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DMA Nonprofit Conference: Disruption at all Levels

The theme for this year’s 2017 Washington Nonprofit Conference is “Disrupt: Change yourself. Change your organization. Change the world.” And with this year’s global election cycle, it seems like the DMA picked the perfect theme to cap off 2016 and begin 2017.

The DMA Nonprofit Federation’s next conference will be held Feb. 22-24 inside the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel. The conference gives nonprofit marketers at all levels the tools to strengthen relationships with donors and spread their messages even deeper into the communities they serve.

Washington, D.C. is the nexus of ideas in the United States, where the biggest voices from across this nation come together to figure out how to make this country better. So, there is no better place for the hearts of communities all over the country to come together to do the same thing.

The conference will help nonprofit marketers better integrate their fundraising channels, enhance their databases to boost response to their campaigns, find new, creative solutions to common nonprofit problems and learn from expert nonprofit communicators who have experienced many of those problems themselves.

This year’s keynote speaker is the perfect voice to kick off the conference, from one of the most well-known nonprofits in the nation: Mara Liasson, NPR’s award-winning national political correspondent. Liasson has covered six presidential elections (from 1992 to 2012) and currently serves as NPR’s White House correspondent, heard regularly on All Things Considered and Morning Edition.

The DMA Nonprofit Federation will also be presenting The Max Hart Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the nonprofit sector. Winners represent some of the most inspiring nonprofit innovators dedicated to sharing the vast knowledge they have gained to help other organizations. Past winners include Joan Wheatley, VP of Donor Development at the Special Olympics, Geoffrey W. Peters, CEO of Moore DM Group and Sherry Minton, the director of Direct Response for the American Heart Association.

Two other can’t-miss events include the Wine and Cheese Reception with DMA Government Affairs and the Power Networking Reception. Be aware that both events require tickets, but the Wine and Cheese Reception is free for Nonprofit Attendees who register before Feb. 16.

On top of all the great networking events, speakers, awards and receptions is the heart of the conference– the learning sessions. There are too many informative sessions to fit into one article, but they all fit into four main tracks: Build, Retain, Understand and Transform.

Learning sessions include the fast-paced “Disrupting your Acquisition Program — 12 ideas in 60 minutes that will disrupt your thinking and are nearly guaranteed to improve your Acquisition results.” Another will delve into “The Great Donorcentricity Debate,” which tackles the question of whether more communication equals more donations or if donors want less communication and more control of where their gifts go. Other sessions will cover mobile fundraising, crowdfunding and environmentally-friendly fundraising.

With Washington, D.C. being the hub for the biggest voices and ideas for the United States, the Washington Conference is the perfect opportunity for nonprofit communication professionals to learn new strategies and sharpen their skills. Hundreds of development and marketing professionals will be at the Washington conference exchanging innovative ideas, generating insights and coming up with creative solutions to the hurdles that nonprofits face. Make sure you join them.

This article is brought to you by the DMA. Click here to register for Nonprofit Federation Conference, Feb. 22-24, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

In Peer-to-Peer Fundraising, Smaller Programs Seeing Big Gains

If peer-to-peer fundraising were a race, smaller campaigns would be more than keeping pace with bigger campaigns.

A study by the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum shows the financial results of smaller peer-to-peer fundraising efforts are broadly overshadowing the results of bigger efforts.

From 2006 to 2015, the study found, four peer-to-peer fundraising programs that were dominant 10 years ago have since seen “precipitous drops” in revenue. Those four programs are the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, the March of Dimes’ March for Babies and Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Komen 3-Day. From 2014 to 2015 alone, revenue for the biggest of those four — the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life — fell 8.1 percent to $308 million.

Meanwhile, smaller, lesser-known programs have racked up sizable revenue spikes. For instance, the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure collected $27.2 million in 2015, up 172.7 percent from 2006.

“While a handful of brand-name programs have struggled to keep pace with their prior results, many highly successful campaigns have emerged. As a result, more charities than ever are seeing significant revenues from peer-to-peer fundraising,” says David Hessekiel, president of the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum.

