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A Few Helpful Resources to Improve Your Year-End Giving Campaign

We've scoured the web and found several great resources to help you out when approaching your year-end fundraising campaign. Whether you've been planning for months, or you're just getting started now, you can find several helpful tips in the posts below:

1. "6 Fundraising Psychology Hacks You Need to Know" by Allison Gauss This one's a quick read with some insightful thoughts to consider when approaching your donors with a year-end appeal. 

2. This Year-End Fundraising Infographic by MobileCause contains some important facts as well as some great tips to consider when making your end-of-the-year ask.

3. "My Top Five Tips for a Profitable Year-End Campaign" by Gail Perry  
Gail Perry outlines some very practical steps to keep in mind when working on a year-end fundraising campaign.

4. "Comprehensive Guide to Year-End Giving" by Causevox  
This in-depth guide covers every aspect the campaign from figuring out your actual need, to planning, to marketing, and more. It offers a wealth of information that is well worth the read.

5. "10 Year-End Giving Statistics Every Fundraiser Should Know" by Andrew Dain
This post is not so much instructive as it is informative. It provides some interesting facts about how donors behave with regard to year-end appeals, as well as how your fellow nonprofit marketers approach the ask. 

6. "8 Ways to Make the Most of Your Year-End Fundraising Campaign" by Caryn Stein This post offers some great tips about the placement of Donate buttons and simple changes you can make to ensure the Donation process is simple and accessible to donors. 

Have you found other resources you've found helpful on this topic? Let us know in the comments below.

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What to Look for in an Online Donation Processor

Are you shopping around for an online donation processor? Is your primary criteria low transaction fees? If so, you're not alone. Most nonprofit organizations focus on keeping costs down to maximize donations. While transaction fees should be considered when choosing a processor, these fees are actually only a part of the equation, especially when dealing with recurring gifts or subscriptions. In fact, while it might appear that you are saving money with lower transaction fees, your organization could actually be losing a significant amount of money due to failed transactions. In order to be confident that a donation processor will take the steps necessary to ensure your gifts are processed successfully, ask these two key questions:

What type of methods do you use to recover failed transactions?
Let's say you have a donor who has setup a recurring gift to be processed on the first of every month. However, a few days before his gift was scheduled to process, he made a large purchase on his card, which did not leave enough available credit to successfully process his donation to your organization, and thus, the transaction failed. Without recovery methods in place by your processor, you would lose this gift in it's entirety. So while it is wise to get the best pricing overall, you must consider this cost in the equation as it can easily outweigh transaction fees if your organization receives a good number of recurring gifts.

In order to be sure your payment processor is able to proactively help in a situation like the one described above, ask them what type of recovery methods they use to proactively reduce the number of card failures. And when a transaction does fail permanently, ask what measures are taken by the processor to alert all parties involved and recover future gifts in the series.

What kind of efforts are taken to remind donors to update card expiration dates and replace outdated card information?
Suppose a donor's card expires, and a recurring transaction fails because the expiration date has not been updated by the donor. Ask your potential payment processor what type of reminders are in place to encourage the donor to update their card information. How simple or complex is the process for the donor? Similarly, if a donor reports their card as lost or stolen and receives a new card in the mail, what type of efforts are made by the processor to alert the donor to the need to update their credit card information for the associated gift?

At ServanTek, we have made significant advancements in the area of recovering failed transactions, and we're still working to make even further progress. Check out the video below to learn more.

Have you considered how many donations you could be losing as a result of failed transactions? Let us know in the comments below.

If you work for or know of a nonprofit organization who could use some help in this area, give us a call at 845-218-7180 to learn how ServanTek can help.

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3 Good Reasons Why Your Move to a Responsive Donation Page Cannot Wait

mobile donation pageDo you have a compelling cause? 
 
Are you looking for a way to boost your online giving? 
 
Does your nonprofit organization solicit donations through email campaigns? 
 
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, your transition to a responsive donation page cannot wait any longer. Here are three solid reasons a responsive donation page is a must for your organization:
 
Your donors are here today, gone tomorrow.
According to DonorDrive.org's 2015 Report on the State of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising, "85% of donations happen on the same day the donor first visits a fundraising page." This means that you may only get one chance to convert a visit into a donation. If a donor arrives at your page and is then forced to pinch and zoom to fill out a form, they may not stick around long enough to click the "Submit" button. 
 
In fact, according to Exposure Ninja, research shows that sites that are not mobile-friendly experience a bounce rate of 65-70% on mobile devices. That's 25-30% higher than the average bounce rate of desktop sites. This means, that your donors are leaving the page within only seconds of arrival, when using a mobile device. 
 
Micro gifts and impulse giving is an effective means of gaining new supporters.
Think about the donations you've given to both individuals and organizations in the past. Have you ever been compelled to give a small gift at a moment's notice? Chances are, if the cause was compelling enough, and you were only asked to give a small amount of money, you probably didn't have to invest too much time thinking it over. Micro giving campaigns can buy you a multitude of new contacts because of the fact that donors can give quickly and easily without investing a prohibitive amount of time or money. 
 
