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5 Creative Ways to Thank Your Donors

Your donors might not necessarily expect a “thanks” for their support, but that’s what makes the simple “thank you” so powerful. To keep your donors coming back for more, use one of these fun and creative ways to show your appreciation.

  1. Write a Personal Note. A handwritten note never goes out of style, and shows a human side when interacting with a web-based application like Give Simple.
  2. Get to Know Them. If geographically feasibly, ask a new donor out for coffee or breakfast to get to know them better.
  3. Give a Small (but meaningful) Gift. Is there a book that has meant a lot to you or your organization? What about an album? Do you have a mantra printed up on t-shirts? A small gift can go a long way in reminding one of your donors that you care.
  4. Throw a Party. Gather all of your donors together once a year and treat them to a fun get-together. This could also serve as a fundraising function, and often non-profits are able to get food and services from area businesses donated.
  5. Ask For (and respond to) Feedback. People are much more likely to feel connected to you and your brand if they feel as if they are being listened to, and not that you’re simply collecting money.

What other ways have you seen work?

How to use email to increase donations

You’ve already set up an online giving form, connected your bank account, and customized your form. You log into your account to look at your giving dashboard and… no one has donated yet. These early stages of accepting online payments and donations can be disheartening, but don’t give up. We compare an online giving program to a snowball rolling down a hill. Sure, it will start small, but the more that time goes on, the more traction you will get and the faster it will build.

One of the most sure-fire ways to increase your donations immediately is with personalized emails. Obviously, if your loyal followers don’t know about your new program, there is no way for them to give to you.

In some ways, email is even better then sharing in person, because you can share a link to your form easily in email. How you use email to communicate with your base of supporters depends on how much time you have and how large your list is. We will outline 3 ways to increase donations with email below, listed from most time-intensive to least time-intensive, but also from most effective to least effective.

  1. Truly personalized emails. If you are raising money from a relatively small base of donors, or expect those donors to give large sums at a time, this is the way to go. You can tailor each email to the individual you are sending it to. Sure, it’s a little old-fashioned, but it still works very well.
  2. Google Mail Merge. This is a little bit of a hybrid approach, and does require a that you have some level of tech knowledge. Essentially, using a combination of Gmail and Google Docs, you can customize a list of fields of your choosing (such as Name, Company, or City) and automatically send emails from your Gmail account to a list of email addresses that you pre-determine. It is pretty slick, in that it looks like a customized email, but takes a fraction of the time. See below for an instructional video to help with Google Mail Merge setup.
  3. Email Marketing. If you have a large list of potential donors and/or you expect those people to give small sums of money at a time, this might be your best bet. Services like Mailchimp allow you to get up and running quickly and even have a free plan if you are ok not using some of their advanced features from the start. These emails will look more like mass emails, but they are easy to brand with your logo and colors.

No matter which approach you use, keep in mind that any direct email approach is going to be more cost-effective than most paid advertising, particularly if you already have a decent-sized list. And remember – it will take some time to build a following, so don’t give up!

Older members are the most likely to give online

It may not be intuitive, but the 40-59 age group is now officially the most likely group to give online to non-profits. In fact, in 2015, 67% of donors aged 40-59 gave online.

If you’re not giving online and mobile giving the attention it deserves because you think the demographics of your church are skew too old, think again. You’re probably making it more difficult than needed for your members to support your ministry.

Rick Dunham, President+CEO of Dunham+Company, sums it up well:

“It’s easy for organizations to have in mind a 20- or 30-year-old when they think of their online donors, but in fact it is the aging donor that is now the most likely to give online. And the fact that donors 60 and older are as likely now to give online as donors under 40 means charitable organizations must shift their thinking about who is giving through their website.”

Donors40-59NowMostLikelyToGiveOnline_Dunham_2016_website

We’re a church, do we need branding?

At its heart, branding is about signaling and communication. Consider two options.

  1. You visit one church website with a loud color scheme, multiple fonts and multiple sizes, stock imagery, and even some grammatical errors.
  2. You visit another church website you visit is clean, simple, easy to read, and visual.

Which church do you think is more professional? Hopefully that’s a rhetorical question. The second church seems like they are more buttoned up, right?

You made a judgment without ever setting foot in either church. Those two different websites could just as easily be for the same church, but executed by different web designers with different talent levels. The websites signaled something about each church to you – they were road signs communicating what was up ahead.

While evaluating a church’s branding might not necessarily be a fair way to evaluate a church, the unfortunate truth is that it happens very often. And since it’s almost as easy to do branding well as it is to do it poorly, there is really no reason why you shouldn’t give building a consistent brand for your church online a little effort.

