Has Digital Disruption Skipped Fundraising?

Has Digital Disruption Skipped Fundraising?

The intent of today’s blog is to start a dialog. So, I hope you choose to offer your 2 cents. Over the past 20-years, the digital economy has disrupted just about each industry. Particularly in the business to consumer arenas. How we check out things we are interested in buying and how we purchase them has fundamentally changed. From buying clothes and plane tickets to watching our favorite movies – the internet is now the primary way we do these things. Yet, there are two notable exceptions: Grocery shoppingDonating money While there are digital components to each of these exceptions, they remain minor components. I have some hypotheses. But I’d really like to know what you all think. Why haven’t these two industries been disrupted? And are there any similarities about grocery shopping and donation money that might help us understand this all better. I’m all...
A Walk Into the Sunset or a Walk Off a Cliff

A Walk Into the Sunset or a Walk Off a Cliff

Blackbaud Institute’s 2018 Charitable Giving Report was recently released, and though giving was up 1% (due to large donors), the most disappointing metric for 2018 is that online giving remains stuck below 10% of total giving. Ten years ago, most of us (including myself) predicted that more money would be coming in online than offline by 2019. But donors have been stubbornly resisting the digital transition. This pesky fact has been the subject of much discussion around the watering holes at fundraising conferences. Digital has disrupted nearly every facet of the economy since its arrival a generation ago. Remember travel agents, mail catalogs and Blockbuster Videos? Yet, by and large, the old ways of fundraising remain unchanged. I think most of us would agree that digital fundraising will replace direct mail at some point. The question on my mind is whether direct mail will have a slow, steady walk into the sunset, or will it walk off a cliff because of some new Silicon Valley...

The Power of Anonymity

I have a daughter graduating from high school this month. Her class is heading for a mission trip to serve an orphanage in the Dominican Republic for a week. For her to go on this trip, she had to raise her own support of $1,500, or pay for it out of her savings. Honestly, I was hoping that she could raise half of the money, and then we’d kick in the other half. So, she started her own GoFundMe campaign, and to my utter shock, in the first day she hit her fundraising goal. Apparently, there were a couple of anonymous donors who made some big gifts. I don’t know who these people are, but I am grateful to them. And because I don’t know who these people are (they might even be reading this blog) I am motivated to be grateful to everyone I talk to. Because, I just don’t know. That got me thinking. In my line of work, we go to great lengths to segment donors based on their past or potential giving. And while I have oodles of data that show this is an effective utilitarian approach, I wonder if this approach does cause us to curtail our gratitude? I take these kinds of questions seriously. It’s one of the reasons I love fundraising. We are always struggling to optimize fundraising with a balance of art and science. And while we at Analytical Ones always think your decision should be anchored in the data, they must also be anchored in...
Dual Channel/Schmual Channel

Dual Channel/Schmual Channel

Google the term “dual channel donors” and you will get a plethora of websites stating the virtues of cultivating donors via multiple channels. Some of this information is all myth. We’ve recently done several analyses on dual channel donors, and here’s what we found: They are a lot more valuable than single channel donors, but you already knew that. That’s partly because by definition they are two gift donors. But even when you control for that, dual channel donors are still give more than a donor giving 2 gifts in one channel But here’s the thing, dual channel donors are as rare as unicorns. In any given year, only about 3% of your file give in two or more channels. Most surprisingly, the year after they convert to dual channel behavior, most of these donors revert to single channel giving. And they are equally likely to be offline only giving the following year as online only. So, rather than focusing getting donors to give in two channels, which I think is a waste of time, concentrate on making it super easy for her to give in the channel of her...

The Riddle of Digital Analytics Solved

Well, not completely. But we at Analytical Ones at least have adopted a standard philosophy for approaching digital analytics and strategy. And I bet you will be surprised at what we recommend. We’ve been doing varying degrees of digital analytics for as long as there has been websites. And as we have discussed before in early blogs, there are two main challenges with digital analytics. Not everyone captures the same data.  In direct mail analytics, we utilize the database that tracks donations. There are standard fields that every donor database contains that are extremely beneficial for analytics. In digital, even today, we don’t have that. Digital objectives vary by organization.  Sometimes an organization’s website is all about the gift. See the Michael J Fox Foundation website as a great example of a website that’s all about the donation. Most organizations split the website’s objectives into two: education and fundraising. And though these are two very important objectives, it makes optimizing the website for one objective impossible. And analytics is ultimately about optimization. The bottom line consequence to these two challenges is it makes digital analytics expensive. So here is what we recommend for EVERY organization: Hire a staff person who is designated to conduct digital analytics. The cost of hiring an outside firm like Analytical Ones is cost prohibitive because we have to do an extensive discovery process to understand what data fields are available. Instead, let your in-house analyst collect the data and run the reports. AND if you need help make sense of the reports, then seek assistance to integrate it into your overall fundraising objectives. This is...
Quick, You’ve Got 10 Seconds

Quick, You’ve Got 10 Seconds

A website visitor decides in the first 10 seconds whether or not they will stay on your page. In other words, by the time you finish reading this sentence, you’ve either lost potential donors or you’ve convinced them to at least spend a little more time getting to know you. According to an article by Unbounce, we may be neglecting the most important element to increasing our rates at which someone decides to stay on our site.  We want to test photos and headlines or call to actions, but we really should be focusing on our Unique Value Proposition (UVP). Yesterday, Jeff Brooks referenced this article and talked about how to fix your fundraising Unique Value Proposition on his blog Future Fundraising Now. I recommend you read the article to understand what your UVP is and how to communicate it. Now that you have read his article, you may be asking yourself, how do I evaluate if my website is communicating my UVP. Well, here is one way…create a word cloud of your home page. For example, here’s a word cloud from the home page of our old Analytical Ones website (forgive me for the self-promotion here). The words that popped like growth, fundraising, analysis, actionable, insights explained what we do but we realized we were not communicating our benefits of what we could offer to our clients. After a rebranding effort and a website redesign, we tested our UVP again by creating a new word cloud. Here are the results:   Notice the new words that are in larger font (the clouds give greater prominence to words that...