Wed, October 08 2014
#GivingTuesday – what for many will be the launch of the December giving season – is now just 7 weeks away. Gulp.
Your year-end campaigns are just about ready to go, but making the most of December is probably in the back of your mind all the time. Perhaps you’re asking yourself if there is anything else you can put into motion today that can move the needle at year end.
Yes! Try a peer fundraising campaign.
The Power of Peer Fundraising
Social, Personal, P2P or team fundraising are all names for the same concept: harnessing the power of your supporters and their networks to scale your impact.
At their best, peer fundraising campaigns center around a passionate desire to make an impact on a problem or cause, and then “recruit” supporters based on a shared interest in the cause or in honor of the friendship with the original project sponsor.
Once in a while, peer fundraising campaigns catch fire. That was the case this summer with the Ice Bucket challenge. It started when 29 year-old Pete Frates, stricken with ALS, sought to bring attention to the disease, and to inspire others to support research toward a cure. He challenged friends to dump ice on their heads, and Pete’s network sparked into action. His friends took the challenge and in weeks it was everywhere on social media.
From June to August, more than 3 million donors gave more than $100 million dollars to the ALS Association.
Your superheroes – no cape required.
Campaigns like the Ice Bucket challenge are the exception for sure, but their lessons are transferable to every peer fundraising initiative. They’re effective because supporters, who often reside in the background of your fundraising, move front and center, and become the heroes of the story. We want to root for their success.
And when combined with a few key elements, peer fundraising leverages your team’s limited resources, spreads your story, and attracts new supporters.
What does It take? Sponsors with genuine passion for your cause, plus…
· A little creativity
· An authentic need
· A personal appeal
· Social sharing
Make it easy for peer fundraisers
Empower your supporters to get going, now.
1. Suggest a theme and goal for your supporters. Use your #GivingTuesday campaign to frame a peer-to-peer campaign that is appealing and easy to launch for your supporters. If you’re still lacking a focus for year-end, here is a post that can help you plan a great campaign. Then break your campaign into a target for your peer fundraisers in $500-$1000 range.
2. Make it fun! Encourage your peer fundraisers to focus on opportunity, not obligation, in their outreach to friends and family. Give them tools to keep the excitement high with regular email updates tracking the progress of the campaign.
3. Focus on impact. Be sure that fundraisers and their supporters understand how their dollars will impact those you serve, specifically.
4. Keep it short: a month or less. Use the excitement of #GivingTuesday to keep momentum high and the time commitment low for your peer fundraisers. A timeframe of about a month is just about right. Encourage your fundraisers to launch on November 1st, build excitement toward Thanksgiving and end on December 2.
Make P2P work for you: three paths to success.
1. For small or leanly staffed organizations: Start where you are.
The simplest way to start a peer fundraising campaign is to focus on the tools you already have. You have your inspiring mission, more than a few enthusiastic supporters (think staff, board, volunteers, clients), and services that need support. Define a campaign, enlist peer fundraisers, educate them on the basics above, and let them run with it.
Then, optimize your online giving page with proven software, like DonateNow. With DonateNow, your site will be branded, mobile-ready, and easy for your donors to navigate.
Then simply provide your fundraisers with sample emails, or let them create their own, and drive people to your main online giving page. Ask them to acknowledge the fundraiser they’re supporting in your dedication field.
This is not the most sophisticated method, but a functional, quick-to-launch approach.
And organizations using DonateNow for #GivingTuesday will automatically receive matching funds!
2. For organizations with more staff capacity: take advantage of a P2P platform.
Nonprofits can set up a campaign by creating a “team” page on a peer-to-peer giving platform. Check out our partner site, CrowdRise, the best P2P site out there!
With CrowdRise, you can create a page with your colors and logo and enable your peer fundraisers to set up sub-pages for their individual campaigns. They’ll be able to set an individual goal, see their progress, donor scrolls, and where they stand relative to other fundraisers. Here’s an example.
