Small But Mighty! 100 Story Building Showing Charities That Successful Giving Days Are Possible For Fundraising Teams Of Any Size.

A few months ago we sat down with the small but mighty fundraising team from 100 Story Building to discuss the Giving Day they ran back in May. 

CEO, Susan Kukucka and Marketing Manager, Ella Bucovaz were kind enough to give us some insight into their first experience with the Giving Day format and all the aspects that made the campaign so successful. 

Susan Kukucka

CEO  |  100 Story Building

Ella Bucovaz

Marketing Manager  |  100 Story Building

First up, can you tell us a bit about 100 Story Building and the work your organisation does?

Susan Kukucka:

100 Story Building is a social enterprise that works with children and young people using storytelling as a tool to build their literacy skills, creativity, confidence, and a sense of belonging. 

We’re based in Melbourne and we work predominantly throughout the Western suburbs of Melbourne with communities, children and young people in schools, and we use creative programs and storymaking to engage children with their learning. Our work focuses on communities that are under-resourced and that may not otherwise have access to these types of arts-based opportunities and programs. 

And how big is your organisation and fundraising team?

Susan:

We’re not a big team. There are 11 of us all up, equivalent of seven or so full-time employees. 

However, for the delivery of this campaign the fundraising team was mostly just myself and Ella our Marketing Manager. 

Our development manager Jo finished up with the organisation a few weeks before the campaign. She was an experienced development manager and fundraiser and helped us set up a lot of core elements of a good campaign such as mailing lists, relationships, and broader campaign goals beyond just raising funds. 

Ella and I were both new to the organisation so we didn’t have all of the important history needed for great fundraising campaigns – what had worked in the past, what hadn’t, relationships with previous donors, and an understanding of previous campaign successes. 

Jo brought that foundational knowledge and then Ella and I rolled out the campaign, with help from the 100 Story Building team. 

How did you land on the idea of running a Giving Day?

Susan:

Creative Partnerships Australia run an application-based matched funding program called Plus 1, where they match either up to $25,000 or up to $50,000 of any fundraising completed by program participants. We applied to take part this year and were granted matched funding up to $50,000 to support our programs with children and young people.

After we received confirmation of the matched giving we took some time to figure out how we were going to raise this and what form our campaign would take.

We drew upon some of the expertise on our board. We have a couple of experienced fundraising people on our board, and one of them – Nelly Katsnelson – introduced us to the idea of the Giving Day and specifically to GiveEasy and Jeremy. A Giving Day appealed to us because it seemed dynamic, and we decided it would become the core of our fundraising activity for the year.

So the Giving Day format was new to the team and 100 Story Building?

Susan:

None of the team had ever done a Giving Day before. Nelly was the only one that was familiar with the model as she’d worked with Jeremy on a number of campaigns previously. She spoke highly of the model and GiveEasy. Previously, we had always run longer, more traditional campaigns. 

Had 100 Story Building done any digital fundraising before your Giving Day with GiveEasy?

Ella Bucovaz:

No, we’ve traditionally done more elaborate, hybrid campaigns in the past.

Susan:

We had used other digital platforms, but for a lot of our previous campaigns there was a stronger real-world element to it, whether it was connected to an event or there was a physical component to the campaign. We hadn’t done a 100% digital campaign before.

Given it was your first time doing a Giving Day and an entirely digitally lead campaign, did you have any initial hesitations or were you a bit sceptical?

Susan:

Oh yes, totally! I found it particularly nerve wracking because I really wanted us to meet our target and wasn’t sure if the time allocated would allow us to raise such a large amount. 

Although I wasn’t familiar with the Giving Day concept initially, Jeremy was great at guiding us through the process. 

I also kind of felt like, oh, can we even raise so much in such a short amount of time? 

Ella:

The Giving Day concept made us pretty nervous, it felt like we had all our eggs in one basket as we had one day to fundraise and we couldn’t do another campaign later in the year if it didn’t reach the target.

Because of this uncertainty we pushed for a soft launch a week ahead to give us enough time to build campaign awareness and garner pre-pledges. We came to realise after the campaign that funnelling energy and work into the Giving Day itself is a fantastic way to build the momentum and bring a sense of excitement to our audience and supporters.  

Susan:

We also wanted to look after our donors. We knew it was a new model, not just for us, but for everyone around us as well. We were concerned about whether or not our donors would find out about it in the time allocated. Would they be able to give in time? Would they receive the emails? Would the campaign be as creative and engaging as our previous ones?

We didn’t have a lot of existing donor phone numbers and 100 Story Building had also not run a large campaign in about two years due to covid. So it felt quite scary to go from not having been very active in the fundraising space for two years to then giving people a very small window within which to engage with us. 

And as Ella explained, because of that we opted for a soft launch a week out. We also did a lot of work behind the scenes to bring our donors along to this new format.

And how did the campaign end up going? Can you share what your campaign goals were?

Ella:

We hadn’t done a big fundraising campaign in over two years due to the pandemic so our goals were about getting our messaging out there again, building our brand awareness and then renewing engagement and reactivating our supporters and past donors.

Susan:

We also wanted to share 100 Story Building’s work with new donors. 

We were very conscious that even though we have established partners and schools that we work with, our vision has a broad appeal because it’s about enabling children and young people to build their literacy and creativity skills, which many people recognise the importance of especially post covid and when learning had been so disrupted for some many students in Victoria.

Our cause is one that many people connect with and want to support, but they often aren’t able to work with our organisation unless they’re a child, school or a teacher in one of our programs. So we wanted the fundraiser to be an opportunity that everyone who believes in literacy and creativity can come around and support. 

Connecting with new donors was really important to us. We wanted to use the Giving Day as a springboard to reactivate our engagement with our loyal existing donors who have supported our work over many years, and develop relationships with new donors through a year long program that shares our work and the work of the children in our programs with them, forming a strong and ongoing community of support around 100 Story Building. 

What were some of the results you achieved with the Giving Day regarding donor acquisition and renewal?