At DMA’s 2017 Washington Nonprofit Conference, representatives of CDR Fundraising Group, Disabled American Veterans and The National WWII Museum will delve into peer-to-peer fundraising during a session titled, “Catching Fire: Crowdfunding, Peer-to-Peer Fundraising and Beyond.”

Through peer-to-peer fundraising, supporters of a nonprofit tap friends, relatives and colleagues for donations, often through participation in walks and rides, Hessekiel’s organization says.

In its study, the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum found that when fundraising totals for the four programs that witnessed substantial drops in revenue were subtracted, the remaining efforts collectively raised $1.11 billion in 2015, up nearly 54 percent from 2006. By comparison, the four former leaders saw their collective revenue decline about 36 percent from 2006 to 2015, winding up at $455.8 million.

Among the biggest gainers from 2006 to 2015 was the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum study indicates. The program raised nearly $77.5 million in 2015, up 154 percent from 2006.

Walks like those sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association are gaining ground, according to a study by Blackbaud, a provider of fundraising software for nonprofits.

From 2013 to 2015, the Blackbaud study says, online donation revenue for walks shot up 17 percent, with endurance events such as marathons experiencing an even greater increase — 21 percent. However, revenue was down 4 percent for cycling fundraisers and down 13 percent for 5K fundraisers during the same period, Blackbaud says.

Whether donations are up or down, peer-to-peer fundraising programs such as walks and 5Ks remain the “bread and butter” of many nonprofits, according to Blackbaud. However, that “bread and butter” is being threatened.

“Today, there are more nonprofit organizations, more events and more competition for participants and dollars,” Blackbaud says. “Additionally, you have crowd-fundraising platforms popping up left and right, giving individuals more opportunities to create their own fundraising pages and events without needing a nonprofit to provide fundraising tools.”

Nonetheless, Blackbaud notes, some peer-to-peer fundraising programs keep thriving. Fundraisers like the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk, the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Cycle for Survival “all deal with the same uncertain times, yet they’ve found a way to continue to grow year over year,” Blackbaud says.

In fact, the Heart Walk proves that not all large, well-established peer-to-peer programs are suffering from slipping revenue. According to the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum, the Heart Walk pulled in $117.1 million last year, up nearly 5.7 percent from 2014.

“We’ve seen a true democratization of peer-to-peer, where your success isn’t driven by the type of event you run, but rather your ability to produce excellent experiences for volunteer fundraisers,” Hessekiel says. “You no longer have to be among the largest or most established organizations to raise money through peer-to-peer.”

This article is brought to you by the DMA. Click here to register for Nonprofit Federation Conference, Feb. 22-24, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

NPR Political Vet Mara Liasson Keynotes 2017 Nonprofit Conference

Washington, D.C. is the hub for the voices and ideas that keep America moving, and the keynote speaker for DMA’s 2017 Washington Nonprofit Conference, Mara Liasson, has reported on some of the loudest voices in the nation.

Liasson is a veteran national political correspondent for National Public Radio, one of the biggest nonprofits in the country. Liasson will be delivering her keynote speech on the first day of the 2017 Washington Nonprofit Conference to kick off the two days of learning.

Currently, Liasson is a regular contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition. She provides extensive coverage of DC politics with a focus on policies that come out of the White House and Congress. But she has a finger on the political pulse of the country as a whole as well. Liasson can also be seen often on FOX News as a contributor and serves as a panelist for FOX News Sunday.

Liasson has a rich history as a political correspondent and has covered six presidential elections going back to 1992 (seven if you count the 2016 election). Before her current assignment, Liasson served as NPR’s White House correspondent for all eight years of the Clinton administration. She also won the White House Correspondents’ Association’s Merriman Smith Award for daily news coverage three times: in 1994, 1995 and 1997. Before that, Liasson was NPR’s congressional correspondent from 1989-1992.

But Liasson doesn’t only have experience on the east coast. Before joining NPR, Liasson was a freelance radio and TV reporter in San Francisco, and she was also a managing editor and anchor of California Edition, a California Public Radio nightly news program.

