- Wed, October 10 2012
- Filed under:
1. Make it clear. Don’t make supporters guess what you want them to do –make it crystal clear with a short and specific call to action and big DonateNow buttons. Honor your audience and respect their time by getting straight to the point.
2. Make it easy. Remove obstacles like too many steps to donate or long donation forms. When giving is easy, you get more gifts.
3. Make it matter. Show what specific and tangible result will come from a donation—for the donor and for your programs. People give because they want to do something good, so provide assurances that good things will happen due to their donations.
- Tue, October 09 2012
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
A week from today, I’m hosting a free webinar on storytelling! (Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 1 pm ET— Sign up even if you can’t make it, because we’ll send you a recording afterward. You can listen to it any time you like.)
Storytelling guru Lisa Cron will draw from her extraordinary new book, Wired for Story, to provide the essential ingredients of a strong story that captures hearts and minds. Then together we’ll discuss how to apply those principles to take your appeals to a new level.
Image via Lisa Cron
In this session you’ll learn:
The key principles for telling a great story;
How to identify and create compelling stories your donors will love;
When and how to incorporate stories in your fundraising appeals
Plus – we’ll workshop real stories from a few lucky nonprofits!
- Mon, October 08 2012
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
One of the most interesting parts of the recent Money for Good research was the donor profiles that emerged. Based on in-depth research with people who donate money, Hope Consulting created six profiles of givers.
Here were the top two:
1. Personal Ties: People who give to organizations when they know the leadership or when they are asked by a friend
2. The Repayers: People who give to causes or organizations that have directly affected their lives
If you count by the amount of donations, the most popular category is Personal Ties (about 25%). If you count by the number of people, then the Repayer is the most common category at 23%.
These two categories have something very significant in common: in both cases, donors see a deep personal relevance in their causes.
(You can find the other six categories here.)
The bottom line is that the most powerful job you can do as a fundraiser is to show people why your cause is relevant to them. How does it affect their lives? Their community? How does the story of the people you help reflect their own stories? What do we all have in common?
In other words, as always, it’s not about you, it’s about them.
- Fri, October 05 2012
- Filed under: Social networking and web 2.0
If you’re working to advance your cause via social media, you’ve probably identified a list of “influencers.” There are people with significantly large or significantly devoted groups of online followers. When they speak about your cause, the message is amplified. So it’s tempting to ask them time and time again to spread the word on your behalf. But you need to be careful you don’t wear out your welcome with constant pitches.
Here are some guidelines on how to strike the right balance in approaching the most influential folks in your community.
Clout t-shirt from Sneakhype
1. Use social norms, not market norms.
As I’ve discussed many times here on my blog, the culture of social media is not transactional. It is relational. This means it’s a terrible idea to write to people and say “if you put me in your blogroll, I’ll do the same for you.” Or “if you comment about my cause, I’ll tell people about your book.” That’s like coming to a dinner party with a twenty dollar bill for the host, to offset the cost of groceries. Most people don’t say things on social media for payoff. They say things because they care about them. Which means you should…
2. Focus on your cause, not your brand.
Concentrate the conversation on the cause that you and the influential person share - saving puppies, building schools, etc. Don’t make it about what they can do for your organization as much as what they can do to advance the cause close their heart.
3. Point before you preach.
Celebrate and highlight what the influential person is saying more often than you ask them for help. Point out their insights in your own outreach. Giving them recognition will make them more likely to listen to you.
4. Make them part of the ask.
If you’re trying to involve an influential person in your cause, make it about their reasons for being invested in the issue. You should allow them - not you - to be the center of the campaign. For example, the Human Society encourages people to post photos of their pets. If you’re a green cause, ask the influential person to talk about why they care about the environment when they call attention to your campaign. They’ll be more likely to help if they feel part of the effort, and their appeal will be more effective within their circles of influence when they make it personal.
- Thu, October 04 2012
- Filed under: Branding
Holly Ross at NTEN recently alerted me to an interesting piece on nonprofit branding in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR)
I agree with the philosophy of branding reflected in the article - that it resides in your organization’s actions and your audience’s hearts and minds. It’s not something you control with color palette!
The SSIR piece breaks down nonprofit brand into four dimensions: brand integrity, brand democracy, brand ethics, and brand affinity.
