- Wed, May 01 2013
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
UNICEF Sweden has launched a new campaign that tells people who Tweet about their cause or like their Facebook page fail to make a difference - and could put a life in jeopardy. It’s essentially a shaming campaign, as outlined in this Atlantic article.
I don’t like to single out campaigns, but this one troubles me since it relies on emotion in a way that I don’t find constructive. Here are some examples of the campaign messages. The gist is, if you spread the word instead of donating, a boy could die and a child won’t be vaccinated. How does that make you feel?
Maybe Swedes enjoy this kind of message and approach, but I am skeptical. Here’s what I don’t like about the campaign.
1. Shame rarely inspires action in any culture. It just makes people feel bad - and turn away. Ask Brene Brown.
2. Mocking the action of spreading the word about a cause discourages one of the most powerful forces anyone can put to work for a cause - word of mouth.
3. It ignores the fact that social networks are supposed to be about relationships. It seems to be demanding a transactional mentality in a social setting.
4. I am not sure the organization did their audience research. A lot of assumptions are inherent in this approach. Are they sure people on social networks have never given to UNICEF? Do they have data suggesting social networking and giving are mutually exclusive (doubtful)? Are people active on social networks their best target audience for giving? Is forcing an either/or choice better for fundraising than letting people do both?
I bet this campaign will get people talking, but I doubt it will inspire giving. Which is deeply ironic given its message.
For a smarter way to look at so-called slacktivism, watch this. As Julie Dixon says, based on this body of research, “Influence is important.”
For the month of April, I’m hosting the nonprofit blog carnival. A carnival is a mix of contributions from bloggers and readers on a shared theme, and I chose the theme, “best advice.”
I asked you the following question: What was the one, best piece of professional advice you ever got and why? How has it transformed your work? I also invited readers’ best single piece of advice for people who work at nonprofits.
There was an incredible response. Here are your answers!
1. Don’t show your underwear. Sue Edison-Swift nails the metaphor! “When asked to create a unit brochure or report on the latest reorganization or when expected to communicate the inner workings of the central office, I find it helpful to note that the organization of an organization–its unit structure, its regional geography, its reporting hierarchy, its carefully crafted strategic plan–provides the foundation for getting things done. Another word for foundation is underwear, and while the support and structure of underwear is important, it’s best not to show your underwear in public. Communicating about the organization of the organization to insiders answers their who-what-when-where-how questions. Communicating about the organization of the organization to outsiders–AKA constituents, clients, volunteers, donors–does little to answer their questions: So what? Why should I care? How do I get what I need? What difference do you make? Organization = Foundation = Underwear. Keep it on the inside.”
2. You have to ask to get the donation. Kirt Manecke, author of Smile, says, “The one best piece of professional advice I ever got was from my late Uncle Gene. My uncle, Gene Balogh, was a professional speaker and salesman who traveled across the country giving seminars teaching the construction industry how to sell. I work in sales and he always reminded me, “You have to ask for the sale.” When I became passionate about helping good causes raise funds, he’d say, ‘You have to ask for the donation.’” He notes, “Instead of thinking of what you’re doing as fundraising, think of it as helping people invest in what they care about. After all, if they were not interested, they wouldn’t be talking with you in the first place.”
3. Get to know your donors on a deeper level. Pamela Grow of The Grow Report recounts a huge fundraising challenge and how it proved the importance of getting “into” the hearts and minds of donors. “Make it a point, whether through surveys, phone conversations, in-person meetings, email, intimate events, and social media, to figure out what makes them tick,” is her sound advice. “Translated simply: ‘getting’ donor-centricity is the groundwork for sustainable fundraising, period.”
4. Don’t take it personally. Tanya Cothran of Spirit in Action tells us, ” Emotion can be my greatest enemy. When fundraising for our organization, saying the “ask” out loud is a daunting task for me. I usually know the person I was talking to quite well and it is hard to come right out and talk about money, even more so to ask for it. But most of the difficulty in asking is because my emotions are all tied up in the question. If someone says no to donating, are they saying no to me? Is it because of something I said? Probably not! Most likely, the reason someone says “no” has nothing to do with me personally, but because of their particular situation or because the work of our organization as a whole doesn’t fit their giving priorities.” Great counsel for fundraisers. (Jennifer R. Bosk emailed with the same thought.)
