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.
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.
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.
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!
Review Step One In Step One of this two-part post, I shared my take on why this type of emotional candy works so well to raise money or recruit volunteers. I cited a reliable litmus test for photo impact—would you share it with your own family and friends, and would they “like” or share it? Here are some recommendations, with examples: For policy and intermediary organizations: Connect the dots between your work and the people who are the ultimate beneficiaries. If your organization is not an animal rescue or somehow directly related to puppies, kitties, or babies, these alternatives will be far more effective in helping you forge connections and motivate giving. Most important, they are authentic, relevant expressions, rather than manipulative clickbait. Organizations like yours have it even harder when building relationships and motivating action, be it giving or something else. That’s because your work is indirect. For all causes and organizations: Highlight the similarities between your audiences and your organization’s clients, participants, or beneficiaries. Get detailed and personal in words and/or photos. The close-up (bottom left) of the little girl focused on drawing is compelling! Clearly, we never want anyone to be homeless, much less our own family. The cause has the potential to scare off supporters because of their fear that it could happen to them. Stigma! However, by photographing an older resident (like your grandma or mine) reading to a couple of kids, Hope House busts through and connects us with the residents in a positive way. (I remember when my grandma read to me.) The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation does a great job of this on its Facebook page, as shown in the post above. Here, the foundation makes it easy to make the connection between its work and the individuals who benefit from its grants for a real “aha!” moment. The details are what sticks (or doesn’t) and make your story memorable and more likely to be shared. How do you make your organization’s content compelling—beyond kitties, puppies, or babies? Please share your recommendations in the comments! You’re working on legislation related to a cause or supporting other cause organizations. This makes it challenging for prospects to connect emotionally. It takes your audience time and thought to make the connection between your impact and people, which is always a deterrent. Findlay Hope House does a great job of this on its Facebook page time and time again. Consider the post above, showing kids without homes living in Hope House’s transitional housing. But there is a great method of speeding that vital connection—make the message for your prospects and supporters. Connect the dots between your organization’s work and impact and your ultimate beneficiaries, even if there are layers in between. Okay, your organization is one of many that can’t use kitty or puppy photos to raise money or recruit volunteers. So what can you do to quickly and effectively connect with the emotions of prospects and supporters? Step 2: Make emotional connections and compelling content—if not candy—even without the supercute. Review Step One With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build strong relationships that inspire key supporters to action. She shares her deep nonprofit marketing insights—and passion—through consulting, speaking, and her popular blog and e-news at GettingAttention.org.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryEmbarking on a new year—whether it’s a calendar or fiscal year (or both!)—is always an opportunity for a fresh start. After all, that’s why resolutions are written at the start of a new year. New year. New goals. It’s the same with writing a development plan for your nonprofit, which you can think of as a business plan for fundraising. It helps you develop the discipline of looking at what you’ve done well and where you need to improve, setting your sights for the year ahead, and mapping out what you will do to reach your goals. Simply put, it translates your wishes to goals.Let’s pause for a moment to think about the 30,000-foot view. Fundraising is not just about raising money. The core of our work as fundraisers is as relationship architects between our organizations and the donors who currently or, we hope will eventually, support us. Our goal is to create two-way conversations that are not transactional or circular exchanges of asking and receiving money. We know this isn’t sustainable in the long-term. A development plan is more than just a set of lists, calendars, and activities. It’s a strategic compilation of all the ways you can connect and communicate with your donors which, if done effectively, leads to increased revenue. It’s a competitive market out there. There are 1.8 million nonprofits in the US with about 75,000 new ones registering with the IRS each year. If you feel like the room is getting crowded, so do our donors. What makes the difference to them is if they feel valued by you