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Sara Kerrigan & Carrie Mann: Small Dollar Donor Power
Small dollar donors are shifting the digital fundraising landscape. Our panel reveals basic principles of running a sustainable program online. They’re Sara Kerrigan from ActBlue and Carrie Mann with Friends of the Earth. (Recorded at 19NTC)
Laura Cole & Paul Habig: Donor Retention
Now that you’ve got new donors, learn how to keep them with you: Avoid retention pitfalls, leverage technology and track the right metrics. Our teachers are Laura Cole and Paul Habig, both from Sanky Communications. (Also recorded at 19NTC)
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Board relations. Fundraising. Volunteer management. Prospect research. Legal compliance. Accounting. Finance. Investments. Donor relations. Public relations. Marketing. Technology. Social media.
Every nonprofit struggles with these issues. Big nonprofits hire experts. The other 95% listen to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Trusted experts and leading thinkers join me each week to tackle the tough issues. If you have big dreams but a small budget, you have a home at Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.View Full Transcript
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Hello and welcome to Tony martignetti non-profit Radio Big non-profit ideas for the other 95% on your aptly named host. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d be hit with Skip Tosa Maya sis, if I got infected with the idea that you missed today’s show Small dollar donor power Small dollar donors are shifting the digital fund-raising landscape. Our panel reveals basic principles of running a sustainable program online. They’re Sara Carrigan from Act Blue and Carry man with Friends of the Earth that was recorded at 19 and TC. And don’t a retention now that you’ve got new donors, learn how to keep them with you. Avoid retention pitfalls, leverage technology and track the right metrics Our teachers, our Laura Cole and Paul Hey Big, both from Sang Ki communications that’s also recorded in 1990 si on Tony’s Take two. Be a good American. We’re sponsored by pursuant full service fund-raising Data driven and technology enabled Tony dahna slash pursuing by Wagner CPS guiding you beyond the numbers regular cps dot com and by text to give mobile donations made easy Text NPR to 444999 Here is small dollar donor power. Welcome to Tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of 19 ntcdinosaur. What that is it’s a 19 2019 non-profit technology conference. You know that we’re in Portland, Oregon, at the convention center. All of our 19 ntcdinosaur views are brought to you by our partners at Act Blue Free fund-raising Tools to help non-profits make an impact with me. Now are Sarah Kerrigan seated next to me? Email Director Attack blew and carry man, Deputy Director of digital membership and advocacy at Friends of the Earth. Carry Sarah. Welcome. Thanks. Carrots are looked upon with Welcome. Welcome. Both of you. Welcome the non-profit radio. Okay. Your topic is the largest group of untapped charitable givers. Small dollar donors. Um, Sarah, what do you feel like? Non-profits don’t fully appreciate about small dollar donors. Why do we need this session? Yeah, well, I think it’s really important. I would actually say that non-profit They actually do really appreciate small dollar donors that I’ve that I’ve seen on. Really? The our goal of the presentation was just doing power non-profits to take the case to their boards or their directors and say like, Hey, this is actually like a really good use of fund-raising on. And it’s also a really good way to engage people move their mission forward. Sometimes it just takes somebody to really, like, dive deep into email on to dive deep into those fund-raising strategies for people to feel empowered to take that business case, you know, straight to their organizations. Okay, carrot. So I assume you’re working with ActBlue. Yes, we are. OK. Were you the person that Sarah just referring to? I went to your leadership and said, this is worth investing in. That was before my time. But it’s carried on. Yeah. OK, so so glad that your predecessor did that. All right, All right, So where’s the best place to start? Well, uh, if we’re if we don’t feel we are capturing all our potential in small dollar donors, where What’s the first thing that we need to have in place before we can be effective with the campaign? Yeah, that’s a really good question. Eso actually email is the driver of the vast driver of all contributions. So, really, all you need is an email program, andan email list and just a message, and you can easily write your own emails and send it out to your audience. Of course, you can use an act, Liu wink if you so choose, Um, but, yeah, it’s really, really easy to tap into small dollar donors. Really, all you need is an email address and names, and then you can go ahead and get started. Okay, you don’t have to screen for who the best the best prospects are. Well, now, I mean, there’s also there’s other different acquisition strategies that you can absolutely use. But if you’re just starting from ground zero like really, all you need is an email list, a new email address, and you can get started with your own fund-raising. Okay, Alright, Carrie, how how successful has been at Friends of the Earth? It’s been huge for our programas a hole. When I first started in front of the Earth, we had about 225 2 150,000 people on their email lists, and it was raising a pretty negligible portion of our budget. Now we have about one point 8,000,000 people on our list, and it’s raising over two and 1/2 $1,000,000 a year. All right, all right. That’s, uh, explosive. How do we define what does? Does the definition of small dollar donation Barry from organization, organization or you feel like it’s all pretty consistent, Like we’re talking like 15 $2025? Is that Is that what friends of the Earth that you define small dollar when you have these conversations? Yeah, I mean, really, we aren’t going to turn down $1,000 contribution if somebody wants to do that online. But for the most part, we’re seeing people giving and more of that $1,000 30 to $50 range online on DH. Just giving, sometimes more than once a year, three or four times a year. And yeah, that lower dollar level. Okay, All right. So, Sarah, I have I have small dollar on my T shirt. How does ActBlue define what’s on my T shirt? Yeah, sure. So a small dollar donorsearch buddy who makes a contribution of 250 or less? That’s pretty much the standard that we use, but basically the whole goal about engaging small dollar donors that that goes beyond raising money. I mean, these are people who are marching their protest ng they’re volunteering, and they’re really pushing. Non-profits causes forward and That’s really the message that we want to drive home, that it’s just like it’s not just about like fund-raising. It really is about building of movement, a powerful movement of people on DH. Usually that massive movement of people that we see are small dollar donors because they’re the most engaged. Okay, Okay, um, you’re in your session. You talk about some basics principles of running a sustainable small dollar program. So let’s start with uses were way. Stay with you. I should say, uh, what, you got to start with some basic principles. Yeah, sure, I’m the number one thing. Is this treating your supporters with respect? I mean, we live in a world right now where there’s just so much content, like were saturated with content, especially is Carrie and I are both email professionals. It’s just so important to really look at your email program and say, like, you know, we really should choose a tree. Donors with respect there’s a lot of email programs out there that kind of focus solely on fund-raising and bottom line in our in our position is we really need to build like a sustainable program again, where we just create content where people feel like you know, they want to be on the email list and they want to donate and they want to give and they want to get their time, money and energy towards the mission. How do we show that respect? Well, there’s lots of different ways Way don’t hold off on Don’t hold back on non-profit radio listeners. Yeah, How