At Give Simple, we understand the subtle, yet powerful, role that brands can play in our lives. That’s why everything we do is about simplicity and communication. Our giving forms can easily take on the colors and imagery that you’ve already chosen. Your Give Simple forms will blend right into your website, providing your givers with a seamless, consistent, professional brand experience when they visit your church website.

How responsive web design can increase giving and tithing

First, what the heck is responsive web design? Put simply, it’s optimizing a website to look and work flawlessly no matter the screen size, with the user in mind. In today’s world of laptops, phones, tablets and TVs, the screen size someone is viewing your site on is not a given. And your visitors are increasingly using their smartphones to visit your site. In fact, 80% of internet users own a smartphone, according to a 2015 Global Web Index study. A recent InMobi report asserts that 60% of internet users are using their phones “mostly” or “only” to access the internet. You can’t afford to neglect the mobile platform, but catering to mobile users by creating a separate site creates additional problems:

  • Greater potential for brand inconsistency
  • Divided SEO (search engine optimization) efforts
  • Additional server space and domain names

A responsive website allows a visitor to easily scroll instead of having to pinch and swipe their way through your site. It also allows you to push exactly the information you want your visitors to see. If you need a map and directions more prominent for those on their phones, no problem!

Someone viewing a responsive site should have a similar experience to working with a well-constructed mobile app. In fact, they might even think they are using an app. But unlike an app, which requires time and money to build and multiple steps for your intended audience to download and start using, a responsive site gets things done simply and quickly.

With a responsive website you can help people navigate the giving process, and instead of it being a 5-8 step process, you can shorten it to 2-3 steps. The simpler you make it to give, the more you’ll increase your overall giving. True, the faithful will always find a way to give to you. But there will also be a portion of potential givers that give up during the process of giving, either because they got frustrated, were pulled away to something more time-sensitive, or thought they had already completed the giving process.

We built GiveSimple on a responsive platform so it is ready to integrate directly into your website, with your brand look and feel. If you don’t have a responsive website yet, you can even point people to a separate GiveSimple page to make it as easy as possible for your potential donors. Give it a try, you could actually be receiving donations in 5 minutes.

3 Benefits of Recurring Giving

(1) Budgeting

Knowing that you have a certain amount of funds coming in every month allows you to plan your church or non-profit budget better. Your recurring gifts become the “floor” of your budget. You should at least have the recurring gifts coming in. Knowledge is power, and in this case, recurring giving will allow you to plan for the future.

(2) Smoothing out Mountains and Valleys

Unless you are diligent in asking for consistent gifts, your monthly income will be susceptible to times of plenty and times of want. Recurring gifts allows your donors an easy no-pressure reminder of their support. And since they will receive an emailed receipt after each gift is processed, you can be assured that they won’t forget either.

(3) Your Givers Are Asking For It

Many folks are looking for ways to make their giving simpler and easier. Recurring giving not only allows you to budget, it also allows your givers to budget. They know when to expect a withdrawal and know exactly how much that gift will be month-to-month.

Check out all the features of Give Simple here.

Welcome to Give Simple!

After what seems like a lifetime of developing and testing, I’m incredibly excited to say that we are live! What is Give Simple? Well, put simply it’s an incredibly easy way for people to raise funds online. Great strides have been made in the past several years to make credit card processing more accessible, with less set-up, less overhead, and less complexity. Still, many of the services still don’t address the needs of non- and not-for-profit organizations in a meaningful way. These organizations have unique needs, unique donors and customers, and a unique set of challenges. Give Simple aims to address all of these things in a way that we hope is appealing to your organization and your supporters. Best of all, it’s completely free to try; sign up and find out if it’s a good fit.

Give Simple Admin

Coming Soon

Right now, the core of the product is a donation form that your supporters will actually like to use. It allows them to make a single payment, or set up monthly payments with ease. After making a donation, the donor is sent a receipt email that will allow her to create a charitable giving statement (applicable to 501(c)3 organizations only) and also manage recurring payments.

In the coming months, we’re going to be added additional features, such as fundraising campaigns (set a goal, share your story, show progress to your supporters), fixed-price checkout forms (sell tickets, merchandise, etc), and embeddable forms for your website.

Stay up to date

If you haven’t already, you can be first in line by signing up. No credit card is ever required, and you can start taking donations today. You should also follow us on Twitter if you want to hear updates on a more regular basis. If you’d like to hop on our email list (which are less frequent), you can sign up at the bottom of this page. Last, but not least, let us know what you think! You can contact us via email or Twitter and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

Thanks for your interest, and we hope to hear from you soon!