Susan:

We had about 80 donors on our list prior to this campaign. Afterwards we had engaged 129 new first-time donors and renewed 40 of our existing donor pool. So over 75% of our donors were new.

You were able to raise roughly $57,000 from the public on top of your matched funding which exceeded both your initial goal of $35,000 and then your final goal of $50,000 raised by the public. Were you surprised by these results and the success that you had given that it was your first time you had been active in a while?

Susan:

That’s certainly what we were aiming for and we felt pretty confident that we would get close to this as the last big fundraiser we ran a couple of years ago raised about $40,000 from the public with a much bigger, more elaborate campaign. 

Knowing that the organisation had raised something pretty close before made a $50,000 target feel like it wasn’t too much of a stretch. But it had just been so long since we’d run a large fundraiser, and we were working in a very different environment.

So we had hopes, but we really didn’t know how it would go. 

We were thrilled with the result and especially with all of our existing donors returning to support us. And we are excited to have engaged a whole new community of people that want to support our work. 

That was the most significant thing for me – the supporters that believed in our work. This was a really important campaign for us as an organisation and for the communities we work as we recover from the impacts of COVID lockdowns. We wanted to fundraise to provide programs to schools and children when they needed them the most. It was great to have our donor community actively support us to do that.

What did you love most about the GiveEasy platform?

Ella:

For me, absolutely the customer support. I felt very supported by Jeremy, the fact that I could just call to ask questions. He made himself very available, which felt really incredible because we know he’s busy and we were a first-time, small client. The platform felt very custom and tailor made for us.

Susan:

Having Jeremy was great. I think he also provided emotional support for me, as much as technical support haha. Knowing that he had done hundreds of these campaigns before, and could strategise with us and adapt to our needs – it was great.

I think that was especially important for us as a small team that doesn’t have a dedicated fundraiser internally. To know that he was only a phone call away really increased our confidence and rounded out our capacity.

What made you choose GiveEasy?

Susan:

For me it was the testimonial of someone who has successfully used GiveEasy before that got me across the line, combined with talking to Jeremy in our first meeting where he assessed all the elements of our campaign and felt that we could successfully reach our target.

He looked at the fact that we had matched funding in place, our donors, and previous fundraising work and gave us the confidence to proceed and build on this foundation, taking it to the next level with a digital campaign. 

We also knew that our previous campaigns were very time consuming for the team. Not that I’m suggesting that there wasn’t a lot of work involved with a Giving Day as well – there was, but our previous campaigns took months of planning and ran for many weeks with a lot of staff resources that went into them. As a small team, we were looking for something that condensed and streamlined this work for us.

What is next for 100 Story Building in their digital fundraising endeavours?

Ella:

Continuing to build our donor program and bringing our supporters along with us, so next time it is not such a big hurdle. We will work towards an annual Giving Day as this format worked really well for us.

Any advice for charities who might be in a similar position to what you were in?

Susan:

For people who are new to GiveEasy, I would suggest taking advantage of the strategic advice from Jeremy and combine this with a campaign that emphasises the strengths of your organisation. 

GiveEasy seems to work best when you bring to it those elements that are unique to your organisation. For us, it was setting up a ‘hype crew’ of some high-profile supporters and ambassadors to help us spread the word and create video testimonials. We honoured our brand and made sure all of our copy and messaging reflected our creative and youthful personality, as well as the fundraising messages. You can also bring in your own kind of design or brand aesthetic because the GiveEasy platform can support that. 

We also did lots of calls on the day alongside our EDMs, a small amount of paid advertising, and social media. We tried to integrate the elements that we knew that worked for us in the past and bring them together with the GiveEasy format and platform I think was what made it so successful.

“We were really happy with the outcomes of the campaign. It hit all the things that we wanted it to and was really successful. The digital campaign looked great and there was a good energy on the day too.” – Ella Bucovaz

Want to know more about how GiveEasy can help you run a Giving Day?

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It’s Not Too Late For A Last-Minute Tax Appeal

Are you getting Tax Appeal FOMO? Watching charities across the sector launch beautiful campaigns and wishing it was you? It’s not too late. 

The end of the financial year is arguably the most important date in the fundraising calendar. With the lure of a tax-deductible receipt providing value to prospective donors while the hard deadline of 30 June gives donors a clear time limit. 

While tax write-offs are never the sole reason a person or company decides to give to a charity, the benefits of this aspect of giving should not be forgotten. After all most people would prefer to give $500 to their favourite charity to save them giving an extra few hundred dollars to the government. 

Coincidently, the vast majority of charity budgets are based on the financial year. It’s usually around April and May you start to realise if you’re close to hitting your targets or getting very concerned that you won’t. 

Often boards, directors and upper management are starting to ask that all important question ‘What else can we try?’. This article tries to answer that all important question. And, if you’re already doing it all? Fantastic! Let them know confidently you’ve dotted all your i’s and crossed all your t’s. 

Let’s be clear, three weeks out from the end of June is not the time to create a big bells and whistles campaign. Instead try one of these ideas that many of our clients have seen success with:

1. Urgent ask

Do you have data? A social following? It may be as easy as an urgent ask. The trick here is to be clear, tangible, and provide a clear deadline. Asking for help isn’t weak, if you are at risk of not being able to provide services, say so.

“We are currently short $X to deliver Y, by Z deadline.. Without these funds we may not be able to deliver our services to those that desperately need it. Just $100 will help provide Y.. Donate today and help us raise $X by 30 June.” 

Urgent asks aren’t something you can do often but work extremely well when they are genuine. For them to be successful, explain the problem you are facing and the consequences of inaction. 

2. Crowdfunding campaign

Crowdfunding is based on the idea of many people conquering a common goal. Historically we’re talking about a group of likeminded people combining money to build a school in Mozambique (for example). 

These days, charities are having huge success crowdfunding anything from new farm buildings (we all love the Edgar’s Mission case study, don’t we?), to services, and even new aid workers.

The key with Crowdfunding is to be transparent and tangible in what supporters’ donations can help deliver and to be visual in representing this to donors. Crowdfunding campaigns work best with a progress bar, a countdown timer and content being updated regularly. You want to create the feeling that ‘we’re all in this together!’. 

