Thu, May 29 2014

Calling All Nonprofit Insomniacs, Survey Results Are Here

Kera Tyler's avatar

Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fun stuff • Fundraising essentials •

In last week’s edition of Tips, Network for Good’s weekly e-newsletter, we wanted to get a feel for what’s going on around the sector, especially in the trenches. So in our first-ever reader survey, we asked, “What’s the one thing about your organization that keeps you up at night?”

Here’s how you responded:

Survey Results

We had a friendly bet going around the department for the #1 reason nonprofit professionals lose sleep and we are astounded and delighted by the results! (Shhh … don’t tell my boss I guessed management—just kidding!) But seriously, fundraising keeps most of you from getting your 8 hours of beauty rest?! Well, we completely understand and fortunately, we’ve got something better than warm milk to cure your insomnia—tons of experience!

With 2014 nearly half over, December will be here before you know it. In the nonprofit world, we recognize year-end as prime fundraising time and too often, it’s met with nonchalance, trepidation, or worse—woeful unpreparedness. After seeing the results of the survey, we’re surer than ever that our next Nonprofit 911 webinar can help.

On Tuesday, June 3rd at 1pm EDT, Network for Good’s own Caryn Stein will lead a lively workshop on How to Create the Ultimate Donation Page. She’ll share some online fundraising best practices and must-do tasks to either create a brand new donation page or maximize your existing page. With just a few tips that can be a breeze to implement, you’ll be well on your way to bringing in the big bucks for the back half of the year.

We’re here to help and we want you to be prepared to get the most out of your online fundraising efforts. Register now! (Even if you can’t attend, go ahead and sign up and you’ll receive a copy of the slides and recording delivered straight to your inbox.)

(Graphic created with


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Wed, May 28 2014

Nonprofit Spotlight: May

Annika Pettitt's avatar

Senior Communications & Success Specialist, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fun stuff •

Network for Good’s Nonprofit of the Week spotlight gives us the chance to highlight the work of some of the our community’s superstars. In May, we celebrated a diverse group of organizations working hard to better their corner of the world.

Check out the great things these organizations are doing for their communities:

Taproot Foundation seeks to build capacity through pro bono service by uniting skilled professionals with nonprofits in need. By creating these connections between professionals that want to serve and nonprofits that don’t have access to the marketing, strategic planning, human resources, design or technology resources they need to really succeed, Taproot Foundation is furthering the pro bono movement and helping the nonprofit sector grow and innovate.

Homeless Children’s Playtime Project works to nurture the healthy development of children living in temporary housing in Washington DC. Playtime is powered enthusiastic staff and volunteers that believe every child has the right to a safe and fun place for play. By protecting the right to play and advocating for children and their families Playtime seeks to create a city that provides opportunities for success for homeless children.

The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library brings to life the unique culture and history of the Czech and Slovak people through their museum’s displays and community events. Their exhibits allow visitors to interact with the history, language, culture and people of the Czech and Slovak Republics in fun and innovative ways. As a part of Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village, the NCSML plays an important role in preserving Czech and Slovak heritage and culture in the US.

Join us in thanking these amazing causes and keep up with the latest Nonprofit of the Week by following us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Thu, May 22 2014

New Infographic: Why Recurring Giving Matters

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

How important is recurring giving to your organization? We examined recurring donations across Network for Good’s platform and found that donors who set up a recurring gift gave an average of 42% more per year than those who only gave a one-time gift. In line with stats from our Digital Giving Index, we also saw that donors were 31% more likely to set up a recurring gift on a branded donation page vs. a generic giving experience. 

Check out the full infographic for more:

Why Recurring Gifts Matter -- Infographic

For more tips on recurring giving, check out our new eBook, A Nonprofit’s Guide to Recurring Giving. Download it for free to learn how organizations are making the most of recurring giving and how you can set up your own monthly giving goldmine.

What’s your organization’s recurring giving strategy? Tell us your ideas in the comments below and we’ll share your tips in an upcoming post.

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Tue, May 20 2014

Use Your Newsletters to Keep Donors Loyal, Focused, and Giving

Nancy Schwartz's avatar

Nonprofit Marketing Expert

Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

You’ve seen it happen: When we stop putting energy into relationships with family and friends—relying on past interactions to hold us together—those relationships tend to fall apart. Like your college roommate or that work friend from your first job.

