Mon, October 28 2013
If you’re planning to wait until December to reach out to your donors, you may be too late. Setting the stage for your year-end fundraising push is as important as the ask itself. This is true for a few reasons. First, no one wants to be ignored all year, only to be asked for money when they finally do hear from you. That’s not much of a relationship.
Second, it often takes more than one message to get donors to act. While marketers don’t agree on a magic number, it pays to consider the effective frequency of your message—that is, the number of times it will take for someone to see your marketing message before they take action.
So, how do you wake up donors and get them ready for giving season? Here are a few places to start:
Send a warm-up email.
If you haven’t communicated with your donors recently, reach out to them this week to update them on all of the good *they’ve* done this year through their gifts. Remind them that you’ve put their donations to good use and give them the opportunity to see the results. By taking some time to rekindle their positive feelings about your organization now, you’ll prime donors to be ready to take action in a few weeks. Need some ideas for your email outreach? Download Network for Good’s free Nonprofit Guide to Email Engagement.
Get supporters talking via social.
Once you’ve shown up in their inbox, get on your donors’ social radar by inviting them into a conversation about your work and the latest news about your cause. People want to invest in other people they trust, not faceless institutions. Social media is a great way to let donors see the real you and forge a meaningful connection with your nonprofit.
Follow up with event attendees.
If you’ve held a fundraising event this year, you have the perfect opportunity to reach out to these highly engaged supporters to update them on the outcome of the event, and let them know how they can stay involved with your organization. If you haven’t recapped your event to relive all of the amazing stuff that happened, what are you waiting for? Reminding your event attendees of this shared experience helps them feel closer to your organization, and much more likely to give again.
Thu, October 24 2013
Filed under: Fundraising essentials •
Today is Network for Good’s official Be Your Donor Day. Today is the day all nonprofits should review their digital fundraising channels through their donors’ eyes. Of course, while every day should be Be Your Donor Day at your organization, we want to encourage all fundraisers to devote some time today to experiencing their outreach and donation process from their donor’s perspective.
A third of all online giving will happen in December—now is the time to make sure your donors will have an easy giving experience that inspires and delights them. Don’t let your hard work of creating a great year-end fundraising plan go to waste! Make it your mission to find and fix any problems that may trip up your donors before the busiest giving days of the year.
So, what can you do to celebrate Be Your Donor Day? Here are some suggestions:
—Visit our Be Your Donor Day headquarters for donor-centric fundraising resources, including a Be Your Donor checklist and year-end fundraising guide.
—Pledge to set aside time to view your entire fundraising and donation process from your donor’s perspective.
—Put on your “donor hat” and make a donation, submit a contact form on your website, and call your main phone line. What happens? Is the process what you’d expect? Is it easy?
—Ask a friend or family member (someone not overly familiar with your organization) to help you test your website and donation page.
—Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #BeYourDonor.
We asked a few of our friends in the nonprofit space to share their suggestions for Be Your Donor Day. Read on and check out their amazing tips:
Kivi Leroux Miller wants you to rethink your newsletter strategy. Make it a valuable resource for your donors.
Social Media for Nonprofits co-founder Darian Rodriguez Heyman recommends you follow the Burrito Principle when timing your social media posts. Post important updates when your donors and supporters are most likely checking their feeds.
Joanne Fritz suggests you view your website from the donor perspective. In addition to having a nice, clean layout with a prominent DonateNow button, your website should also strive to answer your donor’s most important questions.
Form connections and get to know your donors, supporters and prospects, says Nancy Schwartz. Do donors feel connected to you and your organization?
Big Duck’s Farra Trompeter shared this gem from last year’s Be Your Donor Day: make sure your donors love you! Here are 11 ways donors show you they care about your organization.
Take the pledge to Be Your Donor and make your emails, donation page, website, and social media more donor friendly!
I’d love to hear your ideas—share how you plan to “Be Your Donor” in the comments below.
Tue, October 22 2013
We’ve all heard it before, “Give me your Rolodex, give me 20 names that I can contact.” It can be overwhelming to produce a big list of people who are eager to raise money for your cause. But what if 20 names is 19 too many? What if all you need is just one? This is the idea proposed by philanthropist Jeffrey Walker and fundraising expert Jennifer McCrea in their recent book, The Generosity Network.