do we How do we show it took off a couple ways? Sure, eso being honest with people about why you’re asking him to give money is very important. I’ll use an example about recurring donations. Something that we have found really successful is when we just asked people like, Hey, like, can you give a monthly $3 donation to support our cause? A lot of people shy away from that because like, Oh, my gosh, I’m asking somebody to give 35 $10 a month. That seems like a pretty big ask, but really, just being honest and upfront about what you’re doing and why it’s important is super important. Also, being timely, being like relevant to the moment is super important, like people want to be engaged on. People really want Teo hear from your organization, right when the moment happens, thinking about like family separation of the border. They’re just so many people who wanted to be involved and so having a way to talk directly to supporters. Eyes really important. So I was a honest, timely And of course you need to add value, Tio. I mean your email program. It’s definitely a two way street, right? We’re not just sending mathos ostomel just of fund-raising really has to add value to the support of this border has to feel engaged into your mission on DH. That’s another great way that email like, serves that purpose. What is what is friends of the Earth do carry to show this respect that Sarah’s talking about? Yeah, So if you think about what motivates a small dollar donor to give, it’s not necessarily because they care about the specific organization. They’re really trying to advance their values through through there giving, and that’s the way they see themselves as being able to make change in the world. So as we’re fund-raising from our small dollar donors, we want to give them the credit for the work the organization can do. Those aren’t our victories. There actually are donors victories when we win a campaign, it’s because people gave us $5 out of their Social Security checks, and they deserve the credit for that. Like that’s not ours. So how do you share that specifically What? How does friends of the Earth share that? Sure that impact. Yeah. We always use a lot of you language in all of our messaging. So we never say Friends of the Earth And this we say you did this. We want to make sure the word you appears in almost every paragraph in an email whenever we possibly Can you say if you save this or you change the law? Exactly. Yeah. Okay. Okay. It’s time for a break. Pursuant. The art of first Impressions. How to combine strategy analytics and Creative two captive to captivate new donors and keep them coming back. That’s their e book on donor acquisition. It’s still up on the listener landing page. How do you make that smashing? First impression donor-centric keep them. This is how you keep them coming to you. It’s at Tony dahna. I’m a slash pursuant with a capital P make the capital P for pursuing this week. Now back to small dollar donor power. Like, how often do you communicate with you? Share the impact with somebody who’s let’s say, has gives three times a year is only at those three times, not it all way. Always want to be intertwining sametz impact messaging in every communication that we send for friends of the earth. That’s about an e mail a day for most people. So every single day, just reinforcing that narrative of like you can change laws, you can change policies you’re empowered to do. These things, whether you’re giving, are signing a petition or making a phone call to your decision maker. It’s all part of the same set of impact methods. So, like, it doesn’t really matter what way they’re engaging with us. We always want to be rewarding the impact that they’re having. Okay, so someone makes thes donations typically online. I’m assuming we’re talking about small dollar because they’re coming from e mails. All right, so they get an immediate getting immediate acknowledgement. Thank you. Absolutely. Okay. And then what would be the next? Uh, suppose it was a $25 gift. They get immediate. Thank you. When’s the next time would be the next day? You said. You said everyday. Is there any Is there any suspension of suspension of mailing for a couple days to give the person a break or they hear from you is like Day two. They’re going to get going, get some impact message. They could get something to hours later. Even if something happens out in the world and we need Teo, go to them and ask them to respond again. Like, for example, if somebody gives to help stop drilling in the Arctic. And then two hours later, Trump releases his next Arctic drilling plan. We’re not going to hold back that information from our supporters were going to share that with them, even if they just donated and ask them two hours earlier that gave $25 you’ll ask him to give again. We may not ask them to give again, but we would ask them to take action in some way, maybe to volunteer, get old solution way call legislator or something that Okay. Uh, all right. How about, uh, another? Well, honesty. You said honesty. I mean, they got don’t do flush out honestly do we mean? I think is pretty well understood. No, don’t lie to your supporters. Don’t like their potential. Supporters don’t like anyone. I think that’s just I don’t think that’s going further with that another we got lots of We got lots of time together. So still talking about basic principles of, ah, successful campaign, you want to stick with you, Go ahead. Yeah. So I think you touched on a little bit, Sarah, but with urgency and just making sure that when you’re asking people to give its relevant in that moment and you’re convincing them that by giving it will have an immediate impact. Still like, for example, if a bill is moving through the legislature right now like that’s why your contribution matters today, not tomorrow, not two weeks from now. And just constantly reinforcing that like this is the moment to engage. And if you want to have the maximum impact, now is the time. OK, Sarah. Another another principle. Yeah, sure. And she touched on and carry touched on this before. Teo, we really want to focus on building what I call horizontal relationships with our supporters. A lot of times non-profits and organizations across the board say, you know, we have this solution chip in if you want. Like we have this very big idea. We we’ve got it cover, but, you know, chip in to help us. But what we want to do is kind of take that messaging and move away from it. So it’s actually really saying to supporters like Hear that Here’s this issue. Let’s fight on it together. We cannot do it around about you helping us do it right, right, right. And it’s very, very easy on an email marketing to literally put help us in every single email. Ask. Well, Windows won’t eliminate the help us, and we actually really want to bring the supporter in. And I was telling folks during our presentation, There’s a study in the UK about horizontal relationships in sustainable giving, and people who are asked by their peers are actually twice as likely to give, which is really, really incredible on DH. That’s just something that we really want people to focus on for writing emails that sound like they’re coming from your parents. We like a vertical relationship. You probably want to stay away from that. You probably want to make sure that it’s really coming from like a respected here peer-to-peer peer-to-peer rancor. And that’s where that is from. Okay? Yeah. Okay. Um, why don’t we just keep taking off principles of success? I mean, I imagine that was a lot of your was a lot of yourself. Have you done your session yet? