There are lots of things we can do to make our gifts-in-kind campaign more successful. But reality sets in - everyone is super busy. And we don’t always have time to search and read up on best practices. So RightGift created this handy Tip Sheet for those times when you need a quick insight or new idea.
Building Better Wish Lists
1. Right-size the wish list. We get asked about this a lot. "What is the best number of items to include in a wish list?" A list too long is distracting, even confusing. The most important needs can get lost in the crowd. A goal too large feels impossible to reach.
Companies tend to build the largest lists, averaging 19 items; nonprofits are next at 16 items; individuals build the smallest lists at 13 items, on average.
Fact: RightGift's most successful wish lists average 15 distinct items.
Fact: Online campaigns that reach 30% of their goal within the first week are more likely to succeed.
Stay focused in order to set achievable goals and communicate your needs as clearly as possible
2. Optimum size purchase. Right Gift donors spend an average of $131 apiece. A given campaign will typically see purchases (donations!) range from $40 to $250. So there is not one “best” purchase size.
Fact: RightGift donors spend twice as much ($131) as donors to a typical online crowdfunding campaign ($66).
Offer a range of item values in your wish list, so that donors are able to choose the right size gift that fits in their personal budgets. And that, in turn, will encourage more people to give.
3. Use more than one wish list. Over 30% of our customers have set up more than one wish list. So far, the peak number has been 6. Why? Because wish lists communicate needs better when they are focused and specific. If your charity is using RightGift to support more than one program, then create separate wish lists for each program - where you can sync the needs with the items and with the messaging. Remember: donors want to know what the impact of their donations will be. Using multiple wish list can help you focus on needs and impact.
4. Put an impact statement on your wish list page. Building your RightGift wish list isn’t simply about asking for stuff. You have to explain why the donation is needed. This is what we mean by “impact”. On your wish list page, state who is helped by the donations and how.
Fact: Communicating impact builds donor trust!
Here are a couple of impact statement examples:
- Your purchases of infant formula and diapers support 32 mothers and babies who visit our clinic every month.
- For every 100 pounds of dog food we receive, ABC Animal Rescue can feed another 3 or 4 dogs each month.
5. Create more than one wish list. We mentioned this above as well. Using multiple wish lists can help you focus each list on specific programs, needs, or groups of people served. Each wish list tells a story of need. Be crystal clear.
6. One picture is worth a thousand words. When you send out email and social messages, uses pictures. Images can increase a person’s willingness to read an email by as much as 80%. Did you know that 72% of users have bought a product they saw on Instagram? Tell your story with pictures.
Fact: Online campaigns with a personal video raise 150% more than those that don't have a video.
7. Keep messages concise. Everyone is using mobile … for search, social connecting, purchases. So when you send out campaign updates, new invites, etc., write your content knowing that most of your users may well be on a mobile device. Do you like long scrolls? Neither do we.
Reaching Your Audience
8. Know who you want to reach. Sounds simple enough, but this is really important. Targeting the right or best audience will maximize your campaign results. For example, a college used RightGift to run a Back-to-School drive among their students, but the response was lukewarm. When they focused that same campaign on their faculty and staff, the response more than doubled.
A women’s and children’s health clinic might target middle-aged donors for a campaign for infant food and supplies. Why? Because it is more likely that a middle-aged donor has greater disposable income (baby formula can be expensive), AND because they are more likely to have been young parents who understand from experience the stress parents feel who need help providing for a child.
9. Use email. The best ‘ask’ using digital communications is email. A compelling message through email lets you speak directly to an intended audience one-on-one. It’s quick and easy, you can track ‘opens’ and responses through most email or digital marketing software. And you can add pictures and share links. In fact, when sending an email invitation to join a gifts-in-kind campaign, ask people to share the email. Friends asking friends can have a powerful effect.
10. Ask your CRM for help. Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, is software that is used by organizations to manage contacts, prospects, donors, etc. There are many of these - Salesforce, NeonCRM, Bloomerang, Raiser’s Edge, etc. If your organization has one, a great tip is to check their ‘help’ links for communication tips. In fact, they may have an idea or two that works best AND is based on how their software works.
11. Use your social media channels. This may sound obvious, but many fundraisers focus on just one channel to distribute a fundraising message … just direct mail, or email, or a newsletter, or a website update, or a blog post. You have use multiple channels. And social channels can be the easiest to use, as well as the best place to reach new donors.
There are plenty of options: Facebook, LinkedIn, Pintrest, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat. You don’t need all of them, but you certainly need more than one. Did you know that a typical peer-to-peer campaign generates 18% of its fundraising over Facebook? For workplace giving within a company, don’t forget about intranets, Slack channels, and other communication tools.
12. Use multiple channels. Re-read #8!
How Long to Run Your Campaign
13. If you are a company, using RightGift to manage a workplace giving campaign, then best practices suggest anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks. It’s like that old joke about a visit from the in-laws: everyone is glad when they arrive, and glad when they go. The point is that campaigns don’t do well when they drag out. A window of 2 to 4 weeks gives your donors plenty of time to participate, while giving you plenty of time to send out multiple notices, progress reports, emails, and social updates.
14. If you are a charity, use RightGift to help you manage your supply needs year round. But do not create year-long campaigns. Instead, break up your needs and run monthly campaigns. This gives you plenty of time to send out notices and invitations, report back to your donors, and track your progress like any other fundraising activity for your charity - by the month.
15. Manage the campaign. Once you launch, keep an eye on your wish list. Check on what is being purchased. You may want to refill popular items. Respond to any and all inquiries as quickly as possible. Help the people who want to help the cause. And be sure to ...
16. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Once you send out your initial campaign announcements and invitations, know that your communication plan has only begun. Keep your audience apprised of progress. Send out updates with a new impact statement.
Fact: Online giving campaigns raise 3X more if they update supporters every 5 days of the campaign.
Fact: Campaigns shared 2 times or fewer fail to reach their goal 97% of the time.
We recommend that you communicate at least once a week - more frequently if your campaign runs less than a month.
17. And do not forget to THANK YOUR DONORS! You’d be surprised how often people are not thanked for their generosity, even by professional fundraisers. Thanking everyone is not only proper etiquette, but it is also the first step on the path of success for your next campaign.
We hope you have found this Tips Sheet helpful. For more helpful stats about online giving, we recommend The Ultimate List of Charitable Giving Stats, or give us a shout.
RightGift is a B-corporation headquartered in Austin, TX. We have hundreds of customers, both nonprofits and companies. Our one-of-a-kind gifts-in-kind software is available to customers for free, and we do not mark up item prices from our retail partners.
And one last thing - let us know if we can help!!