Online Events Creating Low-Cost Revenue Generation

Livestreaming fundraising is not unlike an old-fashioned donor event – except online. Supporters and donors raise money for your organization but it all takes place live on the Internet.

Marc Almanzor, manager of development systems at Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), presented “Livestreaming: Putting the Fun in Fundraising” during the recent Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference at the Gaylord National Hotel & Conference Center in National Harbor, Md.

Livestreaming isn’t just about games. There are non-gaming categories on Twitch that have combined average viewers in the tens of thousands. It won’t cost much to get started but will cost you time to learn about streaming and the streaming community, make connections and develop relationships with streamers, and create streamer resources.

There are four types of streaming events:
Do It Yourself (DIY) is low-cost, passive engagement that allows streams to come to you;
Solo allows you to reach out to a streamer and coordinate schedules, goals and promotions;
A marathon relay involves multiple streamers in many locations that coordinate their schedule and “raid” the next streamer for constant coverage; and,
A special event features multiple streamers too but at a single location, which tends to generate high viewership but also higher cost.

Marketing opportunities abound in livestream fundraising, which also provides instant donor engagement and community building. The challenge can be that donor data collection is not always transparent, depending on the payment method.

How does an organization get started? Recruit streamers. Start locally, perhaps with student groups, and meet streamers where they are, like conventions or Twitch Meetups. There also are charity stream teams, such as charitystreams.org and Good4Gaming.

To retain streamers for your organization, Almanzor suggested providing opportunities to meet each other, and you. “The way you meet them initially will be the way you cultivate and steward them going forward,” he said.

“Establishing relationships is one of the most important things to streamers and making sure you maintain that relationship will ensure the future of your livestream fundraising program.”

Legislative Update: Data Privacy Regulation Heating Up

Consumer privacy is getting the attention of state and federal legislators. For example, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was passed very quickly in mid-2018, without any serious vetting with impacted stakeholders, and will become effective in January 2020. CCPA introduces new privacy requirements, and while nonprofit organizations do not literally fall under the jurisdiction […]

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Critical Tools For Your Capital Campaign

You just can’t ask people for a gift to a capital campaign and expect you’ll be successful. You need a plan that to which you stick. And, it can be remarkably uncomplicated.

According to Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE, you need six elements: A Timeline; Objectives and Working Goal; Case for Support; Gift Range Chart; Depth Chart; and, Campaign Policies.

Eisenstein, who heads CapitalCampaignToolkit.com, made her comments during a session earlier this year at the annual international conference of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in San Antonio, Texas.

Timeline is obvious, according to Eisenstein. It begins with pre-campaign planning which can start three to 12 months before the campaign; campaign planning itself starts at two months. A quiet phase follows at six to 24 months, with a public phase of at least three months in duration.

There is, of course, a feasibility study that can last at least two months, and kicking off the public phase when you have reached 65 percent or more of goal. There’s also a post-campaign phase that can last up to six months.

Everyone needs goals in their life and planning a capital campaign is no different. Your statement of working goals includes objectives, a gift range chart, case for support, donor recognition plan, campaign policies, campaign timeline, committee structure and budget.

You also need to have answers for these policy questions:

  • On what date will you start counting gifts?
  • On what date do you anticipate completing the campaign?
  • What will be the standard pledge period for the campaign?
  • Are there any exceptions which allow a donor to extend that pledge period?
  • What will be the relationship between capital campaign gifts and gifts made to ongoing operations?
  • What kinds of gifts will and will not count?
  • How will you handle gifts that have been designated for a specific use by the donor?
  • How will you qualify/evaluate prospects to be solicited?
  • Who will be responsible for creating practices for record keeping, billing and accounting?
  • How often will the campaign steering committee and the board receive up-to-date reports on the progress?
  • What procedures will have to be followed to change any of the campaign policies?

There’s additional information at CapitalCampaignToolkit.com

What’s It All “A Bot?”

When hurricanes struck Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico almost two years ago, the spartan social media staff at Direct Relief was overwhelmed with messages via Facebook Messenger with questions about how to donate, volunteer or get help.

The Goleta, Calif.-based disaster relief agency had fewer than two people handling social media, so leaders turned to building a chatbot to handle all of the messages. Response times were reduced from 48 hours to less than a minute.

Now, Direct Relief is launching a new program to help others charities build their own bots for free, with an online tool that can get an organization up and running within hours.

Direct Relief and bot consulting firm Mind Heroes have set up a site called BotsforCharity (https://botsforcharity.com/), which walks people through a simple bot setup process. It includes templates to fill out for basic functions, including an interactive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. The technology uses an underlying commercial bot platform (either Chatfuel or ManyChat) and runs on Facebook and Facebook Messenger.

