Feedback Series, Part Four: The May Pro-Rated Bonus Day

Feedback Series, Part Four: The May Pro-Rated Bonus Day

We’re now in the fourth week of our Feedback Series! In our last two posts, we told you about different mechanisms that GlobalGiving uses to receive feedback: the Project Leader Survey and our Leadership Council. This week, we’re eager to share an example of how we have used your feedback to experiment within an existing program at GlobalGiving.

It all started with feedback…

This past May, GlobalGiving hosted its first-ever Pro-Rated Bonus Day. This is the biggest change we’ve made to our matching campaigns in almost 5 years!

Why did we make sure a drastic change? We have received feedback from Project Leaders and from donors that the Bonus Days would be so much better if funds didn’t run out and they could guarantee that the donations would be matched. Each time funds run out before the end of the day, donors get frustrated that they missed the opportunity to get the matching, and for organizations that plan their fundraising around Bonus Days and plan on getting those donations, this can be a real problem.

We have also received feedback that the start time of 9 am Washington, DC time is disadvantageous to certain donors who might still be asleep or may even be getting ready to go to bed! With donors all across the globe, a single start time that pleases everyone is just about impossible to find.

So…how can we do this without having unlimited funds? With the help of GlobalGiving’s 2014 Leadership Council, the idea of the Pro-Rated Bonus Day surfaced.  We worked with Project Leaders to design a campaign to counteract this drawback of the Bonus Day. Read our Leadership Council blog post for more details here.

Quick overview of the Bonus Day:

The Pro-Rated structure created a way for us to match all donations on Bonus Day at a Pro-Rated percentage. This percentage was determined by using the following formula:

($75,000/Total amount raised) x 100 = Matching percentage

That matching percentage was then applied to all eligible donations on Bonus Day. This meant that the matching percentage was unknown at the beginning of the day.

On the May 13th Bonus Day, 300 organizations received matching funds with a total of $289,476 raised in just 15 hours. The matching percentage was 25.9%. More donors got matched than in May 2014 and more organizations receiving matching funds than in the May 2014.

We’re not done with feedback yet!

In the past few months, we’ve been collecting feedback from our nonprofit partners about their thoughts on Pro-Rated structure and how it went for their organizations. We received comments in the Facebook group, received email replies to our call for feedback, and we asked our Leadership Council for feedback.

What we heard was that, generally, one of the biggest benefits of this Bonus Day was that all donations were matched at the Pro-Rated percent and funds never ran out.

  • We wanted to again let you know how much we loved yesterday’s bonus day… We’ve tried reaching out to donors in various ways for other bonus days, but have run in to trouble – donors giving before matching begins, or after funds have run out, etc. To be frank, we had kind of given up on trying to mobilize all but a select few donors on bonus days. Seeing this pro-rated system, we decided to publicize this bonus day and the results were fantastic. Of our 20 active projects, 14 raised funds from a total of 24 donors. Before matching funds, we raised just shy of $4,000! 
  • I like that everyone has been matched since we’ve had donors very upset in the past that within 15 minutes of campaign opening that there

We also heard that the guarantee of getting matching funds made this Bonus Day enticing. The chance that funds would run out before donors could give, turned organizations off to other types of Bonus Days.

  • Yes, [the Pro-rated Bonus Day] was great! Personally, to me, the results look satisfying, and every organisation has got a good amount of matching bonus for the donations made from their patrons…The model is well-balanced and avoids the gambling kind of feeling which we would always want to avoid. 

GlobalGiving received mixed feedback regarding the communications to our nonprofits about the Bonus Day. Some felt that most of the information as clearly communicated and understood by the organization, but others thought certain information was missing or misleading.

  • Thank you very much for that Bonus day! We and our donors found it very useful and interesting to participate! All information about the campaign was detailed, the only thing we lacked in description is that each donation more that 1,000$ will be matched only in amount of 1K$. We didn’t tell this to our donors and received 2 donations more that 1K$. But nevertheless thank you very much again for you job, its great!
  • Also, you could clear up how when you put in the donation does not determine the percentage rate you receive.

Finally, one of the largest hurdles for our partners was communicating this match opportunity to their donors. Not being able to provide the matching percent upfront was a challenge and condensing the information into manageable pieces was also difficult.

    • For our donors though, they found it a little misleading to call it a “match” and were definitely put off by the uncertainty of how much it would be. The main comment I got was that it was too confusing. We prefer not having an uncertain match amount, but respect that there is likely a plethora of different opinions on this!
  • Trying to summarise it into a social media posting encouraging people to give was too complicated
  • I like the concept of the pro-rated bonus day, but it was hard to explain to donors and to our board.

Our donors weren’t silent on the opportunity either. We received some feedback from donors following the checkout process about Bonus Day.

  • I love that GlobalGiving helps Mickaboo with matching donations…We give what we can and having the matching funds really helps them continue to do the good work they do.
  • I am confused about the matching fund vs.the amount given to AHA. 

Based on this feedback, the GlobalGiving team is determining now if we will host another Pro-Rated Bonus Day in 2016. What do you think? Should we host another one? What would you change? Continue to share your feedback here.

Thank you to everyone who provided their thoughts, comments, and suggestions for improvement.

Photo courtesy of Green Shoots Education Services.

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