I recently read a very interesting article from The New York Times about how social science and behavioral economics was used to get out the vote. The article, “Academic Dream Team Helped Obama’s Effort,” details how experts like Robert Cialdini (whom I covered just this past week), formed a consortium that provided research-based ideas on motivating people to take certain actions (especially voting). Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or of any party, the advice the academics provided is very useful to all of us involved in the work of social change. We’re all in the business of compelling people to do things. So I wanted to pass on the most interesting tips.1. People favor candidates – and organizations! – that exhibit a combination of competence and warmth. You want to seem smart but also likable.2. When countering rumors (or myths), it’s a bad idea to repeat them. People may register a denial in the short term, but they only tend to remember the rumor or myth in the long term. Don’t deny or counter something – simply assert your competing notion.3. Use people’s sense of identity to influence behavior. In the election, volunteer canvassers said, “Mr. Jones, we know you’ve voted in the past,” to prompt future voting. We can do the same with volunteers or donors: “Mr. Jones, we know you’ve supported us in the past.” People want to stick to their past behaviors, so this can work well.4. Informal commitments help. Getting people to sign a card promising to vote increases likelihood to vote, for example. Pledging is also useful in fundraising!5. Tell people to make a plan. People are more likely to follow through on a promise if they have a plan, however simple. Ask people to specify when they’ll help you.6. Use social norms. When people were told others in their neighborhood planned to vote, it influenced them. Never forget the power of peer pressure – call out your supporters to inspire others to jump on board.For more fascinating tips on how this worked during the campaign, check out the article here.
Email your supporters now (if you haven’t already) and remind them that today is the last chance to make their tax-deductible gift in 2012. Today is the biggest day of the year for online donations, so don’t miss out.
Network for Good is hosting a free webinar this Thursday, March 14 at 1 p.m. ET on neuromarketing – a topic definitely worth your time!The urge to help and give is hard-wired into the human brain. As a champion for a cause, it’s your task to tap into those recesses by appealing to that urge. The simplest things – images, words, gestures, even type fonts – can have a major effect on the potency of your message. Neuromarketing expert, Roger Dooley, has discovered some brain-science-based tweaks you can make to your print, web, and in-person outreach that will boost the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Join Roger Dooley for this free event as he makes neuromarketing easy for nonprofits. Register here.
Remember: This isn’t a crusade, it’s a learning experience for everyone. Make sure there IS a good case for your initiative and if it does fail, share and learn from what went wrong. There is no shame in gaining knowledge from mistakes – for you, or your boss. 1. Change the subject. If you’re having a debate over the value of social media, you’re having the wrong discussion. The discussion should be about your organization’s goals – with social media being the means, not the end. 2. Make it about what your boss already wants. Don’t position your idea as a social media initiative; frame it as your initiative to support your boss’s goals, in your boss’s language. Is donor retention a big concern for your Executive Director? Highlight how social media can help keep donors engaged. Does your board want more success stories to showcase? Underscore how social media can help make that happen. 3. Make it about the audience. A good way to depersonalize the debate over social media is to make it about your target audience’s preferences rather than a philosophical tug of war between you and said boss. 4. Sign your boss up to listen.Set up Google Alerts and TweetBeep (email alerts for Twitter mentions) for your boss, so she or he can see that there are already many discussions about your organization happening online. Once this apparent, two things are likely to happen. First, it will become clear that your organization no longer controls your message online – so worrying about social media causing a lack of control is not worth fearing. That day is already here. Second, it will be hard not to want to join those conversations online – which is what social engagement is all about. 5. Set some ground rules. Set a social media policy for your organization, so it’s clear how to respond to what you’re hearing – and what types of initiatives have internal support. 6. Start small. If you’re going to start a social media initiative, start small. Pinpoint where your supporters are and branch out from there. You don’t have to be an overnight social media expert – you just need to be a part of the conversations about your cause. 7. Set a clear goal.Just as with any other marketing effort, establish a specific, measurable goal so you can identify success. 8. Measure and report.Once you’ve identified your approach and have set a goal, ensure that you can track and measure your progress. Most social media platforms have built-in analytics and you can also track Web traffic back to your site through Google Analytics. Be sure to tie your results back to your social media efforts where possible with careful tracking. (This could mean using tracking codes on your donation pages, Google campaign tags or landing pages created specifically for your social media outreach.) Share every little bit of progress and give your boss credit for it! It’s clear that social media is an effective channel for establishing your nonprofit’s brand identity, championing your cause and engaging with current and would-be supporters. So, how do you make sure your organization is on board — especially your boss, executive director or board members? Here are eight tips for making the case for your next social media initiative: Photo Source: Big Stock Photo Adapted from Nonprofit Marketing Blog.
