As we are out sharing and discussing the results of research into “The Next Generation of American Giving,” we’ve been asked why we did not include any breakdowns by gender? The answer is best summed up in an excerpt from one of the research analyst emails about gender differences: “There are not a lot of big gender differences, and where there are even small ones, nothing is popping out as particularly interesting or altruistic.”
That in its-self might be interesting to some people, but not much help for the fundraising professional. The one thing we did see, and it is not pronounced, is there are some differences around the importance of relationships/influence of peers. One could say it is “classic gender psychology” – women are relationship driven.
Some of the data that supports that analysis includes:
• Women, by 5% more than men (18% to 13%), feel that they can make the most difference “by spreading the word and telling others about the charity/group.”
• By 26% to 19% women were more likely to think it was “very appropriate” to "message people through social media to ask for a donation" than male counterparts.
• More than half the women (55%) thought it was very appropriate for a friend to ask for money on behalf of a charity, vs 48% of males.
• 58% of women thought it was very appropriate for a close friend or family member to ask, compared to 48% of men.
Given that organizations are focused on more relationships and more channels that ever before, at least there does not need to be concern about gender differences at this point in time. As my 21-year old daughter often reminds me, “that’s today, I might change my mind tomorrow.”
Shortly after my son was born, he was weighed and measured. And so it began: A new life surrounded by numbers. How long did he sleep? Apparently the ‘average’ baby slept longer than my little guy. How often did he eat? Oh no! This ‘average’ baby ate more often than him too. Who was this ‘average’ baby anyway? This entry into parenthood served as a good reminder that there are some important metrics to follow, but you should not be afraid to dig a little deeper when it comes to the information behind the numbers. And after I started to get sleep in blocks longer than 4 hours, I realized the same applies to metrics tied to fundraising events.
This realization about event fundraising analytics was reinforced during recent conversations with Alan Cooke at Convio and Jeff Shuck at Event 360. Basically, there are many key metrics organizations should monitor closely. Below are a few that stood out to me:
1. Donors per participant. This metric is one of the best ways to understand participants’ fundraising reach. If this number falls below three, then it’s time for your organization to take a closer look at how participants fundraising. The best way to boost this number and increase adoption of fundraising tools is to share tips and best practices with participants, who may be inspired and reinvigorated by the ideas they receive.
2. Number of emails sent per participant. Time to dig a little deeper here because the average for this metric can be easily skewed by participants who are not sending any emails. (As my accounting professor at business school once told our class, “If you have one hand in boiling hot water and the other in freezing cold water then, on average, you’re warm.”) So, look at the median to find out how actively participants are reaching out to their contacts. After you’ve identified those participants who are slacking off, reach out to them with a very specific action that they can execute easily. For example, tell them to look in their sent folder and email the five people they’ve contacted most recently to ask them for a donation.
3. Amount per gift. Gift size is an interesting metric to track because it can be influenced by various factors, such as how easy it is for a person to give, or by gift levels presented on a donation form. For this metric, the average donation might not provide you with a realistic view of your participants’ fundraising efforts and results because it can be skewed by some very generous donors. In this case, the median donation amount is a better number to examine. Try to boost this number by tweaking donation forms or streamlining the online donation process.
There are more details about key metrics and best practices in driving online fundraising success in Analyze This: A Nonprofit’s Guide to Event Fundraising Analytics. This joint guide published by Convio and Event 360 contains some sound advice that can be applied by any nonprofit which uses event fundraising as a source of donations.
(By the way, my son has turned out just fine. He’s reached the important milestones and has proven to be a very kind and gentle soul. My daughter, on other hand is a force to be reckoned with. I guess you could say that, on average, they’re normal. )
Being a father of high school and college age daughters, I say "I just don't get it" quite often. I admit that I also question some of the things my parents say and do – I thought I raised them better. :-) The generations are different...
