What's Changing In Fundraising & How Nonprofits Should Adapt w/ Chad Barger

Want to know how nonprofits should adapt? Struggling to know what's changing in fundraising?

​In this 1 hour special workshop hosted by Instrumentl, you’ll be able to know how to equip and motivate your board members, how to help the board members to get over their fear of fundraising and develop the fundraising habit, and what are the tools and samples that you can use to start building a fundraising culture within your board.

By the end of this one-hour workshop with Chard Barger, you’ll learn:

  • ​How to equip and motivate your board members to be great fundraisers.
  • ​How to help the board members to get over their fear of fundraising and develop the fundraising habit.
  • ​What are the tools and samples that you can use to start building a fundraising culture within your board?

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Chad Barger is the Chief Strategist & Owner of Productive Fundraising and he is a sought-after nonprofit fundraising speaker, master trainer, and coach. Productive Fundraising specializes in teaching the latest research-based fundraising tactics and making them approachable for small, community-based nonprofit organizations.

​Chad has spent his entire career as a fundraiser. He has worked in large shops and small in a variety of sectors (higher education, social services and the arts). The campaigns that he has worked on have raised in excess of $71 million dollars for the charities that he’s had the honor of serving.

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Click the video link below to start watching the replay of this free grant workshop, or check out the transcriptions below the video.

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What's Changing In Fundraising & How Nonprofits Should Adapt - Grant Training Transcription

Celia:  Okay. So, hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us today. And welcome to What's Changing In Fundraising and How Nonprofits Should Adapt. Chad Barger is with us. And this workshop is being recorded and slides will be shared afterward. So keep your eyes peeled for a follow up email for me, just in case you want to review anything from today, or potentially share this with a colleague or a friend or someone else that you think would find value in it. 

So if this is your first time here, this is a free grant workshop. And it's part of our Instrumentl partner webinars. So, these are collaborations between Instrumentl and our community partners to provide free educational workshops for grant professionals. So, our goal here is to tackle a problem that grant professionals are often having to solve. We're sharing some different ways that Instrumentl platform can help grant writers win more grants, and just in general, how nonprofits can think about some of these challenges. 

Just as a reminder, Instrumentl is the institutional fundraising platform. So if you want to bring grant prospecting, tracking, and management into one place, we can definitely help you do that. And we will talk a little bit about that as well. We will also be sharing some things throughout some resources. So you'll want to stick with us to the end because we've got some really great stuff to share there, including a link which will allow you to set up your own personalized grant recommendations in just a few minutes. 

So with that housekeeping out of the way, I am really excited to announce Chad Barger. So Chad is the Chief Strategist and owner of Productive Fundraising. And he is a sought after nonprofit fundraising speaker, master trainer, and coach. Productive Fundraising, his company, specializes in teaching the latest research-based fundraising tactics and making them approachable for small community-based nonprofit organizations. So with that, Chad, I am going to let you take it away here.

Chad:  Great. Well, thank you so much, Celia. Pleasure. Pleasure being with all of you here for What's Changing in Fundraising and How Nonprofits Should Adapt. This is the presentation I'm usually doing in person on a conference stage, the Iowa State Association of Libraries, or something like that. So, fun to be doing it in webinar format. And really looking forward to all of your questions at the end, because that's what I miss whenever we are not in person. I missed that little hand and the comments and the sharing and all of that. But thrilled to be here with you on the Instrumentl professional development platform. 

So I'm going to hop right in because I have a ton to cover. I've paired this conversation, this webinar down twice now to make sure we can fit in an hour. I will give you lots of resources, and you get the full-length piece in the resources. So, don't worry. You can get all of the content. 

But why do we do this presentation? I used to have to introduce it and kind of introduce a grumpy man here who says things like, “If it ain't broke, don't fix it.” “That's the way we've always done it.” They're on your board. They're on your event committee. It's why you're doing the same thing 25 years in a row. And what's the problem with that? Well, eventually, things are good. And then we hit this point where it starts being not quite as good, but still good. And then all of a sudden, we hit the point of negative returns and start going downhill. So we need to always be innovating, always thinking about new things. And what better way to do it, than learn about what's changing and innovate from there. 

And then finally, the old Einstein quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I no longer have to talk about any of that. I just put this thing on the screen. And you're all like, “Oh, yeah, that happened. We have to change.” It changed the way -- maybe not the way we do everything, but it changed a lot of things. So, let's dig in. What is changing? How are we going to adapt? 

Celia already told you who I am. Just a little more information on me, I am a career-long fundraiser. That's all I've ever done. I had the honor of serving on the front line for nearly 20 years. First three organizations listed there. I'm a CFRE, a Certified Fundraising Executive, and a master trainer with the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Past chapter President, woohoo to my Central Pennsylvania peep, which is where I hail from. And these days, I spend my time primarily serving small community-based nonprofits through my own firm, Productive Fundraising. And I have the honor of teaching at both Temple University through their 10-week online fundraising certificate program and Messiah University as well. 

That is me. And I did leave another bag. I'm from Central Pennsylvania, just outside of Hershey, PA where they make your chocolate bars. And my quiz for you folks not from the region, the local people need to be quiet. Why are your Hershey bars made in Central Pennsylvania? Cows. We have lots of cows. It's Hershey's milk chocolate. So lots of dairy trucks go in, and we crank out those bars and ship them to you all over the place. 

So with that, your first question is, where do I get this? There's a lot of data. There's some free resources, other things. So, we have two sites for you to go to today. This is the first one. And Celia will share the other one a little later with some additional resources for you. But productivefundraising.com/resources has these slides. And anything I talked about linked up, as well as some information and links over to Instrumentl as well. So, that's your keynote for the first half here. 

All right. We are ready to dig in. What's changing? And what should we do about it? Let's not just talk about the change, but how do we adapt? And actually, either take advantage of that or make sure we're not negatively impacted by this change. Let's get it out of the way. 

