Tuesday, February 9, 2016

How Effective Is Your E-appeal Donation Form?

When was the last time you checked out your online donation form? How easy is it to use? Do you know how many donors have made a gift online in the last year? It's time to ensure your 2016 online fundraising efforts are first-rate.

The Test
Your donation forms are vital to the success of your e-appeals and emails that accompany a direct mail campaign as well as the overall results for your fundraising during the year. We ran a year over year comparison from September to October in 2014 and 2015 to see if a $75 pre-selected gift amount would improve the overall giving for Animal Legal Defense Fund. In 2014, ALDF was linking to a donation form that used $50 as a pre-selected amount for the donation and in 2015 that gift amount was increased to $75. The e-appeal was partnered with a donation matching opportunity campaign that was sent via direct mail.

The Results
The results were fantastic! The $75 pre-selected online donation form received more gifts, had a higher average gift, and raised 48% more than the previous year.

Take Action: We strongly recommend you take a look at your current donation forms for your e-appeals and talk to your Account Manager to see if this is a change that can boost your digital results.

“The road to success is always under construction” – Lily Tomlin
Your furry friend,


Monday, January 25, 2016

How to Rock Your Thank Yous in 2016

One of the hottest topics every year in the nonprofit industry is donor retention, which is why we are talking about it in January! The best road to a great retention rate in 2016 begins with gift acknowledgements. Saying thank you to your donors should be a top priority for your organization this year, if it isn’t already #1 on your list!

Be a Retention Superstar

Sending a gift acknowledgement can come in many different forms: an automated email; a personalized thank you card; or a thoughtful phone call. However, all acknowledgements should have the intent of deepening your relationships. Donors need to know their donation made a significant impact on your organization’s mission. What is your current retention rate? If you don’t know, how can you improve? (P.S. Your Account Services team member will know.) Sending a simple donation receipt without a heartfelt message will make your donors run for the hills. Take some time this month to review and implement a better and more comprehensive gift acknowledgement process. You will reap the benefits of your new and improved donor cultivation strategies at the end of the year.

Don’t Be Stale, Thank Donors Creatively

Timely, meaningful, handwritten and personalized thank you cards and phone calls are a great way to stay in touch with your donors after a contribution has been made. But there are also other ways to let your donors know how appreciative you are for their gifts. Think outside of the box and have fun with your gift acknowledgements! Short videos will be all the rage this year on social media, so why not create one on the landing page after a gift is made? Invite your donors to an event or a tour of your facilities. Send donors an anniversary card on the date of their first donation or annual gift or send a shout out to your supporters through social media.

Put yourself in your donor’s shoes. If you contributed to a mission that you really cared about but didn’t receive any recognition or acknowledgement for your gift, how likely would you be to make a future gift? You can build a stronger connection with your donors by letting them know how grateful you are for their support. For more on retention rates and gift acknowledgements, check out our headline article in the next issue of Embark, which will be released mid-February.

“Fundraising is not really about money, it’s about people.” – Larry C. Johnson
 Your furry friend,


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Year’s Resolutions to Actually Keep

Happy New Year! The fresh start of a brand new year and the promise of great potential often present an opportunity to create resolutions and goals to accomplish. Here are three resolutions you will actually be able to keep in 2016:

  1. Thank Your Donors. Take a good look at your current procedures for thanking donors after a gift is made. Make 2016 the year that you send timely and personalized thank you notes and consider a welcome series online. Thanking your donors in a timely manner will retain their loyalty and commitment to your mission. Stay tuned for our next blog post that focuses on gift acknowledgements. 
  2. Update Your Website. This resolution does not need to be a complete overhaul of your current site. Consider optimizing your donation forms, Search Engine Optimization, call to action, and usability on mobile devices. Blackbaud reported a 45% increase in mobile giving from 2014 to 2015! View the whole report here.
  3. Keep Your Data Clean. Plan time at the beginning of the year to look through your database and use the NCOA and dedupe reports from your Account Manager. Then, schedule to clean your database on a regular basis. A fresh file will save your organization time, money, and resources for direct mail and digital fundraising. Contact us sooner rather than later if you need help reorganizing and cleaning your file!
January is also a time for planning and setting objectives. Remember that RKD Alpha Dog is always available to talk about your 2015 results and how you can further spread your mission in 2016.

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney

Your furry friend,


Monday, December 28, 2015

Renewing Our Pledge To You

As 2015 comes to an end, we look forward to starting the new year with many of you. (OK, we admit we actually started the 2016 work quite a while ago!)

