Tue, September 09 2014

Still on the Fence About #GivingTuesday?

Jamie McDonald's avatar

Chief Giving Officer, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

To do, or not to do, #GivingTuesday…

With 12 weeks to go, you are hearing about #GivingTuesday everywhere. In the press, and perhaps on your team, there are advocates and skeptics.

And we get it. Year-end is a critical time, and your team has a full plate. So is #GivingTuesday worth it?

From where we sit, the answer is simple: Yes!

We are unabashed supporters and believers in the #GivingTuesday movement. For most nonprofits the question should not be ‘if’, but ‘how’, to incorporate #GivingTuesday into your December giving season.

How does #GivingTuesday work (for your organization)?

The genesis of #GivingTuesday is pretty well known. It started with a simple idea – to be a counterpoint to the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. From a couple hundred nonprofits in 2012, #GivingTuesday is now an international day of giving around the globe.

Think about #GivingTuesday as disaster fundraising in reverse (Tweet this). In a disaster, the tragedy brings people together to rally around those in need by supporting organizations that can make an impact.

On #GivingTuesday, the movement rallies people around their desire to do good, to matter in their communities or their world. It’s not an obligation – it’s an opportunity to be part of something that’s big and meaningful and feels great.

And just as disaster relief organizations recognize how important it is to raise funds when there is heightened public awareness, all nonprofits can capitalize on the awareness and excitement of #GivingTuesday.

It’s all about the strategy, but there’s more than one approach.

The big opportunity is to launch December on #GivingTuesday and carry the energy and excitement straight through to New Year’s. Think of it as a chance to throw a virtual giving-season kickoff party for your cause.

The good news is that there is not just one “right” strategy.

Your #GivingTuesday goals can be about more than dollars raised.  Consider a goal focused on recurring givers, new donors, volunteers, in-kind gifts, or even social media followers.

#GivingTuesday can be a chance to tell fresh stories, to attract new or younger supporters, to accelerate your social media presence or to diversify your fundraising channels.  Beth Kanter shares some creative ideas about experimenting, measuring and learning in this video for #GivingTuesday Summer School.

The lessons you take away from #GivingTuesday can impact all of December—and your fundraising into 2015.

Ready? Let’s go!

We’re here to help with free training, toolkits, expert advice, and of course, great software.

Start by downloading our comprehensive Giving Days eBook. It is both a decision making and planning guide, and a week-by-week tactical outline sharing the steps your team can take each week between now and #GivingTuesday to launch a successful campaign.

Then every Tuesday, we’ll bring you new resources to get ready for #GivingTuesday.

And make sure your software is customized to delight and inspire your donors. We can help with two different fundraising platforms:

DonateNow – an easy-to-use customized online giving page to maximize donor conversion, plus baked-in expertise to help make you a better fundraiser

GiveCorps – a cutting-edge giving platform that offers donors a superior online giving experience, plus crowdfunding and peer-to-peer.

Talk to a fundraising consultant today to get expert advice about the software that will best meet your needs.

It’s time to plan for your best December ever!

More #GivingTuesday resources

 

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Mon, September 08 2014

Reclaim Back to School: How to Stay Energized, Relevant, and at the Top of Your Game

Nancy Schwartz's avatar

Nonprofit Marketing Expert

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Filed under:   Fun stuff • Nonprofit leadership •

Our daughter, Charlotte, recently started sixth grade, and the pumped-up energy at school that first morning really got me thinking.

“Back to school” is one of the definers of fall as we know it. It’s right up there with apples, the changing colors of the leaves, and Halloween.

Here are all these kids marching into the unknown for nine months of learning and growth. Some are thrilled to be starting again, others are longing for the pool or camp, but all have this incredible opportunity to be exposed to new content, to digest it in the context of what they know now, and to arrive on the far side with a fresh perspective and new skills. I’m envious!

Few of us have this kind of formal growth opportunity, but ongoing intellectual and creative growth is vital. It’s the only way to ensure that our marketing and fundraising content is relevant while fueling our personal satisfaction.

My call to action for you and me? Let’s reclaim back to school. Let’s schedule some learning—via conversation, reading, participating—into every day, even if for only five minutes. Learning is energizing, positive, and productive, but you have to make it happen.

Here are the five main methods I use to keep learning:

1. Read and watch content (blogs, e-newsletters, social media, books, videos) in the field, from nonprofits in all sectors, and from expert marketers—in the nonprofit world and beyond—and fundraisers. This helps me keep current on trends, models, needs, tools, and news.

