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Webinar recording: Use year-end insights to better your 2023 funding efforts

January 23, 2023
Three colleagues look at a purple folder together.

In this session recorded on Jan. 18, 2023, GivingTuesday's Chief Data Officer, Woodrow Rosenbaum, joined three of Bonterra's senior fundraising & data analytics leaders to share key insights across the complete philanthropic giving season lifecycle and offered data-backed strategies on how organizations and corporations can collaborate to power more social impact in 2023 and beyond.


Woodrow Rosenbaum: Chief Data Officer, GivingTuesday

Kimberly O’Donnell, CFRE, ACC: Chief Fundraising and Engagement Officer, Bonterra

Pete Karns: SVP of Corporate Strategy, Bonterra

Ben Miller: SVP of Data Science and Analytics, Bonterra


Katie Thomas: All right, good afternoon, everyone. And welcome to our webinar, "Use Year-end Insights to Better Your 2023 Funding Efforts." My name is Katie, and I'm a content marketing manager at Bonterra, joining you from Ithaca, New York. As folks are joining the call, I would really welcome you all to write into the chat where you're coming from and what organization you're with. We would really love to see who's joining us.  

Before we get started, we'd like to also introduce you all to Bonterra. We are a social good software company dedicated to powering those who power social impact with best in-class case management, corporate social responsibility, and fundraising and engagement solutions. As a reminder, we'll send everyone the recording of this webinar. Feel free to engage with your peers in the chat, but we encourage you to use the Q and A section for questions for our speakers. While we may pause during the session to answer a few questions, we will also have time dedicated at the end to respond to additional thoughts.  

We have a full and exciting agenda for today's webinar. First, our speakers will provide some background to what is currently happening in our sector, and share a few key metrics collected across Bonterra's solutions and the GivingTuesday organization. Next, our speakers will take a dive into five key findings, and they will wrap up the call ensuring that you leave with some actionable takeaways and a chance to ask questions. It is an honor to welcome four fundraising leaders joining on our call today. We have Woodrow Rosenbaum, the Chief Data Officer for GivingTuesday. And joining from Bonterra, we have Pete Karns, the Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy, Kimberly O'Donnell, our Fundraising and Engagement Officer, and Ben Miller, our Senior Vice President of Data Science and Analytics.  

And with that, I will pass it over to our speakers to get started. Thank you.

Kimberly O’Donnell: Hello, everyone. We are so excited to be meeting with you today to be talking about, you know, some of the things that we learned year-end, last year, and how you can take those insights and trends and put them to good use this year, this new year.  

I want to say hi to some of our friends out there. I saw Krystal from SOME who's based in DC. We've got Trey Nichols from Accessible Housing Austin. There are a lot of others. Please put your name in the chat box so that we can see you and say hi to you. There's a lot of really fabulous organizations represented here, and we're really looking forward to the questions that you're going to be bringing to us throughout this hour long webinar.

So let's talk a little bit about what we're going to be doing. We're going to be going over the current state of the sector. We're going to look at GivingTuesday and some year-end metrics. We're going to dive into key findings that we have. We have five fabulous key findings. We'll have some takeaways for you, and we'll also be asking questions. If you do have questions, please add them to the Q and A box and we'll be answering them and keeping an eye on the box as we go through the presentation.  

Now, Katie has already introduced all of us to you, but one of the things that I'm most excited about is that, our little group of four have come together in the past and had some really great conversations about what is happening in the sector, and I hope you will find this discussion as interesting as we have found it to be in the past. What we bring to the table is that, you know, Woodrow comes to us from GivingTuesday, where he use great insight into what happens on GivingTuesday, but beyond that, you know, what is going on with all of the partners that GivingTuesday works with in their Data Commons. And then we have Ben Miller, who is part of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, and, you know, has great and deep insight into historical trends and is a fantastic data scientist. So he is able to really kind of dive in and look at the data. And what I love that he and Woodrow are able to do so well is both, you know, being data people, they have this great insight. Woodrow also brings in a background in corporate marketing. So he has fantastic perspective and in just, you know, what works from fundraising and marketing and engagement. And then we have Pete Karns who has just a long, long time experience in the corporate social responsibility, CSR world, and in employee participation. So we have this corporate side of things. We have this, you know, marketing side of things. We have the fundraising and engagement side of things. And then, oh, by the way, what I bring to the sector and to this discussion is an understanding of what it's like feet on the ground, working as a fundraiser and executive director as someone who is in the sector, and has to put some of these practical tactics into daily life. And then also has to look at the trends and go, what is next for, you know, our organizations?  

So together, the four of us, we hope, will give you some really valuable insight into what's happening out there and then what you can take away, so that you can put it into play at your organization, and corporation and business, right? Because we have, on this call, we have both nonprofit practitioners and then also those from the corporate sector who are running CSR programs and employee participation programs. And so, hopefully, you'll get some really interesting insight. So right now, I'm going to turn things over to my colleague, Ben Miller, so that he can share with us a little bit about, you know, what's happening in the state of the sector right now.

Ben Miller: Thank you, and yeah, so Woodrow and I have the fortune to be able to work together on this Fundraising Effectiveness Project and have, what we're showing right now is our third quarter report results, which just released, maybe it was two weeks ago if I'm correct. But what we thought would be good to start with this conversation, is sort of what's going on with the sector, and what types of trends are happening.  

