Thu, November 20 2014
Make #GivingTuesday an event for your team, and a win for those you serve.
In less than 2 weeks it will be December 2nd, and #GivingTuesday will be here. Whether you’ve planned for months or just for a week or two, there’s one more thing you can do to make it a great day for your nonprofit.
Organizations large and small can put their campaigns over the top on #GivingTuesday by creating a “day of generosity” that involves your staff, board, and volunteers. Plan a day of hard-working fun that involves your team in outreach and celebration as you hit milestones toward your goal.
The recommendations below are targeted at a mid-sized organization, so scale the plan for your day up or down to fit your organization’s capacity.
Make it a party!
Set up a #Givingtuesday ‘war room’ so the team is all together in one place. There will be hard work to do and a party atmosphere will make a long day more fun.
Consider these suggestions to elevate the excitement and spur the efforts of your staff and volunteers:
Provide special t-shirts, wristbands, hats or other swag if you have it. If you don’t, consider asking each team member to wear something in the colors of your organization’s logo to create that spirit of a team.
Have food throughout the day.
Have a first gift ceremony, where the team members contribute whatever they can to the campaign and put that total on the board as the “founders” gifts for the campaign.
Take an UNselfie of each team member and one of the whole team together and post on social media.
Have a visible tally board so everyone can see when you are getting close to key milestones
Covering the day
Your #GivingTuesday staff plan should cover a time period from about 8am to 10pm. The busiest donation periods are likely to be from 9am to 3pm and 7pm to 10pm, and these are the windows when you’ll want the most coverage.
Suggested staff roles
Leader Appoint a leader so campaign staff have a single point of contact for questions throughout the day. The leader should have a list of contact information for all staff and partners (include cell phone numbers and email addresses). He or she should be ready to address technology issues should there be problems with your online giving site. Have the phone number of your software provider handy in the event there is an issue. He or she may also be assigned as designated representative to talk with the media if there is press interest in your campaign. The leader (or a designee) should be ready with talking points highlighting the key aspects of the campaign.
Thank key partners and sponsors
Alert the community to Day-of challenges and contests (especially if they change hourly)
Inspire the community with Day-of rewards or incentives
Ask the community to GIVE and SHARE
Mention the Campaign Hashtag and URL
Phone outreach team
Your phones can be the most powerful weapon on #GivingTuesday. You can organize an actual phone-a-thon of sorts, reaching out to supporters to thank them for past generosity and invite them to join your #GivingTuesday campaign. At a minimum, you should reach out to board members, key friends of your organization, and active volunteers to enlist their participation as givers or sharers.
Assign one or more people to be available to answer questions from donors should they arise.
Social outreach staff
The social team will be the ambassadors of excitement for the campaign. They will focus on:
· Building excitement by posting content to social media channels.
Engaging with followers, fans, tweets.
Promoting key milestone content such as Goal Updates, Prize winners, media coverage.
Alerting other staff to any social postings related to issues or questions.
Forwarding any social postings from the media to the team leader.
Volunteer Event coordinator
If your nonprofit is hosting a hands-on service event for #GivingTuesday, the volunteer service coordinator should be part of the war room team. Ask them to provide photos, quotes, and results from the volunteer activity that can be shared with potential supporters online and in email.
Work hard, have fun, focus on your goals, and it will be a great #GivingTuesday!
Mon, September 08 2014
Our daughter, Charlotte, recently started sixth grade, and the pumped-up energy at school that first morning really got me thinking.
“Back to school” is one of the definers of fall as we know it. It’s right up there with apples, the changing colors of the leaves, and Halloween.
Here are all these kids marching into the unknown for nine months of learning and growth. Some are thrilled to be starting again, others are longing for the pool or camp, but all have this incredible opportunity to be exposed to new content, to digest it in the context of what they know now, and to arrive on the far side with a fresh perspective and new skills. I’m envious!
Few of us have this kind of formal growth opportunity, but ongoing intellectual and creative growth is vital. It’s the only way to ensure that our marketing and fundraising content is relevant while fueling our personal satisfaction.
My call to action for you and me? Let’s reclaim back to school. Let’s schedule some learning—via conversation, reading, participating—into every day, even if for only five minutes. Learning is energizing, positive, and productive, but you have to make it happen.
Here are the five main methods I use to keep learning:
1. Read and watch content (blogs, e-newsletters, social media, books, videos) in the field, from nonprofits in all sectors, and from expert marketers—in the nonprofit world and beyond—and fundraisers. This helps me keep current on trends, models, needs, tools, and news.
