Back to Blog List

Top Five Lessons from Bbcon 2015

There was a lot of expert advice given at Blackbaud’s 2015 conference bbcon, held this year in Austin, Texas.  The nonprofit technology provider illustrated that the world of do-gooders is getting bigger, but what does that mean for nonprofit fundraisers? Here are five key take-aways: 


1. It's not all about nonprofits anymore 

Blackbaud presenters predicted that in the next decade, nonprofits and for-profits will have more in common than ever. Merging business practices with social missions, hybrid organizations are expected to take over. 

This future is sooner than you think, with the growth of “B Corps” – for-profits like the Honest Company that are certified for their commitment to social good. For nonprofit fundraisers, these corporations could soon be your competition. You will not only have to compete for dollars against other charities, but also B Corps. Socially conscious consumers may not see a difference between buying a product  from a B Corp and donating to a nonprofit, if both organizations are helping communities in need.  


2. Gain and retain monthly donors 

You already know how important your monthly donors are to the success of your program. However, it can be difficult to find and acquire these donors and even harder to keep their interest. 

To grow your monthly donor base, mention monthly giving in your welcome emails to new potential donors. These messages drive the highest click-through rates of any emails you send. Take advantage of this engagement and ask for a monthly gift.

For lapsed monthly donors, consider sending another series of emails. Use catchy subject lines, to re-capture their interest. Subject lines such as “Are you still there?” can increase open rates with this audience.  


3. Don't forget to optimize 

Test different aspects of your all-important online donation form in order to get the most out of each element. Try out different photos and copy to see what performs best with your audience. 


4. Reconsider your event registration fee 

Have you ever wondered why some of your event participants raise money for you and others don’t? It may have to do with the registration fee. 

When you charge a registration fee for your event, participants frame their relationship with your organization as a market relationship, rather than a social one. They are then less intrinsically motivated to fundraise for your event. So if you want engaged fundraisers, it might be best to skip the registration fee. 


5. Make a splash with DIY fundraising 

In a time when you can customize your Starbucks order down to the foam, it’s no surprise that donors want to customize their fundraising experience. People often ask their friends for donations online, challenging themselves to do more for the causes they care about. Charity: water’s “pledge your birthday” initiative provides one successful model for DIY fundraising. 

What did you take away from bbcon 2015?? Share your ideas with us on Facebook or Twitter




Alexa Kelly

Account Executive