What did COVID do to fundraising? What happened? What's continuing to happen? What are some long-term changes? And it hasn't been long term, it feels really long term at this point. But it hasn't been that long term in the scheme of fundraising change and trends. But we have some initial ideas. This is crowdsourced from lots of different fundraising publications, researchers, association, tons of places of what happened, and what do we think is going to be some lasting change from all of this. 

First off, let's look at the pandemic year, what happened? First off, we were all really worried, right? We were all really worried. People couldn't go anywhere, couldn’t do anything, where are they going to give, were they negatively impacted? Well, everybody was hit differently. But overall, giving increased. Giving in 2020 set a new record at 471 billion, which was a 5% increase over 2019. 

Put that in perspective, we typically see between about a one and a half to two and a half percent change per year. So, it was at least double the normal increase in one year. So, huge growth in giving. More importantly, to me, the overall number of donors grew by 7.3%. So, we have been seeing a shrinking number of donors in recent years with fewer people giving more dollars. So this kind of brought people in off the sidelines, maybe some of the ones that were impacted by tax changes a few years before. But we saw those significant increases. And it was mainly coming from those lower level donors under 250. There were random donations that showed up, the fifties, hundreds, because your organization appealed and said, “We hope you're okay. But if you're able, we really have some need.” And maybe we need to completely clean our facility or adapt this program so we can operate in this current situation. 

We also saw a big growth online. Gifts made online grew 21% In one year. It has been growing about 8 to 10% per year. So, huge growth there. You remember when -- I came up here for this. You remember when beginning the quarantine period, and we were attending -- afraid to touch everything, even the mail? I don't know if anybody else did it. But my family, we brought the mail in with gloves, left it in the garage for four days. And then we dealt with it. Yeah. So, if people wanted to make a donation, they weren't doing the mail, they were going online. So we saw that big growth there. And that has just continued to be the trend.

One-third of US foundations increase their giving dramatically resulting in 17% increase in one year. Corporate philanthropic support was the only real drop because customer bases were changing. Some were hugely impacted by our friends in the hospitality and travel industries. Oh my gosh, can you even imagine? Yeah. So, that drops. But everything else more than covered that gap. 

More importantly to me than what happened is how is this going to impact donor behavior? What happened? So when we talk to donors about the giving in that year, this is some of the things they say. 30% of donors said the events of 2020, including the pandemic and social justice issues, let's not forget about that and the changes that impacted here, will have a long-term influence on the amount they give to charity, the causes they support and the channels through which they donate. So long-term influence. They're saying this was not a one-term, one-time blip in my giving behavior. It made some permanent changes. 

27% said they gave significantly more in 2020 than the previous year. We saw that in the data. 90% folks said they will give the same or more in future years. It wasn't a blip. We saw this hold true in 2021. We're giving stuff that stayed higher. A lot of us were worried it was going to dip. We continue to see some growth. It didn't keep up with inflation, which we'll cover in a minute, but we did see growth. 

28% of respondents said they will continue to make more donations online, leaving that move to online behavior. I'm no longer afraid to touch the mail, but I'm still staying online. I'm seeing some comments from my Canadian friends. You're going to have different percentages, but the overall trends do hold true. They do hold true. And I believe fidelity, one of these sources has a Canadian breakout. So, you can check. I always have my sources attributed here. And you can go for that. 

So, all right, what else happened? Well, I think we have a little bit of a reframed mindset around giving for fundraisers themselves. In the beginning, we were worried about, should we fundraise? Can we fundraise? Is it right to ask people for money in this situation? Well, I'm not going to read this whole quote. But this last sentence, don't let your unease with asking take away from the donor the chance to make an impact and feel better about the world. Anytime we're afraid of asking, we need to just get over ourselves. And not be pushy, but simply extend this opportunity and invitation. If you're okay, if the time is right, if you're able to extend this opportunity. Because remember, we couldn't leave the house. We couldn't do anything. We felt helpless. We couldn't volunteer where we always volunteered. But we could make a donation. We could contribute in that way. So, let's not let our own head and mindset get in the way of extending that opportunity to a donor to make a chance -- to take the chance and make us feel make an impact and feel better about the world. 

The final thought here, I think, is there might be a new hierarchy. We used to just have core causes, other causes, and obligation causes. So, the things I gave to because I felt deeply about the things that just kind of hit me on the right day and the things I had to give to, because my nephew sent me the handwritten thing for his school, a friend is doing a walk, those kinds of things. 

We think there's another group layered in here. And in 2021, we'll see if it's the same in 2022. But this is an early slide. So, it says Coronavirus causes. I'm calling it maybe COVID causes or even public health causes. What can I give to work to build up our capacity? So, this doesn't happen again. Or if it happens, again, maybe it's not so bad or when we're more prepared. So, maybe this is a lasting cause in people's minds. And that may cause some of these other pieces to shrink. So if you're seeing giving shrinking, when giving is going up everywhere, perhaps it's because you're not as directly tied to that or you haven't made your connection to the COVID public health, all these situations over the last two years. So, something to think about. 

What else happened because of COVID? Virtual events. How many people held a virtual event? Give me a yes in the chat. And if you held some kind of virtual event during COVID, we're going to see it explode because tons of groups held virtual events. Yep, here we go. See the chat flying? Yeah, we did them. They happened. And they will continue to happen. 

I'm not going to go into all the stats, but they were successful. They were successful. 70% of those that held events said they were successful. Only 3% could. They had a lot lower expenses, income. Some of us didn't really like them, and really want to go back to normal. But it happened. They also fixed some things. They dramatically increase the number of participants we could have. I was no longer limited to the 300 people who fit in the ballroom. I could have 1500 online. They finally solved the accessibility issue. Everybody could get there. Regardless of what reason kept them away, financial, physical ability. I have always had donors that didn't come to my gala simply because they have reached the age where their vision was declining and they no longer like to drive at night. It fixed that, right? 

