Fri, July 25 2014
Filed under: Fundraising essentials •
Wine and cheese tastings. Fancy dinners. Receptions. What do all these events have in common? They are generic. Any nonprofit can host these events. They are not special to your donors. They are not especially meaningful. To paraphrase Lynne Wester, The Donor Relations Guru, in our popular Nonprofit 911 webinar: Donors gave you money. They can buy themselves dinner. Hosting an event to honor and recognize your donors is good practice, but make sure that the face to face experience you give them is unique to your organization.
So what kind of donor experience do I recommend? I want to see more unique, memorable, heart-warming experiences. Create an event, an interaction, or an entire day that allows your donors to learn about your organization and gives them an understanding and appreciation for how you are using their investment.
To help get your ideas flowing, I asked a fundraising pro (and personal friend) Alexis Lux, CFRE and VP of Development for the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, to share some donor experience ideas:
So why should a nonprofit host “donor experiences”?
Alexis: These experiences should bring a donation to life. You want this experience to feel priceless to them but it shouldn’t really cost you much. It creates a closer connection to the nonprofit.
Can you give examples of specific donor experiences hosted for one donor or just a few?
I have three examples that were unique experiences for major donors:
1) When I was in the development department at a heritage museum we invited a major donor to the summer camp the museum hosted. He actually led a lesson for the campers!
2) When I raised money for a community boathouse foundation, we would name a new boat after a major donor and they had the opportunity to christen it in the traditional way (with champagne). Later, I would send them a photo of our youth team training with their boat on the river.
3) I also helped university scholarship donors meet the students they were supporting. I tried my best to partner the students and the donors by similar interest. One of our donors, an older women who loves the theatre, had a wonderful time getting to talk to a theatre student and heard firsthand about one of the upcoming shows
What about a donor experience that would be appropriate for a larger group of mid-level donors?
Well, at the YMCA we host a cancer survivor support group and we invite donors to attend the sessions. I even attended once and we did chair yoga! It was a lot of fun and wasn’t anything “extra” that I had to plan.
Also, at the museum we had a private “artist talk” before each exhibit opened. It was pretty cool to have a famous artist give our donors a tour and explain his inspiration for each piece that was included in the gallery.
Any other things to keep in mind when it comes to hosting these types of experiences for donors?
I know my future is full of more galas & wine/cheese receptions than I want to admit, but it’s so much more meaningful when donors can see their gift in action. I encourage all nonprofit leaders to get creative when it comes to the way you interact with donors!
Thanks to Lexy for sharing examples of unique donor experiences! I hope that you’re inspired! Need help thinking of donor experiences your nonprofit could host? Have examples that have worked for your nonprofit? Share your questions and ideas in the comments below.
For more on donor relations and why your organization should rethink how you relate to all your supporters, download the archived presentation, Transform Your Donor Relationships.
Wed, July 23 2014
The power of imagery is undeniable. Visuals have a way of emphasizing a message and motivating viewers to act. Watch as I share some examples and walk through the best ways to stimulate and engage your supporters and donors through images.
Wed, July 23 2014
In 2013, Network for Good saw nonprofits raise $1.8 million on #GivingTuesday, kicking off December giving with gusto. #GivingTuesday 2014 is December 2 and many organizations are already putting their plans in place. Now in its third year, this annual fundraising event is expected to be even bigger.
When done well, giving days like #GivingTuesday can generate excitement in your community, attracting new donors and additional donations for your cause. Creating your own #GivingTuesday campaign does require the right people, a good plan, and a lot of energy. How do you capitalize on the giving day trend while managing your other campaigns and fundraising efforts?
Never fear, help is on the way!
Whether you’ve already begun planning or are still trying to decide how to participate, we’re here to help you create a #GivingTuesday strategy that works. Next Tuesday, Network for Good’s Chief Giving Officer, Jamie McDonald, will share the secrets to a engaging, highly successful giving day that will help your nonprofit rally your community, attract more donors, and raise more money on #GivingTuesday, and beyond.
Free Webinar: Maximize #GivingTuesday to Meet Your Fundraising Goals
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 | 1pm EDT
Jamie knows first-hand how to make the most of a #GivingTuesday effort. She planned, promoted, and executed a grassroots campaign that raised $5.7 million in one day during #GivingTuesday 2013. Jamie will answer your burning questions about #GivingTuesday and share details from the plan that made this campaign so successful.
Register now to reserve your spot in this free webinar. You’ll get an action plan for preparing and executing a winning #GivingTuesday campaign, plus you’ll get a sneak peek of some of the special events that Network for Good has planned for this December.