5. Remember you get the board you build. Dani Robbins of Non Profit Evolution says in a refreshingly personal and honest post, “The best advice I ever got as a nonprofit CEO was “you will get the board you build.” Up until that day, which I will never forget, I thought that since I reported to the Board, I should stay out of it. Boy, was I wrong! In addition to giving up the power to influence who would become the future leaders of my organizations, and as such, my future bosses, I also passed on the chance to educate my board about their governance responsibilities. I failed to use my position to strengthen the board and through them to strengthen my agency. Up until that moment, I didn’t understand that building the board was my job.” She goes on to share how to do that.
6. Connect with African American donors. Akira Barclay of Giving in LA explains how to do it: “Cultivating relationships with African-American donors requires strong and sustained institutional commitment. Particularly if your institution is overcoming a previous lack of commitment to actively pursue African-American donors the connection will not happen overnight. But those willing to make a long-term sincere effort will realize a healthy African-American donor base, the results of a history of relationships, trust and experience as an honest partner.”
7. Be bold. Elaine Fogel of Totally Uncorked on Marketing says, “Strive to be a game changer. Be the change agent the organization needs. Don’t be afraid to make recommendations that can help the nonprofit move forward in ‘living’ its mission. Yes, do it gingerly. Do it gently, but as Nike says, Just Do it!”
8. Be polite. Incredibly, Shari Ilsen of the VolunteerMatch blog had David Mamet as a high school instructor. He was full of wisdom on writing, but she tells a surprising story of his best advice: “He said, ‘If you take nothing else away from this class, remember this one thing forever.’ And then he wrote on the chalkboard in big, underlined letters: ‘Be polite!’” Shari recounts all the ways this has worked in her career.
9. Ask for help. Cindi Phallen of Create Possibility says, “A brilliant mentor of mine once told me that the only competent people he ever saw fail, were the ones who didn’t ask for help. I was at the beginning of my career as a nonprofit leader, and thought I understood what he meant. But as the years went on, I realized how critical that point really is in the complex nonprofit world. I’m not talking about making a repair with duct tape and rubber bands. I am referring to the real stuff – like how to increase earned revenue, or suggestions for managing a difficult staff situation, or what are effective innovation strategies.”
10. Be your authentic self. Jenifer Snyder, Executive Director of The mGive Foundation, has a strong post on why to avoid the pressure to be a certain kind of leader. She notes: “We live in a world now where conformity – gender or otherwise – is valued less and authenticity is prized more. Be authentic. Be yourself. The world awaits.”
11. Effort makes the difference. Vanessa Chase of Philanthropy for All writes, “My wonderful dad, David Chase, told me that, “Good things rarely happen by accident,” back when I was in University. I’ve had this quote from him on a post note at every desk and in every planner I’ve owned for many years now. What I love about his words of wisdom is that they apply to so many situations in our lives and it reaffirms my belief that a solid work ethic will carry you through any tough situations; many of which have been while working as a fundraiser.”
12. Work smart, not hard. Jeanette Russell of Salsa Labs advises, “Working smart, not hard, is not a statement about how many hours you should work, but rather how to get the best impact from your most important resource - your time. I can’t think of one nonprofit who has the time and staff to achieve their mission. Time for many groups, is actually more scarce than funding and must be used with the greatest respect.”
13. Network. Empish Thomas of the Center for the Visually Impaired notes, “In today’s workforce, who you know is just as important as what you know. I feel that for people like me who are visually impaired, it is even more essential to network and build strong working relationships that can help lead to career success. Employment opportunities and career advancement for the blind and visually impaired are pretty low with only 30% of us working and I have been able to maintain my employment over the years primarily through my connections.”
14. Write talking points. Joanne Fritz of About.com for Nonprofits notes talking points are typically thought of as soundbites for media, but taking the time to prepare your key messages is vital for many professional situations, including board meetings and job interviews! “Talking points. I never leave home (or office) without them,” she tells us. I totally agree.
