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Make the Most of Facebook’s “Donate Now” Fundraising Button

Section: Blog

While a strong social following on Facebook is already an immense advantage for nonprofits in their fundraising efforts, followers can now be even more valuable. With Facebook’s “Donate Now” button, it’s easier than ever for nonprofits to turn online engagement into meaningful monetary contributions.

In her Hubspot blog, Juliana Nicholson shares some tips as to how fundraisers can make the most of this new feature:

Point the Way
Having the button on your Facebook page does not ensure it will get notice or used. Reference this new feature in your communications and give users visual clues, such as photos direction their attention to the “Donate Now” button.

Run Highly-Targeted Campaigns
If you’re advertising a specific campaign on Facebook, make sure you spend your ad dollars wisely by researching the appropriate audience and segmenting your efforts.

Keep Content Balanced
Just because asking for donations on Facebook is easy, it doesn’t mean you should neglect the primary reason most users connect with you to begin with. Facebook is about “Friendraising” — not fundraising. So, remember that content comes first, and that creating a personal connection with your fans will pave the road for longer, more valuable long-term relationships.

Read Juliana Nicholson’s blog in its entirety on Hubspot.

Target “Low-Hanging Fruit” to Raise More at Next Event

Section: Blog

Looking to squeeze an additional 5% or 10% out of an existing fundraising event? There are little tweaks you can make that may easily give you those gains you desire.

Joe Garecht of The Fundraising Authority, offers the following strategies.

1. UPGRADE LAST YEAR’S SPONSORS:
Make sure to relationship-build between events by reaching out personally to sponsors — then ask if they will upgrade. They will not upgrade unless you ask!

2. ENCOURAGE PREVIOUS ATTENDEES TO INVITE A FRIEND
Send a letter before your invitations go out explaining why the event is so important. Ask guests to consider another person or couple they could invite this year. You can even try offering a discount on a second attendee for a single year to boost event attendance.

3. ADD ADDITIONAL REVENUE STREAMS
Consider adding new revenue streams to your event — things like silent auctions, raffles or e-Journals. These vehicles can boost your bottom line without adding new expenses. Add only one new revenue stream per year. If the return from the new stream isn’t worth the time and stress, drop it the following year and try something new.

Read the article in its entirety at Joe Garecht’s The Fundraising Authority.

Dedicated Micro-Sites Take Event Marketing to the Next Level

Section: Blog

Add significant exposure to your gala or golf outing with a dedicated event website that is separate and distinct from your organization’s main website. A dedicated “micro”-site provides viewers with all the information they need to be more readily converted into donors and attendees.

The article cited below features expert tips from Karen Perry, President of Event Journal, Inc., a company that offers event micro-sites and related services for fundraising events:

Here are some of her suggested strategies:

1. Unique Domain — Use an easily remembered URL for marketing and promoting site traffic. Integrate the URL into all event materials, as well as by making it easy to link to it from your main website.

2. Up-to-Date Info — Keep the website current. When people return, they should see fresh information.

3. Post-Event Photo Gallery — Posting photos gives people a chance to see the success of the event. Promote this at the event, including a message on table cards or on the back of the program to check the event website to view the photos. This will keep your donor pool digitally engaged with your organization.

4. Corresponding E-mail Campaign — Plan in three waves: save the date, call to action and post-event follow-up. All e-mails should link to the site, taking supporters to the appropriate landing page to register, make purchases, donate, etc.

5. Social Media Promotion — Build social media interfaces into the website. Your event committee can help you reach exponentially more supporters by sharing posts with their own friends and contacts.

Read the complete article at Special-Events Galore event journal, a website offering practical tips and techniques to help you plan, organize and manage events.

How to Promote Your Event Using Social Media

Section: Blog

Kimberly Reynolds from Social-Media-Examiner.com shares creative ways to use social media to promote event:

  • Create one unified hash tag (“#”) for use across all social channels

This is very important because it will help streamline all of the mentions regarding the event. This hash tag should be event-specific and used in ALL marketing collateral.

  • Share behind-the-scenes visual content

Give viewers an inside look at what goes on while planning the event. This engages the reader and makes you more relatable. For example, share bloopers, fun things to do in the area, event signage, goodie bags, etc.

  • Use photos of attendees in social updates

This is great for annual events. Include people in the picture who will most likely comment on the photo and share it with others.

