Webinar: Nonprofit eCommerce with GiveWP’s Michelle Frechette

In this webinar Cory talked to GiveWP’s Michelle Frechette about nonprofit eCommerce, and specifically engaging donors, fundraising ideas, and building better landing pages for nonprofits.

In this webinar, Cory talks with GiveWP’s Michelle Frechette about nonprofit eCommerce, and specifically how she engages donors, develops fundraising ideas, and builds winning landing pages.

Machine Transcript – Nonprofit eCommerce w/ GiveWP’s Michelle Frechette

Cory Miller  00:00

Hey everybody welcome back to another webinar. I’ve got my friend Michelle Frechette, head of customer service at We’ll be talking about what Give is in just a second. But I’m excited today to talk about what I kind of think about nonprofit eCommerce. But you had a great nuance to that. And I’m going to ask you that in just a minute. But also, Michelle is the host at podcast where you’re interviewing people all over the world. And I also know, we got to connect even more and more at Wordcamp Ottowa a couple of years ago. But we both serve on an amazing nonprofit called Big Orange Heart, I know you’re a volunteer there and do great work. And you and I are going to be talking even more because we’re going to be transitioning that nonprofit to US-based one here very soon. We’re both very, very passionate about mental health. And maybe we’ll weave that into in a second. But Michelle, welcome to Commerce Journey. I think you’re one of our first guests, by the way.

Michelle Frechette  01:07

That’s very exciting. Thank you. Thank you for having me. And thank you so much for the invitation. Because helping nonprofits is actually just a huge passion of mine. And when I gave up, when I thought about giving up being a freelancer and having my own agency here in Rochester, Give was actually the only organization that I thought about leaving for because I would continue to work with nonprofit organizations, which is what I did a lot with my freelancing agency years ago, too. So…

Cory Miller  01:35

Oh, super cool. Now your head of customer success. And so could you Give us that little one liner or two liner of what GiveWP is,

Michelle Frechette  01:43

yeah, so GiveWP is a fundraising software for that you can use on your WordPress website. So instead of just having a simple form, that doesn’t collect all the right information that doesn’t allow you to do donor management, and other things like that, or just having a PayPal button, for example, a GiveWP form is an engaging way to not only receive donations, but work with your donors build your donor database, and our suite of add ons that we have Give you ways to really enhance the way that you do donations. So for example, recurring donations, which I know is something we’re going to talk about today. Yeah. And which is just the biggest thing, because that’s one way that you can actually just increase your revenue, and have sustained revenue over time. So things like that are things that we work with our customers on a frequent basis to help them be successful.

Cory Miller  02:32

GiveWP is awesome software, my wife has used it on one or two nonprofit sites that she’s been a part of. And so it’s great, great software, and I love the team too, even more than software to be honest with you. I know you that Cromwell, and Devin, the founders, and just a great set of people that do great work in the world. Okay, I just want to, you know, as I was thinking about this whole, you know, conversation we’re gonna have, I really feel bad, I pass a nonprofit to what to my office every day that I have donated to. And I think to myself, I know businesses are having a lot of businesses are having a lot, a hard time in, in the pandemic. But nonprofits I know are have to be squeezed even tougher, as we start to worry about the economy and the ripple effects of what the pandemic has done to our global economy. And I’m just kind of curious, you know, what you’re seeing from nonprofits and how they’re thinking about, you know, trying to shift some activities that might have been, you know, there’s events like here in the United States now, there’s people that put on galas, and different fundraising in-person type events. And this has thrown a wrench in all of that. What are you seeing from your customers there at GiveWP and the people you help globally?

Michelle Frechette  03:49

Exactly what you’re talking about. So, you know, obviously, a lot of nonprofits have had online presence before they’ve been receiving donations, whether it’s through a gift form, or through a simple PayPal button, or just putting a place on their website that says, hey, mail your check here. Which of course, is is still an option for many people. It really is. we’ve really seen a shift of what do we do when we can’t have that gala? What do we do when we can’t have the ice cream social, or the in-person dance or soccer or, you know, whatever people are doing, or even if you think back to when we were kids, and we would do like rockathons and walkathons and things like that, and 5k runs. A lot of that has not been able to happen this year. Most of that has not been able to happen during a pandemic. And so, seeing organizations shift from Well, we can’t do that that was our primary fundraiser. What are we going to do now is having to be really creative in the way that they’re doing their online fundraising and how you can do more than have a form, but how you can turn a form into an event or how you can turn a form into a competition or how you can engage in ways that still maintain that social distancing. So it’s been an interesting year. And it’s been fun to try to think of, I write a lot of those articles for the blog on different ideas of how you can pivot how you can have a virtual snowball fight, and charge people to throw a virtual snowball or balloon wars or things like that, and how you can do dessert deliveries, and charge for desserts and upcharge for that, so that people are having cakes delivered to their house, they’re paying for the cake, but they’re paying something extra to be able to donate to a good cause and still get something fun out of it. And so, um, something simple as this year I did porch treads the porch, get a portrait in my local community, and in a socially distance way is I set up, I went to six different houses on a Saturday, pulled up in my car, the family assembled on their front porch, I never got close to them, but I did family portraits while they were on their porch. And so that was that’s one way that you can just you can charge for that service as a donation, especially if your photographer is donating their time. But even if they aren’t, you’re paying this the photographer and then you’re charging more for the service. So there’s different ways to be creative, whether it’s in person, but at a different distance. Or you’re doing a virtual event, like some of our different organizations have done.

