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Fundraising

Help Your Board with Fundraising – Teach Them to Be Storytellers

By | Fundraising | No Comments

There’s an “F” word that even the most seasoned board hates to hear: fundraising. Boards should be your primary cheerleaders and fundraisers, leading the charge to support the organization’s mission and development through effective fundraising.

Yet many nonprofits struggle to achieve their fundraising goals and find their boards sadly lacking in that department. How can you overcome your board’s reluctance to be part of the fundraising team?

Three Tips to Make Fundraising FUN!

These three tips can help turn fundraising from the dreaded “F” word and put the FUN back in fundraising.

  1. Speak positively about fundraising: Many nonprofits bring up fundraising reluctantly as if it were a chore like cleaning out the garage. Instead of starting your fundraising discussions with sentences such as, “I know no one likes fundraising, but…” try to be positive about it. “Here is your opportunity to truly make a difference in our organization.” Help board members understand the positive impact their efforts make. Reframing the discussion around fundraising can help turn it into a positive activity rather than a dreaded chore.
  2. Provide training: Fundraising is more than asking people for money. Board members may not be aware of effective methods of fundraising such as storytelling (which we’ll get into in a minute). They may need coaching, encouragement, and examples to understand how to raise funds for the organization.
  3. Offer supporting materials: One way to make fundraising easier for your board is to provide them with supportive marketing materials and other items to make it easier for them to share the nonprofit’s story. For example, a video on your website or social media pages showing the positive outcomes of your foundation’s work can make it much easier to share the message with others about how your organization is making a difference. Powerful marketing materials can make it much easier to open up conversations around the organization and then close by asking for support.

Storytelling: Part of the Art of Fundraising

Communication professionals know that generalized information is difficult for people to grasp. Talk about a famine in Asia and people skip over it in the news. Share an image of one starving child and tell his story and people are galvanized into action.

The same goes for fundraising activities. It’s easy to say no to someone asking for a donation if you just ask for it for an organization. If you tell a story, with a beginning, middle and end, and a personalized message, people grasp the meaning. They are more likely to donate money to an organization.

Help your board understand the power of fundraising through storytelling by sharing with them:

  1. Personal stories and anecdotes they can use as part of fundraising conversations.
  2. Emphasize emotional connections. Emotions are remembered long after dry facts are forgotten.
  3. Draw people into the story. Listen to the best storytellers (TED talks are great places to go for inspiration and to learn how to frame a story).
  4. Teach your board members basic storytelling techniques – pacing, emotional connection, specific examples.
  5. Share examples on your website and social media platforms, too.

Stories hold great power. That’s why we start children off with fairy tales, fables, and imaginative stories when they are young – it boosts the imagination and helps kids frame the world around them. Stories for nonprofits help them illuminate their mission and vision and make it feel genuine to the people who can contribute funds to support the accomplishment of their goals. It’s the opposite of “begging” or “arm twisting” for donations. And best of all, it feels good to share the positive!

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Five Super Fundraising Tips to Boost End of Year Giving

By | Fundraising, Nonprofit | No Comments

It’s “pumpkin spice everything” season and autumn leaves are falling in many parts of the country. As the pumpkins appear on doorsteps and leaves tumble from trees, you know that the end of the year – and possibly the end of your organization’s fiscal year – is right around the corner.

With that deadline looms the specter of fundraising goals. Will my organization achieve its goals for the year?

These five “super fundraising” tips can propel your organization’s donations into hyperdrive and help it achieve its annual fundraising goal. Each can be implemented on its own. Together, it forms a solid strategy for boosting donations and getting you one step closer to your annual financial goals.

  1. Participate in Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday (#givingtuesday) is the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving always takes place on the third Thursday of November in the United States. This annual event began in 2012 as a response to the growing commercialism and consumerism surrounding the Christmas season. It’s a day when nonprofit organizations see a significant surge in their donations. In 2017, approximately $274 million was donated as part of #givingtuesday with $45 million raised through Facebook alone. Begin a #givingtuesday campaign by revamping your donor page, adding plenty of social media posts with the hashtag #givingtuesday to your social media roster several weeks ahead of the event, and alerting your donor list that you are participating.

  1. Amazon Smile

Amazon is a retail giant with approximately 197 million shoppers visiting the site monthly. The Amazon Smile program lets those shoppers choose a participating nonprofit organization to which Amazon donates a portion of  that shopper’s sales. With the slogan, “Customers shop. Amazon gives,” the program offers an easy way for people to donate to your organization. Set it up at the link above and encourage donors and friends of your organization to choose your nonprofit as the recipient. Do this now so that all people who shop Amazon for Christmas presents can opt into Smile and contribute to the fundraising activities of your nonprofit.