and connected to your organization. If not, they’ll go somewhere else to give.So, your development plan should focus on four key areas:1. Balancing your portfolio:If your funding generally comes from one source more than others, it’s time to think about how to rebalance things. This might mean looking at how to welcome more individual donors instead of relying primarily on foundations and/or corporations. It could also mean thinking about others ways to build donor relationships besides the one major gala or one major direct mail appeal you do each year. Putting all your eggs in the proverbial basket is not sustainable.2. Setting the stage for major gifts:Every organization no matter how small can, and should, be raising major gifts. A successful major gifts program does not focus on high net-worth individuals with no connection to your organization. In fact, you probably already know who your major (current and potential) donors are. Your next major gift will likely come from one of these donors who has the capacity and who has been supporting you for a long time (and not at particularly high levels) and may also have been involved as a volunteer. Carving out a little time for more personal interactions with these donors will help you qualify those who can make larger gifts down the road.3. Creating greater donor engagement:It’s easy to become complacent and think that just because donors have chosen to invest in our cause, they will unconditionally support us and that when we ask again they will give. Nonprofits on average lose more than 60% of their donors each year because they haven’t figured out the right way to connect with their donors. Good donor engagement involves a regular calendar of touchpoints, updates, and communications that highlights stories of successes, progress, results, and even failures and challenges. Donors want to see, feel, and touch the impact their gifts are having. They want a donor relationship and an exceptional donor experience. You are most likely already doing it without defining these activities in that way: annual reports, newsletters, special webinars hosted by your key program leadership, holiday and birthday cards are all examples of ways to leverage communications to enhance your relationships with your donors.4. Laying the foundation for tomorrow:Without question, your limited bandwidth should be focused on donor retention because once you lose the donors who already opted to give to you, it’s hard to get them back. That said, it is still important to plant the seeds for the next pipeline of donors to your organization. The best potential new donor names are people who self-identify in some way or who are connected in some way to you. Perhaps it’s through a sign-up on your website, following you on social media, attendance at an event, or a visitor book if prospective donors can visit your facilities. This is also a way board members and other volunteers can play a key role in introducing your organization to their networks. Every follower, volunteer, and the new name that crosses your doorway should be considered a potential investor in your work. Welcome them.For more thoughts on how to propel your nonprofit forward, download our free Fundraising Plan eGuide or hire Network for Good personal fundraising coach to Building Stronger Donor Engagement and Raising More Money, as we explore this topic in greater detail.
You know what takes a lot of inspiration and a truckload of guts? Fundraising.I learned this the hard way when I started a nonprofit in the living room of my apartment with just $500 and a credit card. There were days when I second guessed myself but ten years later we raised over 10 million dollars and have been featured on Oprah, CNN, and the Today show. Last year, Girlstart turned 20. I’ve learned a lot since then, including how to get the absolute best fundraising results in the shortest possible time using scientifically proven methods.So what tips do I have for you to make 2018 your best year ever? Lots! Are you ready to ring in the new year raising more? Here are 5 New Year resolutions I want EVERY fundraiser to make:1. Resolve to learn more about your donors.Why did they give to your organization – what connected to them? What programs do they care about? What motivated them to give in the first place? What was the best gift they ever gave and why? Of all the organizations they support which one does the best job engaging them? What are their top three philanthropic priorities? What do they love about what they do? How do they prefer to be communicated with? You can ask some of these questions when you call them to thank them just for being a donor and others in a visually rich donor survey.2. Resolve to learn from your data.Do you know what your donor retention rate is? If you don’t know how you’re currently performing, setting goals to improve is meaningless. You can examine retention overall or narrow it down to first-time donors and/or major donors. You can calculate retention by the number of donors or gift value. I personally recommend examining by gift value so you know exactly what your retention rate is costing your organization. To run your numbers, decide on your 12 month date