If your donation page is responsive, they can donate to this type of campaign while riding a bus, or waiting in line at the grocery store, or waiting for a friend to meet up for dinner. For example, let's say a user comes across a particularly moving video you posted on YouTube. In that moment, he decides to give $10.00 to your cause. If he arrives at a page that is not easily accessible from the mobile device he used to watch the video, he may not remember to come back later. Sadly, although your content may have been persuasive enough to incite the user to give, the process of working through your donation page would have required more time and frustration than he was willing to invest in the $10.00 donation. If you multiply that $10.00 by the number of users who will experience this same frustration and leave your page without donating, the loss could be devastating for your campaign. 
 
You might be missing out on potential donations from half of your email recipients.
Have you ever thought about the leverage you have with email campaigns? Not only do you have direct access to a potential donor's inbox, but you have access to someone who's likely opted in to receive your messages. This means that your message is not only being seen, but it's being seen by someone who is interested in your cause, and may have even made a donation in the past. According to the Experian "Quarterly email benchmark report" (Q1 2015), 50 percent of all emails are opened on an Android, iPhone, or iPad. If you are relying on a large volume of donations to come from these types of campaigns, you need to be sure your page is accessible for the 50 percent of users who will open them on a device other than a PC. 
 
For more helpful tips regarding online donation pages, check out our post on year-end giving here.
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Boost Year-End Giving: Four Elements of a Successful Donation Experience

With the holidays upon us, year-end giving is in full swing. Whether you're working on your email and direct mail campaigns, putting the finishing touches on an upcoming event, or you're getting your message out via social media, chances are, you're directing traffic to an online donation page.

Perhaps you're wondering what you can do to improve your current giving experience for your donors. Whether you'd like to improve your current online giving experience, or you're considering a new online donation processor for the new year, we've put together four key elements of a successful online donation experience.

1. Mobile is a Must!
A mobile-friendly giving experience is no longer a luxury; it's a necessity. Did you know that this year, for the first time in history, mobile internet usage exceeded PC usage? That means that the chances of someone arriving on your giving page via mobile device are now higher than the chances of that same donor arriving via a laptop or desktop. Just think about when and where a potential donor might access your page. Maybe he's waiting for a bus when he clicks a link from an email he received on his phone. Maybe she's reading an article on your website, while waiting to pick up the kids from school. If these users are unable to donate via mobile, chances are they're not going to remember to come back to your site when they have access to a laptop or desktop.

2. Offer Options.
Suggested donation levels are a good way to simplify the donation process and allow donors to easily click an amount, but don't limit your donors by only allowing specific dollar amounts. Be sure your potential donors also have the ability to type in any amount on your giving page, and be sure they have the option to setup a recurring gift. What better way to retain donors, than to allow them to set their future gifts to automatically process on a set schedule? Statistics show that on average, donors who setup recurring giving accounts give twice as much as those who give one-time gifts. If you're not allowing your donors to setup repeat donations, you're missing out.

3. Keep it Simple.
The donation process needs to be fast and simple. Did you know that roughly 40 percent of users will abandon your page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load? While this is important to consider for your overall site speed, it's even more critical for your online giving page. If users sense the donation process is going to be cumbersome, they might decide to give "later," when they have more time. If a slow load time gives them reason to question the security of your site, you might have lost the donation altogether. Once a donor leaves your site, it may be difficult to bring them back.

Another way to ensure the process is quick and easy is to avoid asking users to setup an account. If you allow recurring giving, the account setup is unavoidable, but it needs to be a streamlined process. Be sure to guide users through a quick and simple setup process, and only ask for the minimum information necessary to setup the account. For donors making a one-time donation, don't force them to setup an account. Ask for only the minimum information needed to process the transaction, and send them to a thank you page.

Finally, don't make a potential donor search your site to figure out how to give. The donate button needs to be front and center on your homepage so that when a user visits your site for the first time, they know exactly where and how to give as soon as the page loads.

4. Get the Features You'll Use.
Does your donate page look like a third-party website with little to no brand identity for your organization? Be sure your brand is easily identifiable on your donate page. If users are taken away from your website to give, the donate page should be customized as much as possible to display your branding. When users don't immediately see your logo, along with some similarities between your website and the donation page, they may begin to question the legitimacy of the page. Be sure your processor allows you the ability to brand your donate page.

Additionally, be sure your donation processor offers reporting tools to help you track donations and utilize effective accounting tools. Before looking for a new processor, be sure you know exactly what reporting information you'll need to collect and how you'll need to access this information so you can find a solution that best meets your needs. Finally, don't be enticed to spend more than you need to on systems that offer tools you don't intend to use. If you're paying high monthly or annual fees for tools that you may or may not use in the future, you're probably paying more than you should. Make sure you understand the features you need to successfully process online donations, and only pay for the tools you'll use.

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