Bottom line is donors will expect the option and they want to go back and forth. Quick story, I had a client who had done a wine tasting, at home wine tasting during the pandemic. So, they dropped off or mailed wine sampling to all the people that registered. They tuned in on Zoom and they had fun information. And then a sommelier led them in a wine tasting. All was good. They raised the same money from their gala. They raised more money for them from their gala. 

The next year, they did the gala in person. Breed donors reached out and said, “Hey, that wine tasting thing you did, yeah, I want to do that again.” What they're really saying is, “I don't want to give up my Saturday night and put on a tuxedo and a gown. I want to sit on my couch and tune in for a half hour, have some really good wine and support you all.” But, yeah, that worked. That worked for me. Right? 

So, there's this expectation we built. What works with virtual events? Here you go. Here are some tips. You can go through these at a later time. But this is what I've seen worked. It's not just putting a camera in the back of the room. Right? It's a 30-minute produced television show. You are their entertainment. They are no longer sitting with seven friends at a table being entertained for the event. You are the entertainment. So, something to think about. 

And I don't love hybrid. I have not seen a hybrid event where one side didn't suffer. Where either the in-person group, “Please hold on, we have to talk to the people on the computer,” right? I Saw a lot of that. Or the online people, it's just -- I'm tuning in and here's the sea of people and stuff going on. But no one's engaging with me. Right? They can both be held at the same time. But we need two different audiences, two different producers on those making sure both audiences have it. And it's a lot of work. I prefer to just do an in-person event or two and maybe a virtual event per year. And these are our options. So, make sure no one is feeling left out. 

All right. That's our COVID impact. I have to get that out of the way because it just has so much framing here. Now, let's look at some specific areas and how they are changing, how they've been changing before all of this craziness happened, and what we think we can do to address some of that. 

So big picture, that was 2020. What happened in 2021? 2021, overall in giving, increased to a record 484 billion. The number looks great at first. It was 4% growth. But it grew a lot more than 4%. Right? Inflation. We're still dealing with it. Hopefully starting to come down a little bit now. But when we adjusted for inflation, we actually decreased by 0.7%. So, giving is still growing. It just couldn't keep up at that pace. It was actually still growing and nearly at the same rate as COVID year, which was huge. We thought for sure it would drop to at least 2%, if not below. 

So, people are being incredibly generous. It's just not having the same impact because of these inflationary pressures. However, what we did see is the number of donors began to shrink again. It was people that came off the sidelines, those 250 and below dollar donors. They're the ones having the most impact in the inflationary situation. And that was just starting in 2021. So, we think that probably will hold true in 2022 as well. Less than 50% of households now make charitable deductions annually. So, something we got to think of. 

But individuals still give the most. We tend to forget about this in our fundraising. Foundations and grants, incredibly important. But it was one piece of the pie. Corporate. Important. One piece of the pie. And what do these pieces of pie look like? Individuals give 68% of all gifts, right? We added requests, it’s nearly 80%. Foundations that have grown. That used to be about a 14 to 15% piece of the pie. It's up to nearly 20% now. If you are not doing a concentrated foundation grant making effort in your organization, you need to. It's significant. Instrumentl today will tell you how to make that a little bit easier. So, great, great plug there. And I love that tool. 

But individual, 68%. So, that's where we should be focusing the bulk of our time. How do we figure ourselves up so we can spend more time on relationship building? How do we spend more time doing this now that we can do this again? Meeting with donors, having conversations, telling them about what we're doing, inviting them to come on board and be a partner with our organization. That's what we need to do. People give to people that they know, like, and trust. People keep giving to people they know, like, and trust. 

We already briefly addressed the retention issue that we've been having. I'll cover it in more detail in a minute or two here. But they keep giving to people they know. We need to spend more time building those relationships, anything we can do to free up time. So we get away from the computer, away from the office, and go and build deeper relationships with our donors. 

How do you make sure it happens? Well, one of my favorite management gurus, the great Peter Drucker. Famous quote is, “What gets measured gets managed.” Measure it. Do you track donor contacts in your organization? Do you track donor visits? Do you have a goal for donor visits and contacts? 

So for 10 years, I was an Executive Director of the United Arts Fund in my community. And I had a goal of 100 donor visits per year. 100 donor visits per year. So, I had to be on top of that. Now, it's averaging out roughly to three a week till you factor in vacations and holidays and things. So, I didn't have this pipeline and cycle going where it was continually reaching out, making sure -- excuse me, making sure I had time blocked on my calendar so I was out there. Do you have that in place for your organization? If you have a development staffer, do they have a goal? Can they have -- even if you're a really small shop, can they have two visits a month? Yes. Can they have 10 calls or contacts a month? Yes. And if you put the goals in place, it all of a sudden happens. What gets measured gets managed. And this can become part of performance reviews. I would much rather see this stuff become part of performance reviews than simply dollars raised. Right? This is what leads to dollars being raised. So give them the tools and encourage them to spend the time that is going to pay off down the line by raising some of those bigger dollars.

All right. Donor retention, still horrible. We mentioned it briefly. How to get a donor visit? I saw that pop up too. I've always found just being human reaching out, extending an invitation for an update from the organization, not asking on that first visit, because that's what they're afraid of? Maybe even saying, “I'm not going to ask you for more dollars, I just want to give you an update on our organization. Let's start that relationship.” 

We can dig in a lot more on donor visits. If we have time at the end, I'm happy to answer some additional in-depth questions there. And there are some resources. I have a visit request script, lots of things on my website that can help you that way, too. 

