Five Good Ideas

Five Good Ideas about effective fundraising in the digital age

Published on 25/09/2017

The world as a whole is changing rapidly, and all aspects of life are moving online. Fundraising is no exception. Online giving is growing each year, and it won’t be long before it is the dominant form of giving. Is your charity ready? Increasingly, charities have access to online tools that help level the playing field, but they must develop the skills and knowledge to use those tools effectively or risk being left behind. In this session, CanadaHelps Chief Marketing & Product Officer, Shannon Craig, draws on her experience working with Canada’s largest online fundraising platform to offer five practical ideas for effective fundraising in the digital age.

Five Good Ideas

  1. Decide your website matters and invest in it
  2. Start tracking
  3. Don’t talk to everyone the same way
  4. Be findable
  5. Take your social media to the next level

Resources

  1. CanadaHelps’ Online Donor Acquisition and Retention Course
  2. Take advantage of easy-to-use apps and online tools to create effective videos and visuals. Try Snagit (paid) or YouTube Editor (free) for video editing; Canva(free or paid) as a cheap way to create really beautiful social media graphics; Pexels/Pexels Video, Unsplash, Pixabay for free stock photos and videos; and Facebook/Instagram/Twitter for live videos.
  3. 7 Google Analytics Custom Dashboard Examples To Segment SEO, Social Media, Mobile, And Other Metrics – Online Media Masters
    • Total Revenue Dashboard for GA Users
  4. 5 Ways to Use Donor Data to Segment your Email List – John Haydon
  5. Wired Impact blog
  6. Google’s free tools for nonprofits, including Google My Business to improve your info in organic search, and Google for Nonprofits (Google Analytics, G Suite, Google Ad Grants, YouTube)

Full session transcript

Thank you so much. It’s such a privilege to be here today to speak to you. We live in a world that’s all online. We live in a world where social media is prevalent at all times. We live in a world where our online experiences are increasingly relevant and personal, whether we’re getting results returned to us after we complete a search or we’re visiting our own Facebook page. The content is becoming increasingly personal. The result is that, as consumers, our expectations are changing. It affects our online world. It affects our offline world. There’s a real, profound change going on in what we expect of brands. Those are brands that are consumer, for-profit businesses, and charities.

Today, we expect brands to be where we are. We expect brands on social media. We expect brands on the web. Increasingly, we expect brands to be able to respond to us in a more relevant way, a way that shows they understand the relationship that you’ve had with them to date. It’s very foreseeable now that we’re increasingly going to expect brands to be able to go from online to offline as I choose to want to do it. Really, this world of digital is changing and putting new demands on us as charities.

Today, my presentation is going to focus on core digital marketing building blocks: the core things you need to do to get ready for this change. Not all of this change is here today, so we’re really going to talk about the fundamentals, and then, hopefully, when we get into our group discussion, we can talk about some of those bigger things that are more around the corner that you need to be doing in five years. Without further ado, let’s get started on good idea #1.

Today, about 10 percent of donations happen online, but online is growing five times faster than total donations. While, your website, obviously you want to collect online donations, it’s far more important than just what you’re doing in terms of collecting donations online. Your online presence affects your total fundraising success, and so we’re going to talk a lot about that.

Forty-one percent of your donors that visit your website go to your website first to research before they’ll make a donation. That increases to 90 percent of visits of major donors. Ninety percent of major donors are going to your website first to research your organization. Simply put: In the digital world, your website is your most important investment, and it’s time to really invest in your website. I would add to that that it’s time to realize that your work on your website is never done. It’s an ongoing process. I am going to spend the most of my presentation talking about good idea #1 because it’s just so fundamental.

Your homepage is the most important page of your website. You have about three seconds to attract the attention of that visitor so that they’ll stay and take a look at those first messages that you have on your site. After those three seconds, you have a maximum of 30 seconds to keep them there so that they engage with your content on your site. That is not a long time, especially because your website is serving so many people. It’s serving your donors. It’s serving your clients, volunteers, repeat donors, new donors, you name it. Everybody that you’re serving goes to that same location typically, so you have a lot to achieve.

You need to establish your credibility, make sure they know the type of work that you’re doing and why it matters, and you need to also help them find what they’re looking for and guide them down your key messages to the actions you want them to take. There’s a lot to get done very, very quickly. The keys to success are really clear headlines, focusing on the headlines, the sub-headlines, and the imagery, and making your site very easy to navigate.