15. Just write. Jake Seliger of Grant Writing Confidential says, “Something can be edited. Write something.” As a writer I appreciate this advice: “Taking an infinite number of workshops is not going to make the blank page any easier. Having something, anything, on the blank page is better than having nothing.”
16. Done is better than perfect. Tom Peterson of Thunderhead Works notes, “Not surprisingly, if we’re doing nothing because we’re not sure what to do, if we’re waiting for it to be perfect, our results will be nothing. People who make a difference, who find ways to tackle social problems, usually draw upon many years of struggling with an issue before they break through.”
17. Know your purpose and care passionately. Claire Axelrad of Clairification says you should never go on autopilot and keep asking “why” - “If you’ve lost your passion, can’t get it back, or never had it, consider doing something different. You’re not doing yourself (or other people, or your community, or the planet) any favors if you’re merely phoning it in. Life’s too short. Do it differently, or do something else.”
18. Know relationships are the key. Terri Holland says, “Yes, people is where it’s all it in the non profit fundraising pool. You MUST develop relationships with anyone and everyone. Do not discount anyone out of that pool of people… relationships are golden and having those relationships with donors, potential, past or present is where the pot of gold lies at the end of the fundraising rainbow.”
19. Integrity matters most. Lori Halley of Wild Apricot asked her colleagues for advice and got many answers, including this one: “Never trade your integrity for a paycheck. You can get more money later, but you’ll never be able to buy your integrity back.” She shares more in her post.
20. Volunteer. Greg Albright of the Right Hook Blog says, “The reality is volunteering is just as much for you, your career, and your business. As a long-time volunteer and volunteer recruiter, I can honestly say volunteering has done as much or more for my career, my business, and my quality of life, as it has for the organizations I have been involved with.”
21. Finally, some readers shared some wisdom in emails. Beth Kling says do less, focus more. Paul Miller is on the same page: ““You will get pulled a thousand different ways working for a non-profit. As a development director, if anything you are asked to do does not further development efforts, don’t do it. Stay focused on development.”
22. Amy Kusek says someone once told her, “‘If you are not getting no 50% of the time, you are not asking enough.’ It has been helpful in so many ways including helping me not dwell on the “no” and to stay positive about getting back out to make an ask. It also helps you be gracious when you get a “no” which I think helps long term.”
23. Claudia Herrold emailed with good writing advice: “This is a piece of advice that is applicable to many communications channels, not just for blogging: write for your least engaged member, not your most engaged (we’re a statewide membership association of those engaged in philanthropy). Following this piece of advice means that I: stay away from use of jargon and acronyms; make sure to give background links and context; keep it short; and talk about what it means/how it applies to their work.”
24. For those of you looking for a job in the environmental field, Lori Whalen lays out a list of ideas on her blog.
25. Last but NOT least, Deacon Lesley-Ann Drake wrote me with a great closing piece of advice: “Start where you can start.” She says, “This was given to me by Bishop Frank Allen (retired) of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. Without that simple statement I would probably still be wondering if I should step off the cliff into the non-profit world, or not. The problems of this world are enormous and we can choose to be overwhelmed and frozen, or we can take that first small step and do something.” Amen to that.
Next month’s carnival is hosted by Erik Anderson at Donor Dreams blog. To participate, check out his announcement here. He is welcoming answers to the question, “If you could write an anonymous letter to a nonprofit board about something they do that drives you crazy, what would that letter look like and what suggested solutions would you include?” Should be a fun topic.
- Mon, April 29 2013
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
Network for Good, along with PayPal and Blackbaud, has been participating in the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s new online giving index. The Q4 2012 results are out, and you can see the data and compare it to your own experience at the Chronicle site here.
-After a sluggish summer, giving rebounded at the end of last year, with 8 percent more gifts totaling nearly 17% more dollars than the same period in 2011.
-Monday was the biggest giving day (probably a reflection of the fact that December 31, the biggest giving day of the year online, was a Monday in 2012).
-Most online giving occurred at midday during the business week. At Network for Good, we’ve seen this hold true year after year.
You can find more data here.
