I’m going to be speaking at the DMA Non Profit Conference next week. If you’re a Washington, DC-area native or are coming into town for the conference, come say hello.The DMA has asked me to share these details on the conference: It’s a great opportunity to gain insights into what other organizations like yours are doing in the fundraising world. Topics will include better ways to integrate your fundraising channels, build donor loyalty and improve your fundraising results. I’ll be speaking about what technology can and can’t do for fundraising. And toast and butter.Technology has enormous potential, but it’s all in how we use it. Technology is at its essence a delivery system. That means what’s being delivered will determine how much good comes of it. Adam Gopnik, a favorite writer of mine, compares technology to toast: “Our thoughts are bigger than the things that deliver them… Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn’t really about the quality of the bread or how it’s sliced or the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It’s about the butter.” He means the content of our ideas—the butter—is more valuable than the delivery vehicle —the toast of technology— that carries them. I’ll be talking about toast, butter and how to use technology in a way that drives more dollars.More details here.
A few years ago, Bonny Wolf told a great story on NPR that goes something like this:In Chicago, a friend cuts off the end of roast beef before she cooks it. She does it because her mother does it. Her mother does it because her grandmother did it. So one day, the friend asks her grandmother why for years she has cut the end off the roast beef. The reason? Her grandmother says, “because my pan is too small.”I love this story because it tells us so much of how humans think. We often do as we have always done out of tradition or habit or imitation without questioning why. We move within our personal frames of reference, over and over, back and forth, until our ways are ingrained and unquestioned.Established nonprofits and companies create cultures that inadvertently lock in this dynamic. It is a very hard thing to resist the comfort of checking the same boxes without even asking how they got there. Each of my children went through a phase where they asked “why?” about every last thing. It has passed. Things get familiar and they don’t feel the need to pose the question. I think familiarity is one of the biggest barriers to innovation. It’s why we pay for fresh eyes – like consultants. – to ask “why?”In the spirit of rejecting the familiar frame we’re given, here are four questions to ask yourself before you check the same old box:1. Why did we start doing this activity?2. What underlying purpose does this activity serve?3. If it’s because of problem, is there a way to solve its root cause and prevent even needing to do the activity in the first place?4.If it’s because of an opportunity, is there a way to go bigger?The box may not be needed after all. There may be better ways to spend your time.
Network for Good has two amazing webinars coming up – and (as usual) they are free with registration.*Nonprofit 911: How to Get More Followers on Social Media w/ Guy KawasakiThursday, March 21 at 1 p.m. EasternWhy isn’t your hashtag everywhere? When’s the best time for a Facebook status update? What does it mean when someone +1’s you on Google +? How come no one liked your picture, story, update, tweet, share, friendship, etc? You might be caught a social media slump!Tune in Thursday, March 21 at 1 p.m. Eastern to hear tech and social media expert Guy Kawasaki lead a free presentation giving nonprofits the insider scoop on garnering support via the most popular social media platforms.Register here.Nonprofit 911: The Decisive Organization: Building a Culture of Better Decision-MakingMonday, March 25 at 1 p.m. EasternBest-selling Switch author Dan Heath’s done it again! Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work hits shelves next week. He’s going to stop by and pre-release the most helpful decision-making practices to the Network for Good audience via a Nonprofit 911 webinar on Monday, the 25th at 1 p.m. Eastern. Join Dan Heath as he makes it easier for your organization to make that sound decision. Bonus: Dan will be giving away a free copy of his new book to 10 lucky nonprofits on the call.Register here.*If you can’t make the date for Guy Kawasaki, sign up anyway. You will get a recording of the webinar afterward! Dan Heath’s session is live only, so we won’t be sending recordings.
