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Care2's Digital Engagement Blog

Learn how to grow your nonprofit through Donor Recruitment, Online Fundraising, Advocacy, and Social Media with Care2’s team of expert nonprofit professionals.

Ryann Miller

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The Next Generation of Canadian Giving

The Next Generation of Canadian Giving was just released by StratCom, HJC and Convio. It looks at donor behavior and generational relevance -- in other words, what age groups give at what levels, how they like to give and how they want to be treated.
The primary finding from this study is not news, per se, but now has quantifiable data to support it: different age groups should be treated distinctly, and give differently. Don't communicate with the Civic generation (people born 1945 or earlier) the same way you would Generation X. They have different relationships with your organization, give to you differently (and at different levels), and need a different strategic approach. There are some valuable insights to be gleaned for this study regarding donors in general and Canadian donors in particular.
Here's the generational breakdown:
  • Civics: b. 1945 or earlier; 73% give; $833 avg annual contribution
  • Boomers: b. 1946-1964; 66% give; $725 avg annual contribution
  • Gen X: b. 1965-1980; 61% give; $549 avg annual contribution
  • Gen Y: b. 1981-1991; 55% give; $325 avg annual contribution
Here are the key findings:

Which group deserves fresh focus?
Boomers and Gen Xers represent significant donor pools. This means that considering their population size and average gifts, they give as much as Civics. Gen X donate $2.3 billion annually, Boomers donate $4.1 billion annually, while Civics donate $2.6 billion annually.
TAKEAWAY: invest in Boomers and Gen X today.

Preferred Giving Channels for each group (in descending order)
  • Civics prefer direct mail, checkout donations and tribute gifts.
  • Boomers prefer checkout donations, fundraising events, and direct mail
  • Gen X prefers checkout donations, fundraising events, and online donations (via the website)
  • Gen Y prefers checkout donations, online (via the website) and charity gift shops. 
  • SMS and social network sites scored the lowest overall donations by channel and generation. While it represents a small piece of the giving pie now, it will continue to grow.
TAKEAWAY: Forge relationships with chains where you can be the recipient of those popular, multi-generational checkout donations.  Trust matters more the older one gets, while convenience is a priority for the younger generations though overall, Boomers and Civics share some solid common ground. Start small but invest in social media, knowing that you'll see dividends years down the road with Gen Y primarily.

 

How They First Heard of You?
Primarily through mainstream media, whether as a promotion or mentioned in another context. With all the hype around social media, this is a refreshing reminder of the importance of mainstream and traditional media. 

 

TAKEAWAY: Make sure you have some budget allocated in these media sources for any campaigns, and try to earn other media, such as interviews and mentions.

 

Communication and Involvement
4 out of 10 Gen Y and X donors believe mail is important. 
TAKEAWAY: Get their addresses and test DM with these generations! They might even give more.
4 out of 10 Gen X, Y and Boomers think participating in advocacy actions is important.
TAKEAWAY: If your organization and mission allows, test advocacy issues as a means for acquisition and a means to engage existing supporters.
Multi-channel is Actually Multi-Dimensional
The solicitation channel might be different from how the donor makes their donation, and might differ again from how they want to be communicated with over time. Nonprofits should offer choices regarding communication and donation channels and not expect donors to stay within any one channel.
Canadian-US findings of interest:
1 - 25% of Canadian donors give through monthly sustainer programs, while for Americans the number is just 16%. This is largely due to different banking structures and systems, resulting in a country where monthly debits can be made through checking accounts, and done so very easily.
2 - Peer to Peer Power: twice as many Canadian donors say they support friends, colleagues and family through peer to peer fundraising events. 
3 - Americans are more likely to give with their mobile phones (8% of US donors vs. 3% of Canadian donors). This is largely due to U.S. mobile carriers enabling mobile giving faster and better than Canadian companies.
All in all some great learnings from this study. I think much of this data would look the same if done with American donors, but it's nice to see Canada producing its own study as a benchmark for Canadian nonprofits. Thanks to StratCom, HJC and Convio for taking this step in the right direction.



