Tue, November 26 2013
Our next Nonprofit 911 webinar guest, Darian Rodriguez, is a big proponent of leveraging your organization’s year-end momentum to boost individual giving. Promoting your cause on #GivingTuesday is a great start, but you can take this a step further by empowering donors to promote your work on their own all year long. Here’s my true story and three things I learned about donors recruiting donors:
The button that sparked a donation while waiting in line for coffee.
I was standing in line at Starbucks when the customer behind me asked me about a button on my bag that read, “I GAVE. Will You?” The button was intended to drive donations at a conference I attended, but I took this small piece of donor swag to the next level. After I told my fellow customer about the foundation my donation supported (college scholarships and domestic violence prevention), he handed me $20 to donate on his behalf.
Although these types of encounters don’t happen every day, you can prepare your donors to be effective messengers for your mission. Here are three ways your organization can help donors recruit donors:
1. Educate your donors.
Use thank you letters, newsletters, and email appeals as an opportunity to tell donors a little bit more about what your organization does. If donors can’t articulate what you do, how can you expect them to tell someone else about your work? Try segmenting newsletters for new donors vs. recurring donors. New donors are getting to know you and need more basic information about your work. However, a recurring donor might like to learn more about long-term projects and ways to volunteer.
2. Equip your donors.
Give donors a way to show off your nonprofit. Donors don’t necessarily need a button or a tote bag to accomplish this. A social media update or email message they can share with their social circles works, too. If you use a tool like Network for Good’s DonateNow, make sure that you turn on social sharing so that donors can share their love for your organization with a Facebook update or a tweet right after they make a donation.
3. Love your donors.
I get great thank you letters from the foundation I mentioned in my story. Their thank you letters make me feel connected to their mission, and they always show appreciation for my gift. How does the thank you process work for your organization? Ask your board members to call donors and thank them, or have beneficiaries write a handwritten thank you note. Form a positive connection with your donors, and they’ll want to show love back by making another gift or by recruiting more donors.
How are you empowering your donors to become messengers for your nonprofit? Share your ideas and plans in the comments below!
Tue, November 19 2013
#GivingTuesday is just two weeks away—is your nonprofit ready?
While some organizations have been planning their #GivingTuesday campaigns for quite some time, if your nonprofit’s still wondering how to get in on the fun, don’t worry. There’s still time to participate and kick off December with a boost in donor activity. Some ways to get started:
1. Sign up. Registered 501(c)3 organizations can visit GivingTuesday.org to become an official partner organization and find ways to get involved.
2. Set a clear goal. Figure out what you want to accomplish on #GivingTuesday and set a goal that you can measure.
3. Get your emails and social media updates ready. Craft a few emails to rally your supporters to give along with their peers on December 3. Use social media to keep the excitement going and encourage fans to spread the word. You can join the conversation by using hashtag #GivingTuesday.
4. Make it easy for your supporters to give. Create clear calls to action so donors don’t have to wonder what you want them to do. Then, remove all of the roadblocks to giving by streamlining your donation process and enabling your donors to give via mobile.
5. Make it easy for your supporters to share. Offer easy and ubiquitous social sharing options on your donation pages and content, along with pre-programmed updates that your community can share with their networks to inspire even more participation.
Ready to make #GivingTuesday your own? Here are some resources to help you make the most of this day of giving and connect with your supporters:
• Learn how to get the most out of #GivingTuesday from GreatNonprofits
• Check out the amazing Giving Day Playbook from the Knight Foundation.
• Our friends at HubSpot have 12 tips for amplifying your #GivingTuesday campaign.
• The folks at GivingTuesday.ca offer some great ideas for 6 super-simple social media campaigns.
• Find (and share) even more resources in John Haydon’s Ultimate #GivingTuesday Checklist.
What are your plans for #GivingTuesday? Let us know in the comments below!
Tue, November 12 2013
#GivingTuesday is December 3rd. How will your organization celebrate?
