In today’s challenging economy, many people are strapped for cash. The tight purses don’t just apply to individuals, though. Many non-profits are strapped financially, especially when they first start up. As The Atlantic said recently “There’s no doubt that non-profits today face serious financial difficulties and constraints...” There's usually a very small group of people - three or four - who do everything that the organization needs to do. They all work 15 hours a day and they're exhausted after their first year on the job. When newer non-profits finally get to the point where their organization can effectively be championed and supported through direct mail, many people must decide whether it is better to handle the direct mail in house or hire someone to manage their direct mail program. Chances are they are going to be better off finding a direct response company to create and/or stabilize their fundraising efforts. Read more...
What percentage of total fundraising is coming from online donations? I recently came across an excellent article from Upleaf. Published in June of this year, it has some very valuable information, and will be of service to all your fundraising efforts. (Read the full article here: ONLINE FUNDRAISING TRENDS). It tackles the question of online fundraising and where it is headed. I recommend a full reading of the article and Blackbaud's report quoted in the article. Below I have summarized the three key points I took away as most valuable. 1.) The Future and Digital Fundraising According to Blackbaud's 2015 Charitable Giving Report, the vast majority of funds for non-profits come through traditional fundraising channels. As cited in Upleaf: “93% of funds given to nonprofit organizations came from traditional means in 2015 - major gifts, annual funds, fundraising events, checks, snail mail and by phone. Only 7.1% of donations to nonprofits came in online.” The conclusion to draw is obvious: Most of your fundraising efforts need to be geared towards the traditional means of fundraising. This is a bitter pill to swallow for a lot of people, but if you do not utilize the tried and true methods of fundraising you will simply not raise as much as you should. This is not to say that digital fundraising isn't important. It is. Online giving has been increasing year after year. “Online giving has been steadily growing over the last couple of years, up 9.2% from 2014 to 2015. (Blackbaud found a 13% increase in the number of gifts. This means not only is more money coming in, but more people are donating.)” 2.) Integrate Offline and Online Giving Channels Integrate all your fundraising channels. "Joint online and offline campaigns improve donor engagement. People who give both online and offline are more likely to keep giving than those who donate exclusively online or offline. Organizations retain about 58% of multi-channel first time donors as opposed to retaining only 29% of offline-only donors and 23% of online-only donors (2013)" 3.) Focus your efforts online at the end of the calendar year Remember that your online giving strategy should be geared towards the end of the year. 19% of all online giving occurred in December. There are two year-end campaigns strategies LDMI employees for our clients to take advantage of this - Giving Tuesday and Year-end tax deduction campaign. Throughout the year, spend time trying to figure out which messaging and design works most effectively and then employ those findings in December. In conclusion: Digital Fundraising is very enticing to non-profits, especially new non-profits. It seems to be easy, inexpensive, and easily executed. But in fundraising, all non-profits need to let the data dictate what they do, and, in the case of online giving, it continues to represent a small fraction of overall donations. The traditional means of fundraising continue to deliver the vast majority of donations and non-profits need to recognize, and act upon, this fact. Online giving is indeed important, but remains secondary to direct mail, major donors, and grant-writing. To learn more about LDMI Online Strategies, Sign up for our monthly newsletter of direct marketing tips here:      
Imagine being a donor in the process of giving to a non-profit. A potential donor sees an ad for your organization, be that tv, radio, internet banners, Facebook ads, something momentary, then they receive a direct mail package from you, and they are intrigued. But they haven’t heard much about your organization, and are therefore wary of giving their personal info to an organization they know almost nothing about. How do you, as a non-profit organization, get a new donor to trust you? A dedicated landing page is a great way to put your new potential donor at ease about giving their personal information and hard-earned money to you. (Click here for some quick tips on landing page design) LDMI ran a test over several months with one non-profit client to examine dedicated landing pages in an e-mail ask vs. a direct donate button in the e-mail. In each case, regardless of the content, the e-mail with a dedicated landing page out-performed the e-mail that linked directly to a donation page. Click here to see the full Case Study: Landing Page versus Direct to Donate. The landing page provides another opportunity for the potential donor to learn about your organization, and decide whether your organization is one that they want to align with. The landing page validates your organization to the potential donor. Your donors are not impulsive; rather, they are intelligent people who give to your cause because they believe in it. They give because they are attracted to the work you do. If they give to a famine relief project it is because they are drawn to that type of work. Knowing this, you shouldn’t hide your famine relief work, but rather, let your supporters know exactly what you are doing. Another reason why a landing page is so important is because an e-mail is not enough to draw in a new donor. E-mails, by necessity, are short and to the point. If a potential donor clicks a link in an e-mail, it is more likely because they want to learn more before they are prepared to give. Having a landing page provides you with an important opportunity. On that landing page, you can provide a short video from someone working with the individuals your organization supports, or pictures of the work are doing and the people you are helping. You can, and should, give details about why the work is important, and how donations are used. This concept is true for Direct Mail packages as well. Sending a direct mail donor to a dedicated landing page will convert more donors then sending them directly to a donation page. Do not shy away from the opportunity to help your potential donor commit to your project. Move and inspire them by adding a landing page as a part of your Direct Response campaign. To learn more about running a successful Direct Mail Campaign, click on the icon below for our free downloadable ebook, Keys to a Successful Direct Mail Campaign: Direct Mail for Non-Profits.    
