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SPOTLIGHT: ejMarketing’s Professional Design Services

Section: Blog

Some organizations have the benefit of an in-house designer or a graphic artist volunteer to create event materials, but most nonprofits do not have this luxury. With the shift to visual media both online and in print, the use of creative, consistent design is more and more important.

Design requirements for fundraising events have moved from what worked in print, to themes and colors that work with both formats, print and digital. To stay relevant, nonprofits must employ a digital strategy. Good design is inviting and provides the image of a successful event.

ejMarketing delivers professional graphic and design services that are affordable to nonprofits. Our designers bring solid experience to your project. They have worked in design agencies and marketing departments and have been trained at top educational institutions. Most importantly, our creative team knows fundraising events.

Our capabilities include, but are not limited to, the following: thematic and original designs, invitations, program booklets, event presentations, advertisements, event signage, email marketing, and ad design. With the ejMarketing, you can call us to provide materials for any event; even if you are not using one of our web solutions for that effort. ejMarketing makes Event Journal, Inc. the “go to” resource for all fundraising event marketing materials.

How to Make the Mobile Donation Process Easier for Users

Section: Blog

We have come up with 5 ways to make the mobile donation process easier for users. Follow these 5 easy steps to increase site usability and, in turn, increase donations.

1. Keep it simple. Mobile users like to scan and see things clearly. Remove the extra clutter, don’t make users scroll too much, and minimize the use of graphics so that load time is not too long. Clean design improves use and increases the overall impression of the site. This will boost conversion rates..
2. Keep everything short and sweet. Reduce the amount of copy on each page, and use headings, colors, or fonts to break up the text into sections. Avoid long paragraphs to keep a user’s attention and make sure calls-to-action are clear and prominent.
3. Make it snappy. Keep page load times under 5 seconds. Remove anything that might make pages load slow or fail to load at all.Opt for copy that is short, powerful, and compelling over flashy graphics that may not display appropriately on mobile devices.

4. Minimize data entry. Don’t waste a user’s time by forcing them to type in unnecessary information. This may cause users to abandon the site and you will lose out on donations. Use auto-fills when it is possible or allow for guest users instead of requiring signups (like many business to consumer sites allow).
5. Less Work = more donations. Overall, make it easy for mobile users to scan, scroll, and type within your site. This will make for a more enjoyable experience and a decrease in site abandonment due to things like long load times, long data entry processes, or over-saturation of content.

Fundraising Trends at the Mid-Year Mark

Section: Blog

Where does the data comes from?

The folks over at npENGAGE have compiled the data from The Blackbaud Index, a study on charitable giving, to determine how 2014 is stacking up against 2013. The index provides insights into fundraising trends on an annual basis and is also updated on the first of each month to show year-over-year percent changes. The Blackbaud Index compile fundraising data from more than 4,200 nonprofit organizations in the U.S. which is based on over $13.6 billion in fundraising revenue.

So, how has fundraising performed in 2014 so far?

  • Overall giving was up 1.6% for the first six months of 2014 compared to the same time period in 2013 – See more at: npENGAGE
  • Public and Society Benefit nonprofits and charities have seen the largest year-over-year growth and K-12 Education has actually seen a decrease in overall giving for the first 6 months.

Let’s check out the Online Fundraising trends

The Blackbaud Index measure online giving data separately as well. From over 3,300 nonprofits representing over $1.7 billion in online fundraising, data is analyzed and compared to 2013 statistics.

  • npENGAGE found that online giving was up 8% for the first half of 2014 compared to 2013.
  • Healthcare, Higher Education, and Arts and Culture all saw double-digit increases in giving
  • No category saw a decrease in online fundraising – all categories saw a growth varying from 1.6% to 13.7%

What does all of this ‘fundraising trends’ data means?

A per npENGAGE:

The mid-year trends in both overall and online giving are positive for most nonprofit organizations. The slight increases so far might be a sign of leveling out after two years of solid fundraising recovery. The mid-year trends in 2013 were a bit more positive, but there were several factors at play including the economy, stock market, and domestic natural disasters.

The word “cautious optimism” might be a good way to describe the fundraising outlook for the rest of 2014. So much of it depends on how well nonprofit organizations have learned to focus on building relationships and retaining donors following the recession.

– See more at: npENGAGE

Fundraising via Email: 2014 Benchmarks Study Results

Section: Blog

M+R and Nonprofit Technology Network have all the data you need on nonprofit fundraising. The infographic created with data from the 2014 Benchmarks Study gives insight into fundraising via email and its related campaign stats. Complete with stats on open rates, click-through rates, increase in online gifts, increase in individual gift size, increase in social media followers, etc. are all included in the infographic for easy understanding of the importance of email lists and campaigns.