Asking your nonprofit board members for just one person who might be interested in joining your cause will seem more manageable to them and is more likely to generate a thoughtful response. That way, you can meet with someone who is open to starting a relationship with you and—ultimately—your organization.
Meet in an intimate setting.
Invite your new contact to meet, but beware of asking them to your office! Conference rooms can be beautiful spaces: great for viewing PowerPoints, but actually hosting an intimate first meeting? Forget it! Go to coffee or breakfast so that you can be in a space that is made for conversation. In a coffee shop, sharing your story won’t come across as rehearsed the way it automatically would in a conference room or at someone’s desk. Context is everything.
Form a connection.
Remember, this first meeting isn’t a sales call; it’s a chance to authentically connect. Be ready to ask what your new contact truly values and consider saying, “For the record, I’m not going to ask you for money today.” If people think you’re just there to extract something from them, they might be worrying about your potential ask. If they’re only half listening, it will be hard to build a relationship of trust and explore a potential partnership. But don’t wait too long to ask for a commitment! It’s important to share what your organization is doing and what you could achieve together.
For more ideas on developing a relationship with your donors and how to turn them from one-time customers into lifelong partners, access the archived webinar presentation of Nonprofit 911: Build Your Generosity Network with Jennifer McCrea and Jeff Walker.
Mon, October 21 2013
Filed under: Partnerships •
This week, our friends at Taproot Foundation are casting the spotlight on Pro Bono Week, a “global celebration of the pro bono ethic across all professions that use their talents to make a difference.” Tapping into pro bono support can help your organization acquire the professional skills necessary to achieve your nonprofit fundraising and marketing goals. So, how can nonprofits join the celebration? Here are three ideas:
Try “pro bono raising”.
In addition to your normal fundraising plans, consider creating a campaign to secure pro bono help in the areas where you need support. This will not only help you boost your program results, but also boost the impact of your donor dollars. The money that you would have spent on human resources can now be allocated to other parts of your mission.
Leverage your board.
Pro Bono Week is a perfect opportunity to get your board involved in a new way. Ask your board members to think about pro bono resources that may be available their own networks. Use Taproot’s board tools, powered by BoardSource and LinkedIn, to help your board members search their networks for expertise in your area. This is a great alternative to only asking your board for fundraising contacts.
Thank your pro bono supporters.
Just as you would nurture your donors with a great stewardship plan, or celebrate your volunteers with an appreciation event, take the time to highlight your pro bono partners. Use Pro Bono Week as a reminder to say thank you and acknowledge the impact of your pro bono resources.
Do you use pro bono services to power your mission? Tell us about your projects and how pro bono professionals have made a difference for your nonprofit.
Fri, October 18 2013
Filed under: Social Media •
If you’re still not sure what your organization should be doing with social media, it would be a good idea to figure it out soon. As social media use continues to grow, this channel is becoming even more important to online donors as a way to connect with causes and find news and information.
Here are some social media fun facts:
- 27% of online time is now spent on social networking. Source: Experian Tweet this stat.
- 47% of those 45 and younger in the U.S. say social media is more valuable than search for discovering news. Source: Reuters Tweet this stat.
- Thanks to recent algorithm changes, Google now uses many social factors as top criteria for ranking search results. Source: Searchmetrics Tweet this fact.
- Twitter’s fastest growing age demographic is 55 to 64 year olds. Source: Global Web Index Tweet this stat.
Want some help with your nonprofit’s social media strategy? Nonprofit communication expert Farra Trompeter of Big Duck will join us on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 1pm EDT for a free Network for Good webinar. Farra is a seasoned fundraising and nonprofit marketing professional who has helped hundreds of nonprofits create amazing campaigns and communicate more effectively via social channels. This is a perfect opportunity to learn from one of the best. Registration is free and I hope you can join us. (Note: If you can’t attend the live stream, we’ll send you the presentation so you can review it on demand.)
Develop Your Social Media Strategy
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 1 pm EDT