Thu, July 02 2015
Filed under: Social Fundraising •
After I read this article in Chronicle of Philanthropy and this one in the Huffington Post, I couldn’t get this song out of my head. “Under pressure…” Queen’s lyrics aren’t really describing the type of pressure featured in either of these articles, but the main theme is clear: Pressure changes things—it makes action happen.
What kind of pressure does a fundraiser need to use? Peer pressure. Peer pressure can make action happen. Here’s how: We are strongly influenced by our family, friends, and networks. When someone we know makes it clear that they support an organization or when we see them volunteering or donating, we are more likely to do so too.
The Millennial Impact Study found evidence of this in its research, specifically in how peer pressure affects workplace giving. Younger donors are more likely to be influenced to give by their colleagues and peers and not by those in leadership.
“Nearly half of the young people surveyed for the 2015 Millennial Impact Report said they were likely to donate if a coworker asked them to, while only a fifth said they’d probably do so at the request of their companies’ chief executives. Sixty-five percent of millennials said they were more likely to volunteer if their coworkers participated, while 44 percent said they were more likely to if their supervisor participated.”
A study featured in the June 2015 issue of the Economic Journal found that the average donation on a social fundraising page pressures donors to align their gifts with what seems to be the norm.
“[C]ontributors were more likely to give bigger sums when the average donation spiked, and their decisions had little to do with their feelings about the cause.”
How can fundraising professionals leverage peer pressure for good? Here are a few ways:
Try social fundraising. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to host an event to launch a social fundraising campaign. Social fundraising is simply empowering your supporter base to fundraise on your behalf. Social fundraising is also known as peer-to-peer fundraising, P2P, or personal fundraising. When you equip your supporters to raise money on your behalf, you’ll not only expand your donor base, you’ll also create a deeper bond with those who serve as social fundraisers. Win-win!
Be sure your donation pages include a sharing feature. Make it easy for donors to spread the word about your organization. After donors give through Network for Good donation pages, nonprofits can draft suggested tweets, email text, and more, and all the donor has to do is hit “share.”
Wed, July 01 2015
When I’m not wearing heels, I’m all of 5’1” tall. I like to think of myself as “small but mighty” and I have developed a bit of an independent streak. (This might also be due to the fact that I was born on the 4th of July.) I feel this urge to prove to myself and the world that I am capable of tackling even the most herculean tasks … all by myself. Dragging an area rug into the office for an upcoming conference? Easy. Loading a U-Haul van full of furniture and a big screen television? No sweat. (Ok, maybe a little sweat.)
I’m mostly proud of my independent nature, but it all comes down to balance. By being a DIYer, I sometimes miss the opportunity to tap into the rich support and expertise that I have in my network of friends and colleagues.
Unfortunately, this is also what many organizations fail to do when planning events or considering new initiatives. But tapping into your network and empowering your people is how the magic happens (especially with big fundraising events like #GivingTuesday). Even if you are a small and mighty nonprofit who is used to doing things on your own, let’s agree to do it differently this year. It might feel a little uncomfortable, but it’s time to get out of your comfort zone. There are two things you absolutely must do for a truly successful #GivingTuesday campaign:
Identify your team and activate your community.
Even if you are the smallest organization, it is so important to consider the collective impact of your network and the expertise you can tap. A strong team with a dedicated leader will help you organize your efforts and move your campaign forward. These champions may be your staff, or they may be volunteers, board members, or other partners. And, without a passionate and active community, the energy and contagious enthusiasm of a great #GivingTuesday campaign is quickly lost. Beyond technology, your marketing message, or your fundraising goal, you simply cannot succeed without these two key pieces.
There are 153 days until #GivingTuesday. Now is the time to create a plan for identifying your team and activating your community. Need some help? Download the Guide to a Successful Giving Day, then register for our free webinar later this month, where I’ll help you think through your strategy for #GivingTuesday, from assembling your team to writing effective appeals.
Tue, June 30 2015
Okay, your organization is one of many that can’t use kitty or puppy photos to raise money or recruit volunteers. So what can you do to quickly and effectively connect with the emotions of prospects and supporters?
In Step One of this two-part post, I shared my take on why this type of emotional candy works so well to raise money or recruit volunteers. I cited a reliable litmus test for photo impact—would you share it with your own family and friends, and would they “like” or share it?
Step 2: Make emotional connections and compelling content—if not candy—even without the supercute.
If your organization is not an animal rescue or somehow directly related to puppies, kitties, or babies, these alternatives will be far more effective in helping you forge connections and motivate giving. Most important, they are authentic, relevant expressions, rather than manipulative clickbait.
Here are some recommendations, with examples:
For all causes and organizations: Highlight the similarities between your audiences and your organization’s clients, participants, or beneficiaries.
Clearly, we never want anyone to be homeless, much less our own family. The cause has the potential to scare off supporters because of their fear that it could happen to them. Stigma!
However, by photographing an older resident (like your grandma or mine) reading to a couple of kids, Hope House busts through and connects us with the residents in a positive way. (I remember when my grandma read to me.)
For policy and intermediary organizations: Connect the dots between your work and the people who are the ultimate beneficiaries.