Today, Jordan Viator, our super communications manager for all things interactive, fun and digital was featured in The New York Times about using Foursquare to broadcast to her friends where she is during SXSW Interactive. I personally don’t get it. Why would you do that? I know she says that about a lot of things I do, as her generation has many questions for us "older folks" and they are not afraid to ask. Of course, I probably wondered why anyone would use Facebook and Twitter at some point and now I use them regularly.
The reality is there are generational differences in the way we engage and the way we live our lives. (I’ve put a lot of "duh moments" into these posts lately.) To efficiently and effectively manage my life – family, work and beyond, I need to understand the generational differences of the people I interact with.
It’s no different with fundraising.
Anecdotally and intuitively nonprofit professionals know that changing demographics and technology are driving a shift in charitable engagement. Questions abound:
How do donors of different generations learn about nonprofit organizations?
What are their preferred channels for engagement?
What are the most appropriate channels for fundraising?
Who and what influences their giving decisions?
What will the on-going value of direct mail be versus online and emerging fundraising channels such as social media and mobile?
While much has been written about the differences between the generations, there has yet to be an in-depth study on the charitable giving habits, preferences and differences for Gen Y, Gen X, Boomers and Matures. Until now.
Working with our friends at Sea Change Strategies and Edge Research announced the results of a first-of-its-kind national research study into the charitable giving behaviors and attitudes across Gen Y, Gen X, Boomers and Matures. This is the same team that brought you the "Wired Wealthy." Some of the key findings will change the way nonprofit’s approach the art and science of fundraising.
The full report is available at: www.convio.com/nextgen
In the coming weeks we’ll be posting more information and hosting webinars, but for now, I wanted to introduce the research to you. In this economy we can’t afford to say "I just don’t get it" when it comes to engagement with donors and prospects. We can't let the shifting demographics and ways in which people use technology get too far ahead of us - leaving our mission behind. Like the "Wired Wealthy," this is a must read for the modern fundraising professional. We already pulled some of the data for a feature research package on mobile giving, particularly related to the response to the earthquake in Haiti. There is more to come.
(I have to admit the irony of seeing Jordan, the digital-force for our social media, blog and online efforts in print today, made me smile.)
As I look back at my communication’s and development career technology has changed the way I work - I remember the days when we had a major product launch and had teams of people in New York and Washington D.C. the morning of the announcement to "run" the press releases to the key media outlets/reporters. Technology has changed all that. I can hit the send button and send the press release to everyone who wants it at the same time. My mobile phone’s GPS has also changed getting me to the right place mostly on time. Because of technology reporters are no longer confined to the publisher’s building – my last press tour took me to the homes of reporters in three small towns for kitchen table product demos. (With virtual meeting tools and video conferencing, we’re even doing less of that.) As an event fundraiser, I remember fighting for walkie-talkies during fundraising events, just to stay in touch with my co-workers and volunteers. Do you remember how hard it was to get in touch with a key volunteer once they headed home for the evening... (Man I’m old – two miles up hill, both ways through the snow kind of old.)
Of all the communication technology the mobile phone is probably as disruptive as any... I noticed last night how it has changed dating for my teenage daughter.
As a father, I like the fact that when my daughter and her boyfriend are sitting together on the couch they continue to text friends, while they talk with each other and watch TV – I encourage the keeping of hands on mobile devices at all times. Had W. Bruce Cameron'sbook "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" been written today, we’d add a chapter about the benefits of boyfriends who continue to text friends while on dates with one’s daughter. That’s probably a better story for a post on fatherhood though. But I digress...
The most recent development with mobile technology is that of a giving platform. In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake close to $50 million was given through this channel. Although gift amounts were limited to $5 to $10 dollars an estimated 6.5 million people used their cell phone to donate. This was unprecedented level of giving through this channel and might mark the tipping point for greater adoption.
We teamed with Edge Research andSea Change Strategies on a national survey of US charitable donors conducted one week after the earthquake in Haiti, and during intense fundraising efforts for emergency relief – this is part of a broader study that will be released in the coming days on the contrasting charitable habits of Gen Y, Gen X, Baby Boomers and Matures to provide the nonprofit sector with insights on cultivating the next generation of American donors.(This is the same team that gave us the ground-breaking research on the "Wired Wealthy.")
