March is always an exciting time. Along with March Madness, nonprofit conferences go into full swing. In a span of three weeks South by Southwest Interactive, the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 51st International Conference armed nonprofits with new data, tools, best practices, tips and ideas to jump-start their 2014 fundraising.
Kimbia was at all three conferences, and presented sessions at South by Southwest and NTC.
Fresh on the heals of AFP, which took place in San Antonio, TX this year, we we wanted to share our biggest take-aways.
The Dominant Theme at AFP Was: Change
On the conference website the exhortation was to “SHIFT your perspective,” “SHIFT your way of thinking,” “Be prepared to SHIFT.”
SHIFT was definitely in the air.
Some of the standout topics of the conference reflected the need to SHIFT your thinking: organizational change, major donors, big data and peer-to-peer fundraising.
Peer-to-peer fundraising was the big one for us. Nonprofit organizations that have given social media a good college try are finding that to make the digital channel work they need to leverage their supporters and their supporters’ networks. In other words, leverage the “social” in social media!
Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Take-Aways
We attended a couple of the peer-to-peer sessions, and we were encouraged by what we heard. We noted a new sense of urgency – that now is the time to transition your supporters to peer-to-peer fundraising (If you need any ideas on how to make that happen, this article might help).
Here are some highlights from these sessions:
1. 1 in 4 solicitation emails from peer-to-peer fundraisers resulted in donations vs. 1 in 1,250 sent by the fundraising organizations themselves 1
Receiving a donation solicitation from somebody you know, such a close friend or a family member, is 300 times more effective than receiving the same solicitation from your organization.
The familiar name and gentle peer pressure of loved ones or a childhood friend means solicitation emails are more likely to be opened and donors are more willing to pull out their wallets to make that donation.
Kimbia pro-tip: while getting a donation might be easier, keeping the connection is harder. So make sure to have a plan for cultivating your new “donors” who are really warm prospects to your organization: they gave to a friend or family member, not to you, and you still need to make your case for repeat giving.
2. Peer-to-peer campaigns drove 26% of Facebook traffic to donation pages vs. 16% of Facebook traffic from all fundraising campaigns 2
That previous statistic referred to email (some people consider email the largest social network on the planet).
But looking specifically at Facebook, the 900-pound gorilla in the social media space, we see a similar dynamic: fundraising pages are more likely to receive traffic from Facebook when the referral source is a friend or family member.
I hope you’re not surprised.
3. 71% of all DIY donors were first time donors 1
For those nonprofit organizations who are resistant to online fundraising, the common excuse we hear is “most of our donors are over sixty.”
But if you are interested in growing, you need to consistently add new donors. Digital channels have proven to attract a new generation of donors, and the above data point illustrates the effectiveness of peer-to-peer fundraising in doing just that.
Please see Pro-tip in lesson 1 above.
4. Participants using one mobile tool (mobile web or mobile app) raised 2.2X more than the non-mobile group 2
But 84% of nonprofits have not optimized their websites for the mobile browser. If this is the case for you, these statistics should spur you to action. Mobile must become a strategic part of your peer-to-peer, and overall, fundraising efforts.
Nonprofits are starting to see the value in SHIFTing their mindset, their strategies and their tools to get better results out of their fundraising efforts. AFP presented lots of opportunities to learn, and there was no shortage of exhibitors offering innovative tools to help equip charitable organizations for the brave new world of digital fundraising.
Part of that important SHIFT is the need to explore and adopt new fundraising strategies. If you’re looking for a candidate for change, peer-to-peer fundraising is proving to be a formidable strategy – a conclusion we can back-up with solid data.
1. Source: Nancy Palo, “Peer to Peer Fundraising at AFPICON.”
2. Source: Claire Kerr, “The impact of social media and mobile technology on peer-driven fundraising campaigns – #AFPicon 2014”