Cory Miller  06:23

I work with a lot of you know, therapists, mental health therapists and organizations and the whole field and I’m not trying to throw rocks at all, but the whole the field is behind technologically. And then I think about nonprofits and I go, it seems probably a little bit lagging is my perception of a lot of nonprofits have. The tools are out there, they’ve been out there for a while too. And software like Give makes it even easier for someone to take donations, and then even recurring donations to which is the holy grail of any business, let alone nonprofit, and it just feels like they’re lagging. So it’s good to hear that, you know, if there is positive to the pandemic, it’s that I think it’s helped advance it seems like is that kind of your… Have you seen that too? It’s like, Well, okay, now we got to get serious about actually, you know, I think you were mentioning before the call is like, some people have a donate page. And it ain’t no version one’s fun. But like, send your checks here. And I think I don’t even know where my checkbook is Michelle, like, but you know, I carry my phone around carrying my credit cards around, I’ve got those, I’d rather do that, you know, I still send a check, by the way from this office right here. And I’m like, oh, gosh, this is frustrating. You know, I’d rather just have a form that just kind of gets auto debited, but it is that is that kind of what you’re seeing too. And then starting to like, Oh, it’s probably I’m guessing a degree of panic button. And then also, okay, it’s time for a shift and embrace. Like, that’s the word I was thinking, as you’re thinking like, all your ideas. I was like, that’s just embrace digital, as like, we gotta cross the social, we got to embrace it, don’t you think?

Michelle Frechette  07:59

Yes, I think that’s absolutely true. So we have seen increases in our demos. So like, you know, we’re one of the few plugins in the WordPress world that you can get on a screen share with me or one of my colleagues here in the office, we will show you what the software does. Once you if you if you make a purchase, we will get on a screenshare like this and walk you through setting things up. Because we really want you to be successful, which is why we’re not customer service or customer success. because our goal is to make you successful. And part of that is just showing you how it works and making sure that you can get that first form up and running. Of course, a lot of people are super savvy, and they never need to ask us for help. Other people are like, gee, you know, we take care of dogs, we are this, like, we don’t do this online thing. I built equipment, my son built us a website. And now I need to figure out how to make money off of it. So and everything in between. And so we’re constantly working with people to, like you said, to kind of embrace the online way of collecting funds and letting people contribute. And that’s the other side of what we’ve seen in this pandemic, is while people are worried about money, while people are, you know, hoping that they still have a job next year, I’ve really seen a huge increase in people’s generosity as well, whether it be their generosity of time, and I belong to a Facebook Group, that’s a buy nothing, sell nothing. So instead of, you know, selling something, it’s like, Hey, does anybody need this end table? Hey, I’ve got some food that’s going to expire next month. We won’t use it in time, can a family use it? And so I’ve seen a lot of generosity in the online communities, and that’s extended to online fundraising as well. And that’s not to say that online organizations aren’t struggling because of course they are. But and some have closed, you know, unfortunately, the pandemic has forced some nonprofits to shut their doors and that you know, it hurts my heart when I hear those kinds of things. But the truth is to that if you find a really good way to engage your audience there are people who want to support you, there are people who their generosity of spirit has really risen through this. And they want to find ways to support you. So connecting with them is absolutely key.

Cory Miller  10:15

Some things I’ve taken already from just hearing you talk is one embrace the technology it’s, hey, it’s here, it’s been around for a while now, it’s here, it’s time to embrace it. But the second one I hear in a lot of your fundraising ideas is just engage creativity. I mean, you were talking about taking the porchtraits love that, by the way, as a way to maybe engage followers to go do something and then, you know, take the portrait for a fee, slash donation. And it just seems like, okay, you know, a lot of the things that I’ve heard is like the old marketing playbook for a lot of nonprofits and mental health industry, it’s outdated. It needs an update, but it’s simply taking some of those principles of, you know, building relationships, nonprofits are all built around a cause, that, you know, you got a tribe. That’s what I’ve been very envious, as an entrepreneur of a lot of nonprofits, because they almost kind of own the term cause, you know, and so but through everything, you’re saying, it’s just engaged creativity. And I know a lot of our audience are freelancers that serve nonprofits. In fact, we get a couple questions in there, but Okay, so we’ve talked about, you know, embracing it some creativity, what do you see some of that, in particular, I know, because you work with nonprofit customers all day, every day. What are some of the key challenges you see, nonprofits, you know, bump up against when they’re trying to transition or do more, now maybe make their footprint bigger with the digital space.

Michelle Frechette  11:55

For some of them, it really is understanding how to embrace the technology behind things. So being able to reach out to whether it’s to us or other people in your community, to find people who can alleviate that stress and tension about working online and building websites. And those kinds of things, I think is is paramount, we’re used to as organizations, offline organizations, you know, in-person organizations, having volunteers that come in and Give tours or muck stalls or feed dogs and those kinds of things. Many organizations haven’t had to think about having volunteers who have the skill sets, to do things that are online and, and finding ways to recruit and invite and engage people who have more of an online mindset to be able to help with that with those kinds of things. And really, having somebody on your team, whether it’s a paid staff member, or it’s a volunteer, who understands, or at least has a passion and a heart for engaging through social media, because in you know, sending emails is great, you and I both get a million emails a day, a lot of them, we never have the opportunity to open, because we just have to triage through what’s most important and what rises to the top. But we might take a break and look at Facebook, we might take a break and look at Instagram or look at LinkedIn or my favorite Twitter. So if I have somebody who’s engaging and fun in interesting ways, through social media, I can recruit volunteers, and I can encourage donations to my site. So it’s really, I think, you know, going back to the question, the challenge is building the team that doesn’t just do things the old way, which is necessarily in-person way, licking envelopes, and, you know, helping with the dogs and things like that, but also finding ways to engage them and use them in an online way.

Cory Miller  14:01

So thing I don’t talk about quite a bit is my career before I started, you know, iThemes the software company that still since left and was acquired was I spent six years in the church world. And I remember we would talk about online donations and things and somebody would invariably go well, the fees. And I would say, my response was always I in this is as an entrepreneur, too. I want money in the bank. I don’t want money on the post office truck. I don’t want money sitting in somebody’s pocket if they’re ready to donate or Give or buy in my most of my projects. I want it in my bank. And I’m willing to say 3% is a convenience fee for me. And I wonder, do you hear that quite a bit. What about the fees? What about and I get it because you know, nonprofits are pinching pennies. I totally understand that but from a convenience fee. I go easy, I want money sitting there waiting on me.