The theme of the 2017 conference is ‘”Disrupt,” and Liasson is the perfect person to talk about the political and cultural disruptions currently taking place. With her work on NPR and FOX News, Liasson has listened to voices from all over the political spectrum and delivered fair, balanced reporting no matter her platform.

This year, Liasson kept a close eye on the energetic presidential campaign from stump speeches to debates to election night itself. Since Nov. 8, Liasson has been reporting on announcements for the president-elect’s cabinet picks as well as general reaction to Trump winning the presidency.

Though it is difficult to predict the future with any certainty anymore, Liasson will be a great speaker to kick off the 2017 Washington Nonprofit Conference. Not only is she one of the longest-running voices on one of the most famous nonprofit organizations in the country, but she has been avidly following the social and political currents that have made this global electoral season so disruptive.

To keep up with all the social and technological disruptions that may affect your nonprofit, make sure to attend the DMA’s 2017 Washington Nonprofit Conference this February.

This article is brought to you by the DMA. Click here to register for Nonprofit Federation Conference, Feb. 22-24, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

Should Nonprofit Marketers Give a Hoot About #GivingTuesday?

Though #GivingTuesday 2016 is barely a memory, it is never too early to start thinking about next year’s campaign.

A social-media-fueled day of giving, #GivingTuesday (because all good campaigns have a hashtag) has been gaining traction in recent years. In fact, it’s gained so much ground that imitators are starting to pop up. But as #GivingTuesday and giving events like it become more and more of a benevolence blitzkrieg, the question is whether or not it’s worth it for nonprofits to wade into the donation fray or save their energies for other campaigns?

For those who are unfamiliar, #GivingTuesday was created as a way to combat the commercialization of the holiday season, so it is always held the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (following Black Friday and Cyber Monday). The day of donation doesn’t have much infrastructure or any central platform to collection donations and works more as an international awareness campaign for people to donate.

#GivingTuesday has been so successful at gaining attention that we are starting to see communities, cities and states organize their own days of giving to encourage their residents to contribute to nonprofits.

Since #GivingTuesday started in 2012, it has steadily gained attention. Perhaps more importantly, it has been raising more and more money. In 2015, #GivingTuesday raised $116.7 million with 1.08 million total gifts according to The Case Foundation. 2015 also generated 1.3 million #GivingTuesday mentions on social media with 114 billion impressions on Twitter and a Facebook reach of 917,313 users.

It seems the giving holiday has yet to reach its peak. As the organization behind #GivingTuesday announced in a recent email, the event grew by 44 percent in 2016. The org said in 2016, the day raised $168 million (roughly $50 million more than last year), with 1.56 million total gifts. Total social media engagement for 2016 was clocked at 2.4 million mentions.

However, the average gift came in at about $107 for both years. $107.47 in 2015 and a slight increase to $107.69 for 2016.

Though #GivingTuesday has gained popularity, is it worth it for nonprofits to participate in this type of organized giving? Unfortunately, one of #GivingTuesday’s biggest weakness is also its biggest strength: popularity.

#GivingTuesday does generate a lot of buzz, but with so many nonprofits communicating at the same time, it is difficult for your organization to get noticed in all the noise. Though the thought is appreciated, there haven’t been too many nonprofit marketers enthusiastically endorsing #GivingTuesday.

So, the answer to our question is a little of both. #GivingTuesday is worth participating in, but not worth expending a whole lot of energy.

With enough marketing effort, most nonprofits should be able to generate more attention for themselves during a less noisy day of the year. The great thing about #GivingTuesday and days like it is that there is a lot of built-in buzz, so many donors are already primed to contribute a gift.

#GivingTuesday is a weird bit of calculus for nonprofits: A minimal amount of energy can help you capitalize on the buzz without putting in too much effort. A huge campaign can raise a bit more money, but the RIO might be hampered by all the #GivingTuesday noise.