2. Scan the world news, and process how it affects your work and the perspectives of the folks your organization strives to connect with.
3. Participate in hands-on group workshops and webinars, so I’m doing rather than just digesting. For me, the doing reinforces learning like nothing else.
4. Push myself to take on the next new challenge, and make sure there’s always a “next challenge” to tackle. Right now I’m focusing on developing several new training modules and a new small-group online learning program. You may think about how to meet the needs of an underserved part of your community or tackle a new donor segment.
5. Synthesize what I learn with what I know and share that with you in blog posts, e-news articles, speaking gigs, and training. This is the linchpin of my learning program, pushing me to put it all together—for you!
I guarantee I get my learning by scheduling it every day in “ink” on the calendar. This time-blocking approach works wonders for me.
Starting today, reclaim back to school as your own. Schedule time daily to stimulate your mind, nourish your soul, stay on top of the world you’re working in (and communicating into), refine your perspective, and build your expertise and impact—all prerequisites to creating the relevant content and calls to action that best engage the folks whose help you need to move your mission forward!
How do you keep learning even when your professional development budget is zilch? Please share your learning habits and favorite resources in the comments below!
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 GettingAttention.org.
Fri, August 15 2014
Are your social networks full of friends being doused in icy water? You’ve witnessed the #IceBucketChallenge.
The “Ice Bucket Challenge” has taken the world by storm, prompting people across the nation to take note of, promote, and donate in support of research and assistance for those diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). Challengers throw down the gauntlet to their peers: dump a bucket of ice water on your head or donate to support the ALS Association. It’s an unusual request that has a lot of people taking notice. Ethel Kennedy even challenged President Obama to join in, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has dared Bill Gates to do the same.
How has any of this helped the charity? The ALS Association shares how this viral hit has helped to grow their audience—and their donation totals (over $4M so far). This represents a 1,000% spike in donations compared to the same time period last year.
So, why do campaigns like this take off? How do they tap into the part of us that shares, supports, and acts? Here are seven basic reasons why the Ice Bucket Challenge is so successful. (Note: These factors can also help make your next campaign more effective.)
It’s social. We’re social creatures, and we tend to do what other people are doing, whether we want to admit it or not. It’s who we are. We look to social norms to guide us. It’s peer pressure…for good.
It’s personal. There’s just something about hearing and seeing your family, friends, colleagues, and public figures speak and take action. This powerful personal trigger combines with social norms to inspire action. It wouldn’t have the same effect if a complete stranger (or an organization) asked you to take the challenge.
It’s simple. The ask is pretty clear: dump a bucket of water on your head or give. That’s the choice. There’s not too much to think about there, which is the hallmark of an effective marketing message. Some may argue that an even simpler choice would limit the option to only one: give. In this case, the ask is important, for sure, but the reason this has spread so quickly (and, in turn, raised so much money for ALS) is due to the stunt. Your ask may be easy, important, and necessary, but remember that it still needs a vehicle to reach your audience.
It’s slightly irrational. Sometimes we are more likely to give when a stunt is more unusual, painful, or downright weird. Want proof? Look to Christopher Olivola’s experiments from The Science of Giving.
It’s direct. Instead of issuing a blanket plea, the challenge is built around publicly calling people out. By name. When you want people to pay attention and take action, it makes a difference when you identify an individual vs. asking “everyone” to help.
It’s consistent. Instead of deviating from the script, each participant in the Ice Bucket Challenge focuses on the same challenge and specifically supports the ALS Association. This provides a common experience and goal, which helps build momentum and community. The same wouldn’t be true if the actions or causes were randomly selected.
It’s different. Let’s face it. It’s hard to stand out on social media, but we know that photos and videos of our friends make us linger for more than a few seconds. And people doing silly things like dumping freezing water on themselves? America’s Funniest Home Videos can’t even compare!
With all of these things going for it, the challenge does have some critics who say the stunt is merely slacktivism and doesn’t represent a real avenue for fundraising. I’m glad to see some good conversations around this, as I think it’s important for fundraisers and marketers to understand the opportunities—and the limits—of these types of campaigns. That said, as Justin Ware (The Social Side of Giving) points out, if an effort leads to 7-figure fundraising results, it’s difficult to dismiss this example of “slacktivism” as a dead-end street. Justin also smartly clues in on the real opportunity: being able to further engage and retain these new supporters. In his recent Selfish Giving newsletter, Joe Waters underscores the importance of leading with engagement before making the ask. This is where these types of social campaigns really shine.