If the thought of asking for a donation in person makes you sweat, Network for Good’s next free webinar is for you.Tune in Tuesday, April 16 at 1 p.m. Eastern to hear fundraising expert Jay Frost give nonprofits the insider scoop on garnering support via one of the most powerful methods — the in-person ask.Join us and learn answers to the following: How to ask for donations in a way that is comfortable for youHow to identify your unique asking strengths and best use themWhy asking for gifts doesn’t have to be so scary!Register here.
The following post is a summary of Adam Grant’s presentation on his book Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success at the Conference on Volunteering and Service.In Give and Take, Adam Grant’s premise is that there is more to the secret of success than hard work, talent and luck – especially as the world continues to become more hyper-connected. What’s missing is generosity. Givers excel in a collaborative work environment, but can burn out easily if they don’t see the impact of their contributions or don’t learn how to set boundaries. This is especially true for people in helping professions such as nonprofit leadership, cause marketing and social responsibility.Here are Adam’s 4 tips for creating a cultures of successful givers at your organization.1. Get the right people on the bus (a nod to Jim Collins)Weed out the takers and encourage matches to take their cues from the givers. Rewarding giver behavior and helping matchers see the value in reciprocity with a net positive benefit will nudge your culture towards a collaborative, generous workplace.2. Reduce costsThink about the power of 5-minute favors. You don’t have to be Mother Theresa or Gandhi to call yourself a giver. Giver mentality is more about finding efficient ways to make low-cost gestures with high value to the receiver. You’ve heard of micro-volunteering? Think of it as micro-favors. If someone asks you for help and you know you are the best equipped to help and the act will only take you 5 minutes, say yes. Always. If you are not the best equipped to respond, point the person in a new direction to find the help they need.3. Show impactSome givers burn out others are energized by doing favors – why? Givers burn out when they can’t see the value of their impact. Think of ways to have authentic messengers demonstrate the value your staff creates every day. A message from the CEO is nice, but givers are more motivated by a thank you from a program beneficiary or an employee who gave in a personally meaningful way. Showing impact in a tangible way relates to the concept of the ‘identifiable victim’ or ‘singularity effect’ – people are more compassionate when they can relate to one person’s story.4. Encourage help-seekingA whopping 75-90% of helping starts with a request, yet people hesitate to ask for help – especially givers. Givers don’t want to be a burden and often confuse taking and receiving. We need to create work cultures that reward asking for help and make it ok for people to take it. Also, givers to ask for help so other people (namely matchers) have the opportunity to give and so givers know who can benefit from their help and how in the future.Here’s an example of how help-seeking improves results. Appletree Answers, a call center solutions provider, was experiencing 98% staff turnover each year. That’s a huge HR hiring burden to replace your staff every year. The company started internal employee wish program where employees could ask for help fulfilling their dreams and other employees could offer assistance to making those wishes come true. As a result of creating this culture of giving and receiving, staff turnover dropped to 33%.Your organization can create its own Reciprocity Ring. Here’s how.· Invite employees to join the program.· Have everyone participating make a request.· Everyone in the program then tries to help make those requests happen.· Everyone is both a giver and a receiver, so there is no stigma about asking for help.· Everyone gets better understanding of the resources in their network for future giving and receiving. by Kate Olsen, VP of Strategic Projects at Network for Good @Kate4Good
Before: Take the Farm Friends SurveyAfter: Farm Friends Asks: What’s Your Fantasy Meal? Subject lines are more important than you might think. On average, at least 100 emails flood your constituents’ inboxes every single day. That’s a lot of digital noise to shout over, which is why your email subject lines need as much TLC as the content inside. Here’s a simple, four-step makeover to help transform your subject lines from ho-hum to “Oh, wow!” 1. State the ObviousDon’t dance around the point of your email. Talk straight to your recipients about what they’ll find inside. You can be creative and pique curiosity, but for best results, make sure you answer the question, “What’s this email about?” If you make readers think too hard, they may just opt to delete without reading and move on to their next message. For newsletters, highlight the key piece of content you’re sending—a subject line like “Fall 2013 Newsletter” is easy to gloss over in a busy inbox.Before: All the news that’s fit to emailAfter: The Top 10 Women in Science 4. Keep It ShortMake every word count. After you’ve written your subject line, go back and delete words or phrases that don’t add value. Ideally, stick with around 50 characters or less. Some studies have found that the 28- to 39-character range is the sweet spot for maximum open rates.Before: Final reminder to make reservations to attend the Strutting Dog Gala on October 15, 2013!After: Strutting Dog Gala: Last day to RSVP! 3. Avoid the Spam TrapWhy bother with killer content if your subject line gets it caught in the spam filter? Keep your message front and center by avoiding things like cute symbols and special characters—spam filter magnets that attract the wrong kind of attention. Subject lines containing the words help, RE, or FWD are often interpreted as scams.Before: ♥♥♥You will LOVE these PREMIUM GIFTS for your donation!!!♥♥♥After: Cool donor gifts from Heart Healthy Houston! 2. Stand Out from the Crowd In a sea of emails, it helps to be a little different. Add a touch of visual interest with brackets, quotes, a smidge (just a smidge) of all caps, or an exclamation point (just one!). Personalize your subject line with the recipient’s city or state, which typically generate higher open rates than first or last names. Instead of telling people what’s inside, try asking a question that piques their curiosity.Before: SafeSurf loves its volunteersAfter: SafeSurf LOVES its volunteers! Before: Hot dog! Get down and boogie with your beagle!After: Join Long Island Pet Rescue’s Fall Frolic Before: RE: Help a veteran find a homeAfter Homes for Heroes Fall Fundraiser wants you! Revamping your subject lines with these simple tips can make a big difference in your email open rates. You might even see a boost in constituent engagement and giving!Don’t forget:Your email subject lines can show how much you respect your constituents’ busy schedules by telling them exactly what they’ll find inside.It’s okay to add a little visual interest to your subject line, just don’t overdo it and catch the eye of the spam filter instead.Short and sweet is best when it comes to subject lines. Always try to keep them under 50 characters. Before: Books for Kids is Coming to your neighborhoodAfter: Books for Kids is Coming to Newport!