  • Create a highlight reel from prior events

There is nothing like video to help convey the excitement and fun of your event and attract new participants.

  • Empower affiliates, fans and attendees with shareable assets

Make it easy to share your event. Provide a web page with branded downloadable resources that fit any platform. For example, capitalize on the excitement of attendees by providing a button that allows them to immediately share a tweet or post after registering for your event.

Read Kimberly Reynold’s full article 16 Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Your Event

Marketing & Fundraising = Successful Partnership

Section: Blog

Although the marketing and fundraising departments of an organization may be separate, it is important for them to work together in order to be successful.

According to Nancy E. Schwartz of GettingAttention.org, there are 4 simple ways to make this partnership come to fruition:

1. START AT THE TOP

Find a way to bridge the marketing-fundraising gap. If the organization does not currently have this goal in mind, then get them on the right path by finding ways that the marketing and fundraising staff can work together.

2. SHARED PRIORITIES

While each team has specific responsibilities, they should work together to advance their shared priorities. There should be one common agenda that allows both departments to become effective partners. For example, one goal could be to build and strengthen relationships with key supporters (partners, donors). This will lead to a greater impact.

3. IDENTIFY WHAT’S WORKING FROM EACH “SIDE” AND DO MORE OF IT

Ask marketing team to identify top 3 successes from fundraising team and to integrate those approaches into its own work and vice versa. Also identify what isn’t working and do less of it. This method allows each team to focus on what is most important to them and helps to create an encouraging partnership.

4. BUILD ON REAL, COMPELLING SUCCESS STORIES

If the same strong stories are used by both the marketing and fundraising teams, it will increase awareness, build engagement and boost positive responses and actions for the organization as a whole. This will ultimately create a powerful approach and prove to be a successful collaboration.

Nancy E. Schwartz helps nonprofits succeed through effective marketing. Nancy and her team provide marketing planning and implementation services to nonprofit organizations and foundations nationwide. To read this article in full: 4 Steps to a Powerful Marketing-Fundraising Partnership- Better Together

Nonprofit Digital Trends and Strategies in 2015

Section: Blog

Surprisingly, many nonprofits have not become fully integrated with digital outreach. As a result, three industry leaders, Care2, hjc, and NTEN launched to get a better understanding of digital trends and strategies for nonprofit success in 2015.

Ernie Smith from Associations-Now.com, shared highlights from the 2015 Digital Outlook Report:

Time Limitations for Staff:
Even though organizations understand that they need to focus more on digital, they are faced with two challenges: staff shortages and budget restraints.

  • About 43% of organizations have staff dedicated to their digital and online strategies

 

Videos, Photos and Info Graphics
There is a large shift towards heavily visual and marketing media and strategy. Below are the three main tactics that will be increased in 2015:

  • 70% of nonprofits plan to put more focus on creating videos and images
  • 63% of nonprofits plan to focus on images
  • 58% of nonprofits plan to improve their info graphics

 

E-Mail Marketing Vs. Social Media

  • 94% of nonprofits rely on e-mail marketing
  • 88% of nonprofits rely on Facebook
  • 79% of nonprofits rely on Twitter
  • 64% of nonprofits use direct mail
  • 23% of nonprofits use telemarketing

 

Lead Generation
Some of the biggest obstacles for successful lead generation are a lack of quality data and effective lead generation strategies.

  • 60% of nonprofits will use a ‘content marketing strategy’
  • 23% of nonprofits will test an ‘inbound marketing strategy’

 

Take a look at the full ‘2015 Digital Outlook Report’ and read Ernie Smith’s article ‘Report: How Nonprofits are Using Digital Platforms’

How to Digitally Reach and Engage Older Donors

Section: Blog

Recently, there have been many high-profile digital and viral campaigns, including the worldwide ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. However, these campaigns have not been able to successfully engage the older generation, who are known for giving the largest yearly donations.

Himanshu Sareen of Philanthropy News Digest shares 5 ways to reach older donors via digital strategy:

1. Older donors are much more tech-savvy than many give them credit for.

About 3 out of 5 donors age 66 and older make donations via the web because they are becoming adapted with today’s new technologies. The important part is to create a digital experience that caters to this audience, while still appealing to the younger generation.

2. Make sure your site is more accessible to older donors:

Make sure that the site is both visually appealing and user-friendly. Consider enlarging the font size and creating simple page navigation. Be sure not to change the site itself frequently, because older users tend to become frustrated with that. Make sure that a “donate” button is visible and clear on every page of the website.