This is FoodShare Toronto’s website, and I think they’ve done a nice job. What they do is they very clearly convey what it is they do, and they use impact statements to say that they’re doing it well and earn your credibility of wanting to engage with them, and then they have three call to actions. “Come explore our gift baskets that you can purchase. Donate to our organization. Learn more.” That’s a good example.

When it comes to the donate now button, this is Young Street Mission’s website, and they have hit the gold standard in terms of best commerce to e-commerce practices. What they’ve done is they’ve put their “donate now” button right in the top right hand corner of their website. They’ve used a very bright color that stands out so you can’t miss it. Best of all, they leave it there consistently across navigation of their site. So, no matter what page you go to on their site, that button is always present. You know exactly where it is. This may sound simple, but don’t underestimate the power of these simple best practices.

Here’s an example: Network For Good, they had all of this done, but they just changed the button color from gray to red, and they increased the number of people that visited their pages and completed a donation by 30 percent. These small best practices make a huge difference.

The next one: More than 50 percent of web traffic today is on a mobile device. You need to ensure your website and your mobile donation forms are fully mobile ready. One of the pitfalls I just love to call it is that, remember, if you’re building an optimized site, it automatically collapses your navigation to a hamburger, that little three-lined bar that’s in the top left hand corner. Make sure that, while you want your donate now button in your website, make sure that you’re working with the web developers so that they actually take it out of your hamburger when you’re on mobile so that the donate now button is still present. It took me a while to find this great example of a charity doing it right today. Another alternative, if that’s a bit tricky, is simply double park the donate call to action on the main page a little lower down.

One question I’d just like to ask of you first before I continue is: How many of you here have mobile-optimized websites? Great. It’s a good start. Just two years ago, it would have been a lot less hands in the room.

I just wanted to first off say it’s time to get a plan in action if you don’t have one today. There are a few quick ones you can do to get there a little bit faster. First thing is make sure, for your donation forms, that you’re working with a vendor whose forms are mobile-optimized. That’s going to help you really quick, and it’s something you can do before the holidays.

Secondly, you can also do the move in steps. You don’t have to do every page at once. When we did our Canada Helps website, we first launched our blog on mobile. Then, we moved the key landing pages over. Now, today, we actually design our mobile first. It can be a continuum.

While your donate now button needs to go right to a donation form that is ready to accept the vast majority of donations, so one-time, monthly, and tribute gifts, you also need a ways-to-give page on your site. Your ways-to-give page is the way that your supporters know all of the ways that they can help you on your site, and it’s also really key. It’s where you’re actually telling them how they can become better supporters of your organization. You’re helping them to realize that they can give more regularly to you and give in more ways to you. Ultimately, these steps will help grow their overall lifetime value to your organization, so a very key page.

Make sure to call-out on your page. This is Big Brothers, Big Sisters. I would suggest on your page call out one time, monthly, and tribute gifts. Tribute gifts represent 14 percent of all donations that are made as one-time gifts, so it’s a very important call-out for somebody looking for that type of a gift. Also include donations of securities, a call-to-action to fundraise for your charity, to volunteer for your charity. These are all great things to put on your ways-to-give site.

What I would caution you about is only provide one option for the same type of gift. Sometimes, you’ll go to a website, and you’ll see, “You can give through this website. You can give through Canada Helps. You can give through PayPal. You can do-” a variety of different ways to give. That’s really just putting extra choices in front of your donor. Just choose one and go with it. Make online donations your primary one because they’re there. You want to close the deal today. That said, many people still want to send you a check, so make sure your address is there, and then they know how to fill in the rest. You absolutely want them to know the choices, but you also don’t want to go too far.

This next slide I have, I wanted to call it something. When you think about your website, think about it as a funnel. Every time you provide a choice or require a click, that is an opportunity, an invitation for that visitor to your site to drop off, to leave your site. It’s just like, “Do I have the time now?” When you’re designing your site, you certainly need many pages, but you really, really want to try and get to the most optimized path and the fewest number of clicks. This is really important on your mobile donation forms.

One of the things that I just love to say is that, for several years, the gold standard has been a single form, one page. That’s what gets the most visitors to that page to complete a donation. We now have some technology advancements that allow us to chop up that form and stay on the same page but actually show just a few number of questions. You can see, on that far right hand side, just a few number of questions. Then, walk them through the rest of the site all while being on that same page. It’s really interesting.

