Unlocking the Mystery of Donor Retention

barbara o'reilly windmill hill llc memoryfox webinar donor retention

Did you catch our webinar about donor retention with Barbara O’Reilly? Watch it now!

This recording took place on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024.

Full Transcript:

0:03okay great welcome everybody thank you all for joining us for our memory Fox webinar uh today uh this April this is

0:10our memory Fox webinar for April we have the wonderful Barbara O’Reilly joining us today and I’m so excited to um have

0:19her on we’ve been talking about this for a while so this is super duper exciting to have her here um and like I was

0:25saying I love starting promptly so I’m just going to go ahead and uh let you all know to today we’re going to be

0:30talking about how um to unlock the mystery of donor retention and I’m sure

0:36that’s something that a lot of you uh think about constantly like how do I get these people to come back and donate again well you’re in the right place

0:43that’s what we’re going to talk about today first I just want to share a little bit about memory Fox with you all

0:49we are a technology solution that brings missions to life and we do that by helping nonprofits collect organize and

0:57share uh stories that come directly from your community and um pretty cool thing about us is

1:03that to date we’ve actually served 350 nonprofits and we’ve collected more than

1:0875 oh that’s not supposed to say 75 plus it’s supposed to say 75,000 plus that’s

1:13a big difference videos photos and written testimonials and if anybody

1:19would like to stick around today at the very end of our presentation I’ll just share a little bit more about memory

1:25Fox but first I would love to introduce Our Guest though like I said this is Barbara

1:32O’Reilly she is the founder and principal of windmill Hill Consulting LLC she has 30 years experience with

1:39major gifts annual fund and campaign fundraising uh and she has assisted

1:45major n profits like Harvard University have you ever heard of it I know I have

1:50uh the National Trust of historic preservation Oxford University and the American Red Cross again those are all

1:57huge nonprofits so really exciting to get your expertise today um and one thing about Barbara she believes that

2:03fundraising is much more than just raising money it’s about enabling donors to realize their philanthropic dreams

2:09and I love that because it’s just making it more than just asking for money so um without further Ado I’m

2:17gonna stop sharing my screen and pass over the mic to Barbara all right thank

2:23you Carly welcome everyone I am uh so thrilled to be here today uh I’m coming

2:29to you from a very rainy uh Washington DC Metro Area um but uh this has been a

2:34uh something that I’ve been looking forward to um to making my my memory Fox debut I’m a massive fan of this platform

2:41and of the entire team um so really thrilled to be here today uh and I’m thrilled that uh I’m I’m thrilled that

2:47they they’ve given me the opportunity to stand on my soap box for a little bit because um we’ve got a a crisis in our

2:54sector um and in our race to raise money to meet budget goals we sometimes very

3:02often lose sight of all the other things that go into whether or not we can meet

3:07those budget goals uh and one of those things is um is retention uh and um we

3:14know certainly from lots of research that uh and and by looking at our our

3:21peers in the for-profit sector that retention is one of the biggest drivers

3:26for sustainability and for success and for growth uh so we need to be bringing that

3:32mindset into this sector uh a little bit more than we uh than we already are and

3:38I’ll I’ll explain to you why as we go through these slides um so I really want this to be um as much of a um a

3:46conversation with you all so I’m going to share lots of uh ideas and sort of resources that um underscore this

3:54important uh topic of donor retention but I want you to be you know feel free to put um questions in the chat Carly’s

4:01keeping a close eye on that uh we’re going to leave time at the end for Q&A

4:06uh and so I want this I want you to be able to um ask the things that are kind of burning on your mind uh about donor

4:13retention and fundraising and if you’ve come to this session and nothing is burning on your mind yet about retention

4:19that’s absolutely okay because this is the place to get a good handle on what you need to be thinking about so we’re

4:24going to start at the real meta level of understanding what drives donors because

4:30we have a lot of research and studies now that help us to understand what goes

4:35into donor giving decisions and if we fail to factor that into our strategies

4:41and our approaches we’re really um make setting ourselves up for stagnation and

4:47for uh for failure ultimately so and which then drives the the low donor

4:53retention that we have in this sector so I want to start uh by getting a little bit geeky and telling you more about the

5:00D donor drivers uh then I want to get into a little bit of the math now I am

5:05absolutely not a math person so I’m going to give you very simple formulas that you can factor in yourself to

5:12understand what your retention rates are um and if you could um put into the chat

5:18if you um are tracking your own donor retention right now um and so just put like a yes or a no if you are tracking

5:25donor retention you’d love to be able to see um where where people are um in in

5:32so your donor retention Journey if you would and then finally we’re going to talk about how do you then reverse the

5:39trend in uh in your own organization and hopefully then ultimately in the sector

5:44to improve that donor retention um rate so with that I want to start with this

5:50big picture uh of umop here we go big picture of why donors give so drop into

5:58the chat why do you think donors give what what motivates them to make contributions to organizations like

6:12yours personal connection yep personal

6:17connection okay the the trct owners great okay passionate about the mission asked by someone they know gives them a

6:24sense of being the person they want to be Nelson you you’ve got you understand

6:29the the uh psychology behind this absolutely um thank you everyone for

6:35your um for your uh feedback it it at the at the highest level we want to be

6:42the very best best person we can be um we all want to be striving for our ideal

6:48selves uh and so at the absolute umbrella level top umbrella

6:54level giving helps us feel better about who we are what helps us feel more

7:00charitable um makes us feel like we’re making contributions uh in lot we’re

7:05improving our communities our world around us uh and so yes that’s

7:11absolutely one of the drivers it’s just who we are as human beings it’s what we what we are striving for so when we take

7:17that down to the next level of then the act of making gifts to organizations those factors of they

7:23believe in the mission of the organization they believe that their gift can make a difference they have u a