3. Short but bold mini campaign

Tax time is a crowded time of year when it comes to fundraising, so you need to be bold. Why do supporters value your organisation and how you can communicate that while getting cut through? 

Focus on imagery that will stand out and remain consistent, this isn’t the time for 10 variations or photos. Choose one hero image. 

Make your call-to-action (CTA) clear and ask for ONE thing. Often charities get unstuck when their CTA sounds more like a shopping list than an ask. 

Choose your marketing tools. Many tools are what we consider ‘top of funnel’ and are great for building awareness. If you don’t have 6 weeks to remarket to these people you’re likely wasting money. Focus on your existing data with a smaller budget to reach lookalike audiences through tools like social media. 

Final tips when running a last minute tax appeal:

1. Focus on your existing relationships

Donor acquisition takes time, time that you unfortunately don’t have with 3 weeks before June 30. Therefore it’s going to be more effective for you to focus on the people you already have relationships with. Look at your email lists, your social following, and if you get good visits to your website, add relevant info there. We recommend a split of 80/20, with 80% of your time and budget focused on existing data.  

2. Reach out to lapsed donors

Lapsed donors have previously had a relationship with you so it’s often easier to reactivate lapsed donors than acquire new ones. In saying that, be sure to use your segmentation, looking for those that have given in the last 12-24months.

3. Take a multi-channel approach

When time is not on your side it’s important to spread awareness by making use of all your different channels. Send an email, SMS, post on your socials. This will ensure you reach as many of your donors as possible, and by using consistent messaging, the repetition of message will help your donors remember you and further encourage them to donate.

There is still plenty you can do, whether your charity is big or small. With most revenue coming in the last three weeks in June, it’s not too late. 

Best of all, GiveEasy can help you set up your donation pages and SMS while providing input on best practice to have you set up within an hour. 

Want to know more about how GiveEasy can help you with a last-minute tax appeal?

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8 Ways To Tangibly Increase Your Revenue

As fundraisers our ultimate goal is to raise as much money as we can for our charity. This not only keeps your charity running, but ensures we can sustain growth and delivery of services well into the future. 

So, if there are tried and tested ways to increase donations we know you’re going to want to know about them. 

1. Use personalisation

If you have read our previous articles you will know we are all about personalisation. When used correctly personalisation can not only increase your donations but also increase supporter loyalty and advocacy. 

But don’t just take our word for it! 

Lifeline quadrupled their donations via email using personalisation as well as exceeded their stretch target of $550,000 to finish at more than $593,000. 

Foodbank Victoria also saw that their open rates, click-through rate and most importantly conversion rates went “through the roof” from using personalisation. 

2. Reduce form fields

We understand data is important, but when it’s at the expense of getting donations, is knowing your donor’s birthday really worth it?

It’s a well known fact that our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. When you’re creating your donation form, focus on conversions and keep it to the essential information:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Donation amount
  • Frequency
  • Payment Option
  • Anything critical to the specific campaign (be selective!)

Don’t forget, you can always ask for further information on a post donation survey, thank you email or future communication. 

3. Be mobile first

More than half of all web traffic and page views now come from smartphones, but many mobile donations continue to suffer due to poor user experience. Don’t settle for a poorly optimised webpage where everything shrinks and you’re squinting at your phone. Ensure your forms are mobile first. 

Quick tips: 

  1. Keep your forms, text and imagery to the minimum. No one wants to scroll for minutes trying to find a way to donate. If you have a lot to say, swap long exhaustive text content for a snappy video. 
  2. Push your donation form to the top of page aka ‘above the fold’. Your donation form should be one of the first things that is visible when looking at your donation page on mobile. 
  3. Ensure your donation page is mobile responsive. Text that is too small, elements that are out of sync or are falling off the page, all of this will impact a donor’s experience, not only stopping them from donating today but potentially driving them to lose trust with your brand completely.

4. Add multiple ways to give

How often do you go to donate, only to realise your credit card isn’t within reach and you promise yourself you’ll ‘come back later’. 

Avoid this problem by ensuring you have at least one additional payment method, e.g. PayPal. 

PayPal provides security as well as the ability to save a donor’s payment details within PayPal’s system. Increased security and the convenience of stored payment details directly relates to less donor abandonment, increased conversions, and donor loyalty. 

5. Use storytelling

You can’t underestimate the power of strong storytelling. A good story can capture your attention, move you and drive you to action. 

Who is your lead character? What adversity have they faced? As a donor, how can MY help ensure no one else suffers the same fate? 

Don’t forget your loyalty communications and impact reports. The all important part where you show a donor they CHANGED the story, and the future is at least a little brighter due to them. 

6. Use donation price points

In its simplest form a price point provides a tangible outcome to a donation. E.g. $110 provides a family with groceries for a week. In its more complex forms price points can guide a donation. If your average donation online from a specific audience is $50, then by creating a price point at $56 will very likely slightly increase the intended donation. 

Each charity is different and it’s worth digging into your data to see how you can test your price points to increase your revenue. 

7. Take a multi-channel approach

One of the biggest battles in fundraising is ensuring enough people actually see and read your message. Your campaign may be perfect but if it’s not seen by enough people you are never going to reach (let alone exceed) your fundraising goals. 

People are busy and you’re never going to reach everyone at the perfect time. Which is why it’s important to communicate with your supporters multiple times throughout the campaign and on several different platforms. Use all the communication channels you have at your disposal: email, social media, SMS, even pitch the story of your campaign to your local news outlet.

8. Use match giving if you can

We know that securing a matched giving donation can be hard, but if you can do it, it’s definitely worth it. In fact supporters in matched giving campaigns not only donate more but donate more often. Who doesn’t want that?

You can use matched giving as part of a specific giving day, as an addition to your wider appeal, or as a last big push to a significant campaign. 

How GiveEasy Can Help

GiveEasy has been founded on ease of use, for donors and charities alike. We haven’t set out to be the most technical, most flexible, blank canvas – instead we’ve focused on reading all of the data, providing clear templates based on best practice and best performance from watching thousands of campaigns over the years. 