3. Take advantage of design trends that are friendly even to older users:

No matter what age you are catering to, the design must be a top priority. The best combination is to create a simple, user-friendly site that older donors can use, but appealing enough for younger donors.

4. Don’t be afraid to reach out via social networking:

About 70% of boomers have created a Facebook page, and 40% of them use it on a regular basis. This demographic tends to stay away from Twitter and Instagram, so focus your campaign on Facebook along with stories and a lot of images.

5. Don’t forget about mobile:

From 2012 to 2013, mobile usage among Americans over the age of 65 more than tripled and is still growing. Older donors tend to use online browsing and e-mail instead of apps, so be sure to make a responsive website that they can easily view on their mobile device.

Read Himanshu Sareen’s full article: Five Ways to Improve Your Digital Strategy for Older Donors

 

How to Make An Event Unforgettable

Section: Blog

With all of the work that is put into creating an event, it is important that guests have an experience that they will never forget. Whether it is a luncheon, fundraiser or cocktail party, there are many ways to stand out amongst other (similar) events.

As seen on Special-Events-Galore.com, Kristine Ortiz, president of KLO Events, offers five key strategies to raise the bar:

  • Add something new: Create a fresh format, with an unexpected element such as a celebrity or live music (as long as it fits with the theme of the event).
  • Streamlined Registration: Avoid the mistake of making guests wait on long lines prior to entering the event. Be sure to streamline the registration process with iPads or tablets and other event registration apps.
  • Proof Everything: Make sure that everything from the programs to the awards is free of spelling errors. If guests notice spelling and/or grammatical errors (especially names) this will decrease the organization’s credibility and prestige.
  • Stick to Timeline: Prior to the event, make a strict timeline and follow it so that no deadlines or important event elements are skipped. Make sure that you anticipate possible issues that could arise and how you will troubleshoot them.
  • Consider Hiring a Consultant: the development staff has enough on their plate, which should not always include planning an event. If budget permits, consider hiring a professional event planner who will be able to take the pressure off of staff and the organization as a whole.

Read the entire Special-Events-Galore.com article “Raise the Bar for Your Recognition Event”

How to Prevent Your E-mails from Going into Spam Folders

Section: Blog

One of the best tools for nonprofit fundraising is e-mail marketing. It is extremely important for an organization to successfully reach its audience without its messages getting lost in spam folders.

Jay Wilkinson of firespring.org tells us what triggers spam filters:

1. Attachments: any message sent with an attachment will automatically be directed to the recipient’s spam folder since many attachments include viruses.

2. Too Many Graphics: emails that contain more graphics than text are identified as spam, so stick to the simple rule of “80/20”, which means that your message should have 80% content and text and 20% in supporting graphics.

3. Word Association: avoid “sales” words such as “free”, “prize”, “promotion” and “deal”. Also, stay clear of using exclamation points and all caps. Be especially careful to avoid these words in a subject line.

Read Jay Wilkinson’s full article “How your Nonprofit’s Email Marketing Messages Can Avoid the Spam Folder

Create Fundraising SUCCESS With These Important Tools

Section: Blog

Today’s fundraising challenge has become much more complex than it was in the past. It is imperative for an organization to understand how to spread awareness, reach and engage donors, collect funds and stay visible on multiple media platforms.

Alison Gauss, of Classy.org has shared her short-list of the tools needed for fundraising success:

  • Fundraising Software: One of the most IMPORTANT tools for organizations of all sizes. Good fundraising software allows people to make online donations, purchase tickets or register for an event directly on the organization’s website.
  • Donor Management System: In order to keep a lasting relationship with a donor, you need to be sure to thank them and engage him or her in a meaningful way. With a donor management system, you are able to track donor behavior, collect all pertinent data and communicate when they make a donation on your fundraising page.
  • Email: A vital fundraising tool, email marketing allows an organization to reach a broad audience quickly and inexpensively. You can organize your contacts into segments or message groups, create custom designs and keep track of which emails are making an impact and which are being ignored.
  • Social Media: Every organization needs to be social today and this means actively posting relevant content on multiple social media sites to stay visible to the public. There are many social media management tools that allow you to keep everything on track, including scheduling posts, tracking mentions and engagement, as well as click rates.

Read Alison Gauss’ full article “What Tools Do You Need for Fundraising Success”: