Sacred Heart Radio is fortunate in their problem—they need to process lots of online donations. For this reason, Beverly Hill, office and database manager for Sacred Heart Radio, was eager to implement the automatic entry of online donations that is offered through the FundRaiser Donor Portal.
Sacred Heart Radio is a national Catholic radio station. They are users of FundRaiser Professional with the Donor Portal for online donations.
Successfully promoting online donations
“We promote online donations strongly and it is working for us. As a radio station, we have access to the airwaves. We use public service announcements that say ‘visit us online and click donate’,” explains Beverly.
Automatic entry is ‘huge time saver’
“In the old online donation system, I’d get an email that someone had donated and the amount, and I’d have to go in and manually enter that into FundRaiser. Once we went to using the Donor Portal, donations automatically come into FundRaiser, and I don’t have to enter them by hand. It has been a huge time saver,” says Beverly.
Making it easy to process recurring donations
One of the reasons that Sacred Heart receives so many online donations is that they have made it easy for donors to set up recurring donations. “Generally once a person sets up a recurring donation, they will donate ongoing. Once they do that, they are more likely to stay with you than someone who sends in a check,” says Beverly.
“Right now, we handle about 300 recurring donations. With the Donor Portal, that is all done automatically. Previously, the online donations system would automatically make the charge and then send me a list that I would need to manually enter and use to process the thank you letters. That would take me about 4 hours to do. Now, the Donor Portal not only automatically enters the donation, but also sends an email thank you letter. I don’t have to process the letter. You just set that up ahead of time in the Portal.”
Quick Form encourages giving during pledge drives
The Donor Portal offers two different forms that an organization can use to accept online donations—the Long Form and the Quick Form. The Long Form allows a donor to set up a user name and password, and to log into the Donor Portal to view their giving history, and print out tax receipts. With the Quick Form, a donor can make a one time donation without having to fill out as much information or create a log in. Sacred Heart offers both forms to their donors.
“The Quick Form works for people that don’t have the time to create the account and just want to give you a small donation. We wanted to give them the choice, so they don’t have to go through the process of creating an account. Some people like to create an account and to be able to log in, and get information for their taxes. Some just want to give money and then be left alone,” says Beverly.
“We particularly wanted to have the Quick Form available to use during our online pledge drives. During those drives, we do a promos, ‘for the next 30 minutes you get this premium…’ The Quick Form has been a huge help there. Before, when we only had the Long Form, people would get frustrated and didn’t want to enter all the information requested on the Long Form, or take the time to set up the account. The Quick Form allows people to donate quickly and we are getting a higher response.
Follow up with QuickForm users
Even though donors don’t create their own account when using the Quick Form, Beverly is able to do some follow up with them. “If someone doesn’t create a Donor Portal account, we put them on our mailing list, either email or physical. We send them a newsletter, and that is one way that they may convert from one time givers to ongoing donors. If it is a new person, especially if local, I send a newsletter with a donation envelope, so they know a little more about us. With the newsletter, I also say, thank you for your interest and support of Sacred Heart.”
How the Donor Portal works
Using the Donor Portal to enter donations into FundRaiser is simple, according to Beverly. “When I open FundRaiser, I see a list of people that donated since I last accessed the system. I go through the list and double check that each person on the list is actually the donor the software thinks it is. I then OK the entry. I have it set up so that it automatically creates my thank you letter, so as soon as I OK that donation, then I print the thank you,” says Beverly.
“If I find a difference between the information in FundRaiser and the donation record that day, usually it is because someone has updated their address. In FundRaiser, there are lots of controls that allow you to handle updates in a variety of ways, for instance, you can click, ‘the new is the correct so please update the system’, or you are able to catch it change if maybe they made a mistype in their address.”
More donations result from good ‘thank you’ protocols
“I try to get thank you letters out within three days. If it’s a large donation we do a personal letter that we all sign and I make a phone call to say thanks,” says Beverly. This pays off. “We just had a woman who donated a block of stock. It was a significant amount for us, and I called her and said ‘I want to thank you again.’ We also sent a card that everyone signed. After that, even though she had sent us a pretty sizeable donation, she then also sent another $200 after she got the thank you’s. Donors need to know that their donation is appreciated.”
Sacred Heart Radio has been using FundRaiser since 2006. “I decided on using it because it was the most flexible and had the most features we wanted for the money. I did six months of research before I decided on it. I’ve been glad with the choice. It was easy to get started. Before using FundRaiser, we were using Access to keep track of everything. Once we got FundRaiser, we just exported everything from Access, and imported it into FundRaiser. I did the training with Larry and we were up and going,” says Beverly.
Over the years with FundRaiser, I’ve found that the customer service and willingness to help is phenomenal. Anytime I had a problem, even if it was caused on my end, for instance by some quirks in my website, they went out of their way to help me and fix the problem.”
Tech Tip: Recurring Gift Setup by LarryWeaver