Wed, July 30 2014
As of September 2013, 73% of online adults use social networking sites. If your nonprofit isn’t active on at least one social network, now is the time to get moving! A quick Google search will provide you with tons of best practices and tips for using social media but in this video, you’ll find that I stuck to actionable tips that go beyond the latest fad or algorithm to help your nonprofit excel (and have fun) with social media.
Take your social media outreach to the next level. Download our free guide, 101 Social Media Posts, for content ideas that you can use for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.
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.
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.
Thu, July 24 2014
Filed under: Marketing essentials •
My peers and I are the Tweens of adulthood. We are old enough to remember the milkman delivering to the doorstep, and young enough to appreciate the poetry of rap music—at least some of it. We are the children of the baby boom, and the parents of Millennials.
Growing up, we were defined by our neighborhoods. Our parents chose neighborhoods based on what today we call affinity groups: ethnicity, education, class, age of kids. Our social network was the neighborhood. Accomplishments were celebrated with neighbors, and challenges were tackled with neighbors, often accompanied by a casserole. Charity began at home.
Between the 70s and today, neighborhoods ceased to be the centrifugal center of social networks. Yet the desire for connection remains. We 40- and 50-somethings watch our kids form “neighborhoods” on their Social Networks. Likes, status updates, and feedback have replaced the celebratory visit, but they reinforce the importance of celebration.
And importantly, a neighbor in need can draw support from a city of virtual neighborhoods. In the Dragonfly Effect, Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith tell an illustrative story: Sameer and Vinay, both afflicted with late-stage leukemia, used their networks to register 24,611 South Asian bone marrow donors in 11 weeks. There was an authentic need, clearly communicated, and “neighbors” around the country responded.
Networks will increasingly power nonprofits.
I recently re-read the Networked Nonprofit, by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine. It brings the networked nonprofit to life in this reflection.
Networked Nonprofits don’t work harder or longer than other organizations, they work differently. They engage in conversations with people beyond their walls — lots of conversations — to build relationships that spread their work through the network. Incorporating relationship building as a core responsibility of all staffers fundamentally changes their to-do lists.”
Strong networks also support cultivation of major donors and passionate evangelists who provide the backbone for nonprofits as they grow. And through social networks, charities and community organizations can become ‘causes’, moving digital citizens to fuel their missions with energy, engagement and - yes - money.
Millennials, in particular, say the charities they support are one way they express themselves, and 87% of Millennials in a 2011 survey said “my priority is to look after my family and community; charity begins at home.” And the home that Millennials are most closely tied to is the one they have chosen, in their networked neighborhood.
If causes can become authentic institutions of these networked neighborhoods, they will find a new group of supporters who will celebrate their successes and help them tackle their challenges…without the casseroles.
Follow Jamie on LinkedIn to get more insights on giving and mobilizing your community.
Photo credit: David K., plasticrevolver on Flickr
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.