You can create challenges and competitions among team members that add an extra fun element to the campaign. And you’ll see the overall results of everyone’s fundraising with clean, comprehensive reports.
You can then manage the messaging, the updates, and progress of the campaign. This approach is a great way to give your staff greater control of the whole initiative while also making it easy for your fundraisers to get their pages set up and launched.
CrowdRise will also be holding its Epic Annual Holiday Challenge, including a major campaign on #GivingTuesday, to be revealed soon!
3. For larger organizations or those planning to use peer fundraising as an ongoing strategy: have your own P2P site.
Some organizations are naturally suited to peer and project-based fundraising. These include animal support, disaster relief, schools, health care, disease, and many others. Organizations like these can equip themselves to host peer fundraising and crowdfunding campaigns all year round with GiveCorps, our private label peer fundraising platform.
With GiveCorps, not only can you run a great #GivingTuesday P2P campaign, but you can do race fundraising, birthday fundraisers, crowdfunding campaigns, project based fundraising, and annual giving campaigns.
A GiveCorps site is yours, closely mirroring the look and feel of your main website. Take a look at how the Community Coalition for Haiti uses GiveCorps for personal and project-based fundraisers.
Want to learn more about how GiveCorps can work for you? Request a demo and get started, just in time to get ready for #GivingTuesday.
Fri, August 15 2014
Are your social networks full of friends being doused in icy water? You’ve witnessed the #IceBucketChallenge.
The “Ice Bucket Challenge” has taken the world by storm, prompting people across the nation to take note of, promote, and donate in support of research and assistance for those diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). Challengers throw down the gauntlet to their peers: dump a bucket of ice water on your head or donate to support the ALS Association. It’s an unusual request that has a lot of people taking notice. Ethel Kennedy even challenged President Obama to join in, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has dared Bill Gates to do the same.
How has any of this helped the charity? The ALS Association shares how this viral hit has helped to grow their audience—and their donation totals (over $4M so far). This represents a 1,000% spike in donations compared to the same time period last year.
So, why do campaigns like this take off? How do they tap into the part of us that shares, supports, and acts? Here are seven basic reasons why the Ice Bucket Challenge is so successful. (Note: These factors can also help make your next campaign more effective.)
It’s social. We’re social creatures, and we tend to do what other people are doing, whether we want to admit it or not. It’s who we are. We look to social norms to guide us. It’s peer pressure…for good.
It’s personal. There’s just something about hearing and seeing your family, friends, colleagues, and public figures speak and take action. This powerful personal trigger combines with social norms to inspire action. It wouldn’t have the same effect if a complete stranger (or an organization) asked you to take the challenge.
It’s simple. The ask is pretty clear: dump a bucket of water on your head or give. That’s the choice. There’s not too much to think about there, which is the hallmark of an effective marketing message. Some may argue that an even simpler choice would limit the option to only one: give. In this case, the ask is important, for sure, but the reason this has spread so quickly (and, in turn, raised so much money for ALS) is due to the stunt. Your ask may be easy, important, and necessary, but remember that it still needs a vehicle to reach your audience.
It’s slightly irrational. Sometimes we are more likely to give when a stunt is more unusual, painful, or downright weird. Want proof? Look to Christopher Olivola’s experiments from The Science of Giving.
It’s direct. Instead of issuing a blanket plea, the challenge is built around publicly calling people out. By name. When you want people to pay attention and take action, it makes a difference when you identify an individual vs. asking “everyone” to help.
It’s consistent. Instead of deviating from the script, each participant in the Ice Bucket Challenge focuses on the same challenge and specifically supports the ALS Association. This provides a common experience and goal, which helps build momentum and community. The same wouldn’t be true if the actions or causes were randomly selected.
It’s different. Let’s face it. It’s hard to stand out on social media, but we know that photos and videos of our friends make us linger for more than a few seconds. And people doing silly things like dumping freezing water on themselves? America’s Funniest Home Videos can’t even compare!
