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Thank Donors – Why Everyday Should be Thanksgiving

Section: Blog

If you’re a nonprofit, every day is Thanksgiving…or should be.

Donors notice when you neglect them. Don’t forget to thank donors, every chance you get. Don’t be the type of organization that only gets in touch or tries to reach out when you need money. Make sure you’re involving your donors throughout the year, not just after an event, or after a donation, or during a time of “asking”. Dennis Fischman of Communicate! has come up with 20 creative ways to thank donors throughout the entire year.

  1. Make a gift bag. It doesn’t have to be expensive–just personal, unique, and thoughtful.
  2. Give a toast. You don’t need a special event–you could do this over lunch. Make a video and send it to the donor.  Get creative!
  3. Write a poem. Say why they deserve your thanks.
  4. Send them custom gift labels.
  5. Give a gift card. (Try to get the gift card donated too.)
  6. Send a hand-written letter. Everyone loves handwritten snail mail and it has become a forgotten art.
  7. Use social media to give thanks in public.
  8. Make your own digital greeting card.
  9. Make a Youtube video. Post to your website and take donors via social media.
  10. Bake cookies. Everyone loves a treat.
  11. Make surprise gifts for guests at your events.
  12. Put together a flower basket.
  13. Take a picture. Again, it doesn’t have to be professional, just unique.  The camera on your phone can capture priceless moments!
  14. Pay it forward.  Show them you care about what they care about too.
  15. Do something special for them.
  16. Help them when they’re the ones who need help.
  17. Be there for them. Don’t always just ask for them to be there for you and your organization. Return the favor.
  18. Listen to them.
  19. Say it another language…especially if they speak it. Find ways to break the language barrier.
  20. Show them some #donorlove, without being asked.

Do you have a creative way to say thank you? Have something to add? Comment below!

Don’t Forget The Middle: Why Neglecting Middle Donors Is Costing You Millions

Section: Blog

According to Sea Change Strategies’ “THE MISSING MIDDLE: Neglecting Middle Donors Is Costing You Millions,” nonprofits are missing out on processing donations because they’re overlooking this productive and often committed group of individuals. The middle donors are classified as those who give less than major gift audience, but more than the lower amounts that direct marketing donations usually produce. These amounts range anywhere from $250 to $9,000, Alia McKee, a co-author of the report, told the NonProfit Marketing Blog.

A 2008 study called “The Wired Wealthy” carried out by Convio and Edge Research showed that within these groups participating, donors at the $1,000 to $10,000 levels represented roughly one percent of the donor population, but were giving more than a third of the dollars. Why was it that 1/3 of the donations was only coming from 1% of the donor group? This proved that this financially important group was being untapped. Charitable organizations were, and still are, passing up a much needed group of benefactors: the middle donors.

The study suggests that:”Mid-level donor prospects represent significant income potential and greater retention stability – probably even more than major donor prospects. They are a reservoir of steady support for organizations, if stewarded properly.” Roger Craver suggest that the whole mid-level enterprise needs re-branding and that like the middle child, they should not be ‘forgotten’. “When you see the amount of money that is left on the table by these organization {…{ sooner or later they are going to have to deal with [this neglect] because they can’t squeeze any more blood out of the particular business-as-usual stone they are currently working.”

Throughout the report, Sea change Strategies has come up with 8 habits of highly effective mid-level donor programs and have formulated a to-do list for fundraisers.

To download the complete study and the 8 to-dos to get you started with tapping the middle-level donors, click here – See more at:

Tips for Writing Excellent Fundraising Copy

Section: Blog

Our partners over at iATS have come up with 4 tips for writing excellent fundraising copy. Fundraising is a strategic game that must be played well and make use of all available resources. iATS makes note that “People give to other people and the copy used on website, print and promotional collateral can make or break a relationship with a potential giver”. Copy should engage the reader and encourage them to take action – whether that action be volunteering, donating, or helping in another way. You should use your creative mind to think outside the box with your copy but always keep in mind these four great rules for excellent copy:

  1. Avoid nonprofit jargon – Don’t use pretentious terminology or words that are too hard to understand. Words that can be confusing, unnecessary, or difficult can ‘create a barrier’ with your reader and come across as not personal. People need to be able to feel the words as they are reading, not be looking up definitions.
  2. Don’t be repetitive – While repetition of your message is a great idea, repetition of the same words or phrase is not. It’s a turnoff for the reader to reread the same thing over and over, so endeavor towards copy that is interesting, engaging, and straight to the point.
  3. Show the bigger picture – Don’t focus on the small details. Your copy should focus on the main ‘overall emotional pull’ and your readers should know exactly what you do and exactly you need their help.
  4. Speak to the donor – Don’t focus too much on yourself, instead focus on the potential donor. Talk directly to them with the use of the word ‘you’ and tell them exactly how they, themselves, can make a big difference. Cater your copy so that you build up your donor, not your organization. To learn more from iATS, check out the full article here: 4 tips for writing excellent fundraising copy

 

Online Giving Statistics for Donors 66 and Older

Section: Blog

According to a U.S. Dunham+Company/Campbell Rinker study, donors 66 and older are now just as likely to make their donations to charity online as younger donors.