More and more non-profits are moving their fundraising efforts online, especially Christian non-profit organizations. Online fundraising seems like a perfect fit: many Christian non-profit organizations are trying to do more with less. Online fundraising seems to be the easiest Direct Marketing solution for cash-strapped non-profits to implement - it seems inexpensive, anyone with a computer can do it, and every organization believes in the generosity of their online donors. But will your next Online Fundraising Campaign translate into net income for your non-profit Christian organization? More importantly, can Online Fundraising lead to sustained donations for your important programs and projects? DIRECT MAIL IS THE ENGINE THAT DRIVES THE TRAIN E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms are fantastic tools for any non-profit organization, Christian or otherwise, but Direct Mail remains the most effective means of building support and raising funds of any Direct Marketing solution. Any non-profit that wants to build a consistent flow of revenue, must build a solid Direct Mail database. A recent study showed that 60-80% of all non-profit donations come from Direct Mail. When the numbers are analyzed Direct Mail beats online channels, especially when you measure Return On Investment. (Click here to see a recent analysis) We're tangible beings. We like things we can touch and feel. We like the feeling of paper in our hands, and trust it to some degree. Thanks to internet scams and unscrupulous e-marketers, many people simply do not trust online solicitations. Direct Mail is something many donors trust and respond to. It’s a tool that physically bonds your organization with the donors. (To learn about starting a Direct Mail campaign click here) INTERGRATE, INTEGRATE, INTERGRATE Now to be clear online, fundraising has a place. When executing a non-profit fundraising plan, you should make every effort to ensure that all your different avenues of fundraising strategies are integrated. The key word in the plan is INTEGRATION. Direct Mail, Email, Facebook, Twitter, etc... should all be working together, conveying the same message, and directing donors to the same place. In the short term, these avenues may appear to compete with one another. But in the long term, if all channels are on message, all ships rise. If you coordinate your message across multiple channels and properly measure them, you will find that an integrated campaign raises more collectively. In all marketing, whether it’s for-profit or non-profit, familiarity plays an important role. People want to get to know the organization they are supporting. That's one reason we see the same commercial played over and over again on tv. The same is true for non-profits. If a client sees a post on Facebook about a certain project you are doing, then gets an e-newsletter explaining that project in more detail, when the Direct Mail piece comes asking for support, they are primed to respond because all channels worked together Single-channel messaging is no longer a viable option for non-profits. Every way you have of communicating with your supporters is important and should be utilized wisely. Keep your messaging consistent – both in look and content. All these touches are opportunities to reinforce your charity's message to your supporters. Direct Mail & Online Fundraising are both excellent fundraising channels that can be taken to new heights by proper integration. Ask us about how integrated fundraising can help your Christian non-profit organizations. To learn more about running a Direct Mail Campaign, click on the icon below for our free book, Keys to a Successful Direct Mail Campaign.  
Most non-profits are running Direct Mail programs, in some form or another. With the growth of the internet, Direct Mail for non-profits was predicted to decline. But the opposite has happened – Direct Mail is stronger than ever. Of course, Direct Mail still faces some serious challenges, but a good Direct Mail program provides a great deal of stability for non-profits. Regardless of the type of Direct Mail program you choose for your non-profit, there are two major, but often overlooked challenges that non-profits face in Direct Mail programs. These are: acquiring a second gift and reactivating lapsed donors. Read more...

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