To download the complete study: 2014 M+R Benchmarks Study

2014 M+R Benchmarks Infographic

Plan Now: End of Year Online Fundraising

Section: Blog

The below infographic via Salsa shows how important end of the year online fundraising is for total donations acquired. The last three months of the year comprised about 46% of the year’s total donations received and proves to be the most important time of the year for nonprofit to hit their yearly goals.

Key Facts:

– The number of donations in December is 136% more than the average monthly online donation
– 30% of the last quarter’s total donations comes from the LAST week in December
– Quarter 4 makes up almost half of the year’s total donations
– Not only do donors want to give this time of year, they tend to want to give more

End of Year Fundraising Infographic via Salsa

To visit Salsa’s site and learn more about End of Year Online Fundraising: Salsa Labs Blog

The Science Behind Emotions and Actions (& Its Importance in Fundraising)

Section: Blog

An article in the MIT Technology Review excerpts an interview with neuroscientist Antonio Demasio. He found that “consciousness… emerges from emotions and feelings.” Damazio’s insight into the brain’s reactionary functions are controlled by the emotional responses. “His insight, dating back to the early 1990s, stemmed from the clinical study of brain lesions in patients unable to make good decisions because their emotions were impaired, but whose reason was otherwise unaffected.” Damasio found that patients with brain lesions that made them unable to experience emotions, with no other impairment, were not able to make appropriate or ‘good’ decisions. Without emotions, patients found it hard to act at all.

As Damasio explains, “This is the world of life regulation – homeostasis – that I am so interested in, and it covers a wide range of body states. There is an action program of thirst that leads you to seek water when you are dehydrated, but also an action program of fear when you are threatened. Once the action program is deployed and the brain has the possibility of mapping what has happened in the body, then that leads to the emergence of the mental state. During the action program of fear, a collection of things happen in my body that change me and make me behave in a certain way whether I want to or not. As that is happening to me, I have a mental representation of that body state as much as I have a mental representation of what frightened me.” Humans have a special way of dealing with feelings that most animals do not – we have an intellect around those feelings and we can make use of those feelings. That ‘use’ is action.

In fundraising, we’ve know to focus on emotions when trying to reach our to prospective or current donors for the ‘ask’… and know you know why. Human emotions rule our actions and there is now scientific proof to back up that statement. If our goal, as fundraisers, is to move people into action – either donating or volunteering – we must focus on triggering their emotions in order to see the results we seek.

To read the entire Q+A with neuroscientist Anotnio Demasio, check out the article in the MIT Technology Review: Q+A Antonio Damasio

 

How Does Your Fundraising Event Stack Up Against the Competition?

Section: Blog

Do you often wonder how your fundraising event stacks up against other nonprofits’? Recently, Blackbaud released a version of the Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Benchmark Report that gives event fundraisers the data they need to compare their events against other similar events in the industry. While the data was pulled from 2012, the results and conclusions are still relevant to today. npENGAGE came up with a great infographic to break it all down for us and show us just how our events are stacking up. This infographic gives insight into fundraising events like walk and runs that have become a staple in event registration site. Check out Event Journal’s ejEventSites to learn more about how we can help you raise more with your next fundraising event.

2012 P2P Benchmark Infographic How does your Fundraising Event Measure Up?  [INFOGRAPHIC]

How Your Nonprofit Can Gain Exposure Through Social Media

Section: Blog

Jenn Maffeo, for Fundraising Success, came up with 5 Ways Nonprofits Can Gain Exposure Through Social Media to read her entire article, click here.

Identify and connect with people related to your cause – Just starting out? Follow all complimentary nonprofit and partnership organizations. Add them to your list and interact. Respond to their content and give helpful insight. Develop relationships and keep up-to-date with what is going on with items related to your cause.

Use  visual and compelling ways to tell your story – Social media is all about the visual. You need to get your message out quickly and with purpose. Using photos is the best way to get content re-tweeted or re-posted and users are more apt to share visually stimulating photos rather than just text.

Don’t let you content marketing strategy get stale – Create infographics, take personal photos of your nonprofit in action, use inspirational quotes, etc. Don’t just rely on the same type of content. To keep current donors and gain new ones, staying fresh will keep people intrigued.

Don’t forget to reach out (and always say please and thank you!) – ‘Asking’ isn’t just for donations. Ask supporters to support you on social media. Ask for re-tweets, shares, likes, or re-posts to create a supportive community. It will create awareness that you just couldn’t create on your own and “your next donation could be a social post away!”.

Promote everything by using #hashtags – Using hashtags enable you to engage and track content related to your cause or event. Use your hashtag across all your marketing strategies – even in print – and encourage others to engage and share.

