This is the third of our four-part series of frank talks on social fundraising and its effect on the future of your non-profit with Managing Partners Todd Levy and Paul Ghiz of Global Cloud, the makers of DonorDrive Social Fundraising software. Part 3 covers the cost savings of social fundraising and the high cost of not adopting./em>
Fundraising shouldn’t be a gamble.
Traditionally there have been steep costs associated with making the ask. While old-school non-profits have firmly established and depended on methods like direct mail and paid phone solicitation, these are getting less and less cost effective. Donors (as well as potential donors) are not paying attention to their mailbox like they once were. They’re not tethered to their land line and with Caller ID on their cell phone, they’re not responding to calls they don’t deem urgent. What were once good bets for fundraising have now become gambles. And with ever less-favorable odds. While these methods are becoming more costly and less effective, online giving is proving to be a better bargain.
Social Fundraising is a money saver.
Todd: “The response rates traditionally on direct mail are minuscule: a couple percentage points depending on what the offer is. But if you look at the online giving and the social media interaction, you’re getting a significantly higher percentage. It’s much more economical. The other benefit is that you can track every piece of activity, you can analyze and see what’s working and what’s not.”
Paul: “Many times those who aren’t using Social Fundraising are very inefficient. From a staff resource perspective, many are doing things the old way, typically through snail mail and running things through spreadsheets. When they’re nurturing and cultivating those relationships in an antiquated way, they’re not going to be able to reach as many people during a standard work week. But the relationship-building tools in a social fundraising platform like DonorDrive are at work 24/7 and reaching substantially more constituents.”
Social channels let you change your message instantly.
Another improvement over analog communications is that the technology is there to make quick changes to get the message that’s working best in as front of as many supporters as possible.
Todd: “With online tools you can make a change in an instant. Your direct mail message can’t be changed at all, since you may have to have it ready eight weeks out. With online media you can analyze effectiveness and immediately make an adjustment based on success.”
Paul: “Online messaging is also traceable, so you can report on data that makes you smarter about what’s working, what’s not and what’s connecting and driving conversions.”
Turn your analog donors into digital donors.
Paul: “There will probably be opposition within your organization based on feelings you’re abandoning donors who don’t want to switch. But that’s not the intent at all. You can serve both donors. If voices in your organization are fearful of the change, propose a gradual process by introducing social and online options and using both efforts in tandem initially.”
Todd: “For organizations that don’t have a solid enough database of email addresses yet, we recommend leveraging offline efforts to get that email address, then ask that supporter to convert.”
Letters and calls are private and not social.
Analog communication tends to focus on one person. We’ve often thought of that one-on-one communication as so important for making the ask. Today that’s not the case. A physical letter doesn’t get passed on the way social media does. It doesn’t spread the word for your cause and generate new donations as it circulates. Social fundraising makes it easy for supporters to share their stories on personal fundraising pages and automatically show fundraising progress on badges wherever they’re embedded across the web.
Todd: Another factor that’s contributing to this net gain is that a deeply integrated social fundraising platform can handle many parts of the communication process automatically, without further action required by organizations or even supporters.
Paul: The automation for outbound communications that we’ve built into DonorDrive doesn’t necessarily require a further time investment on your part or even on the supporter’s part, once they grant Facebook and Twitter permission. The software does a lot of the work for you.
Explain to your board it’s a new option in giving.
Todd: “You’ve got to listen to the individual donor. You’re going to have some folks that expect direct marketing and that’s fine, you continue to serve those folks that way. I would remind them that they can save the organization money if they convert, but if they say they’d rather get the snail mail, then continue doing it that way.”
“But we have new organizations on DonorDrive that are less than five years old that are getting 90% or more of their donations electronically. That is a huge cost savings to the organization. They don’t have to open up all that mail and don’t have to process all those checks. There’s a delay associated with that old process. It’s become significantly more efficient to reach and receive electronically.”
It’s a matter of better efficiency.
When trying to convince those in your organization to change, it’s good to point out the efficiencies all around.
Todd: “It’s not just the donation processing itself you’re saving on. It’s in producing all those materials. One person in an organization can leverage online fundraising tools that can generate millions of dollars. The old traditional model is that you need an army of people to do that. Social fundraising provides a direct benefit to the back office savings.”
Paul: “It boils down to time and cost savings, but you also have to look at the increase in overall fundraising dollars that it’s going to produce. You’re going to save and bring in more dollars.”