Thu, December 11 2014

Motivate ’Em Messages: What Secrets Can You Share?

Nancy Schwartz's avatar

Nonprofit Marketing Expert

Read more by this author

Filed under:   Branding • Marketing essentials •

When I saw this Facebook post from the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless (ECHH), my smile spread like wildfire.

ECHH Facebook Post

You see, we’ve been working with the ECHH team on year-end fundraising campaigns for a few years, and among the countless things I was surprised to learn when we started is just how many of the individuals and families they serve are working full-time (or more, holding multiple jobs) but still can’t make ends meet—68%!

Sixty-eight percent is a huge segment—almost two-thirds of those served by ECHH. These folks aren’t alone. Unfortunately, the “working poor” population is growing fast, but many people are still unaware of that critical detail.

In fact, there’s a common misperception that people without homes bring it on themselves through laziness (like not working or not trying to find a job), addiction, or other issues. Even though that’s untrue for so many of ECHH’s clients and for other families who have lost their homes, widespread misperceptions like this one often become so entrenched that they seem like facts.

Kudos to ECHH for opening eyes and minds to this crucial fact across its communication channels, including Facebook. It’s a potential game-changer and is likely to move some prospects from no to maybe or yes on the donate meter.

ECHH strives to correct misperceptions that stand in the way of a donation with stories that highlight the efforts those served are putting in to take care of their families. Similar stories that engage readers through likeable protagonists just like themselves were featured in a recent campaign letter:

Mom with girls

We helped Jeannie find extra work to supplement her salary from her full-time job (and build up some savings) and to get the full allotment of food stamps the family deserved.

With Martha and Renee now back to their happy selves and Jack busy in college, Jeannie is once again beginning to feel that her family is secure.

Your organization has stories and stats that are equally vital but unknown. Discover what your secrets are and unmask them asap! They may be the tipping point for your year-end fundraising campaign.

  • Comments   

Wed, December 03 2014

How Did You Handle…? 2 MORE Examples of Change Ups for 2014 Year-End Campaigns

Nancy Schwartz's avatar

Nonprofit Marketing Expert

Read more by this author

Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

Read Part One

This post continues our new How Did You Handle…? series—specific how-tos based on your experiences.

There’s still time to make productive changes to your year-end appeal! Here are more year-end campaign change-ups, attempted for the first time this year by some of your fundraiser peers (with early results where available).

1. Change-Up: Launching matching gifts for first-time donors (including those coming in on #GivingTuesday).

We secured two donors—one who is an absolutely new donor—to offer a dollar-for-dollar match (up to $1,000) for all first-time donors. We are also offering a separate $500 match to new online donors on #GivingTuesday.

As director of development, I pushed the match approach and found supportive donors. I was thrilled when our executive director jumped on board and found a matching donor for #GivingTuesday.

But that’s not all. Our executive director pledged a $500 gift if all staff members contribute to the campaign. Great news: Our board is already at 100%!

Goal: I had used the matching challenge in other types of campaigns and found it highly successful in increasing the number of new donors and total gifts. We’re hoping to achieve the same value this year. We’ll keep you posted!

Results to Date: Just starting our year-end campaign (our executive director hand-signs all appeal letters and adds personal notes to many of them).

Source: Alan Gibby, director of development, Shelter Care Ministries

2. Change-Up: Revising our channel and format mix for year-end appeals to include direct mail for prospects who don’t read our emails.

After digging into our email database statistics, we noticed that many of our donors don’t check their emails. Direct mail is our best hope for engaging these folks; this way we know they’ll receive an appeal. We’re sending them our first-ever direct mail appeal.

Goals: We hope to strongly encourage our consistent donors to increase their gifts and reactivate our lapsed donors.

Source: Kiki Fornito, development associate, Build Change

Note from Nancy: Other fundraisers reported very different changes in their year-end channel and format mix:

· “We are moving to an 80-20 split between email and direct mail outreach to members in our fundraising campaigns; the goal is to convert members to donors. Early results are positive,” reports Laural Bowman, political affairs manager with the Ohio State Medical Association.

· “We are reaching out via phone to donors as a supplement to our direct mail year-end campaign. Of course, we’re tracking what impact these calls, which are low cost but labor intensive, have on results, and we’ll use that data to fine-tune next year’s year-end approach,” says Jayme Hayes, president of Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore.

