Tue, July 29 2014

Nonprofit Spotlight: July

Annika Pettitt's avatar

Senior Communications & Success Specialist, Network for Good

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.

Join us in thanking these amazing causes and keep up with the latest Nonprofit of the Week by following us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

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Fri, July 25 2014

It’s Time to Retire the Reception

Liz Ragland's avatar

Marketing Content Associate, Network for Good

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.

LexyTo 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

Lexy on HorsebackWhat 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.

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Thu, July 24 2014

Great neighbors, but no casseroles.

Jamie McDonald's avatar

Chief Giving Officer, Network for Good

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.

Networked Neighborhoods

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

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Wed, July 23 2014

Enhance Your Fundraising Strategy with Powerful Images

Kera Tyler's avatar

Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials • Marketing essentials • Social Media •

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.

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Wed, July 23 2014

How to Get the Most from #GivingTuesday

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials • Marketing membership organizations •

In 2013, Network for Good saw nonprofits raise $1.8 million on #GivingTuesday, kicking off December giving with gusto. #GivingTuesday 2014 is December 2 and many organizations are already putting their plans in place. Now in its third year, this annual fundraising event is expected to be even bigger. 

When done well, giving days like #GivingTuesday can generate excitement in your community, attracting new donors and additional donations for your cause. Creating your own #GivingTuesday campaign does require the right people, a good plan, and a lot of energy. How do you capitalize on the giving day trend while managing your other campaigns and fundraising efforts?

Never fear, help is on the way!


Whether you’ve already begun planning or are still trying to decide how to participate, we’re here to help you create a #GivingTuesday strategy that works. Next Tuesday, Network for Good’s Chief Giving Officer, Jamie McDonald, will share the secrets to a engaging, highly successful giving day that will help your nonprofit rally your community, attract more donors, and raise more money on #GivingTuesday, and beyond.

Free Webinar: Maximize #GivingTuesday to Meet Your Fundraising Goals
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 |  1pm EDT
Register

Jamie knows first-hand how to make the most of a #GivingTuesday effort. She planned, promoted, and executed a grassroots campaign that raised $5.7 million in one day during #GivingTuesday 2013. Jamie will answer your burning questions about #GivingTuesday and share details from the plan that made this campaign so successful.

Register now to reserve your spot in this free webinar. You’ll get an action plan for preparing and executing a winning #GivingTuesday campaign, plus you’ll get a sneak peek of some of the special events that Network for Good has planned for this December.

Don’t miss it! (Can’t attend the live session? No worries. Register in advance and we’ll send you a copy of the presentation and a link to the recording.)

 

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