Don’t miss it! (Can’t attend the live session? No worries. Register in advance and we’ll send you a copy of the presentation and a link to the recording.)
Mon, July 14 2014
(Part two in our series on the Millennial Impact Project)
Millennials: A powerful force for change.
Earlier this month, I shared my perspectives on the 2014 Millennial Impact Report and MCON14. Hopefully, that post got you thinking about how Millennials are shaping our culture and social sector in profound new ways.
As a refresher, this is a summary from Derrick Feldmann, President of Achieve, on the growing significance and power of Millennials:
Approximately 80 million Millennials live in the U.S. today. Collectively, they spend about $300 billion annually on consumer discretionary goods. And by the year 2020, they will make up 50% of the workforce.
Soon, Millennials will no longer be the “next generation;” rather, they will be the majority of your co-workers and employees. [And I’d add, the majority of your donors and supporters.]
Millennials are building a culture that knows how it feels to contribute to a cause and attempt to solve social issues…It is not overstating to say that a big part of the nonprofit sector’s future relies on its ability to respond to these young people’s charitable inclinations.
Invite them. Inspire them. Seven steps to get started.
How do you begin to engage Millennials? Here are seven ways you can bring Millennial energy, innovation and advocacy to your organization.
1. Bring Millennials onto your team. Hire Millennials. Invite one or two to join your board. Even if you have a give/get for board members, encourage Millennials to run a race or do a crowdfunding campaign as a way to fulfill their commitment. They’re worth it. With their robust social networks, youthful passion and idealism, they can contribute in ways that are more important than money. Think of Millennial team members as beacons that can shine a light on your organization with huge networks of friends, family and colleagues.
2. Inspire with images and video. Shift your marketing focus from facts and data to people and impact stories. Check out how our client, the United Way of Central Maryland uses a beautiful image and video to present a clear, simple fundraising message. Click here for a guide to using visuals effectively.
3. Enlist with emotion on social channels. Inspire young supporters to share your mission by capturing their attention in your social channels with emotion: empathy, humor, pain, triumph. Investments in photography and video can pay big dividends, as inspiring content is more likely to be shared. The campaign of actress Lauren Luke, Don’t Cover it Up, inspired women, especially Millennials, to confront partner violence, not to “cover it up.”
4. Empower them to get involved, not just to give. Inspire Millennials to volunteer based on their top motivators for getting involved: Passion (79%); Meeting people (56%); Gaining expertise (46%). Get them involved through activism, professional groups, and leadership opportunities. The United Way of Central Maryland has built a passionate base of Millennial supporters with its Emerging Leaders United program, by focusing on these motivations.
5. Focus on your website. Meet Millennials where they are: online (and on their phones). With the rise of social media, many organizations focus their online outreach, updates, and photos on these platforms, often neglecting their core website. Your website is the center of your online universe - the sun to your orbiting social media planets. And leaving out of date or generic information on a website is a major turn-off for Millennials, and everyone else!.
Also, your website has to be mobile-friendly. 87% of Millennials are carrying smartphones everyday. A mobile-friendly online environment will keep mobile users engaged and enable impulsive action from an impulsive generation.
6. Launch a monthly giving program. One of the hottest trends in philanthropy mirrors a trend we see in consumer purchasing: the growth in subscription giving. According to the report, 52% of Millennials are interested in giving monthly. A small monthly gift can really add up over months and years. Here are some recommendations on how to start your monthly giving program.
7. Move them to action by ASKING. You’re changing lives every day. And everyday you need support. Millennials want to be inspired, to inspire others, and to make a big impact with their actions and generosity. Tell them how they can help: start a fundraising page, sign a petition, recruit volunteers, host an event, join your leadership. It starts with an ask.
Fri, July 11 2014
Filed under: Fundraising essentials •
We recently asked our nonprofit Learning Center community about their biggest fundraising challenges. These fundraisers and marketers overwhelmingly indicated that acquiring new donors was the biggest challenge, with 61% choosing this as their top issue, followed by diversifying funding sources (16%), donor retention (9%), and increasing demand/staff constraints (both coming in at 7%).
There’s a lot that goes into a successful donor acquisition strategy. Once you have a strong marketing plan in place, it’s important to understand how to effectively tell your nonprofit’s story and make the case for giving to actually convert your target audience into donors. We have two free guides that will help you do just that:
What’s your biggest fundraising challenge and how are you working to solve it? Share your story in the comments below and we’ll feature selected responses in an upcoming post.