Team Captains Worth More Than Leadership

May 4, 2011       Samuel Fanburg      

Fundraising team captains account for only 13 percent of the participant population, yet provide an average of one-third of overall revenue. Multi-year captains are able to raise two to three times more than new captains and snare an average of nine gifts compared to team members and individuals who collected an average of three.

These are among the findings of three studies surveys by Charleston, S.C., software firm Blackbaud and the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council highlighting the effective techniques and practices in peer-to-peer fundraising.

Through an online survey of individuals who actively participated in peer-to-peer fundraising activities, the survey showed:

* 69 percent were motivated by a personal affinity or connection to a cause;

* 72 percent were motivated to exceed their fundraising goals because of a personal commitment to the cause;

* 73 percent liked being part of a team either as captain (23 percent) or a team member (50 percent);

* 95 percent of team members were likely to set fundraising goals compared to only 77 percent of non-team members; and,

* 40 percent of team members exceeded their fundraising goals compared to only 29 percent of non-team participants.

In peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, survey results show that online tools-assisted respondents become successful fundraisers and are more productive.

While peer-to-peer fundraising events become instrumental in effectively connecting participants with a cause that connects with them, social media and online fundraising tools have seen massive transformations and are seen imperative to a successful fundraising campaign.

Accounting for an average 30 percent of revenue for most U.S. peer-to-peer fundraising events, online fundraising has expanded and utilized social media tools in addition to the unending ubiquity of mobile devices, according to the results.

Conducting an online survey among individuals who had participated in at least one walk, ride or run event in past two years, Blackbaud and the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council were able to ascertain that participants are often multi-channel fundraisers. Of these multi-channel fundraisers, 80 percent of respondents followed an in-person ask with an email and then a telephone call. The growth of these types of fundraisers coincides with the ease in use of social media tools.

The two most important factors in the adoption of online tools in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign were an individual’s comfort with computers and the relative ease in using these online tools. When asked to rank the online fundraising tools provided by the nonprofit, from one — extremely difficult — to 10 — extremely easy, on average respondents gave the tools an eight. Of the 45 percent of respondents who utilized online tools, 58 percent personalized their Web page.

Breaking down the age of those respondents who used online tools, 53 percent of respondents 18-29 were most likely to use online tools, followed by 52 percent of individuals 30-39, 40 percent of 40 to 49-year-olds and 32 percent of online respondents in ages 50-59 and 60-69.

When analyzing an organization’s return of investment from mobile solutions it is important to not only consider donations and registrations from these types of devices, but the amount of communication that participants use when interacting with the cause.

As participants are increasingly using mobile devices as compared to laptop computers, the lion share of donors are still using actual computers for donation activities. Some 13 percent of individuals who check and read emails do so from their mobile device and only 2 percent of donors who made donations did so through a mobile device as compared to a traditional computer.

There has also been growth in nonprofits’ use of mobile device applications. These apps have been found to perform better when they target specific audiences who already have a relationship with the nonprofit, according to survey results.

According to the study, it is important to remember that when setting up mobile application, nonprofits should not simply recreate what they have done already or what a user could already access online.

Instead, nonprofits should use unique elements in their mobile apps that capitalizes on what mobile technology is best used for, whether it be, GPS location base, to push messages, email, social media, photos and video.

When creating these mobile apps it is imperative to keep a few different things in mind:

* Know Your Participants and Donors. Learn what your organization’s donors will want from a mobile app. Obtain this information from soliciting focus groups and surveys from your donors.

* Be Prepared. Make sure your mobile application is ready when your donors are ready to transfer over to a mobile site. Invest in a mobile-ready template and make sure you site is equipped for mobile donations

* Focus On the Big Picture. It is difficult to focus when there are so many emerging technologies taking hold on the digital landscape. Make sure the mobile application you use is widely recognized by your audience.

* Keep Safety Top of Mind. Be sure to integrate your mobile application with safety of your participants. The way people access the Internet is ever evolving and is important to keep safety a high priority in your organization.