Online Giving Statistics:

  • For the first time since the study began, 3 out of 5 donors (60 percent) of all generations have given a gift online.
  • 53 percent of donors said they preferred to give online.
  • In 2014, the preferred method of giving was via mail, and now the 2014 study shows this has reversed to only 36 percent preferring to respond by mail and 53 percent preferring to give online.
  • Of the 66 and older generation in 2010, only 15 percent would give an online gift in response to a letter in the mail. That percentage jumped to 39 percent in 2014.
  • In 2010, 6 percent gave a gift to a charity’s website because of an email. In 2012, it was only 5 percent. Today, that percentage has jumped to 20 percent.

Donor-study-graphic-610w_bottom

Blog

Section: Blog

The Best Facebook Posts for Nonprofits

Section: Blog

Is your company on Facebook? Did you know that: so far in 2014, 95% of nonprofits have used Facebook for marketing and fundraising? Or, that onprofit communicators spend most of their time on e-newsletters and Facebook marketing? How about that fact hat despite studies shoeing that most Facebook Pages reach only 5% of their fans, the world’s largest social network still has incredible value?

Facebook is a marketing tool that nonprofit communicators should stick with invest in to create positive outcomes. Julia Campbell of J Campbell Social Marketing has come up with 5 kinds of Facebook posts that will work for all types of nonprofits.

  1. Interesting and Striking Photos – Don’t post just any old photos, post photos that elicit feelings and motivate people to act and help. You want people to be encouraged to learn more, donate, volunteer, or share with others.
  2. Links to outside websites and articles – Post to articles that have great content and is relevant to your followers. You want to be a source of information but also a trusted source.
  3. Content from other Pages – “The key is to curate thriving, engaging posts on other pages and piggyback on their success.” Share post from other Facebook Pages with your followers that may be useful or informative. This will not only establish trust with your current followers, but may gain you some new ones too.
  4. Questions, Polls, or Posts that entice Feedback – Encourage interaction on your page. Ask questions, take polls, or write an opinion that will elicit responses. This will help you get an idea of what your followers are interested in and help you respond accordingly.
  5. Impact Moments – Show your followers how your organization is making an impact. Whether through outside review, photos or videos, or testimonials, share with your followers how you’re making a difference and how you’re working towards your mission. These moments are special, enticing, and powerful.

 

To learn more about the 5 types of Facebook post that every Nonprofit should be utilizing, check out Julia Campbell’s article 5 Kinds of Facebook Posts That Work for Nonprofits – See more at:

 

Actual Fundraising is More Important Than Brand Awareness

Section: Blog

In a blog post titled Brand awareness is King! Or is it?, Sean Triner discusses why the traditional commercial approach to branding is not the best plan of attack when it comes to fundraising. Throughout his post, he explains how “money spent of brand awareness by a charity with a view to increasing fundraising income is absolutely and completely wasted”. Triner believes that when it comes to money, money should be spent on actual fundraising instead of raising brand awareness. Triner lays out three arguments as to why commercial brands and charities are not the same when it comes to investing money on pure brand awareness exercises.

1. We don’t spend enough – Triner claims that charities spending money on advertising would see its “unprompted awareness score hardly move”.

2. Good public fundraising raises awareness – amongst the right target audience – fundraising asks for money and builds awareness simultaneously while advertising builds awareness then ask for money.

3. The difference between consumers donating and purchasing commercial products is fundamentally different – This is Triner’s most important and developed argument. His main point is the difference is the ‘push-pull’ relationship. He notes that consumer brands spend millions on ‘top of mind’ marketing so that when consumers are faced with a choice, they choose what is always ‘on their mind’ or ‘in front of their face’. Charities, however, are different. Triner says, ‘ statistically speaking, people don’t give without being asked. The only exception is a media disaster story such as an earthquake…” The second part to this argument is the idea that effective fundraising builds brand awareness anyways, and, ” because of the income associated with it, this usually makes it more effective than any non-fundraising awareness activity.

In all, Triner believes actual fundraising is the best use of your budget than trying to raise brand awareness. Effective fundraising will build brand awareness as you fundraise and you’ll be making smarter decisions when it comes to spending your budget.