  1. Update Your Nonprofit Profile

Your “About” page, website, and external pages such as social media profiles and others should all be supporting your fundraising goals. Make sure they are all in alignment around your messaging, branding, and images. Be sure to update your IRS profile too.

  1. Update your GuideStar profile

GuideStar offers potential donors a neutral third-party site that provides factual information on nonprofits. Many people, jaded by too many stories in the media of nonprofits spending money irresponsibly, prefer to research a nonprofit before donating. If your GuideStar profile isn’t up to date, it may be a deterrent for donations. Update your GuideStar profile as soon as possible and pencil it on your calendar for annual updates.

  1. Update Your Facebook Page

Love it or hate it, Facebook is a must-use platform for nonprofits looking to reach the largest potential audience. More than 1 billion people use Facebook, or fully 1 out of every 7 people in the world today. Almost nowhere else in the world can you reach so many potential donors and constituents. Be sure to update your Facebook profile and post often. Share pictures, stories, and inspirational ideas that support your nonprofit’s mission. A good rule of thumb is to make 80% of the posts informational and inspirational and 20% donation related.

We’re approaching the most wonderful time of the year when peace on earth and goodwill to all reigns worldwide. Now is the time to tidy up your nonprofit’s online presence and image so that you can help your organization achieve its mission, by maximizing donations.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Fundraising Technologies that Help – Not Hinder – Your Growth

By | Fundraising, Technology | No Comments

You’re forgiven if you’re a little skeptical about the latest technology. We know the phrase “paperless office” is probably playing through your mind, but seriously, technology can help, not hinder, your nonprofit’s ability to grow.

The right fundraising technology makes it easier to connect with donors and encourage them to donate in support of your nonprofit. Here, we cover four new technologies or technology-assisted ideas that can boost fundraising activities and help your nonprofit reach its goals.

Four Technologies or Technology-Enhanced Ideas for Fundraising Growth

These four fundraising ideas incorporate technology or utilize technology for growth. Although some of them may sound far-fetched, they can all be implemented by even the smallest nonprofits.  These ideas benefit your organization’s growth and also benefit your constituents by making it easier to donate.

  1. Dedicated Online Fundraising Pages

Dedicated online fundraising pages are a lot like landing pages used in traditional marketing. These are pages set up specifically to encourage people who visit the page (“land” on the page) to donate.

In order to encourage donations, make sure that:

  1. Your page is clearly branded with your nonprofit’s logo, messaging, colors and images.
  2. You align your nonprofit to outcomes. Who are you helping and what will the donation do? Show pictures, tell stories, but make the outcomes come to life for anyone visiting and potentially donating to the nonprofit.
  3. Make checkout easy and friendly.
  4. Offer opportunities for both a lump sum gift and monthly giving.
  5. Ask people to opt-in to your mailing list to keep in touch.

 

  1. Text-to-Give

You’ve probably seen these campaigns during hurricanes or other natural disasters when major disaster relief services run them. “Text 12345 to give” enables people to give quickly from their mobile phone using a simple text message. It’s a great use of technology to make giving fast and simple and it taps into the population’s increasing dependence on their mobile phones.

  1. Fund-a-Need Programs

Fund-a-Need programs raise money for a specific need. Such needs may include a new roof on a building, or  new buildings, etc. Be specific in the need and in the fundraising goal. Establishing a special fundraising page for these campaigns and utilize social media to get the word out.

  1. Accept Bitcoin Donations

Bitcoin, Ether, LiteCoin, DodgeCoin and other cryptocurrencies can be accepted as donations. You’ll need to set up a special electronic wallet with a firm like Coinbase that enables you to receive cryptocurrency into the wallet and exchange it for dollars or another fiat currency. Many young people like using cryptocurrency. By accepting it as a payment or donation method, you’ll appeal to a specific techno-savvy group who may have money to share but prefer not to share dollars.

Why Try These Methods?

Nonprofits must keep up with technology trends the same way that for profits do. These trends impact your donors and can potentially make a big difference to your bottom line if implemented wisely.

You don’t need to become proficient at dozens of technologies. Implement one idea at a time. As you grow more comfortable with each innovation, you’ll be able to add more until your organization is up to speed with the latest technology.