Is it easy to find you on Twitter and Facebook? Include links to your profiles on your website, email newsletters, and staff email signatures. Always include a short description about your organization and a link back to your website in your social media profiles’ “about” section. Think about social media as a way to open the doors of your organization to new guests and friends. But unlike hosting guests at your home for an hour or two, social media is open to guests 24/7. Because of the constant accessibility of social media, keeping profiles tidy all the time is a must. Here are some tips and ideas for social media housekeeping that you can tackle right now:Your social media avatar/profile pictures should mesh with your nonprofit brand and be recognizable to fans of your cause. Consider creating a special page on your nonprofit website that is solely dedicated to visitors from social media. Don’t let replies and comments linger—use them as an opportunity to engage your community. Set up alerts to use social media as a listening platform: @ mentions, hashtags, keywords about your cause, etc. Start tracking and planning your organization’s tweets. Programs such as HootSuite, TweetDeck and Sprout Social can help you plan tweets in advance and monitor replies, mentions, and hashtags. Is your nonprofit’s Facebook profile picture just as good as your cover image? While this may be obvious, it’s worth stating that your Facebook profile picture will be seen more often than your cover image. Be consistent with your hashtags. One small typo could add your tweets to a hashtag conversation that you didn’t intend to join! Don’t forget to post pictures. Photos help your Facebook posts stand out on your fan’s news feeds. Use compelling images to make an emotional connection and engage more supporters with your cause. Encourage more likes, shares, and comments. More likes and shares increase the odds that your post will be seen by friends and friends of friends. Start analyzing the types of posts that get shared the most by exporting your Facebook insights and taking an hour or two to dive into the data.
By tapping into the #tigerblood hashtag, Zachary reported that tons of media outlets picked up on the story, resulting in a modest increase in blood donations.So what’s in it for you? Why should you consider making a meme? 1. Sure, memes can be just plain silly and fun, and but they can also humanize your nonprofit’s public image. Who doesn’t love an organization that embraces its humanity and sense of humor? 2. Memes can create connections and start conversations because of their two-prong premise: A meme is based on an aspect of popular culture and spread from person to person. 3. Memes give supporters an easy way to publicize and promote your cause. Once you create a meme, fans can quickly share it over email, social media, and their own websites.Want to create your own nonprofit meme to help build buzz for your cause? Check out our tips on using memes to spread your nonprofit’s message. (Image credit: National Wildlife Federation, Source: Avi Kaplan) You’ve seen them all over Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, and Pinterest: grumpycats,talking babies, even Ryan Gosling. Entertaining memes have exploded across the Internet. But have you also noticed an uptick in charitable memes, memes that are doing good? Many nonprofits are capitalizing on the popularity of memes to gain visibility and connect with new supporters.Nonprofits aren’t always great at piggybacking on the work of others, but that’s the key for a meme to take off. Senior Strategist Avi Kaplan of RAD Campaign has compiled some tip-top examples of nonprofit memes that worked because they borrowed a cultural phenomena, as did tech writer Zachary Sniderman.One of the best examples of nonprofit meme-jacking came from a 132-year-old organization, the American Red Cross. Capitalizing on Charlie Sheen’s 2011 outburst and proclamation to have drank tiger’s blood, the American Red Cross tweeted:We may not collect #tigerblood, but we know our donors & volunteers have fierce passion for doing good! #RedCrossMonth— American Red Cross (@RedCross)
Is your nonprofit website sending the right message to potential donors? Year-end fundraising season will be here before you know it. Now is the time to clear away the cobwebs and roll out the welcome mat for prospective donors, volunteers, and those who may benefit from your work. If you haven’t updated your site in a while, you might give donors the impression that your organization is no longer active.Worried your site may say “move along” instead of “come on in”? Here are the top issues that can scare visitors away from your nonprofit website (and how to fix them).Broken linksThey’re not just aggravating and confusing for your website visitors, broken links can also be a big red flag for search engines like Google. Having internal links that don’t work or that don’t point to real content can affect how your site shows up in search.How to fix it: Most website platforms and content management systems have reporting that will show you the top pages that are returning an error. Taking a close look at your Google Analytics can help as well. Do some internal testing on your website to make sure all of your links are taking visitors where they should. Stale content Do you still have information about your “upcoming event” on your home page even though the “upcoming event” took place several months ago? Is the last post on your nonprofit’s blog from 2012? This is a surefire sign that no one in your organization