The Latest Fundly Product Enhancements

21 Mar

Hi everyone, I’m Will, part of the product team here at Fundly. As always, we’re listening to your feedback, and working on ways to improve our product so that you reach your fundraising goals and impact the causes you care about.

We’ve been seeing that a lot of you are using the email system on our dashboard as a really effective tool for you to gain supporters and donors! With that in mind, we’ve made some improvements that we’re really excited about. I’ll share a couple that will help make you a fundraising machine:

Action Oriented Email Templates

Having trouble getting donors? Team members? Fundraisers?

We understand that pulling the right thing to say out of thin air is difficult, so we’ve created a handful of email templates for you. You can use them to build personalized emails that ask your friends for their help in making your campaign successful. Each template has a different purpose and specific calls to action that make it very easy for your friends and family to understand how they can help:

  • Get Supporters,
  • Get Donors,
  • Get Fundraisers (you’ll only see this if you are a campaign owner),
  • Invite Team Members (you’ll only see this if you are a team captain),
  • Send Thank You,
  • and even a Custom Blank Email for any other emails you would want to write.

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Save and Preview Email Templates

Using our default messages in the email templates as a launching pad, you’ll be able to easily customize and personalize your emails so that they really speak about your cause to your friends and family.

Once you edit the messages in the emails templates, you can preview your emails before sending them out to ensure their quality and you can even save those emails for later!

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Connecting to Gmail and Yahoo

We know that getting new supporters, donors, and fundraisers through our email system was challenging since finding, copying and pasting your friends and family members email addresses can be tedious. We now aim to solve that problem by allowing you to simply import your contacts from GMail and Yahoo by connecting your GMail or Yahoo email accounts!

Don’t worry. Just like before, you can still send emails to your existing supporters, donors, and fundraisers by clicking on the ‘Add From List’ button.

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Once your GMail or Yahoo email accounts are connected, you can quickly type in the names of your friends and they’ll show up just like they do when you send an email directly from your GMail or Yahoo Inbox!

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Revamped Look for Email Templates, now Optimized for Action

We’ve revamped the aesthetics of our emails, but more importantly, we’ve optimized them to drive results.

While it’s still early, our data shows that the effectiveness of these new email templates has improved dramatically. We’ve seen a 160% increase in click-through rates for emails sent through the Fundly Email system!

Here’s an example email sent from the Get Donors email template:

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Last Call!

One of the many ways we make you successful in raising money for the cause you care about is our “Two Days Left Reminder” email.

When your campaign has only two days left and you haven’t reached your goal yet, we automatically send out an email to all of your supporters to help you make one last push to reach your fundraising goal.

Last week, we also revamped our Two Days Left Reminder email to look better and make it more effective.

We’ve succeeded! By increasing the urgency and making the call to action very clear, the effectiveness of this email has skyrocketed with an 825% increase in donation conversions!

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Sneak Peak of Fundly 2.0

We have collected all of your feedback, mixed in the insight from your successful campaigns, and baked it with Fundly love. We’ve come up with a drastically improved version of campaign pages with visual storytelling, allowing you to better communicate your causes’ mission through video and pictures.

Stay tuned!

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We are always trying to make our product more effective and easier to use, and I am excited to listen to your feedback. If you have any suggestions or ideas for improvement, please email me at will@fundly.com!

A New World of Fundraising

20 Mar

In a recent post on PhilanTopic, our CEO, Dave Boyce, describes a new generation of fundraisers, “one that simultaneously distrusts traditional institutions and places great value in social networks.”  This generation has demanded a way to directly impact the causes they care about and they’re getting it through crowdfunding. I highly recommend this quick read to anyone who has ever considered fundraising for any cause, whether that cause is a registered nonprofit, a local organization or a personal endeavor.

Read Dave’s Thought Piece

My Thermometer is Not Filling Up–What do I Do?

19 Mar

Hi all!  This post is a trouble-shooting guide for your crowdfunding campaign.

I often get questions and concerns from people who have launched a crowdfunding campaign and are not seeing the results they expected.  More often than not, there is no reason for alarm, and some simple adjustments can get the campaign on track.  Here is the checklist I work through with people to help them tune up their campaigns.

Question 1:  How did you set your goal?

