Fri, April 17 2015

Nonprofit Spotlight: Firecracker Foundation

Annika Pettitt's avatar

Senior Communications & Success Specialist, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fun stuff •

Network for Good works with so many amazing nonprofits and we want to introduce you to them and the great work they are doing! Because May is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I want you to meet one of my favorite customers who is doing amazing work helping child sexual abuse survivors heal their whole being.

Meet Firecracker Foundation

Nonprofit Spotlight: Firecracker Foundation

On a day-to-day basis, The Firecracker Foundation works with survivors of childhood sexual trauma through long-term strategies of therapy, arts enrichment, and yoga practice. Their work is focused on healing the whole individual.

On a larger scale, however, The Firecracker Foundation is about community. Tashmica Torok, the founder of Firecracker, has built her organization around the historical idea of community members being charged with keeping the communal fire burning. From their mission to their fundraising strategy, this ethos of the many coming together for a common goal is extremely evident.

Their Model

The Firecracker Foundation challenges their supporters to build a blaze, to be a part of the network that keeps and builds the lively sparks in child survivors. From the adult survivors who serve as mentors to the therapists and yoga instructors who offer their time and expertise, Firecracker truly has built a community of healing around the children survivors they serve. That community isn’t just by happenstance; they’ve consciously made recurring giving the heart of their fundraising strategy as a way to ensure the continued success of their communal work.

Stellar Social Media

Firecracker Foundation takes their emphasis of community involvement and engagement beyond the clients they serve and the advocates they train. They also take that energy to social media. Check out these posts from their social channels:

All that's left on the to do list for 2014. You're $7,000 shy of raising $50,000 and 8 away from 40 firekeepers. A beautiful symbol of a #community invested in the holistic healing of child #survivors of #sexualtrauma #sparkhealing

A photo posted by The Firecracker Foundation (@thefirecrackerfoundation) on

During their year-end campaign Firecracker Foundation’s Instagram feed kept supporters updated on how close they were to hitting their goal.

Meet your very first group of Firecracker Advocates! #trailblazers #volunteermichigan #sparkhealing

A photo posted by The Firecracker Foundation (@thefirecrackerfoundation) on

Social media gives organizations the unique opportunity of giving supporters an inside peek into all the work you do. In addition to their work with sexual abuse survivors, Firecracker Foundation also trains advocates.

We hope to see as many of you there as possible! Help support child abuse prevention, April 23rd! #CAPMonth

Posted by The Firecracker Foundation on Friday, April 17, 2015

Using Facebook to rally attendance at events is a great way to meet supporters where they already are: Facebook.

Due to the sensitive nature of their work, it might not be safe to display the photos of those they serve. However, they embrace that challenge and still share images that show the impact of donors’ gifts, without showing clients’ faces.

Remember those self-care items you donated last month. Well, they were put to some serious use in between yoga classes...

Posted by The Firecracker Foundation on Sunday, April 12, 2015

Don’t worry about constantly generating original content, share content that will resonate with your supporters and promote your mission.

We are honored to serve the Firecracker Foundation as their online donation software provider! You guys are amazing!

As one of our “Spotlight” nonprofits, we encourage you to take a look at the great work they’re doing and spread the love by following them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Fri, April 17 2015

Nonprofit Link Round Up

Liz Ragland's avatar

Marketing Content Associate, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fun stuff •

I hope you celebrated National Volunteer Week. Did you do something to make your volunteers feel special? I got a sweet card and gift in the mail from an organization I've been volunteering with for many years now. It really did make me feel appreciated. Even if you just send out a personal email to those who volunteer with your organization, I promise your volunteers will never forget it!

Now, let's get to those links!

Link Round Up

Speaking of National Volunteer Week, how much do you think your volunteers are valued per hour? via The Nonprofit Times

Jeff Brooks had a great list of five things you might be doing to weaken your fundraising. Be especially aware of number two.

How often do you send donors handwritten thank you notes? I bet your donors want more of them. via The Donor Relations Guru

How much money do you think you could raise right now if you had the time and resources to go after it? Gail Perry asked a fundraiser this question and got a really shocking response. If you feel like you are trapped in a never ending list of administrative tasks and really need to be talking with major donors, this is a must read for you!

Kivi Leroux Miller has a list of the top 50 Nonprofits you should follow on Instagram. via (P.S. Do you love Instagram? We love sharing behind-the-scenes snapshots of life at Network for Good on our Instagram account.)

Have you ever thought: should we be making fundraising more fun for our donors? Joe Garecht from The Fundraising Authority has some ideas on how you can spice up your donor communications.

Finally, don’t miss out on our Nonprofit911 webinar with The Art of Social Media author, Guy Kawasaki. Guy will share social media best practices to help grow your nonprofit’s online presence.

That’s all for this week! Have a great weekend and share your best resources in the comments below!

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Thu, April 16 2015

The Key to More Effective Donor Communication

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials • Marketing essentials •

To truly connect with donors and inspire them to become a part of the work that you do, you need to speak to them. Really speak to them. This means getting extremely clear on the message you’re trying to send, and making it incredibly relevant to why they care about your mission in the first place.

This is why the key to more effective communication is specificity

When your emails and other communications are specific, they can be more relevant, interesting, and authentic. Your job as a marketer or fundraiser is to definitively answer the question, “Why me?”  You can’t do that with broad and generic messages. Generic messages are not just typically boring; studies have shown that vague statements can introduce skepticism among readers. Definitely not the feeling you want to evoke!

