Wed, November 12 2014

3 Steps to a Powerful, All-Organization Team of Messengers [Part One]

Nancy Schwartz's avatar

Nonprofit Marketing Expert

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I recently completed an all-new message platform for the largest human services organization in Massachusetts. The platform included a tagline, positioning statement, talking points or key messages at organization and program level, and elevator conversation.

This agency is renowned for high-quality service delivery, but even many of the folks who know it best—referring health care providers, current clients and their families—think it provides a far narrower range of services in fewer locations than it currently does.

This kind of disconnect is an organizational nightmare—especially when the agency has done so much to shape its network of services, approaches, and locations in response to community needs. Ugh!

So I was thrilled when the communications director asked me to work with her and her colleagues to create a brand, including messages, that more accurately reflects the agency today and links to what’s most important to its key supporters, partners, and clients.

The new brand (brand promise plus message and graphic identity) is now complete, and the website built on that brand will soon launch. Now I’ve guided the communications director to tackle the most powerful strategy of all: Asking, training, and supporting her colleagues, clients, and volunteers to be effective messengers.

Your organization can also benefit hugely by pioneering an all-org message team. Here’s why that’s so important.

Your problem: Well-meaning but incorrect or confusing messages deter the actions you want.

You’re the solo marketer or fundraiser in your organization, or that’s just part of your job, or you’re one of a team of five or even 10. No matter your situation, your marketing’s reach is limited to the conversations you have and the multiple communication channels you put to work.

Unfortunately, because you’ve never asked your colleagues, partners, clients, or other supporters to spread the word about your organization’s work and impact—or trained them how to do so—they are likely producing an unintended yet damaging consequence in the course of their daily work or conversations.

Their conversations with your target audiences—the people whose help you need to move your mission forward—probably feature conflicting descriptions of your organization’s focus and impact; inconsistent use of the tagline you rely on to stir interest, inquiries, and action; dead silences; and pure misinformation shared simply because they aren’t aware they could do better for your organization or don’t know how to.

Your solution: A coordinated team of confident messengers.

Imagine this: Your colleagues, leadership, clients, partners, and others are effective messengers. Their comfort in delivering your organization’s message platform (as talking points, not a robotic script) builds momentum and sparks connections.

Because your team of messengers interacts in the course of their daily work with people you’d never get to talk to—whether as program staff delivering services, the donation services team taking calls during your fund drive, or board members discussing their board work with colleagues at their own place of employment—your organization benefits from consistent outreach to an extended circle of contacts. It’s an exponential gain in building momentum and sparking connection.

Read Part Two

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  

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Tue, November 11 2014

Double December Giving with #GivingTuesday!

Jamie McDonald's avatar

Chief Giving Officer, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Giving Days •

It’s game time!

What a great time of year! For all fundraisers, November and December are the playoffs and Superbowl. Success in the next seven weeks will provide the financial foundation for the impact that can be made on those we serve in 2015.

If you could invest energy in a program that could double the growth of your December giving, of course you’d do it, right?That’s what #GivingTuesday may do for your organization.

Double your growth this December

Last month, our partners at DonorPerfect released data about the impact of #GivingTuesday on the critical year-end giving season. What they found was compelling:

· The movement is gaining traction.#GivingTuesday participants in 2013 had a great day:

o Number of gifts rose 89%
o Average gift size rose 39%
o Total raised rose 162%

· More funds are raised overall in December among #GT participants.

o Overall December giving rose 6.8% in 2013 versus total December giving growth of 3.7% for non-#GivingTuesday participants

· More funds are raised ONLINE in December among #GT participants.

o Total December online giving rose 19.4% in 2013 for #GivingTuesday participants versus total December online giving growth of onlyv8.4% for non-#GivingTuesday participants

There’s still time for a winning strategy

#GivingTuesday has hit the mainstream and donors around the country (and the world!) want to be part of this powerful generosity movement. As one fundraiser who participated in the DonorPerfect survey put it, “It is a heartfelt reminder of the true spirit of the season, giving people a chance to feel good and contribute positively right after a time of consumerism and indulgence.”

The good news for nonprofits interested in #GivingTuesday is that there is still time to run a campaign. Campaigns large and small show results, so even with only three weeks to go, it’s not too late to jump in.

The checklist below provides you with a step-by-step gameplan for making the most of the remaining three weeks.

AND…Network for Good has matching funds to fuel your success

Matching funds are one of the most powerful tools for activating supporters. Even a small match can be leveraged to inspire donors to give, and give more, on #GivingTuesday.

Network for Good has $125,000 in matching funds to help fuel generosity in the N4G community on #GivingTuesday.

We’ll be matching a percentage of every donation for Network for Good DonateNow clients, and we’re also giving special grants on #GivingTuesday to N4G leaders in three categories:

· $3,000 to the nonprofit with the most new recurring donors.
· $3,000 to the nonprofit with the most Donors
· $4,000 to the nonprofit with the most dollars raised.

If you’re not a Network for Good DonateNow client, you can still take advantage of our free tools, training and resources.

FREE Checklist to get you ready

With only three weeks until #GivingTuesday, here are our recommendations about the most important things you can do right now to get ready for December 2nd.


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Wed, November 05 2014

Why Donors Want to Help One Person but Not Every Person

Liz Ragland's avatar

Marketing Content Associate, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials • Marketing essentials •

An NPR story caught my attention this morning. Maybe you heard it too? The story was about a psychologist’s study on what kind of message inspires people to give more.

According to psychologist Paul Slovic’s research about how the head and heart can influence how much people want to give to support a cause, your message is more compelling when you tell the story of one and stick to how a donor’s investment can help that one person, not many.