7:29person personal connection to the mission these are in all the studies I’ve seen uh these are the the top three

7:37reasons um so there’s a um there’s a feeling that there’s a personal

7:44connection and I guarantee that every time uh you ask a donor why they give to

7:49your organization there will be some personal story whether it’s from deep in their

7:55childhood to something family related to something else that personally connects

8:01with them uh that that will be an important part of uh their why for

8:08giving to you so we have to remember that um giving is a choice it giving is

8:15part of our ultimate self-fulfillment of who we want to ideally be and and we are

8:21choosing the organizations that most closely align with what’s important to us the values we bring and where we

8:27think our gifts can make a difference so when we put it in that sense gosh doesn’t it make doesn’t it feel a lot

8:34different than just sending out solicitations and and sending out thank you notes to solicitations it’s so much

8:41more than that it’s not the transaction that we often uh and our boards often

8:46think it is uh there’s also you allow me to get a little bit um a little bit more

8:52wonky about this but um there’s there’s more that goes into philanthropy uh and

8:58volunteering so if you look on the left this big uh scan here this is a big brain scan and on this little inset here

9:07this is um your brain on philanthropy so it’s the parts of your brain that are

9:12firing up that are the reward centers so uh and in this particular instance the

9:18subject was asked questions about their who who they support and what where they volunteer and so forth and the parts of

9:24the brain they’re firing up um are the parts that uh make us feel good they

9:29release those hormones that are the social bonding right the oxytocin um uh and the endorphins that

9:37are released when we are doing the things we like to do we’re with loved ones people we enjoy um we we’re feeling

9:43good about um who we are as as human beings contributing to the world so it’s

9:50it literally changes the chemistry of our brain and it creates the sense of bonding so when we think about the

9:56language we use those donors are coming to us because they want to be part of

10:02something they want to be part of our world as an organization so those s that

10:07sense of they’re part of that bigger uh that bigger movement of your donor

10:13family and they’re also maybe maybe there’s a a maybe there’s they’re they’re not part of something so for

10:20example um if you’re I’m going to just use a random example of a Humane or

10:25Society right so you’re part of those caring compassionate supporters who want

10:31to ensure that all animals are well cared for and have forever homes you’re

10:37also part of the that movement against the mistreatment uh and the abuse of

10:42animals right so it’s that kind of that who are you’re with and who are you against and that’s those are the things

10:48that we subtly uh factoring into donor decisions so it becomes much more than

10:54writing that check or making that online contribution it when when um some other research that was done

11:02talks about and this was done I think at the University of Notre Dame a book was written about it called the Paradox of

11:08generosity if you’re interested it’s a really interesting it’s a really great read uh but they looked at donors of all

11:14levels uh to understand a little bit more about kind of this uh the the connection between happiness and health

11:22and the charitable activities both um volunteering and donations and they

11:27found that generally donors and volunteers were more likely to say they were happy they were more likely to say

11:33they felt um healthier than than their counterparts who were not donors and not

11:39uh volunteers so there’s a there’s a real big um uh often undetected change

11:47that happens to donors when or volunteers when they are invol when they getting involved with an organization

11:53that they really support and really care about so as fundraisers and nonprofit leaders we have to put that front and

12:00center when we think about how we connect with and communicate with our donor audiences because this is far more

12:08than um the the F the gift that they make and in fact the first gifts are

12:14often just sort of testing the waters to see is this really the organization that I want to stay with um so that said if

12:22we are if we are if we believe that the giving has all these incredible um uh

12:28benefits to our selfworth and our impressions of ourselves and how healthy

12:33and happy we feel uh really does truly give us that warm glow why do donors

12:38stop giving because the the whole point of today’s session is that it there’s a there’s a crisis and a lot of this is

12:46one um one study um related to the the other chart from around um why donors

12:53give but it’s there and there are a few other studies that have been done and they all come back to we communicate

13:00with our donors there are some things on this chart um and this is a little bit dated now but there are some things that

13:06are you know not are out of our controls as nonprofits right that the or the person’s no longer involved with the

13:12organization maybe um there were changes in the leadership uh which maybe they

13:17didn’t the the donors or volunteers didn’t really agree with the or maybe there are changes in their philanthropic

13:23priorities those are things that are out of your control as nonprofit leaders but what is in your control is how you talk

13:28about the work that you do how you communicate back so that your donors

13:33understand that their gifts of every level are making a difference in solving the problem you were set out to solve

13:41so we don’t do a good enough job and I say that not to be a criticism but it

13:46it’s a fact because if we did we’d have a lot more donors sticking around across

13:51the sector so that it isn’t as low as it is so 43% put into the chat what you

13:58think 4 3%

14:09means I’m sure someone must have an idea of what 43% means only retaining 43% yes

14:18exactly so this on average um the nonprofits in this us are keeping 43% of

14:26their donors on average now the the numbers are going to vary wildly for organ organizations from organization to

14:34organization but on average nonprofits are losing about 60% of their donors

14:41each and every year and for firsttime donors it’s even

14:46worse it’s 80% of firsttime donors are not coming back to make a second and third and and repeat gifts um that’s

14:56just think about that for a second in our in our our uh in the for-profit world uh customer Obsession uh Customer

15:04Loyalty customer attention are key and core drivers for business Amazon is has

15:11customer Obsession as one of their top three values as a company in fact I

15:16think it’s the Top Value as a company so their goal from the very beginning was how do we get people to make purchases

15:24through our platform how do we keep them how do we make it so that it’s an experience that they will want come back

15:29and repeat over and over again and so customer obession no no matter what you

15:34may think about Amazon that customer obsession is uh is first and foremost in

15:40everything that they do in their design of their platform and all the other things and and in fact all the um the

15:48tool that the platform is completely designed so that it learns about who we are it will make suggestions based on