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. You’re on the downside then. Okay. I’m assuming a lot of your session was best practices. Basic principles. Yeah. Success in this thing? Yes. In this small dollar campaign. Give us another one. E. I mean, there’s there’s just so many. Another thing Teo is just having, like, a really, really clear email copy and just making it very simple for people to understand. Does that include short? Well, it depends. And email. We always say it defends. You should always, like test, but basically making sure that people the average like person spends 11.6 seconds reading your email, which is actually pretty long compared tto in the past. But it’s still 11.6 seconds. So just making sure that your email copy is super super clear. Your asks. They’re super clear. Your supporter is not left wondering what they khun D’oh! In that moment to drive the whole mission on the whole organization Forward. I mean, a lot of times I’ll see an e mail that has text, uh, wrapped around on action box in the in the upper right tech starts on the left. But if you want to cut right to the chase, there’s the language of the petition that we’re asking you to sign, Right? Just click there. You have to read the text explanation If you don’t want to. Yeah, yeah, and that’s accessible to everybody. Right? Like some readers like like to just immediately go on Like say, Okay, I know what I want to dio that. And then some people really like just like taking their time and background. Some people really feel down Notes of five foot note down the bottom, right, right. And being open to all levels of like readership is really important to we talked about in our training the power using inclusive language and making sure that your email copy is accessible, accessible to everyone, which is also I think that is very important in the state. How do you How do you ensure accessibility it was a couple of different ways to do that. Carrie actually mentioned a really good point with her email program, which I’ll let her talk more about. But usually people are 65 and over on email lists. So, Carrie, I’m going to kick it off to you to talk specifically about how you made it more accessible on your list. Yeah. So one of the things that we experimented with this font size. You know, a lot of people think that if you’re reading something on a mobile device, you want it to be clearly fitting the screen. But we actually found that for our older audiences, we needed 18 point fun on Mobile, which, if you think about what that looks like kind of computer, it’s huge on your phone. That’s like three lines can fit in the screen. But we tested it, and it just universally work better. Okay, Okay. How about what else do you test? What does the mother’s subject line, who signs we test took off? Well, name some names of other things besides everything. So, in one email, for example, if we’re sending a fund-raising message, we might test the subject line we might test the content. We might test the language on the donation page both in the headline of the donation page and on the body of the donation page. And we might test the ask amounts all in the same all at the same time. And so we really want to test every single piece of the experience all the time. Those of the results that were going to get back in a matter of minutes. We also might be doing some kind of long term testing. Like, for example, what happens if we segment based on highest previous gift? We might need to test that for six months to really understand the impact that’ll have. So while we’re doing all of this testing in the moment, we’re also have this backdrop of the long term testing that we’re running behind the scenes. Did you say you have one point 8,000,000 was 1.31 point. Okay, so you have the luxury of having a large, large numbers that you can test with. So I suppose a list supposed listens only 10,000. Can you still do? Abie testing with 10,000 persons list? Yeah. What? I’d like to tell people is don’t worry about getting sister’s school significance or being like a data purest. It’s fine. The goal, really for, like, email eyes just to improve your email content so that you can raise more money. That’s really all it takes. I mean, you, Khun segment off a 10,000 list into, like to, what? 2,000 list for subject lines and just see if there’s a bumper. Not really. Doesn’t have to be that complicated. And again, like our goal. For me, for AC Blue and for Carrie is like to make in this presentation is really It’s like, take, like the fear out of email and actually make it to listen right? Exactly. That’s what I should have said. The whole university invention non-profit treyz right there. There you go ahead. I cut you off. No, it’s okay. I know, but really it’s like take the fear out of e mail on DH to take the fear out of fund-raising. This is something that anyone could. D’oh! Yeah, Okay, Okay, That would be a good rap up play point, but we have another 10 minutes left. Ok? Because this is 1/2 hour segment Yeah, so I’m not letting you off the hook, so that would be good. Rap will come back to you later, okay? In about 10 minutes. So let’s keep talking about I don’t know testing. Is there anything more we can say about testing? Either of you carry Sara about anything more you want to add about testing? I think the big thing is look for the stuff that’s going to have the greatest impact. So you know, you might test two versions of your content, but if it’s only one line difference, then you’re probably going to see a really small change. As a result of that is opposed to completely rewriting the E mail, you’ll probably see a much bigger change. And it’s not really that much more investment of time to create the much more different version and the results that you get well, just be that much more valuable. So we really look for the places that we can make those radical improvements or something we’ll just radically fail. But then at least we know, you know, rather than constantly testing around the margins. Okay, Okay. Test for significance. What have you found about who signs an email. You have signers to your email? Yeah. Now, of course, this is unique. Understands unique Teo, Friends of the earth. Thes result. Your your results may vary, but what has friends of yours found for us? Who signs What? Successful? Yeah. So we test it in two places. One is the sender, and one is who actually has their name at the bottom of the text. We have found that it makes osili no difference whose name is at the bottom of the texts. But the sender could make a really huge difference for us. The organisation’s name is usually the winner. So coming from friends of the Earth beats coming from our president’s name. But the thing that actually wins the most is just like a totally random like climate alert or be action. Something that is about the issue rather than about the organization or an individual. And that’s as a sender. Yes. Oh, interesting. Okay. Okay. Um Okay, so we’ve exhausted testing. We feel like you said everything. It was there more. Anything more. You want to know about testing, testing principles? Yeah, I think it’s just important for all testing. It’s really like optimizing your content ofthe devising your ask amounts, and it’s just a continual thing. Having one test for email is probably a good place to start and again, Really, anybody could do this. Yeah, okay, okay, Let’s continue with our basic principles. That good. Keep going, Sarah. Cool. Another basic principle. Trying to think. I mean, there’s just there’s just so many We went through so many again trying to think, Let’s get carried. You got one. You got one in mind in your mind, I think, like relevance is super important. Like, what do your supporters actually care about? It’s probably not the same thing that your organization’s leadership or even your organization staff really care about. So try to think about it from your supporters perspective. Like, what is it that makes them get excited about in our example? Environmental protection like water, the things that are their core values And how do you speak to those things like it’s probably not the amendment to the budget bill that’s passing through the house tonight. You know, that’s probably not thinking about Okay, right? How do you find that out? How do you know what your supporters were interested in? So I think some of it comes from just listening to the different staff of the organization who interact with supporters. If you have people who work in the community like if your service organization than get their stories go out on a site, visit with them for us. We always talk to our donorsearch Mrs Staff, who answered the phone from donor-centric leave the major donor calls, but the it’s all dollar donors who might give through direct mail or other channels who actually called the office to give us feedback that Khun just give a really interesting perspective on how people are interacting with us and then even