Ruffalo Noel Levitz http://www.ruffalocody.com Fri, 29 May 2015 19:47:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Friday Fundraising Update: The Medium is the Message is the Red Nose 5-29-15 http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/05/friday-fundraising-update-the-medium-is-the-message-is-the-red-nose-5-29-15/ http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/05/friday-fundraising-update-the-medium-is-the-message-is-the-red-nose-5-29-15/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 19:47:29 +0000 http://www.ruffalocody.com/?p=34902 The Friday Fundraising Update collects fundraising industry insights and success stories and delivers them to you each Friday from Ruffalo Noel Levitz.
 

The Medium’s Message

Our friends at ScaleFunder talk about the impact of video in encouraging donors to act. Spoiler: it does pretty well. Check out the blog to see some great examples.

Do you want to [...]

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Friday-Fundraising-UpdateThe Friday Fundraising Update collects fundraising industry insights and success stories and delivers them to you each Friday from Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

 

The Medium’s Message

Do you want to add $1 to support…

  • The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that checkout fundraising campaigns raised over $388 million in 2014. Children’s charities saw the most benefit.The study didn’t account for campaigns which raised under $1 million, so this low-friction gift of opportunity campaign is pulling even more.

Dr. Will Miller to Keynote Summer Conference

Red Nose Day Raises $21 Million

  • An idea conceived by UK film industry pros is now a multi-national charity effort.  The thought culminated into a comprehensive corporate, online, peer-to-peer and television effort in the US last week and raised over $21 million for US and global charities. Many locations couldn’t keep red noses in stock. Find out more at rednoseday.org.

rednoseday

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2 Things to Improve Your Phonathon Fulfillment Before Year End http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/05/2-things-to-improve-your-phonathon-fulfillment-before-year-end/ http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/05/2-things-to-improve-your-phonathon-fulfillment-before-year-end/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 14:48:23 +0000 http://www.ruffalocody.com/?p=34862 Pledges and pledge dollars are great metrics early in the year for the phonathon, but by the last quarter we all want gifts and dollars in the door. Below are some tips and strategies to ensure you improve your phonathon fulfillment potential before the end of your fiscal year.
# 1: Understand the Fulfillment Gap

Are online gifts [...]

Written by Josh Robertson.

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pledge_cubesPledges and pledge dollars are great metrics early in the year for the phonathon, but by the last quarter we all want gifts and dollars in the door. Below are some tips and strategies to ensure you improve your phonathon fulfillment potential before the end of your fiscal year.

# 1: Understand the Fulfillment Gap

  • Are online gifts made by pledgers being credited accurately to the phonathon pledge?
  • Are the “donors” that pledged on the last ask of the phone call really fulfilling?
  • Are you tracking fulfillment accurately for 2nd gift prospects that pledged?
  • Which constituents (non-donors, young alumni, etc.) are struggling to fulfill?
  • Are you writing off pledges and inflating your fulfillment results?
  • What about those parents that weren’t entered into your CRM until after they made a gift…can you track their fulfillment? Do you maybe have an issue with id’s between those that pledged and those that gave not matching with this group?

If you look at the questions above and don’t know the answers, now is the time to make sure you understand what’s really happening with fulfillment. It’s important to know if there are gaps in your fulfillment reporting that need to be closed or if you have groups that seem to be underperforming that need more reminders before the fiscal year closes. Assessing the areas of opportunity is the first step in taking action both in the last couple months of this year and for the start of the next fiscal year.

#2: Evolve Your Fulfillment Strategy

30-60-90 day reminders are so 1999. So if you find yourself using “30-60-90’s” as your prime fulfillment strategy, it’s time to evolve.

Evolving in the world of fulfillment means more reminders via all channels earlier in the process. It can also mean that you are going to remind people that have a “check in the mail” and you have to figure out your organization’s tolerance for potential complaints. You also have to make sure your gift processing team is not behind in processing gifts.