The more routes or avenues you can open for potential donors, the better. Making it easy to say “yes” to a request and donate dollars or bitcoin will help your nonprofit organization flourish. Now is the time to embrace tech-savvy ideas for a brighter future.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Choosing the Right Payment Processing Service to Accept Online Donations

By | Budget, Cryptocurrency, Donations, Fiscal, Fundraising, Nonprofit | No Comments

Most nonprofits accept donations through their website. If you don’t, you are missing out on many potential donations. Donors motivated to respond to an online solicitation, email, or news articles about the cause your work supports may wish to donate immediately rather than write a paper check and drop it in the mail. Accepting online donations provides a simple, easy pathway for people to give when they are able and motivated to do so.

Yet with so many choices of online payment processors, credit card payment gateways, bank payment systems, third party payment processors, and now even cryptocurrencies, what’s a nonprofit to do?

We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for you to understand the many possible methods of accepting payments and help you sort through both the pros and cons of each. When you’re ready to proceed, if you still have questions, please call Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113. We are happy to help.

How Online Payment Systems Work

Nearly everyone reading this has purchased something online, so you should be familiar with how online payments work from the consumer end. The consumer end is called the “front end” or the “interface.” The shopping cart system is fairly straightforward, with variations to allow for different goods or services purchased. An online clothing retailer may have a spot for discount or coupon codes; a nonprofit may have a spot to share a message if the donation is in honor of someone.

Behind the interface or shopping cart  is a complex network of information shared by multiple parties to complete a credit card transaction online.

Encryption

Encryption means coding the information sent over the internet so that it cannot be ready unless someone has the key to decode it. After clicking “pay” or “order”, your credit card information is encrypted for security purposes. It then goes to an aggregator or a bank processor.

Aggregators

 An aggregator is a company that processes payments. As the name implies, aggregators collect payments from multiple entities such as merchants, nonprofits, and others to accept credit card payments and bank transfers without the need to set up a special merchant account. The aggregator makes an agreement with the merchant bank and batches multiple companies under their account for processing. In return, they assume a greater risk since they are dealing with multiple entities and may charge more for their services.

Acquirer (Bank)

 Merchant accounts are created by a merchant bank (called an acquirer). The bank settles and deposits the funds from the transaction into your bank account. They are responsible for ensuring that payment is rendered to your account once the transaction is approved.

Cryptocurrency Wallets

 Yet a third payment method available to nonprofits today is cryptocurrency. Bitcoin, Ether, LiteCoin and many other alternative payment methods are all potential forms of donation. Accepting donations in such coins is a slightly different process than accepting direct payments.

Cryptocurrencies are sent via the blockchain. An exchange facilitates sending and receiving cryptocurrencies. Senders can transmit their currency to the receiver’s wallet, a unique address that can be shared on your site to accept payments.

To set up a wallet, you’ll need to create an account with an exchange and submit information to pass KYC (know your customer). Cryptocurrencies received through the exchange can be changed into dollars or other government-backed currencies and deposited into your bank account. The exchange subtracts a fee for the transfer, which varies according to the exchange.

Pros and Cons of Each Payment Method

There is no clear-cut, single answer about which payment method is best for a nonprofit. You’ll need to weigh each factor in your decision.

Aggregators

 Pros:

  • Easier and faster to set up an account since aggregators tend to accept all types of businesses including new nonprofits.
  • Aggregators tend to be on the alert for fraud even more readily than banks because they accept riskier clients.
  • Better for small nonprofits with lower volume of monthly transactions.

Cons:

  • Charge a higher fee than banks.
  • Less customer support and service.

Merchant Banks

Pros:

  • Better for established nonprofits.
  • Better if you have higher volume of monthly transactions.
  • Better customer service than aggregators.

Cons:

  • Higher fees.
  • Pickier about who they accept, so if your nonprofit is new, banks may turn you away.
  • Tends to be better for high or steady volume, so if you can’t predict donation volume yet, may be costly.

Cryptocurrency Exchanges

 Pros:

  • Adds a new donation method to your nonprofit.
  • High appeal to young donors – millennials, Generation Z, etc.
  • Extremely high level of security through the blockchain.
  • Transactions cannot be reversed by the donor.
  • Transparency on both ends – donor can see that you received the money through blockchain confirmation.

Cons:

  • Fees can be high on some exchanges.
  • Nonprofit must pass KYC.

Clearly, there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to processing donations. Thankfully, there are plenty of choices, and you can use what suits your nonprofit the best. Sorting through your choices may be the most complex part of the process, but if you need help, please contact us.

 

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.