is actually looking at your website. To your visitors, it says: we gave up.How to fix it: Make it someone’s responsibility to frequently review your website and do regular housekeeping. If you have a news feed or blog that shows up on your home page, make sure you’re adding new content frequently. If you don’t have a plan to add new items, remove these feeds from your pages. Dated designThis one is somewhat subjective, but there are certain hallmarks of an outdated web design: crazy animations, hard to read text (usually light text on dark background, or a veritable rainbow of font colors), randomly-placed images, to name a few. Geocities is dead. It’s time for your nonprofit website to move on to better things.How to fix it: A complete makeover would be nice, but if that’s not in the cards, focus on fixing the most egregious cosmetic issues within your current design and platform. Start with your key pages and branch out from there. Make it easy to read and remove anything that makes your site look like this. No contact informationThe lights may be on, but without obvious and current contact information, is anyone really home? Your contact details give people an easy way to ask questions and find out more, plus openly listing this information on your website is a sign of trust and transparency. How to fix it: Add your physical address, phone number, and a way to email you to the footer of your website. Place clear links to your “Contact Us” page within your site’s global navigation. No clear way to donateThis is the first thing I look for when I am asked to review an organization’s website, and it’s amazing how many nonprofits still don’t have a prominently placed donation button on every page of their website. Without a clear and highly visible way to donate, you’re effectively telling donors: we don’t need your money. How to fix it: Make your donate button big, bold, and above the fold of your website. Make sure your donate button actually says “Donate Now”, “Donate”, or “Give”. Fuzzy language won’t cut it here. Slow to loadOne Mississippi, two Mississippi … by three Mississippi your website better be finished loading, or most visitors will simply leave. It may not be fair, but people are impatient. They have better things to do than to wait for your carousel of images or Flash presentation to load. How to fix it: Start by confirming there are no technical problems with your website’s platform or hosting service. Then, take a hard look at your website’s key pages and see how you can streamline them by removing extraneous images, code, or other files that are bogging down your site. A reputable web developer can also provide suggestions for other improvements that can speed up your site. (Bonus: Decluttering your site will have a positive effect on potential donors, making it easy for them to figure out what it is you do and why they should care.) Not mobile friendlyWhen your nonprofit website is difficult to load (or completely dead) on a mobile device, you may as well not exist for that smartphone user. 56% of US adults are smartphone users, and they’re becoming more and more likely to read your emails and social media outreach on a mobile device. If your links take them to a site that’s non-functional on their phone, you’ve missed out on another opportunity to connect.How to fix it: You don’t need a complete overhaul to make your website more mobile friendly. Focus on a handful of key pages (think: home page, donation page, contact page, any other pages you point to regularly from emails or social media) and improve them with these 8 tips for making your nonprofit website mobile friendly. (Bonus: Most mobile-friendly website tweaks will improve usability overall.)What are your biggest website challenges? Have you made a recent change to your site that’s made a big difference? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments below.
Where does the time go? There are just ninety days left until the end of the year. This means that you’re probably putting the final touches on your year-end fundraising plans and have a solid campaign ready to go. Not so much? First, don’t panic. There’s still plenty of time to create a solid plan and get the most out of the year-end giving season. Take a deep breath, then carve out some time to review your goals and start honing your campaign materials. Here at Network for Good, we recently published two free fundraising guides that can help you plan your marketing efforts and create a great appeal. You can download them here (registration required): How to Make the Case for Giving 7 Steps to Your Best Nonprofit Marketing Plan EverSecond, surround yourself with inspiration and smart advice. Our goal is to supply both with this blog, and here are a few of our favorites to add to your list:Future Fundraising Now: No-nonsense practical advice from Jeff Brooks, one of our favorite fundraising gurus.Sasha Dichter’s Blog: Big thoughts on giving from the mastermind behind Generosity Day.Sea Change Strategies: Alia and Mark offer simply brilliant thoughts on nonprofit storytelling, effective appeals, strategic planning, and everything in between.Fundraiser Grrl: When you need a laugh, Fundraiser Grrl totally gets it.For more inspiration, check out the Nonprofit Boot Camp and Social Media for Nonprofits conference happening on October 10 & 11 in San Francisco. Our friends at Social Media for Nonprofits have put together some great workshops to help your organization be the best it can be. There’s still time to register, and you can save $20 off with the code “N4G”.
