Mon, March 23 2015

What Our Top Monthly Giving Campaigns Have in Common

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Recurring Giving •

I’m happy to share the current campaigns at the top of the Recurring Giving Challenge leaderboard.

There are organizations of every type and size leading the pack of campaigns with the most new monthly donors as well as the largest increase in their monthly giving program.

The one thing that they all have in common?

They’ve made offering monthly giving options and asking for sustaining gifts a top priority.

Monthly Giving basics Need some help making the case for monthly giving at your organization? Download our free Monthly Giving Basics fact sheet which includes a quick checklist on getting your monthly giving program off the ground. Also: time’s running out to join the Recurring Giving Challenge, so be sure to sign up and learn how your nonprofit could be eligible for a share of $10K in Challenge Rewards.

Recurring Giving Challenge Leaderboard as of March 23:

Most New
Monthly Donors

Largest Increase in
Monthly Donors

We’ll post updates to the leaderboard every few days, so be sure to follow along and see who ends up on top at the end of the challenge on April 30!

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Fri, March 20 2015

Nonprofit Link Round Up

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fun stuff •

Link round upWith so many resources to read and review, keeping up with nonprofit marketing and fundraising insight can be a little overwhelming. Never fear, we’ve collected the cream of the crop in this week’s round up.

Could a single point of failure devastate your organization? Mazarine Treyz takes a look at how can your nonprofit become less fragile. via Wild Woman Fundraising

How do you track your donors? Do you love it? Share your feedback in this quick survey. Your input will help Network for Good provide more great resources to nonprofits just like yours!

Search engine optimization can be complex, but David Hartstein shares 7 Easy Fixes to Get Your Nonprofit Ranking Higher on Google via John Haydon’s Blog

Take your email appeals to the next level with the magic of storytelling. Our friend Vanessa Chase will show you how in our next webinar, Telling Stories Through Email: How to Write Appeals that Rock! Be sure to reserve your seat for this one.

Twitter chats can be a great way to share ideas with your peers and stay up to date on the latest trends. Kerri Karvetski has compiled a big list of Twitter chats and chat tools. via Nonprofit Marketing Guide

If you missed this year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference, Nancy Schwartz has you covered. This week she featured a recap from Kevin Martone all about social media tools and getting the most out of channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. via Getting Attention

Do your nonprofit’s communications read like they’re straight from a wonky robot? Learn the secrets to writing colloquial copy via Future Fundraising Now

You’ve empowered your board to make donor thank you calls—what could go wrong? Apparently quite a bit. Gayle Gifford outlines what happens when thank-a-thons go bad. via Cause & Effect

Network for Good is happy to be the lead sponsor of the Individual Donor Benchmark Report. Are you a small but mighty nonprofit with 2014 revenue under $2 million? Don’t miss your chance to be part of this year’s survey and report. via Third Space Studio

That’s it for this week—what’s on your reading list? Please share your favorite links and resources in the comments below.

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Wed, March 18 2015

Rich Details for Record-Breaking Results (Case Study)

Nancy Schwartz's avatar

Nonprofit Marketing Expert

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

Dizzy Gillespie

Image: Roland Godefroy

“When the new antenna went live, you’d swear that Dizzy Gillespie was playing right next to you.”

I can easily visualize this scene—and hear it. Can you?

In fact, this appeal excerpt from WBGO (New York City’s premier jazz radio station) made the listening-enriching value of the station’s new antenna crystal clear—by showing, not telling.

Compare this with the way another station introduced its new antenna:

Replacing the equipment and moving it to the higher elevation immediately improved the strength of the signal, says Tyron, increasing the broadcast penetration within the licensed area (approximately a 35-mile radius from Claremont); improving the signal reach for areas like Covina, El Monte, San Bernardino, and Riverside; diminishing interference with the signal; and resulting in fewer drops of the signal.

Blah, blah, blah. Beware the curse of knowledge. This writer has been cursed, forgetting that the people she wants to engage aren’t exposed to the specifics at the memorable gut level like she is. As a result, she (like so many nonprofit writers) writes in broad, vague strokes—or dull minutiae—that are forgotten in a flash.

Instead, pepper your fundraising messages with rich, memorable details to make them:

  • Authentic: The right details give a story a much greater presence, a feeling of real truth.
  • Unique: Getting specific is often the fastest way to make content rise above the average. The details distinguish your message from those that would otherwise sound similar. Shout out and shine!
  • Convey much more with fewer words: Specific words and images can clarify a message much faster than a long-form narrative explanation of the core point.
  • Transport the reader: Like a good movie or compelling novel, where you get completely absorbed in the story, rich details can draw your audiences into getting lost in your message. As a result, readers are far more likely to remember it, act, and spread the word.

How do you use rich detail to show (not tell), bringing your prospects and supporters into your organization’s story? Please share your experiences in the comments.

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Tue, March 17 2015

Recurring Giving Campaign Spotlight: Windcall Institute

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials • Recurring Giving •

The Windcall Institute is dedicated to nurturing and developing resilient leadership among community and labor organizers engaged in the work of social justice in low-income communities and communities of color.

Their programs bring community organizers together to reflect and renew their energy to go back out and do good work.  The organization is based in Oakland, California, but has programs across the country.

Holly FinckeAs part of the Recurring Giving Challenge, I received a message from Holly Fincke, Windcall Institute’s Executive Director since 2006. Windcall is a Network for Good client and Holly was looking forward to seeing the Challenge leaderboard so she’d know what they were up against! I love Holly’s enthusiasm!  She was also generous enough to share about Windcall’s plans to boost monthly giving.

Network for Good:  Tell us a bit about your existing monthly donors.