And while these are more indicative of fundraising at the nonprofit level versus what's going on in the corporate CSR space, what we found at Bonterra in analyzing is that, both are seeing the same type of trends, which is the participation is falling off a little bit and that we are receiving more, but from less. And this has been a trend that has been going on for some time. And before I go into the next slide and show you sort of a long period of time of how this has been happening, I'm interested to take a real quick pause, and get both Woodrow and Pete to weigh in on this as they see it. So first maybe, Woodrow, if you don't mind jumping in here, at this larger trend, what kinds of insights might you have here to throw in?

Woodrow Rosenbaum: Yeah, I mean, sadly, this has been the now multi-year trend. The only year that was different was 2020 where we saw a lot of factors that were driving participation. By the end of 2021, we were essentially back to where we were at the end of 2019, so we'd lost all those gains in new donors. And I think there are a lot of factors contributing to that, a lot of myths, we'll probably get into some of that about what might be contributing to that. In terms of what this means for the sector, I think that, you know, there's a lot that is driving this in terms of a fundraising practice. There's a need for short-term funds to support missions that are under stress, and that tends to skew toward the result we're seeing. The system is becoming optimized for more money from fewer people. The problem is that, particularly during economic downturn, we see a broad base of support from lots of donors, including small donors, makes organizations more resilient. So what we're seeing here is the foundation get undermined.

Ben Miller: Excellent point. And there's a report that I'm not showing here or illustrating, but out of Urban that showed that during the COVID, you know, while we did see a big bump in funding and during the last two years in fact, that the nonprofits themselves have to do more with less, because their services have been more. And so anyway, as we expand back a little bit in 10,000 foot view here, as a society, we are becoming more generous I think, in general, and I think we can see that with that CSR movement in this space. And Pete, I wonder, you know, as you tie in, that's part of it, how does this resonate in your world?

Pete Karns: It's interesting from a couple dimensions. You know, oftentimes, we focus a lot and rightly so on giving money, and, you know, what we see around, you know, donors, you know, both new donors, recurring donors, kind of like this, not so much down, but kind of flat average gifts going up. So pretty similar. One of the key takeaways, I think, for both our workplace clients on the phone, but also nonprofits, is you're really going to think about on-ramps to engage. And what we've seen, I would, I think shift is a good word, is more focus on, on-ramps for people willing to give their time or their voice, which is we know as an on-ramp to giving money. So more flexibility around things like using Dollar for Doer programs in the workplace. So time to a nonprofit might also relate to then a grant from the company to the nonprofit. We can talk more about that as this unfolds, but the net on the key takeaway is you being more flexible to engage first time participants into the process using volunteerism or voice, alongside money.

Ben Miller: Thank you, and I'm going to ask to go to the next, but before I do, Kimberly, I'm going to ask from your vantage point, as you're working with nonprofits on an everyday basis and they're seeing, feeling this pinch, you know, what are some of the things that you're noticing, and it's not that the rising tides lifting all boats or the opposite of that, right? Some organizations' doing really well and some are not doing so well. So I just wonder, what does it look like from your vantage point?

Kimberly O’Donnell: Yeah. So those that continue to fundraise, they keep their foot on the gas usually fare very well. Those that are innovative, they're trying new technology, they're using new approaches, they're leveraging text, they're leveraging video, they're keeping an eye on what is next and they're testing and learning as they go, typically do very well. Those who get stuck on, well, this is what we did last year, or our donors, you know, don't want this or don't want to be bothered by us, they get stuck because their pool of donors starts to shrink because they're inevitably not going to be able to retain everybody year after year, and they're going out to this same base of donors asking for the same types of gifts.  

So those who get creative, those who test and learn, and those who leverage technology throughout the year will do better. That's just, it's just going to happen. And it's the case when times are good and times are bad. I mean, certainly, the numbers may be a little different, right, year over year as they assess how they do, but if you were to look at them comparatively against other organizations that are kind of keeping the course with the same old, same old, you'll find those innovators always ahead.

Ben Miller: Awesome, and thank you all three for that context. And what you're seeing on this slide is sort of that longitudinal trend I was talking about where we're looking at 2012 as our baseline, 100%, right? And if we take that as our baseline over the last 10 years, you know, the revenue or donations have gone up to 72%, whereas donors have fallen off, you know, about 10%. And so this is not something that's new. You'll see, as Woodrow pointed out, in 2020 that there was this awesome bump in donors in 2020, which we were really excited about and hoping that it could hold. And even early signs of 2021 showed that it might be able to.  

But now we've sort of reset back to, okay, well, we're back to where we were in 2019 as far as donors are concerned. But dollars are way up and continue to go up. And so, you know, part of this, part of the factors that I am postulating about here, you know, what I think might be going on, is the continuing widening of the wealth gap, right? We've seen this, you know, with the top 1% of earners, you know, generating a really large percentage of the amount of money getting earned in the United States and across the world. Continue expansion of the number of nonprofits at an all-time high. I don't know their last count, but maybe it's 1.5 million now, right? So there's a very stiff competition for your dollar. How many animal rights organizations are there? How many environmental organizations are there?  

And so there's an increased competition there. And it's huge expansion on ways to give, right? You can give at a checkout line at your supermarket, you can give through any number of different apps, you can give, you know, through your workforce, you can give through volunteering, and so tracking that donor has become a little more difficult. And then cost to acquire and retain donors has risen, you know, as the years has gone, and not just because of inflationary pressures, this has been going on before inflation that the acquisition out there, and it used to be that you would take the phone book, you could mail everyone and that's how you would, you know, generate new donors, right? But now it is a very, very competitive space, acquisition response rates have gone really far down and the cost of mail or cost of face-to-face or any of those things are very, very expensive ways to engage donors. So those are some of the trends that we're seeing here. And we can go to the next slide.