How does this compare to your year-end giving in 2012?
- Fri, April 26 2013
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
At Network for Good, we generate lots of great, free content.
For today’s post, I wanted to highlight a great resource: our library of free ebooks for fundraisers. You can view and download the guides here. Learn about everything from mobile to social media to fundraising to behavior economics.
- Thu, April 25 2013
- Filed under: Personal
This week, I published a personal post on my LinkedIn blog. I thought I’d share it here. I was asked by LinkedIn to post on the theme of “my best career mistake.” You can view the original post here. I welcome your reactions and thoughts.
Eight years ago, I found myself scraping the tops off store-bought cupcakes in my kitchen at one in the morning. I was replacing the obviously baker-applied icing with hand-applied frosting so the cupcakes would look passably homemade when I brought them to my daughter’s school the next day to celebrate her birthday.
What would possess me to do such a bizarre thing? Shame. Or, to put it more fully, it was the mistake of trying to do it all well - and the fear of facing in myself that I could not.
Back then the icing switch-up seemed a better idea than turning up at school with obviously store-bought birthday cupcakes. After all, the school staff had made clear that home-made snacks were strongly preferred, and every other mother seemed capable of bringing lovingly hand-prepared, organic treats on birthdays. But I’d worked late that night, so the best I could do was cosmetic surgery on baked goods. My daughter didn’t care. A cupcake was a cupcake in her view, and we were going to bake a cake together that weekend when we celebrated as family. I was the one who cared. I was afraid of being The Bad Mom. Just as I feared being The Bad Worker when I was late to work because of school activities.
It wasn’t about what other people thought that was the problem. It was what I thought of myself.
Fast forward to last month, when I was on a panel discussing Women in Leadership. Every woman alongside me publicly admitted the same fleeting fears - and the same feelings of failure and fraudulence in their lives and careers. We know we can’t do it all, but that doesn’t stop us from feeling bad about that fact on any given day. It was an enormous relief to admit this - and talk about how we handle it.
This theme arises in Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and hearing it from someone that accomplished was another revelation for me. I’m glad she admits her own similar moments - and irritated by dismissal of how important this admission is. I’ve read many negative reviews of the book. Most boil down to one or all of these statements:
- Shut up, Sheryl: This book is a solution in search of a problem, or it addresses the wrong problem. Women aren’t holding themselves back in the ways you say.
- Mind your own business, Sheryl: You shouldn’t be telling other women how to lean in.
- Easy for you to say, Sheryl: You are privileged and so leaning in works for you (you have lots of help). It won’t for the rest of us.
I’m distressed by these reactions because many of them miss the point and make quite clear the critics haven’t read the whole book. And because fear of this kind of judgment of a life is exactly what drove me into the kitchen to fake my cupcakes.
I feel it’s time for us to discuss, honor and learn from however we struggle or succeed - whether it’s from someone who has made it big or is making it day by day. To me, this is a major point of the book and the very purpose of this post. Having these conversations, openly, is good for everyone.
“We all want the same thing: to feel comfortable with our choices and to feel validated by those around us. So let’s start by validating one another. Mothers who work outside the home should regard women who work inside the home as real workers. And mothers who work inside the home should be equally respectful of those choosing another option.”
In addition to calling a truce in the gender wars, we should also find a peace with ourselves. By overcoming our own insecurities regarding our own paths, we can focus on something bigger and better: how all of us - men and women - can better support each other’s growth. We should find ourselves in fewer hidden cupcake moments and instead in more soul-searching, constructive reflection. As Sandberg notes: “We need to talk and listen and debate and refute and instruct and learn and evolve.”
I’ll share my choice: to work outside the home and be a mother, however imperfectly. I try to lean in as well as to stop hiding that it’s sometimes hard despite my relative fortune. So I’m fessing up about those silly fake cakes and sharing what I wish I’d known in the wee hours eight years ago: We all have paths to take, whoever we are, and those ways of living all have trade-offs. We gain, not lose, power by owning that imperfect reality, living it without shame and learning from whoever else is willing to share their experience.