There is no charge for using Botsforcharity. Depending on which features the charity wants, there might be a small fee to one of the two underlying bot technology platforms upon which the system operates. ManyChat starts at $10 per month for the level needed to use the template. Chatfuel has a free tier that works with the template, or a $15 per month level that offers more features.

“Chatbots make sense for nonprofits for the same reason they make sense for businesses,” said Tony Morain, communications director for Goleta, Calif.-based Direct Relief. “Nonprofits are so strapped for resources. Taking a tool we’ve found so useful and sharing it with other nonprofits benefits all of us,” he said.

The simple bot buildable with BotsforCharity invites visitors to use a menu system to bring them to various website pages including Donate, Volunteer, Receive Assistance, About Us, and Ask a Question. The “Ask a Question” selection brings the user to a choice of a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) or “Get a Live Person,” which in turn could bring up a live chat with a customer service representative — if the nonprofit has staffed such a position.

There is no machine learning or artificial intelligence behind the curtain constantly learning how to better answer questions. Instead, the bot is more like a smart FAQ, able to handle the most common questions and directing the rest to a human.

The underlying platforms reduce the risk of BotsforCharity turning into a technical dead end. Facebook Messenger claims 1.3 billion active users, second only to the 1.5 billion users of WhatsApp, which is also owned by Facebook. Because Facebook has promised to merge Facebook Messenger with WhatsApp and Instagram, the bots built under this system will likely be accessible to users of all three apps, according to Direct Relief.

To register, visit https://botsforcharity.com

Tech Is Driving Millennials’ 10 Traits

After a decade of studying, the Millennial Impact Project (MIP) has identified 10 traits that characterize how young people approach causes and engagement. “The Millennial Impact Report: 10 Years Looking Back: Insights from 10 years of research working in partnership with young Americans on causes today and in the future” (#MIR10) was researched by Achieve, […]

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Costs Stable, Flexibility Pushes Payment Systems

It’s something that can easily be taken for granted. You swipe your credit card and you get the benefit of a product or some goods or services within seconds. Perhaps it’s a virtual Rube Goldberg machine whirring behind the scenes within that little kiosk or credit card terminal. Or maybe you’re now as convinced as […]

Nonprofits Stack Up Well In Email

Nonprofits enjoyed higher-than-average email open rates last year compared with other industries but were in line with other email metrics, according to a survey of millions of campaigns in 2018.

Campaign Monitor analyzed more than 30 billion emails sent across 4.2 million campaigns in 2018, breaking out specific industry averages overall as well as by day of the week, as part of its “Ultimate Email Marketing Benchmarks for 2019: By Industry& Day.”

Nonprofit was one of only two industries among the 22 in the study that had open rates of better than 20 percent. The other was agriculture, forestry, fishing & hunting (20.13 percent). The lowest open rate (14.53 percent) was found among consumer packaged goods.

The best day for open rates among nonprofits was Sunday, nearly 23 percent (22.9 percent), followed by Monday at 22.5 percent. Every other day of the week eclipsed 20 percent, the only industry in the study to do so:

  • Tuesday, 20.4 percent
  • Saturday, 20.4 percent
  • Friday, 20.2 percent
  • Thursday, 20.1 percent
  • Wednesday, 20 percent

Click-through rates (CTR) for nonprofits averaged 2.66 percent, which was below the overall average of 2.69 percent and ranked 13th among the 22 industries. The highest CTR for nonprofits during the week occurred on Tuesday and Saturday, slightly below the overall averages for those days (in parentheses):

  • Tuesday, 2.70 percent (2.73)
  • Saturday, 2.70 percent (2.71)
  • Wednesday, 2.69 percent (2.71)
  • Sunday, 2.67 percent (2.59)
  • Friday, 2.66 percent (2.7)
  • Thursday, 2.62 percent (2.7)
  • Monday, 2.35 percent (2.66)

Unsubscribe rates among all 22 industries were bunched between 0.16 percent and 0.18 percent overall but among the industries varied by day of the week, with extremes of 0.08 percent and 0.37 percent. Nonprofits were very much aligned with overall averages at 0.17 percent overall and varying only slightly throughout the week:

  • Monday, 0.15 percent (0.16 percent)
  • Tuesday, 0.17 percent (0.17 percent)
  • Wednesday, 0.17 percent (0.18 percent)
  • Thursday, 0.17 percent (0.17 percent)
  • Friday, 0.18 percent (0.17 percent)
  • Saturday, 0.17 percent (0.17 percent)
  • Sunday, 0.16 percent (0.16 percent)

For click-to-open rates, nonprofits (12.99 percent) were a tick below the overall average (14.1 percent) , regardless of day of the week.