Whatever your organization’s mix, the crucial takeaways are to always look hard at response patterns to year-end and other fundraising campaigns and to do more of what’s working and less of what isn’t.

If one of these approaches makes sense for your organization—based on data and anecdotes, not just gut instinct—see if there’s at least some small way you can incorporate it into remaining elements of your year-end campaign. It just might make a difference!

With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build 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.

  • Comments   

Wed, November 19 2014

How Did You Handle…? 3 Examples of Change Ups for 2014 Year-End Campaigns

Nancy Schwartz's avatar

Nonprofit Marketing Expert

Read more by this author

Filed under:   Giving Days • How to improve emails and newsletters • Marketing essentials •

This post is the first in our new How Did You Handle…? Series—specific how-tos based on YOUR experiences.Please watch for our requests to share your wins, challenges and recommendations. YOU are the best trainers there are!

Year-End fundraising tops most organizations’ “must do, every year” list, but it’s challenging both to figure out how to do it differently but better and to get approval for a fresh approach for a campaign that’s so vital.

But case studies from colleague organizations commonly work as a calming balm for anxious decision-makers afraid to deviate from the norm (even when that norm isn’t working so well). Here’s what some of your peers are trying this year, with early results where available:

1. Change Up: Revising campaign tone and content—to be more direct, frank and engaging. For example, we’re showing results of donor generosity (rather than talking about them) and sharing organizational changes in progress as a result of grant guidelines.

Goal: We’re hoping to open up an active conversation with donors and prospects by inviting them into our organization! Our goal is to have these folks contact us with questions or suggestions.

Results to Date: Many donors have already contacted me to share appreciation for the more friendly and inclusive messaging. Several of them requested permission to share content from our year-end newsletter in their own communities (thus increasing our reach).

Others got in touch to share ideas or offer their assistance to tackle some of our organization’s concerns. That’s exactly the kind of response we’re looking for—stronger, closer relationships!

Source: Todd McPherson, Inter-Faith Community Services


2. Change Up: Participating in #GivingTuesday for the first time plus, beefing up our online and monthly giving options.

Goal: I (the Executive Director) introduced these changes to my board. I became aware of #GivingTuesday last year at the last moment, so investigated and proposed to our board that we make an effort this year to use this to kick off our December campaign this year.

I also hoped to motivate other charities in the area to participate in #GivingTuesday, so we’d all get more attention.

Results to Date: I’m still trying to persuade other local charities to participate in #GivingTuesday with us but have not been able to get them to understand the significance. We have decided to lead by example and hope they join us next year.

TBD on the campaign itself.

Source: Bob Stephenson, Executive Director The Literacy Coalition

3. Change Up: Personalizing our year-end content (and segmenting our list accordingly)

We’ll feature the story of one of our beneficiaries in the same state as the donor or prospect receiving the direct mail letter, to strengthen the connection between that donor/prospect and our impact.

Goal: We have read that relevancy/segmentation will increase the number and dollar value of gifts.

NOTE from Nancy: Personalization/segmentation is powerful when you can connect with what’s top of mind for your prospect or donor. If you can discuss state specific challenges likely to be known of and/or experienced by your prospects and your featured beneficiary, that’s golden!

Results to Date: Drops the first week of December!

Source: Emily Behan, Development Coordinator Community Solutions

What are YOU changing in this year’s year-end campaign? Please share your new approach with us!

With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build 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.

  • Comments   

Wed, November 05 2014

Why Donors Want to Help One Person but Not Every Person

Liz Ragland's avatar

Marketing Content Associate, Network for Good

Read more by this author

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials • Marketing essentials •

An NPR story caught my attention this morning. Maybe you heard it too? The story was about a psychologist’s study on what kind of message inspires people to give more.

According to psychologist Paul Slovic’s research about how the head and heart can influence how much people want to give to support a cause, your message is more compelling when you tell the story of one and stick to how a donor’s investment can help that one person, not many.

In Slovic’s study, volunteers heard a story about a young girl suffering from starvation. The researchers then stepped into the fundraiser’s role and made an ask. They measured how much this group was willing to donate to help this girl. Next, a second group of volunteers heard the same story about the little girl and were told some overwhelming statistics about starvation. The same story + stats on what the issue looks like overall. Are you surprised to learn that the second group gave only about half of what the first group gave? I’m not surprised, and here are three reasons why:

  1. Donors want to feel happy and hopeful when they give. Hearing a story and framing an ask to help on a small scale is the way to go.   Here’s an example:

  Message 1: “Thousands of veterans need our help transitioning back to civilian life. Please give now!” = Overwhelming. My donation won’t even make a dent.