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  Topics: Online Fundraising

Apps and Tools to Energize your Base

This is the thing about online apps and mobile: they are the next big thing for nonprofits today. Even if your organization doesn't have the budget or human resources, you might like to know what you could do if the budget fairy left you a surprise gift. 
Last week I attended a session on this topic at the Women Who Tech TeleSummit. The session was entitled Apps and Tools to Energize your Base. This session was an interesting look around the ever-evolving universe of online and mobile tools used to mobilize people online. Divided into three sections, it began with a look at the importance of text messaging by Jessica Bosanko of M+R Strategic Services, then went to apps and tools, discussed by Shana Glickfield of the Beekeeper Group and then wrapped up nicely by Amy Sample Ward of NetSquared who discussed measurement; both what and how. What it didn't cover was the strategy behind mobile, how to choose the right tool for your campaign needs, or anything related to mobile fundraising; that's okay though -- this session never pretended it would cover those topics. It delivered on exactly what it said it would: the tools and apps. It was like looking around a store, seeing what other people buy, and thinking about what you want to or might buy, and perusing the merchandise. 

Here's the recap of what I learned: 

Text messaging
There are generally five types of text messaging: 1) for fundraising; 2) for advocacy; 3) to distribute information; 4) driving traffic to websites, and 5) text replies (where people respond via text to an issue, or send a text requesting more info). Download the e-benchmarks study for all the analysis. 
  • Some stats about text message users: over 80% come from email lists. 
  • Growth rate is at about 49.5%, though churn is at 31%.
  • The response rate for text messaging where people are asked to make a call to a decision maker on the organization's behalf is 4.9%. That's six times the rate of 'call-in' emails (0.82%).
The Human Rights Campaign used text messaging in an innovative campaign in which they asked supporters to text back the word 'shop' and the name of a company, and HRC would send back a score from their Corporate Equality Index, telling them how supportive of LGBT issues that company is. 
The question I have is: if your an organization that doesn't do advocacy, or has an older constituency who would likely be less proficient with mobile phones, is there a place for text messaging for you? Even though mobile is the next big thing, is it the next big thing for everyone, or will some types of organizations be left out of this medium? If so, does it matter? 

Tools and Apps

Shana talked about the top tech trends of the day: social media, mobile tech, and location-based, social commerce (such as Groupon and Livingsocial). The tools that fit these trends are real-time and have a gaming quality to them. She then discussed the importance of geo-social, data visualization and crowd-sourcing.

Here's a breakdown with definitions:

Geo-social
: it means your smart phone finds you on a grid and geo-tags or codes you on a map. It's popular b/c it integrates the top tech trends listed above. Using geo-social apps for nonprofit-based causes (advocacy, for example), are low-cost, can help build loyalty, and are real-time. But beyond just being real-time, such apps can be used in a few seconds. So 'in a moment to spare', you can take action on an organization's behalf. For example, someone can use FourSquare in a few seconds and engage in a way that could reach a huge number of people. Using Foursquare you can create badges, prizes and mayorships to keep your constituents engaged. 

Data visualization
: mashups and APIs that display information in innovative and creative ways. Data visualization is modern storytelling, and people often find infographics helpful. Examples include word clouds, charts and graphs and photo collages 

Unconferences
: participant driven conferences, these are innovative ways to gather grassroots activists together to share ideas, make use of new technologies, mobilize around an issue and inspire collaboration. 
Two pieces of advice Shana had for the listeners was to only go into these emerging technologies once you've tapped the others. So if you still don't have a facebook page, or social media strategy in general, don't start here, start with the basics, and once those are in place and well-managed, then branch out into into these innovative tools and apps.  

Measurement
In this part of the session, Amy Sample Ward focused on the back-end. Monitoring and measurement leads to knowing and understanding your impact. What tools are you using to monitor and measure your social media efforts? What tools do you need to monitor, measure and analyse your impact?

The tools she likes:

Google Analytics:
 for web analytics. see where people are coming from, what's driving traffic to website. From that, determine where and how to engage people. Also, look at longer-term metrics and beyond the homepage: traffic to the donation form, the 'how to get involved' page are two good examples. 

