Fri, September 19 2008

Wall Street is tanking, but your ROI is gold.

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

It’s easy to worry the financial crises rocking our markets are going to kill fundraising this year.

Just remember, in an era when Lehman is nearly worthless and so many investments look like they’re offering low returns, you are priceless.

Remind your donors of their amazing ROI with you.

For a few dollars, they get a helper’s high.  They feel good because they did good.  It’s cheaper than therapy.

Their investment in your organization doesn’t yield paper profits.  It changes lives.  Always.

Be passionate and persuasive about your emotional ROI - and your human ROI. 

Those who can afford it will get it and give.

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Thu, September 18 2008

Good thoughts from Seth Godin

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

Seth Godin kindly donated his time to Network for Good yesterday, presenting our most popular Nonprofit 911 call ever.  Over two thousand people registered for it!  You can listen here, but here’s my most favorite thing he said (and I paraphrase slightly):  we have to stop spamming people for support.  Stop trying to interrupt them and get them to pay attention.  There are too many people doing it.

As Seth said, this not working as well as it used to.  The number of people who are trying to interrupt audiences has gone way up.  The noise has increased dramatically, so a lot of nonprofits are struggling.

If you take this approach, you have to talk to 100 people to get one donor or 1,000 people to get one trustee. 

Instead, you should get your biggest supporters talking for you. 

That changes the equation fundamentally.

So what do you do?  The opportunity is to not to interrupt people.  What you do is empower people who already believe in you to speak up on your behalf.  Create ideas worth spreading. 

People don’t talk about our causes for many reasons, from discomfort to laziness, so we have to change that by organizing our work to be worth talking about.

You can read Seth’s free publication on this - called Flipping the Funnel here.

Thank you Seth for your ideas and inspiration!

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Sun, September 14 2008

Why and how to listen

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

My father does a funny thing with chairs.  If he hasn’t seen you for a long time, he’ll rearrange the furniture so he can sit directly across from you and fully absorb every word you utter.  At my house, he once moved an immense armchair and ottoman clear across the living room to better hear an old friend sitting on my sofa.

It was startling gesture for the friend.  It was something I’m used to.  My father always removes any obstacle that gets in the way of listening to friends or family or patients in his work as a psychiatrist.  My whole life, he has started most conversations with the words, “Tell me everything.”  Now he says it to my own children.

This is very, very rare.

We don’t face each other very much any more, and we rarely listen.  We are stunned when someone devotes their full attention to us.  Imagine if you did that for the people you want to reach. Imagine what might change.

Bad things happen when we stop paying attention to the people around us.  We lose them.  Our relationships suffer.  Social injustices occur – just ask a homeless person how invisible she feels.  Our supporters abandon us.  Our customers hate us.  (Our customers really hate us – look no further than untied.com, a website devoted to people frustrated their complaints are not heard by United Airlines.)

My frolleague Mark Rovner and I believe that extraordinary things happen when we recognize people – when we truly hear, see and acknowledge them.  Making people FEEL HEARD creates great relationships, strong societies, powerful organizations and profitable, popular businesses. 

That’s different from listening to everything people say and acting upon what they say.  Seth Godin has helped me see that distinction.  They key thing is to make people feel heard - and then as a leader of a customer service department or philanthropic organization, figuring out what patterns in the comments and subtext beneath the comments signal something you should address.

Make sure, as Seth says, you have a way for them to speak.  That gives you a way to make them feel heard.

More on that this week.

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Thu, September 11 2008

Becoming a Purple Nonprofit

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Author, blogger and marketing guru Seth Godin has spent his career helping nonprofits find a way to stand out. Next week, Seth will be offering his advice directly to nonprofits during Network for Good’s Nonprofit 911 teleconference series. As with all of the trainings, this call is free and we’re excited for Seth to share his words of marketing wisdom to teach nonprofits to become “purple,” as well as give an introduction to Squidoo. Registration’s open now for anyone interested in calling in. 
 
Last week, Seth also stepped in as our guest author for the Online Fundraising and Nonprofit Marketing Tips e-newsletter. You can read it here. If you would like to be in the loop about future trainings and events, you can subscribe to Tips, too.

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Fri, September 05 2008

4 ways to turn one-time givers into monthly donors

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

At one of Network for Good’s recent Nonprofit 911 calls, Alia McKee of Sea Change Strategies and I were asked, how do you convert one-time donors to habitual givers.  Thanks Alia for helping me answer this one!

Here’s what we said:

•Make sure your donation form asks what type of gift the donor wants to make (“Do you want to give us a monthly gift?”). Whenever you’re asking for money, ask for the monthly pledge, not just a one-time gift.

•Revisit the language you’re using in your appeals. Frame your ask in such a way that it’s a win-win situation—monthly donations for you, convenience and budgeting for your donors.

•Package the appeal in an exciting way. For example, some organizations have an ambassador program or a sponsor-a-child every month program. Put a face on that sustainable gift. This way you’re creating some tangible tie to the idea of giving every month.

•Don’t be afraid to ask for a monthly gift of support after someone completes a one-time transaction. It can be ingrained as a nice thank-you message: “Thank you so much for making a one-time gift. This is how you can put your support to work for us each and every month. Would you consider becoming a monthly supporter?” We’ve seen great success in converting first-time online donors into monthly donors by doing that within the first three days of them making their first online gift.

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