Where Digital Can Boost Your 2019 Tax Appeal
1st June 2019 will not only signal the first day of winter in Australia but the moment when charities across the country press go on their end of financial year tax appeals. With so many nonprofits competing for attention and funding, it’s important yours stands out.
Being prepared and strategic plus baking more digital into your planning can add a serious boost to your results.
Here are our Top 9 tips to your Best Ever Tax Appeal campaign:
1. Implement a Digital Strategy
This goes without saying but we know it’s not always done or done effectively. Plan your campaign holistically, identifying the role of each channel in delivering your objectives. Review your past performance and industry benchmarks to prepare for future results.
When it comes to digital give this part of your strategy more focus and attention. Digital is ever evolving and growing in fundraising. Do something this year that you haven’t done before. Use our Uncomplicated Guide to a Digital Strategy if you need a simple framework to get you started.
2. Create a Campaign Schedule
1st July will be here before you know it. Your appeal should be dropping in May with reminders scheduled through multiple mediums in the lead up to 30 June.
But we know there’s a lot of work that needs to happen before then. So plan ahead through the creation of a schedule. And don’t create the schedule alone – include other staff, volunteers and board members from the start. If possible, survey your donors well in advance of the campaign to gauge interest and engagement.
3. Ensure Digital Complements Your Direct Mail
Most tax appeals are still led by Direct Mail. And there’s nothing wrong with this. But digital can play a complementary role to your DM campaign by personalising the experience, extending it online and improving conversion.
For the past decade, digital has been the fastest growing segment of fundraising, with mobile experiencing the most growth in traffic.
Our tip is to create a campaign specific landing page and donation form to extend your message and conversion online. The key is to make this experience as frictionless as possible plus ensuring everything is optimised for mobile.
4. The Power Of Storytelling
We know we are speaking to the converted when it comes to storytelling. But rather than simply asking your donors to give to ‘the cause’, single out individuals with compelling stories and use them to bring your message to life visually.
When we worked with Variety – The Children’s Charity on their 2018 Tax Appeal, we made 6-year-old Hollie the hero of the campaign. We used digital to share her story from many perspectives including her mum. We included captions from past donors to convey the feeling it gave them to give the gift of a bike to a child in need.
It was one of the reasons, the campaign delivered a 21% increase in revenue and 60% conversion online. Digital also allows the messages to be delivered in text, images and video which can significantly improve engagement.
5. Writing For Digital
Talking about text, the approach you take in developing content for digital is very different from the approach you take for direct mail.
If we had an analogy it would be this. People consume content as if eating a meal offline but online they snack. So you need to clean up your messages, lose the jargon, be visual and show the next step.
With half of the traffic coming through mobile, people simply don’t have time to scroll down pages to get to the next action. So get into a habit of creating bite-sized content, but more of it.
6. Segment Your Data
Personalisation is a global trend that is difficult to ignore and should be at the forefront of every business, charity and tax appeal. Luckily digital can help you be very targeted with your messages.
This means in your next tax appeal, you can’t send the same package with the same copy to everyone on your database. Generic communication doesn’t place value on your donors and is more likely to deliver mediocre results. The aim is for personalised messages that talk to the reader one-on-one.
Stephen Mally, Director of Fundraising Force is very passionate about this subject.
‘Invest time in creating the segmentation on paper and then work with an expert to build the strategy in your database. There are many CRM tools like The Raiser’s Edge, Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack, Microsoft Dynamics, Blackbaud CRM, ThankQ, iMIS and others that can help you deliver rich and viable segmentation. Ensure your strategy is future proof and can be used for subsequent appeals’
Stephen believes you will reap huge benefits by setting up your tax appeal correctly. If you haven’t done so, maybe this is the year to start.
7. The Importance of A/B testing
As you plan your year-end campaign test different messages in different ways (commonly known as A/B testing). For example, you might experiment with different headlines, text, challenging vs positive imagery, videos, calls to action, donation amounts and so much more.
It’s best to test one variable at a time to more accurately link an action to a result. Examine opens, click-throughs and conversions to understand how your audience engages with your emails. Review landing pages and user journeys to understand web engagement. Adjust your messages as you learn which messages best connect with your donors.
8. Simplify The Online Donation Process
Want a high online donation page conversion rate? Make the online experience more meaningful for donors. Though it may be tempting to ask donors multiple questions on your donation forms, to help you learn more about them, those questions can become obstacles preventing people from giving at all.
Less is more when it comes to the donation experience. Limit the fields on your donation form to the information that is absolutely necessary, and simplify the process with auto-fills and one-click donations to further reduce drop off. Visualise giving handles to make donor gifts more tangible.
Where possible, ask former appeal donors to give a specific amount that is higher than the previous year. Tracking and retrieving a donor’s giving history is a powerful way to raise their contribution.
9. Foster Donor Loyalty
Making sure each individual donor feels that their personal contribution made a real impact should be a critical part of your campaign. Donors have many options – if they don’t feel their money was put to good use, they are far more likely to give it elsewhere next time.
One of the keys to fostering donor loyalty is to close the feedback loop. Always follow up with donors to thank them and let them know their gift made an impact.
Research has shown that sending first-time donors a personal thank-you within 48 hours will make them four times more likely to contribute again.
Variety Victoria in their Bikes for Kids Tax Appeal Campaign extend the campaign by giving donors the opportunity to give their gift of a bike directly to a child in need. An offline experience becomes online and then offline again. We think this is the future of fundraising.
At Leafcutter we embrace disruptive technologies that improve the ability for marketers and fundraisers to connect to their audience, tell stories and raise money for their cause.
We hope the above has been useful in planning for your 2019 Tax Appeal.
If you want to dive deeper into any of the topics, then reach out and let’s work together to make 2019 Your Best Ever Tax Appeal Campaign!!