There’s no clear winner, but this is where technology is taking us, and this could be a really interesting option. It’s something we’ll be launching next month, but it’s a really interesting option for a time like the holidays when you know so many visitors to your site are there to give, to actually get them into that process right on the home page. That’s an option now. We continually have to keep looking because the best practices change over time as technology changes and as we get more comfortable using technology.

Either way, when it comes to your donation forms, we really encourage you to embed them right onto your site. Unless your site is not mobile optimized, that would be the only time not to do it because you want to make sure all of those mobile donors have an optimized page. But, if your site is mobile-optimized, embed it right on your site so that your donors stay right there, and that’ll increase your optimization and the number of people that complete a donation as well.

It is hard to drive traffic to your site, so, when you get traffic to your site, make sure you keep them. One of the things that’s really easy to overlook is to putting your subscribe to our email list really in a prominent place on your website. Definitely do it. Email is still king when it comes to digital marketing revenue driving. So you definitely want to be growing that list, so make sure it’s got a great, easy to find place on your site. Really, another thing you’ll probably start noticing more and more charities are doing is, when somebody goes to leave your site, there’s all kinds of free plug-ins that are available that you can put right onto your website. As they go to leave, you can actually do a light box like you can see happening here where you prompt them, “Why not join our newsletter?” It’s a very small ask that will allow you to keep the conversation going with them, so I encourage you to try that.

Made it through good idea #1. Onto #2: Start tracking. The reality, in today’s digital age, is that, as fundraisers, we all need to get very tech savvy, and we all need to get comfortable with data. This is the way of the future. We’ll all be technologists. We’ll all be data analysts as marketers and fundraisers in the future. We really need to start to consider ourselves really having similar jobs to those e-commerce companies out there.

Google Analytics is the free tool. It is the most popular tool used across businesses and charities alike, and I can’t recommend to you enough: If you’re not using it today, get signed up. It’s free. There is so much you can learn through Google Analytics. Here’s just a few. Who is coming to your website? Where did they come from? What are they doing on your website? That’s the starting point.

Then, you can start to go a little bit deeper and say, “Where do they stop engaging on my website?” All of a sudden, you know what pages you need to look at and work on to improve that experience. You just don’t do it at an aggregate level. You can start to see: “Is my issue on my mobile pages or on my desktop?” You can do it by device type. You can do it: “Is my issue with new visitors to my site or repeat visitors to my site?”

There’s so much you can learn and so far you can go. I would recommend that you start simple: Start with the information that’s there. Easily pull up a few tutorials in terms of setting up benchmark reports so it’s really easy to go back into. You can easily set up a metrics report for your emails, for example, to see exactly the performance and donations that resulted from your emails or from your social media posts, any of your digital activities. It’s just a great way to get started.

The second thing you can do is step up funnels. If, on your homepage, you have a call to action to subscribe to your website or to donate, you can actually create these funnels to say: “Who landed on my site? What percent of my traffic chose to sign up to go to the page where I’m talking about my email communication? How many people actually completed signup?” All of a sudden, you can start to get ideas on how you improve that experience and get more of those desired behaviours to occur.

As fundraisers, it always comes back to: How are we stewarding our donors? The insights are really to drive this. It’s really to drive your programs. Analytics can help you understand and segment your supporters and optimize each segment’s journey. In addition to just looking at the information, you can now do tests and figure out what’s working and what’s not working. Really, this is your best friend because it really allows you to take a look and optimize the experience so that you’re increasing the lifetime value of your donor in each stage of their life, each segment. We’ll talk a little bit more about that in a second.

Before we go on though, I just want to say that CanadaHelps launched a couple of years ago a complete online digital marketing course which is for donor acquisition and donor retention. Today, we’re giving away ten free passes to our course, so, if you’d like to go to surveymonkey.com/r/chcourse, just enter your name and email address, and you win that access to the digital marketing course. It includes a complete section on Google Analytics including how to get set up, so you may find out really useful, if you’re not already set up. I’ll show this URL again at the end of my presentation.

Moving along: Personalization of your message. This is our good idea #3. Data segmentation and the donor lifecycle journey goes hand in hand with personalization of your message. They are many, many small ways you can personalize your message like calling somebody by their first name, recognizing that they’re a new donor and putting them into a special treatment plan, a special welcome series, a special onboarding process until they really understand what your organization’s all about, how they can engage with your organization and the impact that you’re having. It’s great to treat those new supporters in a different way, so a welcome series being one.