Here are a few things we’ve been doing and recommending to help our clients evolve their fulfillment strategy:

  • Use Video in Next Day Pledge Emails: Video in email can boost open rates by 20% and increase click-through rates 2-3X. Imagine if 2x to 3x more of those receiving your email instantly fulfilled their gift online.
  • Early Email Reminder: We live in a full channel world where consumers have come to expect that companies will coordinate messages across channels. Fundraising should do the same. If you know pledge cards are going to be in mail boxes 5-7 days after they are mailed, use an email reminder that references their pledge card 10-15 days after the pledge date.
  • Higher Credit Card Fulfillment Equals Better Overall Fulfillment: We all know higher credit card rates lead to higher fulfillment. Think about how to get more assumptive and consistent with credit card asks. Use the fiscal year end as a reason why people should fulfill their gift tonight. Not convinced that credit cards have an impact? Check out the current FY15 results from our on-campus programs to see the impact credit card fulfillment is having with the donor group that’s least likely to fulfill.pledgeccrates
  • Mobile Responsive Giving Page: Using email to drive fulfillment doesn’t have much of an impact if your giving page isn’t mobile responsive. Make sure you’ve made it easy as possible for those with outstanding pledges to fulfill.
  • Liarbunts: There are many reasons why pledgers don’t fulfill, but identifying those that pledge every year (at least the past 3) and never fulfill is important. As the fiscal year end closes, identify these people and assign your best credit card callers to those reminder calls.
  • Revolving Reminder Calls: You should be utilizing reminder calls all year, but considering we are near the fiscal year end, prioritize these calls to focus on those that pledged in the past few months, not 10 months ago. Also focus on those with higher pledge amounts and all your first time donors.
  • Shortened Reminder Cycle: To someone who pledges tonight, their last reminder likely want be received until well in the new fiscal year. Consider shortening your reminder cycle to ensure this year’s pledgers actually become donors before you close the books on FY15. Don’t underestimate the value in a couple last chance e-reminders in the last week of the fiscal year.
  • Reminder Messaging: It’s a great time to look at your verbiage on direct mail and email reminders and make minor edits to increase the urgency of why gifts are needed by the fiscal year end.

Every fiscal year is built on the foundation of the previous year. Make sure you are starting next year with the largest foundation of donors and dollars by maximizing your fulfillment efforts now.

Written by Josh Robertson.

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Friday Fundraising Update: Thanks, Dave 5-22-2015 http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/05/friday-fundraising-update-thanks-dave-5-22-2015/ http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/05/friday-fundraising-update-thanks-dave-5-22-2015/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 16:39:17 +0000 http://www.ruffalocody.com/?p=34794 The Friday Fundraising Update collects fundraising industry insights and success stories and delivers them to you each Friday from Ruffalo Noel Levitz.
 

Press Play at AFP

Were you at the AFP International Conference? If you couldn’t be there (or just want to see it again), check out the new videos posted at AFPnet.org from the conference, featuring [...]

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Friday-Fundraising-UpdateThe Friday Fundraising Update collects fundraising industry insights and success stories and delivers them to you each Friday from Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

 

Press Play at AFP

  • Were you at the AFP International Conference? If you couldn’t be there (or just want to see it again),afp check out the new videos posted at AFPnet.org from the conference, featuring AFP President Andrew Watt who talks about transformation, and an inspiring welcome by AFP Outstanding Youth Philanthropist Princeton Carter. Also, make sure your AFP membership is up to date. The international organization and your local chapter are great resources for all kinds of fundraisers.

Stuck on an appeal letter?

  • Susan Fish at Hilborn offers advice on how to write when you have nothing to say. Spoiler: you do have something to say. Eating a frog and thinking like a donor could help you get started.

Fundraising Utopia?

  • Ken Burnett (Relationship Fundraising) says fundraising has to change. He’s put out a five-part series that brings insights from donors, examples from the corporate world and emphasizes the importance of long-range relationships. Check it out.

Letterman believes in the student experience

  • David Letterman retired this week with a star-studded final Late Night show, but you may not know that he is a dedicated donor and advocate to his alma mater Ball State University. He established the Letterman Scholarship, funds the Letterman Lecture Series and in 2007 Ball State dedicated the Communication and Media building in his name. This week, Ball State announced the creation of the Letterman collection to honor Dave. You can also check out his witty remarks at the building dedication, including “Top Ten Things About Having Your Name on A Building.”

Ball State Letterman

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How Can You Reach the 98% of High Net Worth Households That Donate Annually? http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/05/how-can-you-reach-the-98-of-high-net-worth-households-that-donate-annually/ http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/05/how-can-you-reach-the-98-of-high-net-worth-households-that-donate-annually/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 20:04:38 +0000 http://www.ruffalocody.com/?p=34762 The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s 2014 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy reveals a lot of opportunities and trends that you can use to generate annual gifts from wealthy donors.
The great news is that 98.4% of households with incomes above $200,000 and/or a net worth of more than $1 million made charitable [...]

Written by Chris Hughes.

