A conversation with Kevin Brown, Chief Operating Officer at Novo.
Every organization has both programmatic challenges (How do we accomplish our mission?) and administrative challenges (How do we organize the work to accomplish our mission in the most effective way?). One nonprofit tackling both of these challenges with the help of RaiseDonors is Novo, a ministry dedicated to supporting a global network of Christian workers.
Novo describes themselves as a “band of creative missionaries sent to multiply movements of the gospel and mobilize the church for mission around the world.”
That’s a tall order as they seek to provide consultative services to missionaries serving in a diverse array of cultural and social contexts.
From the boroughs of New York to the red light district of Bangkok, Novo helps Christian leaders think through ministry challenges so they can help those most in need of good news and a helping hand.
Besides leadership counsel, Novo helps missionaries in a critical funding role, offering an organizational platform through which missionaries can route their personal funding.
Balancing Organizational and Missionary Needs
The missions funding model is unique in the nonprofit sector… and uniquely challenging.
To remain free to provide spiritual and social services, missionaries operate through the generosity of individuals and churches who believe in their mission.
But most missionaries do not have a 501 (c) 3 organization for donors to give to. Most missionaries do not have time or resources to manage the complexities of a nonprofit organization.
If a missionary is a part of the Novo network, their donors can give to Novo and designate their gifts to the missionary they support. The missionary receives the much-needed support and the donor receives a welcome tax deduction for their generosity.
The funding platform service Novo provides missionaries saves massive amounts of time, money, and hassle in running a 501 (c) 3 organization.
And as a result, missionaries are free to focus on what they believe they are called to do—help people.
Fundraising for Novo
Of course, Novo has its own set of operational expenses to cover from salaries to travel costs for ministry consultants.
As a missionary support organization, the lion share of revenue coming in from around the world is designated for missionaries… not Novo’s operating fund.
This means Novo has to raise money for their own organization—while also encouraging donors to give to missionaries abroad!
While Novo does traditional fundraising through annual events and personal asks, the majority of their gifts come through online fundraising.
In fact, in total dollars raised, more than 60% of Novo’s annual giving revenue comes in through online donation pages.
The balancing act of raising money for hundreds of individual missionaries around the globe (with vastly different missions) while keeping their own donor base actively engaged raises a series of challenges for Novo.
- Messaging – How to keep donors inspired while not confusing them over where their gifts will be used.
- Branding – How to reflect the Novo brand consistently and beautifully on all donation pages.
- Technology – How to ensure accuracy and security on all donations given through all donation pages.
- Administration – How to post all donations accurately across all donation pages so gifts go where they’re designated quickly and consistently.
With the majority of gifts coming through their online channels, Novo’s online fundraising partner is key.
For years, Novo relied on an online fundraising solution that met all of these challenges well.
But when Novo decided to move from Salesforce to the more ministry-friendly CRM Virtuous, they discovered RaiseDonors.
Keeping It Together with RaiseDonors Integrations
“We learned that RaiseDonors had a strategic partnership with Virtuous and because of that they had a much better connection of the software pieces. It made sense for us to make a switch because of that.”
RaiseDonor’s integration with Virtuous decreases hours spent in data entry for Kevin and his team, which means lower overhead costs in hourly wages.
The integration also maintains high accuracy in data entry, lowering the amount of errors that have to be identified and fixed later.
Greater accuracy also saves Novo administrators from embarrassing (or potentially damaging) communications to donor to correct data input errors.
Saving Money through RaiseDonors Partnerships
Even though RaiseDonors’ powerful integrations with Virtuous was enough to convince Novo to make RaiseDonors their chosen online fundraising partner, it was really the amount of money they saved by moving to RaiseDonors that made their decision official.
Many online donation platforms charge nonprofits a percentage of every online gift. RaiseDonors does not.
Novo didn’t want to be charged more for doing well at fundraising. It feels like being punished for success!
At RaiseDonors, Novo simply pays a budget-friendly subscription model. This way, they can continue to grow their contributed income without increasing their monthly expenses.
Predictable. Sustainable. Simple.
(To see RaiseDonors low subscription prices, click here.)
Saving BIG on Credit Card Processing Fees
Another way Novo saved by using RaiseDonors was in credit card processing fees. These fees are charged by the various parties involved in the transaction.
First, there’s the payment processor fee. And then, there’s the fee charged by the bank that issued the credit card.
These fees are typically 2-3% per transaction, which isn’t a lot when gift volume is low. But when there is a high volume of transactions coming through (and that’s the goal, isn’t it?) it adds up to quite a lot.
“Because RaiseDonors partners with good payment processors like authorize.net, we can get our credit card processing fees down really low.
With the other online fundraising vendors we considered, it would have cost us a couple hundred thousand dollars a year just in credit card processing fees because they’re locked into one credit card processor, whereas RaiseDonors has a couple of options for you.” – Kevin Brown, COO
The partnerships at RaiseDonors save Kevin and his team money so they can send even more critical funds to the field.
But the partnership mindset of the RaiseDonors team saves the Novo team in frustration and technical headaches too.
Finding a Real Fundraising Partner in RaiseDonors
At RaiseDonors, partnership goes much deeper than vendor agreements and integrations. It is embedded in the RaiseDonors’ philosophy.
In other words, partnership is a way of life for the RaiseDonors team, and it shows.
“The individuals on the RaiseDonors team are the strongest part of the product. We have many vendor relationships in which we’re just paying them a service. With RaiseDonors, they’re in partnership with us. There’s a real big difference there. When we need help, we reach out, and we get a timely, well-thought response.” – Kevin Brown
This partnership experience really came through when Novo had a problem staying compliant with PCI regulations. Donors were calling in and giving their credit card information, but as regulations got tighter, Kevin knew they had to find a solution fast.
It came up in a conversation with Chris Mechsner, a co-founder of RaiseDonors. Chris recommended a PCI compliance service that other RaiseDonors client had used successfully.
Soon after, Novo adopted the service, which solved their PCI compliance issues. As Kevin says, “This is not Chris’s job. But this out-of-the-box thinking to educate me on a service that’s not his product is what makes them truly a partner.”
To explore how RaiseDonors can partner with you to increase your fundraising revenue while decreasing costs, time wasted, and frustration, contact us today!