Other people, other times, often we find at CanadaHelps is, after somebody has given two to three gifts to the same charity, they’re ready for a monthly donation ask, and so another program might be identifying those donors that are ready to be asked specifically to become a monthly donor. The same goes for another bucket of those that you find they have been long-time supporters, give a little bit more, and you’re ready to cultivate a major gift offering and something maybe a little bit special, a particular project that they can get involved with.

As much as there is these small elements of personalization that you can and should do throughout all of your messaging to deliver that relevant experience, there’s also programs you can do, segmenting of your donors to really come up with buckets and implement really effective programs that will, in time, right for themselves, and you’ll continue to reap the rewards as you just tweak and optimize them as you go. Nowhere is this easier to do than online, and you can take that same learning that you get so much faster and in realtime from online and then bring it to your total fundraising program as well.

Just to make this a little bit more concrete, a program takes some time to really set up and get in place, but I wanted to give you an example, just a small one we have at CanadaHelps. It’s our welcome email. The welcome email is probably your hardest working email you’ll ever have. We all know that, in the world of fundraising, there is a very, very leaky bucket, and it costs a lot more money to gain a new supporter than to retain a current one. This welcome email pays off. It is the best practice and the first priority segmentation campaign to introduce in our opinion and across the sector.

This is our CanadaHelps one. What we found was really important to us was, first off, to contextualize the message. We really needed to tell people we knew where they had come from. We say things differently based on whether they actually made a gift to CanadaHelps, whether they were giving to a friend’s fundraising page, whether they made their first monthly gift, or whether they just signed up for our email. We have different contextual messages.

We then go on to set expectations because, when we set expectations, maybe a couple more subscribe upfront, but, overall, more people stay with us and on our email list. We also talk about the benefits of our email: what we’re going to be sending to them and how often. Then, it’s not until we’ve accomplished those things that, really, that person that’s going to be on our list needs to know that we get into the marketing messages that we’re really keen to tell them and share with them, letting them know how we can help them and, as well, helping to share the overall CanadaHelps story with them.

In this particular email, call to actions, there’s links lots of places, but there’s fewer call to actions. As you get later into a welcome series, you’ll probably find that you want more call to actions. That’s where you’ll bring that more prominent, but, at first, it’s about educating and getting them comfortable and ready to engage and feel a part of your organization.

Like I said, this is a program we have set up. We have tested subjects lines. We have tested the contextual part of the message. We continue to just tweak it as it goes, but, now that it’s set up, it just works hard for us. I really encourage you to look at those tools. MailChimp has it. Many of these email platforms that we use, there’s two primarily used in the charitable sector, MailChimp and Constant Contact, and both of these can help you get these types of automated programs in place, so I highly encourage it.

#4 is be findable. When it comes to be findable, organic traffic is that traffic that comes to your site through search engines like Google, and research shows that websites that show up on the first page of search results get 95 percent of website traffic. So you need to be on that first page, and every spot down the page you are is less traffic coming to your site. Number 1 gets the most; 2, they’re less; and it just drips on down. You really want a high search engine ranking of your page. First, I’m going to share an experience of how important this can be.

In 2014, at CanadaHelps, we relaunched our website. At that time, we introduced new friendly URLs that Google could understand. Rather than having numbers for pages, we just say maybe the charity’s name or the service name, and Google can all of a sudden understand every page on our site. We made sure our site was properly indexed using our free Google Webmaster account so that all of our pages could show up, and we did clear headlines, subject lines, call to actions, and we formatted the tags on our website. You know what happened? Overnight, our search engine traffic grew so much, to the point that, when we started this exercise, 12 percent of our traffic was from organic. Today, it’s just over 30 percent of traffic to our direct site that’s through organic. That’s incredible. That’s money that- free, bringing traffic to our site.

The biggest thing I would say is you want to be findable and that we are firm believers in optimizing your organic traffic first. Before you start paying to bring traffic to your site, get your organic setup right.

Here are some simple ideas on what you can do to optimize easily your traffic and be optimized for search engines. I do want to say that not everything you can do in SEO is easy. Sometimes, you do need an expert, and sometimes you can find an expert through pro bono services because it does tend to be more of a consulting. You’re doing a new website. You need some help. You want to go to the next level. You’ve got specific questions. It’s a really good one for pro bono support.

But things you can do today just to improve your SEO performance is, first off, set up a free Google Webmaster account, and ensure all pages of your site are being properly indexed. It’s actually a really easy exercise to do, and, if you aren’t doing it, you’re going to see overnight improvements. If you don’t like the copy being displayed on the left hand side in the true results section for your website, whoever helps you with your website, your webmaster, can just edit those tags. You can control: What are those sub-copy call-to-actions that show up under your name? Definitely take a look at that copy. That’s what visitors to your site see. It’s really important and really effective.