How do you make your message more specific, and in turn, more relevant? Think about the unique stories your donors have when they relate to your cause. Group donors into meaningful categories based on:

  • their giving history/habits.
  • the programs they support.
  • how they came to your organization.
  • their ongoing relationship with your organization.

When you can segment your supporters into specific groups that speak to these qualities, you can tailor your messages just for them. A personalized, relevant message will make it much easier for you to break through and hold their attention.

For best results, your comprehensive communication plan should include:

  • a list of key segments for your organization
  • how your organization defines each segment
  • the historical and projected fundraising results from each group
  • the specific tactics and messages that will help you build relationships with each type of donor

Map out how each segment relates to the rest of your audience and which triggers move someone from one group to another. If you don’t have this data, start by talking with your most loyal donors to find out what has them giving year after year. Then, put a plan in place to regularly collect and track this information. 

How do you make this happen? The right tools can transform your communications approach. A customer relationship management (CRM) system, such as Salesforce, or a donor management solution, like DonorPerfect, can help you organize and track these crucial details about your supporters and enable you to segment and communicate with your donors more effectively, strengthening their relationship with you and improving your fundraising results.

Want to find out how to combine your online fundraising efforts with better donor management? Learn how Network for Good’s platform integrates with the top solutions and see how you can boost individual giving for your nonprofit.

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Wed, April 15 2015

Make the Most of Mother’s Day

Nancy Schwartz's avatar

Nonprofit Marketing Expert

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Filed under:   Fun stuff • Marketing essentials •

There’s no better way for your organization to get the attention of your supporters and prospects (and the media) than by piggybacking on what’s already top of mind. Your people are already thinking about this stuff, making them far more likely to connect with your campaign than at other times.

That’s “right thing, right now” marketing, and I’ve seen some fantastic Mother’s Day models from nonprofits like yours in recent years.

Because I’m a nonprofit communications nerd, I save great email models like these. Just look at these pre–Mother’s Day email subject lines from last year:

Mother's Day Subject Lines

Next, take a look at my two favorite Mother’s Day campaigns from years past:

Lettuce Celebrate

Lettuce Celebrate,” proclaimed Oxfam America in its joyful 2014 campaign inviting us to fund a vegetable garden in honor of our moms. It’s a wonderful—and affordable—concept clearly tied to the organization’s mission and impact. Oxfam America even extended the opportunity beyond the target date in case any Mother’s Day slackers missed it.

I was also struck by this 2008 Mother’s Day fundraising campaign from City Meals. The woman in the photo could have been my grandmother.

City Meals Campaign

City Meals educated readers that “70% of our meal recipients are women. Many no longer have spouses, siblings, friends, or children in their lives. That can make for a lonely Mother’s Day. Send meals in your mother’s honor or memory to elderly New Yorkers who would otherwise be hungry and alone. Mom taught you to care for others. Show her how much you learned.”

Beautifully done, City Meals. This campaign primes our empathy and guilt and motivates our desire to please with the encouragement to be “our best,” as Mom taught us. Hokey, but it works.

What makes this campaign truly effective are the supplementary components that make giving a participatory experience—including e-cards to send your mom (you “purchase” the card—that’s your donation) and the campaign mini-site.

Now’s the time! These are just a couple of the many inspirations out there to power up your organization’s Mother’s Day campaign. Search for more, brainstorm, and produce your Mother’s Day campaign.

How have you piggybacked on Mother’s Day or another holiday to more strongly connect with supporters and prospects? Please share your campaign details in the comments section!

P.S. Father’s Day is around the corner. Start planning now!

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

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Fri, April 10 2015

Nonprofit Link Round Up

Liz Ragland's avatar

Marketing Content Associate, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fun stuff •

Happy Friday!

Link Round Up

Here’s what caught our eye in the world of fundraising and nonprofit marketing this week:

National Volunteer Week is coming up! Wild Apricot has ideas for how you can celebrate and resources to help improve your volunteer programs.

We love John Haydon and all his wise words on social media for nonprofits. Here’s another gem from him: 7 Deceptively Simple Ways to Promote a Fundraiser on Facebook.

Joe Garecht from the Fundraising Authority wants you to step out of your comfort zone and ask your donors the most important question you probably aren’t asking.

During the Association for Fundraising Professionals’ international conference last week, the Chronicle of Philanthropy asked fundraising pros to share what they wish they had known when they started a career in fundraising. The video is definitely worth three minutes of your time!

Kivi and Kristina over at have some great tips for you when it comes to leveraging hashtags to promote your cause.

If you’re in the DC area, grab your 3D glasses (they have extras if you’ve misplaced yours) and head over to the M+R event showcasing what they learned from their annual Benchmarks Study. And if you can’t make it to DC, you can still get the highlights from a webinar they’re hosting in May.

I’m a fan of Maeve Strathy’s blog, What Gives Philanthropy? It’s always clever and on point. You must check out a recent post from guest blogger Kimberly Elworthy: 11 Things I Learned About Fundraising/Philanthropy When I Fell into the Field Temporarily. It’s rich with GIFs and will make you chuckle.

That’s all for this week! Have a great weekend and share your best resources in the comments below!

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