FYI Blog

#NTC15 Takeaways That You Can Really Use

NTC 2015

Amy Padre0064At this year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference, my Avalon colleagues Allison Porter and Rob Malgieri and I saw compelling presentations on the convergence of nonprofits, fundraising, and technology.

Allison’s session—Online Fundraising Campaigns That Work Every Time—fully engaged a standing-room-only crowd that took to Twitter with their comments (#15ntcnoreinvent). She was joined by three Avalon clients: the National Parks Conservation Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the National Museum of the American Indian. Check out their presentation deck here.

In addition to Allison’s session, NTC breakouts provided statistics, best practices, and inspired ideas for including digital in your multi-channel fundraising mix. Here are my favorite takeaways:

Responsive Design

Make the case for mobile-responsive design with these stats:

  • More than half of all emails are opened on a mobile device.
  • 71 percent of people will immediately delete an email if it does not render properly on their mobile device.
  • Mobile email usage is expected to grow by 23 percent in 2015 and 22 percent in 2016.
  • Responsive design results in a 15 percent increase in clicks.
  • The first link in a responsive email has a 30 percent higher click rate than non-responsive emails.

And refine your strategy with these recommendations:

  • Don’t just shrink your graphics—think about what people may be looking for and shift or even remove content that can’t easily be reworked for the smaller screen.
  • Mobile agents like Apple’s Siri and tools like geolocation and digital wallets are gaining traction. Start looking into how they could improve your program.
  • Message still matters! Make your emails both responsive and compelling, with a strong case for support.

Digital Do’s and Don’ts

Please DON’T make these mistakes:

  • 37 percent of organizations don’t send an email within 30 days of a sign-up.
  • Only 44 percent of nonprofits ask for a donation via email within 90 days.
  • 36 percent dilute their message with more than one call to action.
  • 36 percent send emails with conflicting messages.
  • 65 percent require three or more clicks to make a donation.
  • 84 percent of donation forms are not optimized for mobile.
  • 73 percent of nonprofits don’t offer a share option after donating.

Please DO build on these trends:

  • Employ predictive analytics to refine your segmentation, ask strategies, and major donor prospects. Data analysis is no longer a luxury—it is standard best practice. We write often about this on Avalon FYI—here and here, for example.
  • The number of videos on YouTube is up 50 percent over last year. Could video be part of your fundraising mix? (The Ice Bucket Challenge was a wild card, but it garnered over 10 billion views on Facebook. Impressive!)

Year-End Fundraising 

In 2014, over 17 percent of giving took place in December, so it is never too early for year-end planning. Consider these ideas to amplify your efforts:

  • Send an early-bird email before you start your traditional year-end series, with a subject line like, “Cross us off your to-do list early.”
  • With a 36 percent year-over-year increase in donations on Giving Tuesday, it’s time to test Giving Tuesday tactics with your supporters.
  • After a donor makes a contribution, ask for a testimonial. After the testimonial, ask him or her to be a social media ambassador for Giving Tuesday.
  • Send an email to non-donors a week before Giving Tuesday asking them to pledge to donate on that day. Then send those who take the pledge a follow-up reminder.
  • Read more from Avalon on making Giving Tuesday work for you and why you need that matching gift.

The takeaway from all of these takeaways? There are so many moving parts in the digital channel, with new products and strategies introduced every day. The key is to meet your donors where they are and where they want to give; make it easy for them to give; and quickly acknowledge their support. Use digital strategies to support your tried-and-true fundraising methods, always remembering that a multi-channel donor is more loyal and valuable.

Pictured below (from left to right): Laura Connors, National Parks Conservation Association; David Saunders, National Museum of the American Indian; Elizabeth Bruns, National Trust for Historic Preservation; and Allison Porter, Avalon Consulting, presenting at their session: Online Fundraising Campaigns that Work Every Time.

AP and panel present at ntc 2015