Third, open your free Google My Business account, and make sure your profile is fully completed. You can see Pathways to Education has done a lovely job. They have everything completed. They have reviews, include at least two links to different social media sites. You want to be really findable. When you have a great profile with imagery, Google puts you higher on the page, and you get to take over the page, which really brings the traffic to your site. Those are some really basic ones.

The second thing you can do to help your SEO is to come back full circle to where we started: invest in your website. There’s really good news here. When you invest in your website and you really work to optimize it, you’re also going to be improving your search engine performance because what your visitors like and what gets you results on your website is also what Google likes, and I’ll give you an example.

You want your donors to come to your website and follow your call-to-actions to sign up for your email, to make that donation, and to do these things. Well, Google wants to serve us pages not just that have the same keywords that were searched for on them. They’re going to prioritize and put the pages first at the top of the order that also have engagement. If people are clicking your page and showing interest in the content on that page relevant to those search words, that’s when you get to the top of the search. Those same practices for your website will pay off for your organic traffic.

Another example. Similar to just like we were talking about how 50 percent of web traffic is now from a mobile device, if somebody searches for your charity and they’re on a mobile device, if your website isn’t mobile-optimized, unfortunately, Google is going to put you down lower on the page because of that. It’s absolutely looking to say: Is this site ready for this visitor based on the device they’re using? That’s a really important one, again, coming back to getting that plan in place to mobile-optimize your site.

We’re on to our last idea. I couldn’t do this talk without talking about social, and it’s time to take social to the next level. Your supports and your prospective supporters expect you to be there. They’re there. They want you to be there. But, before I dive in, I’d just like to ask: How many people out there are concerned about the time it takes to really do social well? Great. Thank you.

Time management and tracking are really important to me. We have a very small team. We need to really focus on what is going to help charities the most, what’s going to help increase giving in Canada the most. I just wanted to share a few of the things that are working for us. There’s four quick things.

What we’ve done so that we could actually be on a number of social platforms and do it in a way that wasn’t going to kill us was we focused on our blog. We have a donor blog and a charity blog, and we spend some really good time getting quality content done for those blogs, and then it becomes the fuel. It is the fuel for our email newsletters, and it’s the fuel for our social media. It is really a key, key place. Everything we’re doing we try to put on our blog. Then, what we do is we take that same blog that’s in long form, and we optimize it for each different channel that we’re going out on.

That, for us, has just been so effective, and it really helps our SEO because, all of a sudden, now, we have all of these fantastic pages that can really delve into specific keywords that people are searching for. It all comes around. Our blog is a massive one for us especially because, no matter where we are, what we’re trying to do is get people back to our website, and that’s what it does for us.

The second thing we do is that our social media lead spends a lot of her time networking internally. She’s collaborating with her colleagues. Her role, and she knows it, is to amplify everything we do. She’s not out there creating new activities. We have a lot going on, and we’re just amplifying what we’re doing in creative ways, leveraging these channels.

The third thing: We use Sprout Social. It makes it really easy for us to follow and engage in conversations quickly. The relevant conversations come up when our supporters- If there’s an issue, the first place they go now is to social, and we know it right away in one central place, and we can get all of our posts scheduled. We can be really efficient. That is a tool that pays off huge yields for us.

The final thing is, increasingly, we have realized that, for us, a modest spend on social is really needed to help get the results that we want to see, and I’ll share a little bit more about that on the next slide. We need to spend a little bit to make our organic activity on social work harder for us, and we also have realized that the targeting capabilities on these social media platforms are so exceptional. It is our number one place for any ad budget we have, and we can do some really small ad programs and get some pretty big results out of them. These are the things I wanted to make sure I have a chance to highlight to you before we get into our group discussion.

To succeed at social, first off, you really need to understand how the channels work. You absolutely should have a beautiful page on all of these social channels. Put up a nice page. But, that said, recognize that the point isn’t to get people to your page. That’s just too hard of an ask. People aren’t going to your page very often. You need it for those that go that are really engaged, that want to, but recognize the whole goal here is to get into their newsfeed. That’s what you’re trying to do.

It’s really important to understand that, in 2016, for every 10 followers you had, your average post reached one of them. Just because people follow you, getting the followers is only half the battle. You got to get content to them. Knowing that your posts on average are reaching 1 in 10 of your followers, here’s what you do to try to go beyond that.