  Message 2: “A $20 monthly gift will make sure a veteran gets the job training she needs.” = My donation can actually help!

  2. People get too caught up in the numbers. Annual reports with numbers are necessary, I know, but don’t get carried away! Tell the whole story, but highlight statistics that show how your work really made a difference instead of focusing on all the work yet to be done.

  3. Stories get the job done. Stories connect with the heart, and numbers make sense in your head. Potential donors will be more willing to give when you inspire them with a story. Specifically, a story that makes them feel good about what they can do to help.

Want to read more on this topic and how it relates to fundraising success? Download Homer Simpson for Nonprofits: The Truth About How People Really Think and What It Means for Promoting Your Cause.

 

  • Comments   

Tue, September 23 2014

Creating the perfect campaign for #GivingTuesday

Jamie McDonald's avatar

Chief Giving Officer, Network for Good

Read more by this author

Filed under:   Giving Days • Marketing essentials •

The time is…NOW.

With year-end quickly approaching, and #GivingTuesday just ten weeks away, we’re hurtling toward the giving season. It’s that generous time of year that fundraisers count on to be sure that they are well positioned—and well funded—to fulfill their missions for another year.

Now is the time to solidify your #GivingTuesday campaign focus. Whether you are planning to raise money for a project or for general operations, creativity and communications can be the difference between a good and a great campaign.

Break new ground with #GivingTuesday, but don’t forget the basics.

Annual giving is rapidly growing online. And today’s digital donors are the lifeblood of your organization’s success in the long haul.

Traditional year-end annual giving campaigns use personal solicitation, direct mail, email and phone calls to raise unrestricted donations.

The high visibility of #GivingTuesday, combined with some creative thinking about the focus of your campaign, can be a powerful tool for building unrestricted giving also – it just requires a shift in thinking.

Start by structuring a Clear, Compelling Campaign

Great online fundraising is just great fundraising. In a recent e-book, Joe Garecht, the Fundraising Authority, makes this point well:

“Online fundraising mirrors offline fundraising… and in all fundraising, you have to make asks. This means that if you want people to spread the word about your online campaign, you have to ask them to – specifically and concretely.”

Even if you don’t want to fundraise for a specific project, like money to fund 20 instruments for a new school band, it’s still wise to ‘project-ize’ your asks so they resonate with online supporters.

Step One: “Make me feel like I matter.”

Every program and activity in a nonprofit can be reframed as a “project” that contributes to your mission, so donors can understand exactly why you need their support.

We Need You!

Here are examples of how to reframe your ask into inspiring projects, for different kinds of nonprofits:

  • Direct Service: If you serve 500 people a year with a $1 million budget, frame your annual fund around the $2000 it takes to serve each client. You can also break it down into smaller chunks like funding 3 months of services for $500. Then build a story around an inspiring client that exemplifies your work.
  • Advocacy: As an advocate for a cause, frame your annual fund ask around the number of people you reach each year with your message. So if you are an education advocacy organization trying to improve classroom performance, how many students lives will be changed by the policies you seek to enact? Bring this to life with the story of a student whose attendance rate – and grades - increased because of your work.
  • Arts and Culture: If you are a cultural organization, like a museum or zoo, consider annual fund outreach around how many visitors you have in a year or how much it costs to care for the average animal each day. Build a story about a young artist who found her inspiration after seeing your collection.
  • Place-Based: Urban, environmental, or organizations with a physical campus can structure annual fund asks around the square feet/miles of the area you focus on, or the number of people in your catchment area. One of the most creative campaigns we’ve seen was from Calvin College, who used this approach with great success.

Another effective example: a local clean streams organization serves a series of streams that are five miles long. They need to raise just over $1 million each year. We recommended creating a campaign around providing support for a yard of the stream. The math was easy: $1,100,000/8800 yards = $125 per yard of the stream. This kind of creative thinking repositioned their annual fund for success.

Why frame your outreach this way? Because at its core, your organization is about changing lives, and this needs to be made real and tangible.