2. Scan the world news, and process how it affects your work and the perspectives of the folks your organization strives to connect with.

3. Participate in hands-on group workshops and webinars, so I’m doing rather than just digesting. For me, the doing reinforces learning like nothing else.

4. Push myself to take on the next new challenge, and make sure there’s always a “next challenge” to tackle. Right now I’m focusing on developing several new training modules and a new small-group online learning program. You may think about how to meet the needs of an underserved part of your community or tackle a new donor segment.

5. Synthesize what I learn with what I know and share that with you in blog posts, e-news articles, speaking gigs, and training. This is the linchpin of my learning program, pushing me to put it all together—for you!


I guarantee I get my learning by scheduling it every day in “ink” on the calendar. This time-blocking approach works wonders for me.

Starting today, reclaim back to school as your own. Schedule time daily to stimulate your mind, nourish your soul, stay on top of the world you’re working in (and communicating into), refine your perspective, and build your expertise and impact—all prerequisites to creating the relevant content and calls to action that best engage the folks whose help you need to move your mission forward!

How do you keep learning even when your professional development budget is zilch? Please share your learning habits and favorite resources in the comments below!

With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build the 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 GettingAttention.org.

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Thu, September 04 2014

Crowdfunding: The Future of Annual Giving [Free Guide]

Jamie McDonald's avatar

Chief Giving Officer, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Crowdfunding •

What’s old is new again.

The most exciting evolution of the giving economy in the past ten years is crowdfunding. But crowdfunding is simply a new name for one of the oldest forms of fundraising.

Throughout history, communities joined together to support those in need. Crowdfunding is the 21st century version of this age-old process for harnessing the power of a crowd.

Crowdfunding today sits at the intersection between communities, online, social, and giving. And it is more than just a strategy for one-off projects; it should be a core strategy for annual giving. (Tweet this)

And nonprofits are just arriving at the party.

In a recent article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Erin Morgan Gore & Breanna DiGiammarino shared perspective on the power of crowdfunding for nonprofits:

“Used strategically, crowdfunding helps nonprofits build meaningful engagement, inform their work, spread their messages, and expand their donor base to increase their overall funding and impact.”

Crowdfunding the Annual Fund?

What? Really? We say, Yes!

And you know what’s really exciting? You already know how to do it.

Crowdfunding leverages the skills and experience that you use everyday as a fundraiser. At its most basic level, the process of developing a great crowdfunding campaign is a lot like developing your major donor outreach strategy.

“It’s not about restricted or unrestricted; it’s about the donor, and giving annual fund donors the same quality of experience its high-level donors have—more project choices, greater ability to direct their gifts, and expanded engagement,” according to Margaret Paine, the director of advancement communications at Middlebury College.

What are the parallels between crowdfunding and major donor engagement?

Rally a community of donors around a specific initiative.

With major donors you customize your outreach to appeal to their passions. It might be a new program, a giving society or an endowment. With annual fund donors, “project-ize” the annual fund, with giving opportunities that define the impact of your work. This may take the form of funding the cost of a client or an operating expense like new computers.

Tell an authentic, personal story.

Major donors get to meet staff leaders and clients to hear how their gifts will matter. With annual fund donors, your outreach should center on storytelling, bringing these same stories to life using technology.

Have a clear goal and impact statement.

With major donors, asks are often accompanied by a list of gift opportunities, sometimes with naming rights. With annual fund givers, defining impact also matters: what will a gift of $50, $100, $1,000 accomplish?

Inspire with strong visuals.

With major donors, personal on-site visits or detailed artist renderings are shared to bring your program to life for the giver. With annual fund outreach, pictures and video can also be the key to bringing the campaign to life.

Celebrate and use social ties to build momentum.

Major donors are publicized and invited to special gatherings. Annual fund donors can be recognized on social media and on virtual “donor rolls” on well-designed websites. Givers want to feel like they are part of a movement, and when they do, they will spread the word on your behalf.

Great technology makes you look like a pro.

Don’t let the technology scare you. Online giving technology with crowdfunding capability is a way to create efficiency for your team as you reinvent your annual giving efforts. It’s a tool for making crowdfunding easy, transparent and social.

And with software like Network for Good’s GiveCorps crowdfunding platform, it couldn’t be easier to get started.

Want to learn more about Crowdfunding and Nonprofits? Download our free starter guide and case studies.


Or, if you’re ready to speak with a crowdfunding expert about getting started, give us a call at 855-229-1694.