Today, I’m answering another reader question. Beth asks:Can you provide a basic (simple) framework to create a fundraising plan (or resources to do so) – for a brand new nonprofit and their completely new to fundraising staff? Thanks!Here’s what Network for Good recommends in our Fundraising Campaign in a Box. (You can get the whole free kit here. It has worksheets, templates, etc.)1. Figure out what you’re trying to accomplish.Any campaign worth its salt is about getting results. What results are you and your organization looking to achieve? When you’re planning your outreach, remember these three tips:There is no such thing as “the general public”…Instead, you need to segment your communications to be effective and targeted.Some audiences are more important than others. Think about your goals and who holds the key to your success. Lack of participation from primary groups can cause your campaign to falter or fail.2. Determine how you’re going to accomplish your goals (tell a great story).So – you have groups of people and actions you want them to take. How are you going to tell your story in a compelling manner? What themes, messages and ideas are you going to take from your arsenal of content to encourage action? Need inspiration? Read How to Tap into the Heart and Soul of Your Organization When You Write.3. Determine which communications channels you’ll use.There are a variety of online and offline channels that you can use to send the right message to the right audiences. Examples of online channels include your website, search marketing, email marketing and social networking. Offline channels include things like direct mail, paid advertising and public relations.4. Decide which resources you need to get the job done.Ensure that you have all of your tools and resources in place to make your job-and the jobs of your audience(s)-as easy, effective and cost-effective as possible.Is email an important part of your plan, but you’re still communicating with supporters via Outlook? (eek! Stop what you’re doing and read 5 Steps to Choosing the Ideal Email Service Provider)Is your website well-branded and easy to use, with a clear way to donate?Is your website set up to take safe, secure online donations? (I of course recommend Network for Good!)5. Determine who will execute your campaign steps.Accountability will make or break the success of a campaign. As much fun as it is to pass the buck, now is as good a time as any to decide which members of your organization, board or volunteers are responsible for the different portions of your campaign.6. Lay out how you will measure your success.In the case of holiday fundraising, this could be as simple as a dollar sign with a number after it. But take a moment to consider what other goals you may have. Wow your organization’s Board and leadership with conversation rates, list-building, website traffic and any other number results into which they can sink their teeth.7. Set your timeline and benchmarks.One of the defining features of a campaign is that it has a defined start and end. Now that you have planned out the ‘who, what and why’ questions of your campaigns, it’s time to determine the when. Continue to build your campaign plan by setting ownership and deadlines for the associated activities. Begin with the end in mind – if your campaign will run from 11/1 – 12/31, work backwards to be sure that all activities will happen in a smooth manner. Don’t use magical thinking to set deadlines! Run activities in parallel if you are worried about compression time-wise.Good luck!
In addition to your ongoing fundraising, advocacy and communication activities, there are times throughout the year when you need to lead your members through a series of actions. Whether it’s communication-list building, hitting a fundraising target to support a new program or structure, or gathering support for a community initiative (to name a few possibilities), you’ll get the most bang for your buck by conducting a targeted fundraising campaign. We’ve put together a step by step guide to the outreach,tracking, follow-up and other activities necessary to reach your goals. Download the free guide: Fundraising Campaign in a Box
3. Speak in story.Last, make sure you are describing what you do through story, not just facts and jargon. Stories make a cause relatable, tangible and touching. Remember, a good story has a passionate storyteller (you), clear stakes and a tale of transformation at its core. The NRDC, an organization focused largely on process and the work of lawyers and scientists, does an amazing job with storytelling all over its home page. There are heroes with a heartbeat to show every dimension of their work in stories. Many nonprofits have trouble making their missions relatable and exciting to potential supporters. I often get questions like this one from Deirdre:“As an organization with a mission that is a bit more abstract than, say, feeding hungry children or saving whales, we often struggle to make our work concrete. How can organizations dedicated to civic engagement or research create an inspiring story?”Whatever your issue area, these three tips will make your cause clear and compelling.1. Describe your mission as a destination.Don’t talk about your process or philosophy. Talk about your outcomes.Let me give you an example. Dan and Chip Heath, authors of Switch and Decisive, provide a great example from a breast care clinic as envisioned by Laura Esserman. She could have described her mission in ways that focused on the building or the philosophy. For example: “We are going to revolutionize the way breast cancer is treated and create a prototype of the next-generation breast cancer clinic.” Another poor choice: “We are going to reposition radiology as an internal, rather than external, wing of the clinic, and we will reconfigure our space to make that possible.” These all fall into the customary trap of talking about HOW your approach your work rather than WHAT the end result will be. (They also make the mistake of having no people in the description of their cause, but that’s the second point below.) What would be better? The Heaths nail it: “A clinic with everything under one roof—a woman could come in for a mammogram in the morning and, if the test discovered a growth, she could leave with a treatment plan the same day.” You can see the destination clear as day. 2. Give your mission a pulse.You have to talk about what you do in a way that makes clear its effect on people or animals. If you don’t have a heartbeat to your message, no one will care about your cause. Suppose you are advocating for quality schools. Don’t get so lost in descriptions of quality education and advocacy techniques that you forget to talk about kids! This is one of the most common mistakes I see. Always answer the question, “at the end of the day, whose life is better for what we do?” I like how Jumpstart talks about their work in early childhood education. They put it this way: “Working toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed.”
Dan Zarrella is one of my favorite thinkers on social media, because he mines massive amounts of data and bases his recommendations on hard science. This is relatively rare yet needed in the field of social media marketing, and so he’s well worth following.He recently analyzed 2.7 million tweets and concluded the following that people retweet when they are asked nicely as part of the original tweet. Conclusion? If you have something you want people to spread, ask them – with a pretty please.