15:55our shopping P our shopping history it will um get learn what our where what

16:00we’re buying at the frequency of that we’re buying it might suggest subscribe and save for certain things that it sees

16:06and detects we’re repeat repeat buying so it’s really understanding who we are it’s making it super easy and

16:12frictionless and when we maybe too frictionless in how we buy things but

16:17that that point is that from the very first purchase Amazon is is already

16:23configured and and many platforms are already configured to say how do we get make sure that that customer comes

16:30back so that’s the bigger um that’s the big headline but some other donor

16:36retention Trends we’re seeing which should be the headline on every single um chronical philanthropy um publication

16:44issue um news you know every week it should be it should be the thing that people are are um screaming from the

16:51mountain tops about we are losing donors so it’s not just organ you know we’ve got donor retention issues but the

16:58number of donor ERS to nonprofits as a whole has been steadily declining by 20%

17:04since since 2000 so if we kept on that trajectory something like by the 2040s

17:11we will have no more donors left to the nonprofit sector I don’t think it’s going to get there but I do put this out

17:17here as a really important flag because it means that donors are looking

17:23at lots of other ways that uh they can be be making a difference in the world and it may not NE necessarily be to

17:30nonprofits or only to nonprofits right so we’ve seen over the last four years

17:36especially the the donors who are the most likely to disappear were those who gave under $500 and that’s generally

17:45about 90 more than 90% of donors to um who who give so the biggest bread and

17:52butter segment is disappearing right but right in front of us um these donors who

17:58are giving 500 and above new donors they were more likely to be retained than those who were reactivated so in other

18:05words reactivated donors were people who um had had been donors had stopped

18:10donating and then something inspired them again and they made renewed gifts

18:16so interesting right that that one I still can’t get my head around personally because new donors were

18:22likely to be retained than those who had a history of giving Which to me also signals there’s something else that was

18:29going on in those donor relationships but by and large the people who are most

18:34likely to disappear um are under $500 I think this help tells us um that we are

18:42as a sector getting too star eyed about the mega donors uh about how do we get

18:48McKenzie Scott money how do we get the next uh big Grant from whomever and

18:54we’re losing sight of our lower uh end donors and we do see this in the giving you us a report um that shows us that

19:01there’s a higher concentration of uh gifts that are coming from large um

19:06large families couples individuals and we are seeing this decline in the smaller end donors so the

19:15there’s um there’s a an interesting Paradox here because we know that giving

19:22uh is so meaningful to people but yet people are now choosing other ways to

19:29give besides nonprofits which means that it’s squarely in our court to figure out how we re-engineer this so that we build

19:36those deeper connections and keep more donors within our organizations so if

19:41you don’t track your donor retention now that’s okay this is the moment to start uh and you really want to think about um

19:50that retention as uh a metric to be tracking year over year Facebook right

19:57they I am not on Facebook so they have they are not worrying about trying to retain me but they they do worry about

20:04how they can grow the platform um by users of the platform and how they can keep them coming back right to Doom

20:11scroll endlessly for hours that that’s how they know that they’re going to be able to monetize and keep uh

20:17profitability for the platform um and uh we know that there’s a correlation our

20:23for-profit colleagues know this very very well that if you can improve donor loyalty or or Customer Loyalty in

20:30retention you can in fact increase your revenue and my uh colleague Adrian

20:35Sergeant Dr Adrian Sergeant um has studied this and in this particular um

20:41example he did a little comparison he wanted to understand uh if there was an

20:47organization that had let’s say 40 uh 1% retention what would happen if they

20:53bumped that to 51% what they saw was that there was in fact a um a growth of about

21:01$450,000 um by just tiny tiny little increments of keeping those donors by

21:0810% each and every year and what’s very interesting to see as well uh is not

21:13only did the you know you would expect if you keep more donors average gift Remains the Same yes the math is going

21:19to work out so that there you are raising more money each year but what’s also interesting particularly to note is

21:25that the lifetime of those donors it extended by four years so in this

21:30particular instance generally those donors stayed around for about 10 years but with that renewed and more

21:38reinvigorated um approach to keep more donors they stayed on for four more

21:44years longer so you um you see that there’s uh a benefit um certainly by by

21:53um able to keep more donors who can give more uh collectively each and every year

21:59and over their lifetime of being with you now not every organization not every donor is going to stay with their

22:05organizations that they support for their you know imp perpetuity but we do want to hold on to them as long as we

22:12can so that they feel satisfied that they are investing in the right way so

22:17the math to do your donor retention calculations um is very easy so you look

22:23at how many donors did you have let’s say in this example how many you had a th donors in 20 21 how many of the same

22:31donors do in 2022 did you have um and uh

22:37and then you you divide the one into the other so in this case this was a 40%

22:42retention which meant 60% attrition there are um many of the crms can

22:48calculate this for you quite easily there’s also um the the fundraising

22:54Effectiveness project I think it’s called growth and giving can also there’s a an Excel spreadsheet that you

22:59can download and it can help you to calculate these numbers as well um especially because depending on your

23:05file size your donor file size it may be too hard to you know kind of manually compare the donor cohorts from one year

23:13to another um but this is generally what you want to be tracking and I would I would encourage you to get your Baseline

23:20of what your retention numbers uh what your retention number is now both for your overall and then for your um for

23:28your firsttime uh donor retention so in this case you look at um the donors that

23:34you had who made first-time gifts and then that next year how many of them made a second gift or multiple gifts

23:40after that uh and you divide the one into the other and again two really important metrics because if we think

23:46about on average organizations are losing 80% of their their Don first-time donors we’ve have to do everything we

23:53can to keep them engaged so that they give that second gift and then they give

23:58that third gift and if we can make if we can Inspire that second and third gift they are more likely to stick around and

24:05become a long an ongoing supporter now there’s also the the

24:11factor of lifetime value right so we um we often need to make the case to our

