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Here’s What We Took Away from NTC

NTEN Hosts Nonprofit Technology Conference in Portland

nonprofit technology conferencenonprofit technology conference
When we learned NTEN was hosting the 2019 Nonprofit Technology Conference in CauseMic’s backyard of Portland, OR, we weren’t going to miss an opportunity to introduce ourselves and reconnect with some of the brightest minds in the nonprofit sector.   We came, we mingled, shared, listened, and reflected on some of the greatest challenges and opportunities facing fundraisers at this time. Below is a breakdown of our biggest takeaways:  

1. Nonprofits are trying to unlock the next generation of supporters

Established nonprofits are trying to unlock the next generation of supporters without jeopardizing the strength of their current donor baseYou’d be hard-pressed to meet an executive from an established nonprofit (say, at least 30 years in existence) who isn’t working to diversify their donor base by acquiring younger supporters – specifically millennials (born 1981-1996) and generation X-ers (born 1965-1980).  
There’s a good chance donors who identify as Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) or the Greatest/Silent Generation (born before 1945) were acquired during a point in their life when they were financially comfortable enough to make sizable gifts through channels like direct mail or in-person events. As organizations continue to cultivate seasoned donors through strategies like legacy giving programs, online giving remains on the rise, following the trends of consumerism. The need for a holistic, user-driven, and multi-channel fundraising strategy enabled by technology is clear – is your organization poised to unlock the next generation of supporters? 

2. Text messaging cannot be ignored

When we advise organizations to meet users where they’re at, text messaging is a no brainer. Here’s a few statistics to reinforce the adoption of text marketing:
  • 96% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of receipt, and 90% within three seconds 
  • 47% of consumers prefer using native SMS to communicate with businesses over all other messaging platforms 
  • 25% of donors completed donations on their mobile phones in 2018 
Leverage text messaging in your multi-channel fundraising strategy. It’s simple, personal, highly effective and friction-free if done correctly. Weave it into an upcoming campaign and use it as an opportunity to demonstrate impact, tell a story, and ask for support. Check out to learn more about text marketing for nonprofits.   

3. Nonprofits can and should be implementing e-commerce best practices whenever possible

You don’t need a big-time budget or dozens of specialty staff to implement tactics used by online retailers. A few recommendations:  
  • When building donor journeys, it’s important to reduce friction points for users. One example would be to omit navigation elements from any landing page where the objective is to donate. Don’t distract supporters with alternative paths. In addition, limit the number of fields/questions while collecting a donation, and make payment easy! 
  • Across channels, clearly communicate your organization’s value proposition, address any perceived barriers, win hearts and minds through endorsements, certifications, and reviews. Keep it simple and include just one call-to-action for best results. 
  • Re-engage drop-offs, or those who’ve demonstrated interest in your mission but didn’t convert, through retargeting. Don’t wait more than 24 hours to engage a user with an abandoned cart. Consider an added incentive to give when retargeting —matching challenge, discounted merchandise, or exclusive invite. 
  • Test one element at a time to learn what’s effective in order to increase conversions. From subject lines to images to button color, learn what resonates most with your target audience and double down.  
Check out the NTC presentation on reducing donor abandonment, led by representatives from CauseMic, Give Lively, and the Humanity Lab Foundation.    

4. Our subscription economy is ripe for monthly giving

Netflix, Blue Apron, Birch Box, and the Dollar Shave Club reinforce that customers are drawn to the subscription model. Donors are too! In fact, 45% of donors are enrolled in a monthly giving program.   Does your organization have a strategy designed to upgrade new one-time donors? Does your monthly giving program have a unique brand identity and is it prominently featured on your organization’s website? Cherish and nurture this audience, as they help create a steady stream of unrestricted revenue to balance the peaks and valleys of an annual fundraising calendar.  

On behalf of the CauseMic Crew, thanks to those who joined us for a meal, a presentation, and some incredibly energizing dialogue around raising funds for good in 2019 and beyond.  


Ready to launch or reboot your nonprofit’s monthly giving program? Enroll in CauseMic’s online fundraising curriculum and learn how to build a robust monthly giving strategy from scratch. 

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