To me, the real art of the lean-in is admitting the fear of falling short on my own path and pushing onward anyway. If I’d known it eight years ago, I would have showed up at school with plastic-encased, professionally frosted cupcakes in all their store-bought glory. And I would have known what mattered was that I was there, learning in to the experience of working motherhood and finding a way to be there to celebrate the most important of birthdays. After all, it doesn’t get any better than that.
- Wed, April 24 2013
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
Because I’ve been posting a lot about the state of the fundraising field - and the critical role of boards in bettering it - I wanted to invite you to a free Network for Good webinar, Building a Strong Board for Fundraising Success. It’s next Tuesday, April 30 at 1 p.m. Eastern. (If you can’t make that time, register anyway, and we’ll send you a recording after the event.)
Here’s a description of what we have in store.
Nonprofits everywhere are challenged to engage board members to solicit support and donations but let’s be real, that’s a really hard thing to do! Arming your board with the right tools can make all the difference: clear understanding of the fundraising expectation, knowledge about your organization’s cause and mission, and the confidence to pull-off “the ask.”
Board “whisperer,” Dick Walker, will join Network for Good for a Nonprofit 911 webinar to present resources and practices that will help you shape your board into a rockstar fundraising resource for your organization.
- Tue, April 23 2013
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
Awesome cartoon by Tom Fishburne, the Marketoonist
Just a quick reminder as you kick off your day—make sure what you’re saying, sending or selling is worth sharing.
Boring doesn’t get read. Boring doesn’t get shared. Boring doesn’t get funded.
That’s why no one Tweets creamed corn.
What does get shared? Something surprising, remarkably good, remarkably bad, visually striking, funny, moving, helpful or personally relevant.
Try adding one of these elements - and a good story - to what you do today. It will be more likely to work - and to spread.
- Mon, April 22 2013
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
Over the past year, researchers Adrian Sargeant and Jen Shang have sought to answer the question, how can truly great fundraising flourish?
It’s a timely question given that half of fundraisers want to quit - and a quarter of bosses said they fired their last fundraiser.
The report - commissioned by the firm Clayton Burnett Limited - is out, and I wanted to share the findings. (You can get the report and executive summary for free at the firm’s website - just give a it a day or two for them to email it to you.)
One answer was that organizations with incredible growth in fundraising have achieved that with the right people. Successful organizations have strong fundraising managers who achieve desired change through a combination of will and personal humility. They “devote considerable attention to what they regard as the critical building blocks of success, namely building an exceptional team, structure(s) and culture.”
I’m going to highlight here some of the ways high-performing organizations built their teams. For additional findings, check out the full report here.
1. The manager built or retooled the fundraising team members and focused on a few, small early wins. This led to “improvement in confidence and morale, which became self-sustaining as individuals began to recognize their own potential to succeed. Technical expertise on the part of team members was important, but so too was conscientiousness, a willingness to support others, and a propensity to engage in appropriate levels of risk-taking.”
2. The researchers note this shift in culture addressed turnover woes. “After the right team had been built, none of the organizations we examined suffered from the high turnover rates that otherwise pervade our sector. Being a part of a successful team appears to engender high levels of loyalty and our all our leaders were personally invested in their teams. The loyalty thus cut both ways. It was also interesting to note that those who defined their team more broadly, to include external agency personnel also exhibited a high degree of loyalty to that agency. Some were maintaining relationships with suppliers that had existed for over a decade.”
3. Once a strong team was in place, they focused on the big picture in the right ways. Says the report: “We also found evidence in goal setting, that our outstanding leaders aligned their organizational metrics with the longer term drivers of donor value. Their objectives were couched not in the short-term minutia that typically pervade our sector, but in the standards and behaviours they identified would add value for
supporters and thus pay-back in the longer term. Their appraisal and reward systems were similarly aligned, to focus team member ambitions on the things that mattered most to longer term growth.”
That said, the researchers also emphasized the system in which these people work: “Great systems are often more important than great people. A well-designed system filled with ordinary but well-trained people can, according to academic research, consistently achieve well above average performance.”
I wish we saw more of these approaches. What works at your organization? Which of these ideas resonate with you? Who are your people and what are your systems?