24:17boards and our executive leaders that um we um we we have to monetize well what

24:24what difference does it make if we’re losing a few you know few donors here and there well we need to be able to quantify that and so one way to do that

24:31is by calculating the lifetime value this is the formula no I’m just kidding this I have absolutely no idea what this

24:37means but I have seen this in reading about lifetime formulas um this is in fact the very simple again I’m not a

24:43math person so this is a little bit more uh more my speed you generally will take

24:49the average um annual the average gift the average annual donation you divide

24:54that by the attrition rate and that will give you your average lifetime value of a donor so in other words when you say

25:02to your boards okay we’re losing um 60% of our donors you can monetize that to

25:08say this is this comes out to be about x amount that we’re losing um in in Lost

25:15cash and lost contributions that tends to get people’s attention a little bit more than just numbers of people because

25:22for many organizations and their boards um and executive leaders there’s that feeling of well we’ll just get new

25:27donors we can get more donors to replace the others but there’s so much churn in our sector that we absolutely don’t want

25:34to be wasting our precious time chasing after churn each and every year so there

25:40are two ways that I would recommend you think about how you build donor

25:45retention um it all comes down to how you communicate and the stories you tell

25:50to keep those donors inspired uh Penelope Burke is a Canadian researcher

25:55and she has spent the last I’d say 25 years um researching uh donor

26:02motivations and she’s written a couple of a few books donor centered fundraising which came out I think about 20 20 years ago 25 years ago now and uh

26:11the the second edition came out about 2018 where she actually went back and

26:16they looked at the organizations that had implemented the recommendations from the first book to see what did that

26:22actually did it really make a difference um and the short answer is yes the organizations that really put

26:28this uh reframing of their mindset into practice saw some incredible results and

26:34what she said in her first book which made me um really just um um stand up

26:40and and um get really worried was funraising underperformance is a failure

26:45to communicate like so simply if we’re not if we’re not hitting our goals or

26:50we’re not growing and we’re kind of stagnant then there’s something in how we’re communicating or not communicating

26:57that’s really a fa that’s failing us and what she found was that um donors want

27:04three things and donors of every level want three things uh when they make a gift uh and again the important piece

27:11here is that it’s not just make you know donors who are giving large amounts it’s everyday donors who are giving every

27:17other amount they want prompted meaningful gift acknowledgement so they want to be thanked they want to have

27:23that answer that question answered of did you get my gift they want to designate to something that’s a that’s

27:29restricted to a program or a service or a project more narrow now I have um I

27:35have often interpreted this as uh uh wanting to have that um that

27:42designation not necessarily to restrict it but to understand where it goes okay

27:48so when we give those examples of your gift can feed your gift of $500 can feed you know a family of four for a month

27:56that is what really MO moates them but I’ve also seen some other research more recently that has been tracking an

28:03increased um interest in um an increased activity of donors who are designating

28:10more frequently to restricted funds so for this one this is where I I would I

28:16would really put a um highlights spotlights uh red flags all over this one

28:21because this means that the donors don’t understand how our unrestricted gifts our general operating gifts are helping

28:28our overall impact and results as an organization so and we know that unrestricted is absolutely vital to

28:34being able to operate to being able to pay the bills keep the lights on do the work uh and without the organization’s

28:40Health the programs and services can’t happen so I would say put a spotlight on

28:46this in how you’re telling your own stories to your donors so that they don’t feel like sending an unrestricted

28:53gift is like putting it into uh you know it’s like throwing it into the grand Cy it’s it is in fact still absolutely

29:00essential you AB you could still of course offer opportunities for restricted um gifts for for restricted

29:07funds but I wouldn’t do it to the exclusion of unrestricted which you

29:12absolutely need for your core operating expenses so be careful with this one because donors want to know did my gift

29:21make a difference how is my gift going to most make a difference and um make

29:26sure that you’re messaging that in a way uh in your reporting back in your update

29:32stories that will that will uh relay that need for understanding did my gift

29:38make a difference so first question did you get my gift second question did my gift make a difference um or what was my

29:46how is my gift going to make a difference third they want to know did my gift make a difference um and donors

29:53want to see all three of these they want to get this little bit of a report back not necessarily on did my $50 gift how

30:01what did you do with my $50 gift specifically but they want to know how has philanthropy how have all of us as

30:07donors helped to move the needle and they want to know that before you ask them for another gift so how do you

30:15build in the storytelling and the reporting now I am um I do tend to like

30:22to have stats I like to uh talk about you know how how things have changed be

30:30for the better hopefully as a result of the important work of of our nonprofit

30:35um programs and services in our world but what I have since learned is that

30:41when those stats are brought into conversations or Communications with donors um that actually giving drops so

30:48um pretty significantly so that’s why we need to balance it by bringing in

30:55stories to uh counter or to uh even out the numbers there’s a there’s a role for

31:02numbers for sure and data uh and those metrics those sort of percentages of results and growth and so forth but not

31:10only but you’ve got to speak in the way that we as human beings are really really most connect which is through

31:17stories that we are hardwired right but from the prehistoric days when we were sitting around the fire telling stories

31:24this is how we most remember um the the things that we the things that are around us so the way you craft that

31:32story can’t start with what we do I I can guarantee you that every one of us

31:39when we are talking about an organization that we support or that we work at we talk about what we do we talk

31:45about how we do it but again getting back to um

31:50Neuroscience why is the thing that’s really going to drive us to action the

31:56why statement why we do what we do why our gift is um

32:02is important and and is going to be used in these different ways um why our

32:09organizations are set up and designed to address the problems you’ve been set up to address those process are processed

32:17by the part of our brain that makes decisions curiously it is also the part of our brain that controls our emotions

32:24I it doesn’t make sense to me but it’s the part of the brain that is in fact driving our decisions both decisions and