  • Monday, 10.17 percent
  • Tuesday, 13.24 percent
  • Wednesday, 13.45 percent
  • Thursday, 13.04 percent
  • Friday, 13.00 percent
  • Saturday, 13.32 percent
  • Sunday, 11.36 percent

All industries averaged better than 14 percent for each day but Monday (13.48 percent).

Average nonprofit bounce rates (1.09 percent) were slightly higher than the overall average (1.06 percent), dropping below 1 percent on two days, just as the overall averages did: 

  • Monday, 0.79 percent
  • Tuesday, 1.12 percent
  • Wednesday, 1.16 percent
  • Thursday, 1.09 percent
  • Friday, 1.09 percent
  • Saturday, 1.09 percent
  • Sunday, 0.86 percent

Nashville, Tenn.-based Campaign Monitor is part of the CM Group family of brands, which also includes Emma, Delivra, LiveClicker, SailThru and Vuture.

Survey: AI Use Among Nonprofits Still In Infancy

Artificial Intelligence (AI) still has a way to go to make it into the mainstream for nonprofits, according results of a new survey.

Some 15 percent of respondents at nonprofits report using AI in their advancement efforts but almost three-quarters of those surveyed said they’re still in the research phase or have no plans for the technology. That’s despite 89 percent of respondents agreeing that AI will make their advancement team more efficient.

“The State of AI In Advancement Report,” a 27-page survey released by the AI In Advancement Advisory Council (AAAC), polled 210 advancement professionals, completing the survey this past spring. The report was conducted by the AAAC using a quantitative online survey methodology. This first report aims to be a benchmark on the state of AI in the industry, with the intention to update it annually.

The 16-member AAAC was established last fall by Boston, Mass.-based AI fundraising firm, Gravyty.

About two in five nonprofits (42 percent) report researching AI but less than a third (28 percent) said that AI is either deployed, in the implementation phase, or experimental.

Responsibility for rolling out AI at an organization can vary. Just short of one-third of those surveyed (32 percent) said it was the executive director of advancement services while a quarter (25 percent) said it resides with the executive vice president, senior vice president or vice president in charge of advancement. However, 18 percent of those surveyed said it was the responsibility of the chief information officer or chief operating officer, and 13 percent said it was the executive director of fundraising. About 1 in 8 (12 percent) reported that it was the responsibility of the CEO or president.

“Recent trends in purchasing make technology decisions more approachable by non-IT roles, so it is not surprising to see a diverse set of responses,” according to the report.

The majority of respondents came from large organizations (32 percent), those with annual operating budgets between $10 million and $50 million, or “economic engine or power house” nonprofits (30 percent), those reporting annual budgets of more than $50 million. Only 4 percent of respondents were from “grassroots” organizations and 17 percent from “mid-size” or “small nonprofits.”

4 Ways To Livestream Your Events

Livestreaming fundraising is just like an old-fashioned donor event – except online. Supporters and donors raise money for your organization but it all takes place live on the Internet.

Marc Almanzor, manager of development systems at Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), presented “Livestreaming: Putting the Fun in Fundraising” during the 14th annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference last week at the Gaylord National Hotel & Conference Center in National Harbor, Md.

Livestreaming isn’t just about games. There are non-gaming categories on Twitch that have combined average viewers in the tens of thousands, according to Almanzor. It’s low cost to get started but will cost you time to learn about streaming and the streaming community, make connections and develop relationships with streamers, and create streamer resources.

There are four types of streaming events:

• Do It Yourself (DIY) is low-cost, passive engagement that allows streamers to come to you;

• Solo allows you to reach out to a streamer and coordinate schedules, goals and promotions;

• A marathon relay involves multiple streamers in many locations in which they coordinate their schedule and “raid” the next streamer for constant coverage; and,

• A special event features multiple streamers too but at a single location, which tends to generate high viewership but also higher cost.

Marketing opportunities abound in livestream fundraising, which also provides instant donor engagement and community building. The challenge can be that donor data collection is not always transparent, depending on the payment method, Almanzor said.

How do you get started? Recruit streamers. Start locally, perhaps with student groups, and meet streamers where they are, like conventions or Twitch Meetups. There also are charity stream teams, such as charitystreams.org and Good4Gaming.

To retain streamers for your organization, Almanzor suggested providing opportunities to meet each other, and your organization. “The way you meet them initially will be the way you cultivate and steward them going forward,” he said.

“Establishing relationships is one of the most important things to streamers and making sure you maintain that relationship will ensure the future of your livestream fundraising program.”

Toxic Emails

How to prevent your list from getting crushed Con artists. Bots. Identity thieves. Disreputable marketers. Each time you open your email inbox, you’re making yourself vulnerable to a range of threatening entities like these -- all vying to take advantage of you via spam mail. Major Internet service providers (ISPs) like Gmail, Outlook and Hotmail […]

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