Michelle Frechette  15:00

So there’s two, there’s two things that I respond to it that number one, people can still mail you checks. But what if you gave more people an opportunity to Give you money? Isn’t that worth it if you’re getting, if I’m making $1,000 a year in checks, but I could make $4,000 a year and pay 3% on that extra $3,000 a year, is that not a no brainer? Because first of all, second of all, with a product like if WP and I know this isn’t a sales pitch, but I will say that there are add ons. So you know, and we’re not the only game in town other people have, you know, ways to do this if you’re not on a WordPress site, for example. And you’re not using GiveWP other other opportunities to cover those fees. So one of our add ons is fee recovery. And we find that you know, 60% of people, when Given the option to cover that percentage will do it. So like if I’m going to Give you no money to my church, I want if I’m going to Give $100 to my church, because I did build my Church’s website and it does have GiveWP on the site. If I’m going to Give $100 I want them to have $100. I don’t want them to have $97. So you know, I’m going to cover that extra $3. And yes, I’m rounding but that extra $3 so that they’re getting the full $100 to work with.

Cory Miller  16:06

Yeah, that that is excellent. Okay, so there’s an add on that can do the fee recovery, which is awesome. And if you’re doing that, you know what thinking back, there’s a couple of charities I like to Give to every year. And the same thing round up or you know, something like that. There’s, I think the spirit of what I heard you say is there’s ways around that ways to offer your donors that where you get the convenience, the nonprofit gets cash flow, which is the life of any organization and the roundup for the recovery. I think you said recovery

Cory Miller  16:35

fee recovery, we call it

Cory Miller  16:36

Fee recovery. Okay. Okay. I think that is that the specific name of the add on by the way?

Michelle Frechette  16:40

It is for GiveWP Yes.

Cory Miller  16:42

Okay, awesome. Okay, any other trends or sorry, challenges that you’re seeing with nonprofits, particularly, before we kind of move on to so I want to dig into some fundraising ideas that you’ve kind of alluded to, and I’ve got a blog post to share that you’ve written too. And some want to talk about recurring donations, we want to talk about landing pages, which is something you mentioned to me and I was like, I’m so excited that nonprofits even know the phrase landing page, by the way. So any other challenges before we move on?

Michelle Frechette  17:12

So my biggest thing about sites as I go to websites, and I know they’re nonprofits, and I can’t find how to donate, so don’t bury it, make sure that it’s so easy to let people Give you money, if you bury the donation form, if you use a word that doesn’t make sense. A lot of people if they you know, won’t understand contribute as much as donate or Give. So, so make sure you’re using words that make sense in your community, because in different communities, different words are gonna spark that, that thought but um, but don’t bury it. Don’t make it have to go three links deep to actually Give money, make it a simple click, and you’re there, boom, have that opportunity.

Cory Miller  17:53

Keeps the main thing the main thing is, it seems like if you’ve got a navigation, there’s a logo and there’s some nav stuff, there should be this almost flashing light. I’m being funny, but you know, flashing light to say, right here, this is our need. Come come do that. Where do you want to share mission? So I love that that tip for sure. Yeah. Okay, that that’s a great tip for sure. For for nonprofits. Okay, ready to go to fundraising ideas? which I know is…


Let’s do it, that’s my thing.

Cory Miller  18:21

So we already talked about porchtraits? What other Fundraising Ideas are you seeing people be creative about hearing about or even suggesting for your customers.

Michelle Frechette  18:33

So one of the things that’s been popular over the years is the idea of asking somebody to sacrifice something and Give that money to you. So for the cost of that you know, that pizza once a week or the $5 coffee that’s the you know, Lucci coffee that you’re burning every day, which I love coffee, don’t you know, but you know, you could make coffee at home and that $5 could go to a nonprofit. So that’s one thing that a lot of people use, it’s,I don’t want to say it’s tired because it isn’t it is something that challenges people to think about the way that they’re spending their money. But there could be so many more creative ways to do that. One of the things I came up with last year and I think I’ve put it we have a brand new post this year 21 ways ideas to raise funds in 2021. One of the ideas is to have a virtual lemonade stand. So you know think about the the kids at the end of the driveway selling lemonade for 25 cents a cup, that kind of thing. You can sell virtual lemonade. Now granted, nobody’s gonna actually drink it, but did you actually really drink the lemonade those kids made anyway, right? Like it was a little suspect. I don’t want a seven year olds fingers in my lemonade, especially during COVID. But the idea is that, you know, you can say hey, for $5 buy a virtual cup of lemonade for $10 two cups, you know, for $25 you could have the whole pitcher. And then, you know, you could have different different ways to engage with it a forum. So yes, I’m going to talk about some of our paid add ons like using Something like form field manager where you can add extra fields to your form. You can say, you know, who is your barista today? Or who is your server today. And the idea is, you know, like, you have five people that are saying, are sending people to this form, and you’ve got this team of people that are trying really hard to compete to drive sales and to drive these donations, and sell, you know, like, you know, Stephanie was going to pick Stephanie off the list. And at the end, you know, we’ve raised maybe $4,000 in fake lemonade sales. And Stephanie, you know, was the clear winner with $2500 in donations, that Stephanie gets a T shirt, or Stephanie gets some kind of reward for engaging the most donors. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it could be something super fun.

Cory Miller  20:43

Oh, yeah. gamified. Right.