32:31um helping us to connect emotionally so we have to think about when we tell our

32:36story this I and I completely credit this to Simon synic uh check out his book start with why if you haven’t had a

32:43chance to read it or watch his Ted Talk this will help uh give you a good sense of how to reframe your own stor so that

32:50you’re starting with that why that’s your lead in you can still talk about the what and the how but you got to hook

32:56your readers and your audience with the why so we understand that that deeper purpose so there’s a balance then to the

33:04data and the numbers that tells us what happened as Nancy dwarte says but then the stories tell us what that mean right

33:11so there’s that balance so when you’re creating your stories um and you know

33:17talking about the results and the the outcomes that you’re achieving you’ve got to um do this in a

33:25way so that it’s answering so what so or for the sake of so you can describe that

33:31before and you describe the after what happened after because of your

33:37organizations uh and your donor support the the donor has to be kind of that

33:43that glue between the before and the after it has to be that link so that they can see in by partnering with you

33:50and supporting you there’s a there’s a correlation so something some life was

33:55changed something happened as a result of the philanthropy and the generosity

34:02of your supporters so that before and after is really important um share those

34:07stories of one um there’s lots of um psych psychology research that tells us

34:14that when we are um that when we are when we are when we see things that

34:19involve Mass people it we become our immediate reaction is to become numb

34:25because we can’t figure out how to make make sense of it we can’t figure out how to really most impact uh the the

34:32something that might have happened and affected many so but if you ask me to

34:38save the life of you know or help feed one child for a week I can get I can

34:45totally understand that um and in fact I think our brains can’t process more than four things at a time so by making it

34:52super simple and you can that doesn’t minimize your bigger mission of who you’re serving

34:58but you can do it in a way that’s that’s uh anchored in that story of one and then finally leave that story unfinished

35:06because when organizations see all of your incredible stories of success which

35:11is great to celebrate they’re going to say you know what they’re doing they’re doing incredible work I’m going to go to

35:17help this other organization that maybe isn’t as doing as well so you want donors to always feel like um it’s it’s

35:25okay to report back and celebrate success because of them but then your work is still not done and leave the

35:32next story of Unfinished so that the donors can say how else can I help you

35:37you also want to use um simple language so we’ve just shared you know kind of

35:44the the design of how you tell those stories but then you want to keep it absolutely simple right for a sixth

35:50grade audience you might just BK and say that’s ABS what our audience is um

35:57you know they’re very well educated they’re very well accomplished sixth grade you know greeting level is people

36:03will feel like it’s dumbing it down our Communications are dumb down for them and in fact that’s absolutely not the case because think about it we we are I

36:11and I saw I read this recently we are overwhelmed by 30 30,000 words a day so

36:16the simpler um the simpler our uh language is it’s has to be short there

36:22has to be a lot of white space has to be simple sentences we’re going to read that quickly because we are we are skimming

36:29we are very rarely reading in depth we are skimming stuff when we are reading things so see super simple make it so

36:37that it’s um it’s uh still impactful but readable and use videos and pictures so

36:43just like the memory Fox platform um use way those videos as a different way to

36:49communicate um because we are you know that people are going to be overwhelmed by words and and copy so videos pict

36:58they really capture people’s attention very differently and in fact you can bring people close you’re using a

37:04different sense of um bringing people visually close to the work that you’re doing to the people whose lives are

37:10being changed so you do this uh in a number of different ways I’m going to Breeze through this because um I want to

37:18make sure that we have time for questions but multi- channel is absolutely the the way you need to be

37:24thinking about your communication um there there are lots of different ways that you can engage and Inspire and um

37:31these are a few it goes from the sort of broader opportunities to ask for

37:36feedback uh for invitation to events uh to uh thank you calls or uh inperson or

37:45video uh updates from your um CEO you could do this quarterly you can do it once a year you could do it a couple

37:52times a year um one-on-one visits both by staff and with board there are a lot

37:57of different ways that you can connect but do you see here that there are different um there are different event

38:03types there are different uh ways of connecting so that they’re you know not just one-on ones they’re not just um

38:11oneway conversations where it’s eblast or you know videos out but there’s a way

38:16to create a dialogue with your um with your donors now boards I want to just

38:22put a little pin here because boards do play an important role in this in Penelope’s research she asked that

38:29question of if you received a thank you call from a donor from a board member

38:35within days of making your gift how would it make you feel 93% said they would give again 84% thought they might

38:42give a larger gift and 74% said they’d continue to give indefinitely the point

38:47here is um whether or not these numbers are in fact true to what people will

38:53actually do because there’s always a variance the reality is that people people feel seen and they feel valued

39:00when they get a call from a board member because in fact they view board members is really important they VI board

39:06members is very busy and the fact that they’ve taken the time to say thank you to reach out again even if it’s a

39:12voicemail which will most likely be the case it sends an important signal so if

39:18you do um nothing else to Mo start to move and rethink your your strategies

39:24for building stronger donor relationships do this because this is a great way for board members to get

39:30involved it is not asking it’s saying thank you uh you give them a script and

39:36you can make it super easy and TurnKey for them so that they feel connected to their donors um so okay so there that’s

39:44one way to strategize and then you want to really think about who your donors are um so I just suggest these as uh you

39:53know your current donors your new donors and your laps donors the ones who want to try to get back um the there are lots

40:01of different ways that your crms can segment uh to make this more personalize the point here is um you you want to be

40:09able to focus your time where you have the best Roi so um if you can uh do this

40:16in a way that’s um f that’s that’s seeing the donor for who they are what

40:22what they who and what they support and ways they support um then you can

40:27segment it so that it isn’t just um a spray and prey approach um it’s a little bit more customized it’s reflective of

40:34the donors and maybe how long they’ve been supporting you or what programs they’ve supported they’ve designated to

