Fri, January 30 2015

Why It’s Time to Get Over ‘Slacktivism’

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VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Social Media •

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Cone Communications Digital Activism Study

Image: Cone Communications

It’s easy to write off the small online actions of “slacktivists” as passive behavior that won’t make much of a difference, but digital activists can turn into donors, advocates, and major supporters over time. Late last year, Cone Communications released their Digital Activism Study which reveals insights on digital consumer behavior when it comes to supporting causes online. A few nuggets:

  • 58% of Americans believe sharing information about a cause online is an effective form of advocacy.

  • 52% use social media to discuss issues they care about and believe their online activity makes a meaningful difference.

  • Of those surveyed who made a donation in the last 12 months, more people gave online (27%) than regular mail (23%).

  • Americans are most willing to take online actions that have a direct impact on an issue – such as voting (71%), signing petitions (70%) and learning about changes they can make in their everyday lives (70%).


But do all of these micro-actions really add up to anything meaningful for your cause or do they simply replace more significant contributions?

Change.org founder Ben Rattray recently challenged organizations to look to results before dismissing online activity as slacktivism.

“I think the measure of the effectiveness of online action isn’t whether it’s easy to do, it’s whether it actually accomplishes a specific goal,” Rattray observed.

Cone’s study revealed that 63% of Americans they are more inclined to donate or support a cause in other ways after learning about the issue online. While these initial online gifts may not be large ones, consider that small dollar serial sharers are often able to influence others to contribute a cumulative total that goes well beyond the individual act. This multiplier effect is why peer-to-peer fundraising can be so powerful.

So, how do you make the most of these digital do-gooders?

Open the door.
Embrace and enable these so-called slacktivists by lowering the barrier of entry to participate in your cause. This means making actions easy to understand, easy to do, and easy to afford. Remember: these supporters are not likely to be your high-dollar donors—yet. Offer ubiquitous opportunities to get involved and make it easy by giving your fans prepared tweets, Facebook updates, and email copy to use.

Hoist your billboard.
Cone’s research did find that there can be a gap between intent and action when it comes to supporting causes online. Organizations need to adapt their calls to action to match digital expectations. To do this, make your ask bold, concrete, and compelling. Your messages should clearly underscore a sense of urgency and illustrate the impact a donor can have. You’ll have better luck capitalizing on the desire to help when you script the actions you want people to take.

Clear a path.
Supporters who take a small action are more likely to take additional, larger actions over time—but it’s up to you to clear a path for them to do so. This means organizations should have a plan to build relationships with these digital activist and encourage them to take the next step to more involvement with your cause. Remember: depending on how they came to your organization, these donors, petition signers, or social media warriors may need an additional introduction to your work and why their support matters.

3 Step Action Plan for Digital Activists

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Fri, January 30 2015

Nonprofit Link Round Up

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fun stuff •

Another week has come and gone, and hopefully it’s been a good one for you. Here are the stories and resources that caught our eye in the world of nonprofit marketing and fundraising this week:

Link Round Up -- YeeHaw!

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Wed, January 28 2015

Our Common Challenges

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Nonprofit leadership •

Yesterday Network for Good was honored to host a group of delegates from 10 countries as part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. The group included the Executive Director of the Icelandic Youth Council, the Program Director for the Russian Red Cross, the Community Manager from the Office of the Mayor of Athens, and a grassroots organizer from Saudi Arabia, among others who work with local governments and community groups to mobilize volunteers and social giving around the world.

As we gathered to talk about leveraging online technology to mobilize volunteers, raise funds, and communicate with supporters, it was clear that the challenges these international organizations face are nearly identical to those of nonprofits here in the United States. Here are a few themes that rose to the top during our time together:

  • Diversifying funding sources:  Organizations that are highly dependent on government contracts or grants look to shift their funding sources to reduce the vulnerability of relying on one source of funds.  In some cases, this shift to individual giving is new territory and these organizations are sorting out how to prioritize individual donors and the resources needed to support a successful strategy. Sound familiar?

  • Finding (and retaining) the right donors:  The universal challenge, but also a wonderful opportunity to learn from one another.  For some international organizations, most individual donors are coming from outside of the country, so connecting with and expanding the donor base can be difficult. This is where new networking tools and storytelling venues will continue to make a big impact.

  • Communicating with donors: We all agreed that the key to retaining individual donors is regular and responsive communication. Some organizations are trying to find the right balance of interaction and dedicated time to responding to donors and listening to their feedback.

