Using personalized video to boost fundraiser ROI
When people first see a demo of Gratavid from Gravyty, their reactions are pretty consistent.
“This platform looks so easy to use!” “I could see us using it for so many different things!”
Fundraisers light up at the prospect of so easily distributing personalized videos to donors and community members.
But every now and then, someone asks the question, “what is the ROI (return on investment) of Gratavid?”
It’s a loaded question, but the answer is simple. Gratavid will pay for itself in many different ways.
Improve donor retention
Donor retention is a major problem facing the fundraising industry. On average, three out of four donors are leaving without making a second donation. This means fundraisers have to replace more than half of their donors every year just to stay even.
In the figure below, 500 donors give $360 to start year one.
After year one, a 5% increase in donor retention will increase giving by $9000. A 20% increase in donor retention will increase giving by $36,000!
If we look at the impact over three years for those same 500 donors, a 5% increase in donor retention will save $14,000, and a 20% increase in retention will save $61,000.
And that’s in just three years—imagine the compounding effects.
“Improving donor retention by just 10% can double the lifetime value of your donor database.”
–Professor Adrian Sargeant, PhD,
Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy
How to improve retention
Before addressing the donor retention issue, it’s important to understand the root cause of the problem. The top two reasons donors stop giving are:
1) The organization did not communicate the effectiveness of the gift, and
2) Too-frequent solicitations from the nonprofit organization.
Make no mistake, communicating effectively is difficult. Writing takes time, and everyone has an opinion on what should be included or excluded. Editing by committee can waste valuable time and resources.
This is where video can help. Video can communicate in one minute what would take hours—if not days—to write. Here are some stats that show the effectiveness of video:
- One minute of video is worth 1.8 million words
- Videos are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text
- Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text
The second reason donors stop giving is over-solicitation. Over-solicitation can particularly break donor trust when fundraisers fail to report on a donor’s gift after the fact.
“If you don’t close the loop with donors by thanking or reporting back to them before asking again, they will perceive it as being over solicited.”
–Barbara O’Reilly, CFRE,
Windmill Hill Consulting
Gratavid is not a solicitation tool; Gratavid is a stewardship tool. When organizations invest in personalized video messaging, they invest in stewardship. Gratavid serves as a key touchpoint between asks, allowing fundraisers to report on impact, communicate gratitude and give donors a sense of belonging—treating them like members of a community.
“It takes me less time to do a personal video than to write and edit letters that are not as personal. My donors are super impressed with my Gratavids and mention they have never felt so seen and appreciated.”
Show Mercy International
Save time + resources
One of the biggest benefits for Gratavid clients is that they no longer have to rely on marketing or video staff to create effective content. Not only does it save the whole organization time, but it can also save organizations from spending valuable resources on external video production.
With a powerful smartphone in everyone’s pocket, these days anyone can record, request or upload files and share them via email with ease using Gratavid.
Prioritize the thank you process
Gratavid also saves a massive amount of time when it comes to thanking donors.
Many organizations stress over open and click-through rates, but the above quote provides incredible insight into the best time to reach out to donors.
As Julie Cooper said on the Build Good Podcast, “Thanking is not the effect of a gift. Thanking is the cause for the future relationship…The gift should start the process of bonding the donor to the cause. The thank-you communication forms the bond.”
“Donors pay the most attention to the thank-you communication.”
–Professor Jen Shang, PhD,
Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy logo
A thank-you shouldn’t be treated as an obligatory task—treat it as an opportunity.
The reality is it’s hard to thank every donor without an efficient system in place. With Gratavid, organizations can connect directly to their CRM/payment system to automatically send Gratavids or automatically create custom tasks each time a donation is made.
Even if organizations don’t use one of the many CRMs that integrate directly with Gratavid, Gratavid provides a list of new donors/contacts in the form of a CSV file each month for fundraisers to thank donors.
Fundraisers can’t automate relationships, but they can automate the thank-you process with Gratavid.
How a Gratavid led to an unprompted five-figure gift
One day, Matt Gill, a Senior Donor Advisor at United Way, received a note from finance that a donor he works with sent in a $15,000 gift out of the blue.
Weeks before the five-figure gift, and shortly after the donor joined United Way’s legacy society, Matt decided to thank the donor with a unique Gratavid. Knowing the donor had a background in the Navy, Matt—having a background in the Navy too—put on his Navy uniform and recorded a sword and knighting ceremony. He then shared his Gratavid with the donor and received an immediate response.
Looking for more use cases?
3 Ways the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music uses Gratavid from Gravyty
While the Gratavid alone didn’t secure the $15,000 check, it opened the door to a deeper friendship and more opportunities to connect. Matt still had to put in the work, but Gratavid helped crack the door open. When the donors sent in their unprompted gift, they noted how much it meant to connect in such meaningful ways.
Book more meetings and close more gifts
One of the most popular strategies Gratavid clients employ is using Gratavid as a hook to catch a donor’s attention, then asking them to click a call-to-action (CTA) button. You can use CTA buttons to link to a donation page, share a blog post or ask a donor to book time on your calendar for a meeting.
When Gravyty’s Frank Mumford worked at United Way, he used Gratavid to help close over a million dollars in gifts. Frank sent a Gratavid to all his donors asking, “I thought it might be easier to schedule 15 minutes where I could share the impact of what this year’s donation request would be. Click the link below to find a time and we can meet virtually.”
This booking strategy led Frank to visit virtually with over 60 donors. He presented six simple PowerPoint slides, shared their impact, the community’s specific need and that year’s request. Frank closed a full 100% of all virtual asks and increased total year-over-year giving by more than 10%.
One tip for booking more meetings is to write the donor’s name on a piece of paper or whiteboard at the start of your video. This instantly lets your donor know the video is personalized for them. Roughly 50% of donors click through to the video when they see their name in the animated thumbnail—an astronomical click-through rate.
So what’s the ROI?
The reality is ROI numbers can be misleading. What’s the ROI of your phone bill, what’s the ROI of email, what’s the ROI of your office? It’s a hard question to answer because we can’t attribute all revenue to one single channel. Together, however, all touch points (email, phone calls, zoom, social media, etc.) contribute to the overall donor experience. Showing gratitude, reporting on gifts and improving the donor experience through Gratavid acts as a rising tide that lifts all boats.
Fundraisers still have to put in the work, but Gratavid from Gravyty is here to help do it more effectively, efficiently and have a lot more fun along the way.