40:41or um the amount of money that they’ve given so you know these are ways to

40:47prioritize also talk to your donors you C where you can have one-on-one conversations yes absolutely but I

40:54recognize you’re not going to have the time because you’re probably wearing all that hats um so you may not have the

40:59time to do to have all those conversations but send out um surveys to

41:05ask tell us a little bit more about why you chose to support you know make a gift to us this year we’d love to learn

41:12what your story is or you might have a popup that comes on when they’ve made an online contribution to ask how was this

41:18giving experience tell us how we might improve this page um again how many times do we get little popups or things

41:24in our emails saying hey you know will you take this service for this you do want to understand are

41:30is there were there any friction points in the the online donation page that you need to fix so that people will um be

41:37able to make their gift if your um online platform your online donation page uh and back end is set up so that

41:44you can Circle back with those who have abandoned their cart so to speak so who Maybe started the online donation page

41:51and then abandoned it stopped it that’s great to be able to remind them hey you you left that gift in the cart we love

41:57to make sure that that goes to um that has some impact in changing lives just

42:02reminding them and then you could ask them what do you expect as a donor what

42:07how often um would you like to hear from us or would you like to be invited to um

42:13to see the work in action kind of thing those sorts of questions doesn’t have to be extensive but sharing and asking for

42:20that feedback will be um really important I talked about the um I’ve

42:26been talking about the abysmal retention of first-time donors and I will say that there’s um this is

42:34where you really also want to be focusing attention there’s a Cadence uh of of communication touch points that

42:41you want to ensure is going out to those first-time supporters so that they feel

42:47valued and seen right going back to that first question did you get my gift is it going to do any good first within the

42:53first 48 Hours as you’re able to make have some somebody call and thank them

42:59um again they’re not going to probably pick up the phone but that voicemail is going to be important and then over the

43:04course of the next 45 to 90 days make sure that you are inviting them to

43:10things you’re sending them materials and I would say go old school and send them some print pieces um it could be

43:16newsletters it could be um a collage of photos from your work uh it could be uh

43:23a handwritten note like old school handwritten with ink uh ink pen sort of thing the point is that you want to

43:29ensure that they are they have different ways to learn about you as an organization certainly you can convert

43:36this into um an automated email series that goes out to first-time supporters

43:41so maybe once a week or once every you know week and a half they’re getting uh

43:46they’re getting a thank you they’re getting a highlight about one of your programs they’re getting you know again

43:52maybe you’re upcycling some other work um materials that you’ve had you’ve created again I’m not suggesting

43:58creating a whole new communication strategy here definitely upcycle things that you’ve created from your

44:03newsletters or other um other materials that you can then repurpose for this donor stewardship and then figure out

44:11who your donors are who have lapsed um uh this is important so while we’re tracking who has stuck around you want

44:18to understand who has stopped giving and and and maybe they were onetime donors

44:23and is there something you can do um to reconnect with them uh were there monthly donors who stop giving um and I

44:29can’t tell you how many monthly contributions I’ve stopped and I’ve never heard from the organization again

44:35uh so nobody’s paying attention to this um longtime donors if they’ve stopped this is worth sending a note to them or

44:42calling them especially if you if you might know who they are they might have just simply forgotten maybe they’ve

44:48overlooked your solicitations maybe there was something else going on that you weren’t aware of these are the

44:54questions you want to really understand uh I I I like that doing something in and you can do this to serve as a mass

45:00email that goes out to them but something that’s um along the lines of hey we miss you or you could be a little

45:08bit more playful say was it something we said but something that really kind of gets their attention and asks you know

45:14you we’ve missed seeing you uh as a supporter and champion of our work we’d love to learn a little bit more about

45:20why um what’s been going on why and how can how can we re re-engage with you um

45:27besides doing the the cleaning of your CRM of your of your data file you know

45:33by running it through ncoa or disease suppression these other touch points are going to be important so this has been

45:40sort of the the you know a highlevel overview of how you really build that donor engagement and communication

45:46strategy to more deeply connect with your donor so they stick around um

45:51there’s part kind of the science of understanding why donors give and why they stop giving

45:57but there’s also the discipline of ensuring that your donor Communications are structured in a way

46:04have a Cadence and have the content so that they are um they’re really telling

46:10your story they’re connecting and telling the and telling the donors how their gifts are being put to work uh and

46:17you you’ve got your why and they you understand what their why is uh and then we’ve got the you know the back end of

46:24segmenting and ensuring that we are um really nudging our donors to consider

46:29upgrading or feeling like they can do other things um to more deeply support

46:34your your programs um there’s a lot more that you can learn uh on our website uh

46:41and then lots of different ways to stay connected we um if you are interested in uh a mastermind coaching cohort that

46:47we’re going to be launching um scan this uh to get on the um the wait list when

46:53we’ve got the dates lined up we’ll be we’ll make sure we let you know and then of course lots of different ways to connect and follow um me and and

47:00windmill Hill as a as a firm on all the social platforms except for Facebook because I’m not there so with that I’m

47:06gonna stop sharing um and see Carly what questions we might have wow I love that and actually um

47:14I’ll have you send me those links and then I can put them in the followup email too so then everybody can um sign

47:19up to uh receive correspondence from you and you know get on that weight list and stuff like that that would be great

47:25we’ll definitely do that um okay I have some questions so first question comes from Nelson uh Nelson

47:33asked do you have any specific advice for organizations that are losing donors

47:38due to a change in leadership yeah yeah um and I’ve been

47:43there Nelson I was um I was at the American Red Cross when we uh right

47:49after well right after the South Asian tsunami and right and during Katrina and

47:54then we went through three I I think three CEO transitions which were quite

48:00visible they were in all the news um and it was uh it was not it was it was not