What do you think?

 

What To Do After Your Fundraising Event

Section: Blog

Ron Lahr, via a LinkedIn article, has come up with a few tips on what you should do right after your fundraising event to make the next one even better. (As noted by Lahr: I consider the event to be over when everyone has received their auction items (if there are any) and the money has been collected.)

So what to do next? Lahr tells us all about the next steps.

1. Information Is Power

Try to gather all the information you can and make sure you keep it safe for next year’s planning. Send your thank yous immediately to all people who donated, donated raffle items, volunteers, and attendees. Make phone calls and ask your board to help you in this task. Call everyone and say more than just ‘thank you’. Tell them about the ‘good’ that is coming from the event or other exciting news. Share with them the amount you raised and how their individual help is going to make a difference for your organization and the people and causes you help. Don’t forget to also analyze your information and data. Find out what didn’t work and what worked surprisingly well. Review everything and make sure you carry this new wealth of knowledge over to your next event.

2. Always Do An After Action Report

Gather the information, present it to your committee and board members, volunteers, and employees, and brainstorm improvements on how you can make the next event even better. What information can you carry over that will help the success rate of your next event? Document everything so that you don’t forget. As Lahr points out: “Institutional memory can be a weakness for any organization. You combat it with documentation.”

3. Relationship Building, As Always

Make a plan and schedule times for reaching out to those who help. You want to try to avoid only contacting people in your time of need, so focus on making periodic contact with donors, volunteers, and attendees. Connect via different methods: phone, email, social media, face-to-face, etc. Have others help you reach out as well. Ask board members or committee members  throughout the year to help you make contact and build these relationships. Make sure to document these contacts so that no one falls through the cracks.

To read Ron Lahr’s entire article and gain in-depth knowledge of exactly what you should be doing post-event, click here: What To Do After An Awesome Fundraising Event

7 Tips for Successful Fundraising Galas (and Events)

Section: Blog

Alison Silcoff, head of Alison Silcoff Events offers us seven tips on her “never to be broken” rules for fundraising galas (and events):

1. Make a respectable profit – “Fundraising is a business, and there are acceptable guidelines for the ratio of expenses to gross revenue. More than 50 percent is unacceptable”

2. Thank everyone – You can never go overboard when it comes to ‘Thank Yous’. Make sure you thank every single person who helped put on the event and who donated.

3. Fundraising is a service business – Treat your donors like stars. We conscious of their needs, wants, and listen to all of their ideas. They should be feel wanted and respected. They’re your lifeline.

4. Ensure all donor benefits are provided – Double-check that the amenities that come with your purchasing options are being followed through. Make sure people are getting what they paid for and their names/company names are spelled correctly.

5. Keep it fun – Aim for a fun and creative event. “Our guests go to many boring fundraising events each year. They are not in need of a free dinner!”

6. Comp tickets cost money – Your event is not a free event. All comped tickets cost money so make sure you are not giving away too many to volunteers, no matter how wonderful they have been throughout the process.

7. Handle volunteers with caution – Appreciate them but make sure they realize that as a volunteer they are here to help, not just party.

To read the full article and Silcoff’s in-depth insight on her 7 tips, visit: 7 Tips for Successful Fundraising Galas

Simple Tips for a Stellar Fundraising Campaign

Section: Blog

We’ve compiled some simple tips to get you on your way towards a stellar fundraising campaign. To maximize time, energy, and create the best possible outcome, follow these steps to success.

1. Plan. Plan. Plan. Planning and writing a campaign can take time and you’ll never accomplish all that you would like if you rush and don’t organize properly. Start by setting measurable goals and determine the best steps and methods for attaining each individual goal.

2. Research. Do your research while you plan. Figure out where you stand with your donors and you community and build your structure from that starting point. First, find out how much your community knows about you cause and why you need the help that you do. Are other organizations fighting the same fight you are? Find out if others are tackling the same issues or concerns, or at the very least, talking about them. Look into current events and see if your cause syncs up with a world event people are already talking about. Think outside of the box for new ways to get people talking, involved, and excited about your cause, message, and work.

3. Craft the Best Message Possible. Formulate a specific, detailed, and emotional message. Find out how to tap into potential donor’s emotions and figure out how to move people to action. Think about using media in a different way to get your message across. Maybe a heart-warming video or a heart-wrenching photo can assist your copy in catching the attention of potential givers. Don’t rely on just words, like the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

4. Show Up for Work. Don’t give up. Make sure you see your campaign through to the end. Stellar campaigns require focus, determination, and organization throughout the whole process. Don’t get lazy. While preparation is most definitely important, following through is equally important as well.