We’ve all heard it before, “Give me your Rolodex, give me 20 names that I can contact.” It can be overwhelming to produce a big list of people who are eager to raise money for your cause. But what if 20 names is 19 too many? What if all you need is just one? This is the idea proposed by philanthropist Jeffrey Walker and fundraising expert Jennifer McCrea in their recent book, The Generosity Network.Reach out.Asking your nonprofit board members for just one person who might be interested in joining your cause will seem more manageable to them and is more likely to generate a thoughtful response. That way, you can meet with someone who is open to starting a relationship with you and—ultimately—your organization.Meet in an intimate setting.Invite your new contact to meet, but beware of asking them to your office! Conference rooms can be beautiful spaces: great for viewing PowerPoints, but actually hosting an intimate first meeting? Forget it! Go to coffee or breakfast so that you can be in a space that is made for conversation. In a coffee shop, sharing your story won’t come across as rehearsed the way it automatically would in a conference room or at someone’s desk. Context is everything.Form a connection.Remember, this first meeting isn’t a sales call; it’s a chance to authentically connect. Be ready to ask what your new contact truly values and consider saying, “For the record, I’m not going to ask you for money today.” If people think you’re just there to extract something from them, they might beworrying about your potential ask. If they’re only half listening, it will be hard to build a relationship of trust and explore a potential partnership. But don’t wait too long to ask for a commitment! It’s important to share what your organization is doing and what you could achieve together.For more ideas on developing a relationship with your donors and how to turn them from one-time customers into lifelong partners, access the archived webinar presentation of Nonprofit 911: Build Your Generosity Network with Jennifer McCrea and Jeff Walker.
Here at Network for Good we experienced a busy giving season right up to the final hours of 2013. This is good news for nonprofits, as we saw a 16% increase in dollars donated compared to the year-end fundraising season of 2012. After all of that activity, it can be tempting to take it easy for a few weeks now that January is here. Of course, the reality is that your work with donors is just beginning. Now is your opportunity to begin turning year-end donors into your long-term partners in good. To do so, you need a solid plan to welcome these donors, keep them informed, and build relationships with them throughout the year. The first step is to keep the magic alive with a well-planned donor gratitude strategy. Here are some things to keep in mind:Thank your donors as soon as possible. Ideally, your online donors have already received an automatic thank you and receipt, and offline donors are receiving their thank yous in the mail shortly. Thanking donors promptly is not just common courtesy, it’s positive reinforcement of their decision to support and trust your organization.A receipt is not a thank you. Yes, you must make sure your donors get donation receipts that include information on tax deductibility. That said, if the most interesting line your response to a donor’s gift is “No goods or services were received by the donor as a result of this gift,” you’re doing it wrong. (See also: IRS rules on acknowledging contributions.)One thank you is not enough. You’ve acknowledged all of your year-end donations with a proper thank you. You’re done, right? Not so fast. One great thank you is a good start, but don’t forgo regularly thanking donors to keep them up to date on the impact of their gifts. Don’t leave donors wondering, “Whatever happened to that person/animal/cause in need?”Don’t forget other donation sources. Acknowledge every donation your organization receives, whether they come from your direct mail campaign, your online donation page, or from third-party sources such as employee giving programs, peer-to-peer fundraisers, or online giving portals. Understand all of your donation sources and tailor your notes of appreciation, where necessary. New donors coming in from a peer-to-peer campaign, for example, may need a more formal introduction to your organization than donors you’ve directly solicited.Make sure your thank you is sincere and memorable. You may have a template for your donor thank yous, but if your thank you feels like a form letter, it needs more work. Express authentic gratitude for your donors’ generosity and put them in the middle of the work you do. Use photos, quotes, and even video to help bring these stories to life for your supporters. Give donors a thank you so amazing that they can’t wait to show it off to their friends and family. Need some help with your thank you letters? Here are a few resources from our learning center: How to Treat Your Donor Like Your SuperheroKey Qualities for Amazing Thank You Letters3 Things Your Donor Thank You Should Do6 Keys to Donor RetentionAre you sending an amazing thank you this year? Have you received one? Share your examples in the comments and we’ll feature the best ones in an upcoming post!