Kimberly O’Donnell: Yeah, I do want to ask a question though. There's a few questions in here. So one of the questions was around data related to age groups. Are you seeing, you know, differentiation between age groups?

Ben Miller: I don't have that data. I can talk from what I've seen in the past, but I don't know if anyone else on the call might have more insight into that.

Woodrow Rosenbaum: Yeah, so I can comment on that a little bit. What's interesting is that, what we see is that, younger people, and particularly younger adults, tend to be more positively inclined to charity, but participating less and/or at a lower dollar value.  

When we look at this, it really seems to be largely driven by, one is just having less financial security, less of a feeling of financial security even when they're in the same positive financial position relative to older donors. But those younger donors are more likely to say, they enjoy giving, that they trust nonprofits, they're charitably inclined. They tend to be a little less proactive. And I think part of what we're seeing here with, well, they also distinguish less between different types of giving, and this speaks to what Ben was just talking about. They're less likely to see a difference between giving to a political cause and giving to a nonprofit. And why not, right?  

We're talking about deploying their resources where they think they're going to be able to make change. The key thing though is that, what we don't see is that these behaviors are cannibalistic. Those givers are actually likely to be responsive to a nonprofit solicitation, they're inclined toward giving. As an organization, I think you need a little bit, be a little bit more proactive, but most importantly, come at it from an abundance mindset and recognizing that you're talking to people who are generous. So rather than come at it from the perspective of this is a person who's inclined not to be generous and I have to try to change their behavior, think about this as, how am I going to show that I'm a partner in the change this person wants to make. What you find, as Kimberly pointed out, organizations that are out there are finding a very engaged, willing marketplace. Our systems though are not necessarily adapted to this new market environment very well.

Kimberly O'Donnell: Great point. LaRonda Scott asked a question, which I'll answer very quickly, which is are direct mail campaigns still effective? The answer is yes, but what we always recommend, I'm a fundraising coach, is that you employ a multi-channel or omni-channel approach to your fundraising. So you're touching people in different ways at different points through your campaign. We know that to be effective because one channel is not going to be the answer, not everybody is going to respond to that channel. But yes, direct mail campaigns still do work.  

What a lot of organizations do is they segment that list down to a smaller base, and, you know, make sure that they ask if that string is related to what that individual has given before or what, if they're using any prospect research or wealth intelligence and predictive modeling, what those models recommend. Last question before we move on is around, how is donor giving the DAFs factored into the 10-year trend? Some organizations track to the fund manager, others track to the individual donors.

Ben Miller: So it's a great question. This is going to be CRM data and so like it depends on how, and it's going to vary depending on how that CRM tracks it. But what we do see out of The Giving Institute is that the DAF has gotten a bigger percentage of the total funds coming in. So what that indicates to me is that people are giving through their DAFs, because individuals went down where DAFs went up. So I think there is a little bit of, you know, where are you counting that showing up here.  

The other thing I want to mention is that, you talked about, is direct mail dead? It's absolutely not, it's still a powerhouse, but it speaks to the age question. I only have anecdotal evidence here that I've dealt with particular organizations here and there. But the older generations are the ones that still write checks, they still send them in the mail, they still get, you know, donations in, and it's the majority of most large fundraising organizations money. Now that being said, I've also seen out there that younger donors enjoy getting mail, because it's less crowded as their email inbox is or you know, the advertisements on their app or whatever. So anyway, I just want to throw those two pieces in, and we can move on to the next slide.  

Oh, and I did see the question about MacKenzie Scott. Now we do remove outliers from our data, so that would not be included in there in our particular Fundraising Effectiveness Project data.  

Okay, so this is just showing over what happened over GivingTuesday and year-end across Bonterra, and then I'm going to turn it over to Woodrow to talk through sort of what he saw from GivingTuesday's vantage point across all the different software data that they've collected. But what you could see from us is that we had on GivingTuesday over 170 companies participated. There were 35,000 GivingTuesday nonprofits served on GivingTuesday alone, just that one day. And by the way, not all nonprofits participate in GivingTuesday, right? We found that some just don't. But those that do and are out there were definitely generating some donations.  

And then for year-end, we had 54,000 nonprofits reached. 110,000 hours volunteered through GivingTuesday, 496,000 on year-end. So just a lot, it was a bit, we could see it clearly that it is an impactful day and a lot of work happens out there. And in my space, I come out of the more of the direct marketing space, and I know that there are people out there that talk negatively around GivingTuesday. They feel like it's a gimmick. They feel like that's not a reason to give and I'm trying to tee Woodrow up here, because I adamantly disagree in the numbers show differently. While it's not, it's true, no one just gives 'cause it's GivingTuesday to your organization. There's other reasons there, but to ignore it is foolish. And, Woodrow, I'll turn it over to you to talk through what happened to GivingTuesday and if you have thoughts you want to add to that.

Woodrow Rosenbaum: Yeah, yeah. Thanks, Ben. So I mean, it was interesting going into this year with, you know, a number of headwinds in the sector and in particular in participation. GivingTuesday has tended to be the biggest day of the year for donor acquisition overall. I think that'll probably be true of 2022 as well, when we get final data, although that will in part be due to the fact that acquisition has been so terrible this year. But we saw a sharp increase in the dollars donated to nonprofits in the US on that single day, crossing the 3 billion mark.  

And I think what's interesting is when we look at the participation, it was also up, which is good to see. But one of the things to flag here is that participation for the second year in a row did not grow as much as dollars grew. So we're looking at that and wondering if we're starting to see some of these consolidation trends starting to impact this day. A colleague of ours on the Fundraising Effectiveness Project described GivingTuesday as kind of canary in the coal mine, because you get this, got a first look at what year-end might be doing, and some indication of what the future trends might be. And so this is something that we're looking at. So still driving increased participation, but not as much as it's driving new dollars, which is something we're looking at.  