The rule of thumb for setting your fundraising goal is to plan for each individual fundraiser to be able to raise +/- $1,000.  If you are raising money by yourself, set a goal of $1,000.  If you have 4 other people actively fundraising for your campaign, set your goal at $5,000, etc.  If you are trying to do this by yourself, and you have a $20,000 goal, it is likely you will be disappointed.  And this part is important:  EVEN IF YOU HAVE A LARGE MAILING LIST.  Mailing lists are not good sources of donors, unless you have proven them to be so.  A mailing list is worth as much as a mailing list is worth. So if you’ve emailed to your list before and gotten $5,000, then you are likely to get $5,000 this time.  Don’t set your goal higher than that unless you have additional fundraisers reaching out to THEIR lists also.  Here is a simple formula you can use for setting your goal:

  • # of fundraisers * $1,000
  • + Previous yield from whatever lists you are using
  • = goal

By the way… if you follow the rest of the program, you will probably exceed this goal, but that is good… setting a reasonable goal and exceeding it builds momentum!

Question 2:  How many people have you told?

Generally, if you are working with your friends–people who know and love you–it works like this:

  • Tell 100 people
  • 30 people click through
  • 10 people support
  • 5 people donate an average of $100 each

So if you have raised $500, it’s probably because you told 100 people.  If you have raised more, it’s probably because you have told more people.

  • If you want to raise more money, tell more people.
  • If you have run out of people to tell, recruit personal fundraisers to work with you, and tap into their networks as well.

If for some reason you are not seeing results like the ones above–in other words, you told 100 people, but you haven’t raised any money–there are a couple of other things you can check:

  1. How well do the people you have told know you?  Are they actually friends, for whom you have done favors, and who will want to support you in this?  If they are just acquaintances, you may see different results.  And if they don’t know you on a personal basis at all, all bets are out the window.  In this case, you have to put them in the “mailing list” category and value them based on past yield (see “How did you set your goal?” above.  The key is to reach out to your inner circle first–your mom, your best friend, your college roommate, your neighbor…. people who will definitely respond and support your cause.
  2. How compelling is your story?  Is it the case that if a person lands on your page, they will be sucked in and compelled to donate?  You may need to tune up your story:  see “How compelling is your story?”

Question 3:  How compelling is your story?

Take a look at your page.  Imagine you had never seen it, and you arrived there through a referral from a friend.  Does it compel you?  Are you moved?  Are you motivated to pull out your wallet and give away some money?  If the answers to any of these are ‘no’ or ‘maybe,’ you probably could do some work on the page to get it there.  This is important:  FIXING YOUR PAGE WILL NOT SOLVE ANY TRAFFIC PROBLEMS.  You can have the most gorgeous page on the planet, but if you are not telling people about it, it will not produce results.  What we are addressing with this question 3 is CONVERSION, not traffic.   You still need to tell hundreds of personal connections about what you are doing and get them to visit your page if you want to raise money.  But I digress… let’s talk about how to make your page awesome.

  1. Does it make you cry?  If you were a brand new, uninitiated visitor to your page, would it make you cry?  Would it make you mad?  Would it make you feel worried, guilty, sad… anything?  If you want people to give to your cause, you have to touch some emotion deep within them.  Giving away money isn’t a casual thing—it requires an emotional connection.  Figure out what that connection is, and turn the dial up to 11:
    • Is it outrage?  Then emphasize the injustice or inequity.  Make sure the reader feels angry and resolved to help.
    • Is it sympathy?  Then show sympathetic images and tell  sympathetic story.  Make the reader fall in love and want to help.
    • Is it friendship?  Then show what an awesome guy you are, and evoke the good times you spent with your friends, and appeal to their friendship to help you out.
    • etc.
  2. Is it visual?  Step back from your page.  What do you see?  Do you see lots of words… blah, blah, blah…. Or do you see bold, evocative images?  Pictures sell your story.  PIctures, and especially videos make it more likely for your campaign to convert visitors and supporters into donors.  4x more likely actually.  So if you haven’t taken the time to put the very best pictures and videos you can into your gallery, do that now
  3. Is it specific?  Here’s an important one.  If I give to you, what happens?  I don’t want to give you money if I don’t think it will help.  So tell me….  what will my $100 do?  Will it allow you to run a race?  Go on a trip?  Feed a family?  Buy some medicine?  What’s the overall goal?  When you raise your $1,000, what happens?  When your organization raises its $100,000, what happens?  I want to know, because I want to be part of it.  Be very specific about what the money is going to do.
  4. Do you have initial supporters?  No one wants to be the first one to arrive at a party.  You need to make sure there are people there and having fun–then everyone wants to be there.  It’s the same with your campaign.  An empty thermometer and only one supporter (you) doesn’t look very compelling.  So do a little bit to get the party started.  Get your mom and your college roommate and your colleague to come in and support your campaign.  Ideally get 10 supporters on your page right away.  They don’t necessarily have to donate–just get their faces up there.  This will help it look like the party is already started.   The second thing you can do is “seed the tip jar.”  You can make your own donation to your campaign to get it started.  If you have a $1,000 goal, you can put in the first $100.  Now your friends know you are serious, and you have set the bar.