How do I look for good photos?Stock photo sites host thousands of images— and you probably won’t find the best photo on your first attempt. Don’t get discouraged! For best results, ask yourself these questions before searching for that perfect photo that fits your idea of “woman, pink hat, outdoors”:1. What kind of photo am I looking for?Do you want an illustration, an up-close photo of a face, a wide shot of someone head to toe?2. What elements must be in the photo?Is this an invite to a fundraising gala or a 5K? Should the woman wearing a pink hat be in running gear or a formal dress with a pink feathery piece topping off the look?3. What emotion am I trying to capture or elicit in this photo?Are you trying to portray a breast cancer survivor after treatment or an energetic young woman finishing a 5K on behalf of your cause?4. Where am I going to use this photo?Whether you use the image for print, web or both makes a big difference in the resolution and e file size you’ll need. Don’t know which medium the photo will end up in? As a general rule, download the largest image you can afford. That way, you can use the image for a variety of mediums without any resolution issues.5. How do I know if this is a good image or not?Save a few of the images you like (download a sample or take a screenshot) and make a note of where you found them (include the ID number) so you can locate them later. Show them to your staff, volunteers or a loyal donor to see if the image captures the message you’re trying to convey.6. Do I have to use the entire image?If half the image meets all your needs but the random dog on the other side doesn’t add any value, crop it out. Beware: some sites don’t allow editing of images in any way.Dos and Don’ts Don’t use a stock image with a testimonial or a quote; it will diminish your credibility.Do use stock images that feature real people in natural settings (avoid white backgrounds).Don’t use random stock images that have nothing to do with your mission or organization.Do download a higher quality image if you plan to use it in a print piece in the future. You can always make a photo smaller but a low resolution image will never look good enlarged or in print.Don’t modify images unless you have the skills and expertise to do so. People can usually spot inconsistencies and know it’s an altered image.Do download royalty-free images to keep costs downDo read a site’s terms and conditions carefully. Some sites have very specific requirements on how the image can be used.Do select imagery with people taking some sort of action—especially one that reinforces your mission.Do select images that have high-contrast colors. It will catch the viewer’s eye and be better seen by the sight impaired.Don’t select images of people wearing current fashion trends if you don’t plan to change your photos frequently. These images tend to quickly look outdated and this perception can transfer to how people perceive your brand.Do select images with diversity. Our world is diverse; make sure you pick images of people who reflect different ages, genders and races. There’s not much that can stand-in for beautiful images of your organization’s work. But we know there are times when stock images might be your only option for adding visual interest to your nonprofit website, newsletter or fundraising appeal. This is especially true for new nonprofits, organizations that don’t have a photo-savvy staffer or NPOs who can’t afford to hire a pro. For organizations that work with children, victims of abuse or other issue areas where privacy is a concern, stock images can be a great solution when visuals are needed.Let’s face it: Stock images can look generic and incredibly fake. (How many women do you know who casually laugh while eating salad by themselves?) But there are some ways to find quality photos that fit your criteria and help tell your story. Follow our simple dos and don’ts for using stock images and learn how to find the best photos for your message.Here are a two examples of good and bad stock images: 1. Call for volunteers—bad example White background Nothing to do with the organization’s mission Not a lot of contrast in color Not capturing a real world situation2. Call for volunteers—good example (for a clean-up)Real people in a real settingHigh contrast in colorPeople are taking actionDiversity is represented3. Join our email list—bad exampleUnnatural settingNo action is taking placeUnless an animal shelter offers typing classes for canines, this has nothing to do with the organization’s mission4. Join our email list—good example (for an animal shelter)High contrast in colorsPhoto is in a real settingLooks genuineWhere can I look for good photos?Many websites sell photos:iStockphotoBig Stock PhotoPunchstockShutterstockIf you don’t want to buy an image, try your luck with Flickr’s Creative Commons gallery. Flickr, one of the largest communities for online photo sharing, has developed an online photo gallery that gives photographers the ability to share free, high-quality, downloadable images with minimal licensing requirements.Our friends at TechSoup have compiled a helpful list of sites that offer free photos for use. TechSoup also explains the basics for using images you find on the internet (when you have permission and when you don’t).
The latest release of Network for Good’s Digital Giving Index provides a snapshot of online giving for the first half of this year. This update looks at $71 million in donations to 20,000 charities on Network for Good’s online donation platform from January to June 2013. Check out the full infographic below, or visit Network for Good to view the index and all of our previous updates. Thanks to our friends at Event 360 for partnering with us to analyze this data.