Network for Good is happy to partner with Kimbia to extend the reach of Give Local America, a nation-wide giving day that marks the 100-year milestone of community foundations in the United States.This national online giving event will take on May 6, 2014. Give Local America is expected to be the largest online giving day ever held on a single platform. Giving days help nonprofits connect with new donors in an easy and efficient way. Give Local America uses the power and pride of local communities to tie it all together. Want to find out more and get involved? To sign up, visit www.givelocalamerica.org, find your city, and follow the easy registration process.
1. What is my goal?Without a goal, your ad campaign will mean nothing and you will be simply throwing money away (and trust me, Facebook doesn’t mind taking it). A reasonable goal could be an increase in email signups from your website. When you create your ad, this will be called the “advertising objective” – it’s what you want people to do when they encounter your ad. Cody suggests (and I agree) that you pick a goal much more in depth than simple clicks to your website. Do you want to measure “website conversions”, which means that when people visit your website, they take an action and “convert”?A successful “conversion” could be signing up for your email newsletter, subscribing to your blog, or making an online donation. 3. Can I afford it? Much has been written recently about the changes in Facebook’s algorithm and its pay-to-play philosophy.Many nonprofits who spent years or months building up an engaged online community on the biggest social network are now seeing a dramatic decline in the number of fans they are able to reach with each post.If this sounds familiar, you may be wondering if Facebook Ads will help your nonprofit reach more fans and get more bang for your Facebook buck.At the recent Social Media for Nonprofits Conference in Boston, Cody Damon of Media Cause provided some insightful advice on whether or not a nonprofit should jump into the Facebook Ads ocean.Before you sit down and purchase a Facebook Ad for your nonprofit, ask yourself these three vital questions: 2. Can I measure it?Whatever the objective, make sure that you can measure it. Just saying “raising awareness for my nonprofit” may not be enough, unless you have specific benchmarks in place to measure your progress.You need to know what success looks like. What will happen if your Facebook Ad is successful? What will have changed? Clients frequently ask me about the price of Facebook Ads. Unlike traditional newspaper ads or billboards, there is no set price for a Facebook Ad.You can set your daily budget, or “lifetime” budget, and you will need to choose a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or CPC (cost per click bid). You only pay for the impressions or clicks that your ad receives, and if they are targeted well, this can be very effective.If this all seems like Greek to you, you are probably not ready to run a Facebook Ad without outside help. Facebook has a great help center on their website, and there are many firms and consultants who can help you set it up and run it.General best practices for your Facebook Ad:It must be eye-catching and well-written. Do not use your logo and call it “Come to our website!”It must have a photo. For all ads, the best size image to upload is 1200×627 pixels,The photo cannot contain more than 20% text.If it directs to an outside website, it should direct to a specific landing page, rather than just the main home page of your website.For more on using Facebook Ads to build your online community and engage with your fans, read these great posts by Jon Loomer, John Haydon, Nancy Schwartz and David Serfaty.Julia Campbell works with nonprofits to help them raise money online, conquer social media, and become content experts. Her blog on nonprofit marketing is at www.jcsocialmarketing.com
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 #GivingTuesdayThe 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.
Thanks to the most-photogenic NFGers for reminding us why it’s important to #beyourdonor on October 24th!Network for Good’s favorite holiday is this month. Although we do love Halloween, October 24this Be Your Donor Day and the reason why we celebrate big this month! Sometimes fundraisers are so caught up in the day to day that we forget how important our donors are to our organization’s success. Without understanding how our donors interact with our organization, what the donation process looks like from a donors’ point of view, and how donors are thanked for their gift, we can’t do much to improve (or overhaul!) the process.It takes more effort to bring in a new donor than to retain an existing donor. Once a donor starts a relationship with your organization, do your best to ensure that donor has a positive experience. That’s why we want all fundraisers to join in and celebrate this very important holiday. Block out some time on October 24th and do an audit of your donor communication. Make sure your all your fundraising activities are donor-centric. Don’t know where to start? Here are some ideas:· Your home page’s Donate Now button should take less than 5 seconds to locate and donors shouldn’t have to make more than one click to get to your donation page. · Thank you letters should talk less about how much your organization does and should instead talk more about what a donor’s gifts does. · Your organization’s contact information should be easy to find on your website, letterhead, emails, and gift receipts. And when a donor does call, promptly answer questions.We recommend you download our complete Be Your Donor Day checklist and check out all your fundraising activities for “donor-centricness”. Be your donor on October 24th and be your organization’s fundraising superhero!