What this means for you as a charity is you don’t need a digital degree or external agency to help set up a campaign. You can set up yourself within minutes and not question where the form should sit or how much content to include. It’s all mapped out for you. 

GiveEasy is on hand 24/7 to provide guidance on the specifics, if there is anything in this article you’d like to find out more about. We’d be happy to set up a call. 

Want to know more about how GiveEasy can help you increase your revenue?

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6 Reasons You Should Be Using SMS Marketing

If you look around the room right now you can probably see your phone within reaching distance. That’s if you’re not holding it. Are you holding it? We thought so. 

Your phone is your wallet, camera, calculator, map, entertainment and even our vaccination passport. It connects you with friends, family, work and pretty much every transaction you make. 

It’s no wonder you can’t go anywhere without it. It’s also no surprise that the average person checks their phone roughly 110 times a day!

With such a powerful communication tool sitting in almost every Australian’s hands, you’d be silly not to consider SMS marketing as part of your overall fundraising strategy.  

The benefits of SMS

1. Simple and Seamless For Your Donor

Donors and supporters are time poor, they want to help but they don’t know how. A simple SMS with a truly mobile first donation form makes it easy to give on the go. With safe and secure ways to store credit card details (like PayPal), it’s never been easier or more secure.  

2. Easy For You

There is an incredible amount of technology out there for those who seek it. For many under-resourced busy fundraisers and marketers – you just want to know what works, and implement quickly. SMS is simple, well tested and when you use GiveEasy, we do all the technical work for you.

All you need to do is:

  1. Compose your message
  2. Decide on your send time and date
  3. Decide if you wish to send from a number OR your charity name
  4. Send us the above details as well as your contact data

We will then:

  1. Upload your customer data 
  2. Set your message, adding in any personalisation
  3. Add in the required opt out e.g. ‘Reply STOP to Opt-Out’
  4. Test
  5. Schedule your message

Then all you have to do is watch your results come in! No learning new systems or technical processes. 

3. Instant and Urgent

SMS is incredibly fast. It’s quick to set up, it delivers in record speed. Almost all text messages are delivered in 15 seconds or less and 95% of them are read within 3 minutes of being sent. Making SMS an instant way to communicate with your donors. Last minute Tax donation? Crisis appeal for Ukraine? SMS has you covered.

4. Personalisation, Personalisation, Personalisation

We’ll keep saying it. Personalisation is KEY. SMS is no exception. 

Personalisation can reduce opt-outs, increase donations as well as boost supporter loyalty and advocacy. To find out why you should be using personalisation read our article ‘How Personalisation Can Increase Donations, Supporter Loyalty and Advocacy’.

5. High Open Rates

SMS open rates sit at over 98% (taking into consideration hard bounces and wrong numbers). If you SMS someone, they WILL see it. 

More importantly they will read it. With a 125 character limit (or 300 if you want to pay for two SMS’) people are much more likely to read your text message as you are forced to keep it short and sweet. Unlike email, where you can go on and on as much as you like, for your SMS you will need to carefully consider your message – taking into account how many characters your opt out, call to action and personalisation (how long someone’s name is) will take up.

6. It’s Affordable with a High ROI

Now we didn’t say ‘cheap’, we said ‘affordable’. There is no getting around the fact that costs for SMS are higher than email. At an average of $0.09 (+GST) per sms, you likely won’t be sending your entire based 6+ sms’ at tax time like you might with email. 

In saying that, SMS is still affordable and cost effective as it’s rare not to make your money back in SMS. Rather, it’s more common to see 400% + ROI. 

If used effectively SMS can improve conversion rates, reactivate a lapsed donor (whose email is going to junk). And, above all, a well written and orchestrated SMS can provide a great brand experience and create new brand advocates. 

We don’t tout the ‘magic bullet’ effect too often, but SMS used well is an incredibly strong tool in any fundraisers toolbox. 

Want to know more about SMS Marketing and how it works with GiveEasy? 

Now you may be saying: “well that all sounds great… but what if I annoy my donors and they opt-out?”

Myth Debunked: High Opt-outs and Frustrated Donors

Opt-outs from GiveEasy SMS’ average well under 3%. With charity clients highlighting reactivation rates over six times that figure. Having said that, no one likes getting overloaded with unnecessary messages on any platform!

Here are a few recommendations to help keep opt-outs low:

1. Make sure your text is meaningful, or helpful, or both!

Just like email, sending too many ‘hard sell’ messages or SMS’ with boring content will result in annoyed donors and high opt outs. 

Make sure SMS’ are timed to support your donor. If you have a donor who always gives at tax time, a short to the point SMS and easy donation page in June will be very well received. 

And don’t forget to mix it up! If all you ever do with SMS is ask for money, donors will quickly get the hint. Like any other platform or tool, mix up your SMS with personalised video messages, thank you texts and bite sized updates showing how their donation made an impact. 

2. Don’t SMS too frequently

Even with the right content it’s important not to overdo it when it comes to how often you are texting your supporters. Too many texts from an organisation is one of the main reasons people opt out of SMS marketing.

For many, texting your donors more than once a fortnight can be heading towards being too frequent. Obviously, there are exceptions to this with giving days and leading up to fundraising events where it is relevant and meaningful to SMS several times in a day or week. 

3. Watch those timezones!

What’s worse than waking up at 2am to the sound of your phone? You look down only to find it’s not an emergency msg about a beloved family member, but a marketing message from a charity you donated to once 2yrs ago. Argh! 

Unless it’s a specific campaign or a telethon, keep your SMS’ to business hours and be sure to split your donors by postcode to allow for each states timezones or send at a time that’s respectable for most people. 

When discussing SMS, we can’t avoid the topic of the recent increased scam/ spam SMS’s that have received news headline attention all over Australia. 

SMS in the headlines: Scam SMS’ and what you can do

It’s highly likely that you have recently received at least one (or 20) scam or spam text messages. This year alone the ACCC scamwatch department has seen an 106% increase in SMS scan reports. 