I know we're going to talk about some of the other sort of trends around this, but I do want to touch on something Ben just said. Give to us because it's GivingTuesday, and we've been saying this for years, like that's just a terrible call to action. That is not why anybody's going to give to you. But what we've seen from the early, early days of GivingTuesday, in fact the launch of the GivingTuesday Data Commons is about doing this analysis is like a natural disaster. GivingTuesday drives new donors, more participation and more dollars. And then what we see is that it doesn't cannibalize, we end up with a net lift essentially back to baseline. In fact, what it's done is started to extend the entire giving season. That doesn't mean that you can just phone it in and say, hey, because it's GivingTuesday you should give to my organization. But more than half of GivingTuesday donors say they donated to be part of a larger group of people doing good. And so you get this opportunity as an organization to tap into that celebratory environment. So it's like a natural disaster, but fun. And it introduces what's critical to getting a donation, which is urgency, because if you want to be part of the fun, you got to give as part of that event. So certainly, that's true of GivingTuesday.  

We also think like this is just a best practice, right? Giving people the reason to act now is really important. GivingTuesday provides that. If you think about it from a scarcity mentality, that we're all in competition for a flat or barely increasing pool of dollars and and donors, then you're not going to be able to tap into that excitement and desire to give. If on the other hand, you think about it, in terms of people have lots of excess capacity to give, there's a lot more elasticity in the US donor, people want to give in lots of ways, well that opens the door to the kind of success that we see. And certainly, we see a lift across the sector, and in particular, for those organizations that show up on that day.

Ben Miller: Thank you, and I wonder if we can turn to Pete for a second, just to talk a little bit about some of the trends we're highlighting here out of the corporate world, corporate giving world.

Pete Karns: Yeah, no, so couple of things. So just to build on Woodrow's point about being part of something with this, and there's actually, I'm want to tie to this, there's a question about effective calls to action. We see in our workplace clients' complete range, from a literal do nothing, it doesn't exist, to a full-on, multi-month lead up, we're GivingTuesday a sort of the pinnacle day of the year for the corporate workplace engagement. So literally the full spectrum.  

And what I would say is, you know, it really is a day that druck can drive enthusiasm and being part of a team, and what's happening, and buzz and it makes you feel part of something, regardless of who you give to, whether your workplace sponsor is maybe four strategic partners or it's wide open. You're part of something, you're engaged. And I think that's the key point for our workplace clients. Like I know we'll talk about other giving days or the giving season extending in a little bit, but if we think about it as a tool for engagement, for those of you thinking about retaining employees, recruiting new employees, driving up productivity with remote employees, being part of the team is imperative. And we see really strong performance with some of our clients who really run a strong program around this.  

Just as Woodrow is pointing around nonprofits who really maximize the opportunity, they go all in with it. So Ben, I could talk all day about this, but I think that's the highlight. It really is an opportunity to create some buzz and draw employees into the philanthropic process in a fun way.

Woodrow Rosenbaum: I think it's important for people to remember is that, just like on an annualized basis, GivingTuesday is about more than just giving money. So the US, the most common behavior on GivingTuesday is donating money, but only donating money is the least common behavior. Most people are doing more than one thing. That's actually how people want to engage. And it opens up a lot of opportunity for organizations who might be worried and should be about being too transactional. You've got lots of opportunities to engage people and that's not, instead of giving you money, that's the best way to support the donation, is by providing, as Pete said, multiple on-ramps and multiple points of engagement.

Pete Karns: Yeah, and I just want to tackle one thing here, and I think this is probably obvious to this group. You're investing your time and here, so you're probably ahead of your peers, but the storytelling here is so key. The why. Regardless of the donor, if you're trying to reach is in the workplace, is in the community, it's a friend or family, it's a repeat, tying it to your mission, the why. It's not about GivingTuesday, right? It's about the cause. We're trying to drive participation, so your storytelling is so critical in the comms around that.

Woodrow Rosenbaum: A hundred percent.

Kimberly O’Donnell: Totally agree. And, you know, just to give an example, another example so that you have some tangible things here, and then we're going to step into our five key findings. There's an organization, the Jacksonville Humane Society, and we spoke with Lindsay Layendecker, the director of community partnerships, who shared with us that, you know, they first started GivingTuesday campaign in 2015. Over the years, they began to recognize an increase in GivingTuesday, but not just on GivingTuesday, on the days that surrounded it. So then they started to broaden their campaign, so that it took place this year over the entire month. And during that month, they leveraged a one-to-one match for all gifts. And then on GivingTuesday, they had a two-to-one match. And in terms of what they did, they did a special, sorry, they had social media posts, emails, media opportunities.  

On GivingTuesday alone, the donors were sent three emails and one text message to notify them that, hey, there's a two-to-one match, we'd love for you to support us. They were celebrating through the stories that Pete mentioned, their different, you know, service recipients, they had some really interesting stories that went along with it. So it was something that everybody could follow along with and track with. And what they saw was that, nearly 18% of what they raised on the GivingTuesday campaign, and we're going to touch on this in a little bit as one of our findings more broadly, nearly 18% of what they raised during their GivingTuesday campaign happened outside of November 29th, and that gave them more than $23,000 in additional gifts, excluding those matched funds that they also had. So pretty nice return from this GivingTuesday push that they had.  