But let's spend a little bit of time on donor retention. Right? It is still horrible. We have been stuck. 43%. We have been stuck here for a long time. I actually really fear that we're going to dip when the 2021 data comes in. This is 2020. I was thrilled that we held through COVID. But probably going to go down. And our bigger problem is not the 43% that we keep from year-to-year. So this means if we had 100 donors at the beginning of the year, we don't have 43 of those same donors at the end of the year. We might still have 100 donors. We had to find 57 new ones just to stay flat. So, it's a big problem in our industry. 

The bigger problem is this number, 29%. That's the average first time donor retention rate. So if I make a $100 gift to your organization, as a first time donor, you've never heard of, “Who is this fundraiser Chad guy?” You only have a 29% chance that I'm going to do that again the following year. Unless you do something, unless you make me feel like a trusted partner, and a piece of the puzzle at your organization, and informed, and just appreciated. We do a very poor job of doing that. 

Why? Not because we don't care. Because we're too busy doing all the things. Right? And stewardship just doesn't become a priority. It doesn't seem like the thing that has to get done. Everything else has to get done. It seems nice to get it done. But it's not. It is essential. We have this donor pyramid we use. You look at any fundraising book -- oh, here we go. Nonprofit fundraising 101. On page 20 of this is going to be the donor pyramid. It's how we think about fundraising. I don't love the donor pyramid. I'm not going to get into it. I find it just doesn't happen this nice, neat way. They kind of go all over the place. But the slide is very true. 

It says on the side, donors move up through education, involvement, and more personal solicitation. Those are the things we don't do. We don't take the time to educate them, especially don't take the time to involve them. And our current solicitation is very impersonal. We just email blast them all the time, or send the mail, or send them mail three weeks after they already gave. And we don't personalize this experience. That's what we need to do. 

It says keep calm. Thank your donors. Appreciate the ones you have so they stay around and quit spending as much time chasing after new ones. Just take the time. Show some donor love. I put this up because it's actually an interesting exercise. If you search for #donorlove on Twitter, you actually get some really great examples of some creative stewardship that's popped up. Yeah, there is some weird stuff too. But you do get some fun examples of -- just creative ways that people have been thanking their donors. 

So some of you know where I'm going here. I throw up the number seven in a fundraising presentation and I'm going to reference the fundraising law of seven. Fundraising law of seven comes down to research done by Penelope Burke. It’s in one of these books too, Donor-centered Fundraising. She studied 40,000 households in the US and Canada about 20 years ago looking to answer the question,”Why do donors give?” And more importantly, why do donors stop giving? What do we do that causes that? And how can we change that behavior? I don't think she really knew what she was going to find. But in reviewing the data, they actually learned when they look at trends and donor behavior, that donors want to hear from us at least seven times between solicitations. At least seven times. And some of you are saying, “Oh my gosh, Chad, we are a little tiny shop. We can barely get the gift acknowledgments out within a month. How am I going to do seven?” Well, the beauty is that everything counts. So, that gift acknowledgment does count as one. Right?

And if we maybe make a thank you call or a board member makes a thank you call back, that can count as one. We send a newsletter that can count as one. It's easy to get these added up. We invite them to a reception, or something, where they don't have to purchase a ticket, that's there. But what I find is many organizations just have no clue how many touchpoints they have between solicitations. 

And I get that question. How often can I solicit my donors? I can't answer that for you. How quickly do you get the seven? That's how often you can solicit your donors. And the more customized and personal these touchpoints can be, the better. I have a whole listing of about 35 donor touchpoints for you, sample, some regular. Some are very creative on that Resources page, Productivefundraising.com/resources. It's one of your downloads for today. Get some creative touchpoints. Get more touchpoints in the mix at your organization. You don't have to spend a fortune. Some of them are free. You just need to take the time and make it a priority. 

But let's look at an easier way. How can we go from 43% to 85% donor retention? Monthly giving. Getting donors to give monthly. Having a consistent concerted effort at our organization to both bring in new donors as monthly donors from beginning, that's easier, and converting our current donors to monthly givers. Why? I already highlighted that retention rate. If that alone isn't enough to tell you that's the way you want to go, you certainly -- here is some other data. They give more. Average one time gift is $60. Average monthly gift, 100 to $228. Right? 19 a month is the average gift. They give more. They're more loyal. We already talked about it. 

So, I said it's 85%. They actually go to 80% after the first year. And after five years, you have a 95% retention rate. They just don't go away, unless something basically happens with their bank account or credit card. And we have auto updates built-in now, so the days of expiring credit cards are basically over. Yeah, you really have to be mad for it to stop, essentially. 

They also make more estate gifts. They're your best plan for giving prospects. And many times I hear people say, “That's great. I get it. Some people do that. But our donors don't do that.” Your donors do that. 45% of all donors give monthly. This was a pre-pandemic stat. I am nearly certain that is over 50% at this point. They give monthly. I credit our faith-based organizations who're starting this. They were on this trend way earlier that switched the tithing to automatic tithing. Right? You're going to throw a 50 in the plate every time it goes by, anyway. We'll just take care of that automatically. 

Fun side story, my church did that. I was an early adopter because I hate writing checks. And the plate came by and I kind of got these looks from folks. The plate went by. You didn't put anything in there. So, I didn't really like that. I'm doing my thing. So, they actually got these tokens in the early years that they sit in the back so you can grab a token on the way in and then toss it in the plate. So, I think enough people do it now that we don't have to play that game. But a funny little side story. But, yeah, they are doing it. 45% of all donors are giving monthly. And now is the time. 

This is why I say I'm certain it's over 50% now. 2020 saw a 26% increase in monthly enrollment. Right? 26% increase in monthly giving enrollments. That's huge. That's huge. There used to be increments per year. It resonated. Why did it resonate? Sustainability. How do I ensure the nonprofit that I love, the theater that had the clothes, the after-school program that I know is important to kids that my kid went through? If I give monthly, it just keeps coming. Right? It resonates right now. It's continuing to resonate. Last year, it continued to resonate. I'm still seeing good results on monthly donor conversion. 