How do you make sure you raise more through your fundraising event?This might sound painfully obvious, but it’s often overlooked by many nonprofits: Make sure to give attendees the option to give more at your event. Be appreciative of those who have purchased tickets and are attending your event, but recognize that a portion of your attendees will be ready and willing to do even more. Here are strategies for opening the door to more donations at your next event:Auctions & Raffles: Auctions, games, and raffles are popular ways to raise even more money. The best raffles and auctions feature items that tie back to your cause or reflect your community’s unique interests.Mobile Donations: Channel supporters’ good feelings into more gifts by reminding them that they can give on the spot via their mobile device. (Don’t have a mobile-friendly donation and events solution? Check out Network for Good’s affordable fundraising software.)Recurring Donations and Memberships: Create a “Donation Station” or membership kiosk that will help your loyal supporters set up a recurring gift or become members of your organization. Be sure to staff your booth to make this process personal, easy, and fun.Additional Gifts: Make it easy for attendees to not only register for tickets online, but to also give an additional donation.Illustrate Your Impact: When your donors feel like there is a real, tangible benefit as a result of their donation, they’ll be more likely to give again.Need an easy-to-use Fundraising Event and Ticketing tool? Schedule a personalized demo to learn how we can help you have your most successful event ever.
There are infinite ways to tell your nonprofit stories, but do you know which ones will lead to more donations? Check out these great tips shared in our free webinar, How to Use Content to Boost Your Donations. 2. Share stories on your blog.Blogging is a great way to grow your online presence, establish credibility, and increase your reach. You can highlight specific constituents, volunteers, staff, and board members—you can even let them write their own stories. Tying your blog to your website makes these testimonials, updates on upcoming events, and ongoing campaigns easy for visitors to access without receiving direct communication from you. 4. Turn donors into advocates with nurturing emails.Nurturing emails are a great way to consistently share your stories. Send welcome emails after a friend signs up for your blog, or deliver a series of emails to build anticipation once a guest signs up for an event. The goal is to familiarize people with your organization, explain how you’re being successful, describe what you want to accomplish, and share stories of successful fundraisers. Make what you’re doing human and relatable to inspire people to fundraise and advocate for your cause. 5. Revamp your annual report.After your annual report is published, do you know how many people are actually reading it? Chances are it’s not many! Because your annual report contains the proof, data, and impact of your mission, you should do everything possible to make people want to read it. Make it beautiful (forget endless columns of small black text), shareable (does it include great pictures and Twitter icons?), visual (do you have infographics and appealing charts to make your content easy to digest?), and accessible (is it easy to understand, and does it fit on your website?). Making your annual report more creative will encourage people to read it, share it, and donate in support of it!Want to learn more about how telling your stories can lead to better donor involvement and more money? Download the on-demand webinar presentation, How to Use Content to Boost Your Donations. 3. Tie donor actions to numbers.This might not sound like a story, but trust us, it is! Close the loop for your supporters by letting them know exactly what their donation will give someone else. Will it mean two pairs of shoes, a warm meal, an immunization? Donors love to know where their money is going and what impact they’re making on someone’s life. Including a visual makes the story of a donation more compelling to a potential donor. Many organizations are hesitant to make a video; it can be expensive, time consuming, and technical. But it can also be easy and inspiring. Connect with your viewers by telling them an easy-to-follow short story that centers on just one or two people. Focus on the quality of the story and engaging your viewer, not on making a super-high-quality video. Your supporters know you’re not Hollywood, so your video doesn’t need to be as technically savvy. 1. Tell personal stories through video.
Donor communications that connect—that appreciate, energize, and activate your prospects and donors—are the key to fundraising success. But you already know that.What you may not know, however, is that few organizations do donor communications well. Most have lots of room to improve, as evidenced by the focus on donor communications in conference agendas, e-newsletters, blog content in the field, Facebook chats, Twitter discussions, and more. If that’s your organization, you’re not alone!Now, with the release of Integrated Fundraising: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, by Mal Warwick/DonorDigital, we have proof of the ways most donor communications fail and the impact of those failures. If you’ve asked for resources to strengthen donor communications and have been turned down or just haven’t found the time to tackle them, this is the kick in the pants you need. These striking findings come from a six-month study of donor communications—both online and offline—from 16 large nonprofits, following online contributions to each organization. Since “multichannel donors are more loyal than single-channel donors,” researchers focused on how much and how well outreach is coordinated across channels for a consistent, recognizable, and satisfying donor experience.What I love about this report is that the researchers share what’s good, bad, and ugly in multiple dimensions so we get an idea of what’s working well (that is, what to strive for and what’s happening in organizations you’re competing with for donor dollars), as well as what’s not. Take a look at these findings:Thank you letters—a reliable cultivation tactic—arrive way too late or not at all. The quickest thank you letter, sent via USPS, arrived in 12 days. The slowest took 28 days. Eight organizations didn’t mail a thank you at all.Most donor communications content is inconsistent—in tone, message, and or/graphics—across channels, so it’s more likely to confuse and annoy recipients than to strengthen loyalty or motivate them to give. Most organizations do reach out to donors via multiple channels.Follow-up appeals via direct mail are frequently implemented, but that second ask can come months after the initial online gift, diminishing its success rate.Sustainer programs (aka monthly giving) provide a strong base of revenue, especially during economic dips, and “new online donors are highly responsive to monthly giving recruitment.” But only one organization integrated its monthly giving ask into mail and email, whereas four didn’t make monthly giving asks at all. There’s much more to learn in the full report, and I recommend that you download it now. Wherever your organization currently sits on the good, bad, and ugly continuum, there’s always room to do donor communications better.With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build the strong relationships that inspire key supporters to action. She shares her deep nonprofit marketing insights—and passion—through consulting, speaking, and her popular blog and e-news at GettingAttention.org.