Question 4:  Does the beat go on? 

The average person has to hear about something 6 times in order to respond to marketing.   Have you sent a 2nd email?  Made a 2nd Facebook post?  A 3rd?  4th?  5th?  6th?  You should be reaching out to the people you know daily.  After they’ve heard from you 3 times they will know you are serious.  After they’ve heard from you 6 times they will start to understand that other people are supporting, the campaign is gaining momentum, you are paying attention, and they are not going to be able to slip away quietly without you noticing.

You may be saying to yourself, “What?  Daily emails?  That could get annoying.  I’ll do weekly.”  Or, “I’ll send out one and see what happens.  My friends will respond quickly.”  Well….  I don’t recommend testing that theory.  We have experience across tens of thousands of personal campaigns, and we know what works and what doesn’t, and it turns out that even your really good friends need reminding sometimes.

All that being said, you don’t have to literally send an email every day.  I admit–that could get annoying.  You just have to do something every day.  Here are some things we have done to make it easier to keep a daily drumbeat going:

  • Post a new photo.  When you do this, we send out an email automatically to anyone who is supporting your campaign and let them know to come back and look at the picture.  We also post to your Facebook wall to capture new people
  • Make an update on your page.  This update could contain information about how the campaign is going that will now get pushed out to everyone following your campaign
  • Connect your Fundly account to your Facebook account as well as any Facebook pages you administer.  This will give your updates maximum visibility
  • Share on Facebook using the Fundly tools,   A link back to your campaign will be included automatically
  • Tweet using the Fundly tools.  A link back to your campaign will be included automatically
  • Same for Pinterest
  • Same for Google+

Basically, don’t ever let more than one day go by without an update to your “crew.”  They will support and donate and promote if you keep them informed.

Question 5:  What results should I expect by when?

This is the real question.  Were you concerned about results because there is legitimate reason to worry, or do you just need to be patient?  Let’s assume you set a reasonable goal, you have told enough people, you page is compelling, and you have continued the drumbeat daily.  You are probably okay.  But just to set you at ease, here is how a typical campaign plays out:

  • The first quarter of the campaign you are campaigning the hardest, and you do get an initial surge.. but probably not more than 25% of your goal
  • The second and third quarters of your campaign seem “dead.”  The temptation is to think that your campaign is over, that you’ve done what you will be able to do, and therefore to sit idly by and watch your campaign fade.  But it is natural for momentum to stall after your initial surge.  If you know this already, you won’t lose confidence.  It is important that you continue to post updates and send out emails during this whole period….  it’s an investment in your 4th quarter, where all the magic happens.  Keep it up!
  • The fourth quarter usually raises a full 50% of your money or more.  This is where you start to “count down” to the end and celebrate wins with your followers.  Everyone loves to be part of a winning team, so they will be excited to celebrate your progress toward a reasonable goal.  Keep the drumbeat going, and brace yourself for a strong finish!

I hope these questions help you.  As always, let me know of any comments or questions at djboyce@fundly.com.

Rock on!!

-db

C is for cookie, it’s good enough for me!

14 Mar

Here is a little success story about a sixty some year-old organization, which most of us have probably heard about. This is a large nonprofit organization with paid members who actively participate in the organization. The organization uses a very innovative fundraising approach of successfully leveraging their members as amateur volunteer fundraisers (AVFs).

A couple of times every year, the organization launches a fundraiser and recruits their AVFs to literally go door to door and raise money for the organization. Can you guess the one that I’m talking about? Bingo, the Girl Scouts!

So, what do they do? They motivate children, who are definitely amateurs and volunteering as fundraisers, to procure and sell cookies to you by going door-to-door. Not only does the Girl Scout organization sell you the cookies, but they also get really clever and get the kids (who’s going to say no to a sweet little girl!?) to write down all the information about your purchase. The kids obtain your address, your phone number, and exactly what you purchased.