things like social media or people who hit Reply on your mass e mail. You know it’s not data driven, but it can kind of guide some of your thinking and get you out of the bubble. So these air folks who call probably to complain about something sometimes I’m guessing most of the time, most of time, right. But you’re able to turn that call around first by satisfying hearing the principles we talk, you know, validating their concern, apologizing, fixing it on. Then you can get information from them about what it is that motivates them around. Friends of the Earth work? Absolutely. Yeah. So staff is all trained to do that. It doesn’t just happen. Doesn’t just happen. Staff is intentionally trained, you know, Let’s get some information while we’ve got these people on the phone and they’re feeling good, um, you’re familiar with the service recovery paradox. I’m not? No. Okay, that’s that because we’re talking about people calling and complaining. Ah, a person will be a person will be mohr committed to a brand. If there’s been a problem and it got solved, then if there was never a problem because they got the opportunity to be heard they had the opportunity to interact with staff on the problem. Presumably get solved. So they’ll be they’ll be more committed than the person who never has a problem, right? I think that that’s why it’s paradox Interesting. Okay, um, more principles. Sarah passed last time. So no person are you, Carrie, You give another one. Since we’re with you, then we’ll come back. So I’m never going back. But she passed up returns. Think if you’re talking about small donor fund-raising, you always want to make sure that you’re giving people the right ascot the right time. So if someone’s capable of giving $30 don’t ask him for five. If someone’s capable of giving $5 don’t ask them for 250. You know, all of our son isms have data, or you, Khun do some analytics to find out what each individual donors has previous gift is or if they’ve never given before you contest into what makes the most sense. But you want to be talking to people and meet somewhere there at rather than trying to, like a massively over sell them in a way that isn’t accessible. Okay, Okay. Before I ask you for principal, I’m gonna ask you, Sarah, how does one become a email? Your director of director of email? Yeah. That’s not a That’s not a major. No, no, we don’t go to college for that. How do you do? You work your way into that? Yeah, sure. So I graduated college and I it worked as a field organizer for then Senate Senator Kay Hagan. So I really liked what state? The state of North Carolina. OK, Yeah. I’m sorry. I should know that I should I own two homes in North Carolina. Really? Pinehurst and Emerald Isle. Okay, but I’m not from there. Yeah, I didn’t know. Okay, Don’t. Yeah. Now it’s now it’s ber until us all right now the current. Yeah, we lost another current guys. Yeah, but I didn’t know. Okay? Yeah. Eso graduated field organizer. I love talking to people, but I didn’t think that knocking on doors was going to be my life’s calling And my life’s work. Eso ended up getting into digital fund-raising Just because I was just you could talk to people at a massive scale which is really empowering and very cool Uses both sides of your brains. You could be like creative. But of course, we’ve talked a lot about testing on this times. You kind of have a science to it. Also right. Eso I’ve spent like 4 to 5 years and political fund-raising, so I work for the DSCC. I work for Revolution Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Okay. Yeah. I worked for a revolution messaging a za consultant there, and I was formally the deputy email director at the Democratic National Committee, the DNC, where we had a multi $1,000,000 programme and I’m up at blue. So I’ve been very fortunate to have really great, like female mentors on work on female teams. And so I credit them a lot. Teo, you know where I’m at today on DH. There is a lot of space for women to be an email. There’s a lot of space for young people to be an email on DH. There’s a lot of space for people who haven’t really been involved in email. Toe start. I was with a panel yesterday, which was called I don’t have you know, I left him back in the hotel yesterday’s notes, but was called grit. Female was basically female technologists go that you’re nodding. I didn’t It’s okay, but it was great how to be a successful female in technology. That right? Very good, Carrie, how’d you work your way into being an email scientist? Yes. So I started answering. Our phone line for donorsearch vis is which is why I feel so strongly about your whole career’s friends of the earth. Yet so far on. And basically I discovered that I really wanted to have an impact on the issue that issues I cared about. But I didn’t really want to be dressing up in a suit and going in meeting with a lot of people on the hill. I really wanted to be, you know, out in the field, talking Teo really human beings. And email was just the right mix of those things where I could ask people for money to help further the mission. Or I could give people the tools to lobby their own. Elected officials are whatever the action mechanism was, it was all in my fingertips, and I never have to put on the suit, so that looks okay, doesn’t it? Okay, so we’re back to you practice. Best practice. Did you think of one since the last time? Yeah, I think so. Back to what Carrie was saying about multi-channel about talking to other people within the organization. I think that that is really, really important. Usually when I started a new organization, or like every three months, I’ll talk Teo, just different folks just to get some authenticity and authentic voice. I mean, people are craving authenticity and email, so that’s a really good way to do it. Another thing. That and another question that I got during the panel was direct mail and email. And how do those two things relate? And can they co exist? My personal opinion is yes, they absolutely can. You can use direct mail pieces and email vice versa. You, Khun, send email to to direct mail folks too for a multi touch, eh? So that’s another thing, too, that I think non-profits Khun really explore its really not one or the other. You can have both had someone on the panel yesterday who said that their donors loved getting. They thanked them for direct mail letters that say thank you for an email gift for non line gift. Yeah, yeah, it’s a really good way to keep your sustainers like, really happy. And that’s like your big donor based. Okay, how often would you thank sustainers as often as I can after every gift every month? Well, usually you could do in personal personalization so you can say, like, Hey, you’ve made, like, a $3 monthly donation and literally you just put Inem dash and say thank you. It’s it could be that simple, or it can be like so extreme that you write like a hand written thank you know and send it in the mail. So it just depends on what your capacity is. But just giving, you know, those donors a sense of like appreciation is super important you want. Do you want to touch them at every at every monthly donation, one way or the other? Yeah, well, I’m That’s my personal belief. I think people like they pretty much know that they’re doing a monthly donation and actually reminding people that they gave him a plea donation for us. Like I haven’t seen any dropoff whatsoever. I know a lot of people are like aholic. I’m nervous about reminding people that they have a monthly donation, but I think for us, it’s like part of a gang. Like the honesty authenticity on being up front with people in where they stand. I’ve heard it both ways. I’ve heard. Set it and forget it. Don’t remind them. But then you risk when the court expires or it gets compromised. They decide they have had enough, and I don’t really hear from them very often. But there’s two sides to that argument, right? Okay. What? Carrie, I’m gonna let you wrap it up. We got just like, 30 seconds or so left. Give us a motivation about small dollar donation campaigns. Yeah, I mean, I think for friends of the Earth, it’s really been a a game changer for us. You know, every dollar you raise online has the potential to be unrestricted. So it means that you can run the programs that you want to run as an organization