Facebook Insights
: this offers free data about your Facebook community. Additionally, set up Google Analytics for your Facebook page. 

Nutshell Mail
: If you like getting your metrics via email, use this tool from Constant Contact. It has statistics on Facebook, twitter and more.

Google Alerts
: this is another great free tool to stay on top of what's being said about you. There's no limit, and you could start with your organization name, and move on to getting Google Alerts for your major issue areas.  

Listening Dashboard
: one example is Netvibes. This lets you have both a public and private view, so you can use it as an online headquarters for both your team internally, and for all your supporters as well. Use it as a centralized place for all rss feeds, Twitter tags you follow, Google Alerts.
She discussed the role of the influencer. While it's subjective and depends on your objective, we still know that influencers are critical, and you should have part of your social media strategy focused around growing this group of people. But the qualities you're looking for are engagement, loyalty, and level of activity. Beyond that you need to tailor your metrics to your objectives.
So coming back to my questions above, while mobile geo-social apps and text-messaging might not be relevant for your organization, everyone should be measuring and monitoring their own activities and efforts. A lot of these things may fall into the 'nice to have' category, not 'need to have', but nevertheless it's important to know  I think the bottom line is that while some of the tools in this toolbox might not be for you, others are or will be at some point. And with social media in general, it needs to be considered and analyzed in terms of the value to your campaign/issue/organization, and not as a channel on its own. 
Social media is what you make of it, and these apps and tools are only as good as the people behind them who are paying regular attention to developing them to their best capacity, and the people on the other side -- the users of the tools and supporters of your organization, who will use the tools you make available in creative, engaging and innovative ways on your behalf.



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  Topics: Social Networking, Technology, Web 2.0, Trends

Social Media ROI: The Metrics and Strategies

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Women Who Tech TelSummit. One of the most anticipated sessions (for me and I'm sure I'm not alone) was this session with Beth Kanter, blogger and Zoetica Media and Lauren Varga, Radian6 and moderated by Roz Lemieux of Fission Strategy. I've long admired and respected Beth, and I'm a fan of Radian6, a social media monitoring tool. This session covered a lot of ground for a fairly contained topic and I was impressed with the depth and breadth of the presentation. Beth and Lauren discussed both strategy and tools, tips and metrics, leaving little ground uncovered. The focus was around the ROI: how to think of the value of social media, the things you need before starting any campaign, and how to measure, analyze and sell campaigns. The one negative thing I have to say is that the session seemed to lack a coherent structure and while much was discussed it's hard to tie it together. So here's a recap with my own headings and sub-headings.
Part I - A Thoughtful Guide for Your Social Media Adventure
Let's say you want to get started using social media. Where? How? While this session wasn't a primer, Beth's four 'I's, plus the discussion on objectives and SMART analysis, are a fantastic starting point. 

The Philosophy and Definition of ROI
Beth's four 'I' terms are a contextual lens through which to look at social media ROI. She said she takes a broader definition of ROI, to include:

#1 Return on Insight:
this is about harvesting intel about what works and what doesn't, to apply to the future. Listening, learning and adapting - sometimes called an iterative process - means that you take a longer-term view of the project, that sometimes a culture change within your organization is necessary to make room for reflection, and that you'll find success and know what it is when you find it. If you find that tweeting about the hard-hitting emotional stuff seems to get the biggest reaction every time, apply this to remaining communications for this medium even if it means going back and changing agreed-upon comms pieces. Beyond that, remember it for future campaigns.

#2 Return on Interaction:
it's about engagement and relationship building with your audience. The goal is to set people on the ladder of engagement to become donors/members/lovers of your cause. But before you get there, how are they engaging with you? What are they saying? How do they treat your brand? This has to be monitored in order to be evaluated. 