Encouraged donors to give generously and repeatedly through the day when the “win” was in sightSent a thank you email Wednesday morning announcing the win and encouraging those that did not participate to consider giving. This outreach produced their second best day ever.Most Recurring Donors: Wildlife SOSIndia’s wildlife is under severe threat – every animal from the majestic elephant and the tiger, to the shy sloth bear and rare pangolins are being hunted. Wildlife SOS actively works towards protecting Indian wildlife, conserving habitat, studying biodiversity, conducting research, and creating alternative and sustainable livelihoods for former poacher communities.Wildlife SOS did not focus explicitly on a #GivingTuesday campaign, rather they viewed #GivingTuesday as part of their year-end fundraising. Their success in the N4G Gives campaign is a particularly powerful demonstration of the impact of #GivingTuesday. Donors are inspired be part of the movement and will seek out organizations to support – sometimes, even when they are not asked specifically.What we learned from Wildlife SOS is that the building blocks they put in place all year round pay dividends. One of those building blocks was an emphasis on recurring, or sustaining, givers.Key TacticsWildlife SOS believes in strategies focused on creating lifelong supporters. Year-round they focus on animal sponsorships for monthly donors and feel like this gives people a tangible connection to their donation. Having the building blocks in place and then capitalizing on big events means they’re not scrambling on days like #GivingTuesday and at year-end.Make this #GivingTuesday your best yet! Kick off your year-end fundraising with our tools, training and matching funds. It doesn’t matter if your organization has 2 staff members or 200, you can raise money on #GivingTuesday and we can help.Free #GivingTuesday resources are available to all nonprofits through Network for Good’s All TUEgether campaign. Network for Good customers can leverage matching funds for all donations made on December 1, 2015. Plus, customers have access to expert coaching, new donors, and exclusive resources to help plan a stellar #GivingTuesday campaign.Not a Network for Good customer yet? No problem. Sign up for a demo and find out how easy it is to raise money online. Get ready to have your best giving season ever. Created a visual “badge” for all #GivingTuesday communicationsChanged website header and homepage, and published a post about #GivingTuesdayAsked a corporate supporter to provide a match on first $20k raisedSent their first email on the Monday of Thanksgiving weekLaunched their big push on 12/1:Sent email announcing matching fundsLaunched #GivingTuesday branded donation pageAsked supporters to take #UNselfies and share #GivingTuesday has arrivedOn December 2, nonprofits and donors came together in an inspiring day of generosity. Millions of dollars were raised to fuel the good work of nonprofits all over the world.Network for Good hosted a special campaign, N4G Gives, focused on equipping nonprofits with the tools and knowledge for #GivingTuesday success. The N4G Gives campaign provided free #GivingTuesday resources to the entire nonprofit community and special training and matching funds to nonprofits using DonateNow, our online giving platform. In addition to matching funds, we also recognized the leaders in 10 fundraising categories with special awards.The most exciting validation of the value of #GivingTuesday is reflected in the experience of the “winners” of Network for Good’s N4G Gives campaign. They are large and small. Some planned for months, and some started the day before. Some have large staff teams, and some are staffed exclusively by volunteers.The common thread across all the winners was their determination to activate their passionate supporters and advocates to both give and inspire others, and to create a sense of excitement and urgency under the umbrella of #GivingTuesday.And the winner is…Most Dollars Raised: Alameda County Community Food Bank, Oakland California (ACCFB)Alameda County Community Food Bank is on a mission to end food insecurity in Alameda County, California. In 2014, the Food Bank distributed 25 million meals – more than half of the food was fresh fruits and vegetables.Their big vision can only be realized with strong donor support, and ACCFB inspired people to donate more than $100,000 (online and offline) on #GivingTuesday.Key tacticsAfter watching the progress of the #GivingTuesday movement in 2013, the team at ACCFB decided to go “all out” in 2014. They pursued a multi-channel approach including email, website, digital ads, and social. Planning started about six weeks before #GivingTuesday, but activation went into high gear during Thanksgiving week.Key elements Most Donors: Middle East Cultural and Charitable Society (Electronic Intifada)The Middle East Cultural and Charitable Society’s #GivingTuesday campaign raised funds for The Electronic Intifada, its award-winning online news publication focusing on Palestine, its people, politics, culture, and place in the world. As a nonprofit digital publication, The Electronic Intifada relies on readers and supporters to provide the funding for its investigative journalism, news, and analysis.Key TacticsMECCS used #GivingTuesday as part of its already planned year-end campaign. The campaign’s focus was to activate new donors by emphasizing the N4G Gives matching funds, and the potential to ‘win’ bonus dollars through the N4G Gives special challenges. The friendly competition inspired by the leaderboards was very motivating to their audience.Key ElementsDeployed three emails on #GivingTuesdayFirst email laid out the opportunity to receive bonus and matching fundsSecond and third emails were sent throughout the day to build excitement as they rose up the leaderboard. Added a homepage popup window asking visitors to donate nowPushed social media outreachLaunched #GivingTuesday branded retargeting ads