without being required to do what a major donor wants you to do or what a foundation wants you to do. You could be much more flexible, and you’re empowering human beings in the real world to be a part of your cause and advanced the mission that you care about. And there’s just no better way to do that than building those relationships online. Where people, you know in the 21st century, that’s where they’re at. So we meet them where they’re also thank you. That was That was Cary Man. She’s deputy director of digital membership and advocacy at Friends of the Earth and also Sarah Kerrigan, email director. Attack Blue. Thank you Each very much. Thanks. Much pleasure. Thank you. And thank you for being with Tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of 19 NTC all of our 19 1990 seon reviews are brought to you as from our partners at ActBlue free fund-raising tools that help non-profits Macon Impact. Thanks for being with us. We need to take a break. Wagner, CPS. They’re accountants, for God’s sake. Okay, you know you know what they do. Do you need one? Do you need help with your form? 9 90 is the time to change ordered firms. Perhaps they’ve got a deep rich practice for non-profits and they’re growing it. You could be a part of that. You know a partner. You know, one of the insiders Yet which tomb? He’s been on the show. Check him out. Give him, then give you a ring. Get started at wagner cpas dot com. Now time for Tony’s take two. My video is two ways to be a good American Abroad. I was in Paris for two weeks and while in Brussels, Belgium. Short hour and 1/2 train ride away. Ah, I witnessed some some bad behavior. Bad Americans abroad. There were two things that particular relating Teo language and currency and those air. But those are the two subjects. But how can you do them better than these ugly Americans that I witnessed in Brussels. That’s what the video is about. Now, I had said that earlier that my video was going to be a tour in L C C A launch control center from when I was in the Air Force. But I put this one up instead. The launch control center one is coming. I’m not cheating you out of the tour of the LCC, but right now check out two ways to be a good American abroad. You know where the video is? It’s at tony martignetti dot com. So now that you’ve got new donors, how do you keep them? Here is donor retention. Welcome to Tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of 1990 si. You know what that is? It’s the 2019 non-profit Technology Conference. We’re in Portland, Oregon, at the Convention Center and this interview, Like all our 19 ntcdinosaur views brought to you by our partners at Act Blue Free fund-raising tools to help non-profits make an impact, I guess now are Laura Cole and Cole. Hey, Big Laura is director of account Services at Sancti Communications. Paul is president of Sank a communications Welcome. Welcome, Laura. Welcome poem Well, thank you. Thank you so much for having us. Pleasure. You’re seminar topic is finders keepers the art of donor of retention? I don’t know how many guests have been on non-profit radio telling us that the cost of retaining a donor is so much less than the cost of acquiring a new donor. More. Let’s start with you. What are what are non-profits Just not getting them. This is not just within the past six months. For years we’ve been talking about donorsearch tension problems. Retention rate is so low, I don’t know what the most current is, but it’s it’s it’s sad, Whatever it is, what are we not getting right? And you’re welcome to give the most recent stat if you I’m sure you know it. So I think it’s a great point and I think one of the reasons why we wanted to talk about it today and in our session. We really focused on it too. Is that this? This December was definitely a challenge for a lot of non-profits, and it was particularly a challenge for getting new donors in the door. And that means that retention becomes that much more important and to your point. Retention doesn’t happen. You really have to tow work and focus on your communications to make sure that you’re building that relationship because it’s donors are going to give. But you have to take that is the first step of the relationship and really work on cultivating them so that they’re going to become lifelong donors. Paul, Why we’ve been talking about this for so long. Why are non-profits not getting the message that Laura just redid? Rated for the 1,000,000 times? You know, I ended the session off with the audience and said to them, You’ve already done. You’ve really done your session this on the down side already on our way to end it all by saying, Don’t be impatient, Don’t dahna Retention takes time. It takes time to improve it. So we did a case study with the African Wildlife Foundation, and we’ve been working with them for like seven years, and we were able to get there Don’t retention right now. Currently in two thousand eight from 2,018 upto almost 70% prior. You’re donors to give again in the second year, and it took years of planning and communicating and it really is the foundation of what we discussed. And what we believe in is that you really need to build the foundation with technology, good technology from the start. And so this organisation, we went through a really important and arduous database and technology conversion for them almost three years ago, three years ago. I think he was closer to 55 years ago, and so we were able to actually put all the pieces that you need to make this a mohr automated process to really focus on things which allowed the organization and us and freed us up to be more creative with how he spoke to donors. The campaigns that we produced for the organization and really give them an engaging donor experience throughout the 12 month period that we benchmarked this morning. All right, so it’s a long term process you need to have. You need to have infrastructure in place before you can before you can hope to move the needle on potential. It is buy-in caps. Elated. This Yeah, I know. The idea is that one of the things we’ve mentioned at the end was you have to invest. Unfortunately, we’ll invest in the technology even before we even get into donorsearch tension versus new donorsearch attention. It is important because what happens is if you don’t have that infrastructure there. Misstep and interesting. It was the way originally were caught. We’re going to call the session howto lose a donor in 10 days kind of pop culture reference for a movie. But it really is true. Is that idea that in the first part of the relationship, if you have a misstep, you probably lose a donor for life if you, you know, code them differently if you personalize something and it’s the wrong information, if you don’t thank them in a timely manner. And there’s a lot of different things that go into that so really kind of making sure that infrastructure is up and running to make sure that you don’t have those early missteps so that you can create a lifelong donor-centric to get to some of the pitfalls you have in your your description talk about pitfalls that are causing dahna patrician. So why did you want Okay, well, naming the person incorrectly. Yeah, Personal personalization is one of our most powerful tools in marketing and fund-raising, but if you call Bob Barbara, you know, you kind of lose a donor for life for sure, making sure that you I already have in motion the idea that if someone comes on brand new, this is like a data problem that people do that you’re suppressing the people who are new versus old and actually figuring out who they are. So, for instance, I make a donation. A lot of signs, some systems is that you’ll go right into the next campaign stream. But I just made my first donation. So what we can certainly do with the technology for our clients is that will create an automated program that will actually capture that new donor-centric, possibly who hasn’t giving but maybe give their email address for the first time and put them on a separate track and making sure that at the same time they’re suppressed from any other campaigns. Generally, the can kapin would have some kind of fund-raising asked. So really kind of setting the stage of their relationship for the beginning and not forgetting that they just made a donation and really