When it comes time for nonprofits to brainstorm their year-end appeal campaigns, they should also keep #GivingTuesday in the back of their mind. Having #GivingTuesday piggyback off the creative of a year-end campaign is a great way to take advantage of the holiday buzz without the potential of wasting too much effort trying to get noticed on such a busy day.

But if you are looking for tips on how to rise above the giving day din, check out the DMA 2017 Washington Nonprofit Conference session “The Giving Movement – Why It’s Not Just About Tuesday.” In the session, the American Heart Association and a panel of marketing execs will talk about out-of-the-box approaches to getting noticed during busy giving days to create new opportunities that will help raise dollars beyond the year-end appeal season.

This article is brought to you by the DMA. Click here to register for Nonprofit Federation Conference, Feb. 22-24, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

Donor-Advised Funds Ushering in a New Era in Charity

In October 2016, The Chronicle of Philanthropy rocked the fundraising world with huge news: For the first time, a nonprofit that administers donor-advised funds had pushed the United Way off its perch as the biggest charity in the U.S.

It was only the second time that United Way wasn’t No. 1 on the publication’s annual ranking of the 400 biggest U.S. charities, based on the amount of money they raised. Since the Philanthropy 400 debuted in 1991, United Way had been in first place, except for the one year when the Salvation Army claimed the top spot.

What’s startling about the 2016 ranking is that a manager of donor-advised funds, Fidelity Charitable, now occupies the philanthropy throne, rather than a traditional charity. Fidelity Charitable’s rise to the top signifies the growing significance of donor-advised funds in charity circles.

At DMA’s 2017 Washington Nonprofit Conference, fundraising consultant Jack Doyle will dive into the subject of donor-advised funds during a session titled, “Fishing For the Big Fish: Donor-Advised Funds.”

In 2015, the biggest fish in donor-advised funds — Fidelity Charitable — collected $4.6 billion in donations, compared with the United Way at $3.7 billion, The Chronicle of Philanthropy says. Fidelity Charitable’s haul dropped the United Way to No. 2 on the Philanthropy 400. Another nonprofit manager of donor-advised funds, Schwab Charitable, is ranked No. 5. Fidelity Charitable and Schwab Charitable are affiliated with the Fidelity and Schwab investment powerhouses.

In large part, Fidelity Charitable has grown so much because it has invested heavily in taking the pain out of online giving, Pamela Norley, president of the donor-advised fund administrator, told The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

“Donor-advised funds are the fastest-growing charitable giving vehicle in the United States because they are one of the easiest and most tax-advantageous ways to give to charity,” Fidelity Charitable says.

As explained by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, a donor-advised fund works much like a charitable savings account; donors receive the same tax benefits they would get with a gift to a food bank or homeless shelter, but the donors’ money often is kept in the fund for many years and invested.

“Although the nonprofit managing the fund technically controls the money, donors recommend which charities should get gifts and when,” The Chronicle of Philanthropy says.

The rising popularity of donor-advised funds is borne out in Fidelity Charitable’s own results: During the first nine months of 2016, it distributed a record-breaking $2.3 billion in donor-recommended charitable grants, up 15 percent from the same period in 2015. Since its founding in 1991, Fidelity Charitable has granted nearly $25 billion to public charities. Today, the average grant is about $4,300.

Administrators of donor-advised funds like Fidelity Charitable and Schwab Charitable could see their assets swell even more in the near future. Money Magazine points out that if President-elect Trump and congressional Republicans make good on promises to cut tax rates, the tax deduction for charitable giving could be watered down as early as 2017. Through a donor-advised fund, a philanthropist can better manage the tax benefits of charitable giving, the magazine says.

As interest in donor-advised funds has intensified, so, too, has scrutiny of them.

A recent report from the Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal think tank, calls for an “urgent reform” of the philanthropy sector to, among other things, “discourage the warehousing of wealth” in donor-advised funds and private foundations.

A harsher critic of donor-advised funds is Ray Madoff, a law professor at Boston College and director of a philanthropy think tank at the college’s law school.