Michelle Frechette  20:45

Absolutely. Another fun one to do is if we reach this amount by a certain time, then this thing happens, right? So you know, we’re in Rochester, New York, there’s snow, there’s ice building up at the edge of Lake Ontario. So right around February, March, every year, they have a polar plunge. And these, like insane people put on these crazy outfits. And like literally jump into Lake Ontario, it’s freezing, like I, I get cold watching it on television. Yeah, but the idea is like, maybe we say, you know, of your organization says hey, if we raise whatever it is $5,000 $20,000 $100,000, whatever’s doable for your organization, by x date, the director has got to take the polar plunge. And maybe people don’t know who the director is. So maybe you could actually talk to the local news station. And like the, the number one newscaster will say, you know, your local celebrity will be like, I will take the plunge, if you all raise the money. So there’s different ways to engage people outside of your organization, number one, to donate, but number two, to also Give them their time and services and their fame, to be able to help with that as well.

Cory Miller  22:00

Well, how easy to for people, like, if we hit this, you’re helping donate your Well, you know, in this scenario, feeling frigid for a couple moments, for a really good cause. It’s actually not taking, you know, $100,000 out of their pocket, but it’s helping raise that. And to your point earlier seems like you know, social media, I mean, we carry around incredible cameras, in video, video cameras in our hands. So with social media, being able to just stream that to your Facebook page, or your WordPress website. You know, just making light of that. I love that and building community online, do you this, I’m segwaying just a tad, but and I want to come back to fundraising ideas. But the idea of, you know, with the businesses, everything we do for profit, is we want to build a community of people. And, you know, I hope nonprofits, I want to hear what you’re seeing, though, are really doubling down the tools, you know, if they’re, if your people are on Facebook, or whatever social media, you know, just being intentional, building a community around your cause and what you’re doing, and ultimately use the ideas that you’re talking about to leverage, you know, creative things like this to raise money.

Michelle Frechette  23:15

And, you know, it’s great that you read that, because I was thinking that earlier, and I was looking for the right way to say a building community, whether you’re a business or a nonprofit is the number one way to increase your sales and increase your donations, right. So if you get people to rally around your brand, whatever that is, that’s only going to help you. So the idea of building that community through social media is still gonna follow that like 80/20 rule. So 80% of what you post should be informational, it should be fun, it should be engaging. And only the 20% should be an ask whether you’re asking for volunteers, you’re asking for money, because you don’t if all you ever do is stand there with your handout, you’re going to drive people away eventually. But if you’re really building that community and getting people to engage in responding to your, to your posts, reposting your posts, whether it’s tweets, or you know, commenting on Instagram, things like that, that’s where you’re really gonna build that community and then people are going to feel more connected to you. And when people feel connected to you, that’s when they want to volunteer. And that’s when they want to Give to you

Cory Miller  24:16

As a part of the journey. Absolutely in the cause to that they’re contributing to the to the cause. Okay, good stuff. Hey, everybody, if you have questions from MIchelle, post those in the q&a button right below our video here, and I’ll be watching for those. And as we have time, I’ll share those with Michelle as well. Okay, so fundraising ideas, I love the fact that you can take you know, something like a lot of you know, fundraising is not a new phenomenon going on for a long, long, long time. But I think in our mindset, we go, oh, it has to be the gala or it has to be in the space but you’re trying to show us like these things can actually work online, too. And the ideas you suggested don’t cost money if all they’re mostly time, which most of us do have the time to donate. What other ideas, okay, that come to mind when you talk about like, you know, creative Fundraising Ideas for nonprofits?

Michelle Frechette  25:19

Well, in 2020 2021, with the move to everything being online, and everybody’s increased familiarity or initial familiarity with Zoom, and engaging in online things, and having these windows into, you know, other places and other people, one of the ideas we came up with is to hold virtual classes or talks or discussions, and you use your, your donation form as the registration gateway. So somebody donates $25, and then they’re Given the link the access to join that online class, whether it’s painting, and you Give them all the the list of what they have to go by. So they can do, you know, follow along, like, you can be Bob Ross, and they can be your happy little accidents. Or you know, or you’re giving a talk about Shakespeare, or you’re doing a cooking class, or any of those kinds of things can be done online, they are being done online. Why not pivot that to be a fundraiser for your event, or for your organization by making it an online event?

Cory Miller  26:25

That’s great teaching, teaching expertise that maybe comes out, while one is on in your in your community teaching, you know, them sharing expertise, one maybe within the theme of the nonprofit to that’s really interesting. So the nonprofit I’m thinking about right here that I pass, and I’ve actually donated to is called Pivot. And they help, you know, kids that have been either kicked out of homes, you know, adolescents, teenagers, find what, you know, find lodging and also careers, and I think there’s probably some career advice, when you talked about the courses and stuff, probably some career advice they share and talk about all the time, as they help, you know, some of their constituents, you know, I don’t know what you call them, constituents, you know, find jobs and placements, that you could probably do the same thing with the course. So I love that. And then, you know, my thought too was, well, the organization that we’re both a part of, and contribute to Big Orange Heart where it’s mental health for remote workers. I think about the first time when I was on the trustee board, I said, I need some swag, I need a T-shirt. And by the way, I don’t expect to free I want to, I want to Give because I’m a I’m a geek about T-shirts, you know. So…

Michelle Frechette  27:45

I’m that way with mugs.

Cory Miller  27:46

I love that mug! I’m so sad that the office is off of Netflix, by the way.

Michelle Frechette  27:51

That’s a conversation for another time. But yes.

Cory Miller  27:55

But I think about you know, swag in your, you know, your thought about teaching expertise. The other way to kind of package a donation with maybe something you’re providing a value is that shirt, like I said, just Give me a link, I’ll go buy it, I’ll go donate over and above the shirt, but I want the shirt. So I’m proud of the what the nonprofit does in the world.

Michelle Frechette  28:17

Right. like think about, like, you know, I think we used to have these things called concerts, right? Like, where you could actually put a million people in an arena together. And what did you buy on the way out, you spent like $30 for a merch T-shirt, right? So with the band’s name on it or something. So that T shirt, that piece of cloth didn’t cost the organization $30 you’re paying for something for what’s on it. And the same thing is true when you build a store for a nonprofit. And this is another great way to do fundraising is you know, have a T-shirt store on your website with the logo for the organization, the cute sayings, whatever you put up in a couple different options, different colors, and let people spend the money. You know, they know that a T-shirt cost $10, you’re still gonna charge 25 or $30 for it. They know that the difference is actually not just padding somebody’s pocket in the case of like merchandise for example, but now it’s going to support a nonprofit organization that they care about.