trying to the information that we provide in that Siri’s is meant to be engaging in the part where it actually educates them on the mission and deeper into the program versus you know, usually probably what we brought that original donor and is on some kind of urgency, you know, really quick and got emotional reaction. But at that point, then you have there you have their attention, and you have to use it wisely. Okay, and Laura suppress them For how long? So generally, what what will work with organizations to do is to build a really robust welcome Siri’s. And that usually is at least fortified emails that will go out over, say, 2 to 3 weeks. So making sure that they complete that cycle before they start to get the regular stream of communications. So they’re not kind of being dropped in in the middle of one campaign, or they’re not getting the welcome Siri’s and that campaign. But instead they’re really sort of sitting by themselves, getting this very targeted, very tailored Siri’s that’s going to introduce them to your mission to the organization, tell them what their their donation has done before you ask again. So it’s really making sure that those and and to go back to sort of the movie reference that we made its It is like a relationship, and if you make a mistake in the first date or the second date or the third date, you’re probably not going to turn into a long term relationship. But Teo ads that question about how long it does vary from organization to organization. What we discussed this morning would be the organization that we were case studying, which is the African Wildlife Foundation. They have a membership program. So the how long is a shorter period of time because of the membership program and a lower dollar average gift for them. Repetition in marketing fund-raising is key to their success. But some organizations we work with that might start off at a much higher average gift. That’s where you’d have to really kind of b’more conscientious on the frequency and how when that next asks, Come in. So that could be you know what with the organization with membership, you might be 2 to 3 week where you’re suppressing, but an organization that has a higher average gift donor-centric month or two before or really looking at they’re giving history, so it’s not a one size fits all. It really has to be customized to each organization and what their mission and what type of donors they do have. Oh, and and also targeted to the constituent. If you’re talking about a donor that’s giving a small gift, you’re you’re going to want to suppress him for a shorter period of time than someone that gave you $10,000. That person’s going to need a lot longer period of pure cultivation before you make that ask again. Okay, let’s let’s do some more pitfalls like these pitfalls to avoid attrition. Absolutely. Go ahead, I think. One of the big ones. And this is partly why digital retention tends to be lower than direct mail. Is not making sure that you’re updating donor email addresses, whether they tell you that they have a new email address. But even more proactively finding out what the what what? Maybe someone’s new email address is called in a way or email. Change of address process. Something like that where you’re you’re actively saying, let me make sure that I can keep emailing a donor because email addresses changed much more frequently than someone’s mailing address. People don’t generally move as much as they change their email address. Maybe they go to a new job. Maybe they switch from Yahoo Hotmail. So making sure that you can keep talking to them, because if you’re not going to talk to them, you can’t make that ask. You can’t cultivate and they’re not going to get there much less likely to give again if you kind of lose touch. I’m not even sure that non-profits know a lot of them know that there are services that will do it. The email change of address for you, Yeah way the Postal Service with, like, a a national change of address I have now on the way. I have, ah, have a little personal story, my dad’s name and my name or the same Anthony martignetti, but he uses A J. He’s Anthony Joseph. I have the same middle name, but I never used the J. There’s one indicator that we’re different. Also, his his current address is not my last address. I haven’t lived there since I was nine, eighteen 18 years old. I went to college. I moved. I moved from New York City to North Carolina. More than a dozen charities started emailing Anthony J. Martignetti to my North Carolina address Charities that my dad is a is an active donorsearch. For now, he’s a small level donor. Is he’s one of those guys who writes like 15 $2025 checks, and I mean literally he does dozens of these a month. He gives a lot at the end of the year, so they were. So they were aspiring to be proactive. But there were two flags that should have been raised that that I’m not the guy, that he’s not the guy who moved the middle initial and the last address. So that brings us to another pitfall. It’s one of the major pitfalls pitfalls. A lot of non-profits full into his data issues data. Bad data can really harm donorsearch tension. So in your case, these organizations are not actually there. There, there, there, there, looking up your information. It’s either it’s household or individual. And so you can. We’ve seen this happen for organizations where you’ll get a household match, and that’s what you’re what happened with name yes, but versus an individual, which is directly just you and that address. But it brings back the point, which I think we’ll go back to our topic on pit bulls data. It could be the right that for all non-profits not. And it’s the hardest part for an organization that really both invest the time and money and resource is. That’s usually people power to make sure that you have clean data for knowing when someone is active or made a gift recently, and then you ask them by actually ask him to renew when they just renewed a month ago. Or I mentioned the personalization piece or recognizing when someone is, ah, high dollar donor-centric. And that’s one of actually the things that you mentioned. Is it really important? Sustaining giving is one of the differential factors where online retention doesn’t actually start going up from offline retention if you’re really good at recruiting sustainers or monthly givers and then making an active effort. So part of the case study with you this morning was that we’ve been actively growing the sustainers file for this organization, and it right now they’re they’re about 25 plus percent that there digital giving is coming from sustainers e-giving, which each year helped their retention grow, and that’s why they’re close to 70% now on retention because of that. But when we treat sustainers, we always recognize that there are sustainers. So even though that you don’t want to stop communicating sustainers gonna wantto forget about the organization. But we segment and we recognize their contribution and we usually put them in a lot of the engagement campaigns and cultivation. The awesome part about sustainers is they’re so engaged with the organization what I always call the 13th gift. So that will be a monthly Don’t make 12. They’ll make that 13 because they’re so engaged. But you have to really treat them well and so generally will maybe get they’ll get a matching gift campaign, maybe year, and to say, Hey, we have this match going on. We know you’re a monthly supporter, but we just wanted to bring it to your attention. It’s all about the nuance messaging and really think about that. But it goes back to the data being clean and knowing who you’re speaking to, segmenting your audiences and really paying attention to that and bad data. Really, convict can really lead, Yeah, two mistakes like that. Now you know if if it wasn’t my dad I wouldn’t be. Wouldn’t wouldn’t have given them the second chance. I just tossed it or said, You know, take me off your list. Hence, how to lose a donor in 10 days Time for our last break Text to give. Get their five part email Many course to dispel the myths around mobile giving Donations do not have to go through the donors phone company. They don’t have to be small. There aren’t large startup costs. You don’t need to know a lot of technology. You can do this. You