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A 300% Increase in Monthly Donations with Shannon McLaughlin

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Listen on Apple | Listen on Spotify 

This episode is presented by Fundraise Up, a technology company unlocking the world’s generosity potential by optimizing the way people give. The company’s donation platform helps nonprofits engage more supporters and grow revenue by providing easy ways to increase conversion, enable modern payment methods, and personalize the giving experience for every donor. Fundraise Up is the partner of choice for UNICEF USA, The Salvation Army UK, American Heart Association, and other impactful organizations across the globe. For more information, visit fundraiseup.com/generosity

We’re about to talk about a cause that’s near and dear to my heart. Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman is one of two development employees at Animal Haven, a nonprofit organization that finds loving homes for abandoned cats and dogs throughout the Tri-State area.

In today’s discussion, Shannon breaks down how she is completely rocking it in her role as Director of Development and Communications. She’ll give us the scoop on how she increased monthly donations by 300% (and saw a 40% increase in online fundraising!), PLUS how their Instagram grew from 57,000 followers to 150,000 followers in just a few years.

What exactly contributed to Animal Haven’s 300% increase in monthly donations 

Fundraise Up has become one of the most innovative online donation programs in the world. There are so many elements to it that have been a game changer for Forever Friends. Not only have they reduced their overall costs, but they are massively improving their fundraising results, too.

Having an automated upsell on their donation form has contributed to a 300% increase in monthly donations! How?

When you go on their site to make a one-time donation, you’re prompted to make a slightly lower monthly donation. If you go ahead with the monthly donation, little hearts float up on the screen. It completely blew Shannon’s mind seeing the results, and even better? Their donors love it.

They also regularly share success stories on their donation page, and implemented a “sticky” button there that moves with you as you scroll up and down the page. If you get distracted and leave the page, a little pop-up appears, asking if you forgot to make your gift.

Beyond their integration with Fundraise Up and their CRM Kindful, they strategically place QR codes on their business cards and signage, which in turn, provides data-driven insights on who is donating, who is clicking on what buttons, and what’s driving donations.

As you think about improving your own recurring donor program, conduct a simple self-assessment audit. If you didn’t know who your organization was, would it be obvious to figure out where to give? Is it hard to find that place to give?

More about the Forever Friends monthly donor program

Animal Haven’s donor program Forever Friends, used to be incredibly passive. They sent acknowledgments and thank yous, but the process was manual.

When they switched over to their new system on Fundraise Up, the difference was unreal. Automation was the golden ticket that saved them so much time and resulted in over 90% donor retention with their monthly donors. 

Now, when someone’s credit card doesn’t go through, an email is automatically sent out, reminding the donor that their donation has not gone through. They are offered a direct link to update their information in the donor portal, and all of this is tracked manually afterwards.

Additionally, if they notice low open rates on their emails, that will trigger a personal outreach.

How putting energy into storytelling helped grow their Instagram to over 150,000 followers

Storytelling is the foundation of getting your mission and message across, and this was Shannon’s secret sauce for skyrocketing their followers on social media over the past few years.

They had the basics down already – they were regularly responding and engaging with comments and hanging out in the DMs. If someone had a question about an adoptable animal, they’d reply.

So if storytelling is the secret, how exactly did they do it? By improving the quality of their content, and this was a multifaceted effort, between volunteers producing content and leveraging the power of user-generated content, too. 

Shannon says you have to know who your audience is in order to tell the right stories. If you’re not getting to your audience, it’s like a tree falling in a forest with no one there to hear it.

Paying close attention to their metrics helped them realize that Twitter wasn’t worth spending time on, and instead, they could pivot their energy and efforts to where their audience was hanging out (Facebook and Instagram) and increase capacity on those platforms. Testing also revealed that their Facebook audience was predominantly cat lovers, so they emphasize cat-related content there.

While staying fully up to speed on the ever-changing trends and changes on social media, it’s been the biggest way they’ve stayed connected to their supporters.

Shannon’s Ask

Shannon is looking for support in paid social. If you have expertise in this area, reach out and share your tips and tricks.

Notable Quote from Shannon

“I’m a firm believer that stories can be transformational. Storytelling is the foundation of getting your mission out – you have to tell a good story, and you have to figure out who your audiences are in order to tell that story in a way that they can digest it.”

Resources & Links

Find out how your organization can gain more donors, grow revenue, and extend its impact by visiting fundraiseup.com/generosity

For help onboarding Fundraise Up visit: https://positiveequation.com/fundraise-up-onboarding

If you want to learn more about Animal Haven and support their cause, follow them on their website, Instagram, or on TikTok.

Some of Shannon’s must-follow accounts on Instagram include two Animal Haven alums, @boobie_billie, a chihuahua who dresses in couture, and @rockyandwaldo, a tripod dog who navigates the world with his blind brother Waldo.

3 Tips On How To Make Your Content Stand Out is a great minisode companion about content creation.

Check out my $27 mini course, Visible Reach In A Week. In 30 minutes, you’ll learn how to create a $3 a day ad campaign that will drive brand awareness with your supporters.

Want to make Missions to Movements even better? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram. Be sure to tag @positivequation so I can connect with you. 

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