“As donor-advised-fund sponsors are becoming America’s biggest charitable entities, concerns about them become ever more consequential,” Madoff wrote in The Chronicle of Philanthropy. “Most troubling is that there is no evidence that the benefits from these funds are going to the public. Instead, most of the benefits appear to be going to America’s richest people, biggest financial houses and a host of investment advisers across the country.”

Despite the skeptics, donor-advised funds continue to carve out an undeniably bigger piece of the charitable pie. According to a 2016 report from the National Philanthropic Trust:

  • Charitable assets in donor-advised funds increased nearly 12 percent from 2014 to 2015, winding up at $78.64 billion.
  • Contributions to donor-advised funds ticked up 11.4 percent from 2014 to 2015, totaling $22.26 billion.
  • The number of donor-advised accounts rose from 242,390 in 2014 to 269,180 in 2015.

 
In its report, the National Philanthropic Trust predicts further growth of contributions to donor-advised funds, but probably not at the same torrid pace of recent years — a period when growth was fueled by uncertainty about tax policy, anxiety over the political environment and other market conditions.

Accounts for donor-advised funds now outnumber private foundations by 3 to 1, and the National Philanthropic Trust envisions this trend will continue as donors become more knowledgeable about these funds.

Eileen Heisman, CEO of the National Philanthropic Trust, says donor-advised funds “are a dramatically growing philanthropic vehicle and are being woven into the American way of giving.”

“While the motivations for giving have stayed the same for centuries, the methods have evolved,” Heisman adds. “Today’s donors are highly engaged in their giving. Baby boomers and millennials, in particular, want a close connection to their philanthropy and to track their charitable impact. [Donor-advised funds] provide the flexibility and management donors are seeking.”

This article is brought to you by the DMA. Click here to register for Nonprofit Federation Conference, Feb. 22-24, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

The Big Give For Autism: A showcase of the power of crowdfunding

Raising a total of $133,413 through 1,176 gifts toward autism initiatives worldwide, The Big Give For Autism, a brand-new event launched last year by the Autism Society, was a crowdfunding success no matter what metric you consider.

Held over the course of a single day, Sept. 17, 2015, The Big Give For Autism became both a fundraising event and an opportunity to teach the general public about an often misunderstood condition. The daylong push is an excellent showcase of how crowdfunding can be used to raise large sums of money and plenty of awareness around an important issue.

At the Washington Nonprofit Conference hosted next month by the DMA Nonprofit Federation, two of the leaders of The Big Give For Autism will elaborate on their approach. At the “The Autism Society’s Big Give For Autism: A Model for Mastering Crowdfunding” session Feb. 18, many secrets to nonprofit crowdfunding will be revealed. The discussion will take place between Michael Leaver, the director of development at the Autism Society, and Miriam Kagan, the senior principal at Kimbia, the online fundraising platform that hosted the event.

When first unveiled a few years ago, crowdfunding seemed like a godsend for nonprofits attempting to raise money in the crowded digital sphere. Now that many crowdfunding sites are oversaturated themselves with nonprofits and causes of all stripes, it remains difficult to make an impact. The challenges can seem even more insurmountable for older institutions without the resources or time to research next-generation funding trends.

However, The Big Give For Autism shows it is definitely possible to overcome the online noise – and the Autism Society just turned 50. When done right, single-day crowdfunding events can bring in an impressive return-on-investment and new donors in the double digits. This case study will show how the Autism Society used crowdfunding best practices and lessons learned during their successful first-time giving event, The Big Give For Autism.

“The Autism Society chose to host a giving day because of the model’s proven ability to reach across communities, channels and segments to unite supporters, partners and donors,” Kimbia noted in a statement before the event. “The organization also cited the opportunity to raise significant new dollars, recruit new donors and increase awareness of their cause as reasons for organizing a giving day event.”

The Kimbia platform was well-suited for the Autism Society’s needs because the team has pioneered the strategy behind single-day events. For The Big Give For Autism, Kimbia partnered with the Autism Society to help develop the giving day website, marketing materials, social media calls-to-action and an email, plus an offline campaign for constituents at the national level.