48:05in our shining a favorable light on us and um what I can say from that experience and from other experiences

48:12I’ve had with working with clients um the most important thing is keeping those lines of communication open so

48:18making sure first of all that your donors don’t hear about the trans Le leadership transition from any other

48:24source but you um making sure it’s clear what is going to um what steps you’ve

48:30put into place to ensure continuity of your work in the absence of that leader

48:36um or during this leadership transition um there might be uh so there might be

48:43some questions that your donors might have and so understanding what those are

48:48and being able to speak to those is going to be essential um as well so that I think there’s that piece of it the

48:54kind of the the mitigating any of uh the negative perception um but there’s also

49:00then when you get the new leadership in place being um having a plan that um

49:06ensures that that that CEO that new leader is going to get out and meet with your court donors so you could do this

49:13through um large and small events you can do this through video that something like this would be great where you’re

49:18inviting all of your donors and past donors and all stakeholders to meet the new CEO you could do one-on ones and

49:24that’s where you want to tear it because there’s only so many hours in the day but there’s a there’s a before and after

49:31plan that has to be in place and and if you are not quite in a leadership transition yet I’m hoping not doing in

49:39the quieter time this is the moment to plan it so that you’ve got at least you can make tweaks when it’s happening um

49:46but it’s uh it’s ensuring that you’ve got that continu continuity of operations and and then you’re

49:51reassuring your donors especially that the work is still going to continue that they’re that they partner ship is still

49:57important in light of the stuff that’s happening U because they do want to know is your organization okay is it still

50:04going to be able to do um deliver the results that you were set out to do and

50:09um and what’s going to happen with the new leadership is that how is that going to change things and you have to

50:14reassure them um the answer to those questions oh I love that especially

50:20because I think a lot of times when you do get a new leader maybe if it’s you know right at the top maybe it’s the CEO

50:27um or a new board chair or something there might be some initiative that they’re planning to expand or something

50:32else they’re planning to implement so just being like really forward about hey you know now that we have this in place

50:39here’s our big plan that we’re hoping to do and you can be a part of it that would be really cool that’s exactly

50:45right and the other thing you want to be um keeping an eye on for is that there will be that there are sometimes there

50:51are um per there are personal connections to the CEO so you if you

50:56know know in advance as that or a leader is leaving is to really understand what

51:01are those relationships that are personal that then that might go with with this with that leader um so that

51:07you can try to you know mitigate that loss of donors or Partners uh and the same with um if you know in advance and

51:15they can try to try to make intros so that there’s a smoother handoff to other staff members as well oh that’s such a

51:22good point like even if someone is retiring like maybe they could take some time to reach out to like especially the

51:27the major donors that they’ve probably stewarded for 10 years um we want you to stay with us and we hope that you’ll

51:33still believe in our mission after H you know after I decide to go retire that that’s a really good point

51:40exactly okay um one question I had so you talked about um the 43% is the uh

51:48retention rate right now and you gave the example of if an organization can even increase it to 53% how much more

51:55that would be yeah um and that got me thinking um you know 100% would be an

52:02unreach an amount that’s unreachable but do you have maybe an amount a goal that you think nonprofit should shoot

52:09for well certainly above 50% for sure right um and I would say um it’s I’d

52:17like to see organizations that are in the 70% I have seen that once maybe

52:24right so we have a long way to go um I sometimes will’ll see this in universities where um there might be um

52:32participation rates you know which are very very high and then likelihood the retention is probably maybe a little bit

52:39lower but still pretty high so I would say um look to see if you can get

52:46whatever your starting point is because again for some who’ve got 20% 30% 40% retention 70 might seem really Out Of

52:53Reach but look at whatever your starting point is and say okay what would be a 2%

52:59growth or what how many more donors would we have to keep what would be a 5% growth and and then figure it out what

53:06what makes sense from the math perspective so that um you can manage your limited staff bandwidth to focus on

53:14keeping donors that are realistic and and a few more donors that are realistic so um and not overwhelming you’re you

53:21know you’re already overstretched um Team I think that’s such a good point too um because like you’re saying like

53:29success really can mean something totally different depending on where you work or or how much time you’re able to

53:34spend on focusing on stuff like this and I think sometimes um it can feel like if

53:40we don’t hit a 90% or if we don’t hit a 100 then then we haven’t done anything and maybe it’s um maybe it’s okay to

53:47just make sure that you increased it by 5% this year and maybe next year it’s 10% and so on and so forth and even when

53:53you have your annual board meeting you say hey here’s how much more money we raised because of it and we saved this

54:00much money because we weren’t spending as much on you know getting new donors I think that’s so important exactly and

54:05that’s how you tell your story behind um behind the scenes around not just hitting your goal or not hitting your

54:12goal but what does it mean for the donor file the health of the donor file because if you are hitting your goal

54:18each and every year but you have very low retention that’s a lot of hard work that you’re investing that isn’t going

54:24to be scalable over time so the donor who are going to become your large gift donors or your transformational donors

54:31or those who are going to leave your your organization in their Wills are the ones who are giving year over year over year and if you can’t hold on to them

54:38ultimately you’re just making things so much more difficult for your organization okay I have another

54:44question so we you also mentioned things uh you you talked about laps donors as well so maybe that’s somebody who didn’t

54:51give it the previous year but they this year but they gave the previous year or you know maybe two years ago yeah um I

54:58don’t know if you have an answer for this but at one po at what point do we actually let those donors go is it five

55:04years is it 10 years I mean when when do we decide okay they’re not they just don’t want to support us and that’s okay

55:11yeah that’s a really great question you know I would say from research I’ve seen and studies I’ve seen um generally it’s

55:19like after three years the reactivation rate is below 5% oh okay so um it’s I

55:28would say three is probably one cut off um but in this if you and for print

55:37pieces for print especially because that’s it’s going to be costly right for

