Fri, November 30 2012

5 tips for better orchestrating your messages this holiday

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials • Marketing essentials •

If you want the best response to your outreach this holiday, focus on creating surround sound around your supporters.  You want to project the same messages via multiple channels in a well-orchestrated marketing symphony.

How do you do that?  Roger Craver had some good tips in Fundraising Success that focused on retention. Here are five ways to better orchestrate your messages this holiday, inspired by his thinking.

1. Create one message or theme and build on it. You want your outreach via email, direct mail, telephone, social media, mobile, etc. to sound like variations on a theme - not unrelated music.  Pick a key idea and reinforce it through each medium through which you contact supporters.

2. Contact supporters in multiple ways. The best way to build a relationship with donors is to acknowledge the fact that people like to give in a variety of venues: email, direct mail, Facebook,etc.  There are not just pure “online donors” and “mobile donors"and “direct mail” donors - there are donors who choose to mix it up.  Research shows donors give the most - and stay the longest - when you take this approach.

3. In each form of outreach, reference other ways to connect.  Put web addresses for online giving in your direct mail.  Put postal addresses on your website.  And so on.

4. Experiment.  Roger notes that some organizations have success when they send text messages to donors the day direct mail hits.  Others find better responses by sending emails a little while after a direct mail piece lands.  Test different combinations and timing to see what works best for you.

5. Plan around the donor.  Get all of these pieces playing together by creating a comprehensive plan around the donor (rather than having each department at your organization doing their own thing).  You want harmonic sense for your supporters—a lovely set of surround sound rather than a cacophony of ad hoc outreach!  So make a calendar from the donor perspective and confirm your supporters are getting the right messages, through the right channels at the right times.

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Thu, November 29 2012

Did people give on #GivingTuesday?

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

Since I work at Network for Good, I have access to all kinds of nifty data on giving.  We process donations for tens of thousands of nonprofits via their websites and partners like Crowdrise and YourCause.  So I was interested to see if the big push to encourage giving earlier this week - the first ever GivingTuesday “national day of giving” - yielded results.

The early answer seems to be yes, it prompted giving.

When we compared overall giving on GivingTuesday this year to giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving last year, we found donations more than doubled.  Since Network for Good has been growing all year, we also looked at giving this past Monday compared to Tuesday to get a sense of what growth was attributable to GivingTuesday.  We found donations on Tuesday were 55% higher than Monday.

Blackbaud is showing a bump as well - 53% on GivingTuesday this year vs. the same Tuesday last year.

To me, this just underlines the power of several things in fundraising:

1. A sense of urgency: Naming a day after giving and urging action that particular day seems to have worked for many charities.  Nonprofits that added matching donations into the mix did even better.

2. Social norms: Creating an impression that many other people are taking action is effective.

3. Seasonality: November and December are the easiest times to get people to donate.  People are in spending and giving mode.  I don’t think the day would have been as effective were it in January.

Did your organization invite donations on Tuesday?  What were your results?

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Wed, November 28 2012

The 6 things you must know about the science of persuasion

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

If you have never read the classic book Influence by Robert Cialdini, you really should.  But you’re also in luck, because the Influence at Work team just released this summary of the six principles of persuasion that the book covers.  Spend 11 minutes watching this video - it’s well worth your time.

Trouble viewing the video?  Go here.

No time to watch?  Here’s my summary of the principles and how they apply to us.

1. Reciprocity - People tend to return a favor, thus all those annoying address labels charities send out as a fundraising ploy.

2. Scarcity - Perceived scarcity fuels demand. “Only four memberships are left” prompts action!

3. Authority - People will tend to obey authority figures.  What expert can attest to the value of your organization?

4. Consistency - If people commit to an idea or goal, they are more likely to follow through. It’s why pledging is a great option for people who aren’t ready to take action.

5. Liking - People are easily persuaded by other people whom they like. That’s why you want your champions spreading the word about your cause among their friends and family.

6. Consensus - People will do what other people are doing. That’s why it’s great to show who is taking action for your cause - others are likely to conform.


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Tue, November 27 2012

It’s #GivingTuesday!

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

If you want to feel happy - and wonderful about yourself - science has the answer.  Do something for someone else.

Researchers Lalin Anik, Lara Aknin, Michael Norton and Elizabeth Dunn have shown that people who commit random acts of kindness are significantly happier than those who don’t, and spending money on others makes you happier than spending money on yourself. They also have discovered happier people help others more, and they give more.  A positive mood makes you nicer!  This makes a circle: giving makes you happy, and when you’re happy you give more, which makes you happier, which makes you give more.

I bring up this selfess circle of happiness now because Tuesday is #GivingTuesday, a national day of giving.  Black Friday in stores and Cyber Monday for online shopping are behind us, and we’ve arrived at the day to do something for others.

Here are two ways to celebrate.

1. Go into work today feeling like a star of the movement.  If you read this blog, you are making the world a better place in some way, and you live #GivingTuesday every day of the year.  You are wonderful, and so you should take a moment to feel joy at the difference you make.  I, for one, am so happy for what you do.

2. Encourage others to support your cause - or whatever cause they love - today.  For example, give and get your gift matched here!  (Thanks to partners the Case Foundation, Crowdrise and Six Degrees.)

Thanks for being a part of #GivingTuesday - and the circle of happiness - with your great work for good.

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Mon, November 26 2012

What’s more persuasive:  Your track record or your future potential?

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

A research team profiled at Influence at Work recently set out to answer a fascinating question: When it comes to influencing others, where should you focus most of your attention - describing the realities of your past, or communicating your potential to deliver in the future?

In some studies that are soon to be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Stanford University researchers found that potential is generally more compelling than the past.

One study was a mock staffing situation.  Research subjects were asked to evaluate two people (Candidate A and Candidate B) who had applied for a job.  Both candidates were identical except Candidate A had more relevant experience and scored highly on a Leadership Assessment test. Candidate B had less experience yet still scored highly on a Leadership Potential test. According to Influence, “The results of the study showed that those shown information about the Candidate B’s potential rated that applicant as more successful and a better leader than those shown information about what Candidate A had achieved.”

In a separate study in a different setting, Facebook users were shown some quotes about a comedian. Half saw quotes about the comedian’s potential. (“This guy could become the next big thing.”) The rest were shown quotes about track record: “Critics say he has become the next big thing.”  More people clicked through and became a fan of the comedian with potential.

Interesting.  The research suggests that when selling your merits - or the merits of your services or organization - don’t dwell on the past. Spend at least as much time talking about your future potential.  Share test results or testimonials or reviews that bolster your future promise.

People apparently want to know the best is yet to come!

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