To reach more people with your posts, you need to focus on engagement. The more likes, the more shares, the more comments you have, the more followers that Facebook will show that post to. That means that you get more exposure amongst your followers but also, as they share and engage, it reaches more of their followers and friends. To do that, use images and videos that are prioritized by Facebook. They do give more reach to these posts that have imagery as well as those with all of the shares and likes. And keeping your message appealing, focusing on the emotional story and very short messages that are appropriate for this particular medium.

There are a lot of free and inexpensive apps to help you create really interesting, engaging imagery and videos quickly, including your own smartphone. The latest thing on Facebook is live streams, and we’re also using them a lot. They’re super easy, and, just using your smartphone, the whole idea of them is a casual video. It doesn’t have to be something that you curated and brought in lighting for. The medium loves that organic, authentic feeling video, so that’s a great example of that.

That said, when it comes to paid ads, it’s not quite about engagement. Our paid ads- Occasionally, we’ll find a post that’s doing well, and we’re going to boost it and put a like us act to grow our followers, but, more than that, what we see the opportunity around paid is, we’ve got a major campaign or end of year campaign, and we want more people to engage in that campaign. At that point, it’s just pure marketing. It’s just an ad platform, and we’re driving them right to that landing page that we worked so hard on to ensure that they were going to take the action that we want them to take for that campaign.

I’m going to skip right to the paid tips right here. It is really easy to set up and measure the results of paid ads on Facebook, and the targeting capabilities are exceptional. One of the places I would recommend starting is actually with a retention program. The holidays are coming. Over 30 percent of donations happen in December alone and 10 percent in the last 3 days of December alone.

This is an online social opportunity, particularly in those last days, but what I recommend you do is actually to take your list of supporters that you have on email, upload them to Facebook, and then you can actually target your supporters. It’s very easy. You’re just uploading in a CSV file, I’ve done it myself, and Facebook will actually target every one of your supporters that they can match as having a profile on Facebook, and this is great. Now, you have a direct mail piece to that supporter, you may have emails to that supporter, and you can reinforce your important year-end message on Facebook. Pathways to Education did this last year and actually shared with us some of their results that we’ll be publishing in a video.

It’s just a great way to go because, in advertising, a lot of it’s about frequency, staying top of mind, and here’s a way you can do it very cost effectively. When I say cost effectively, when we’re boosting posts, we’re often only spending a couple hundred dollars, even on like a day like Giving Tuesday. We might spend $500. That would be a big spend for us. You can do a lot with a little, especially when it’s that targeted.

The next thing I would say is that, for acquisition, targeting your followers’ friends is so effective because, when I see that you’ve liked it and I like you and I trust your opinion, it’s that instant validation for your content. That’s a great place to start. But, on top of that, you’ve now just uploaded your supporters’ lists for your email campaign. Facebook has a feature: You click a button and generate a lookalike list. You can generate a lookalike list to that of your supporters. Facebook uses their algorithms, and, all of a sudden, you can start targeting people that look like the people that already love your organization and support it. It’s really powerful, really targeted, and a great way to help your year-end fundraising or your fundraising at any time of the year.

But, again, with the advertising, you just want to balance it. Make sure you’re not overdoing it. We’re starting off really slow. We don’t want to overwhelm anyone. But we’re definitely finding it the most effective place to use our money today.

Shannon Craig

Chief Marketing & Product Officer, CanadaHelps

Joining CanadaHelps in July 2013, Shannon is fulfilling a long time desire to actively participate in the non-profit sector. A passionate marketer, she has extensive product marketing, research, strategic partnership, and consumer marketing experience from companies including Kobo, WIND Mobile, Critical Path, FedEx and LEGO.

In her role at CanadaHelps, Shannon is a key member of the leadership team which has overseen tremendous growth in users and products in the last four years. More than 17,000 charities now use CanadaHelps’ expanded suite of online fundraising and educational tools, including Custom Donation Paths, Peer-to-Peer fundraising, and Events Management, and the organization regularly engages more than 500,000 donors through email and social media on all things charitable.

Shannon is excited about using data, education, and technology to increase giving and charity success in Canada. She’s closely involved in the development and launch of CanadaHelps’ numerous educational initiatives for charities (including whitepapers, webinars, and an online course), as well as its new data tools for donors and charities, including benchmarking dashboards, and a new personalized discovery experience that helps donors discover new charities and causes to support.

Shannon holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario, and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business.

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