Cory Miller  29:11

So my wife is president of the board at free mom hugs and to do their swag to actually you know, kind of put it out to the community and its LGBT LGBTQIA organization, they put it out there and they found this phenomenal designer that donated the art for that particular shirt swag or whatever you’re talking about. So, I mean, and then even with places like custom ink and printful You don’t even have to have inventory. That’s how they started some of their, you know, nonprofit swag donation, buckets,

Michelle Frechette  29:47

and you can charge what you want. So you can do a markup on those stores. Yes. And then you said the difference instead of a profit for you is now money towards your organization.

Cory Miller  29:57

Absolutely. All right. So there’s a couple questions. That came in. And I wanted to talk about them before we segue to recurring donations and landing pages, whatever other things we can get into. And then I specifically want to ask about Give to be, although these questions are in that realm, too. So Amy asked Michelle thinking of social media, I’m curious about your experience and types of posts that get the most engagement with, with potential donors.

Michelle Frechette  30:23

So it really is gonna depend my answer on a lot of things is it depends. So it depends on who your audience is, it depends on who your community is. So if you’re a political organization, doing fundraising, that’s going to look very different than a dog shelter, for example. So you know, if you think about the dog shelter, I always use the dog shelter as an example, because there’s a million of them out there. And they are, they’re all competing for your dollars, right. So it just like Coca Cola, and Pepsi compete with each other for market share. There’s seven or eight different dog shelters right in my county here. And, you know, Monroe County, Rochester, New York. And you know, I’m not gonna Give $100 to each one of them, I’m going to pick which one I’m going to Give money to. So they’re all competing that way. So, for a dog shelter, you’re going to want to put those puppy dog eyes all over the place. And you’re going to use images that really kind of pull at those kinds of heartstrings, as opposed to, you know, a museum that’s going to show their art, and they’re going to show different things that they use for imagery. So you want to do images that stick with your brand that makes sense and that are going to really hit home with who your audience is, with who your community that you’re building is, as far as the language that you use, again, it’s gonna depend on who that community is. So if, you know if it’s a museum as a kids Museum, very different language than if it’s a high art museum, for example. Or if it’s a musician’s Museum, or a local, like we have the George Eastman House from Kodak is here in Rochester. And that’s a museum not only to Kodak, and film, but also to who George Eastman was, and the time period that he lived as well. And so how you pivot those things, is really going to be different depending on who your audience is.

Cory Miller  32:04

Michelle, or I’m sorry, not Michelle, here for sure. Amy, if you want to throw in specific examples, do that. And we’ll come back to it. That’s I think that’s a such a great thought there, too. And engagement to me is how do you make it about the the intersection of that impact? You know, like you, you’ve been missing dog shelters, and I love the big guy syndrome, maybe it’s, you know, some of the best engagement posts that I’ve seen are questions, you know, or polls. So like, to your dog shelter point, maybe it’s, here’s, here’s the next puppy we got in, help us name the puppy, you know, and that’ll get you some engagement. And then and I found Michelle, I’m curious, what you say too, is that sometimes nonprofits just forget to ask, you know, and I’m a subscriber to what you said, 8020 80% not doing ask for 20% about the ask is that some of us are afraid to ask and my, my wife, Lindsay, who you meant to her previous career was in political fundraising. And she you know, the three words to ask are the three letters ask was so key that you just have to go out there and ask Could you share this? Can you donate? Do you know somebody that’s interested, you know, needs a puppy or whatever the nonprofit serves? And, and maybe it’s not a donation of financial, you know, but it’s maybe an unkind or expertise that can teach a class who could teach a class to do this, you know, I love those kind of things. Okay, another question came in a little bit different subject and I want to get to these because these are really good questions too. Andre says Michelle, Cory great session some of my nonprofit clients use a CRM to track their donors does GiveWP integrate with CRM systems to link new donors and WordPress site to a third party tool maybe or how does GiveWP specifically help with you know, I know Oregon really the question I guess is to organization of donor contact versus Are you Jess it?

Michelle Frechette  34:01

So it depends on what you’re using as a CRM and how you’re managing your donors. We do have integrations for things like MailChimp Active Campaign, and Constant Contact AWeber ConvertKit. So we have those that a lot of people do use as a CRM. And also Additionally, you know, for emailing out those kinds of things to put to do campaigns and to do automations. If you’re using a traditional CRM, like let’s say Salesforce, or you know HubSpot, one of those kinds of things. We have a tool called Zapier, and as long as that that third party like Salesforce has what’s called a Zapier endpoint, then you can zap information, right from your gift donations into that third party. It also works for things like QuickBooks Online so that you don’t have to do manual entries of all your donations, you can actually zap that information over. And we also have the ability to download CSV files and upload them into third parties. So there’s multiple ways that you can do that.

Cory Miller  35:00

That’s great. That’s great. Yes, app yours. Awesome. Okay, so we’ve talked about fundraising ideas. Now let’s get on and we’ve answered a couple of quick questions which are great. Now let’s talk about recurring donations, recurring revenue. In the business side of things for e commerce is one of my favorites, because it’s the holy grail, the top of the pyramid, like you get that automatic payments. And specifically, I’m thinking, you know, pulled from your card or bank account and deposited into your organization saying, Okay, let’s let’s talk about recurring donations, which I think nonprofits, oh, should run and jump on this, I see more and more doing it, hey, in maybe they make it a smaller $5 a month or something like that. What are you seeing in terms of recurring donations in the nonprofit sphere,

Michelle Frechette  35:47

so forGive to repeat, the recurring donations add on that we have is by far our most used and most purchased individually. And you can get all of our add ons as a bundle in a plan kind of thing, which would include them. But if they could just buy one add on, it’s almost always that recurring donations add on because that recurring revenue, like you said, it’s the holy grail, if you can get somebody to Give you $100 today versus $10 a month, that $10 a month is $120 at the end of the year, so it’s it’s much more money over time, if you can get continued donations versus that one time, what’s in my pocket kind of donation. It’s somebody who can’t afford $100. Today, maybe we’ll Give you $20 a month. And that’s not you know, that’s $240 a year so. So that that recurring revenue like that, that recurring donations is absolutely paramount to the success of most organizations.