Unfortunately for everyone there isn’t much users can do about it – smartphone SMS security just hasn’t advanced like email spam filters.  

For now, the scams seem mostly limited to postal services and online shopping, but no one is immune. The good news is that there are some things you can do to reduce the risk and increase trust amongst your supporters.

So what can you do as a charity?

1. Send a MMS video from the founder or key member of the organisation

Sending recognisable multimedia that not anyone could get a hold of is a great way to show you are who you say you are. A video message from the founder is not only a great way to personalise the experience and add value, but also a great way to build trust with your contacts. 

2. Use a consistent number and send multiple texts

By using the same number/name your contact will be able to see all the messages you have previously sent them. Scammy texts often come from different numbers every time, so seeing multiple messages with a consistent brand voice together helps build trust.

3. Gamify your marketing communication across all channels, linking them together with code words or elements

A fun way to build trust is to gamify the security process. Use your more trusted communication channels such as email and direct mail to “look out for a secret code word” or add a special element across all your campaign messaging. This will help your supporters determine the SMSs they receive can be trusted as well as act as an exciting game as your donors play detective. 

Final Comments

Even with the recent controversy around SMS, the momentum behind SMS marketing doesn’t seem like it will change anytime soon. Younger generations now prefer to interact with brands via their mobile device. 

61% of businesses are expected to increase their SMS marketing budgets due to the pandemic. 

With online payment details now being stored in your phone, and personalisation technology allowing forms to be pre-filled, SMS is the final piece of the puzzle in making your donation process quick and painless. Getting your message in front of your supporters instantly and driving them to make on-the-go decisions to donate.

Laws and Australian Legislation

SMS legislation is a bit of a grey area. However, the main things to note are that Australian registered charities are exempt from the SPAM act and it’s possible to send an SMS without an express opt-in. 

In saying that, it’s still best practice to follow the SPAM act as much as possible. This means adding an opt-out option as well as a sender name. This makes it easier for donors to identify you as the sender as well as have the option to stop receiving texts if they would prefer to not have this form of communication. 

In the end, what’s most important is that you listen to your donors, and follow their wishes.

For further information and advice, we recommend the following authorities:

https://www.acma.gov.au/avoid-sending-spam

https://fia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/SMS-Practice-Note.pdf 

At the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre we have seen a trend towards online giving, particularly via email and increasingly SMS. Donors want a quick and easy way to make a donation and sending an SMS that clicks through to a pre-populated donation form has delivered great results for us both during our Telethon and EOFY appeals.

This channel now forms an integral part of our overall digital strategy and we continue to test copy and our dollar asks to ensure its continued success.”

Amanda Schofield   |   Individual Giving Manager

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

Want to know more about SMS Marketing and how it works with GiveEasy? 

How Personalisation Can Increase Donations, Supporter Loyalty And Advocacy

Personalisation is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’. It’s an expectation. In an increasingly competitive and crowded marketplace – delivering the right customer experience is essential. 

After all, who doesn’t like a personal touch? 

We all love being recognised and treated as an individual. Our relationship with our favourite charity is no different. 

What is personalisation?

Personalisation isn’t a recent revelation. Many marketers know about personalisation and are capitalising on it. If you haven’t heard of it before, personalisation is where an organisation creates tailored messages, stories, offers, and experiences for an individual based on the data the organisation has about the person. 

You have probably experienced it without even knowing about it. When you interact with a company and it just feels like their whole campaign was made for you. Maybe a little detail about the town you’re from, something in the copy that acknowledges your relationship, or at the other end of the scale, pre-filling your form so you can donate with the click of one button on your mobile when you’re on the go. 

What are the benefits of using personalisation?

Today, people are gravitating to the organisations that they feel actually listen to them and pay attention to their specific interests, wants, and needs. Personalisation provides organisations with a way to do this. 

But, personalisation doesn’t just benefit the user. It can also benefit the organisation by: 

  • Increasing conversions; 
  • Improving customer loyalty; and
  • Encouraging customer advocacy.

1. Increase Conversions

In its simplest form, personalisation helps increase conversions by reducing the number of form fields a person has to fill out and reducing the time it takes to donate. 

But it’s more than that…

In an increasingly crowded and competitive digital landscape, personalisation helps create cut-through in the market to help grab your audience’s attention. 

Personalisation also creates a seamless and tailored experience for the user, which reduces back clicks and bounce rates; ultimately increasing conversions. 

On top of this, people are more likely to take action on campaigns where their name is used! In fact, studies have shown that brain activity increases when you hear (or see) your name.

Foodbank Victoria noticed all of their key metrics improved through the use of personalisation. 

Our open rates, click-through rates, and most importantly conversion rates on the donation page have gone through the roof by using those personalisations. Instead of seeing a decline in engagement and donations or an increase in complaints and opt-outs we are seeing the opposite.”

Sarah Cobb   |   Fundraising Manager

Foodbank Victoria

Imagine you went to donate to your favourite charity…

Without personalisation you may see a cold bare bank-like form, asking you for a donation. Lots of fields to fill out, all the fields you’d filled in several times before. 

The second page, addressing you by name, acknowledging the amazing contributions you’d previously made and pre-filling all the details they already had on you. With the click of a button you are done. 

What page are you more likely to donate on?

2. Improve Customer Loyalty

Personalisation is equally effective in improving retention rates. People don’t want to receive irrelevant marketing material and many will often opt-out of communications from organisations that are out of touch with their interests.

According to Salesforce, 70% of consumers say a company’s understanding of their personal needs influences their loyalty. 

How many times have you unsubscribed from an organisation’s emails because they kept sending you irrelevant content? 

When personalisation is used correctly, it can make your audience feel valued and can successfully build long-lasting relationships and loyalty.

3. Encourage Customer Advocacy

When you have a positive experience with an organisation, you want to shout it from the rooftops! You’re more likely to share it with friends, family and across social media. 

Providing an exceptional customer experience increases conversions, it increases loyalty, but if you do it right it also creates brand advocates and influencers. This kind of brand awareness and reach is unparalleled and best of all, it’s free.