My peers and I are the Tweens of adulthood. We are old enough to remember the milkman delivering to the doorstep, and young enough to appreciate the poetry of rap music—at least some of it. We are the children of the baby boom, and the parents of Millennials.Growing up, we were defined by our neighborhoods. Our parents chose neighborhoods based on what today we call affinity groups: ethnicity, education, class, age of kids. Our social network was the neighborhood. Accomplishments were celebrated with neighbors, and challenges were tackled with neighbors, often accompanied by a casserole. Charity began at home.Networked NeighborhoodsBetween the 70s and today, neighborhoods ceased to be the centrifugal center of social networks. Yet the desire for connection remains. We 40- and 50-somethings watch our kids form “neighborhoods” on their Social Networks. Likes, status updates, and feedback have replaced the celebratory visit, but they reinforce the importance of celebration.And importantly, a neighbor in need can draw support from a city of virtual neighborhoods. In the Dragonfly Effect, Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith tell an illustrative story: Sameer and Vinay, both afflicted with late-stage leukemia, used their networks to register 24,611 South Asian bone marrow donors in 11 weeks. There was an authentic need, clearly communicated, and “neighbors” around the country responded.Networks will increasingly power nonprofits.I recently re-read the Networked Nonprofit, by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine. It brings the networked nonprofit to life in this reflection.Networked Nonprofits don’t work harder or longer than other organizations, they work differently. They engage in conversations with people beyond their walls — lots of conversations — to build relationships that spread their work through the network. Incorporating relationship building as a core responsibility of all staffers fundamentally changes their to-do lists.”Strong networks also support cultivation of major donors and passionate evangelists who provide the backbone for nonprofits as they grow. And through social networks, charities and community organizations can become ’causes’, moving digital citizens to fuel their missions with energy, engagement and – yes – money.Millennials, in particular, say the charities they support are one way they express themselves, and 87% of Millennials in a 2011 survey said “my priority is to look after my family and community; charity begins at home.” And the home that Millennials are most closely tied to is the one they have chosen, in their networked neighborhood.If causes can become authentic institutions of these networked neighborhoods, they will find a new group of supporters who will celebrate their successes and help them tackle their challenges…without the casseroles.Follow Jamie on LinkedIn to get more insights on giving and mobilizing your community.Photo credit: David K., plasticrevolver on Flickr
In our latest Network for Good video clip, I share some key points about the state of online giving. Online donations continue to grow at a faster clip than overall giving as more of our communication and actions go online. As digital natives come into their own and as we see peer fundraising, mobile giving, and events like giving days become nonprofit staples, we expect online giving rates to climb more quickly. To make the most of digitally-minded donors, your online fundraising strategy needs to adhere to these core tenets:Online giving can’t be siloed. Your online fundraising efforts should be tied to your overall fundraising strategy, and integrated with your offline marketing outreach. Make sure your website, email, and social media messages match your direct mail appeals. Your donors’ conversation with you will span more than one channel. Many offline donors will still go online to learn more about you and read about the impact a gift could have. Online giving must be easy. The beauty of technology is that it can make things easier, faster, and more fun. Your donation experience should work to remove any barriers that might prevent someone from giving. Remember: the fewer steps and clicks it takes someone to complete a donation, the more likely they are to give.Online giving should encourage more gifts. In addition to making it easy to give, your donation experience should inspire donors to give more. By offering a compelling story, suggested donation amounts, and recurring giving options, you can increase your overall fundraising totals as well as your average online gift. Need to boost your fundraising results? These resources will help you think through your online strategy:Understand online fundraising patterns by reviewing the Digital Giving Index.Check to see how your online donation experience stacks up with the Donation Page Grader.Learn how to attract more donors with your website, through email, and via mobile and social in our Online Fundraising Survival Guide.Sign up for a free demo of Network for Good’s fundraising software. Our team will give you a full tour and answer your questions about which tools are right for your campaigns.How are you integrating online fundraising at your organization? Chime in below to share your tips and challenges with your fellow readers.