In Slovic’s study, volunteers heard a story about a young girl suffering from starvation. The researchers then stepped into the fundraiser’s role and made an ask. They measured how much this group was willing to donate to help this girl. Next, a second group of volunteers heard the same story about the little girl and were told some overwhelming statistics about starvation. The same story + stats on what the issue looks like overall. Are you surprised to learn that the second group gave only about half of what the first group gave? I’m not surprised, and here are three reasons why:

  1. Donors want to feel happy and hopeful when they give. Hearing a story and framing an ask to help on a small scale is the way to go.   Here’s an example:

  Message 1: “Thousands of veterans need our help transitioning back to civilian life. Please give now!” = Overwhelming. My donation won’t even make a dent.

  Message 2: “A $20 monthly gift will make sure a veteran gets the job training she needs.” = My donation can actually help!

  2. People get too caught up in the numbers. Annual reports with numbers are necessary, I know, but don’t get carried away! Tell the whole story, but highlight statistics that show how your work really made a difference instead of focusing on all the work yet to be done.

  3. Stories get the job done. Stories connect with the heart, and numbers make sense in your head. Potential donors will be more willing to give when you inspire them with a story. Specifically, a story that makes them feel good about what they can do to help.

Want to read more on this topic and how it relates to fundraising success? Download Homer Simpson for Nonprofits: The Truth About How People Really Think and What It Means for Promoting Your Cause.


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Tue, November 04 2014

Four Weeks ‘Til #GivingTuesday (and $125,000 in matching funds!)

Jamie McDonald's avatar

Chief Giving Officer, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Giving Days •

New partner joins the N4G Gives #GivingTuesday team!  

Halloween is behind us, but let’s carry that sugar rush into November as we hit the four-week countdown to the launch of the giving season—starting with #GivingTuesday.

1+1= More And to make this caffeine and chocolate-fueled time of year even sweeter, we’re pleased to announce today that our #GivingTuesday matching fund pool is up to $125,000, thanks to the generous support of our partner, Constant Contact.

Constant Contact is a leading online marketing provider to nonprofits, and a technology partner of Network for Good. The DonateNow/Constant Contact integrated solution provides you with the best online giving page plus the best email marketing engine out there – packaged into one supercharged giving system for your nonprofit!

Matching funds to fuel your success

Matching funds are one of the most powerful tools for encouraging supporters to give now, and give more. Even a small pool of matching funds can inspire donors to give big on #GivingTuesday. That’s why we’re excited to offer a $125,000 matching funds pool to the Network for Good community on #GivingTuesday.

On #GivingTuesday a percentage of every donation given through our DonateNow platform will be matched. And we’re also giving special grants to fundraising leaders in three categories:

  · $3000 for Recurring Donors - Awarded to the nonprofit that signs up the most new recurring donors on #GivingTuesday

  · $3,000 for the Most Donors – Awarded to the nonprofit with the most donors on #GivingTuesday

  · $4000 for the Most Donations – Awarded to the nonprofit that receives the most donations on #GivingTuesday

And it’s not too late to join the Network for Good community and get matching funds! Let us help you get ready for the giving season with a simple, donor-friendly donation page that boosts average online donations by over 40%. Learn more.

FREE Checklist to get you ready

With only four weeks until #GivingTuesday, a little planning can go a long way. So, here are our recommendations for the most important things you can do this week to get ready for December 2nd.


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Wed, October 29 2014

There’s More in the Middle: Close Your Giving Gap Now

Nancy Schwartz's avatar

Nonprofit Marketing Expert

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

Big Divide in Giving Trends by Income

A huge “aha” bloomed in my mind as I digested the findings on shifts in   giving patterns of rich vs. middle- and lower-income donors recently   released by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.*

Mash-up this takeaway with that shared a few months ago (by Sea Change Strategies’ Mark Rovner and Alia McKee) onThe Missing Middle: Neglecting Middle Donors is Costing You Millions and you get a   clear call to action for every fundraiser.

Although these two middles are differently defined—the Chronicle’s middle is based on income level, whereas Sea Change’s research highlights middle-level donors (donors who typically give from between $250 to $900/annually to a single organization)—there’s just one conclusion: There’s more value in middle donors than we imagined, and its time right now to close the gap by building and nurturing those relationships.

Here’s the data and analysis that will help you close your organization’s giving gap:

Middle-Income Donors Give MORE of Their Income to Charity than the Wealthy Do

The rich are now giving a much smaller share of their income to charities, while middle–income donors give more, as indicated in 2006 to 2012 income tax data analyzed by the Chronicle:

        “Generosity can be measured in many ways, and looking at total dollars donated versus donations in relation to share of income shows how stark the comparisons can be.  

        The wealthiest Americans—those who earned $200,000 or more—reduced the share of their income they gave to charity by 4.6 percent from 2006 to 2012.  

  Meanwhile, Americans who earned less than $100,000   (including poor and middle-class families with two working adults) donated 4.5 percent more of their income in 2012 than in 2006.”

But Most Middle Donors Aren’t Cultivated…Enough

The Sea Change findings emphasize how just many organizations are missing out on middle donors (donors that give at the middle-level in this case), and the potential value that middle donors have for most nonprofit organizations.

Even more startling is the finding that nonprofits that focus on this group—despite its huge potential—are few and far between. More typically, development staff members specialize in lower dollar direct-marketing fundraising or cultivate high-value major donors. Oof-what about the missing middle?

Here’s your chance to get giving going better than ever before—an opportunity sitting right in front of you!  Read this report to get Alia and Mark’s guidance on “8 Habits of Highly Effective Mid-Level Donor Programs.” Then use their 30-day plan to close up your giving gap.

  *The Chronicle’s analysis is based on returns filed by those who itemize deductions, including charitable gifts (these gifts are approximately 80%   of total giving).

  More here on The Missing Middle

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