August 25th, 2021 – The Blackbaud Institute’s 2020 Charitable Giving Report, which tracks $40 billion in giving, indicates that over the last three years growth in overall philanthropic giving has only been 5%, whereas online giving has grown by a remarkable 32%. Given the growing importance of online philanthropy, organizations must adapt by learning to craft compelling stories and develop thoughtful and data-driven strategies for delivering messaging to the right audience on the right platform. New York University’s new Digital Fundraising certificate program offers just the right tools to equip individuals, nonprofits and other organizations to utilize the digital space in their fundraising efforts – tapping into the growing online giving platform.
On August 19th, Liz Ngonzi, adjunct assistant professor in the Center for Global Affairs at New York University, hosted a webinar launching the new certificate program alongside fellow program faculty members Cheryl Gentry, Boris Kievsky, Kathleen Murphy Toms and Dane Wiseman. The program, which is housed within the Heyman Program for Fundraising and Philanthropy in the Center for Global Affairs at NYU’s School of Professional Studies, was developed in recognition of the increase in virtual learning, work, and socializing brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and, more generally, in recognition of the central role of digital fundraising in enabling nonprofit organizations to inspire, engage, and catalyze both new and existing supporters.
The launch event hosted by Liz and her colleagues included a lively conversation addressing “Best Practices to Boost Your End of Year Campaign,” in which the program faculty shared a number of useful tips with webinar participants.
Cheryl Gentry, who will co-teach the course on “Virtual Events and Fundraising” with Liz, cautioned virtual event organizers against treating audience members as “second class citizens”. She advised making an appropriate investment of time (including rehearsal time) and resources in order to ensure that sponsors, donors and other attendees have the best possible event experience.
Boris Kievsky, who will teach “Developing High-Impact Websites for Nonprofits,” advised that nonprofits place emphasis on their story and on guiding their audience through it. The content of the story, and how effectively it is told, are more important than the platform on which it is being presented.
To encourage donors and supporters to prioritize their interactions with nonprofit organizations, Kathleen Murphy Toms, who will teach “Social Media and Email Fundraising,” recommended that those organizations send out calendar invitations and reminders to their supporters. “If it’s not on my calendar, it’s not happening,” she emphasized.
Dane Wiseman, who will teach “Social Media Marketing Analytics,” pointed out how crucial the use of data analytics and dashboards (websites, social media, etc.) are for nonprofits and other organizations. He emphasized that they can help organizations identify the peak days and times when different audience groups are engaging with specific content – helping nonprofits maximize the consumption of that content.
To close out the discussion, Liz Ngonzi, who teaches “Digital Storytelling, Innovation and Fundraising,” advised listeners: “Don’t do what you can’t measure!” She encouraged the audience to set specific and measurable goals for their fundraising efforts and to track their progress, outputs, and impacts.
Finally, listeners were polled and asked to identify what they regarded as key lessons of the webinar. Based on 41 poll responses (presented graphically in the word cloud below), the audience’s top three takeaways were:
- Send Calendar Invites to Donors – to prepare them to support the organization’s Giving Tuesday campaign
- Rehearse – to ensure smooth flow of your virtual event
- Recruit Among Millennials – and engage them as co-creators, not just as donors.
Click on this LINK to watch the full webinar and click this LINK to learn about and register for the new Professional Certificate Program in Digital Fundraising. You can also access resources provided by the speakers below.
Resources Shared by Speakers:
Nonprofit Digital Strategist – dotorgStrategy
Course: Developing High-Impact Websites for Nonprofits
Founder & CEO – Glow Global Events
Course: Virtual Events and Fundraisers
Chief Marketing Officer – CyberFunnel
Course: Social Media Marketing Analytics
Kathleen Murphy Toms
Director, Digital Strategy – Giving Tuesday
Course: Social Media and Email Fundraising
Elizabeth Ngonzi, CFRE
Founder & CEO – The International Social Impact Institute
Course: Digital Storytelling, Innovation and Fundraising