As Jenn points out: ” Gaining traction on social media takes time. Remember that social media in essence is social, so it should be constructed as conversational and friendly outreach. Try new things, and have fun engaging with your supporters.”

10 Tips to Make More Money & Have More Fun

Section: Blog

By now, most of the spring events have passed and we’re all gearing up for the large events for fall and the holiday season. It’s never too early to start planning and Gail Perry of Fired Up Fundraising has come up with 10 tips to help you make more money, all while having a lot more fun!

BEFORE THE EVENT

1. Put together a fun, diverse committee – Your committee is what Perry calls your “social branding” for the party. They will be the people reaching out on the organization’s behalf to invite people to attend, sponsor, donate, and support your event. Make sure you put together a group of different professions, ages, and types of people, from all over, to help spread the news.

2. Get your sponsorships – Sponsorships are the #1 factor in making more money. It takes plenty of lead time to develop a relationship and close the deal. Start close to the heart of the organization and branch out from there.

3. Give VIPs special encouragement to come – Make sure your VIPs are enticed to come to your event. Give them a special table, tell them you want to make them an introduction, etc. Make it easy for your VIPs to attend and give them something special they just can’t turn down.

AT THE EVENT

1. Right sized venue – There is nothing worse than a venue that is too large; it makes it seem not enough people showed up. It is always better to caution on the smaller size. When the room is crowded, “it feels like something is really happening”.

2. Turn down the lights – No one looks good in glaring fluorescent lights. By turning down the lights, you can create a better mood and atmosphere… and everyone looks much better too!

3. Abundant food and drink – Don’t ever run out of food. There is nothing worse than hungry, irritable guests. Make sure there is an abundant amount of food, with an attractive looking spread.

4. Cute young people – A large range of ages and people will keep your event some depth. Older and younger people alike, enjoy meeting, chatting. and sharing stories. By mixing the old and young you can forge new relationships and give your party some interest and glamour.

5. Welcoming attitude – Have your board members act as hosts. Make sure every guest is welcomed as if they are incredibly special.

6. Try a raffle – Raffles add a fun element to an event and you would be surprised at how much cash a raffle can attribute towards your fundraising goal.

7. Next year’s chair – Find next year’s chair at this year’s event. They will be in the middle of a fun party atmosphere, which makes it easier for them to say ‘yes’ to next year’s party.

AFTER THE EVENT

1. Thank everyone – your sponsors, top purchasers of auction items, lead volunteers, major donors, etc.

For more information on how make more money and have more fun, check out Gail Perry’s article, in it’s entirety, here: Top 10 Tips to Make More Money, Have More Fun at Your Fundraising Event

For information on how Event Journal can help you raise more money with your fundraising event, check out our customizable Four Solutions

How to Create a Hashtag to Build Engagement for Your Event

Section: Blog

What is a hashtag?

A Hashtag is a word or an un-spaced phrase directly following a number sign (#). It is a form of a metadata tag that turns your phrase or word into a searchable link. This allows people to organize content and track discussions based on those particular keywords.

Why should I use a hashtag for my event?

By using a hashtag in promotions, comments, and all other marketing strategies, you can make it easy for attendees and supporters to interact with you, your event, and other people involved.

Kristen Curtiss of Constant Contact has come up with some great tips for hashtags, from picking out the best one for your event, to implementing it before, during, and after. Follow her advice via Social Media Today to get the most out of your hashtag marketing efforts.

How do I choose a hashtag?

Make sure you research your hashtag first. If it has been used recently, pick another hashtag. Keep the hashtag short too – Twitter only allows for 140 characters and you want to allow people to get their message across without having your hashtag take up too many characters. Lastly, make it memorable! You want your supporters to be able to remember the hashtag associated with your event without them having to look it up every time they want to talk about your event.

How will anyone know about my hashtag?

  • Before your event – Build awareness and include your hashtag in all social media promotions of your event. Track your hashtag and thank people who are using your hashtag. Make sure to include your hashtag on all registration and print materials as well.
  • During your event – Create conversations and entice others to use your hashtag at the event. Programs like tweetbeam.com will show your hashtag and user tweets in real-time on a screens using a projection. Ask your speakers and honorees to use your hashtag and get the conversations going. And, don’t forget to join in yourself!
  • After your event – Keep the conversation going by writing digital thank yous or by following up with great takeaways from the event. Post pictures from the event using the hashtag and tag supporters in them so that others stay involved too.

How do I manage my event hashtag?

Make sure you periodically look up your hashtag and moderate its use. If someone asks a question, you want to be there to answer.

For more information regarding hashtags and event promotion, read Curtiss’ full article: Creating a Hashtag to Build Engagement at Your Event