And then just to talk about the follow-up, because that's also really important, is that any new donors that came on board received a special email welcome, they also had a video thank you message, and they also were asked again to make a final year-end gift. Some also got personal phone calls. And so what they were doing was, they were not losing the momentum of this person who supported us on GivingTuesday, but they may still feel very generous and want to give again. So we'll touch, and so that's an example for you that kind of shows how you can employ a month-long or a more broader campaign that highlights GivingTuesday, really celebrates this global movement that occurs, of generosity, and also allows you to lengthen your year-end giving campaign, potentially by a few weeks or a month longer. So you have more potential to raise more money. And by the way, people are very conditioned to GivingTuesday at this point. It's celebrating its 10th anniversary, Woodrow, is it 10th?

Woodrow Rosenbaum: 10 years.

Kimberly O’Donnell: It is? 10 years in 2022. So this isn't new and unknown for folks. So people are conditioned to it. And you can jump in if you've never done it before, and step in, and hopefully find some really great success with some proven practices that other organizations have employed. So let's talk a little bit about our first out of five findings, which is GivingTuesday is not just about donations. Ben or Woodrow, explain this to us.

Ben Miller: I can jump in here to start. It's just that, you know, people volunteer as well. Time is as important to most individuals as money. And so, you know, starting off with a volunteering effort, allowing donors to engage in volunteering, just in general, is a good way to engage your supporters. If they can see firsthand what your organization is doing, it really makes an impact on a volunteer, on a person. And Woodrow, whatever you have to add or even Pete.

Woodrow Rosenbaum: Yeah, I mean, I said some of this earlier, people do tend to take more than one action. And actually, that's despite the fact that most organizations are not actually doing, giving multiple opportunities. So I think that there is a missed opportunity here. People want to feel like they're part of your mission, and the more ways that you give them to do that the better, including for your bottom line. It also helps you answer that concern about, you know, oh, I don't want to always be asking over and over and over again in the same way. And yeah, you shouldn't, but you should be engaging more often. And so more opportunities gives you, opens that door to more points of engagement.

Pete Karns: Yeah, and I think pragmatically, you know, a lot of folks have skills that nonprofits need or struggle with. You know, I have friends that are, you know, executive directors, we have the board member of Mercy Corps is on the board of Bonterra, and they've struggled to hire certain roles just like others over the past two years. So skills-based volunteerism is a real opportunity for, you know, owners at large to participate, but certainly for nonprofits to form partnerships with workplaces in your community, or more broadly, to find and source those volunteers. And that's a win for all involved. That's certainly something we've seen increasing over the past few years.

Woodrow Rosenbaum: And we shouldn't forget advocacy, right? I think that, particularly for a younger donor, there's a kind of a recognition that their voice online, in particular, in social media, is one of the ways that they can support your organization. And people tend to actually tend to put their money where their mouth is according to the data, so just getting people to talk about your mission is an effective way that they can give back and that you can keep them engaged and of course also expose yourself to people like them.

Kimberly O’Donnell: So true. And I was doing this with you, Pete, because I am, you know, one of those people who started out as a volunteer. I served on a development of fundraising committee and was hired as their executive director just a couple years later, in my 20s. So you never know. You know, what a volunteer can bring to your organization that can be very meaningful, impactful, and long-term. All right, so let's talk about finding number two. The number of GivingTuesday donors continues to grow despite industry trends. Ben, tell us more.

Ben Miller: Yes, and I saw a question, I think we're going to hold off on that question because there's a finding later that we'll talk about it, so maybe we could hold off on the question about asking again after GivingTuesday, but for now, what we saw was quite interesting, and I'm going to tee this one up for Woodrow again just because I've heard him talk about it and we've already mentioned it before, which is GivingTuesday is a moment in time that sort of, and everyone, it initiates the, there's a term for this in behavioral economics, but it initiates the feeling of prime, it primes you to donate or to give your time or to volunteer.  

And so, what we saw surprising in our data was we found that there was this really dark spot of giving happening in April, and we were wondering what's going on here? And we looked, and it was these college giving days, were generating a huge amount of money in April. And the, you know, higher eds were coming together the same way, all the nonprofits come away in November or December after Thanksgiving about GivingTuesday. And so it provided that opportunity for donors to engage. And I think that's the importance of this moment. It's like that disaster that Woodrow was describing. And I hope it didn't take too much wind out of your sales there, Woodrow.

Woodrow Rosenbaum: No, not at all. I mean, it's, you know, I often get this question and people are surprised at the answer, right? Should we do a Giving Day in the spring or GivingTuesday or should we move our Giving Day in the spring to GivingTuesday? Or should we have one that's three days before or five days after, which should we do? And the answer is yes. Like there's way more opportunity to engage. I think you got to be smart. You got to think about how you're going to do that.  

If you have a Giving Day, and we've seen this, three days after GivingTuesday, think about how GivingTuesday helps you hit the objectives you have for that Giving Day. How are you going to make that narrative arc, that continuum? There's lots of untapped opportunity in spring and summer. You should absolutely get that out there and have a Giving Day or any other giving moment. Giving moments drive participation, and there's a lot more capacity for more of them. They are also, they're not competitive. They are by and large mutually supportive. And just think about how you're going to leverage these tent poles in a year-long campaign or engagement of donors. That's where the win is.  

We'd love to see, I mean, it makes my job harder to measure what's going on when folks have a Giving Day three days after GivingTuesday, but do it, it's going to work.

Kimberly O'Donnell: Love this. All right, let's move on to finding number three, new donors acquired on GivingTuesday and at year-end are more likely to be retained. Let's pause on that for a minute. New donors acquired on GivingTuesday and year-end are more likely to be retained. This is huge. It's important. It's another reason why you should have a GivingTuesday campaign.