Chat to us about how you can use personalisation in your next campaign.

What to personalise and why

There are many things you can personalise with the right data. But that doesn’t mean you should personalise everything. 

There are some things donors expect you to know, and there are some things they don’t. It’s important to use personalisation to enhance your supporter’s experience but the golden rule of personalisation? DON’T BE CREEPY. 

Some things you should definitely personalise are:

1. Personalised pre-filled forms

This one is a no-brainer. If you already have the data you are asking for in your donation form, why not pre-fill this for your supporter! This makes the process of donating much easier (and quicker!) and therefore more likely to happen. 

After all, the less the supporter has to do before hitting that donate button the better for both you and the donor.

2. Personalised copy on your donation page, thank you page, and receipts

You’re likely already doing this in your email marketing. Addressing a supporter by name, including a variable paragraph. Don’t stop here. One of the easiest ways to personalise your donation experience is to include your supporter’s details in the copy of your donation page, thank you page, and receipts. 

Building continuity and consistency of message is critical. You’ve worked so hard on your email copy, you’ve added all the touches, so don’t drop it all at the most critical stage when someone hits the donation page.

Just like your favourite coffee shop remembering your order, it’s also nice as a donor when a charity remembers details about you. This can be as simple as the donor’s name, or if you have the data, the reason the donor supports your charity.

You can even go as far as to include information on how much they previously donated and the impact it’s had on your organisation. 

All these details can evoke a positive emotional response and make the donor feel truly valued for their generosity. 

If you are addressing an individual who has never donated before you can still use data such as their name, their interests, and where they live to personalise your copy. 

For example, if you’re a charity that helps a range of domestic animals and you have data that the person’s favourite animal are dogs then you can use this information to tailor your copy to be more dog focused to help get them across the line. 

Similarly, if you are a statewide charity and you know where the individual lives you can personalise your copy to be focused on the work your charity does in their area. 

3. Personalised asks and one-click donations

Now we’re getting into the nitty gritty. 

Personalised asks

Increasingly charities are using the formulas that work so well in direct mail to bring the same experience to their emails and donation pages. If a person has donated $50 previously, provide that person donation asks at $50, $75 and $110.

You can imagine that if you have a donor who has previously donated $500 then they receive a donation page without personalisation, it may say ‘Please donate $50, $75, $110 or your choice’ they will likely be confused and frustrated. 

And worst of all, they may only donate $50, because that’s all you’ve asked for. 

Charities have been using this method to encourage donors for years – because it works! Yet only recently have many begun to use this kind of personalisation across their digital experience. This lack of uptake for many charities has been due to rigid legacy websites and platforms that lack the needed functionality. However, with the rise of software like GiveEasy, features like personalisation are all a part of the service. No coding or developers needed. Meaning any charity can now use personalisation on their digital campaigns (even if you aren’t a digital expert). 

 

One-click donations

Paypal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and tokenisation. What do they all have in common? You don’t need your credit card in your hand to be able to make a donation. 

You may be early in your journey when it comes to increasing payment methods or you may already have a full arsenal of payment options. At GiveEasy we provide tokenisation on all donations, so if that same user returns to donate, they won’t need to re-input their credit card details. 

This is the ultimate when it comes to ease of donation for second time donors, you don’t need your card or a password you may have forgotten, you simply click on the donation page link and confirm your donation. 

Most importantly GiveEasy provides security on tokenised payments with full PCI certification as well as regular and ongoing reviews. This ensures your donations are protected at every stage, even if your organisation doesn’t have an extensive IT, finance and security team.

Personalised Matched Giving Campaign Email By Lifeline 

This matched giving campaign email by Lifeline is a great example of putting all of the best of personalisation together. The team at Lifeline have created an experience so when you donate from an email, you see personalised asks based on your last gift, the content is directed to you, addressing you by name, and if you’ve previously donated, you’ll only have to click confirm and your donation is complete. 

PURLs through Give Easy have been a game changer for Lifeline. To be completely honest – we were reluctant to use them at first as we were uncertain we had the capacity to utilise them properly.

Jeremy and the team were fantastic supporting us, and once we did implement it, it was apparent we couldn’t go back! The results were amazing. (We went from eDMs bringing in around $5,000 to bringing in quadruple that!)

The area we’ve had most success, however, is through our Giving Days. The personalised landing pages, ask amounts and donation function make each ask truly feel relevant and personalised. The results have been incredible – our most recent Giving Day exceeded it’s stretch target of $550,000 to finish at more than $593,000.

Rochelle Nolan   |   National Manager, Strategic Fundraising

Lifeline Australia

Chat to us about how you can use personalisation in your next campaign.

A note on personalising outside of donation forms and pages

If you aren’t already personalising across Direct Mail, Email and SMS. You definitely should. We’ve included a few notes here but if in doubt our friends at Flat Earth Direct specialise in supporting charities across these areas of fundraising. 

4. Email and SMS subject line and copy

Email and SMS subject lines and copy are important to personalise. After all, it’s this communication that gets supporters to your donation page in the first place. 

Adding the first name to an email subject line has had proven results in increasing open rates. Using personalisation and tailoring your email and SMS copy to your supporter’s interests will have a positive impact on your click-through rate. Which ultimately gets more eyes on your donation page and therefore more chances for conversion. 

What’s more, it’s super simple to add personalisation and segment your audience based on data from most email software providers.

5. Mail packs

All donor mail packs are personalised in a sense as they all have to be addressed to an individual in the first place. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add personalisation in other ways. 

Adding a personalised QR code to your mail pack that directs supporters straight to a personalised donation page with a pre-filled donation form gives your donors another seamless and personalised online donation experience. It not only removes the hassle of needing to complete several steps to donate but also makes a donor feel valued from the tailored experience that has been provided just for them. 

The Royal Melbourne Hospital Donation Mail Pack

It’s important to note that for donation mail packs you should NOT include payment details in your personalisation, simply due to the risk that the person’s mail could fall into anyone’s hands. 