range (a calendar year or your fiscal year) and add the donor gift amounts by annual “class” i.e. the class of major donors giving $1,000 or more in 2017 (or the class of all 1st time donors in 2017) and then divide that amount by what those same donors gave to you the previous year, in 2016. In other words, if you had 1,000 first time donors in 2016 and only 200 of those made another gift in 2017 your new donor retention rate would be 20%. Why does retention matter so much? Acquiring those donors cost you money, time and effort. As Roger Craver, author of Retention Fundraising, advises, “Taking actionable steps to reduce donor losses is the least expensive way to increase your fundraising income.”3. Resolve to make your donors FEEL something.This is one of my biggest pet peeves in fundraising. Giving is such a joyous experience but so much of our communications can feel bland and lifeless. Does your appeal or acknowledgment make your donor feel great about themselves? It should. What we feel is irrelevant. What our donors feel is the only thing that matters. While we’re busy trying to educate our donors, or boasting about how awesome our programs are, our donor might be tossing our letter in the trash. Communicate in a warm, friendly, personable tone. Make the donor feel like gushing over what they made possible. If your autoresponders sound like a robot wrote them, it’s time for a rewrite in 2018!4. Set a revenue goal for every donor in your portfolio.Base your appeal goals on your donor’s capacity, inclination, prior giving, and interests. Now you’re ready for your best fundraising year ever! What’s more, when your CEO walks in and tells you about a budget shortfall you’ve got solid ground to push back on unrealistic goals.5. Resolve to dedicate 30 minutes a day to call and personally thank donors.Don’t start with the biggest and then fall off the wagon on this goal come February. If you can, include new donors to your call list. Be prepared with a few great discovery questions and opportunities for them to engage with you deeper. Before you know it, your lower level donors will be major gift prospects. The secret is you have to STICK WITH IT. Put it on your calendar as a recurring appointment when your energy levels are at their peak. Don’t forget to smile while you’re talking or leaving a message.I’d love to share more of my secrets with you – Download the NFG Masterclass Webinar Fundraising Strategy Series with “The Secrets of High Performing Fundraisers”. Want more help? I have OODLES of guides to make your fundraising EASIER.Here’s to 2018!Learn more about our guest blogger:Rachel Muir, CFRE transforms individuals into confident, successful fundraisers through workshops and retreats. When she was 26 years old, Rachel Muir launched Girlstart, a non-profit organization to empower girls in math, science, engineering and technology in the living room of her apartment with $500 and a credit card. Several years later she had raised over 10 million dollars and was featured on Oprah, CNN, and the Today show. Learn more about Rachel at www.rachelmuir.com or follow her at facebook.com/rachelmuirfundraising and on Twitter @rachelmuir.
Truth be told, I have a love/hate relationship with events. I love getting dressed up to attend a fancy benefit. On the other hand, I’ve seen too many organizations host events because their leaders felt they “should.”Without strategy or follow-up, events waste an organization’s limited resources and leave an exhausted staff in their wake. Events are also expensive. In fact, it costs 40 cents to raise $1 at an event while it costs just 15 cents to raise that same dollar through major gifts.So, why do organizations continue to host events? Because, as Claire Axelrad wrote in her recent post, events offer an invaluable opportunity to deepen stakeholders’ engagement with your organization. That’s why more organizations are going beyond the traditional gala or golf tournament to develop events like festivals and intimate dinners to connect with donors in new and unique ways.That leaves just one question: how do we make the most of events? My answer is, to paraphrase John Donne, “no event is an island.” That means your events need to play a pivotal role in your organization’s overall fundraising and solicitation strategies.Before you plan an event, ask yourself two questions:Does this event connect to my organization’s overall fundraising activities, donor outreach, and messaging?How will I maximize fundraising success at this event by leveraging my committee and sponsorships?Let me share an example:Say that your organization holds a large annual gala. It’s an event that your donors and larger audience look forward to every year. To answer the first question, consider how you can make this event the culmination of a series of smaller events, touch points, and other outreach you’ve organized throughout the year. Do you carry the same theme throughout the year? Do you ensure that donor recognition is integrated into the event? How will you introduce new attendees (and prospects) to your work?It’s also important to consider if your attendees come away really understanding what you do. All messaging should celebrate your donors’ role