What do you think of the Ice Bucket Challenge? Love it, hate it, or getting your bucket ready while you’re reading this? Chime in below and share your thoughts!
Fri, August 08 2014
When I asked nonprofit experts in a range of fields, from fundraising to programs, to share their summer reading lists, I had no idea what to expect.
I was thrilled to hear so many passionate stories about books that have made (or are likely to make) a huge difference in these folks’ lives. I’m sure that you’re reading all the time—blogs, Facebook, e-newsletters—but my colleagues told me that, for them, reading a book is something different. The process of immersing oneself in a work that is longer, richer, and typically experienced in a distinct format, be that hard copy or on an e-reader, is a unique experience. This immersion outside the day-to-day is highly engaging, energizing, and refreshing on the creative and intellectual fronts.
With that potential in mind, consider these top picks for your end-of-summer reading list. One of them could change your life:
Auto Biography: A Classic Car, an Outlaw Motorhead, and 57 Years of the American Dream, Earl Swift
Sally Kirby Hartman, vice president of communications at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, adored this pleasure read about a ’57 Chevy and its various owners. Sally’s a superstar communicator and extracted a valuable marketing insight: “Auto Biography is a great reminder that a good observer can bring any topic to life by writing about real people,” she said.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell
If you know the work of fundraising scribe Tom Ahern, you won’t be surprised by the passion he brings to this recommendation. When Tom likes something, he really likes it. So when he told me that Blink was “blowing his mind,” I had to know why.
“Try this one,” said Tom. “A psychologist administers a test to college students. There are 10 questions. Scattered through the questions are words such as ‘worried,’ ‘Florida,’ ‘old,’ ‘lonely,’ ‘gray,’ ‘bingo,’ and ‘wrinkle.’ When the students arrive to take the test, they act their age. When they leave after taking the test, they act old, walking slowly. What you read when taking the test affected the way you behaved.
“OMG, Nancy,” exclaimed Tom. “The great unknown for copywriters (me) is the human mind and how it actually works, not how we guess it works. That’s why Blink is blowing my mind: it’s all about recent psychological research, as told by a fabulous journalist.”
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, Nir Eyal
Nonprofit Web mastermind Seth Giammanco, of ModLab, is digging into Nir Eyal’s model that can be used to help products stand out in a world of constant competition for attention. He outlines that model here. It’s useful guidance and great inspiration for shaping your programs and services and positioning your organization’s fundraising and marketing campaigns for the strongest results.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, Gary Vaynerchuk
Kevin Martone, technology program manager at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, is just digging into this one now. It’s the latest (maybe greatest?) from social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk, who shares secrets on connecting strongly with customers—donors and other supporters to us. Sounds worth a read!
To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, Dan Pink
In his breakthrough book, A Whole New Mind, Dan Pink broke through traditional perceptions on success drivers, suggesting that right-brain skills are a huge success factor. Celeste Wroblewski, vice president of public relations at Chicago Symphony Orchestra, is eager to read his latest. Celeste, I’ve read To Sell Is Human, and you’re in for a treat.
Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, Arianna Huffington
What’s heading your end-of-summer reading list, or what book tops the list of those you’ve already finished? Share your picks in the comments below!
Tue, July 29 2014
Filed under: Fun stuff •
We love taking a little time to celebrate the amazing things our nonprofit partners are accomplishing in their communities. Our Nonprofit of the Week series lets us spread the word far and wide about the great things the organizations we’re working with are doing to improve their corner of the world. In July we celebrated a New York charter school that boasts a dedicated alumni network, a community center that provides unified support for the people of the San Gabriel Valley, and Georgia’s oldest nonprofit childcare center.
Take a look at the great things these organizations are doing and join us in celebrating their work!
Bronx Science Endowment Fund brings together a network of extremely dedicated alumni to support their alma mater’s commitment to the highest quality education, facilities and extracurricular activities. Since its founding in 1938, Bronx Science has produced an impressive list of notable alumni, boasted high graduation rates and a reputation for strong academics and performing arts. Their network for fundraising alumni is a vibrant part of continuing the school’s legacy.
Foothill Unity Center is the primary provider of food, case management, crisis help and health care resources for neighbors in need in the San Gabriel Valley. Through collaborative efforts with social workers, educational institutions and healthcare providers, Foothill Unity Center aims to provide vital support services that ensure dignity and respect for their community members.
The Sheltering Arms early education and family center in Atlanta was founded in 1888 by a group of women determined to provide care for children in need. Since then they’ve expanded their services to include early childhood education, family services and child care for all of Atlanta’s families regardless of income.