For more information on how you can use personalised QR codes read our article Print Goes Digital: 5 Ways You Can Use QR Codes At Tax Time 

Final Comments

Although personalisation can seem gimmicky at first (and sometimes creepy), increasingly, organisations are using it as a tried and tested tool for their campaigns, because it works. 

We hope this information helps you navigate the benefits and risks around personalisation to make it easier for your organisation to use as part of your next campaign.

Chat to us about how you can use personalisation in your next campaign.

Print Goes Digital: 5 Ways You Can Use QR Codes At Tax Time

As technology weaves its way into our everyday lives, digital fundraisers are given new and exciting ways to engage donors. QR codes now dominate the landscape, and many innovative charities are embracing their usage in a variety of ways. 

With tax time just around the corner, we thought we would share some of the great things you can do with QR codes on your marketing materials. 

Just in time, before your mail packs need to be finalised for your Tax Appeal!

Why are QR codes beneficial and how can you use them?

QR codes can instantly provide more information about your organisation to a donor OR seamlessly pre-fill donor’s information into a form to make it easier to donate. Either way, COVID has meant that for now QR codes are here to stay and there are countless ways to make use of them. 

Before we get into it, it’s important to highlight that there are two distinct types of QR codes we’ll talk through, whether you want to create one QR code for lots of people, or one QR code per person:

1. One QR code to many people

To create a QR code that directs many people to a single website is super simple. All you have to do is:

  • Google “free QR code generator”
  • Select a provider
  • Add the QR code website destination (and any relevant tracking)
  • Download the QR code file in your preferred format
  • Test your code to make sure it hits the right webpage
  • Add it to your marketing material

This is a great option for generic destinations but not the best for destinations that should be personalised.

2. One QR code to one person

When you’re looking to really personalise the donor experience, prefill a donation form and provide personalised content on the page. You need a single QR code for each person. The best way to do this is to work with GiveEasy and your favourite mailhouse. Here is our step by step:

  • Reach out to your mailhouse and see if they are able to print individual QR codes
  • Ask mailhouse what format the URL needs to be in
  • Let GiveEasy know you’d like to do personalised QR codes as part of your next campaign
  • Provide datafile to GiveEasy
  • GiveEasy provides appended datafile with personalised URLs in preferred mailhouse format
  • Provide file to mailhouse
  • Be sure to test QR codes on your proof sheets from the mailhouse before approving 

Please note: GiveEasy doesn’t charge additional fees for this service and in our experience, this process has no additional cost from the mailhouse. 

If you’re working in above-the-line marketing like billboards and digital screens you only have one option. On the other hand, if you do have someone’s details, why not make their life easier and yours, by pre-filling as much information as possible? But we’ll get to all that!

Five ways you can use QR codes in your tax campaign

1. Donation Mail Packs

Using QR codes, you can remove the hassle of a donor having to take several actions on their path to conversion. 

For example, adding a QR code on a mail pack that directs users straight to a donation page eliminates the extra hassle for the user to have to open a web browser, search for your website, and then try to navigate their way to the right page. By using a personalised QR code, you can pre-fill their details so all they need to enter are their payment details. 

After all, the more actions you require a donor to take, the more that will drop off and exit – meaning that fewer people make it to your donation page, and therefore less donations.

By using QR codes to reduce the amount of steps users have to take, this will ultimately mean more money for your organisation (YAY!).

Scan the QR code on The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s mail pack below for a demonstration of the personalised user experience:

NOTE: We strongly advise NOT including banking details in QR codes. This could be a risk if the mail is delivered to the wrong address or falls into the wrong hands.

How do QR codes stack up in a mail pack?

The key ways someone will donate are:

  • Filling out and returning the coupon
  • Phoning the call centre
  • Typing the vanity URL
  • Googling the charity
  • Scanning the QR code

None of these mechanisms are going away, but the way we use them is changing. More and more we see people receiving mail packs and donating online. It isn’t that mail is dead, it’s still a huge motivator for giving, but people are preferring to make the transaction online. 

When phone and call centre costs are so high, save them for mid-value and major donors. When predictive text and google mean you’re unable to track accurately, it can make it hard to justify your mail costs. QR codes provide a unique benefit; by creating personalised QR codes and adding tracking, not only can you see the direct revenue coming in from your mail pack, you can make the whole experience seamless for your donor. 

QR code revenue won’t turn everyone into an online donor; it may only make up 20-30% of revenue. However, we’re seeing an increasing number of donors choose this method, and it’s providing real data to the charities who are using it. Ultimately, this is guiding where they spend their fundraising budgets.

2. Receipts

Annual receipts for regular donors often see some of the highest attrition periods in the year across the industry.

Get creative and provide a personal thank you video to high-value donors, or an end-of-year wrap-up video to anyone who donated.

It’s also a great time to survey your donors and ask for feedback, what do they love, what grinds their gears?

Adding a QR code on your donation thank you pack or receipt is a great opportunity to engage with your donors. You are only limited by your imagination here.

In this scenario, both a generic or a personalised QR code could be used. If you are directing a donor to an anonymous survey then a generic QR code is all you need. If you are directing high-value donors to personalised thank you videos then you will obviously need a personalised QR code.

3. Invitations

Holding a fundraising event as part of your tax campaign? You can use QR codes on your mailed invites or flyers to allow users to easily register for your event.

If you’re mailing an invite then you already have the donor’s address. Take this opportunity to create a personalised experience for the user, by only showing the relevant event/s in their area.

In this scenario, a personalised QR code that pre-fills the donor’s name and email address in the event registration form would work perfectly. Again this saves the donor the extra hassle in filling in fields you already have.

4. Volunteer Packs

If you are holding an event for tax time and you need to direct volunteers to a particular location an easy way to do this is through a QR code.

Simply add a QR code to your volunteer information packs. Your volunteer will scan the QR code and a pre-filled address with specific directions are readily available.

This saves the person from having to manually search for the location.

A generic QR code would work perfectly fine in this scenario as you just need to provide the same location to all. If there are a few locations, creating three different QR codes would also work as you don’t need to create hundreds or thousands of these. As there is also no opportunity to make personalised directions a personalised QR code would be unnecessary.

