Tue, August 28 2007

People (women especially) say they’re really generous

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

Today SunTrust Bank’s PR agency (Edelman) sent me a summary of a survey the bank conducted in advance of their new charity promotion. SunTrust is giving new checking account customers $100 to donate to the new customer’s favorite charity or a $50 gift card that customers can spend on themselves. 

The telephone survey of 2,058 adults over the age of 18 found this:

More than half of respondents (59%) said they would prefer to give the donation to charity rather than get the cash (33%) for themselves. 

I asked Edelman the obvious: Now that the charitable promotion, called MyCause, is underway, are that many people really choosing charity over cash?  The reason for my question is, people are notoriously bad predictors of their behavior.  They tend to answer what they feel they should say rather than what they really think.  In my book, I tell the story related by Kristen Grimm about everyone in a focus group claiming how much they’d love a yellow boom box.  As they left, they were given a gift of a boom box, and they got to choose the color.  Most everyone picked black over yellow.  This is a limitation of research that’s probably even more pervasive with charity—we all want to look charitable, after all.

Edelman said it’s too soon to tell, but I look forward to hearing more about the results when they are in.  I hope people really are that generous, because I’d like to see giving-related promotions succeed.

SunTrust also asked a bunch of questions about past charitable activities (which is probably more sound than predictive data), and the results are very interesting.  I applaud them for sharing this data, so we can learn from it.  I also applaud SunTrust for incorporating charity into their promotions. 

Here’s the run-down:

-Nine in 10 Americans regularly donate to charitable causes

-Women are more likely than men to give to a charitable cause (93% vs. 87%); women are also more inclined to choose the $100 SunTrust donation over the cash incentive (65% vs. 54%) 

-Younger Americans (18-34 year olds) are also more generous with their non-monetary support than older Americans (35+ years old), and are more willing to purchase products to support a cause, volunteer with the organization, attend fundraisers and participate in large-scale events.  They are also more likely to wear bracelets or other accessories associated with a cause. 

-Respondents were also most likely to support causes relating to their church or other religious organization (53%); to organizations that combat hunger and poverty (50%); or to provide disaster relief from hurricanes and other natural catastrophes (48%). The non-profit organizations least likely to receive donations from survey respondents were those supporting animal causes (32%) [Note: this was pre-Michael Vick]; environmental issues (25%); or the arts and culture (21%).     

-The survey also found that most Americans don’t have an “either/or” approach to supporting their favorite causes: Those who had made recent monetary donations to charity are also significantly more likely (94%) to support non-profit organizations in other ways than those who haven’t donated recently (74%).

-On average, Americans spend 4.1% of their annual household income on charitable causes; those over 55 years of age donate the largest percentage (4.6%) versus those 18-34 (3.8%)

-Across gender, age and region, Americans were most motivated to give back for two reasons: It’s the right thing to do (89%) and because they want to help others (88%). Just 26% of respondents say they donate money to receive a tax write-off

-Three-quarters of Americans (76%) prefer to support their charity of choice by giving money instead of by volunteering time

-Southern adults donate the highest proportion (4.5%) of their income to charitable causes, followed by the Midwest (4.2%), the West (4.0%) and the Northeast (3.6%)

-Two in three Americans (63%)  give money directly to people in need, such as those on the street or via churches and community organizations

-Seven in 10 Americans are inclined to do business with companies that give back to their communities

For more details about the SunTrust “My Cause” poll or promotion, go here

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Mon, August 27 2007

Eight things your home page should have

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Websites and web usability •

Last week, my frolleague Mark Rover of Sea Change hosted our free Nonprofit 911 call here at Network for Good.  It focused on easy fixes to underperforming web sites, and I wanted to share a few gems from him.


Anyone should be able to tell in four seconds who you are/what you do.


Eight Things A Nonprofit Home Page Should Have

1. A guessable URL
2. Your postal address (so you look legit and so people can send you a check if they want)
3. Your phone number (shows you’re real, makes you accessible)
4. Email sign-up (so you can cultivate people after they visit)
5. Keyword density (so people will find you via search) - this is so important!
6. Donate Now buttons (on the main part of the page and in the navigation)
7. A pathway for learning more about the organization (a case for why you should donate)
8. Images - strong, emotional ones that are clickable (people expect images to be clickable - send them to your case for giving or your donate form)

What it should NOT have?  Too many words.  Or any of the qualities of the wretched sites Mark highlights here.

Stay tuned for details on the next Nonprofit 911 call - you’ll be invited.

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Tue, August 21 2007

What to do about that new generation

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Social Media •

By Darrenxyz, flickr.