Cory Miller  36:40

I just occurred to me, I’ve helped our local NPR station at the University of Oklahoma, with some of their fundraisings and applying technology and, and I just think what you said is maybe some your your donor cannot afford $100 but they could space it out into you know, maybe that’s back to your sacrifice thing. $5 maybe you’d sacrifice one coffee, coffee a month to do the $5. And for the organization side of love that helps normalize or you know, normalize revenue. So you’re not peak Valley, you know, fundraising event, come back down, right and drops, you know, you’re kind of get this bedrock, and that’s for freelancers to over the years, but love how it applies to nonprofits. Absolutely. And that and that, GiveWP helps make that super, super easy. I’m pumped. That is one of your most popular add on. Me, too. What are some of the popular payment accounts and I’ll just, for context, say, you know, United States based nonprofits are some of the more popular payment processors that nonprofits use in your, in your sphere, you so

Michelle Frechette  37:54

by and large, the top three would be PayPal, Stripe, and So we see those, you know, just at the top of the list, but you know, coming up behind this square is actually becoming more and more popular. And we get questions all the time about ones that actually don’t integrate now because they don’t have API access and things like that. But the people are constantly asking us well, what about you know, this text to Give and things like that, and you know, that those are things that are on our roadway map, as far as text to Give and things like that. We don’t have that yet. But there are but you know, having that ability to just have the Apple Pay, for example, and Google pay on your phone or on your computer screen was huge. And and stripe has that integration. And so it makes it super easy for people to be able to just like, I don’t have to remember my credit card number, I can still donate because look, they take Apple Pay, and I can just double click the side of my phone and that goes right through. So yeah, I would say definitely those are those are the top three or four right there. And we do have, you know, we have payment gateways for around the world as well. So there are you know, people are looking in or listening in, they’re not in the United States, you know, just asked me or to hit up our website, you’ll be able to see we’ve got I think 16 different payment gateways.

Cory Miller  39:08

You know, it doesn’t get any easier than Stripe, such a good thing, fluid service and a great service to and but PayPal still hanging in there. Sure, it’s interesting to know that.

Michelle Frechette  39:22

Yeah, PayPal actually recently added a way for you to accept credit cards online and not have to be redirected off their website. So our new PayPal donations, integration connection means great, you can get those credit cards right on your website. And people don’t have to be redirected off the site to paypal to complete the transaction.

Cory Miller  39:39

Oh, that’s great. You know, we use PayPal for 10 plus years, and there’s, you know, it just didn’t advance as fast as some of the others like stripe, so that’s great to hear. And that’s cute. So for those of you listening, if you’re in a nonprofit trying to think through how to do that, I mean, again, I think the thing we keep saying is convenience make it easy for your donors to That done it. But to find it to your point earlier, don’t make your bedroom site. And then when is there make it make it really easy to hit to hit that Donate button button to Give you money and to Give you money on a recurring basis? Absolutely. Okay. Next one that I’d love to hear input on is this phrase called landing pages. It’s something I’ve sunk in even deeper in the last year or so. And I’m so glad that it’s even in our conversation today that nonprofits are even thinking about it. So what what are you hearing seen about landing pages, particularly in the nonprofit arena.

Michelle Frechette  40:38

So I’m going to come from a standpoint of what my advice is, if that’s okay for your landing page. So the wonderful thing about WordPress, because that’s where I, that’s my, that’s my jam, that’s my area. But the wonderful thing about WordPress is you can build any page on your website to look whatever you want it to look like. Right, especially with page builders and things like that nowadays, with Gutenberg, you can make one page look different than the rest of your website. And you can do that absolutely with your landing page, your your donation landing page. And so you know, make sure your donation landing page does all the things it needs to do without people having to look at any other page on your website, unless they want to absolutely have it about us page, have your blog have all those things that people want to learn more about your organization, absolutely have the pages and how they connect with your services, and the things that you’re passionate about the things that what your mission is, but that landing page should have a little bit of all of that right on it. But without being overwhelming. So the whole idea is how briefly, can you tell the story and tug those heartstrings so that somebody sees, you know what’s at the top or what’s down the side of the page and goes, I want to fill that out and click that Donate button at the bottom. So it’s about the storytelling, sometimes that’s not the right visual imagery. Sometimes that’s within with a you know, a playable video. Sometimes it’s just the the words and the language that we use, and the ways that we engage with people through those kinds of things. The other thing I always say is, you can build a donation page donation form that asks for so much information. But remember that with the longer a form is, the less likely somebody is going to be to actually complete it. So only asked for the information that you absolutely need. If you don’t need people’s physical addresses, don’t make them fill that out. Take that off that form, make it as simple as possible for people to be motivated, put in their information and click the donate button and feel really good about what they’ve done. Which also means have that gratitude at the end. So somebody hits donate, they don’t just get a receipt, but they get a message saying how grateful you are for the fact that they have taken time, you’ve taken time, and you’ve taken money out of your budget and out of your day to help them further their cause and support their mission. So that gratitude is is a huge part of that. And then also on that gratitude page, Give them a way to share that out through social media. So what we’ve seen a lot this year is people sharing that, hey, I just supported XYZ organization, you should too. So if you get the share buttons on there for Facebook or Twitter for whatever, put that on there. So that it makes them super easy for them to say you should support this organization because I just did.