5. Digital Screens

Whether you’re hosting a webinar, advertising in a lift lobby, or running a televised event like a telethon, QR codes on digital screens have become the norm. 

Think about where you can add value or be strategic about asking for a donation. 

Often during webinars you’re cutting and pasting links and promising to send PDFs after the event is over. What about providing a QR code on the closing notes with a link to a PDF on a hosted landing page? Or providing a quick survey users can complete on their mobile. 

During disasters and seasonal telethons avoid long URLs and support people while they are dual screening. Add a QR code to the bottom banner of the screen, either while the presenter makes a call out for donations, or while your most emotive content is on screen. 

Digital screens are all around us now and with support from your out-of-home advertising supplier you can get creative with where you put your QR code. Make it simple and ask for the fewest possible details as people are often in a rush.

Final Comments

You can use QR codes both on printed and digital marketing material, so the opportunities are almost endless! The above are just five examples of what you can do.

Ask your mailhouse today if they do personalised QR codes, or get in touch with GiveEasy to find out more. 

QR Code checklist:

  • Whenever you use QR codes ensure you provide clear indications on what the QR code is for and where the user will be taken after scanning.
  • Put the QR code in a location where people will be able to see and scan the QR code.
  • Make sure the QR code is big enough to be scannable.
  • Don’t add banking details of donors and supporters to QR codes.
  • Create a URL destination that is mobile-friendly. This is critical when scanning and visiting websites from your phone. As always, all GiveEasy donation pages and forms are mobile-friendly so you can check this one off already!
  • Be sure to add tracking to your URL so you can monitor the performance of your QR code vs other channels.
  • Don’t put a QR code on a platform that people primarily view on mobile. For example, social media is primarily viewed from a mobile device; if you put a QR code on a social media post, any person viewing the post from their mobile device won’t be able to open it – that’s because they are already on their phone and can’t use it to scan the QR code. 

“COVID-19 …. helped us to move to a digital-first, storytelling focused approach across campaigns fundraising and we completely smashed our fundraising targets. Lockdown meant that donors moved to responding digitally (over 70% of donors are now giving through online channels), and they have given more than ever before”

Natalie Barnett   |   Head of Fundraising Campaigns

Arts Centre Melbourne

Security Update: Log4J Security Risk

What is Log4J?

Log4J is a piece of free, open source software written in Java that is used by thousands of websites and business applications around the world. 

Due to its widespread use millions of internet users have been put at risk as it’s security vulnerability has opened the door for targeted acts where hackers can:

  • steal sensitive information;
  • take control of systems; and 
  • install malware on a user’s computer.

However, this is only for users that are interacting with the affected website or application.

The problem is that Log4J is everywhere. Big business such as Apple iCloud and Amazon Web Services have been affected by the Log4J security vulnerability, but they aren’t the only ones.

Who is affected?

Essentially, any business or website that uses Java or Log4J is at risk. 

Is the GiveEasy platform affected?

Luckily for GiveEasy users, we do not use any Java or Log4 dependencies. This means we are not affected by this security risk. 

Further recommendations:

Further recommendations:

If you are a GiveEasy user you do not need to worry about the Log4J and Log4Shell security vulnerability on our platform. 

We strongly encourage you to talk to all your service suppliers to check if they use Java and Log4J. 

If they do it’s important to ask:

  • what your current risk exposure is; 
  • what are you doing to patch the Log4J security vulnerability; and
  • what I need to do as a charity, if anything.

The Rise + Rise of digital eBook

the rise + rise of digital

We have watched digital fundraising increase over the past year and have seen charities embrace online and SMS giving and succeed. We decided to share some of those successes with you, so we have created this eBook, so that you too can grow your digital fundraising with ease.
CLICK HERE to download the eBook for FREE. 

3 stand out SMS templates for FREE

SMS for tax

We like making it easy for our charities to set up with ease, so we’re giving you some FREE advice in the form of winning SMS templates to start you off.

Ready to COPY. PASTE. SEND? here you go…

SMS #1 

[firstname], last chance to help xxxx and claim on tax. Please donate $xx by 30 June: www.xxx

 

SMS #2

[firstname], all donations doubled until we hit our target. We need your help to xxxx. Please donate $xxx now: www.xxx

SMS #3

(firstname], we’re still short. Please help us xxxx. Donate $xxx by midnight: www.xxx

Here are a few other tips to use in your SMS:

  1. Using first names in the SMS are crucial, especially when asking for donations, make sure you merge in your sms, especially at the start of the sentence to personalise the donation experience.

  2.  Using their Ask 1 or last gift is extremely effective and taking this one more step further by utilising PURLS (personalised URLS) to make giving effortless on the donation form. We can show you how simple it really is 

  3. Urgent wording is a must such as HELP, LAST CHANCE, WE’RE SHORT especially around the deadline of 30 June

CONTACT US today and let the GiveEasy team help you set up your SMS – we’re here to help work out the best wording and timing to send your SMS.  

Stand out from the crowd with SMS and MMS 👍

With a staggering 98% open rate, have you considered using SMS and MMS in your fundraising and engagement strategy?

SMS and MMS are beneficial to marketing strategies because they are cost-effective and can be personalised to reach your clients in a more meaningful way.
If you have an urgent appeal, or if you want to say thank you, with a heartfelt message and photo, this is a quick and easy way to get in the hands of your donors.


While SMS is known to most, MMS is relatively new, but is a very useful engagement tool. Below are some suggestions on how you would use SMS and MMS.

SMS 
(Text-based messages)
  • Personalised prefilled links
  • Appeals including Tax and Christmas
  • Giving days
  • Thank you’s
  • Regular giving reminders
  • Event notification
  • Peer to peer
MMS
(Multimedia Messaging Service which includes text and images)
  • Special occasions
  • Thank you’s
  • Birthday
  • Holiday greetings
  • Engaging with your donors with snapshots of your work
  • Peer to peer
Contact us today to speak to us about using the SMS and MMS through the GiveEasy platform to amplify your donation and engagement strategy.