Still tracking your donors through five different versions of Excel spreadsheets, endless email chains, and Post-It notes? Let’s be real: you need a better way to manage your individual donors.A donor management system will save you time and will help you be a smarter fundraiser. Not sure how this works? Here are the top 14 ways a donor management system will help you this year:Raise more money by targeting donors. Smart donor management allows you to easily create dynamic lists and develop targeted campaigns to donors based on giving history, average gift amount, and more.Eliminate repetitive, manual, and time-consuming tasks by automating standard processes and workflows. Free up your staff to focus on building relationships instead of administrative tasks.Track campaign results in real time. Spend less time (and money) on tracking results from your campaigns and more time planning your next one.Remove the need to sift through multiple spreadsheets and applications to find donor data. Once you move to a donor management system, it’s all in one place and accessible online so you can look up information anywhere.Know how you are progressing towards your December goals. Online fundraising data flows into your donor database to automatically update charts and reports giving you a clearer picture of how close you are to achieving your fundraising goals.Understand your donors and their behaviors. Storing detailed information like donation, volunteer, event attendance, demographics, and participation information will help you better understand what you donors want from your organization (and what they don’t want).Share information between staff and volunteers. A donor database will help you avoid confusion and have everyone operating off the same information. No more searching through an inbox to find the latest version, it’s all stored in one place and updated in real time.Check donor information on the go. Take your filing cabinet with you by having mobile access to view and enter notes right after you make a donor visit.Retain your year-end donors and build stronger relationships. A great donor management system will send automatic thank you emails for donations and reminder emails for pledges that are yet to be fulfilled.Get the most from all your tools with seamless integration. Connect email marketing, donation forms, and peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns so every bit of data is stored in one place.Keep donor relationships strong even when staff turnover happens. Notes are stored in a donor record so when a new staff member starts, all communication history is at their fingertips.Allow staff and volunteers to see only what they need to see. Control access to constituent information by setting permissions to records and data fields.Track incoming funds and pledges. View progress in a dashboard format that is board meeting ready.Remove the need for IT resources to hold your hand every step of the way. A good donor management system should be easy to set up and maintain by development staff. You shouldn’t have to wait on IT support to do your job.With the right donor management, smarter fundraising tools, and a solid campaign plan, you’ll be all set to raise more this year—and for years to come.
5 Tips for Streamlining Your Online Fundraising ToolsOnline fundraising tools can make a huge difference in the amount of donations a nonprofit receives. Just being able to accept online donations has increased the reach of many nonprofit organizations, and it allows donors to give whenever they wish, by simply connecting with their smartphones, rather than having to wait until they are home with a checkbook handy.Since the majority of the population accesses the internet regularly, nonprofits are able to communicate with potential donors and share their message more frequently than ever before. Over the years, marketers and publicists have determined which formats are the most effective for brochures, postcards, posters, and other types of material used to promote organizations of all kinds. Donation software has also been developed, tested and re-designed to increase its effectiveness.Fundraising websites are like other websites in some ways, but they have some differences that should not be overlooked. Donation software, in particular, has been found to be most effective if it follows these five guidelines.Donation software should be mobile-friendly. If a potential donor is online using a mobile device and clicks your “donate now” button, but can’t navigate through the donation page on the device’s small screen, you will lose the donation. People are easily frustrated with pages that don’t work well, or are confusing, and leave the page in a matter of seconds.Limit the number of fields requiring input. When a form requires a lot of information, users are likely to leave the page without completing it. This means that even though they fully intended to make a donation when they got to the page, the fundraiser software became a hindrance, rather than a tool for helping them complete the intended action.Avoid links away from the donation page. It may seem appropriate to include a link back to your website or resources for more information on the good work that will be done with the donations you receive, but bear in mind that people are easily distracted—especially online—and interesting links that direct potential donors away from the donation page are stopping the donation process.Limit the amount of text on the page. Your website is a great place to share as much information as possible about your cause and the good work done by your organization. Your donation page should focus only on accepting online donations. A couple of sentences and an image that evokes emotion are enough to keep the donor inspired. Excess text can trigger “fine print” skepticism.Keep it simple. Complex options on a donation form make it less likely that donors will complete it. Fundraising websites should include options for recurring giving, and offer suggested donation amounts that the donor can choose with one click, but never include suggestions such as a percentage of the donor’s income, that would make them stop to think. They are much less likely to complete the form if there is more for them to do.Since 2001, Network for Good has helped over 100,000 nonprofit organizations raise more than $1 billion online. To discuss how we can help you get the most out of your fundraising efforts, contact us today or call 1-888-284-7978 x1.