For those not in the know, #GivingTuesday™ is a campaign to add a national day of giving to the lineup of shopping days Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.
#GivingTuesday is a prime opportunity for nonprofits and companies (and individuals) to collaborate for the greater good. Here are four steps to ensure your partnership’s success:
1. Seek mission and values alignment.
There are many reasons to form cross-sector partnerships: promotion to a bigger audience, inspiration from new ideas and approaches, and access to additional skills, more resources, and knowledge. And there are also just as many reasons not to partner: Support can come with strings attached, lack of trust, conflicting goals, and mission creep. To ensure you create a winning partnership, take the time to make sure there’s a good fit between your mission and the corporate partner’s brand identity and goals.
Luna’s Pure Prevention campaign provides a great example of nonprofit-corporate alignment. As a provider of nutrition for active women, Luna teamed up with the Breast Cancer Fund to find and eliminate environmental and preventable causes of breast cancer—a major health issue for women. It just makes sense.
Who are your go-to partners for #GivingTuesday?
2. Leverage complementary assets.
Assets are any resources that you and your corporate partner bring to the table. In addition to funding, assets can include people, skills, audience reach, relationships, and technology. A partnership is not just about getting access to corporate philanthropic dollars: It’s about true collaboration. Think about what assets your nonprofit has that will be of value to a corporate partner, and vice versa. You have invested in a brand, program portfolio, supporter base, and other resources that will help make the partnership a success. Never discount what you bring to the table.
Coalitions also provide powerful opportunities to leverage collective assets for a common purpose. This year BMORE GIVES MORE brings together several nonprofit and corporate partners in Baltimore to consolidate each organization’s efforts and leverage #GivingTuesday to raise $5 million dollars in one day for causes in the city.
Who can you join with to create a big impact this #GivingTuesday?
3. Design the right partnership architecture.
Thinking through the goals of the partnership and designing a measurable campaign will help ensure transparency and focus, especially if you use those measurements to tell stories with impact. How can you engage supporters in relevant and meaningful ways? How will you measure their participation and communicate results?
One framework to help structure the partnership is the ladder of engagement. Offer your audience multiple ways to participate with your partnership based on their level of passion and commitment to the cause. The No Kid Hungry campaign, led by Share Our Strength, does a great job of offering multiple ways to take action: donate, advocate, sign a pledge, spread the word, and raise money for your cause.
How can you offer a ladder of engagement for #GivingTuesday? First, understand where your supporters congregate online, then design calls to action that leverage those channels. (Don’t forget to repurpose this user-generated content all year to connect with supporters’ emotional ties to your cause. You can also track who is a big participant and cultivate them as a brand ambassador and uber-volunteer.) Here are a few ideas:
• #GivingTuesday Twitter chat (Encourage corporate sponsors to pledge $1 per tweet.)
• Random Acts of Kindness Facebook campaign (Have supporters share acts they performed or witnessed.)
• Inspirational generosity pins on Pinterest (Have supporters share what generosity means to them.)
• Kind deeds caught in the act on Instagram (Feature photos of generous acts and giving.)
• Messages of hope and generosity on YouTube (Feature testimonials about how giving affected their lives or messages of encouragement for your program beneficiaries.)
4. Measure and communicate accomplishments.
Evolving a partnership requires taking the time to understand where you’ve been, what you’ve accomplished, and how you can keep improving. Communicating impact to partnership stakeholders is a vital piece of that process. It’s also important to communicate that to your donors, and never forget to say thank you! Did you know that an eCampaigning Review Study surveyed 2 million donors who gave to 50 nonprofits around the world and found that 70% of the nonprofits did not send an email thank you within 1 month of a donor’s gift? And 37% never sent a thank you email at all. Never! Don’t be one of those organizations. Be an awesome and amazing nonprofit sending immediate thanks yous that are personal, tangible, emotional, and about the donor—not your organization.