Holly Fincke: We were already thinking of launching a monthly giving campaign, so this was great timing for us. We have a handful of existing sustainers, including our board members and a few others. We do an online campaign every fall where we reach out to the alumni of the program and ask them to share our appeal with their networks.

Windcall does have a core group of loyal donors that give year after year. When you go through the experience of our programs, it’s really transformative, so we find that our alumni are inspired to give back.

NFG:  What is your strategy for your monthly giving campaign?

HF:  We’re kicking off a two week campaign starting March 16 through April 3 focused on bringing our loyal donors in as sustainers.

For this campaign, we wanted to target consistent givers (our alumni, allied members). To reach them, we’re rolling up our sleeves and our board is calling 10 donors each.

One of our major donors has offered up a double match for monthly donations.  So, if someone makes a sustaining gift,  that yearly amount will be doubled.  We approached the major donor for a match. Most major donors want to see their contribution leveraged to the fullest, and they get that we are trying to build our donor list and a predictable stream of donations.

Major donors and sustainers are special and both deserve special treatment. We send something special to these groups each quarter. For example, one of our residents wrote a poem that we sent to the donors. This allowed those supporters to remember and relive the experience they had. When you talk to alumni about supporting future participants, it helps to say, “someone you know applied, someone from your state applied.”  Programs that have alumni from them have a built-in advantage. Alumni want to give back because they know better than anyone the benefits. 

We will also send an email to our general list, but our focus is on those core donors. Our match and the Network for Good prize money will help motivate people to act.

Holly QuoteNFG:  Why monthly giving?

HF:  We award 3-4 residencies at a time, and we need to plan for this far in advance given that community and labor organizers are so busy Therefore, we have to know the funding is coming and be able to sustain this.  We wanted to even out our income flow and be able to better plan, so we know we can meet those commitments. We also wanted to increase gifts from existing donors, so we’re asking those who currently give $100 per year to become sustainers with a $15 monthly pledge, which nearly doubles their donation.  We are pushing this message to people who have a great affinity for Windcall.

NFG:  What is your campaign goal?

HF: We want to get 20 new sustainers from our group of 60 core donors.

NFG:  How are you involving your board?

HF: We’ve asked our board to call on a list of 10 donors each. Considering our goal, it makes it doable for them to get two or three monthly sustainers from their list of 10 contacts. They’re equipped with:

• Details about the match
• A list of folks and contact information
• An email template
• A phone script
• A deadline to reinforce urgency

To keep the board pumped up, I am not waiting until the end to show them the impact of their outreach. I send the board members periodic updates throughout the campaign and call them. This allows them to see their progress and see long-term impact add up. It’s all about keeping them energized.

NFG:  Do you have one piece of advice for other nonprofits that are starting a monthly giving program?

HF:  Find a match, even if it’s not big one. In our online campaigns, we always have a match and it really helps. Pairing that with a deadline motivates people to give. Even a modest one, such as someone who will match the first $1,000, can make a difference. Even if you don’t have a major donor, you probably have someone or a few people who would put up $500 or $1,000 to help get you started.

Thanks to Holly for sharing her insight on monthly giving with the Nonprofit Marketing Blog community! To learn more about Windcall Institute, visit

There’s still time to join the Recurring Giving Challenge for step-by-step guidance on creating your monthly giving program online, plus Network for Good clients are eligible to win their share of $10K in Challenge Rewards. Not a client yet? Contact our team of fundraising consultants to learn how you can raise more money online.

Recurring Giving Challenge

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Fri, March 13 2015

Nonprofit Link Round Up

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fun stuff •

Another Friday the 13th? Never fear! There’s nothing scary about these blogs, events, and resources that rose to the top this week. Round Up

Our friends at Social Media for Nonprofits kick off their new monthly Twitter chat today at 1pm ET. This month’s session focuses on measuring social media for the most impact. Follow along with the hashtag #SM4NPChat. via Social Media for Nonprofits

Brady Josephson nicely summarizes why your landing pages might be confusing your donors. via re:charity

We’re all about monthly giving here at Network for Good with our Recurring Giving Challenge in full swing. You can still sign up, so you probably want to go do that now. Need a nudge? Get the scoop on why a monthly giving program can mean so much for your fundraising plans.

Are you taking your donors on a journey? Derrick Feldmann shares why it’s so important to keep donors engaged. via Philanthropy News Digest

10 traits Infographic alert! Here’s something to print out and hang by your desk: 10 Traits That Make Nonprofits Great via Horatio Alger Association

During last week’s Nonprofit Technology Conference, a few folks on our team were happy to be included in Heather Mansfield’s Instagram video clips, along with a lot of other smart cookies. Check out 16 Professionals Share Nonprofit Technology Advice. via Nonprofit Tech for Good

More NTC goodness arrives in this massive knowledge bomb: a directory of the collaborative notes for each session. Tons of great stuff in here—bookmark it and explore when you can. via NTEN

Some of these 8 cause-based marketing trends are ones you should consider for your next campaign. via Mashable

Still using jargon in your donor communications? Here’s one fact that might convince you to cut out acronyms and technical terms altogether: a survey by the LA Times showed that 1 in 10 Americans think that HTML is an STD! (What!?)  Read why some words are better for marketing. via Orbit Media

One more hit of NTC wisdom:  Amazing Nonprofit Tips in 140 Characters

Finally, if you need a good venting session (and some laughs), stroll on over to discover the 12 types of people who get on everyone’s nerves in nonprofit. Can you relate? via Nonprofit with Balls

Those are the links that caught our eye this week. Please share your favorite posts and resources in the comments—I’d love to know what’s on your reading list!

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