Personalized Pitches and Rebounds
Relationships were harder than ever to get going in 2019, and no, we don’t just mean Tinder. With the rise of easily affordable social media advertising and accessible video platforms like youtube, potential donors and members seem to require more media and even events before converting. There’s just so much content out there, a relationship takes more work, it takes more time. But time and time again, we’ve seen personalization cut straight to potential supporters. According to this 2017 Trends In Personalization research study, 96% of respondents said personalization helps build customer relationships, with only 45% agreeing that marketers actually succeed in personalization. What this means is that marketers are just blasting away with barely personalized content, and expecting that to instantly convert viewers. Not so. But how can you, as a non-profit event planner, take advantage of this trend?
Well, despite all that doom and gloom, email is very much alive and kicking and in 2019, and poised to grow. Largely because of personalization. Sure, it takes more time nowadays to convert attendees to donors, but all that means is the relationship will be stronger when it blooms. This requires patience. And an email mailing list is the ultimate way for event planners to put patience to use. Even if an attendee at one of your non-profit events doesn’t donate, doesn’t become a member – if you can get them to join your mailing list, you’ve still taken a big step forward. Because from there you can send personalized messages to the attendees, encouraging them to come back and then donate, at which point the contribution will certainly be larger than it would have been. Not to mention a long-term relationship with attendees greatly enhances recurring donations, which have been shown to be increasingly for nonprofits time and time again. A mailing list with a sequenced order, or even a simple recurring system like Donorbox, bypasses the need to bombard potential donors with paid advertising and content in search of lump sum donations. Instead, free and personalized emails do the trick. A powerful mailing list, or any other tool that provides traffic analytics, also lets you make the pitch personalized. You wouldn’t ask thousands from a student attendee struggling to get through school, just like you wouldn’t ask $10 from an attendee with millions in the bank. Many sign up software like MailChimp or even ClickFunnel provide auto-generated profiles from your signups and traffic and leads, allowing you to do better research for more personalized asks. This also allows you to segment your market, understanding the different sources of traffic, the different segments of your audience, and then messaging them separately. You wouldn’t market to a twenty-five-year-old and a sixty-five-year-old in the same way, right? You also wouldn’t want to tell them your nonprofit’s story in the same way, or even present the same story. Not only will personalizing your messaging increase your conversions and open rates, but it will also improve your nonprofit’s reputation to all your targeted demographics.
2) Time for Tech
Net technology has been revolutionizing non-profit donations, both in the donation process and demographics. First, with mobile increasingly popular for donations, digital wallets like Paypal and Google Pay are a must for non-profits. Not only do digital wallets make donations easy, they act as social proof, as other users can see who has donated. Think Amazon review, only better. If your non-profit has not set up a public digital wallet and doesn’t have that on their website, now would be the time.
One of the largest demographics of digital wallet junkies is Generation Z, young people born after 1996. Aside from being very close to coming into financial freedom, a 2017 Global Trends Report said that Gen Z members are “interested in giving to many different causes… top causes being youth, animals and human services.” So not only will capturing generation z’s attention be key in the coming “it” decade, but it will be especially important for nonprofits. Generation Z grew up on the internet, surrounded by seamless mobile technology, the wide web at their fingertips. Unsurprisingly, members of Gen Z spend a huge amount of time on their phones, many conducting all transactions on mobile. This means it will be absolutely essential to have your non-profits site and even donation page mobile optimized. Generation Z also happens to be very visual, responding to pictures and visual storytelling more than other generations. When marketing to gen Z, it makes sense to take advantage of picture-based social media platforms and storytelling media, like Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, and infographics in emails.
Going in the opposite direction, voice assistants have skyrocketed in popularity, AI practically a household norm. According to a Nielsen study, almost 24% of US Households have smart speakers like Amazon Echo. This isn’t just a Gen z thing – this is a future thing. How can your non-profit event take advantage of the artificial intelligence trend? Well, it doesn’t have to be with some fancy smart speaker or expensive virtual assistant. No, you can benefit just by making simple chatbots. A chatbot allows you to answer basic even questions through your non-profit website, app, or even on popular platforms like Facebook Messenger. A chatbot is a wonderful way to streamline this process and screen for common questions about your non-profit events, while also coming off as more personalized than an FAQ page. This can also give your staff more time and resources to tackle bigger and more complex questions.
Another wonderful way to take advantage of new events technology is in ticket sales. According to an Eventbrite study, the majority of money raised by non-profits comes from ticket sales. So as a non-profit event planner, you’re looking for a free way to sell as many event tickets as possible, to raise money and promote your mission of change. However, most ticket sales software like Eventbrite or Ticketmaster take huge portions of sales, cost too much, promote competing events, and eclipse your own brand. You can use Sparxo to post your event and sell tickets for your event anywhere, letting you sell tickets online with no redirects – all for free!
- Import your guest lists and sales lists from other systems
- aggregate all of your customer data in one place
- Keep 100% of your ticket sales
- White Label, greatly improves SEO and Brand
3) Behold, the Awesomeness of Auctions
Auctions have always been a staple for non-profit fundraisers, but 2019 has seen auctions undergo a serious glow up, with radical new formats and attendee experience.
When you think auction, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? Probably a fancy hall with puffy seats, a fast-talking auctioneer, with attendees throwing out numbers at the top of their lungs. If you’re a tad more familiar with auctioning, you might also think about silent auctions, a low-stress alternative to the former. Silent auctions are also quite popular, according to Winspire, “82% of benefit auctioneers reported at least 3 out of 4 events they worked included a silent auction.” A silent auction can be a great way to get more of your attendees involved, enticing those who may be intimidated by a live rowdy auction. But how are silent auctions going to change for non-profit event planners? They seem to be shorter, with “65% of [Nielsen] respondents observing the number of items included in the average silent auction declining.” So non-profit event planners are opting to save time and money by auctioning fewer items, saving money on both items and hosting time. After all, with silent auctions and the power of the internet, bids can be placed long before an event starts IRL, the opening time of silent auctions set sometimes months in advance. And in recent years, online auctions have also been streamlining auctions and their budgets, eliminating lengthy agendas, dull speeches, and of course all the hefty costs of putting on an auction, like catering and rent.