Ben Miller: Yeah, and I think we could spend the whole webinar on this particular point here, and I think it just echoes what we've been saying. And to the point, the question that was asked, should you ask again? Yes, you absolutely should ask. The most likely someone is to give is like nearly immediately after the gift.  

Now does it, should you treat your donor like an ATM? No. And so, I know that there's guilt around asking, right? Like I don't want, I feel bad asking, I feel I'm giving, they just gave me money. But if you're authentic and you're genuine and you appreciate and thank for that donation and you say thank you and you recognize they may not be able to give you more, like and do not expect more to be given and show the work that's been doing and be compelling with what you're asking them to do and to be part of, there is no shame in asking someone to join you to do good. There's just no shame in it. And if you feel shame in it, then you're doing it wrong. And so that's the way that I look at this, and the data reiterates this.  

We looked at the GivingTuesday donors, and the question came up like, hey, do GivingTuesday donors, do they give again? How does that compare? Now here's the interesting thing we found, or one of them, New Year's Eve donors on December 31st also are higher retained donors. They also have more lifetime value, which I always thought was like this tax person who was trying to give just to like better their tax rate. Well, it turns out that's not true. It turns out that someone who gives on 12/31 is a lot like, more likely to give again, and they will have a higher lifetime value. And as Woodrow was alluding to earlier, GivingTuesday is a great way to get new donors. So it's like a win-win.  

So I'm going to stop there and I'm going to ask, I'm going to turn it back over to Woodrow again. And then Pete, I also want to splice in here how corporate giving does act a little bit different than your traditional fundraising world, right? Because there isn't that year-end push that we see there. So I'm going to weave that in there as well. But first, Woodrow.

Woodrow Rosenbaum: Yeah, well, maybe this really speaks to the theme of engage more. I think part of what we're seeing with GivingTuesday, high retention rates and lifetime value as recurring giving seems to be a higher proportion of the GivingTuesday experience than a typical day. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that it's activating 18 to 34-year-olds more than other things are. I think it also just has to do with how organizations happen to be using GivingTuesday to engage. And those I think are best practices to deploy at other times of the year. But engage more is the key there though, right? And to think about if you're filtering out of your emails and your solicitation, you're filtering out your best customers, that is the opposite of what you should be doing. Yes, think about how often you're talking to them about what, but increasing frequency, you buy that with quality.  

And when I think about my commercial marketing back days, like I would never, ever in my entire career had a customer, you know, a client saying to me, well, maybe we should not ask our recent customers or our best customers to engage with this or that campaign. It just literally would never, ever come up. We understand in commercial marketing that you buy frequency with quality, and so that doesn't mean the same old message all the time. And if you think your message is going to be an unwelcome, intrusive solicitation, you might be right. So think about how you're going to engage differently as opposed to whether or not you engage.

Pete Karns: And Ben, just to follow up on your question about the workplace. So first, and to state the obvious, we're not fundraising in the workplace, at least not on the whole. There are some specific circumstances where we do do that on corporate foundations, but so I think it's a little bit about how do we enable employees to take advantage of a benefit, whether it's a match, whether it's a Dollar for Doer grant based on volunteerism time or something similar. And as we all know, you know, we tend to think more about, did I use this benefit as we head towards the end of the year, right? So we do tend to see an increase as the year proceeds. Part of that is weather events tend to amplify more, in the summer, in the fall. GivingTuesday, we have, you know, sort of old school campaigns that's still happening.

So there is some seasonality to it, but it's really about using in a benefit that employees have access to or being part of a team because there's a movement, there's something happening and I want to be part of that, right? It's viral, I want to be part of that. So those are two key things. The thing that would challenge our workplace participants here on the webcast is the unfortunate fact is there's just, there's a lot of repetition of participants in the match program and Dollar for Doer program. And there's not enough new participants. So what are we doing collectively to get the word out, to engage those folks that aren't aware, that maybe it's too hard, I didn't know.  

Whatever the case may be, it's something we're working on as part of Bonterra, from a technology perspective to kind of close that gap more on that soon. But what can we do to draw in new participants into to leverage those employee benefits, which is going to do nothing but help your participation and retention.

Kimberly O’Donnell: Great. Great thoughts, great questions. One of the things that I would add, and I am a bit of a broken record on this, but if you've attended one of the webinars that I've been in before, but what I always try to stress is for everyone to step away from our preconceived notions of what we think donors do. It's really important to remove how you donate, how your board of directors donates, and really start to look at, really step away and think of your donors as powerful, strong, smart human beings who can make their own decisions and do make their own giving decisions.  

And they're not always based on how you think that they give, right? And you only have one slice of that pie most of the time. You only understand how they're giving to your organization, not how they're giving to everybody. So unless you're out there regularly surveying your base of donors in how they give, how frequently, what they're giving preferences are, and most organizations are not doing that, then you really don't know. And so it is important, as Woodrow said, to continuously ask, especially if they're your best donors, and to be very thoughtful and intentional about it.

So, you know, one of the questions was, you know, how soon after someone gives for GivingTuesday, should I ask again? And what I would say to you would be, well, what does your campaign look like? What are your dates? When is your direct mail piece going to hit their mailbox? Because you've got to think about not when you send the date you send it, but actually when it hits their mailbox or when you want this opened or how it fits into your campaign. Are you going to acknowledge this person as a GivingTuesday donor? You know, so you're sending out a note. It's not a thank you note. You've already thanked them via their own separate thank you note, because you don't want to thank and ask for a gift in the same breath, right? And instead, you know, how are you sending this out? Say, you know, look, we are so grateful for your gift during GivingTuesday, it allowed us to do X, Y, and Z. Now, as we round out the year, we have the potential to do, you know, A, B and C in 2023. Will you help us be part of this, you know, movement? There's our goal to make this type of impact.  