in your organization’s impact as well as the vision you are inviting attendees to share with you. Conducting a survey can be a great way to find out what your attendees learned. If they can’t share any substantive message about what you do, you’ve probably held a nice party, but not inspired your attendees to action (yet!) That’s where your follow-up is essential.Now, on to question two:In terms of fundraising success, I like to think of a large gala like a mini-campaign. How much can you raise with that event? Do you have the capacity to set and reach a lofty fundraising goal? Set specific fundraising targets for the event co-chairs, committee, board, and even honorees, if possible. Give your host committee clear expectations of what you want each member to “give and get.” This creates a blueprint that will hopefully drive a sense of each person’s role in the event’s success. It also helps you determine the three kinds of host committee members you need:Those who have the personal capacity and networks to connect you with sponsors.Those who are the “worker bees” without capacity and networks.Those who will only give their name and nothing else.The ideal event leadership committee should be a balance of all three kinds of volunteers.Then, take a look at the event’s sponsor giving levels. Are the benefits and recognition opportunities appealing and easy for you to deliver? Just as you create a campaign prospect pipeline comprised of many more prospects than gifts needed, review previous event sponsors as well as those who declined sponsorship offers in the past. Then, and most important, draw on your host committee’s networks to expand your reach and ensure you have more than enough prospects to solicit for each sponsor level.Finally, if your events really are an integrated part of your fundraising, your sponsorship asks should be tied to overall donor strategies. When you identify an event sponsor, list all the ways you would like that donor to support your organization that year. These may include:Sponsoring another event.Supporting a particular program that interests them.Giving an unrestricted annual gift (which I recommend is an automatic ask of all event sponsors).Meet with past event sponsors early in your fiscal year and share with them the full menu of funding requests you’d like them to consider. That enables you to make one ask—avoiding the multiple solicitation syndrome—and shows the donor that you have thought through all the ways they can be engaged in your work. It can also help you better forecast your fiscal year event revenue because you are asking early enough in the year.There’s no question that events are a lot of work. But they can be profitable for you in terms of revenue and volunteer engagement if you use them as one part of your overall development strategy.
Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on August 30, 2019Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Interested in a position in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child or adolescent health? Every month, the Maternal Health Task Force rounds up job and internship postings from around the globe.AfricaReproductive Health Program Management Advisor: PSI; Niamey, NigerSenior Advisor, Community Engagement: Save the Children; Bamako, MaliSenior Social and Behavior Change Advisor: Save the Children; Bamako, MaliM&E Director, Continuum of Care, Technical Assistance: PATH; Lusaka, Zambia (must have legal authorization to work in Zambia)Advocacy and Policy Manager, Advocacy and Public Policy: PATH; Kampala, Uganda (must have legal authorization to work in Uganda)Reproductive & Maternal Health Project Associate: Partners in Health; Kono, Sierra LeoneAsiaTechnical Director: Jhpiego; Afghanistan (Afghan nationals are strongly encouraged to apply)Program Director, Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health: PATH; New Delhi, IndiaNorth AmericaCommunications and Influence Manager: Jacaranda Health; Durham, NCSPO, Child Survival and Surveillance: Gates Foundation; Seattle, WADivision Chief, Maternal, Child, and Family Health: State of Illinois; Cook County, ILSenior Program Specialist Maternal and Child Health: International Development Research Center; Ottawa, ON, CanadaResearch Assistant II, Delivery Decisions: Ariadne Labs; Boston, MANational Director, Research, Evaluation & Data: Planned Parenthood; New York, NYSenior Data Analyst: Planned Parenthood; US RemoteTORCH Reproductive Health Educator: National Institute for Reproductive Health; New York, NYOnline Communications Assistant, Media and Communications Branch, Division of Communications and Strategic Partnerships (DCS): UNFPA; New York, NY (Closing date: 26 September 2019 – 5:00pm EST)Maternal and Newborn Health Lead, MOMENTUM: Save the Children; Washington DCFamily Planning/Reproductive Health Lead, MOMENTUM: Save the Children; Washington DCSRHR Resource Mobilization Intern – US Government: CARE; Atlanta, GATechnical Lead, Immunizations, Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition: PATH; Washington DC—Is your organization hiring? Please contact us if you have maternal health job or internship opportunities that you would like included in our next job roundup.