Fundraising ideas are always in demand for nonprofits, and the options are endless, but many of them cost a lot of money to produce. High-end fundraisers, like an annual gala, bring in the big donations, but they are a lot of work and can be very expensive to put on. Not everyone can participate in them, so you also need to have fundraisers that are more casual and easier to put on. Here are some ideas for low-cost, or free, fundraising events.Use What You’ve GotThe first step in free charity fundraising is to assess your resources. Take a look at what your organization already has that may be of use. If you have a building, look at your space — both inside and out — and see if you have a place you can use for an event. If the indoors is all office or clinic space, but you have a lawn, then consider an outdoor function. A couple of ideas to get you started thinking of possibilities might be:Build community by holding a small-town feeling event like a pancake breakfast or spaghetti supper. If you can get some “celebrity” chefs (the mayor, radio personalities, doctors, etc.), you can create a bigger draw.Support the arts by hosting an art show or sale. Use hallways as the gallery if you don’t have a room you can dedicate to the effort. You can sell pieces and charge a commission, encouraging sales by publicizing the fact that a certain percent of all sales goes to the charity. Of course, you can ask the artists to donate something for an auction too. Alternatively, you could just make it a show and ask local businesses to donate the prize money. Additional funds can be raised by selling ad space on a program or through sponsorships that you will publicize on flyers for the event. You also have the opportunity to make money from entry fees and guest admissions.Take Advantage of Fundraising WebsitesPhysical events are fun for guests and are a great way to give potential supporters a sense of connection with your organization, but more and more people are spending time online and developing personal networks there. Young people, especially, connect with others online and love to share what they are passionate about, so the Internet can be a great “place” for free fundraising.Auctions are great because the process is familiar; you get the donations, post details (pictures are vital!), and buyers make their offers and pay with online donations when it’s over. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, though. Consider the popularity of the “ice bucket challenge” that came out of nowhere and spread virally.Every organization is different, so the opportunities are endless. Hopefully, these ideas have given you a starting point for planning some events of your own.Network for Good has a blog with more free information on nonprofit marketing, including how to set up an effective donation page, and how to be successful at nonprofit fundraising. We also have specialists available to discuss how we can help you get the most out of your fundraising efforts, so contact us today or call 1-888-284-7978 x1.
Online donations have made fundraising better in many ways. Electronic giving is much easier to track and record, and it can also be simpler to get in the first place. When a donor is moved to act by an email or social media message, all they have to do is click on the donate button and fill in the amount they wish to give.It’s instant and so much easier for them than finding a checkbook, writing a check, then searching for a stamp, etc. — and that’s if you’ve already provided a business return envelope that’s pre-addressed. Finding an envelope and writing an address doesn’t sound like much effort, but it really does cause donors to put off sending in charitable contributions. And procrastination often leads to missed donations simply because people forget or miss the end of a specific campaign. An email fundraising campaign removes all the paper-related hurdles.Include Email Campaigns in Your Nonprofit Fundraising PlansEmail allows you to ask for donations repeatedly without being offensive – if you do it right. Design your email campaign to include a series of emails that all tie together but that each says something different. Here’s an example of how a series might go.Day 1: Celebratory kickoff announcement with an enthusiastic ask and a link to your fundraising website.Day 3: Case study demonstrating how vital your cause is, along with specific information on how much you want to raise and how the money will be used — and remember every email is going to ask your readers to donate and prominently display your link for making online donations.Day 7: Update on how the fundraising is going, reiteration of the goal, and a success story with quotes from someone who has been helped by the kind of project you are doing.Day 10: Thank you note to all who have given so far, from an executive or celebrity spokesperson, reiterating the benefits of achieving your goal.Day 13: Last-chance notice informing people that the campaign is coming to a close, so if they haven’t made a donation, they must do so immediately.You may be able to do more depending on the length of your campaign. This gives you an idea of how to get the word out without being too redundant. Each email includes unique content and shares something different.Mirror Your Email Campaign in Social MediaDuring a campaign, post your social media content on a similar schedule with abbreviated versions of the same messages found in your emails. If you have stories to share that are too long to include in a social post, put them on your fundraising website and include a link to them in a post that directs readers there. And of course ask everyone to share your posts!In essence, you set up your fundraising website, design your campaign, and share your message through email and social media. Use pictures and tell stories, just like you would in a print campaign. That’s the gist of a successful plan, and it makes managing donations a simple process for both you and your donors.Network for Good has a blog with more free information on how to be successful at nonprofit fundraising. We also have specialists available to discuss how we can help you get the most out of your fundraising efforts, so contact us today or call 1-888-284-7978 x1.