Salvation Army Image: commons.wikimedia.org

 

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Tue, September 02 2014

LUCKY 13: Thirteen weeks to plan for the best giving season ever – starting with #GivingTuesday

Jamie McDonald's avatar

Chief Giving Officer, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

Crunch time!

Can it be…Labor Day weekend is really behind us? 2014 is in the home stretch and that means it is crunch time for nonprofits.

In fact, 30% of the projected $300 billion in total annual donations to charities are made in December — and 10%, or $30 billion, come during the year’s last 48 hours. (Source: NY Post, December 2013)

For most nonprofits, it’s make or break time. And for donors, whether they are motivated by making an impact or by the tax year, December underlines the urgency of giving.

Countdown to #GivingTuesday

The movement that has changed the December giving season since 2012 is #GivingTuesday. It started with a simple idea – to be a counterpoint to the consumerism of Black Friday and CyberMonday. From a couple hundred nonprofits in 2012, #GivingTuesday has grown into an international day of giving with organizations and donors around the globe joining the movement.

Traditionally, year-end givers to nonprofits are loyal supporters or those with personal ties to an organization. Now, nonprofits can harness the energy of #GivingTuesday to engage new donors, and to extend and amplify the giving season.

We know first hand. Last year we led BMoregivesMore, the campaign to make Baltimore the most generous city in America on #GivingTuesday. Nonprofits that participated in BMoreGivesMore reported that between 20% and 60% of donors on that day were new. And more than 80% who shared their results said that they had a comparable or better December overall!

13 Tuesdays to go: We’re here for you.

Despite all the excitement and opportunity of #GivingTuesday, your team has a full plate planning for year-end already. So how do you capitalize on #GivingTuesday?

Network for Good is launching N4G Gives, a national campaign to launch the giving season on #GivingTuesday.

Beginning this week, we’re offering a combination of free and client-only resources to get your team ready. We’re arming ALL nonprofits with the tools, tactics, training and motivation to make this your best December ever.

And for Network for Good clients, we’ll also be offering:

• Two great platforms:

• DonateNow – your customized online giving page to maximize donor conversion

• GiveCorps – a cutting-edge giving platform that offers donors a superior online giving experience, plus crowdfunding and peer-to-peer.

• Exclusive toolkits, expert webinars, specialized coaching, and communications resources

• Matching funds to make your gifts go further

• Visibility with Network for Good donors

What’s the first step?

Start by downloading our comprehensive Giving Days eBook. According to nonprofit thought leader Beth Kanter, it’s a “terrific, free eBook with lots of tips and planning templates to help your organization decide whether to participate.”

Then every Tuesday, we’ll bring you new resources to get ready for #GivingTuesday.

It’s time to plan for your best December ever!

Ready to get started? Our team can help you get your site ready for #GivingTuesday. Set up a time talk with a fundraising consultant today and get a free demo.

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Fri, August 29 2014

How Crowdfunding Can Transform Alumni Giving

Jamie McDonald's avatar

Chief Giving Officer, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Crowdfunding • Fundraising essentials •

“Over the past decade colleges and universities of all stripes have struggled with a truly stunning national decline in alumni participation rates: More than a third fewer alumni make a gift of any size to their alma mater today compared with alumni 10+ years ago.”
Cara Quackenbush of Eduventures

The cost of college, the rise in student loan debt, a weak economy, and uncertain job prospects have all contributed to the rapid decline in alumni giving.

These are issues that advancement offices can’t control.

But there are many factors that drive participation and giving that ARE in the hands of Higher Ed advancement pros and marketers.

The fix for declining Higher Ed participation rates is a reinvention of the Annual Fund.

Think (and act) like a Crowdfunder

The most exciting evolution of the giving economy in the past ten years is Crowdfunding. And Higher Ed is just arriving at the party.

Crowdfunding sits at the intersection between communities, online, social, and giving. It is more than just a strategy for one-off projects; it should be a core strategy for annual giving.

According to Andrew Gossen, Senior Director for Social Media Strategy at Cornell, “Crowdfunding is far more than just a tool for raising money online. It’s also a means of driving participation, teaching a culture of philanthropy, communicating effectively, mobilizing constituents’ networks on behalf of the institution, building and cultivating a donor pipeline, and a fantastic mode of stewardship.”

So, how can you take advantage of this new way of looking at your annual annual fund? I recently presented some ideas with Dayna Carpenter of University of Maryland Baltimore County during this year’s eduWeb conference. Download the presentation for more inspiration for transforming your alumni giving program.

Crowdfunding in Higher Ed Presentation

 

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