[GUEST POST] TeamRaiser Tactics That Work for Our Nonprofit

I often read articles on how to engage participants and improve peer-to-peer (p2p) fundraising results, and I come across a lot of great high-level tips — many of which we’re already doing at Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. But, as the one in charge of implementing ideas online, I wish there were more articles on how to actually do things.

Our organization has been using Blackbaud’s TeamRaiser for the past two years for our 12 annual p2p events, and each year we try to improve upon the last year’s events by using new features or trying new ideas. In this article, I’m sharing some TeamRaiser how-tos: a few tactics that Cathexis Partners helped us set up in TeamRaiser and that we can now implement on our own. Some have increased our fundraising, others have improved our team’s efficiencies. But in our mind, they’re all winners:

Scheduled Event Emails

  • Challenge: We have six do-it-yourself (DIY) p2p events in which each participant has a unique event date. We wanted to communicate with them eight, four, two, and one week out from the event date, and two weeks after the event, with fundraising tips based on how far out they were from their event, or with follow-up information after the event. In addition, we wanted to set it up so the system would send the emails automatically.
  • Solution: We created a field in the constituent profile that would house each participant’s event date. When participants registered, we collected their event date and updated the new field. We then created queries looking for number of weeks from event; we set the queries to rebuild periodically, and then created groups. We then set up scheduled emails to send to the groups.
  • Benefit: Creating automated emails and additional touch points to participants — each customized for their event date — was a win. We kept participants engaged and focused on their fundraising up to their event date. This approach was very efficient for our staff and helped our participants get the relevant information they wanted (average 36% open rate).

Promoting Self-Donation During Registration

  • Challenge: We know we have passionate riders for our largest event, The Ride For Roswell, but they weren’t all donating at the time of registration. We had a goal to increase the percentage of self-donors during registration from 22% to 30%.
  • Solution: This year, we turned on donation levels during registration to make them more prominent. We added additional copy to remind registrants of our mission and gave them an incentive (event wristband) to donate during registration. Lastly, we worked with Cathexis Partners to add an image of the incentive item right next to the donation levels. These approaches all created more focus on the self-donation.
  • Benefits: To date, we are at 36% in self donors! The wristband not only rewards these self-donors, but also helps with fundraising and brand awareness when they wear it.

Donor Incentive

  • Challenge: We work with our local NHL team, the Buffalo Sabres, to promote our DIY event, Bald For Bucks. Our goal was to increase donations during one of our typically slower months by giving donors the incentive of a unique Sabres Bald t-shirt for any donation of $50 or more. To fulfill the incentive, we needed to collect the donor’s t-shirt size. In previous years, donors didn’t even know about the promotion, and we would have to call each donor after the donation was made to get their t-shirt size.
  • Solution: Using the ecommerce tool and premium selector on the donation form, we easily added copy and imagery to the donation form. In addition, if donors received the premium, we added them to an interest group so we could track them for future year promotions. Then, we added conditional content to the donation autoresponder email confirming their shirt order. Lastly, we prompted participants to help with promotion by adding a suggested message in the participant center, and creating a news feed linking them to a blog article with more tips.
  • Benefits:We’re now in our third year of the promotion, and second year using Blackbaud Luminate/Blackbaud TeamRaiser. We’ve seen the number of donations $50 or more in February more than double in year two over year one. As we start the month of February 2018, we are trending higher than in 2017. By including the promotion right in the donation form, we also were able to more efficiently track orders and sizes. The easy implementation let us set up the incentive for a specific time frame, and giving tools to our participants helped them exceed their fundraising goals.

Conditional Emails for Registration Autoresponders

  • Challenge: Our ride event has 13 different participant types/routes for our riders to select from. A few of the routes have specific information, and some have a higher fundraising commitment. Instead of sending riders an email with route information and a fundraising commitment reminder at a later date, we knew it was critical to have riders receive the information at the time of registration.
  • Solution: Adding S-tag conditionals to the email based on route type, self-donor vs. non-self-donor, team captain, virtual riders, and youth riders, gave each rider an email with detailed information specific to them. I’m not an expert on S-tags, but Cathexis Partners is. They helped me make sure all of the S-tags were working, and now I adapt them as needed from year to year, and event to event.
  • Benefit: Personalized information goes right to our participants at the time of registration, which reduces additional emails and phone calls to our team from participants who have questions.

These are all tactical, real examples that we have implemented in TeamRaiser and that helped us achieve our goals. Now when the fundraising team says, “Can we do this?” I don’t always say NO anymore. Sometimes I say, “I don’t know — let me ask,” or “Maybe,” or “I think so,” and sometimes even “YES, we can!” And, then we do.

by Karen Cincotti, Assistant Director of Web and Operations, Roswell Park Alliance Foundation
As the Assistant Director of Web and Operations for the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, Karen is responsible for the foundation’s multiple event websites, implementation of the various online fundraising initiatives to achieve the Foundation’s revenue goals, and the processes needed to provide detailed, accurate, and timely gift processing. Prior to her five years at Roswell Park, Karen spent almost 10 years in the advertising agency formerly known as Cenergy Marketing & Communications. In her last position as Director of Interactive Experiential she managed the creation of websites and digital event interactions for Cenergy’s sports, cable and consumer brand clients, including the planning and development of the NHL’s Beard-a-thon website and fundraising initiative. At Roswell she is the lead in Luminate Online and Team Raiser, and manages their Blackbaud relationship to ensure all Blackbaud products in place are helping Roswell achieve their goals.

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