1. Brand integrity: The organization’s supporters and staff feel a common sense of what it does and why it matters.
2. Brand democracy: Everyone who works for and supports the organization is trusted to apply their own understanding of the organization’s core identity. To me, this means not command and control branding but branding as a way of being.
3. Brand ethics: The way the organization conveys its brand is authentic and aligned with what it truly does. To me, this is about walking the talk.
4. Brand affinity: This is described as working harmoniously alongside other brands and promoting collective over individual interests.
I think these are useful dimensions. But I’d still add the ones I highlighted last week too!
- Wed, October 03 2012
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
Last year, an earthquake rocked Washington, DC. I’ll never forget the room shaking that day. One severely damaged landmark - along with the Washington Monument—was the National Cathedral. Here’s a photo from the Washington Post showing some of the damage.
So how do you raise money for a building? How do you put the donor at the center of such a campaign? The Cathedral recently sent me a highly effective fundraising piece doing just that.
Here’s what you can learn from this exceptional appeal.
1. Show progress. The piece from the National Cathedral had a timeline, showing progress week by week making repairs.
2. Use imagery. The appeal was full of beautiful photos, which bring the cause to life.
3. Put the donor at the center. The idea of “angels needed” is terrific.
Are you showing what you’re building?
- Tue, October 02 2012
- Filed under: Mobile
I’ve heard a lot of smart people talking about mobile the last few months, and two consistent themes are worth sharing.
First, mobile is a huge opportunity. It allows us to reach people at new moments, including dawn (66% wake up with their phone). More and more, people will be opening our emails and visiting our sites on their smartphone. Around 67% of people already shop on their phone. Just as giving has followed but lagged online shopping trends, I think the same will prove true with mobile. So the headline here is, mobile will bring a whole new set of possibilities to our work.
But while mobile expands the ways in which we can engage with people, we need to recognize that we win by seeing not only opportunity but also constraint. We can’t shrink down our website or giving page, stick it on smartphone and call it a day. No one wants massive amounts of options on a tiny screen. So we have to make hard choices about what we will feature on mobile. Less is more. We must have complete simplicity in design and choices, or it won’t work at all.
Embrace the potential, but also the limitations.
- Mon, October 01 2012
- Filed under: Nonprofit leadership
One of the biggest challenges on a Monday morning is to focus on what’s most essential to advancing your mission. The pile-up of email, the ringing phone and the meetings tend to get in the way.
That’s why this post from the Harvard Business Review blog caught my eye. Author David Rock (who wrote Your Brain at Work) says we’re not alone in feeling we just don’t get enough time to focus on real reflection in the office. In fact, his NeuroLeadership Group did a study that found only 10 percent of employees found their best thinking happened at work.
So how do we change that this week? Check out these three research-proven suggestions from Rock.
1. Try a two-minute distraction
It’s often hard to focus on what’s important when a massive amount of detail overwhelms us. If you have to solve a complex problem, leave it alone for a little while and do something else. In other words, embrace a distraction. When you come back to the task, you can decide more easily. Rock says research shows, “People who were distracted did better on a complex problem-solving task than people who put in conscious effort. That’s because stepping away from a problem and then coming back to it gives you a fresh perspective. The surprising part is how fast this effect kicked in… only two minutes of distraction time [lets your] non-conscious to kick in.”
2. Get in the four-hour flow
On the longer end of things, Rock recommends that you think about something that needs insight and keep this thought in your subconscious mind. Then clear your conscious mind by putting down on a list all the stuff cluttering it. Clear that list when you have little windows of opportunity - like delayed flights or canceled meetings. Then plan your week and month by listing three priorities you would like to accomplish. Last - and most critical - make sure you have at least four consecutive, uninterrupted hours a day dedicated to the three priorities you identified.
3. Treat your mind like the stage it is
Rock has an analogy I love: Your mind is a stage. Your thoughts enter and exit that stage all the time. The reason we get that overloaded feeling is that “A stage has severe limitations: audience members clamor to jump on stage all the time (we are easily distracted and self-inhibition requires effort); actors can only play one part at a time (that means no multi-tasking); and no more than three or four actors can be on the stage at any one time (that’s when we feel overwhelmed).”
As Rock points out, once we understand the limitations of our stages, we can compensate for them with methods like the ones Rock identified.
What is going on your stage today?