55:42the number of ma pieces you’re mailing um I would go no further than three

55:48three years for those lap donors those inactive donors but but you can go for

55:54electronic I would go as far it doesn’t cost anymore right doesn’t cost anymore and you know the real again

56:00because of all the reasons sometimes people may not even realize they’ve stopped giving um so you could for your

56:06electronic communications keep as many as you want in there and then for the print I wouldn’t go back more than

56:12probably three years because that return of that the cost is is not going to be as significant oh I love that answer I

56:19hope somebody wrote that down and they’re gonna Implement that because that’s so that’s such a good tid pit I

56:24love that well that is all the questions I have for you today thank you so much for joining us I saw a lot of people

56:31writing that they took a lot of notes so that’s really great that uh some people are hopefully going to implement stuff

56:37immediately um like I said I’m gonna or to everyone who is here I’m gonna uh

56:42send out the recording afterwards and I’ll send out any of those resources that you’d like me to share as well

56:48Barbara thank you so much for coming and um I will now uh just let everyone know

56:53we will be concluding the webinar but if anybody would like to stick around and learn a little bit more about memory Fox

56:59I am going to hop into showing um just a short demo of memory Fox right now so

57:06I’m gonna go ahead and say goodbye to Barbara thank you for coming thank for joining us

57:12everyone and I’ll share my screen

57:17here okay so if you don’t know anything about memory Fox that’s okay I’d love to give you a short overview um and I

57:25really this works really well with what Barbara was talking about today about being able to share your story instead

57:31of just those impact numbers um because the way I always like to start off um talking about memory Fox is just saying

57:38hey um if someone asks you what is your mission are you able to show them and

57:44chances are you are able to recite your mission like the back of your hand you’ve probably said it a thousand times

57:49you probably typed it a thousand times but are you really able to show them with powerful videos and

57:55photos and my next question would be if you don’t feel like you are able to

58:00currently show your mission in action then what’s stopping you and the thing is when we talk to nonprofit

58:06professionals we find that there are often three barriers that come along with uh collecting and organizing and

58:12sharing videos and photos and number one would be that uh the actual collecting

58:17process can feel like pulling teeth like you’re asking your community and you just don’t get anything in return uh

58:24number two organizing the comp content can be frustrating and very timec consuming and then third in terms of the

58:31actual sharing a lot of nonprofits just feel like they need a more efficient modern way to share their story the good

58:38news is we actually created a platform that does exactly that we have a collect organized and share system and I’ll just

58:44share a little bit about each of those the first step is the collection

58:51process so what we do is we help you create a campaign that you’re going to send directly to your reteller so

58:56directly to the person that you want to collect the story from that could be the person who participates in your programs

59:02could be your donors could be your board members could be your staff members could be anybody really there’s tons of

59:07stories at your fingertips um you can actually test it out for yourself if you want to scan that QR code and see what

59:13it would be like to be the Storyteller that receives a campaign um but the cool thing about the way we collect stories

59:19or help you collect stories is that there’s no download or login required and it we also capture the con uh

59:26contact info and the consent Upfront for you all so you absolutely know you can use the story and finally at the very

59:33end after someone submits a photo or video it will redirect back to your website so it’s going to just kind of seem like it’s your own

59:41brand next in terms of organizing we um we help when somebody submits a story to

59:48your memory Fox campaign it’s going to automatically populate at the top of your memory fox story bank so this is an

59:53example of a memory fox story Bank and this is how it would look on on your side as the organization so we have we

1:00:01help you keep really organized because you are able to tag your content maybe you want to tag it by program event

1:00:06Department how you plan to use it you also are able to bulk upload all your existing content so you have folders on

1:00:12your computer you can put them in your story bank which is going to work out really well because then more people will have access to them and then

1:00:19finally you can enjoy unlimited storage which is something that we offer to all of our

1:00:24customers and then in terms of sharing we have a lot of tools that help you make sure

1:00:30that you actually can share your photos videos written testimonials after you’ve collected them so um first of all as you

1:00:37can see in this as you can see in this graphic here we are integrated with canva which means that when you collect

1:00:43photos videos directly uh from your community Through the app uh through the

1:00:48campaign it’s going to automatically populate into canva so you can see here you can just drag and drop it into any

1:00:54of your pre-existing designs you can make sure that it’s branded to your organization download it like you normally

1:01:01would next we also have a video editor so you can use that to combine and edit

1:01:06your Clips you can uh trim things you can put things together um that’s a really helpful way to make those short

1:01:11form videos that you need for social media we also have a story Builder which is a great way to share several stories

1:01:19uh in one web page you can embed that in your website or you can send the link directly to your donors directly to your

1:01:25board members Direct ly to your foundations whoever you might need to uh see those impact stories in action and

1:01:31the final thing that we do to help you with sharing is that at all times you will have the high quality original

1:01:36submission that you’re able to download so I know for me when I used to work at a nonprofit people would send me photos

1:01:43and videos to my email or through to my phone through a text message and they would show up in a way that I couldn’t

1:01:49actually use them maybe it was in a thumbnail maybe it was in a lowquality version that I wouldn’t actually be a to

1:01:56share it when you use memory Fox it’s actually going to um overcome all of those types of

1:02:04obstacles okay so that was just a quick little overview of what we do here at memory Fox if anybody’s interested in

1:02:09learning more I invite you to go ahead and book a time with one of our expert storytellers um just finally want to

1:02:16wrap it up because a lot of people I’m sure you want to know how much does this thing cost uh we do Equitable pricing so

1:02:22it is based on your 990 and a few other factors that we take into play that because we do actually believe that you

1:02:28all have great stories to tell and we want to make sure everybody has the ability to do

1:02:37so okay thank you all for sticking around and thank you all for joining us today I’m going to go ahead and stop the