Fri, April 04 2014

What Cap’n Crunch Can Teach You About Fundraising

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fun stuff • Marketing essentials •

Have you ever felt like you were being watched in the supermarket?

In a new study from Cornell Food and Brand Lab, researchers found that characters featured on kids’ cereal boxes make incidental eye contact with children and cereals aimed at adults make incidental eye contact with adult shoppers. Cereals presumably marketed to children (think Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Trix) were found on lower shelves, and the gaze of the characters on these cereal boxes look downward at an angle of 9.67 degrees. 

This is probably not too surprising, but they took things a step further. Researchers asked a group of volunteers to rate their feelings about a brand based on the character featured on a cereal box. Study participants were randomly shown one of two versions of a Trix cereal box. One version featured the rabbit looking straight at the individual, in another, the rabbit had a downward gaze. Can you guess what happened?

People expressed a stronger connection to the brand when the rabbit made eye contact. Brand trust was also found to be 16% higher.  Participants even stated they preferred Trix, compared to another cereal, when that silly rabbit made eye contact.

Eyes in the Aisles Cartoon

So what does this have to do with nonprofit fundraising? Here are a few important reminders from the cereal aisle:

Know your target audience.
Think about the people you are trying to reach. Everything about your marketing efforts should speak to their unique experiences and values. One size does not fit all, so if you have multiple audiences, segment and tailor your approach accordingly.

Position yourself in their line of sight.
Are your cereal boxes on the right shelves? Understand the habits of your target audience and how to find them when they’re most likely to take action. If your target audience commutes via carpool each day, placards on the train aren’t going to make much impact. That’s somewhat obvious—the trick is having a deep understanding of where and when to reach your prospects. If you don’t have this intel, make it a priority to get it.

Make eye contact.
Are you looking your donors in the eye? Do this both figuratively and literally with your fundraising materials. In your emails, in advertisements, and on your website and donation pages, feature strong images of faces looking directly into the camera. Strike an emotional chord with your donors and make it easier for them to connect with your campaign.

How are you making eye contact with your donors? Share your ideas in the comments below, and—just for fun, tell us which cereal is your favorite. (Confession:  I’m partial to Apple Jacks as a guilty pleasure.)

Image courtesy of Cornell Food and Brand Lab

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Mon, March 03 2014

Where to Find NFG at NTC

Annika Pettitt's avatar

Senior Communications & Success Specialist, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fun stuff •

We’re really excited to have this year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference right in our back yard here in Washington, DC. If you’ll be in town for the conference, please make sure you stop by and say hi. We’d love to see you!

Here are all the ways you can get in touch with Network for Good while you’re at NTC:

NTC Science Fair: Visit us at booth #235 to meet our team, take a picture in our photo booth, pick up some NFG swag, and learn about how to make the most of Network for Good’s online fundraising tools. Don’t forget, the Science Fair is open to the public. So even if you’re not registered for the conference, come by to say hello!

Breakout Sessions: Join our Director of Content Strategy, Caryn Stein, for two breakout sessions on Friday, March 14, 2014

Progressive Party: Come meet the whole Network for Good team and help us celebrate processing $1billion in donations! We’ll be providing food, drinks, and tons of fun on Friday, March 14, 2014 from 9-11pm ET in downtown DC.

We hope to see you at one (or all!) of these events next week.


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Wed, February 12 2014

Celebrating One Billion for Good

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fun stuff •

Billion Milestone

Today at Network for Good, we’re celebrating a major milestone:  1 BILLION dollars processed for charity since our founding in 2001. We’re incredibly proud of this big achievement and we are even more honored by what it means. This milestone represents an amazing outpouring of generosity from millions of donors to thousands of nonprofits—and an incredible amount of good being done in this world.

Network for Good was founded to make it as easy to give online as it is to shop online. A lot has changed in the world of digital philanthropy since then, and we’re excited to continue to be at the forefront of this revolution.

Of course, this milestone is about much more than the mechanics of processing online donations. It’s about the hard work of nonprofits and the good they do each and every day, the amazing generosity of donors, and the creative thinking of partners who provide innovative opportunities for generosity. Thanks to each and every one of you for being part of this journey and we look forward to working with you to continue unleash generosity. Here’s to the next “Billion for Good” and beyond!

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Wed, February 12 2014

3 simple rules for spreading #donorlove

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fun stuff • Fundraising essentials •

Valentine Box

As we inch closer to Valentine’s Day, love is in the air. Beyond heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and overpriced bouquets, there’s an even bigger force in play—the kind of love that comes through generosity. Today, the nonprofit community is sharing examples of donor appreciation and tips for expressing gratitude in honor of Donor Love Day. You can follow along with the stream of ideas by checking out the hashtag #donorlove.

Here are three rules to keep in mind when planning your own #donorlove efforts:

Be authentic. Your donor appreciation efforts don’t have to be expensive or flashy, but they need to be genuine. This means connecting with your donors on a personal level. Donor love shouldn’t feel automated or mass produced. Think about the difference between a handmade construction paper Valentine vs. a preprinted stack of cards. Which one feels more sincere?

Be dependable.  Of course, your donors should expect to receive a gracious thank you for each gift, and that acknowledgement should include details about their unique relationship with your organization. But that’s not all. They also deserve regular updates on the impact of their donation and how you’re fulfilling the promise of your mission. Can donors count on you for an amazing experience each time they interact with your organization? This is an important, but often overlooked way to honor and respect your supporters.

Be open.  One way to show donors your appreciation is to let them know you are open to receiving their support as well as their feedback. This means listening to what your donors are telling you about why they support your cause, how they’d like you to communicate, and what they’d like to see as a result of their donation. Incorporate this knowledge into your outreach.

Need some more inspiration? Here are some more donor appreciation ideas from our learning center:

3 Special Ways to Show Donors Your Love
6 Keys to Donor Retention
How to Treat Your Donor Like a Superhero
How “Wow” Experiences Create Lifetime Donors
How to Combat Donor Fatigue
How Strong Relationships Increase Fundraising Results
Sample Donor Appreciation Certificate

How are you planning to show your love for your donors this year?


Photo credit: Caryn Stein


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Thu, February 06 2014

Why “Facebook movies” work

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fun stuff • Marketing essentials • Social Media •

Facebook video example

No doubt you’ve seen the string of videos on your Facebook timeline—friends and family sharing their own social media time capsules. Facebook’s “A Look Back” movies offer personalized video montages to celebrate the social network’s 10th birthday. The videos are irresistibly sharable and have even struck a chord with the experts.

Here’s what makes these videos work so well:

They’re not focused on the organization.  The folks at Facebook could have created something more focused on their platform and their accomplishments, but they knew that the real way to make us care about their birthday is by talking to us about, well, us.

They tug at our heartstrings.  Above all, emotion rules. From the sweet background music to the heavy rotation of photos, the videos capture our attention and pull us in. These videos, while driven by an algorithm, are mirrors of ourselves and heavily feature the things that matter most to us.

They remind us of our progress.  In keeping with the birthday theme, the videos allow us to look back and see how far we’ve come, whether we joined Facebook way back when or just last year.

They connect us to something bigger. The shared experience of posting the videos and the highlights they capture help us see how we’re connected to one another. The idea of Mark Zuckerberg and company inviting us to celebrate this big milestone together underscores this feeling of community.

In the process of accomplishing all of these things, these videos endear us more to the whole Facebook experience. Think about how you can emulate these qualities the next time you update your supporters on the progress you’ve made together.

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