And so I can't tell you to send out that, you know, letter, email, text message on December 15th, but I can tell you to look and be very intentional during the month of December, because you do have real potential to raise more money from those donors. And also remove your beliefs and step in and start testing and learning with your base of supporters. And don't just look at the donors that you have today, but also the donors that you want tomorrow. Think about their age ranges, all of that, and be very intentional. Hope that helped a little bit. I want to keep us moving right now.  

And we have a poll. So we'd love to pause for a minute and take a breath, and just breathe in all that you have just heard from us and help answer this question. What tactics will you use to activate your new supporters in the next three months? Are you going to employ multi-channel communications to touch those new GivingTuesday year-end supporters? Are you going to offer giving incentives, you know, matched gifts, things like that, for them to give again? Are you going to employ personal outreach? Those might be thank you calls from your board members or key volunteers or videos. Videos are working extremely well. If you are not leveraging videos for thank yous and other communications, please start. Are you going to introduce? Are you going to send a welcome kit? Are you going to introduce your new programs? Not just by throwing the kitchen sink at them with like, here are all of our programs, blah, but instead, slowly and thoughtfully, introducing them to each of your programs so that they can absorb them. And Katie, you are managing our poll right now. How's it looking?

Katie Thomas: I am. The numbers are climbing but they're starting to slow, so I'll reveal in just a moment, give people a little bit more time.

Kimberly O’Donnell: Okay, so as we do that, let's see if we have just another question or two that we want to answer. There was a question around, should one use Facebook fundraising tools for GivingTuesday and not get that sufficient information to properly steward donors to encourage them to give again? Or is it better to use your own tools, which may not get as good organic reach on Facebook? That's a great question. It's one that we get all the time. It sometimes comes down to what is best for you. I know Pete kind of wants to hone in on this and then I can add a little bit after. Pete, what do you think?

Pete Karns: Well, again, I think you get a tactics and if things have worked for you in the past, you run with it, right? But one thing I wanted to bring up, just in light of this conversation and the last one too, a lot of focus here on the four weeks between Thanksgiving and/or four and a half weeks in December 31st. I would encourage everybody to look at April, May, and June, 'cause they're quiet months for fundraising and there's not a lot happening usually with corporate giving approaches unless there's some type of geopolitical or weather event. And so as you think about these data programs, GivingTuesday obviously is the pinnacle, but there's other opportunity, and take a look at that relatively sleepy Q2, as your voice doesn't have to reach as far to stand out a lot more.

Kimberly O’Donnell: Yeah, great point. We're going to look at the results from the poll. Katie, share a little bit with us.

Katie Thomas: So it looks like 75% of people that responded are interested in engaging their new supporters with multi-channel communications, which I love. And then another large one is personal outreach, which is huge for stewardship, really making people feel like they're a valuable member of your organization, is really fantastic.

Kimberly O’Donnell: Great, I do encourage welcome kits to new donors. I encourage also introducing those programs, making them really, you know, just something that someone can absorb. So having the stories that are tied around it, showing the impact, leveraging data, they're all real key to a person really getting hooked into, not just your organization, but some of your specific programs and then potentially wanting to do more volunteer or help in other ways, make connections for you. So there is that. On the Facebook piece, it really depends on your organization.  

Just to kind of wrap this up, while you will not receive the donor data through Facebook, and by the way, that's not Facebook's fault. They're protecting the privacy and security of their people, right? And people can opt in to have their name shared with you. It does help you raise more money. It also helps you build your brand and awareness for your mission. So those are good things. I look at it as an additive piece and something that you can build off of for the future. So, you know, it's another tool in your toolkit, and hey, there's nothing wrong with that, and additional funds coming in from people who want to spread the word socially about your important mission. Okay, so we don't have a lot more time, so I just want to kind of move through this. Finding number four, GivingTuesday now expands beyond a singular date. Ben and Woodrow.

Ben Miller: I'll be quick just because we do have one more finding after this. So giving is not just on the Tuesday, you can see 25% happening on the day before or after the shoulders of GivingTuesday. As you see with your retailers, Cyber-Monday became Cyber-November, you know, I think, or not cyber or was it Black Friday became, you know, Black November. So same things happening and giving that, again, it's just priming your audience for being ready to give, it doesn't mean it has to be on that particular day. I'll stop there.

Woodrow Rosenbaum: We've been seeing this trend for years and I think last year, there's some indication that this GivingTuesday may have spread out even more, makes measuring GivingTuesday, again, that much more difficult. But this is great. Like this is, we see this as a really positive outcome. The whole giving season appears to be growing, and certainly when you look pre-2014, the end of November doesn't look at the beginning of December, looks completely different than it does today. We got started earlier and the fact that it's spreading out is just good to see it. It's the best practice.

Kimberly O’Donnell: Pete, how can our CSR folks on the call today leverage this information?

Pete Karns: Yeah, again, I think it depends. So first of all, you know, if you want to build something around GivingTuesday, you step back and think about what's right for your organization, right? We have organizations that have lots of hourly or field-based personnel. And so constraining something to one day, you might, by nature, limit the participation. So being able to kind of run with the feeling of GivingTuesday, but spread it out so folks can take advantage of those corporate benefits does make a lot of sense. And we see that again with certain types of organizations.  