Cory Miller  43:23

So I would assume Michelle and it’s been a while since I’ve like to Give to pee but you know, they make a donation that comes to the thank you page kind of in the typical ecommerce thing would be like, thank you to and maybe some receipt stuff. But right there would be to my I don’t know, GiveWP specifically bit please share. Right there would be a time to say thank you so much. tell the world about it. Easy little share buttons.

Michelle Frechette  43:48

Yep. Last year we implemented. So we have we have our legacy forum. But now we have a multi step form. The multi step form lets you choose colors. It lets you change verbiage right within the forum. It does step through a process. So the first one is engaging. The second one is choosing how much you’re going to Give whether you’re covering those fees, and whether you’re doing a recurring donation, and then the third page or the third slide through is you know giving you that information. Here’s my information. Here’s my credit card. Yes, I want to sign up for your newsletter, whatever that is, they hit donate, that process happens so stripe processes that it returns almost immediately with a big old Thank you with an image you select gratitude language, the receipt right on the page. And then also those share buttons at the bottom of it. That’s all built right into GiveWP And the beautiful thing about it is they’re also getting an email confirmation receipt of their donation as well. So they don’t have to print that page. But it’s a visual confirmation that it went through and that you’re super grateful for it.

Cory Miller  44:48

It’s it’s a great right there. Every little thing you know, you can do to incrementally, you know, those are just incremental little changes you can do that. Just help build your brand. You know, leverage your, your contributors, your donor bases following and share your message in the world.

Michelle Frechette  45:07

Nothing feels worse than giving money and never hearing that it was appreciated, or giving of your time and not knowing that was appreciated. You don’t have to, you know, just fall over people. But acknowledge with gratitude, it really goes a long way.

Cory Miller  45:22

Well, you know, earlier you mentioned about the add ons that Give has for email marketing, and that’s my jam. I love email marketing. It’s how I built my previous business, everything we’re doing all my projects now. And I hope email, nonprofits will embrace email marketing, because if someone you know, as an entrepreneur and for profit businesses, is somebody, it’s it’s very intimate for someone to pull out their credit card, Give you their information, and to buy something in this exchange of value for money. And in this world, I hope nonprofits are using email marketing to stay in touch where they don’t just hear from that one. Thank you, which I think to your point is so essential, thank you and Give them the tools to share that easily. but also throughout the year, to those points to the add ons, making sure those emails are also being able to be put into your email database so that you can email them about new things to your 80 point 8020 rule, here’s the impact your dollar made this year, you know, my wife, and I Give your in donations and throughout the year too, but it’s always nice to be reminded of my dollar is working out into the world. Email is such a great way to do that, too.

Michelle Frechette  46:33

One thing you just mentioned, too, that I did want to bring up, because you said it, people are giving you that information. So I did want to bring up the fact that when you’re using a simple form to collect somebody’s credit card details. Don’t ever do that. So don’t use like just, you know, a contact form seven and add a add a place for somebody to input their details, because now you have absolutely set yourself up for being hacked. And somebody getting and forgetting all information. When you use donation software, it’s built specifically. So that that information, those credit card details are never saved on your site, you don’t know what they are, if you log into your stripe account, you can see the last four digits so that you can confirm with somebody, but you don’t ever actually have all of that information. It’s all state saved and stored within the credit card processor. And your site is safe from ever having that information accessible to anybody.

Cory Miller  47:21

Please heed what Michelle just said, because this will save you so much and your people and you should this is non essential as someone who has been through a hack. Thankfully, we didn’t have financial data on the site that should always be stored in one of these secure there. You know PayPal stripe all the people who talked about security experts watching for fraud, watching for security issues. That’s where you want them to do that heavy lifting on your site, you want to do the marketing and messaging. So I hope people heed what you just said in the show, because it’s absolutely vital.

Michelle Frechette  47:56

And you do it do it to have an SSL certificate, but don’t rely on that to be the only level of security that you have.

Cory Miller  48:02

You’re hitting your your music to my ears here. So SSL is that little lock box little lock icon next to websites on your browser tab. So if you use you know, Google Chrome or Internet Explorer or whatever, is that Internet Explorer still a thing, right?

Michelle Frechette  48:21

I think it’s called edge now or something.

Cory Miller  48:24

But whatever your browsers, most browsers have this little lock icon and now, particularly Google, and Google Chrome and Safari and Firefox, if it your site is not what Michelle just said SSL, then it won’t show a lockbox, make sure you chase that down. That is encrypting the data, even though that data is stored off site into one of the payment processors, that information flow. You don’t want that at all to be exposed and that little lock button to SSL as your web developer about this. How do I get SSL on my domain? If you don’t have it? Is that something you see, too?

Michelle Frechette  48:58

Yeah, so one of the biggest questions that we get when people say that their forms aren’t working, like I can’t put credit card details, and it’s because they don’t have their SSL properly, you know, installed or they don’t have one at all. Make sure that whatever software you’re using won’t even let you accept the information unless the SSL is is in there properly. If you can enter credit card information, just you can you can hack this with just fake information, right? You could put 123456 because it shouldn’t even let you get to as far as putting numbers in the fields of the SSL isn’t isn’t properly installed.

Cory Miller  49:31

Is does Give also allow you to do like a test or sandbox type. Absolutely are meant to. Okay. So could you impact that for everybody to when you say that like stripe will Give you democratic cards and things like that?