Now do you think that there’s someone back at headquarters who is taking all of that information and aggregating whether Palo Alto buys more cookies than Mountain View or more cookies than Manhattan? I am sure they do. Do you think they use that list to improve and expand their lists? They certainly do.

So, if a Girl Scout club can figure out how to turn their members into amateur volunteer fundraisers, I’m confident that your organization can too. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and Fundly is here to help.

Focused Campaigns Make CrowdFunding Work

13 Mar

When I was in eighth grade I had the assignment to write a report about the Prohibition for my history class.  My adolescent mind was excited to dive in and the more I researched the period the more excited I became. By the end, I had 8 pages about Al Capone and had submitted report, proud as punch.

A week later I received the report back with a big read “C+” on it and a note from my teacher stating that she wanted a report on the Prohibition, not a famous gangster.

I had lost my focus and my report lost its effectiveness as a result.  That same trap lurks around the corner of every crowdfunding campaign.  A crowdfunding campaign’s strength lies in its ability to be shared and when the positive impact of spreading the word about your cause isn’t well understood, people are much less likely to share your campaign or donate.   Driving traffic to your campaign is goal number one.  Staying focused on making your campaign shareable will do just that.

“Well, what does ‘keeping my crowdfunding campaign focused’ mean”, you may ask.  It means that you need to:

 

BE CLEAR

Clearly tell your supporters about your cause’s goal and how spreading the word and donating helps you reach that goal.  Say it on your campaign page, say it in an email to everyone you know, say it on Facebook, Twitter, etc… The more you share, the more your supporters will understand that sharing is important and easy enough that they can do it, too!

BE CONCISE

Think ‘elevator pitch.’ Most people want to make a difference in the world, but they don’t have the time or attention span to fully understand every aspect of your cause.  In all of your messages, be sure to hone in on exactly what action you want people to take and why you want them to take that action. It’s always tempting to provide details on your cause because it’s so close to your heart and, to you, everything about your cause is important. If you stave off that temptation, summarize your cause’s goal in a few short sentences and direct people to take action they will act on your behalf.

BE CONSISTENT

Tie every piece of content on your page (pictures, text, video and giving levels) and every communication you send (email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to the goal you’ve clearly and concisely explained.

Don’t mix messages by providing updates on a new fundraising effort you’ve started and don’t create confusion by talking about unrelated events happening within your organization. Instead, stay focused on your campaign’s success by giving people updates on progress toward your goal, share with them how their donations are making an impact and let them know your fundraising deadline is approaching.

 

Make it simple.  Make it meaningful.  Make it shareable.

And keep your campaign “C+” free.

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A Mission to make everyone a philanthropist.

11 Mar

A Mission to make everyone a philanthropist.

Check out how our Customer Experience Officer (CEO) “does what he loves for a living” in Business News Daily…

How can I support a cause without opening my wallet? Taking your support beyond the donation…

8 Mar

Donations are always a great way to show support for a cause, but most supporters can only give once in a short time period, if they can afford to donate at all. So how can someone support your cause without making a donation?

Answer: Spread the Word!

With that answer, not only will people feel like they have a way to channel their passion for your cause, but it also:

  • exposes more people to your cause who may never have had a chance to experience it
  • increases the likelihood of receiving more donations
  • completes the cycle by asking everyone who experiences your cause to ‘pass it on’

If you’ve watched our video “Crowdfunding Success in 2 Easy Steps,” you know that one of the keys to fundraising success is to drive traffic to your campaign page. Well, asking people to spread the word is just another way to ask people to help you drive traffic!

Spreading the word is crucial to ensuring you capture your supporters’ passion and realize the goals you’ve set forth for your cause.

Let people know they can channel their passion for your cause by becoming a:

  • Supporter – It’s as simple as clicking on ‘Support’ on your Fundly page
  • Donor – The most well understood and appreciated way to show support.
  • Fundraiser – Anyone can do it by just clicking on Become a Fundraiser from your Fundly page and then sending emails, posting to Facebook and/or Tweeting about a cause.

The best part of using Fundly to recruit Supporters, Donors and Fundraisers is that ALL of them are given an experience that encourages them to spread the word about a cause.

If you are diligent about reminding folks to become a Supporter, Donor and/or Fundraiser they WILL get involved and you will reap the rewards!!!