According to Giving USA’s annual philanthropy report released in June 2016, the good news is that Americans want to be generous. The report showed that Americans gave more money to charity last year than ever before. But they also want generosity to happen on their terms: they want giving to be fast and easy, and they want to see the work they’re supporting firsthand.
And it’s also a tough time to be raising money out in the real world. Potential donors aren’t carrying cash to drop into a donation box, and they’re not responding to alternative calls to action in person or online. Long-time donors are dropping off of campaign rolls, and prospective supporters aren’t making their way onto them.
Many causes are lucky enough to see their beneficiaries each and every day. Their shared challenge is in how to turn these beneficiaries and supporters into donors.
Universities soliciting for a senior class gift find that students don’t have checks, and they don’t want to fill out paper pledge cards.
A volunteer at a food pantry or a parent at a children’s hospital might respond to an annual mail solicitation, but how do you get a donation in the midst of providing direct services?
These are the challenges addressed by a new company, DipJar, which makes donation boxes for credit and debit cards to help nonprofit organizations unlock more in-person fundraising at their on-site locations, events, galas, retail partners, and more.
Nonprofits including the New York Public Library and the 9/11 Memorial Museum unlock donations by placing DipJars where potential supporters experience personal encounters with the causes. They’re making joyful, friction-free donations even without cash or checks in their pockets.
Donor Engagement at Events
Events are essential ways to engage steadfast supporters and create new ones, whether it’s the annual gala, the young professional cocktail party, or the weekend festival.
How do nonprofits increase donations at events? First, there’s the price of admission and the sale of raffle tickets. Second, there’s the “just because” donation solicitation — by check, credit card pledge, dongle donation (e.g. with Square), or text-to-give.
But all of these strategies have proved challenging. No one wants to spend time at a party completing a paper credit card donation form. Older donors don’t have the patience to struggle through a dongle donation or the trust to hand over a credit card to be swiped into an intern’s phone.
The good news is that people attending your nonprofit’s events are already supporting your cause. With lower-friction tools for ticket sales, raffle entry, and “just because” donations at the gala table or cocktail bar, these events can be huge moneymakers.
Even more, a modest ask that’s easy to answer makes for a great “gateway gift,” especially for younger donors who can’t afford to write a big check or sign up for an annual membership. A small donation cements your cause in their mind as one they support and can drive bigger involvement down the line. Behavioral psychologists have long understood this effect — the “foot in the door” phenomenon — and you can leverage it to create future big-ticket donors today.
Empowering Chapters and Volunteers
Some causes are less concerned with how to fundraise from their visitors or event attendees, instead, they want to know how to empower their volunteers. Especially true for national organizations with local chapters doing work in decentralized communities, causes need tools to foster fundraising in a way that’s authentic to each local chapter but still manageable from the home base.
Partnering with Corporate and Retail Supporters
The final concern that’s popped up repeatedly is how to effectively work with corporate partners on cause-marketing campaigns. Retailers want to support causes because it lets them do good while benefiting from the brand halo that comes with corporate social responsibility, or CSR. But cash boxes placed on their counters are emptier by the day.
Some will train staff to ask for a donation that’s programmed into their point-of-sale system, but running that kind of campaign is expensive and requires a very high level of buy-in.
In-office fundraising of the kind performed by the United Way is also an old standby, but it suffers from the complexity of tracking funds and the resistance of corporate workers to writing their credit card information on pieces of paper or bringing a check to work.
Enter the Future
It’s challenges like these that DipJar, which aims to enable in-person generosity, was designed to overcome. DipJar’s hardware and software can be deployed on-site, at events, with local chapters and volunteers, and with retail partners — all enabling a one-step, joyful donation that’s a perfect foot-in-the-door gift.
By Ryder Kessler, CEO, DipJar
Learn more online at www.dipjar.com/welcome
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Image Credit: DipJar