Seriously, we want to remind you about our commitment to you and your mission. You are the foundation of RKD Alpha Dog. Every day, we strive to give our best to show you that our partner relationship is highly valued and appreciated.

The following is our pledge to you:
  • Every day, our team of professionals will provide you service that exceeds your expectations.
  • Every day, we will listen to your needs and respond to your requests.
  • Every day, we will give your projects, packages, and programs the attention to quality they deserve.
  • Every day, we are committed to your success, and will assure that all details are attended to without error or oversight.
  • Every day, we will ensure that your activities are aligned with your organization's strategic vision. We will know your organization as a whole in order to support your mission.
  • Every day, we will continue to grow and learn to make ourselves experts in our field in order to serve you better.
  • Every day, we will go the extra mile to get you the results you need to advance your mission.
RKD Alpha Dog began with a vision of a company that would serve nonprofit organizations with the same passion that they demonstrate in their communities. It means you get our best work every day.

We thank you all for another great year and we look forward to the next bright year of making the world a better place for all.

Monday, November 30, 2015

So Very Thankful

It is that special time of year when many of us give thanks for the people in our lives and the things we appreciate most. As you make your gratitude list this holiday season, we want to thank you for allowing us into your digital world to share our thoughts through this blog.

The following is a short “Thankful” list (in no particular order) from each of us at RKD Alpha Dog:
  • We are thankful for our partners, who have chosen to associate with us in order to help fulfill their noble and necessary missions. We work with many organizations, and each and every one is important to us.

  • We are thankful for the caring individuals who support all the many worthy causes that help sustain our communities.

  • We are thankful for our newly expanded family of RobbinsKersten Direct and are so excited for the new strengths we will bring to you through this partnership.

  • We are thankful for our colleagues and friends in the business and nonprofit communities. The encouragement and collaboration we receive from vendors, associates, service providers and, yes, even our competitors, is truly appreciated.
What are you thankful for? Share your “thankful” list with us in the comments section or on social media. #GivingThanks

Monday, November 23, 2015

CRITICAL: Data & Payment Processing Changes

Holiday season is officially in full swing and while you may be focusing on other critical issues, we urge you to take some time to look into your current payment processing system. As we review the latest industry issues, updates, and hot topics, we would like to pass along this great article written by Roger Craver, at The Agitator, about the upcoming credit card processing changes that are taking place with American credit card companies.

Because you work so hard during the year to keep retention rates high, we would never want to see you lose donors because you are unprepared. Take a few minutes to read this article and then keep an eye out in our next issue of the Embark Newsletter for more on this topic and how you can take action!

Follow this link below to read the article.

Roger Craver, The Agitator, Beware of the Sustainer Stranger: http://www.theagitator.net/online-fundraising/beware-of-the-sustainer-strangler/


Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Digital Donor

The last fundraising push for donations during the 2015 holiday season will have a greater digital presence than ever before. Now is the time to take a donor centric approach to your digital channels to maximize giving. Below is a checklist focused on website, email, and donation pages in order to increase success:

  • Do you make it clear why a donor should join your email list?
  • How easy it is to sign up for your agency’s email communications?
  • When someone submits their email address, do they get a welcome response in their inbox?
  • Do your agency emails translate to mobile devices? Are the emails built on a responsive design?
  • When you view the email, do you see the correct creative graphics for your current fundraising campaign?

  • How visible is your organization’s contact information?
  • What happens when you test the links to reach out through phone, email, and/or through the contact form? Are these channels set up correctly?
  • Can you easily see the donate button?
  • How does your organization’s website translate to mobile devices? Is it a responsive design?

Donation Page:
  • What happens when you click “Donate” on the website? Have you optimized your donation forms?
  • Does the correct landing page appear and does it look correct on all devices?
  • Do you see the correct creative graphics for your current fundraising campaign?
  • How easy is it to make a donation on mobile devices? (Yes, test it!)
  • How many times does a donor need to click in order to finish making a gift?
  • How long does it take to complete the donation process?
  • What happens after a donor makes a gift? Is there an automated thank you message in their inbox and/or do they receive a thank you note in the mail?
  • How long does it take for a donor to receive a thank you note after making a gift?

Taking the time now to follow the steps a donor makes in order to give a gift will allow you to see the process that they must go through in order to fulfill their donation. It puts you in the donor’s shoes and gives your organization an opportunity to make adjustments before the holiday season is over.
For more help or to get a more detailed list of everything you can do to enhance your digital presence and increase holiday giving, contact your Account Services Team!

Source: www.networkforgood.com