good fundraisers – to really get to grips with digital fundraising and supporter engagement as a key focus as they develop their career.
Whether you’re on the recruiting-side or the candidate-side, here are some thoughts to help you come-out on top of this trend…
Tips for Fundraising Managers looking to recruit digital fundraisers
- Be very clear and realistic about just what type of person you need. Do you need a clever technical person who can do it all, from website delivery to reporting? Or do you need someone who can work with the digital team in the Communications Department to help ensure that your fundraisers can make best use of the digital opportunities available?
- Talk to your peers to learn about how they’re structuring and resourcing their teams to make best use of digital. You’re probably all in the same boat, so having the opportunity to share ideas and experiences should help you all clarify your approaches
- Don’t always assume that a commercial digital marketer will be a better choice than a nonprofit person. They may well be, especially if they have relevant hands-on campaign management experience. But they will need to be willing to augment this with learning about how fundraising works, how nonprofit organisations work, and how to be creative with less budget than they may have been used to spending
- Don’t rule-out in-house candidates with the interest and aptitude but lacking experience. But if you do go down this route then take it very seriously and set expectations accordingly. With a clear Job Description and Objectives; a career development roadmap showing how and when they will gain the specialist experience they need; and budget to invest in training that gives them a good general understanding of all areas of fundraising they will need to support as well as any technical skills required
- Consider getting help when interviewing. A little digital knowledge can go a long way when well presented at interview, and if you’re not all that up to speed on digital (after all, that’s why you’re recruiting) you might not be able to separate actual experience from ambition. See if you can ‘borrow’ an experienced digital marketer or fundraiser from another organisation for key interviews to give you a expert eye on candidates
Tips for Fundraisers looking to develop digitally
- Balance your interest in all things digital with a rounded awareness of the full fundraising mix. Ideally get yourself the Institute of Fundraising Diploma (or whatever equivalent exists in your country) as a formal foundation on which you can build your digital skills and experience
- Don’t just fake it. If you are really interested in a career as a digital fundraiser then you’ll need to put real effort into properly understanding the full digital marketing mix as well as how to address the wider organisational and technical issues that you’re likely to face. It’s not all Tweeting and Facebook! You’ll need to be a confident fundraiser, comfortable with data interpretation, and also good with all sorts of people if you’re going to make a great digital fundraiser
- Make the effort to get connected with other digital fundraisers – in real life as well as online. There is lots to be learned through Twitter and Blogs, but you will also benefit massively from actually getting out to meet others working in this fascinating field. Conferences can be a good place to learn and network, but can be a bit intimidating until you get to know some people. A good alternative might be something like the regular NFP Tweetups or the @digitalFRforum which are far more informal gatherings where you can learn from case study presentations as well as meeting others from across the sector
This is the last of twelve posts on trends I think will prove to be important for digital fundraising in 2012. You can find the previous trend post, on Properly Joined-up Digital Planning, here.
Posted in Online fundraising | Tagged: Bryan Miller, digital fundraising trends | 1 Comment »