#3 Return on Investment
: investment is about value, and measuring the relationship between what you've done and what it cost(s). Some tangible indicators are: fundraised dollars, new activists or email list growth, new volunteers, 

#4 Return on Impact:
this is about our big goal - to affect social change. Sometimes impact is different or more than just about investment. If you can use twitter to stop a company from doing something, or vote for something, while that may be hard to quantify, there is a return on impact. 
These four 'I' are valuable as a starting point for any organization looking to dive into social media in a concerted way. I'd recommend a discussion around these four 'I's by any team about to start a social media campaign, because it'll help you to be thoughtful and reflective, and therefore more strategic, as you get started and get comfortable with social media metrics and measurement. I think Beth's underlying point here is: do this thoughtfully and with goals and guidelines from step 0.

Start at the Beginning: Define Objectives that you can Measure
To follow up on the idea of what you need before getting started, one of the main points by both Lauren and Beth was to have your objectives mapped out prior to any campaign/project. Beth discussed using a SMART analysis: all objectives must be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timed. I think if you could only take away one point from this presentation, that should be it. With these objectives determined, you're as prepared as you can be 'going in', and you'll have tangible metrics to do proper analysis 'on your way out'. Only after you have your objectives should you start looking at the technology itself.

Part II - Now That You're on the Adventure, What are You Seeing and Why Does it Matter?
What to measure, besides dollars raised:
With that theoretical primer under our belts, it's time to talk measurement. Lauren discussed the usual suspects regarding measurement metrics: volume, engagement, sentiment, share of voice and share of conversation. (Quick distinction here from me, not Beth or Lauren:  share of voice refers to your brand mentions (in blog posts, tweets, videos etc) compared to your competitors within your issue or sector, while  share of conversation refers to the degree to which your organization is associated with the issue/problem that you want to fix/resolve/improve). 
What you measure has be decided in part by the objectives and goals you have. Want to grow your non-donor file? Measure quantity of new supporters, based on what engagement in what time-frame, and what issue they came in on. Want to raise money? You might then be less concerned with quantity of new names and more focused on the quality. Have they taken any actions sent to them, such as sending to a friend, signing a petition? Sentiment might be very important if you're trying to build loyalty and engagement, but not if you're trying to stop a bill from being passed.
I think share of voice is a critical metric and organizations should consider measuring SOV based on critical keywords outside of any specific campaign. In this age of hyper-competition, a savvy organization is one that knows where it's brand reputation stands for any given month. The value is that it's the outside world telling YOU who you're up against and by how much, not what you think, and not market research. Who owns the dialogue? How are you distinguishing yourself and claiming ownership of the issue? How are your competitors drawing attention? None of that is intrinsically obvious without ongoing measurement of your share of voice within your sector or issue area.
Lastly, a solid collection of do's and don't-do's when doing social media ROI:
  • Track the essential keywords regarding both your organization and your campaign. 
  • Don't do drive-by analysis, take some time
  • When identifying benefits, remember that some will be quantitative while others while be qualitative. For example, increased loyalty, sentiment and engagement, which are valuable benefits.
  • Link metrics back to results, and avoid "metrics as therapy" - the condition whereby you're gratified simply because you have new followers and they seem to like you. 
  • 'Spreadsheet aerobics': only collect data that works for you, that makes sense, and that you make actionable. Keep spreadsheets "thin and trim". You should spend less time on the spreadsheet than the project itself.
  • Be low risk, be simple, don't overdesign any test or campaign.
  • Think about what results you want to communicate: be concise, show the overall value and how you measured that, not the every minute detail and metric. Don't forget this is both storytelling and a business case.
  • Better that you start with a small and successful test, rather than a large and unsuccessful campaign. 
Useful links:
http://www.kdpaine.com/ (the metrics guru)

I took away a lot from this session, from the theoretical to the practical, from the small to the very large. While the parts seemed somewhat disconnected, Beth and Lauren know their material inside and out and did a great job of distilling everything. I'd love to hear what others thought about this session.

*Ryann Miller is the Director of Nonprofit Services for Care2.



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  Topics: Social Networking, Web 2.0, Trends

Can Happiness Impact Philanthropy?

Happiness is a better indicator of philanthropy than wealth is. And we shouldn't be surprised.

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