“The Autism Society has the perfect structure to do an event like this,” Amy Zumbahlen, The Big Give for Autism Project Manager at Kimbia, said in a release. “We love to see friendly competition help an organization grow brand awareness locally and nationally.”

Autism, which has recently been reclassified as Autism Spectrum Disorder by psychologists and also includes conditions like Aspergers syndrome, is prevalent in the American public’s mind but often in an obtuse way. Autism is often in the news but not in a way that pushes people to donate to groups like the Autism Society. Positive events like The Big Give For Autism, though, can take this renewed awareness and turn it into action.   

“The prevalence of Autism has nearly doubled since 2004, driving higher associated costs and a truly urgent need for our programs that assist families impacted by the disorder,” Leaver said in a statement. “Working with the Kimbia team, platform and best practices approach will ensure that we engage seamlessly across all of our stakeholders while providing a simple, secure donation process.”

This article is brought to you by the DMA. Click here to register for Nonprofit Federation Conference, Feb. 18-19, 2016, in Washington, D.C

Questions nonprofits should ask before starting an email list

A strong email list can be the lifeblood of your nonprofit organization.

A robust list can help you rally volunteers for an important event, summon donors during times of critical fundraising and keep you connected to your strongest supporters.

With email marketing being such a powerful tool, many organizations start collecting email contacts before they think about how they will use those digital addresses in the future.

Sure, it can be tempting to collect address first and ask questions later. However, that impulse can create much trouble for an organization down the line, and can even create a few problems right away.  

Before you start gathering emails, think about how you will be using those contacts and why your organization wants them. The more information you have figured out about your list, the better. That info will inform how you will promote your list, where you should recruit and the messaging used to convince people to sign up.

Without a clear value proposition, you might find it difficult to get sign-ups beyond your most die-hard fans. Why should someone sign up for a list if they don’t know what they are getting themselves into?

So, figure out exactly what use you have for this list. Is it a newsletter to keep people up-to-date on your nonprofit’s latest happenings? Will the list be used to recruit and retain volunteers, or will it be used to solicit donations during an annual fund drive?

Also, figure out how often you will be sending the email. Will it be sent out at regular intervals or will it be sent out sporadically? Will it be a daily update or a quarterly call for donations? Maybe the email will come out before and after park cleanup days that your organization holds every few months.

Try to come up with a focused objective for you list. Another tempting shortcut is to say you will use one list to achieve all your marketing goals. But a list with a broad objective will also find difficulty recruiting and retaining members.

Though similar, your organization needs different contributions from volunteers and donors, and the same broader message won’t be as effective as two specific messages to each group. If recipients get too many emails they feel aren’t directed at them, they will eventually unsubscribe.

Retaining list members can be just as difficult as recruiting them in the first place. Figuring out as much as you can about your list before you start gathering addresses is the best way to set it up for long-term success. Letting people know up front what they are signing up for will make them a lot less likely to drop out later.

Lists without clear objectives tend to morph over time. They go from newsletters to donor-asks to a hodgepodge of disconnected emails. And when people feel like they are getting something different from what they signed up for, that is when they start unsubscribing.

For more best practices and list-building strategies, check out the DMA’s Washington Nonprofit Conference. Dixie Clough, digital projects specialist for the Smithsonian Office of Advancement, will be presenting “Unrelenting, Totally Awesome and EFFECTIVE List Building.

This article is brought to you by the DMA. Click here to register for Nonprofit Federation Conference, Feb. 18-19, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

Analyzing the gift-giving impulse: Nonprofits and analytics

Traditional economics teaches us that people act in their own rational self-interest to improve their “utility.” In any textbook, that’s a fuzzy term, but it often refers to one’s economic position. In many cases, people will act in a way that puts more dollars in their pocket, if given the choice. 
But in some cases, they won’t. This is because human beings aren’t 100 percent rational and aren’t 100 percent driven by the desire to get rich. Theoretically, this means that the irrational impulse to not get richer cannot be predicted, studied, or analyzed by rational means; it’s too chaotic and random to be understood.