I saw a question come up about giving through Venmo, the technicalities, all those kinds of things. You need to look up regulations from state to state. Organization, it can change. I do know of some nonprofits able to accept donations that way. PayPal. Everything is different. So, check your regulations, typically your state. I call them the ANOs, the Association of Nonprofit Organizations, which will have good detailed information. So your PANO, your SCANO, your INO. They can help you out on a lot of those regulations. But I can't keep up with all 50. 

I'm not going to go into this. But how do we kind of optimize our -- excuse me -- optimize for monthly giving? Here are some tips. Here are some ways you can optimize your giving forms. My key piece of advice here is make it first. Monthly giving is the first option everywhere. It's the first request on your online giving page. It's the first request in your year-end appeal, your mailed appeal. Your first request is to give monthly. Are they going to do it? No. Some are still going to just write the $100 check. But we're going to slowly reinforce this over time. 

Over time, sometimes they need to hear it 15 times in testimonials. These people give monthly “here's why” that can all help. If you want an example of monthly giving done amazingly, encourage you to check out Charity: Water. Charity: Water, they have a community called The Spring. This is their primary way. You have to work really hard just to make a one-time gift to them. But they treat this community The Spring, amazingly. 

And here's a quote from Viktoria Harrison, the co-creator, “All roads lead to The Spring. It's a charity: water's flagship giving product, the one that everything else relies on. The Spring is a passionate and determined group of monthly givers on a mission to end the water crisis in our lifetime.” Right? 

We don't just want to give and help. We want to end this thing. So, I'm going to commit and give monthly at a high level to make sure that happens. And I get information. I feel supported. Look into it. It's crazy. They have GPS trackers on their wells. You can see exactly where things are at or what's going on. But I mean, that's at a high level. But how can we take that concept and translate it at the level for our organization? 

I would love to talk for the whole hour on monthly giving, because I think it's so key. If you don't have a growing monthly giving program, maybe that's your one takeaway from today. Really go check on that. My top monthly giving expert is -- I'm covering her face for Erica. Ms. Erica Waasdorp. She has a monthly donor roadmap, which goes step by step on how to do some of this stuff. I have that as a download on the resources page. And I highly recommend her book. Her book, right here, Monthly Giving Made Easy. It's step by step. She's actually showing you giving pages how they're optimized, well worth like the 20, $30 investment there. I saw that pop up. My number one monthly giving tip? Don't ask via email. Seems really counterintuitive, right? They need to complete an online form. They get tons of email. They get tons of that. Send them very personalized mail, asking them to join monthly. Hand signed. Hand addressed. Crooked stamp. Weird envelope. Little insert. Note. Artwork from a kid, whatever. All these personalized things they’re going to pay attention to, read it. 

And then a week later, I send them an email that makes it easy with the signup form that looks the same. So, it's kind of a process. It's not just a “send them an email blast,” expect to get a bunch of monthly donors converting. Great question. 

Donors are being advised to bundle donations. All right. So, this is just something we need to think about. This comes down to the tax law changes four or five years ago now, were not that itemizing threshold greatly increased. So, many of our low to mid-level donors don't give enough to be able to itemize their donations to get that tax deduction. Most of us as nonprofit employees fall into that group. So, we certainly understand the situation. For groups that are kind of right on the edge, they used to give enough. They still give significantly. They're probably giving 6, 7, 8 grand a year to a number of charities. So, they might be showing up for you as a $1,000 donor. And they're doing the same for a few other groups. 

What are their financial planners telling them? You're telling them to bundle? Bundle. All right? So what this is, is essentially, they give traditionally, every December, right, 30% of all donors give within the last six weeks of the year. All right? So, they're one of those. They traditionally give you $1,000. December goes by, you don't get a gift. But like January 10th, gift come in. And you think it's just late and delayed in the mail. But no, it has a January 5th date. So, they clearly intended for it to be a gift in the next year. That's weird. 

And then December comes around. And they give that December. December, it comes in. Right? So, what happened there? And January comes and they don't get it. What's the shift? Well, they just got two donations within the same tax year so they could reach that itemizing threshold.

But they were 11 months apart instead of 12. Right? But what happens? Well, they showed up as a lapsed donor for you. Right? And they're going to show up as a lapsed donor for you the other year, because they're only hitting -- they're hitting doubles in that one year and then essentially taking a year off. Even if they're only taking 11, one year or 13 years to 30 months the following year, in their mind, they’re still an annual donor. And if we send them, oh my gosh, if we send them a lapsed donor communication, automated email, these kinds of things, it's just kind of a dangerous slippery slope. So, it creates big problems with consecutive donor tracking. 

I encourage everybody. Don't think of a donor as being lapsed until at least 15 months. These 15 months, if not, maybe sometimes 18, to just make sure we're not falling into this trap of, “They're trying to do something smart and help us even more, continue to help us at a high level.” And the second we say, “Oh, we're sorry to see you lapse.” What? No. What can you do? I would love to see that universal charitable deduction. It's been in a couple of COVID relief bills. Never quite made it through. 

We have bipartisan support. Talk to your legislators. Courage this. Coming from a head of a nonprofit organization is incredibly powerful. Us, fundraising consultants, they listen to us a little less. So, we'd love you all to reach out and encourage that universal charitable deduction. I can deduct it no matter what. Anything is deductible because I'm helping my community, my state, my nation. 

Online giving is growing rapidly. We certainly saw this data already… growing rapidly. I need to get my drink in the cup holder so I don't spill it on the tech. We've done that once before. That doesn't end well. 

Percentage of overall fundraising raised online. You saw it all. It was pretty steady, slow, slow, slow, slow growth, 2020 starting to pick up and spoiler. It's even higher going there. So, that's what we want to do. Online giving. 