In a recent post, Hilborn Consultants said it well “Donors…are feeling and living the giving experience. They want to save lives, make a difference, change the world. Donors give because they care, or have been moved or inspired in some way. How much they give, how often they give, whether they give just once or for the long term mostly comes down to how they feel about your cause and how they feel about the experience they’re having as donors.”

Step Two: Start NOW to build a campaign, not just a one-shot outreach.

So with a strong, inspiring project idea now in the works, it’s time to build your campaign. At their core, every campaign is about moving people to action – getting them to give.

Begin with the end in mind

It takes planning, a strong leader and capable execution to achieve your goals.

But how do you get your campaign going with everything else on your plate? Start at the beginning.

Here are 6 simple steps to get you started.

The Big Six

#1: Set a big goal — Your goal will be one of the most visible anchors of your #GivingTuesday campaign, so make it a motivator. The goal should be big and meaningful enough to get people excited to work hard. If it’s too attainable, it will feel like just another day at the office, and it will be hard to motivate your team.

Your goal will likely include a fundraising target, but it can also include other important metrics:

· Number of donors, number of new donors

· Number of donors that set up a recurring gift (we love this as a focus for #GivingTuesday

· Number of volunteers that participate in an activity

· Participation (for orgs with an alumni base)

#2: Convene a passionate team and active advocates — The most important person on your Giving Day team is the leader, the quarterback of the day, who leads the team from planning to execution to evaluation. Identify the passionate quarterback and then focus on engaging the key thought leaders - and loudest voices – among five key groups:

  • Staff
  • Board
  • Clients, participants, or alumni
  • Volunteers
  • Committed Donors and other potential Ambassadors

Engaged individuals from each of these groups will form the heart of your Giving Day team – and will largely determine your success. Make them insiders. Share your strategy, goals, and make sure they have really internalized the project you have defined. Help them find their passionate voice, so they are as excited to be part of this as you are.

#3: Create a unified, branded theme — In addition to your well-defined project, your #GivingTuesday campaign should stand out from your everyday marketing. At a minimum, tie into #GivingTuesday’s or Network for Good’s branding and marketing tools. Make use of their assets to associate your organization with the campaign, visually and thematically.

Or even better, if you have access to a graphic artist, or a creative streak yourself, create your own branded identity to put on all of your campaign materials, posts, and schwag. Use photoshop or a free tool like Canva.com to incorporate your colors or symbols into a GivingTuesday logo, all your own. Here are some great examples:

A Share Kiwanis  Momentum  bmore givesmore

#4: Use your project/theme to create quality content and ‘drip’ it out — To help spread the word and sustain momentum leading up to #GivingTuesday, share your goals and project stories in a weekly “drip.” Create compelling, easy-to-share content for your ambassadors, and keep them engaged with new content each week, on a predictable day. Think tactically about how to include ready-to-use hashtags, Facebook posts and images, tweets, email copy, campaign logo, campaign-related photos, infographics, “Top 10 lists” and links to other engaging content.

#5: Gamify it! — Make the process fun for your ambassadors by creating engaging and rewarding incentives to participate. The most powerful tool on #GivingTuesday is matching funds, but there are other great ways to raise the excitement level – and make donors feel like they are part of something bigger than their own gift.

Special goals like challenges for new donors, most social posts, etc. add a level of engagement. If you have an active client or volunteer base, encourage supporters to set up fundraising teams to compete against each other for the most raised.

Gamification provides fun and engagement, and even more fodder for content creation and social sharing surrounding your #GivingTuesday.

#6 Get your online giving process in shape.  When you’ve invested your time and passion into creating, coordinating and communicating your #GivingTuesday campaign, donors will beating down your digital doors.  Be sure you make your digital experience welcoming and easy to move through.  You don’t want to lose a single donor that reaches your site because they…

• Can’t find your donate button
• Feel it takes too long to donate
• Feel like you are asking for too much information
• Don’t associate your giving page with the campaign

Want some help refining your online donation experience? Reach out to a Network for Good fundraising consultant for more info and a demo of our DonateNow fundraising service.

If you need more strategies for #GivingTuesday preparation, be sure to check out these other resources:

11 Weeks to Go: Launch Your #GivingTuesday Team!

Network for Good’s Complete Giving Days E-Book

Top 10 strategies for a successful giving day [Webinar]

 

  • Comments   
Page 1 of 117 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›