Network for Good loves #GivingTuesday! It’s the day after Cyber Monday, and just four days after the greed-fest madness of Black Friday. You might think that after spending all that money shopping, people would be tight with their purse strings, but in this case, we’ve found that not to be the case.#GivingTuesday Is Well Timed Thanksgiving puts everyone in a gratitude frame of mind, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday get people over-stimulated and competitive to grab the best deals; it’s true. But, a lot of folks are doing Christmas shopping, and perhaps that’s why they come out the other side with a sense of December being the giving season.Tax-savvy people are also aware that it’s the end of the year and time to make those tax-deductible donations, too! So whether for business or pleasure, people make a considerable amount of their charitable donations at this time of year.Network for Good’s Campaign Is Designed to Boost Your CampaignNetwork for Good’s campaign is called “N4G Gives,” and we are here to help get your team ready for easy fundraising this giving season. We want to make this your best holiday season ever by providing tools, training and the most effective tactics to reach your donors.For clients of Network for Good using our DonateNow or GiveCorps fundraising platforms*, there are even more valuable offers, including:Pool of $125,000 available in matching funds to make fundraising for a cause even more successful and fun“Featured Nonprofits” status, to give you extra visibility with our donorsSpecialized coachingClient-exclusive webinars and tool kitsEither way, whether you are a client or a guest on our website, you’ll find plenty of inspiration and useful information to help make this year’s #GivingTuesday your best ever. We hope to be your partner in starting (or continuing) a tradition of making #GivingTuesday one of your biggest and most fun fundraisers of the year.*For those who aren’t familiar with our fundraising platforms—we offer two different programs, so there’s bound to be one that suits your needs:DonateNow: Professionally designed, fully customizable donation websites that make donors want to give. The platform comes with built-in coaching and shares our expertise from many years of fundraising with organizations of all sizes and types.GiveCorps: Project-based funding and crowdfunding platform designed to draw in more donors and make it easy for your donors to support you even more by engaging their personal networks through peer to peer fundraising.To learn more about DonateNow and GiveCorps contact us today or call 1-888-284-7978 x1.
Fundraising for a Cause? Look into Peer FundraisingPeer fundraising, also called peer to peer fundraising, has become a popular way to raise money, but it is also exceptionally useful for spreading the word about your cause. In addition to meeting your nonprofit fundraising goals, you also gain new supporters.How Peer Fundraising WorksYour existing supporters become your first line of outreach in a peer fundraising campaign. As with any fundraiser, you begin with your plan. Then, instead of just sending out your appeal, you also send out a request to forward your information, share on social media, etc. to your supporters’ own personal networks. With minimal effort, you are able to turn your supporters into advocates for your cause and have them help raise the money your organization needs.Keep It SimpleBecause you are so passionate about your cause, your organization, and fundraising, it can be tempting to provide your supporters with too much information. Your supporters can get easily overwhelmed if they feel like they are being asked to do anything that’s too involved. Therefore, ensure your peer fundraising materials are more simplified than what you might present otherwise.You still need to make a strong case, and nothing does that better than engaging stories. Make it clear with your heading that it is a story, and use a layout that indicates a quick read, as opposed to an academic presentation of the “facts,” so that people will be drawn in and not be afraid they don’t have the time to read it now.Peer Fundraising Is an Online EndeavorInclude links to your donation page wherever it’s appropriate. If your organization gains a supporter, but she can’t figure out how to contribute, then the effort was wasted. Your supporters know that they are asking for money and their friends recognize the technique by now.Taking advantage of peer fundraising has enabled even very small nonprofit fundraising efforts to reach huge numbers of people. Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet in this new, and fun, approach!Network for Good has a blog with more free information on how to be successful at nonprofit fundraising. We also have specialists available to discuss how we can help you get the most out of your peer fundraising efforts. Call us today at 1-855-229-1694 to learn more!