  • Collaboration vs. competition:  With many organizations working to solve similar issues, these NGOs identified a need for more collaboration and stronger networks to pool resources, and make a bigger impact. This is a challenge.  One way we can all encourage knowledge and resource sharing is to commit to supporting and participating in roundtable discussions and gatherings just like the IVLP sessions.

  • Getting the story right:  From attracting supporters to inspiring gifts to retaining donors, compelling stories are critical.  The delegation discussed the challenges of competing with more “media friendly” stories or causes, and the opportunities to connect the right story with the right audience segment. Organizations are made up of multiple stories, which provides a wonderful chance to line up the perfect story with the right segment of a cause’s community.

Do any of these strike a chord with you? What would you add to the list? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

We offer our gratitude to the Department of State and the IVLP delegates for spending time with our team and sharing their experiences. We wish them well as they continue their tour of the U.S. and look forward to learning more from our nonprofit colleagues around the world.

 

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Mon, January 26 2015

The Ultimate Donation Page Guide Sneak Peek

Liz Ragland's avatar

Marketing Content Associate, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials • Websites and web usability •

The Ultimate Donation Page Guide

I’m excited to announce that we’ve just published our most comprehensive resource featuring all of our best practices and helpful tips for building successful online donation pages. The Ultimate Donation Page Guide is 27 pages of helpful tips and best practices that guide you through the process of building a fantastic online donation page (or refining an existing page) that gets donors to give, give big, and give again.

You can use this guide as a helpful resource throughout the year, or, if you’re motivated to overhaul your online giving process right now, you can use it as a step-by-step guide to thoroughly navigate every detail that will help your online donation page perform better.

Here’s an excerpt:

Constructing a Proper Donation Page

A lot goes into creating effective donation pages, but that doesn’t mean a lot should go on them!

How Clutter Steals Donations from Your Cause

All too often, nonprofits give people too many ways to leave their donation page without completing a gift, including:

  • Too many fields. Online usability experts generally agree that when a form includes a lot of fields, a visitor is less likely to complete it.
  • Too many links. Links or navigation elements that lead visitors away from your donation page increase the odds that a prospective donor will click away without completing it.
  • Too much text. Additional text on your page requires your donor to do more work and can trigger “fine print” skepticism.
  • Too many images. Photos on your donation page seem like a good idea but can confuse and distract donors, especially when the images don’t communicate why a donation matters.
  • Too much complexity. More complex options on your page make potential donors less likely to complete your form.
  • Too many steps. The more pages there are to complete, the more likely a donor is to abandon the process.

When it takes us more time or effort to do something, we’re less likely to do it at all. It’s just human nature! In other words, all that extra “stuff” = work.

Tip: Before adding anything to your donation page, ask yourself, “Will this make it easier for donors to give?”

This guide goes beyond just constructing a better donation page. You’ll also find:

  • The secrets of donation page design
  • Calls to action that get results
  • Giving options that make a difference
  • The brain science of online giving
  • The mechanics of testing and tracking (and a step-by-step guide on how to do an a/b test)
  • Optimizing special campaigns
  • The wonders of a great post-donation experience
  • How to get more people to your donation page

Download the guide now and let us know what you think!

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Fri, January 23 2015

Link Round Up

Liz Ragland's avatar

Marketing Content Associate, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fun stuff •

We love reading amazing content from across the sector. Here are a few nonprofit marketing and fundraising resources that stood out this week:

Link Round Up
  • We're big fans of the crew over at GrantStation and their 5 quick tips for launching your grantseeking in 2015. (via Guidestar)

  • If you are a Google Analytics user, you must try this add-on for Google Sheets. If you're not a Google Analytics super user, send this link over to someone who is and I promise you will make their day.

  • DoSomething.org accidentally sent a message meant for a very specific segment of their list to their entire database (2.1 million phone numbers). If you’ve ever made a mail merge error or mass email mistake, you feel their pain (and embarrassment). They followed up with a great idea: an apology in the form of a playlist, featuring songs that used humor to poke fun at their mistake. This fun apology might not work with one of your major donors but for DoSomething’s audience, teenagers, it was a hit. (Via Chronicle of Philanthropy)

  • We all know stories are key to grabbing supporters’ attention and inspiring them to act. Jeff Brooks, one of our all-time favorite fundraisers, shares his presentation on how to tell stories that motivate donors to give. (via Future Fundraising Now)

  • Is it time to ditch the dating metaphor when it comes to donor relationships? (via Achieve)

  • Nonprofits in space? Consider a “moon landing” event for your organization to rally public interest in your cause. (via MarketingSherpa)

Have a must-read story or resource you’d recommend? Share it in the comments section below!

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