I’m turning 40 next week, and one of the depressing consequences is realizing I’m not really a “new generation” of anything anymore.  Oh well.  Whatev. 

My day was brightened today, however, by having Network for Good’s Six Degrees profiled in an article in the Wall Street Journal on the “New Generation of Philanthropy.”  The article says:

Young donors and volunteers, snubbing traditional appeals such as direct mail and phone calls, are satisfying their philanthropic urges on the Internet. They’re increasingly turning to blogs and social-networking Web sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, to spread the word about—and raise funds for—their favorite nonprofits and causes. They’re sending Web-based fund-raising pitches to their friends and families, encouraging them, in turn, to forward the appeals to their own contacts.

So what does this mean for nonprofits?  What does one do in an online world that is increasingly about this kind of portability and personalization?  Is your web 1.0 web destination site enough anymore? 

What do you do when the “new generation” is constantly generating new stuff, and you’re feeling decades behind in this decentralized new world?

I want to share how some smart people just answered those types of questions.  Micro Persuasion just dubbed this the “cut and paste” era, which I think is a very good way of summing up the Internet today.  Steve Rubel means:

Imagine for a moment that you can take any piece of online content that you care about - a news feed, an image, a box score, multimedia, a stream of updates from your friends - and easily pin it wherever you want. Once clipped, you can drop the content on your desktop, an online start page like Windows Live or Pageflakes, “the deck” of your mobile device or even “a crawl” on your Internet-connected television… It’s the coming era of the Cut and Paste Web.

Here’s what he - and one of his readers - recommends you do.  I agree on all counts.

1. Think web services, not websites.  What he means here is, make things that plug into other sites.  Or better yet, use things that do that for you - like fundraising widgets.

2. Connect people.  Help consumers clustering around different goals (making money, being entertained, etc.) with something that gives them value while promoting your cause.  The LA Fire Department uses twitter to alert people when disaster strikes.  I get local government disaster alerts on my cell phone.

3. Make everything portable.  Make everything you’ve got to offer, embeddable.

4. (This one from his reader, Rich Pearson): Understand where and how your content is being used.  Check out what is spreading so you know what works, what doesn’t, and what is your ROI.

If I had to sum all this up, I’d say this: Do not expect anyone to come to you any more.  Go to where people are online. 


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Tue, August 21 2007

If your website sucks, call this number

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Social Media •

My wonderful frolleague Mark Rovner of Sea Change Strategies is presenting a FREE teleconference on Thursday.  Topic:  How to fix a bad website for next to nothing.  This is part of our Nonprofit 911 teleconference series here at Network for Good. Details below!

Date: Thursday, August 23, 2007

Time: 1pm-2pm (Eastern)
Noon-1pm (Central)
11am-Noon (Mountain)
10am-11am (Pacific)

Cost: Free. A service of Network for Good for nonprofits.

To register and receive the dial-in instructions, please visit this page.


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Mon, August 20 2007

Ten tips for not getting trashed

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

This is your audience.  Really.

So what do you do about this situation?

Here are ten tips to avoid getting trashed:

1. Think before you send.  Do you have the right audience, right message and right time for that message?  Not sure?  Then freeze!  Put down the postal meter slowly and take your finger off that send button.  Don’t waste your time—or your audience’s.

2. Send to people who want to receive your message.  You could buy a ginormous list of cold prospects or focus on a carefully built list of people who care.  You’ll do much better with the latter group, who have given you permission to communicate with them.  They will be far less likely to consider you trash.

3. Focus your message on your audience’s interests, aspirations and desires rather than your own need for money.  It will work better.

4. Keep it simple - too many ideas and too much text will get you trashed. 

5. Get to the point in spectacular fashion, in the first few words.  The headline of your envelope or the subject line of your email needs to seize the audience’s attention.  Don’t ever bury the lead.  (A good trick that usually works - throw out your first paragraph.)

6. Offer something of value to the reader—helpful tips, for example.  Those are likely to be saved, not trashed.  People will think of you in a favorable way.

7. Segment and personalize.  The more the missive speaks to the receiver as an individual, the more likely they will perceive it as something other than spammy slop.

8.  Be different.  People are drowning in (e)mail.  Whether it’s the shape of your envelope, the tone of your message or the startling honesty of your subject line, a standout element is required.

9. Make the call to action so incredibly easy to do, people just can’t say no.  Strive for a one-click or one-second level of ease.

10.  Make it easy for people to unsubscribe or get off your mailing list.  Listen to Dr. Wilson and include an unsubscribe button—or a prepaid postcard allowing people to tell you they don’t want your mail or prefer different kind of communication (a feature you could advertise on the outside of the envelope).  Getting that kind of postcard would amaze and delight me!


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