Network for Good works with so many amazing nonprofits and we want to introduce you to them and the great work they are doing! Because May is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I want you to meet one of my favorite customers who is doing amazing work helping child sexual abuse survivors heal their whole being.Meet Firecracker Foundation The Firecracker Foundation challenges their supporters to build a blaze, to be a part of the network that keeps and builds the lively sparks in child survivors. From the adult survivors who serve as mentors to the therapists and yoga instructors who offer their time and expertise, Firecracker truly has built a community of healing around the children survivors they serve. That community isn’t just by happenstance; they’ve consciously made recurring giving the heart of their fundraising strategy as a way to ensure the continued success of their communal work. On a larger scale, however, The Firecracker Foundation is about community. Tashmica Torok, the founder of Firecracker, has built her organization around the historical idea of community members being charged with keeping the communal fire burning. From their mission to their fundraising strategy, this ethos of the many coming together for a common goal is extremely evident. We are honored to serve the Firecracker Foundation as their online donation software provider! You guys are amazing! Using Facebook to rally attendance at events is a great way to meet supporters where they already are: Facebook. During their year-end campaign Firecracker Foundation’s Instagram feed kept supporters updated on how close they were to hitting their goal. http://t.co/FKbNzanWBF #ItsTimeToAct #SAAM2015 #LetsEndViolence #SexualAssaultAwarenessMonth— The Firecracker Fdn (@FirecrackerFdn) April 7, 2015 Due to the sensitive nature of their work, it might not be safe to display the photos of those they serve. However, they embrace that challenge and still share images that show the impact of donors’ gifts, without showing clients’ faces. Social media gives organizations the unique opportunity of giving supporters an inside peek into all the work you do. In addition to their work with sexual abuse survivors, Firecracker Foundation also trains advocates. Their Model Stellar Social Media Don’t worry about constantly generating original content, share content that will resonate with your supporters and promote your mission. On a day-to-day basis, The Firecracker Foundation works with survivors of childhood sexual trauma through long-term strategies of therapy, arts enrichment, and yoga practice. Their work is focused on healing the whole individual. Firecracker Foundation takes their emphasis of community involvement and engagement beyond the clients they serve and the advocates they train. They also take that energy to social media. Check out these posts from their social channels: As one of our “Spotlight” nonprofits, we encourage you to take a look at the great work they’re doing and spread the love by following them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Kari Saratovsky: I’ve spent the better part of the past five years trying to understand the complexity of what is now the largest and most diverse generation in our history. When I finished reading the Playbook, I was thirsting to know even more, so I asked to interview superstar author Kari Saratovsky. With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build strong relationships that inspire key supporters to action. She shares her deep nonprofit marketing insights—and passion—through consulting, speaking, and her popular blog and e-news at GettingAttention.org. Millennials probably aren’t your most generous donor cohort today, but they are the leading indicator of online trends and where your organization needs to shift its communications and fundraising focus. You talk about embracing the “Millennial mindset.” What does that mean, and how do you make it happen? However, Millennials will be the recipients of a $41 trillion transfer of wealth. This presents nonprofits with a huge opportunity to build relationships today that will deepen over time. When NFG recognized that its community was struggling to engage this younger donor cohort, I jumped on the chance to craft this guide. But they’re also impulsive and want to donate easily, whether that’s online, via their phones, or whatever other device is on hand. Plus, because they have limited dollars today, they want to be able to pool their resources with friends and peers for a greater impact. All of this is forcing organizations to get smarter with their outreach to this generation. Yes and no. Millennials want what any smart donor wants. They want to know the impact of the dollars they invest in an organization. They want to be thanked and recognized for their efforts. They want to feel like they’re making a tangible difference. Embracing the Millennial mindset is an opportunity for organizations to integrate qualities that are important to Millennials—such as openness, transparency, and appreciation of diversity and collaboration—into their culture asap. But remember: The only way to get there is to share this recommendation, using data and anecdotes, to get buy-in from your peers and leadership. Everyone has to be invested in making this shift, and it won’t happen overnight. So get started now! Do Millennials really have different expectations when it comes to their philanthropic giving? Nancy Schwartz: Kari, why did you dig into this topic? Read Part Two »Wow! I’m amazed and delighted by the just-released Millennial Donor Playbook (download your free copy here). We finally have a much-needed guide to engaging these prospects who are influencing change across organizations and generations. This prerequisite to current and future fundraising success applies to donors across all generations—and it’s prompting a shift in organizational culture, from large, national-affiliate organizations to small, community-based ones. Peer-to-peer is big in online giving. What’s the secret of five-star peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns? Organizations get the greatest response from peer-to-peer campaigns when they equip their existing donor base with the tools to make it easy for them to engage their friends, colleagues, and families. All of a sudden, you can connect with people who may be one or two times removed from your immediate network, and the possibilities to build upon that are endless. That’s exponential reach, at least potentially. We provide specific how-tos in the Playbook. If you’re still trying to decide if peer-to-peer or social fundraising is right for you, review this list of questions you should be asking. Download your copy of The Millennial Donor Playbook today. But to open that door, you have to be willing to relinquish some control and trust that your people know what their families and friends care about and want. And you have to remain confident that the most passionate members of your network will be the strongest champions of your cause. We’ll be back with Part 2 soon. Thanks so much, Kari! What I’ve learned is that while organizations are on an endless search for the silver bullet to engaging Millennials, there is no magic wand to engage the broad range of Millennial perspectives and backgrounds. Alas!