Here are some of the key findings.
You can download the full study at: www.convio.com/mobile2010
When you look at this data, the results Convio’s clients are having online with fundraising, advocacy and other forms of engagement, the segmentation and donor relations pathways that are now available through open database systems like Convio Common Ground, all tied to modern technology it is an exciting time to be part of this sector. While the economy is having a negative impact, it is also driving innovation as people look for more efficient and effective ways to operate their organizations, to reach and cultivate donors and spread the word about their causes.
The only certainty we face is change and those that embrace change will be best positioned for the future. We must adapt to change, to data intensive applications and new technologies that push us in new directions and beyond our comfort zone.
Now, its' time to send an "REI" text to my daughter as she’s upstairs watching TV with her boyfriend. What does REI stand for? It’s dad for "response expected immediately." Much like mobile fundraising – donation expected immediately...oh how the world has changed.
Yesterday, Safe Kids Worldwide launched a brand new website. During the redesign process, Safe Kids worked with Convio to conduct significant user research to ensure the new site would meet the needs of their various audiences. The new site looks great and is much easier to use than the previous version - nice job Safe Kids!
On the heels of a previous post I wrote about "The 10 commandments of effective homepage design", I thought I'd compare the old Safe Kids homepage to the new one along the lines of those commandments. Here's a look back at the previous homepage...
I. Thou shalt clearly state who you are and what do you.
The old homepage did convey who Safe Kids is with a nice tagline and a photo of the child in a carseat. The new site, however, provides an even stronger message about who Safe Kids is with a more descriptive tagline and larger photographs of happy children.
II. Thou shalt be able to point to where your top 3-5 online goals are represented on the homepage.
Some of Safe Kids's online goals include capturing email addresses and increasing donations. Unlike the previous site, the email sign-up is now available on every page in the new site. The homepage also includes a "Donate Now" promotion below the left navigation.
III. Thou shalt offer clear, concise navigation.
Safe Kids previous navigation was confusing and not tuned towards Parents, who are their primary audience. The new navigation not only offers clear and concise options in the left nav, it also offers audience-specific options in the top tabs in case a user identifies specifically with one group.
IV. Thou shalt provide scannable, up-to-date content that entices visitors to click for more.
Safe Kids new homepage offers dynamically updated content under "What's New" and also under "Product Recalls", which are very popular among visitors of their website. The previous site offered up-to-date content, but it was not easily scannable and trailed down the length of the page.
V. Thou shalt dedicate space to each of your audience groups.
The previous website did not offer any cues or entry points for each audience group, but the new site provides tabs for each one, which allows Safe Kids to consolidate relevant information in an audience-specific way.
VI. Thou shalt convey a visual hierarchy so visitors know where to look and what to do first.
The old web site included several promotional items on the right side that tended to compete for attention. The new site has a clear visual hierarchy that points first to the rotating feature area and also the options below "How You Can Help" with the icons used in that section.
VII. Thou shalt include 3-4 ways for visitors to engage.
The "How You Can Help" section on the new homepage offers, at a glance, a listing of ways users can get involved today. The old website did offer ways to get involved, but they were scattered about and difficult to locate.
VIII. Thou shalt avoid the Flash intro or any other gratuitous animation.
The new web site does include a rotating feature graphic, but it is not intrusive and does provide the most important content on the page.
IX. Thou shalt make sure most relevant content is above the fold.
The old homepage scrolled for pages and pages. The new homepage does offer all navigation and the feature area above the fold, along with headlines for the rest of the content so that users know there is more to see.
X. Thou shalt balance meaningful content with relevant supporting graphics
The old homepage was text-heavy, with very few graphics. The new site offers more imagery, which is all supported by relevant content and/or calls to action.
All-in-all, the new website abides by the "10 Commandments" and is a great showcase of how user research can really pay off when redesigning your site. Way to go Safe Kids!
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