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5waysHughesThe Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s 2014 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy reveals a lot of opportunities and trends that you can use to generate annual gifts from wealthy donors.

The great news is that 98.4% of households with incomes above $200,000 and/or a net worth of more than $1 million made charitable gifts in 2013.  Here are a few takeaways and recommendations based on the study that can help drive strategic decisions as you cultivate, steward and solicit these donors for gifts:

Education Ranks Tops in Types of Causes

High net worth donors were more likely to make a gift to education than any other type of cause.  Note that this includes a gift of any kind.  We’ll touch on dollars in the next section.  Here were the top five causes in terms of donor participation:

  • 85.2% gave to education and within that category, the study provided an breakdown of 73.1% to higher education vs 59.9% giving to K-12 programs
  • 80.7% gave to what was deemed “basic needs” in the study
  • 69.6% gave to the arts
  • 67.0% gave to health-related causes
  • 66.7% gave to religious causes

highnet_graph5 in 8 High Net Worth Donors’ Largest Gift Was Under $10,000 – With Religion Leading The Way

For this donor group, roughly 5 in every 8 donors (62.9%) indicated their largest single gift was less than $10,000.  In fact, only 17% of high net worth donors made a single gift of $25,000 or more.

This is not to say that your donors will not be interested in larger gifts, but the odds clearly favor securing annual gifts under $10,000.  A similar report on high net worth giving in the U.S. found only 805 organizations received a $1 million gift in 2013.(note: there are roughly 1.43 million tax exempt organizations in the U.S.).

High net worth donors overwhelmingly like to use cash, checks or credit cards to make annual gifts.  Roughly 80% of these donors use cash or checks, and more than 90% are comfortable using a credit card to make that gift — thus no significant delay in utilizing the money for impact.  Only 20% of these donors planned to use stocks or mutual funds.

Whereas education was more popular with a greater number of donors, religious causes tended to receive more of a household’s largest gift:

  • 33.5% made their largest gift of the year to a religious cause
  • 26.8% of largest gifts went to education (18.8% to higher education; 7.9% to K-12)
  • No other charitable category was higher than 7.5% of a household’s largest gifts

 Unrestricted Gifts Are Still Popular – But You Have to Demonstrate Impact

High net worth donors are not shy about making gifts each year to an unrestricted fund.  In fact, nearly 4 out of every 5 of these donors (78.2%) indicated their largest gift of the year went to an unrestricted purpose.

While unrestricted funds can be appealing, these donors also are driven by the impact of their gifts.  In 2013, 73.5% of high net worth donors said that the impact of their gift and how it can make a difference was a strong motivator.  Roughly the same percentage of these donors (72.5%) indicated their household has a giving strategy, and in fact 61.9% of households had a specific charitable donation budget.

5 Things You Can Do to Secure Gifts From High Net Worth Donors

Based on all of that information, here are five things you can do in order to maximize opportunities with high net donors interested in your organization:

  1. Enhance your cultivation with specifics.  Not only do high net worth donors like to see impact, but 72% consider themselves knowledgeable about charitable giving.
  2.  Involve both spouses/partners in the process.  Four out of every five married/partnered households (81%) make joint charitable decisions – or at least confer about those decisions.
  3. Invite donors to volunteer in a specific manner.  More than 80% of high net worth donors volunteer with between 1-3 organizations.  When asked in the survey why they volunteered, the top answer was “because they were asked.”
  4. Engage donors and prospects and allow them to see first-hand the impact of charitable giving.  Nearly 4 in 5 high net worth donors (79.7%) prefer direct engagement as their primary source of evaluation.
  5. Increase your prospect pool by researching households with fewer college degrees.  Amazingly, the average household gift for those with only a bachelor’s degree only was $62,228 compared to $47,341 for those with a master’s degree.  Furthermore, the study indicates average annual giving by high net worth donors with a master’s degree has dropped 33% since 2009.

Written by Chris Hughes.

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Connecting With Alumni Across the Pond http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/05/connecting-with-alumni-across-the-pond/ http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/05/connecting-with-alumni-across-the-pond/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 17:20:07 +0000 http://www.ruffalocody.com/?p=34723 Since 2004, our company has been raising funds for the non-profit sector in the United Kingdom. One way we do this is by calling many University alumni in both the UK and around Europe.
We’ve started to hear that more US institutions are considering connecting or re-connecting with alumni living abroad, so I thought I could [...]

Written by Ed Lang.

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Buffalo_UKSince 2004, our company has been raising funds for the non-profit sector in the United Kingdom. One way we do this is by calling many University alumni in both the UK and around Europe.