Seeming question on the best free online giving platform. Problem is that it is free, right? You get what you pay for. So, you can certainly set things up for free. You can do PayPal. You can do other things. But if you get a form that is optimized, it is going to more than pay for itself. So, I like economical platforms rather than free. Best off is using something within your platform, within your CRM if you have one. If not, there are solutions out there for $15 a monthly fee that lets you have an optimized box. And guess what it lets you do? Put monthly giving first. One that comes to mind is Donorbox. But you can look at lots of different options out there. 

So, online giving is 13% of all donations in 2019. 18% of all online donations are now monthly donations, right? 28% are made on mobile. That is a big number change. And online donations are most often driven by raw, authentic video. Not the $5,000 you pay to have the produced video for your gala. It's on these. Cell phones. They have been with us all the time. “Hi there, Mary. It's Chad from the shelter. I just wanted to show you the new edition is done. I hope you'll come by and check it out. We couldn't do this without you.” Those kinds of things. That drives results and drives impact. 

I said it already. Oh, actually, no, I said a lower number, 28%. That's a slide that needs updated because it is now 33% of all donations are made on our mobile phones. My question to you now is do you know what that experience is like for your organization? Have you made a donation on your phone to your organization? Sometimes a lot of the forms are choppy and things go everywhere. If it's not an easy experience, you're going to lose that donation. They're not going to stop and go over to their computer and make it there. Now, they're frustrated. They might come back a month later or something. But they're done. You lost that donation. So after we're done here today, go online. Go on your phone, make a 10, $20 donation to your organization. See what that experience is like. What happens after you click submit? Do I get a nice heartfelt thank you? Or do I get a -- basically, it looks like I bought a widget transaction form. Right? What's that experience like? 

Stories over statistics. You've probably heard this before. We’re sharing less information, less statistics. We served a thousand families last year. And rather telling me the story of one of those 1,000 families is far more impactful. It hits the heart. That's what we need to appeal to in fundraising. Right? So, stories over statistics. It's gotten even more important to do so. Why? Because donors are increasingly loyal to causes, not organizations. Causes not organizations. They care about ensuring there is aid for the homeless in our community for housing and security. Right? They don't necessarily care that it's this organization that does it or this organization, or this organization, whichever one is doing the best job or maybe telling the story the best is the one that they're going to support. So the stories help the people your donors help. Tell stories about the people your donors’ help, not the organization. Right? Key is our people. 

How do we tell those stories? What are some key things? I already said it, it's a compelling story about one. One person, place, or thing. Not the 500. Not the 20. One. Give vivid detail, right? We paint the picture. And it's a solvable problem. My $100 can certainly help put food on the table for one family. We talked about the 355,000 food insecure families in our state, county, whatever. Yeah. My $100 does nothing there. So, keep it as a small piece where I can take some action. 

Who's the hero of that story? That donor, right? Not the organization. I think of the great Tom Ahern and his copywriting tips who say, “Use the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ in our correspondents.” Right? You and your at least twice as much as “my,” “we,” and “our.” It's not about the organization. It's not really about the beneficiary. It's about the donor. Right? We want to get out of the way. Let's connect the donor and the beneficiaries. Get the organization out of the way. “Without you, none of this would happen.” “Because of you, Johnny has a safe place to sleep tonight.” Those are some of the pieces of language we want to use in our correspondence. 

Multichannel is required to cut through the noise. We have to operate in multiple channels. We can't just do one thing. We can't just do the thing we like. I say it all the time. My personal preference is not fundraising best practice. Not just what we like. You can design tasks, everything. It's what works, what's proven to work. So, multichannel is required to cut through the noise. Critical mistake many nonprofits make is only emailing our donors. “Oh, email is cheap. No, we don't have to send the mail anymore.” I've heard it. Right? What's our problem here? Well, maybe a couple. 

Donors who interact with multiple channels are much better donors. Right? They have a 75 times greater lifetime value than other donors and they stick around a lot longer, too. So, we want them to interact with us multiply. We don't just want them to be an online donor. We don't just want them to be an email newsletter subscriber. We don't just want them to mail in the check every time we send a newsletter. We want them to engage in multiple places. 

The critical mistake many nonprofits make is cost savings at the expense of donor engagement. We need to spend money on donor engagement, not try to save money in this area. Email versus postal mail. What's the open rate? That's my question. What's the question there? Email versus postal mail. Well, my problem with email is the average open rate is 20%. 20%. You know yours? It's really hard to gather now that the iPhones, iOS system isn't reporting as well. But even  pre that changed about six months ago, what was your open rate? Hopefully, it's better. But we think we hit send on an email blast and all of our donors see that. No, only 20%. Thankfully, the 20%, which is a little bit, so maybe it's 30, 40% of seats. But still less than half of our donors actually see that. 

The beauty of the mail is they physically touch it. They get it out of the box and say, “Oh, ABC organization. I like them. They're good. They're telling me something.” Thrash. That's fine. They can go right in the trash. They had that experience. They don't have that experience if it skips their inbox and goes to their email blasts folder, which they empty out once a week. 

So, we need to be multi-channel. We need to raise money for multiple channels. As Paul said in the chat, use all the tools, right? And I'm talking a lot about individual donors today because I'm an annual giving guy. That's where I live, where I've spent my career. We already showed that growth in grant funding and foundation funding from about 14% just three years ago, up to 19% now. And I encourage you to stick around for the demo at the end. We're going to look briefly at Instrumentl and how it can help you manage that 19% of the poll and do it more efficiently and effectively so you can spend more time over here building relationships with some of the things we're talking about today. 

I'm going to start wrapping it up with a couple few more areas that fundraising has shifted. These are all quick hits. Phone fundraising has shifted. I started my career as a student phonathon caller at Slippery Rock University in 1999 dialing for Dollars. Right? Most universities don't really even have that anymore. Stanford most notably, a couple years ago, canceled the calling program. A few of them will have it for those donors that still want to have that conversation with the current student each year, but phone fundraising has really gone away. But it's still an incredible fundraising tool. As a thank you tool, as that stewardship tool. 