- Fri, April 19 2013
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
At the recent Nonprofit Technology Conference, I was asked about donor premiums - those return address labels, mugs, etc. given to people in exchange for making a donation.
From the research I’ve seen, premiums can work to boost giving in the short term but also create some problems long term, especially if the premiums are positioned as a quid pro quo for a gift and have limited resonance with the cause. (For more on the deleterious effects of premiums, read the Agitator.) So I’m not a huge fan, because the evidence suggests these trinkets crowd out a deeper, lasting and emotional connection with a cause.
So what approach might be better? The Agitator post has ideas. Here’s another one, from Mercy Corps. This nonprofit chose to surprise donors with a gift tightly aligned with their cause, AFTER the donors gave. It was rooted in social, not market norms. The gift delighted donors without crowding out their emotional connection to Mercy Corps. It’s an example of excellent cultivation.
Annalise Briggs shares the story: “I ordered handmade rams from a beneficiary in Kyrgyzstan named Batina. Batina struggled to feed and support her family, and so Mercy Corps gave her a microcredit loan that allowed her to turn her hobby of sewing into a small business. She can now support her family and send her children to school. I mail the notecard with her story and the below photo and one of the little rams she sews to monthly donors within the first 90 days to help with retention (no ask, no BRE). The response has been overwhelming! We have sustainers writing and calling us all the time to thank us for the wonderful gift. Below is just one of the emails we’ve received…
“Thank you for the little wool ram & note card about Batina. It has greatly personalized my sterile, monthly donation made through my credit card… and to remind me of why I’m making a monthly donation. The world just became a little smaller.”
As you know, it’s so important to connect supporters with the mission and this is so much better than any random premium or swag. It directly relates to the field work we are doing. With our mission of working in other countries around the world, this connection is even more critical.”
This is a great example of what we should do far better in our sector - thank donors and give them a vivid sense of the impact they have on real lives.
Pictured: Batina and the ram she sewed. The photos are courtesy of Mercy Corps.
- Thu, April 18 2013
- Filed under: Nonprofit leadership
Photo via BigStockPhoto.
Are you stuck on replay? Do you do the same things, the same way, over and over? It’s easy to have this happen, and it’s honestly what I fear most.
“Replay” can be somewhat effective if you’re sticking to what works well. The problem is it can also create an autopilot state of mind that dulls your senses to changes around you—like shifts in the political landscape, your donor base or constituencies—that require a new approach. It’s one thing to identify best practices and build on what works - it’s quite another to get too comfortable and call it in. Whole industries have fallen into habit only to be rendered irrelevant. You have to keep fine-tuning (or sometimes revolutionizing) what you do and how you do it.
The other problem with replay is it is reductionist. When you stick to the exact same approaches, you can’t imagine another way. You become increasingly narrow in your thinking. You fail to learn. You start assuming there are no other options or different paths. So much for originality.
When I get stuck in replay, I’ve found four things that help. I thought I’d share them here.
1. Get another view into your organization. Call a donor and see how they’re feeling about your organization. Go talk to someone in line at your shelter. Visit a front-lines staff member and ask them what’s new or different these days. I get so many good ideas from our customer service and success teams, for example.
2. Sign up for blogs, e-newsletters or other media that track big trends. I read a lot on mobile technology, the payments industry, social media and start ups so I can think about how broader trends might disrupt my work in exciting or concerning ways.
3. Go have lunch with a really smart person who doesn’t work at your organization. Ask them what they think of your company, organization or cause. Ask them how they faced challenges related to your own, in a different context. Brainstorm with them. I swear by this approach. Most of my ideas come from conversations with other people - rather than my own isolated mind.
4. Take an online course with a brilliant thinker. Via Coursera, I’m taking a course in behavioral economics at Duke (I’m way behind but enjoy the lectures nonetheless). A friend is taking a class in poetry. The possibilities are endless (and free). I also enjoy watching a TED talk. There’s nothing like fresh ideas outside your frame of reference to stimulate your own thinking.
This is how I avoid recycling the past or replaying the present. What do you do?