If you need inspiration, just check out the A Day Made Better thank you video for a refresher on powerful storytelling and expressing gratitude. You can also see how Phoenix House recapped their 2012 #GivingTuesday campaign and closed the loop for campaign participants with a heartfelt response from program beneficiaries.
Remember: Corporate-cause partnerships are all about relationships, collaboration, execution, and impact (and fun!).
Mon, October 28 2013
If you’re planning to wait until December to reach out to your donors, you may be too late. Setting the stage for your year-end fundraising push is as important as the ask itself. This is true for a few reasons. First, no one wants to be ignored all year, only to be asked for money when they finally do hear from you. That’s not much of a relationship.
Second, it often takes more than one message to get donors to act. While marketers don’t agree on a magic number, it pays to consider the effective frequency of your message—that is, the number of times it will take for someone to see your marketing message before they take action.
So, how do you wake up donors and get them ready for giving season? Here are a few places to start:
Send a warm-up email.
If you haven’t communicated with your donors recently, reach out to them this week to update them on all of the good *they’ve* done this year through their gifts. Remind them that you’ve put their donations to good use and give them the opportunity to see the results. By taking some time to rekindle their positive feelings about your organization now, you’ll prime donors to be ready to take action in a few weeks. Need some ideas for your email outreach? Download Network for Good’s free Nonprofit Guide to Email Engagement.
Get supporters talking via social.
Once you’ve shown up in their inbox, get on your donors’ social radar by inviting them into a conversation about your work and the latest news about your cause. People want to invest in other people they trust, not faceless institutions. Social media is a great way to let donors see the real you and forge a meaningful connection with your nonprofit.
Follow up with event attendees.
If you’ve held a fundraising event this year, you have the perfect opportunity to reach out to these highly engaged supporters to update them on the outcome of the event, and let them know how they can stay involved with your organization. If you haven’t recapped your event to relive all of the amazing stuff that happened, what are you waiting for? Reminding your event attendees of this shared experience helps them feel closer to your organization, and much more likely to give again.
Wed, October 16 2013
Recently MarketingProfs reported that Q2 email open rates decreased 8.3% from Q1 levels. Click through rates also dropped slightly. While the referenced study from Epsilon looked at e-commerce email performance, it’s no secret that it’s getting tougher to break through the noise and ensure readers are opening and acting on your emails. Fortunately, there are things you can do to build a stronger email relationship with your supporters now so that you will have better success when you send those December appeals. Try these tips:
If your emails look like every other message in your supporter’s inbox, you’re making it easy for readers to ignore you. Spend as much time designing your emails for your readers’ inboxes as you spend writing the contents of your email. Create subject lines that make them want to open and read your message, and think about what shows up in the preview pane and from whom your email is sent. No one wants to get an email from “email@example.com”.
Give them something they can count on.
Can your donors count on you for interesting, useful information and updates? Condition your readers to expect amazing stories and new insights about your cause so they’ll look forward to receiving—and reading— your emails.
One surefire way to bore your supporters to death is to send them all the same, generic emails every month. Your emails must be personally relevant to the reader to grab their attention. In addition to personalizing emails with your reader’s name in the subject line or greeting, segment and tailor your emails to align with their experience with your organization. Treat recurring donors different from those who haven’t given. Send program-specific information to those supporters who have indicated a passion for a particular part of your mission.
Make it mobile friendly.
Over 40% of email is now being opened on mobile devices, so be sure to simplify your outreach, increase font sizes, and make your buttons and calls to action easy to click with a fingertip or thumb. Applying mobile friendly design principles to your emails will make your organization’s messages easier to read and act on, no matter how they’re being read. This will also improve the readability of your emails for older eyes.
Bonus tip: Our friends at Constant Contact have shared some excellent advice on educating your readers about the new Gmail tabs, which some worry may affect open rates. Ryan Pinkham, Constant Contact’s Content Developer, offers sample email copy for you to customize and share with your supporters, along with a pre-designed email template for those of you using Constant Contact.