can do mobile giving. You get the five part email, many course and it’ll explain how to get started. Um, you get that by texting NPR to 444999 You’ve got butt loads. More time for donorsearch retention anymore. Pitfalls. I liked the men I like taking off these things, that organ ords maybe doing wrong. So so along the lines of what you brought up, I think one of the biggest pitfalls is not respecting when when donorsearch Hey, I don’t want to get mail or you have the wrong address. Please update it. Donors who bothered to reach out and tell you that are very loyal donors. If they’re proactively reaching out and saying, Please send, you know, to this new email or this new postal address or this is the wrong you know, middle initial or this is the wrong no last name. Anyone who reaches out with that cares a lot about the organization. And so it’s making sure that you’re respecting that and that there’s business rules and to Paul’s point, people in place to make those updates right, because the second time, the person when the first that’s right, second request. Then you’re done. This is your you’re hurting. So absolutely that dovetails into a point of really making sure the right hands talking to the left hand, where if you’re running a campaign that you have really good donorsearch vis reps who understand what’s going on with the fund-raising department and can actually feel those questions. So they got a matching gift request, for instance, knowing that when they answer the phone that they were talking about that a lot of time. Our donors donors will call for organization to say well, might give still be matched. I’m a little late, so having someone ready to know that. But at the same time, what we find the organizations have been most successful is when they have somebody on the phone who can really take a donor complaint and make them to a lifelong donors. And it’s just really preparing them and training them on DH, treating someone like a human being and understanding that even their $25 gift is just as important as the $1,000 gift when they when they take the energy to call the organization. And generally you can really kind of swing a donor to be really lifelong supporter as long as you have somebody on the lines and the phone. Many organizations forget about that, and you made a good point this morning, which I’ll let you make about even just the last week of the year. Well, it’s It’s remembering that some of the biggest giving days on the online side are not working days. It’s the end of the year. It’s Christmas, it’s New Year’s. It’s days when the office may be closed. But if no one’s answering the phones when you have donors trying to make a gift, you know if you get back to them in January. It’s too late, you know, a sort of mist that window. And so it’s thinking about customer service, especially on those key days when, even if you know, recognizing it’s a holiday. But it’s when people are giving and needing to be there for the donors. Do either of you know the There’s a paradox service like service repair paradox or something like that in customer service, where if you’ve made a mistake and corrected it as a as a company, you will. You will have a more loyal customer than if you hadn’t made the mistake in the first place. And that’s goes to what you were describing. Pull their end well and Laura, too, that that there’s someone there responsive that actually makes the change or correct the problem. They have to be empowered to correct the problem, and if they do, you’ll have a more loyal well, it feeds over in our in our circle. It does have a more loyal donor-centric to begin with, so we made a point this morning. Another don’t was when your when your service recovery, that’s what service recovery paradox. So we made a point talking about the fact that Okay, so you’re going to make mistakes sometimes. So just say, make sure your emails rendering correctly when someone views it makes sure when someone lands on a donation form, it’s working correctly. However, technology breaks down sometimes, regardless of how much you test how great you are at that. But what I talked to the audience about is as long as you’re both timely with your apology and also just things do happen. And, you know, one of the best examples would have been Steve Jobs. When the iPhone had the antenna issue, he pretty much changed the entire power paradigm for PR in the sense of how he handled that situation where they were. They were roasting Apple at that point, and he actually turned it around and it became the best selling high phone because the way he handled that, he took responsibility and they moved on. And I think the quote was, well, technology breaks down. Actually, all phones dropped calls, and it’s not just it’s not just the iPhone and that quickly the media shifted there, but the whole idea is being quick and nimble and being able to go back out So the non-profit has an issue with their donation form or something with their sight being quick and being able to be. You know, sometimes humor works in some ways and some organization, depending on your mission. But being direct on that and really kind of talking about it and getting out getting in front of it is so important. And again, then you know that that that experience level, we actually see that a lot of the times those correction emails do perform quite well, sometimes even better than the other emails in the Siri’s. When you go back and you’re just really human and honest about what happened and take responsibility exactly that za piece of what a piece of what you’re describing all right, and and to your point earlier about the small dollar donor to remember that for that donor, that’s that’s a big commitment they’ve made for you. It’s a it’s a small amount of money, but for them it’s a big commitment, and so treating them well regardless of the amount of money that they give. And that’s one thing that the digital space allows for is that high touch treatment allows for the personalization it allows for. The customization allows those donors to feel special regardless of how much they’ve given and in terms of numbers. Sometimes the small dollar donors that given year after year and say, Hey, I’ve moved, please update it. Those may be your best plan giving prospect so you can’t dismiss them even if they’re giving you a little amount, because for them, it’s a It’s a lot I do plan. Giving consulting now 1997 carrying on and the ultimate retention I’ve seen lots of seen lots of eyes algorithms, I guess, for you know, who makes a good plan giving prospect. I still think the best plan giving prospect is that person who’s given you 23 gifts in the past 25 years exactly on the most recent one was no more than, like, six months ago or something. Yeah, they are thinking about you every single every single year, and I don’t I really don’t care. Here’s $10 a year. In some cases, I think they’re testing you, but they’re probably testing you for 23 years. But but some of those initial small dollar gifts they may be testing you do I get a thank you is a timely yeah. Did they screw things up in the thank you, you know, etcetera. So I think there’s some of that. Some of the testing on the small dollar lord to your point about small dollar donations. But they are enormously good playing, giving prospects that kind of that kind of loyalty and longevity, even if even if small, small, double digit levels very good plan giving prospects here earlier point about because acquisition is so challenging. Some one plan gift from someone who made a gift for 20 years who can pay for an acquisition program for an entire organization meeting. You know, you you invest that money 20 years ago and then you’re banking on it later on where they’ve left this entire you know, there’s a part of their state to an organization, and so it’s important, actually tracked those folks right to find out what the origin of those folks who do come in because it’s generally as you just said, those low Doyle. The donor’s really do care about the organization. That’s why they stuck around for 23 years. It is important. Look, back-up e-giving history and try and ascertain from those patterns. Hoo hoo! Your other good prospects are. Yeah, and that’s one thing we spoke about at the session is, is the