Yesterday was #GivingTuesday. It's the holiday season and consumers are in a giving mood. How do fundraisers ensure that mood doesn't melt with the snow? An onboarding strategy could prove the trick.
On Monday, The Chronicle of Philanthropy predicted the social media event started in 2012 by the United Nations Foundation and New York's 92nd Street Y would raise $40 million or more for various nonprofits. Tom Held writes that #GivingTuesday works as a hangover cure, meant to "counter the commercialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday with caring and giving." (Shoppers spent tens of billions of dollars between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday.)
A major problem for fundraisers, though, is many donors only give once. Putnam Barber and Bill Levis write about this mindset in their 2013 Urban Institute research titled "Donor Retention Matters." (Opens as a PDF)
"Statistics for about 1.8 million people who donated to 2,342 nonprofit organizations in 2009 and 2010 paint a pretty discouraging picture," they write. "Only 43 percent of donors who gave to these organizations in 2009 gave again to the same organization in 2010. That doesn't mean the donors stopped giving entirely, of course. Many of them may have given equally generously, but to different recipients."
The Urban Institute research goes on to say among that 43 percent, 27 percent of those retained had been new donors that year.
Sean Chisholm of StayClassy mentions the 27 percent stat in his Sept. 25, 2014, Constant Contact blog post and provides email onboarding advice to fundraisers so they can up that number.
1. Understand First-Time Donations May Be Emotional and Impulsive, Rather Than Intellectual. They don't know the organization yet, he writes. So aim an onboarding series at one target. "The most important thing to keep in mind is that you want to educate, inspire and provide new donors with additional ways to get involved," writes Chisholm.