At least, that’s how economists thought long ago. Modern behavioral economics disagrees and argues there are ways to analyze human behavior to understand why they do so-called “irrational” things that don’t improve their bottom line.

Like, for instance, giving money to charity.

In today’s data-driven world, the study of why and how people choose to give to charity remains very small compared to the massive dollars of funding pouring into the study of why people choose one brand of shampoo over another, for example. But that doesn’t mean data isn’t being analyzed and numbers aren’t being crunched right now to see exactly what trends there are in the human compunction to give to needy causes.

At this year’s Washington Nonprofit Conference at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel, several sessions will touch on how the nonprofit world is getting shaken up — for the better — by the analytics revolution. In "Data- Driven Dollars: Using Predictive Modeling to Enhance the Solicitation Experience,” Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center analytics specialists Ivana Krizanic and James Cheng will discuss how they used predictive analytics to complement existing strategies for their annual fundraising, resulting in a 20 percent boost to money collected. 
In "How Advanced Analytics Can Drive More Net Revenue,” RobbinsKersten Direct Client Services VP Andrew Laudano and SVP Advanced Analytics Thalamus Hill will discuss using analytics to drive fundraising initiatives with Humane Society International Direct Marketing Manager Michelle Munger.

The Humane Society has consistently been one of the most successful fundraisers in the world, and they have leveraged analytics to gain a better understanding of how and why they have been successful. This creates a virtual cycle of more success, more revenue and more good done for the world.

Join us at this year’s Washington Nonprofit Conference to see how your good cause can use analytics to understand the irrational and virtuous impulse some human beings have to give up wealth for a better, happier world. With innovations in data collection and analytics, fundraisers are going to get better and better at targeting and campaigning to bring the best out of humanity.  
This article is brought to you by the DMA. Click here to register for Nonprofit Federation Conference, Feb. 18-19, 2016, in Washington, D.C

Harness the Holiday Spirit for Your Nonprofit Campaign

Any experienced nonprofit knows the holiday season is one of the most important times to pull in donations. While consumers are out spending billions on gifts each year, they are also seemingly more willing to open their wallets for charities of all stripes.

The reasons for the season are varied. In general, there is a spirit of generosity that flows through many people in the time between Halloween and New Year’s Day. More practically, many donors also want to make donations before the calendar year ends so they can get tax write-offs in April.

Nonprofits have become attuned to these trends, and many have developed easy-to-replicate strategies for fundraising for all types of organizations. At the DMA Nonprofit Conference in Washington D.C. Feb. 18 and 19, several insiders will reveal how they take advantage of this end-of-the-year giving. At the ”Giving Season SPLURGE: Mail More, Model More, and be Way More Merry as you Double Holiday Revenue” on the second day of the conference, leaders from the Wounded Warrior Project, DCDR Fundraising Group and Wiland will discuss via several case studies how they’ve succeeded during the holiday season.

The public’s sense of generosity at the end of the year is more than just a trend and needs to be considered by every nonprofit.

“As the economy has recovered, people tend to give more,” Sam Worthington, CEO of InterAction, an alliance of nongovernmental international organizations, said in an interview with USA Today. “We also are more aware of the challenges others face. As Americans feel better off and yet recognize that others are in need, they tend to dig deeper into their pockets and help.”

The best end-of-year campaigns can speak to both reasons people give around the holidays.

"Many of our members are dependent upon a good holiday season for a large portion of their annual fundraising," Worthington continued. "There’s the practical aspect, which is that it’s the end of the year and people want to make sure their giving is done before a new calendar year, and there’s the fact that we spend time with our families, we think about others and want to have an impact on the world around us."

However, experts find that donors are not so great at seeking out nonprofits. Instead, they need to be approached.

"Historically, this is when nonprofit organizations have made the biggest push in terms of fundraising appeals,” notes Steve MacLaughlin, an executive for fundraising service provider Blackbaud. "The number one reason people give to charity is because they’re asked.”

Nonprofits can tap into these potential donors in a variety of ways.