With all of these things going for it, the challenge does have some critics who say the stunt is merely slacktivism and doesn’t represent a real avenue for fundraising. I’m glad to see some good conversations around this, as I think it’s important for fundraisers and marketers to understand the opportunities—and the limits—of these types of campaigns. That said, as Justin Ware (The Social Side of Giving) points out, if an effort leads to 7-figure fundraising results, it’s difficult to dismiss this example of “slacktivism” as a dead-end street. Justin also smartly clues in on the real opportunity: being able to further engage and retain these new supporters. In his recent Selfish Giving newsletter, Joe Waters underscores the importance of leading with engagement before making the ask. This is where these types of social campaigns really shine.
What do you think of the Ice Bucket Challenge? Love it, hate it, or getting your bucket ready while you’re reading this? Chime in below and share your thoughts!
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.
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 16 2014
At this week’s Social Media for Nonprofits conference in Washington, DC, Avi Kaplan, Director of Online Strategy for Rad Campaign, challenged organizations to think about how they can break through the noise on social media when we live in a BuzzFeed world. Avi says the key to standing out is to focus on the right audience in the right context with awesome content. Here are just a few of the tips he shared with the crowd.
Connect with the right people.
Keep in mind that your social media universe is comprised of three segments: your die-hard supporters, people who are likely receptive to your message, and those who just aren’t that into you.
Get more from your database. Look at your current donor list, email list, and social media followers. What do they have in common? Seek out “lookalike” populations as you connect with influencers and use this insight to inform paid social promotion.
Prioritize. Don’t waste time on audiences that aren’t in your sweet spot. Focus on the people who are already passionate about your cause, interested in your issue, or are supporters of your organization. They will help you reach more like-minded folks and create ripples from your social media efforts.
Understand the return on investment for specific audiences. Some segments of your audience are great sharers and likers, but other segments might be more likely to take actions like making a donation or volunteering. Learn the behaviors of each of your segments and plan your outreach accordingly.
Connect in the right context.
Being timely, relevant, and top of mind means hooking into the bigger picture. What else are your supporters interested in or talking about? Find appropriate ways to capitalize on trends, breaking news, and even memes to tap into the familiar.
Don’t miss your opening. Social media conversations move fast. What may be timely today may be passé tomorrow. If it takes you a few weeks to create, approve, and publish content, you’ve missed the moment. Create a social media system nimble enough to react quickly and find your organization’s share of recent news or trending topics.
Plan ahead. If you don’t have an editorial calendar to help you plan your content for social media and beyond, it’s time to create one. Avi shared that as part of your content calendar, you also need a “context calendar”—this is a space on your editorial calendar where you’ll plot out holidays, key milestones, seasonal topics,and more. Unlike breaking news or unexpected memes, these are events you can prepare for well in advance.
Optimize timing. Tools like Buffer, Followerwonk, and Tweroid can help you understand the best times to reach your audience and schedule your messages for maximum effect. This is especially important if you have limited time to spend on social media management and content creation. You need to get the most out of the effort you’re putting in.
Connect with awesome content.
Once you’ve zeroed in on your primary audience and understand the power of context, it’s time to think about the content that you’ll share. Go beyond reposting the same pieces again and again and get creative with visuals and topics that are top of mind.
Steal. Are you down with OPC? Other people’s content, that is. Some of your best social media interactions will come from curating content from other sources, or creating derivative works. Reach out to collaborate, offer credit, and use discovery tools like crowdtangle to find amazing stuff to share or emulate. (Social media coach Andrea Vahl offers some other ideas for finding compelling content to share.)
Learn what’s working through analytics. Don’t just mindlessly blast your followers with updates that are boring them out of love for your nonprofit. Measure which channels and topics result in the most engagement and action.
Experiment and take risks. Put a plan in place to manage your social outreach, but remember these platforms are flexible and forgiving. Since the flow of social is much faster than other channels, you can learn quickly and adapt. Try new things to see what works with *your* supporters.
Need more ideas for social media content? Download our new guide, 101 Social Media Posts, for suggestions that will help your nonprofit connect with supporters on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.