Again, looking out for your employees, how do you maximize the opportunity for your employees to participate? What makes the most sense? Whether it's a single day, Tuesday after Thanksgiving, that week, open it up, or, you know, some other day that you gear up around. Just be very thoughtful about how do you increase the opportunity for employees to give. And remember, this is a global activity. So we have, you know, let's think about that as well. This isn't just, you know, East Coast to West Coast time in the US, this is a global activity.

Kimberly O’Donnell: Okay, and let's move on to finding number five, employee giving incentives increase the generosity of donors.

Ben Miller: Feel like the graph speaks for itself. I mean, $313 average gift compared to 107 individual. The employee donations are very valuable. Pete, any thoughts that you want to add to that?

Pete Karns: No, look, I think that that says it all. Again, couple of options here. If you're looking to draw new participants in, consider maybe a two for one or more amplified match that you might have during the year. We've seen some clients have quite a bit of success with that. If you're looking to maybe increase your overall giving amounts, you might hit up your executive staff who might give more with a different match. So different opportunities. And again, don't forget about those volunteer hours and the Dollar for Doer grants as well. So all that matters. But simple point here, communicate, communicate, communicate, the fact you have benefits for these employees to leverage.

Kimberly O’Donnell: And if you, for our nonprofit friends on this webinar, it is very important to remind people that you accept, you know, match gifts. It can be a check box on the buck slip, right, that fundraising slip that is sent in the direct mail piece, it could be something that's on your donation page, but you want to be able to remind people that, oh yeah, we have a, you know, you want them to remember, hey, that's right, I can get a matched gift through my employer and I want to give it to this organization. Also let's talk for a minute about the power of matched gifts in general.  

One, we have within Bonterra, there's a statistic that I've seen with GiveGab, that organization that runs those giving days. And what they have found is that, on average, an organization will, without a matched gift, the average raised is around $4,674. For those organizations that have a matched gift, they raised over $28,000. It's stark, right? So it's almost like a no-brainer. It's a wonderful thing if you're like, well, where do I get a matched gift? Go to your board, ask them to pull funds together, go to some of your top donors, and you can also look into just different ways that you can do match gifts online. There's a ton of information. It's a wonderful, powerful way to increase your day of giving.

Woodrow Rosenbaum: We've also seen research that showed that a matching gift on GivingTuesday did almost 33% better than the control. Again, it's leveraging that moment of togetherness. It works.

Kimberly O’Donnell: It works. So we have a poll here. Let's just take this real quick and then as we're getting the results, we'll move into the key findings and wrap. So which trends that you heard today do you find most relevant to your organization's operations? Is it that GivingTuesday is not just about donations? Is it the number of GivingTuesday donors continues to grow despite industry trends? Is it that new donors acquired on GivingTuesday and year-end are more likely to be retained? Is it that GivingTuesday now expands beyond a singular date? Or is it that employee giving incentives increase the generosity of donors? Go ahead and complete that poll. Tell us what you found most interesting, right, as we talk about some of the key takeaways.  

One, don't make your next campaign all about the money. Think about ways to encourage and leverage volunteers. Bring those beautiful stories in. Celebrate the donors and volunteers and supporters within your organization. Another takeaway, giving events combat current donor trends where we're seeing a decline in donors. So learn and, you know, determine how to leverage them, not just in GivingTuesday, but throughout the year. Also, donor stewardship starts now. It starts now. Steward your amazing year-end donors and keep that momentum going. Add longevity to your campaigns. Woodrow likes to talk about seasonless giving. We want to be able to see giving throughout the entire year, not just compartmentalized into a couple of giving campaigns that you run throughout the year. Think now about next practices, not just best practices, but next practices, and next practice is seasonless giving. And then also, finally, employee giving programs are key driver for generosity. When was the last time you rethought how you were engaging with the key corporate partners that you have and really going out and nurturing relationships with new corporate partners? There's a lot of power and potential in there for you.  

Those are our key takeaways. Let's review the poll real quick. All right. New donors acquired on GivingTuesday and year-end retained, right? That's an aha for a lot of attendees here today. And it looks like some of these other ones are really of interest and useful to our attendees. As we wrap up, I just want to, we have one minute, so in 10, 15 seconds, Ben, Woodrow, Pete, a line or two takeaway for us.

Ben Miller: I just want to thank you everyone for coming, and I hope that you've learned something and engage with your donors. They're very generous.

Kimberly O’Donnell: Woodrow?

Woodrow Rosenbaum: Yeah, that's the key message, right? I think that we've been hitting this a number of different ways. It's like, don't be afraid. Donor fatigue is a myth. People have a fundamental human need to give. You're there to help fulfill that need.

Kimberly O’Donnell: Pete?

Pete Karns: Just repeat, I was going to say exactly what Woodrow said. Donor fatigue is a myth. Get after it. Start now. And look, we all want this world to be a better place, whether it's at a macro level or in our community level. Folks on this call, make that happen. Engage and let people participate in that process.

Kimberly O’Donnell: Love it. Katie, turning things back over to you. Thank you, everyone, for being part of our webinar today. We really appreciate your participation and we wish you the very, very best luck as you step into 2023 and you put your new and improved fundraising tactics and plans into place. May you have a very, very successful year.

Katie Thomas: Yes, Kimberly, thank you so much. And thank you to our speakers who joined us today. I hope you all left with some actionable insights into how to boost your funding efforts in 2023. Bonterra is really dedicated to gathering holistic data to provide a full look at what is happening in the social goods sector. I really encourage you all to visit our site,, to check out our most recent blog article, showcasing some more insights collected from our customers around GivingTuesday. And as a reminder, this session was recorded and will be sent to you. So with that, have a great afternoon everyone, and we will see you all soon.

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