data side of it is is to really track retention and really leverage it. You have to have the data collection in place. You have to know who your donors are. You need ideas for them. So you contract. They’re giving year over year, but you also need to be able to identify where they came from in the first place. If you want to invest smart going forward, you have to know what your investments really yielded in the past. And so the cost of acquisition. What’s the source? The source, the source? And what did it cost exactly? And even if it was a long time ago, being able to know what that was is really valuable. That’s a great transition anymore, Waken say about technology. I mean, well, you both in it a lot. There’s no anymore more strategies around technology that he needs to be in place. So Paul touched on it, and I think it’s important is to recognize that your technology can can work for you or against you and recognizing where it it is working for you and maybe where it’s it’s presenting challenges and and maybe those air too much, and you’re really costing yourself on the retention side for not investing in technology. But it’s also recognizing that technology without the people to really leverage it isn’t going to get you very far that you need data people you need. You know, people who know how to use the technology and can really make it work for you. So I think it’s It’s technology, by itself is not powerful. It’s technology and people and subsided. And what you’re saying is you have to hire the expertise that you need. If it’s not a full time employee, you have to get a consultant freelancer. You can’t You can’t manage this and master it on your own on DH. That’s not your expertise anyway. You’re zan inefficient use of your own time or your organization’s time to try to master something that you don’t know you need to. You need to invest in the talent that you need because the organizations are good at their missions. You know, in many ways, right, it’s not really about marketing or technology or database management. I mean, it does. It does come to that. Sometimes you and I think also a point you made earlier that that I do think sometimes gets lost is that when when it comes to our attention, sometimes it’s it’s fancy technology and automation and behavioral driven content. And sometimes it’s the basics. It’s the acknowledgement. Did you send an acknowledgement? Did it talk about the impact that the gift had did it? You know, thank the donor an appropriate way. Was it sent out on time? So with all the bells and whistles that are out there in technology now, it’s important to not forget those fundamentals and to make sure that those air in place, regardless of whether you have a staff of 10 or one very well said you should be co presidents. Take note of that account services sounds sounds beneath her to mate. We’ve been working together for 10 years. It’s true. That’s good. Yeah, co President. Um, okay, let’s look metrics. You talk about metrics to measure churn and retention. Who wants to wants to kick off the metrics? We got like, four more minutes left together. So you want to start for so the biggest thing when it comes to metrics is, is having the data in place and knowing whether or not you even have the data to track it. And the key for retention is that you’re tracking donorsearch cohorts. So it’s not talking about the total number of gifts that’s talking about donors and specific groups of donor. So when you want to measure overall retention from one year to another, you need to know which donors gave in your one and which donors went onto given year, too. So so if you can actually identify that because you don’t have the ideas or you don’t have the data in biology infrastructure, just talking, you’re not going to get anywhere. And similarly, knowing someone who’s new versus who’s who’s renewed is quite important because going back to the point you made earlier about acquisition, the retention of a new donor right now hovers around 25%. And so really tension of a 1st 3rd 1st time, first time donors so well, so organized organization whose 75% of the people they broke time don’t Yeah, and so there is making sure you have the ability to track these things so that you actually then Khun, figure out you’re targeted strategies towards these groups, treating them separately in some ways and actually having creative and ideas and specific pieces that go to them so that you can retain those vote for people. We kind of haven’t touched upon it. But a lot of the strategies that we’ve been implementing with great success is trying tio convert a lot of those first time donors into sustainers, and that really has helped lift the program’s on the digital side and where digital retention for the overall programs have have been on the rise a little bit, and particularly with this organization that we case study today African Wildlife Foundation that was the sustainers program has been really one of the key to the success of really good online retention because we really quickly move folks from their first gift and have strategies to convert them to sustainers and then due to individual sustainers drives where it could be coupled with the match and really kind of back to really strong, evocative creative that goes back to for there in this mission is, you know, poaching of elephants and the crisis that’s going on there, but it works with other organizations to. And so the success of those programs and then having the data to make sure that you actually keep the retention of your sustainers is another really important factor because that there’s there’s low hanging fruit that that could be easily forgotten or missed by organizations on when credit cards expire and making sure that you really invest in that channel, you know, And it’s actually more channels that we’re discussing this morning. Not only sometimes email does not work to retain a sustainer, you actually need to use offline and send it direct mail piece or take it even further. And sometimes we’ll do telemarketing to see if we can get that boat that person back because their their lifetime value is greater than most other sources. Why do, uh, she would just have, like, 30 seconds? How come some How come sustainers stop sustaining? I think two reasons I think one is some sustainers don’t realize that they’ve became a sustainers so generally in the 1st 2 or three months on stage, it was a mistake, and that goes back to data making sure that when you when you confirm those sustainers that you actually tell them they’re sustainers. OK, there is like a threshold where they passed 13 and four, and then you got them. The other thing is credit cards. A little scripture expire expires. Or they or yeah, exactly. And they decide to have done it long enough because you kind of want sustainers toe almost go on autopilot and, you know, and then really, you still want to engage them, But you don’t need to constantly remind them that they’re making that gift. But you wanted still engage them on your mission. So those air to areas where I’d say that where you would lose sustainers. Okay, we’ve got to leave it there. That flu fantastic was awesome. All right? Yes, they’re both with. Thank you, Communications. Paul is the president, and Laura is soon to be co president, but currently director of account Services. This interview, like all the 1990 sea interviews brought to you by our partners at ActBlue Free fund-raising tools to help non-profits Macon impact. Thanks so much for being with non-profit radios. Coverage of 1990 si next week. Tech accessibility and culture of resilience. If you missed any part of today’s show, I beseech you, find it on tony. Martignetti dot com were sponsored by pursuing online tools for small and midsize non-profits, Data driven and technology enabled. Tony dahna slash pursuing capital P by Wagner CPS Guiding YOU beyond the numbers Regular cps dot com and by text to give mobile donations. Made Easy text. NPR to 444 999 are creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. Sam Liebowitz is the line producer. Shows Social Media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our Web guy, and this music is by Scott Stein. The With Me Next week for non-profit radio. 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