Oh San Antonio. How we love thee. Your Tex-Mex, your cowboy boots, your conference halls. In short, we had a great time at the show this year. We descended on the AFP ICON 2019 conference equipped with matching tee shirts, a selfie station, and a strong craving for tacos
Didn’t make it to Texas? No worries… we’ve got a full recap of everything we learned and what inspired us. Read on and you’ll feel like you were right there with us sharing some queso.
2. Engage younger donors through mobile
As younger generations become a higher percentage of donors, mobile responsiveness will only continue to become more important.
But it’s not enough to have a mobile friendly website. Young donors want seamless technology that is mobile-first. That means that your site should be fully responsive (which is something that Google wants too and will reward you for), and should be an overall simple experience for your users.
Even donation forms should be optimized and well designed. “This is a donor that has grown up in the Apple age. Design is not a differentiator - it’s the cost of entry,” said Rachel Clemens in her session, The donors of tomorrow: Effective ways to engage young donors.
This likely means customizing your off-the-shelf donation platform, as well as the overall experience so that it fits well with your brand.
4. Create a policy for supporter acknowledgements
Nonprofits hear over and over again how important it is to call out and thank their supporters. But if you have a small fundraising team, thanking every $5 donor on Facebook, or calling every first-time event registrant could easily become your entire full-time job. Plus, if you get ten $10 donations and one $100k donation, how do you acknowledge and thank that $100k donor in a way that shows your appreciation, without making the $10 donor feel like their contribution wasn’t worthwhile? The answer to both problems is the same: a donation acknowledgement policy.
Every nonprofit, no matter the size, should have a policy that outlines the different donation thresholds for different acknowledgements. That policy could be all-encompassing or per-platform; whatever plan you set in place, just make sure that it is outlined, so that you are not having the acknowledgement conversation every time a new donation comes in.
Also, don’t feel like your acknowledgements also have to come in the same style. “Younger donors crave Instagram-worthy acknowledgements (a personalized video, or an Instagram shout out), so get creative on the platforms where your younger donors are most likely to give, and keep it traditional for traditional donation methods,” said Rachel Clemens in her Donors of tomorrow session.
6. Take pride in your fundraising efforts - and so will your fundraisers
Many nonprofits have learned to tiptoe around the word “fundraising” because, to some supporters, “it’s a dirty word.” The “F word” in their heads equal people who are going to be greedy and ask for money. But rather than approach the topic of fundraising carefully, be loud and proud about what an honor it is.
Let supporters and potential fundraisers know what a privilege fundraising can be. “I am so thankful that I get to fundraise on this amazing organizations behalf,” said one fundraiser during the session Challenging fundraising discussions, when asked how she approaches weary donors. “I share how honored I am that I get to help reach out to new networks, share the charity’s mission, and help them see it through. They are so focused on doing amazing, world-changing work, and I get to help match donors to the mission. It’s not just about fundraising."
Be proud of the efforts that your charity is making, and the impact your supporters have had on your cause so far. If you take pride in the work you are doing, your supporters and fundraisers will want to do the same.