“Generosity is an important lesson that many parents want to bestow upon their children,” claims Geoff Livingston, a blogger who writes about nonprofit fundraising. “Create ways for parents and grandparents to teach children the importance of compassion, empathy and giving by developing small gifts to bestow.”

Don’t worry – you don’t need to be an advertising maverick to receive holiday donations (although that doesn’t hurt, either). Remember: People want to give.

“Not everyone can write a cheeky Santa campaign. That’s OK!” Livingston continues. “People seem to forget that one of the primary celebrations of the holiday season is gratitude. So instead of trying to act like Don Draper, just be sincere and publicly thank your supporters for how they have helped your cause this year. Tell stories of individual impact and what it has meant. Use pictures and videos wherever possible.”

Personality and positivity are huge, as well as relating important statistics and stories regarding impact. While a nonprofit can passively enjoy the public’s increased fondness for giving around the holidays, a strong campaign can improve this holiday revenue exponentially.

 This article is brought to you by the DMA. Click here to register for Nonprofit Federation Conference, Feb. 18-19, 2016, in Washington, D.C

Should Nonprofits Focus on Facebook to Drive Conversions?

It’s been just over a decade since Facebook started recruiting college kids to write on virtual walls and poke one another.

Since then, the company has changed a lot: It has gained billions of dollars in value as well as a hefty increase in active users. However, dozens of other competitors have come on the scene. Facebook has certainly evolved over the years, so is it still the best place for nonprofits to reach potential audiences or should organizations concentrate on other forms of media to reach people?

Looking at the numbers, Facebook still has an impressive lead on its competition with 1.01 billion daily active users (DAU) and 1.55 billion monthly active users (MAU) according to the company’s own reporting as of Sept. 2015.

Instagram (owned by Facebook) says it has 400 million MAU and Twitter reports it has about 320 million MAU. And it is reported back in May that upstart Snapchat has 100 million DAU.

Though Facebook has certainly gained popularity among users, that means it has also become a popular space for advertisers. People’s Facebook feeds have certainly gotten crowded, and sponsored content is now common: Facebook reported $4.3 billion in ad revenue for Q3 of 2015.

Despite the crowded marketplace, Facebook is still a great place to connect with possible supporters. According to a Marketing Land study, Facebook desktop ads have an 8.1x higher click-through rate on desktop and 9.1x better mobile CTR than normal Web ads.

Facebook also offers a very open platform for serving your messages. Unlike more closed-off networks such as Instagram and Snapchat, it’s easy for Web or mobile surfers to follow links on and off Facebook. That makes it easier to convert potential supporters and channel them onto your website to get them to sign up for newsletters or follow donation funnels. Facebook also plays nice with other social networks, making it easy to push messages to or from other platforms.

Out of all the social media networks, Facebook has carved out a place for businesses to exist. Pages allow for nonprofits and organizations to share much information about themselves and point users outside of the social network. Though other networks have given businesses a voice on their platforms, they are still much more geared toward private citizens.

Facebook also has a good amount of reach among different audiences and devices and allows organizations to have a lot of control when it comes to who they want to reach. Facebook also boasts 1.39 billion mobile MAU compared to its total 1.55 billion MAU. This allows organizations to have a great deal of flexibility when it comes to reaching potential supporters either on mobile and desktop.

Facebook gives organizations a large amount of control in the demographics and geography of their audience. Twitter is great for having a more national or global conversation, and Snapchat has become the one of newest places for friends to privately connect. But Facebook is great for building local or national support and letting organizations concentrate on what they want to build.

Though it is getting crowded, Facebook is still one of the best platforms for nonprofits to connect with potential supporters and other organizations. It still has the largest user base of all the social media networks, and its flexibility allows organizations the ability to use communications strategies that work for them. Facebook’s openness also allows it to be the focusing point for your online advertising efforts while drive traffic to other sites to help you convert potential supporters.

For more on making the most out of Facebook see the session “Taking the Next Step: Using Facebook to Drive Conversions.”

This article is brought to you by the DMA. Click here to register for Nonprofit Federation Conference, Feb. 18-19, 2016, in Washington, D.C