Calling to thank donors generated a 56% increase in first year retention. Right? That was 29%. It's a huge increase. And 72% increase in revenues. Who are you gonna call? If we were in person, somebody would magically yell, “Ghostbusters!” Right? Always happens. And you're not going to call them, right? We’re going to start with these groups. So, I would love for you to call all your donors. But where do you get the biggest return? First time donors? I'd love it to be all first time donors. But if you need to set a level, do so. Repeat donors, longtime repeating donors. And those monthly donors, key groups that we want to increase retention with. And who is going to make these calls? Not you. You have plenty to do. I want those board members to make those calls. Donors who receive a prompt personal thank you from a board member will usually give up to 39% more than the other group. 

If you struggle getting board members to make calls, share this slide with them. Right? That's their bonus as a board member, because they're not paid to do it. Right? It has more impact. They'll say, “I wouldn't know what to say.” It's on the download resources page, get my script adapted to your organization. Give it to them. Give them a couple of names. Let them have some great conversations with donors. 

Micro projects. All the rage, micro projects. So, I’d like to think of this as kind of taking our operating budget, or program budget specifically, and breaking it into little pieces. This program, this piece of equipment, these kinds of things. So, it's our puzzle. And I'm going to ask them to run many campaigns for each one specifically. So, my favorite example is the summer reading program at a public library. Something that the community remembers participating in as a kid they like to support. We can pull that out and run a separate campaign just for that. 

Why did they work? Well, it matches the current given climate, which favors more frequent, smaller donations. My gift to a mini campaign seems more important. It's like crowdfunding, which has grown in popularity, especially with our younger generations who don't love to make unrestricted gifts. We no longer give to this organization because it's what our family does. You give to this cause because I care about it now. I always say, what are those sexy things? What is the summer reading program in your program that you can pull out and run a special drive? And if it's at the time of year when it's really impactful makes super sense. My trick here is I add a corporate sponsor to each campaign. So, they get publicity throughout the campaign. We have a running start with dollars. And it's a way to engage that corporate audience there as well.

Oh, this one. Influencers led gaming campaigns. Right? So, the other -- that was about two years ago. My son comes into my office. He's all excited. He's 12 at that time. He wants to give $25 to this gaming campaign on Twitch for this guy he follows named Game Theory, who I'd never heard of, who's doing a million dollar pledge drive for St. Jude. Right? 

Here’s some video of something I pulled from it. I don't really know what they were doing. I think they do some kind of stunts or something and raise it. But million dollars for St. Jude, here we go. He's recognizing people. This is going on. There we see, $384,465 raised. Guess what? Game Theory on Twitch raised a million dollars for St. Jude. This is happening. Maybe it's not happening in your organization, but it's out there. Is there a gamer in your community that will do a $20,000 campaign for your organization? I bet. It's probably 22. How are you connected with them? But it's happening. Keep your eyes out. Be open to it. 

And the last one, which really follows that, it's happening. Be open to it. Crypto-philanthropy, donations of cryptocurrency. They are happening. 45% of cryptocurrency owners donated $1,000 or more cryptocurrency in 2020. And I'm sure it's grown since. 

How do they find out? 46% said it was hard to do it. Right? You weren't set up. You didn't have policies in place. You didn't have an intermediary. Right? Most recipients of crypto reported that the donation began via the Contact Us form on the website. They just said, “Hey, I'd like to donate crypto. Can I do that?” And the organization scrambled and found something. There are intermediate organizations. You don't have to have a wallet. There are organizations that will accept that cryptocurrency on your behalf, liquidate it, and send it to you. Right? Just say, “Yes, we're open to it.” Have a policy in place that protects you and says, “We're not going to be a crypto investor. We're going to immediately liquidate it.” Treat it like a stock donation. 

And my last one, QR codes are back. QR codes are back. So, I remember 11 years ago when QR codes first came out and we were super excited. Oh my gosh, people can be anywhere, scan this, and we can pop up like video on their phone. Maybe we could do a video on their phone back then. But they can make a donation. We can engage. They could sign up for things. And what happened? Totally flopped. Hardly anybody did it. QR codes kind of went away. Something to thank the pandemic for.

QR codes came back. We thank our friends in the restaurant industry. Right? Back when we were afraid to touch anything, they didn't want to print menus. So, what did they do? QR codes. They taught everybody how to do it. I tell the story two Memorial days ago now. My dad, we're at a picnic. He's flipping, gets his phone out, and wants to show me some photos. And I noticed every other photo has a QR code. What's going on? He said, “Oh, that's how you have ordered the restaurant now.” So, he thought you actually had to take the photo. But my dad is not a techie at all. And if we convinced him and taught him how to use QR codes, everybody can do it. So, let's do it again. That's working well. And one of my favorite ways is on the BRE, on the reply envelope, in the reply envelope that we send in our mail. Put it right there. And it goes to your online giving form, special form just for that appeal right there. So for our people that want to get online, they can immediately do it. They don't have to put that in their bill pile and take care of it later. But QR codes in our facility, all kinds of usage. At our gala, on the table, there is a video of something going on. But lots of great used cases for those QR codes. 

I'm going to wrap up with some additional resources for you. I go by @fundraiserchad on all of the social media channels. So, feel free to reach out to me with any follow-up questions if we don't have time to get to them today. I've seen a lot come in. So, I know we're not going to get to everything. But happy to answer your questions. 

One of the places I engage a lot is a private Facebook group called the Fundraising BuzzFest. It's on Facebook. Just search for Fundraising BuzzFest. It's linked up on the resource page. This is a group of about 850 fundraisers from very small shops just saying, “Hey, anybody tried this vendor? Anybody used Instrumentl? What was your experience with it?” Right? Those kinds of things. And my job is just to keep all the salespeople out. It's fundraisers helping fundraisers. Has anybody tried this? Has anybody seen this situation? I do a free monthly webinar as well. And this is August 1. So, September 1 is on September 28 at 1pm Eastern. We are going to cover annual appeals. What should go into your year-end appeal? How do we optimize that for this year? So, sign up for that. It’s on the resources page if you would like to check that out. 