We’ve started to hear that more US institutions are considering connecting or re-connecting with alumni living abroad, so I thought I could offer some things we’ve learned as we have done more of this outreach.

Higher Education giving is on the rise in the UK and Europe.

Your effort to reconnect with alumni will pay off. Survey data published by CASE and NatCen Social Research show that over the past few years the number of UK institutions raising more than $1 million in private funds has risen. It’s true that higher education has been primarily government-funded over our history, but these funds have been cut substantially over the last decade. The Oxbridge Colleges have been actively fundraising for 20 years, and alumni are learning more about the power of giving to their institutions, donors are warming up to the idea of giving. In 2014, it’s estimated that just under 200,000 UK alumni made a gift to their institution.

For a diverse group of alumni across a continent, creativity is key.

sam_caller_small2We recently worked with a Cambridge College on a phonathon. They have a purely post-graduate, 80% international alumni base so fundraising has historically been fairly difficult. However, this year we managed to raise over £60,000 ($91,000) in a couple of weeks. We introduced some new ideas to boost the money in, for example, hiring callers with additional languages to communicate with alumni in their own language. We also introduced bank transfer instant emails to encourage higher fulfillment rates from mainland Europe.

Giving methods are little different.

2nd_Mini_Cooper_In talking with our American phonathon colleagues, there are a few big differences. Our calls tend to be much longer, and most alumni sign up for recurring monthly giving, if that is possible. US institutions with UK foundations can take advantage of very convenient (and high retention) direct debit programs. So, generally speaking, we’ll be booking larger pledges that are fulfilled over time. While this might lead to some big totals in the first year, it’s important to recognize that you have to plan to follow up with these donors to thank them, and also to ask again down the road to get a renewal and increase.

Our fundraising language is also a little different. What US institutions call fulfillment, we call “chasing” pledges, but we do many of the same things (reminder mailings, calls, e-mails). Don’t worry, if you hear us say this, we won’t be tailing your alumni in a Mini to get the donation.

Your European alumni are waiting to connect.

Mailing to UK and European alumni from the States can be expensive and difficult. Having a partner closer and within the same telephone exchange and postal systems as your alumni living abroad makes a difference. The great thing about investing in this outreach is that when you work with a company who is making contacts like these daily, you save on start up costs so you don’t need a large list of alumni living here to make it worth the investment.

Find out more about our European Alumni Engagement Services for US institutions here, and get in touch so we can reconnect you with your loyal alumni across the pond.

Written by Ed Lang.

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Friday Fundraising Update: Creativity, Suit Up! 5/15/2015 http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/05/friday-fundraising-update-creativity-suit-up-5152015/ http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/05/friday-fundraising-update-creativity-suit-up-5152015/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 17:16:43 +0000 http://www.ruffalocody.com/?p=34698 The Friday Fundraising Update collects fundraising industry insights and success stories and delivers them to you each Friday from Ruffalo Noel Levitz.
 

Creativity:

Michael Rosen says: “If you want $1 Million, Be Creative,” and describes a city of Philadelphia grant application that involved a team effort and a creative mindset as well as infographics and video. “Exercising [...]

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Friday-Fundraising-UpdateThe Friday Fundraising Update collects fundraising industry insights and success stories and delivers them to you each Friday from Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

 

Creativity:shutterstock_125158133 [Converted]

  • Michael Rosen says: “If you want $1 Million, Be Creative,” and describes a city of Philadelphia grant application that involved a team effort and a creative mindset as well as infographics and video. “Exercising creativity can provide the extra edge needed to win,” he explains. If you’re not following Michael’s excellent blog, you should be.

Who’s on what social media?

  • Justin Ware at The Social Side of Giving recently put out a great post that describes the age breakdowns of the major social networks and how this could affect your strategy. Check it out, and Tweet, Like, Share, Pin and Instagram it. Then, Snapchat us when you’re done.

Funded! NU Threads: Suit Up

  • After a survey uncovered that 60% of students borrowed clothes to attend formal events, NU Threads was formed two years ago to fill the need and help students be ready for networking and interviews. They recently started a campaign on Northwestern University’s Catalyzer, built on the ScaleFunder platform, to help fill gaps in their inventory. This project is a great example of filling a direct need and great updates by the project owners throughout the campaign. Congratulations and thanks to the funders of this great project!

NU_Threads_scalefunder

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AFC_logo_2015_homeOur Recent Posts:

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