Fundraisers’ friend: Vanity numbers, nonprofits pair well

Vanity numbers, nonprofits pair well

Planning a fundraising campaign for your charitable organization? Getting yourself a memorable toll-free number may well be the place to start.

Because of their recall value, vanity and other easy-to-remember numbers work extremely well in conjunction with click-to-call campaigns and other forms of marketing. In fact, BIA/Kelsey found inbound calls convert to revenue, on average, 10 to 15 times more often than web leads across industries. In fact, 29 percent of all inbound calls monitored led to sales, appointments or reservations, compared to only 2 percent of leads from web forms.

That suggests the way to optimize philanthropic donations is by driving in phone calls. As such, here are some strategies for doing so:

  • Secure a highly memorable phone number from RingSquared. Research shows consumers are far more likely to remember vanity 1-800 numbers than numeric toll-free numbers or URLs.
  • Ensure you have software in place to track and record incoming calls; that way you can glean data about callers, review calls for strategy and maintain extra tax records.
  • Place ads featuring your toll-free number on mobile, allowing recipients to easily click to call you to donate or learn about your next fundraising event. Mobile marketing has proven remarkably effective for nonprofits; consider how the American Red Cross’s “Text Haiti” fundraiser made 10 percent of its $32 million donations via mobile. BIA/Kelsey predicts calls to businesses from mobile devices will reach an annual 162 billion by 2019.
  • Consider a complimentary email campaign inviting donors to call. The most effective are laid out months ahead to engage recipients over time instead of immediately blasting them with requests. Try a drip campaign that automatically adjusts and sends additional emails based on the recipient’s responses (or lack thereof).
  • Also promote your campaign and phone number on your organization’s social media pages, maybe boosting it via paid ads that drive traffic to your posts.
  • Consider more traditional venues as well, including direct mail, posters, fliers or even door-to-door appeals.

Other general tips for your fundraising campaign:

  • Expect to spend money upfront acquiring new donors, which is notably the most difficult part of fundraising. Remember your ultimate goal is to establish lifetime supporters, not one-timers.
  • Consider conducting your campaign in the fall when donors may be motivated by year-end tax breaks for charitable giving, or in January when people are still in the holiday spirit.
  • Aim first at obvious stakeholders such as your board members, recurring donors, lapsed donors, volunteers and other advocates of your cause.
  • When buying address lists, seek individuals sympathetic to your mission who have the capacity to give, optimizing demographic and psychographic intelligence when possible. Then segment your list for personalized messaging.
  • Make messages simple but compelling, pairing your copy with images, videos or graphics to keep it engaging. Include an emotional appeal when possible. Get to the point, use a conversational tone, employ vernacular that’s familiar to your audience(s) and briefly discuss consequences if you don’t raise the money. Don’t hesitate to conduct A/B testing to gauge effectiveness.
  • Personalize messages when possible, addressing recipients by name, mentioning their specific contributions and noting how they’ll impact your cause.
  • Thank donors immediately via the venue through which they reached you, reinforcing that the next donation will be just as simple.
  • Use all data at your disposal to evaluate the ROI of different elements of your campaign to guide future efforts.

Contact RingSquared for expertise in planning your next fundraising campaign.