Organizations like yours have it even harder when building relationships and motivating action, be it giving or something else. That’s because your work is indirect.
You’re working on legislation related to a cause or supporting other cause organizations. This makes it challenging for prospects to connect emotionally. It takes your audience time and thought to make the connection between your impact and people, which is always a deterrent.
But there is a great method of speeding that vital connection—make the message for your prospects and supporters. Connect the dots between your organization’s work and impact and your ultimate beneficiaries, even if there are layers in between.
The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation does a great job of this on its Facebook page, as shown in the post above. Here, the foundation makes it easy to make the connection between its work and the individuals who benefit from its grants for a real “aha!” moment.
Get detailed and personal in words and/or photos. The close-up (bottom left) of the little girl focused on drawing is compelling!
The details are what sticks (or doesn’t) and make your story memorable and more likely to be shared.
How do you make your organization’s content compelling—beyond kitties, puppies, or babies? Please share your recommendations in the comments!
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.
Fri, June 26 2015
Filed under: Fundraising essentials •
It never fails.
When there is a large scale natural disaster, such as the Nepal earthquake, or an event that inspires charitable giving, my media alerts for Network for Good go through the roof. Many donors come to Network for Good’s giving portal to search for nonprofits and quickly make donations online, and reporters often list Network for Good as a way to easily give to charities responding to crises on the ground. We’re proud to facilitate giving to nonprofits across the country, including $1 million in donations for Nepal earthquake relief efforts.
In some cases, though, the press also features our giving portal as a good option for donors who wish to remain anonymous. Of course, there are many reasons a donor might want to remain anonymous, but the reason most cited in these articles is because these donors want to avoid getting on a nonprofit’s email list and being “spammed” by the organization, or worse, by other organizations who have purchased the list.
Friends, if this is a primary reason for our donors’ anonymity, we’re doing it wrong.
As you collect, grow, and manage your donor list, think about how you communicate with your donors. Are you welcoming them into a personal relationship with your organization or causing them to run and hide?
Let donors choose how and how often they hear from you. Give your supporters control over how they get information from you and the frequency of those communications. Many times, the fact that you are offering this control will make donors more likely to want to be on your list. And yes, if they decide to opt out or remain anonymous, you must respect that decision.
Let them know what to expect. When donors give or when supporters sign up for your newsletter, let them know what’s in it for them and what they can expect from your organization. These are important pieces of your nonprofit’s brand promise and will affect how people feel about your organization.
Have a strategic communication plan. Many nonprofits make communications missteps because they haven’t taken the time to think through their strategy for reaching out to their constituents. Before you send another email, sit down and figure out your organization’s rules around communication frequency, content, and segmentation. If it doesn’t meet your criteria, don’t send it.
Be mindful of your thank to ask ratio. This should also be part of your outreach strategy. Lynne Wester, The Donor Relations Guru, has a smart post about this very concept.
Keep donor information sacred. It’s not just good list hygiene and, in most cases, the law—it’s the right thing to do. Do unto others’ email addresses as you would have them do unto yours.
Being transparent and respectful in your communications will encourage more of your supporters to share more of themselves with you. Plus, you’ll help the rest of us look good, as well.
Wed, June 24 2015
Filed under: Fun stuff •
A great story puts your kid to bed at night and makes you watch that next episode as you confirm, bleary-eyed, with Netflix that, yes, you are indeed still watching. Stories are what connect us to other people and, most important, motivate us to act. As a nonprofit, stories are the best tool in your arsenal to connect with supporters and empower them to act.
We see it time and again that the organizations raising money and finding new donors are the ones that have mastered the art of storytelling. The winners of our Recurring Giving Challenge proved this with unique stories and a commitment to telling them authentically.
Take a look at the great stories three challenge winners used:
Wildlife SOS: Perhaps the most famous story from our leaderboard is that of Raju. Last July, Wildlife SOS made international headlines when it rescued Raju the elephant. The videos of the Raju rescue went viral, and Wildlife SOS saw a huge influx of interest and supporters. Donations remained strong during our challenge period, which resulted in Wildlife SOS bringing in the most new monthly donors!
VETPAW: The only organization to place on both of our leaderboards, VETPAW tells the story of its founder and his dual passions for animal conservation and national service. With equal commitments to providing meaningful employment for U.S. veterans and conserving critically endangered wildlife in East Africa, VETPAW has the challenge of telling two stories—that of Ryan Tate, the organization’s founder, who witnessed his fellow veterans being underemployed after their service, and the story of rangers in East Africa who risk life and limb to protect wildlife. These two powerful stories are not immediately similar, but they shine when linked by the founder’s passion and the organization’s ability to tell them in compelling ways.
Friends of Refugees: Join the story. That’s the simple call to action from Friends of Refugees. The simple conceit is that refugees are not statistics—they’re people with stories; people who, when empowered with opportunities, become so much more than numbers in a news report. By telling the organization’s story powerfully and visually, Friends of Refugees gives a face to masses of international refugees and empowers donors who are far removed from the mission to see their role in the renewal of these refugee communities. Take a look at their simple yet powerful video asking supporters to join the story.
Need some inspiration to tell your organization’s story? Download our Storytelling Guide now!