As I said, my firm is Productive Fundraising. We do primarily board and staff fundraising, training, coaching for fundraising and nonprofit executive directors. And that person that mentioned staffing in the beginning, yeah, we see it. We do a lot of onboarding coaching for staff new to fundraising, so. And everything we do is packaged up in a nice little package for you in our All Access Pass. As I said, everything is on the resources page for me. And now, I'm going to kick it back to Celia for some Q&A. And then we can learn a little bit about Instrumentl and its great offerings for you.

Celia:  Oh, I'm muted. Okay. Awesome. Thank you so much, Chad. That was awesome. 

So, I'm just going to zoom through this really quick, because I want to make sure we have some time for questions here. But essentially, one of the things that I kind of heard, I think, today with that Chad touched on was how important it is to kind of think about these various sources of funding, right, and not sort of get pigeonholed? And so, I think that that's maybe more important now than ever. And he also mentioned -- the other thing I thought that was really interesting, Chad, that you mentioned was talking about a kind of a system, right? And not just measuring things like how much are you raising at the end of the year, but sort of all the pieces that kind of lead up to that. 

And so, I really wanted to touch on that in the context of Instrumentl because that's really why -- that's kind of at the heart of why we built this platform, right, was that we wanted people to be able to diversify their funding without having to dedicate an entire department of their organization towards grant funding. And we wanted to do it in a way that created a system that would sort of run in the background and make this really easy. So, at a high level, Instrumentl is a platform that allows us to do prospecting, tracking, and grant management all in one place. Right? So it's giving you active, private, public, and corporate opportunities. And then it actively continues to look for that for you each week so that you kind of have almost like a personal assistant in your pocket, right? So, they're sort of in there doing that work behind you at all times. Right? And we have all of the 990 data that you might need. 

And beyond that, it's sort of designed for the full lifecycle of the grant. So not just the prospecting side, but then also the application side and then all the way through to reporting so that it's all sort of organized and then you can kind of take that grant hat off and then focus back on things like monthly donors. So, what I'm going to do is in the next minute or the next couple of minutes here, very quickly, I am going to just share with you a little bit about how Instrumentl works. If you want to follow along with me, I just dropped a link in the chat. You can go ahead and sign up. That's 14 days for free. No commitment. And that is also how you can go ahead and pull a list of good fit funders, whether you apply to them today or next week or next year is up to you. But you can go ahead and pull those for free and kind of hold on to those. So, go ahead and sign up for that if you're interested in diversifying your funding with grants. 

But essentially, really quickly, I'll show you what this looks like. So, this almost looks like an email inbox. Right? But essentially, it's just good fit opportunities. And I can kind of scroll through here and I can see some information. And the cool thing about this is once I set up my sort of special algorithm, my special search, this is searching for me in the background. So I can set this up and then I can go back to focusing on monthly donor campaigns, my capital campaigns. I can focus on all of that and then this is just running for me in the background. And whenever I have a down moment or sort of a lull, I can come back in here and focus on here. 

So on the left side, you'll see these are all active opportunities. I don't have to sneak around the internet looking for whether or not these are open or not. I know that they are. On the right side, you'll see a little bit more information on the opportunity. You'll see what the funding is used for. So, this might be great if you are doing a donor campaign potentially around a particular program. Then you might want to kind of supplement that with a grant that's for more general funding, right? And so, you can do that here and you can sort of pick and choose and filter that way. 

And then I can also see more information from the 990. So this is pulling all of that really dense information off of the IRS website into a way where we can really quickly see, “Oh, look, this organization is giving more every single year.” The median seems to kind of -- or the average seems to be going up. I can also see geographically, okay, this organization is focused on Texas. And that kind of helps me think about competition. 

And then once I find an opportunity I like, I can save it to my tracker. I can set some notes here. And then I can actually kind of go in here and I could set some tasks for my team. So, it's just kind of keeps it all organized so that you can do -- you can diversify your funding without having to kind of reorient your whole organization. You can get some grant funding there as well. 

So, I am going to stop right there because we're right on time. I think, Chad, what I will do is I will share the questions with you. And then if we want to -- if you see any questions in there that you think are really great and you want to write a quick response to them, we will kind of include that in any follow-up information as well. So, I just want to respectful --

Chad:  Yeah, we can definitely do that. So, I'm seeing some in there. I will give you a heads up. Not a lawyer, not a state expert. So if it's something specific to regulations, that is almost always state specific. So reach out to your -- I'm Pennsylvania-based. It's our Pennsylvania Bureau of Charitable Organizations within the State Department. There's someone there that can answer those questions. And I already said the ANO group for your state. So for me it's PANO, the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations. They handle all of that. Anything else with tactics and other things, I'll be happy to comment on.

Celia:  Cool. The other thing is, if you all want more resources, I just dropped a link in the chat. I'm dropping it again. If you fill out that quick little feedback form, just a couple of questions, I will send you a direct link to all of Chad's resources so you have all that information that he talks about today. And then we also have something from us as well to kind of help you think about grants and think about prioritizing that in a fast way so that you can sort of maximize your fundraising potential. 

Cool. All right, everyone. Thank you so much for coming. Keep an eye out. We will send out those slides. And then any questions that Chad thinks he can answer, I will also send out as well in that email. So, definitely keep an eye open for that. And I hope to see you all next week. We are talking about how to know if your client is grant-ready, and how to assess grant readiness. So, make sure you tune in for that as well. 

All right, everybody, have a great week.

Chad:  Take care, everyone.

Celia:  Thanks.

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