Michelle Frechette  49:45

Exactly. So we do have a sandbox mode. I can’t remember to call it actually, but a test test mode. So you can put it in test mode, which means that like if I’m using stripe for example, I’m going to put in 4242424242424242 any other May I receive the information that I want, I can make up the CVC code, I can make up the name and I can make up the expiration date, I can then process that destination when it’s in test mode to make sure that everything’s working as it should. If I’m connected to my stripe account, I’m going to see that test donation come through in stripe, it’s not going to count as actual money in, but it’s put through properly so that you know that that what you put there, because there are web hooks and things that you need to put in place ipenz first for PayPal, for example, so that the information isn’t just being sent through your website, but receiving information back confirmation that the that the donation went through. So in order to get that confirmation on screen, you need to have make sure that the entire process works so that you can receive information back from the payment processor. So having all of that in test mode first will allay all of those issues that you might have, if you haven’t, you know crossed all your T’s and dotted all your i’s properly.

Cory Miller  50:56

For sure I know, you know, Michelle, you want to test your form, you get all this work done. You want to test it to see what that user experiences. But you know, I’m guilty of this. It’s the last thing I think about, I’m like, Oh, it’s everything set up, well actually run through with those test cards in sandbox your test mode, and see how that user experience is where you can, you know, you mentioned earlier, like, Don’t add all this form fields, because by just ecommerce user experience, we know people will abandon if you have view waterboard them with like, why do you need my first grade teacher? Yeah, exactly. But like, you know, just get the essential stuff. That’s if you just think about how you use e commerce and get frustrated. Think about your donors as well. Yeah, minimize that friction. Absolutely. All right, Michelle, this has been outstanding. If you have questions for Michelle, please hit the q&a button. But yeah, Michelle is we’re kind of winding down any other things that you want to share tips advice, I want it, I’d love for you to share it with us anytime you can. Because you live in this, you know, online fundraising, digital e commerce for nonprofits, any other things that kind of come to mind?

Michelle Frechette  52:10

Yeah, so I mean, just make sure that you understand your software, make sure that you have an understanding of how things work. And it’s very frustrating. If you haven’t set up those API’s, you know, for example, it’s it’s heartbreaking to me when somebody is really upset with the software because everything says pending, but they didn’t follow through, they don’t understand how to set up the API, that all of those donations actually went through. They’re not really pending, it’s just that the information didn’t come back to the website. So if you don’t understand it, you know, get with somebody who does contact, Give, you can contact us and customer success, we’re going to hop on a screenshare walk you through that, and you’re gonna be like, Oh, my gosh, that was so easy. Instead of sitting there frustrated, there are people who will help you and support you through this. You don’t have to go it alone. I think that’s the biggest message. For 2020 2021. We feel isolated a lot of the time, this pandemic has been hard on so many people, not just organizations, the people within the organizations. You know, the stress on people to do the fundraising to make sure everything’s working right is really hard. But that doesn’t mean that you are operating alone. If you’ve purchased software, there are people who have to help you. That’s what our job is, and not just half to help you but I want to help you, right. So maybe some organizations they have to help you here at Give, I want to help you, I love when my calendar starts to fill up with people, I can make sure they’re successful. That’s why I have a team of four people so that we can do that we can make sure that they are getting everything, they’re able to receive those donations, you’re not alone. We are here for you. You know, my, my DMS are always open on Twitter. So you know, feel free to share my my contact information. And if people have questions about fundraising, I’m always happy to answer them. I love giving my opinion. I love telling you what to do. I mean, I’m, I shouldn’t say I’m a woman because that’s very sexist. I grew up that way. But that’s, you know, I love to help people and and being able to do that is something that I mean, that’s why I’m in the job I’m in because I really enjoy that.

Cory Miller  54:01

It’s your passion. Well, I’ll say this pitch to unsolicited from GiveWPm my friends, you and my friends there is that you get what you pay for. There’ll be a tendency inclination to try to cobble things together and not pay for stuff and I tell you, you get what you pay for. So you’ve heard Michelle’s heart and I can hardly recommend endorse gift op. It’s awesome software. I’ve used it for a while she used it. I know real humans that really passionately care about your causes and what you’re doing in the world are there to help you and that is an anomaly. By the way when you say earlier you said like I love it when my calendar gets full up. That’s an anomaly by the way everybody. I ran software business for 10 plus years I know it is because we didn’t do that. We didn’t take it into forums and I know you all have that kind of support too. But being able to do that, go look at GiveWP comm check out what they’re doing. Be sure you get the bundle. That’s the recurring bundle. Whatever That’s called plan. Plus plan. Be sure you get your email software to MailChimp has up to 1000 subscribers. I think for free still ConvertKit has a free plan too. You can start there, build your donor base up. You don’t have to have a sledgehammer of a CRM and things like that you can start somewhere if you’re just trying to move and convert systems over. But I’d highly, highly recommend that you go check out GiveWP and ping Michelle and her her team there. So

Michelle Frechette  55:32

we’d love to talk to you. Absolutely.

Cory Miller  55:34

Michelle, tell us where we can find you. If we have those, you know from WPcoffeetalk to Twitter, all that.

Michelle Frechette  55:40

Yeah. So my Twitter is at Michelle Ames. So it’s hard when you get divorced. You kind of stuck with the name that you have on Twitter, but it’s at Michelle Ames on Twitter. It’s also at WPcoffeetalk either one of those you can can reach me at at Give you can email us at customers at we’re always happy to to reply to emails there. And I can always reply with my calendar. So you can sign up for a demo or sign up to ask questions and we’re happy to talk to you about that we do a lot of outreach we do we have a Facebook group for people who are using Give with over 1000 people in that group already helping support each other. And you know, one of the things we love is answering questions. And like I said, we’re called customer success because we really want you to be successful in your fundraising.

Cory Miller  56:26

So awesome. Show up. Head of customer success almost said support success and GiveWP Thanks so much for being here today. I know people have benefited from it and appreciate your time and expertise.

Michelle Frechette  56:40

It’s been a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

Cory Miller  56:43

Thank you everybody. Please go to you can hit the link for our Facebook Group and we’ll be doing more webinars like this and I’m sure we’re going to be asking Michelle to come back. So thanks, everybody, and thanks Michelle. Have a great day.

Michelle Frechette  56:54

Bye bye!

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