Relationships with organization’s donors require the same kind of focus and energy for the duration—if you want to keep them happy, involved, and giving.

Unfortunately, recent research suggests that most fundraisers are doing a poor job of maintaining connections, with donor retention rates at an all-time low of 39%.  That means your organization could be cut from the give-to list at any point.

But there is a proven approach to stopping this fatal attrition—placing hyperfocus on relationships with existing donors to keep them close. That’s mammoth potential, and your donor newsletter is a vital tool for bringing it to life.

Here’s how to put your newsletter into play:

1. Share, don’t ask.

The primary goal of both print and e-newsletters is to reshape your donor relationships from transactional to one that’s more personal, productive, and long term—the big three of donor retention.

The only way to get there is to get beyond the ask. After your prompt thanks to a donor for her first gift, you want to invite her further into your organization. Make her feel acknowledged, appreciated, and right at home, just as you would the first time you invite a new friend into your home.

In much the same way, your newsletter invites donors in to experience your organization’s (and community’s) personality, promises, and values in a rich, close way.

2. Connect your content and your people.

Think of your newsletters as opportunities to visit with a donor. Your print newsletter (vital if your donor base skews heavily toward older supporters) is like a rich, immersive visit where you have the opportunity to get into deep conversation. (In many cases, an occasional print newsletter can actually help your organization stand out.) On the other hand, your e-news is more like a quick drop-in.

Stories form the core of your newsletter. Prioritize the elements donors focus on most: photos, headlines, photo captions, and articles. Here’s where you show what your donors’ gifts have accomplished and tell how much you appreciate them.

Send this version of yournewsletter in both formats only to active and recent donors so your voice stays clear and focused.

3. Keep it all about donors—with an imaginary editorial board.

It’s tough to remember that your organization is just one small part of your donors’ lives, especially when you live your job. But consider your personal donations—how often do you think about the organizations you support?

Keep your donors front and center with an imaginary editorial board composed of personas (aka profiles: how-tos here) representing up to nine of your most important donor segments.

Then, get to know your editorial board members by surrounding your desk with these profiles, and keep them in front of you while you write. It sounds hokey, but it works!

4. Make it easy to recognize and remember.

Using a different mix of written and graphic content, and sometimes even different layouts, for every issue is the most common error in print newsletter production. Ugh!

Although this “use whatever we’ve got” or “let’s keep it from getting boring” approach might make it easier for you to get the newsletter out the door, you’re making it tough for donors to recognize it at a glance (that’s all the time you get) and absorb it.

Instead, create a content formula or mix based on your donor personas’ wants and interests. Consistently following this formula makes it easier for you to find and craft the content you need and for readers to recognize your newsletter at a glance—increasing the odds that they’ll read it.

Follow these steps to strengthen your relationship with donors and increase retention rates. In my next post on this topic, I’ll share some key strategies for creating email newsletters that won’t immediately see the delete button.

With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build the 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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Mon, May 19 2014

5 Things to Do After Your Big Giving Day

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

Earlier this month 7,000 nonprofits raised over $50 million during Give Local America. This giving day based on community foundation ties provided a mid-year boost for many organizations. Network for Good was happy to be a part of this event with our friends at Kimbia and we’re thrilled with the results. That said, the real opportunity of this giving day is not the donations and new donors acquired on May 6, rather it’s the long-term potential of these supporters. Here are five things to do this week to harness the momentum of this event: 

1. Get out the thank you.  If you haven’t yet, send that thank you ASAP.

2. Examine donor information and behavior.  Do these donors look different than your normal annual fund supporters? Did your existing donors give in new ways? Analyzing these details will help you understand how giving days fit into your overall fundraising strategy.

3. Determine which methods resulted in the most support.  Look at your promotional efforts and rate how they performed. If you had supporters and volunteers helping to raise funds, pinpoint who had the most influence and be sure to cultivate them as champions of your work.

4. Have a special orientation plan for donors you acquired during Give Local America.  It’s likely that these new donors aren’t as familiar with your organization as other prospects. Create a welcome series to introduce your work and let these new supporters know why your community is so special.

5. View this webinar.  While vital, perfecting the art of donor relationships isn’t easy. This archived webinar presentation features the Donor Relations Guru herself, Lynne Wester, who offers tips that will help you think through your communications and stewardship plans.

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