- Wed, April 17 2013
- Filed under: Cause-related marketing
A new study conducted by Good.Must.Grow has found consumers are apt to like and buy products from socially responsible companies - but they also question the claims of corporations who say they are committed to the greater good.
In the poll of 1,015 Americans, nearly a third of respondents claimed to have sought out socially responsible companies and a quarter said they avoided buying products from a company specifically because it wasn’t socially responsible. A majority (60%) of the study participants said buying goods from socially responsible companies was important to them, though a good deal tended to trump that consideration.
That’s good news for those of us pitching cause partnerships to companies. But it’s important to bear in mind another finding: Consumers are skeptical too, and 63% only sometimes trust a company’s claims that it is socially responsible.
It’s important for nonprofits and companies to build trust with the right partnerships. Here’s my advice:
1. Find the fit. Consumers are more likely to believe and embrace a company’s cause-related efforts if they’re reasonably aligned with their brand. For example, an athletic footwear brand is a better fit for anti-obesity sports programs than a fast food company. Seek out companies with values aligned with your nonprofit.
2. Show the money. Make sure your corporate partner practices complete and total transparency about the cause-related efforts. How many dollars went where, to what end? Help consumers see the resulting impact on real world problems.
3. Walk the talk. Choose a company that shows it’s a good corporate citizen in how it treats its employees, customers, suppliers, etc. Cause-related efforts that are strictly advertising ploys will spark skepticism. Consumers can smell crass corporate self-interest a mile away.
The bottom line? Find the right partner so consumers will embrace the partnership.
- Tue, April 16 2013
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
It’s the time of year when you’re packaging up your annual reports for 2012. Before you move forward with the same approach as last year, it’s worth asking:
-Who is the audience?
-What do you need to accomplish with this report?
-Should we question the old approach?
Here’s a great example of what happens when you ask these questions:
The Children’s Bureau report - which takes the form of an interactive report online and a poster in its direct mail form - combines accountability, storytelling and imagery in a wonderful way.
What are you imagining for your annual report? Make sure it serves a purpose for someone in a way that matters.
- Mon, April 15 2013
- Filed under: Video
I’m back from the Nonprofit Technology Conference. At one of my sessions, I talked about the importance of taking the vast problems we seek to address and the critical importance of translating them into a scale that is:
2.) Addressable and
When we fail to do this, we overwhelm people and create the impression their support won’t make a dent in our social problem.
Here are examples of making this translation. At the conference, See3, YouTube, NTEN and Cisco announced these videos were among the winners of the 2013 DoGooder Video Awards. They take big, faraway issues and make them immediate to the kinds of people who are likely to take action for that cause. They stake a point of view with a clear audience. And they inspire action in a funny way. Enjoy.
- Fri, April 12 2013
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
If the thought of asking for a donation in person makes you sweat, Network for Good’s next free webinar is for you.
Tune in Tuesday, April 16 at 1 p.m. Eastern to hear fundraising expert Jay Frost give nonprofits the insider scoop on garnering support via one of the most powerful methods—the in-person ask.
Join us and learn answers to the following:
How to ask for donations in a way that is comfortable for you
How to identify your unique asking strengths and best use them
Why asking for gifts doesn’t have to be so scary!
- Thu, April 11 2013
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
Photo via Green America.
Turns out it’s not just donors who grow weary of too many direct mail appeals and telemarketing calls. It’s apparently a frequent reason fundraisers quit their jobs—the relentless pressure to bombard donors. They’d prefer to take the time to figure out which solicitations work, but they often aren’t given the time or latitude to have a more thoughtful approach.
Over-solicitation, says Burk, is the most common reasons donors give for stopping their support of a charity. Instead donors want to know what’s been done with their money. Then they’d be willing to give again. But too often, they get appeals instead of thanks and reports on impact.
No wonder we have 60% churn in our sector.
So what do we do instead? Here’s Burk’s advice.
1. Thank donors after they give.
2. Send them a follow up thanks with detailed information about how their money was used.
3. Only ask for money AFTER you do these two things, and when you do, be as specific as you can about why you are asking for money. What specific cause will benefit?
Do you agree? Do you feel this way?