Add Twitter to your Nonprofit MarComm Toolbox!

Add #Twitter to your #NPO MarComm Toolbox!

Add #Twitter to your #NPO MarComm Toolbox!

“Of all the social channels, for a nonprofit, Twitter may be the most effective in terms of the biggest return for limited time and resources. Through consistent tweets that inspire and inform you reinforce your mission to your network of followers. The bonus is if you get it right your followers will share to their followers’, amplifying and extending your work.”  Toby Bloomberg @TobyDiva

Add Twitter to your Nonprofit MarComm Toolbox! Twitter is a must have tool for listening and monitoring. It successfully engages others in your stories, inspires action and builds effective awareness and fundraising campaigns.

Here’re my favorite ways to add Twitter to your Nonprofit MarComm Toolbox:

  • Fundraising via Twitter:

Fundraising Coach Marc A. Pitman @marcapitman suggests Twitter is an amazing way to engage donors and potential donors. Maintaining relationships is one of the hardest things that a fundraiser must do. And, Twitter helps us do that!

  1. You get to meet people all over the world that might be interested in your cause.
  2. You get to hear what people are really thinking about a wide variety of issues.
  3. You can follow other fundraisers and get great real-time advice.
  4. You can even promote traffic to your website or those of your friends.
  • Twitter and #GivingTuesday:

New York’s 92 Street Y (@92Y) in partnerships including the United Nations Foundation (@unfoundation) incorporated Twitter into its 2013 #GivingTuesday (@GivingTues). The Dec. 13th event produced a 90% increase in online giving compared to 2012. There were 269,000 Tweets with the #GivingTuesday hashtag on December 3, an average of 186 times per minute!

  • Matching Fund Drive with Promoted Tweets:

The Red Cross (@RedCross) partnered with Craigslist founder Craig Newmark (@craignewmark) to launch a Promoted Tweets matching fund drive for the holiday season. Both organizations used Promoted Tweets to ask Twitter users to respond with their idea of the “perfect gift,” & used the hashtag #PerfectGift with a link to the donation website. Newmark matched each @reply or Retweet with a $1 donation, up to $10,000.

  • Micro-funding via Twitter:

Janet Fouts (@jfouts) saw a post on Twitter that drew her to click on the link and then follow through with a donation almost immediately. It was from Small Can be Big, a group which works with local shelters to identify people in need and then posts their stories on-line seeking donations to help. The Tweet was a day old and by the time she got to the site they had raised the needed capital. She browsed around to learn more and made a couple of small donations right then and there.

  • Crisis Management with Twitter:

The power of Twitter’s real-time platform to inform and connect is never more evident than in the face of a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis. Over the past few years, organizations, government agencies, news outlets and individuals use Twitter to provide information and relief in times of need.

  1. On the ground
  2. Be an eyewitness
  3. Be a lifeline
  4. Become a conduit for critical information
  • Twitter and Media Relations

According to the 2015 Cision Social Journalism Study only 6% of PR pros only post press releases on the wires.

Journalists are very active on Twitter. Most journalists see Twitter as an extension of their own reporting these days and 75% say that they use Twitter to build their own brand. So Twitter is a marvelous opportunity to connect and discover what they’re writing about or looking for. How do journalists use twitter?

  1. Story Creation
  2. Finding Sources
  3. Self promotion

 Add Twitter to your nonprofit MarComm toolbox extra resources:

  1. 10 Twitter Tips for Nonprofits
  2. 6 Creative Ways to Use Twitter for your nonprofit marketing campaigns 
  3. How to get more people to your events with social media
  4. 10 Twitter Best Practices for Nonprofits 
  5. Top 10 nonprofit hastags to spark social good 
  6. Best Twitter Practices for Media
  7.  Twitter Nonprofits (@Nonprofits) highlights great uses of Twitter in the nonprofit community.
  8. Create a Digital Ripple to Promote Your Special Events

We’d love to hear from you! Do you have any Twitter favorites to add to your nonprofit MarComm toolbox?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P2P fundraising empowers others to ask on your behalf!

The peer-to-peer family tree breaks down the different kinds of P2P fundraising and shows how big the P2P family is becoming.

The P2P family tree breaks down the different kinds of P2P fundraising and shows how big the P2P family is becoming.

P2P fundraising empowers others to ask on your behalf! Also known as Peer-to-peer fundraising, P2P uses the power of your constituents to engage their friends and family.

It’s one of the major driving forces in successful nonprofit fundraising. The peer-to-peer family tree breaks down the different kinds of P2P fundraising and shows how big the P2P family is becoming.

So imagine my delight when Tate Handy at Digital Third Coast  asked if I would be interested in sharing the P2P family tree developed with Plenty Consulting.

Then Tate offered an introduction by Plenty Consulting CEO Jeff Shuck. I was thrilled!

I’ve been a big fan of Jeff Shuck since 2007 when I first learned of his new paradigm incorporating special events to the classic development pyramid. For me it was a gateway to P2P fundraising and empowering others to ask on your behalf!

Jeff Shuck introduction to the P2P family tree:

  • Did you buy Girl Scout cookies this year?
  • Did you participate in a Tough Mudder as a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project?
  • Did you attend Penn State’s annual Dance Marathon, or purchase lemonade from one of Alex’s Lemonade Stand?

If you did any one of these things, I’ve got news for you- you were participating in an act of peer-to-peer fundraising, whether or not you knew it at the time.

Peer-to-peer fundraising, also known as P2P, is one of the most thrilling nonprofit fundraising channels being used today, and it’s growing at a fast pace. Yet despite its growing fan base, many people aren’t quite sure how to explain P2P to others. Here’s what you need to know.

First of all, in traditional fundraising, organizations reach out to their network to donate. In P2P, meanwhile, organizations ask their constituents to reach out to people connected to them on behalf of your cause. Instead of only having access to their donors, organizations can connect with their constituents plus their constituents’ networks, creating an unending collection of potential new donors. Your audience expands exponentially, and with it, so does your ability to do more to fulfill your mission.

Abundance is out there and peer-to-peer fundraising helps you unlock that abundance to be distributed to those who need it. What can your network do for your cause?

Deborah’s Comments –

P2P fundraising empowers others to ask on your behalf! P2P engages your network in a number of ways:

  1. Ensures successful events
  2. Integral part of cause marketing initiatives
  3. Fuels the engine for digital campaigns

We’d love to hear examples of how your nonprofit engages and empowers your network by involving constituents in P2P initiatives.

Want donors to stay engaged? Thank them!

Show your appreciation with a timely, sincere thank you letter

Want donors to stay engaged? Thank them with a timely, sincere thank you letter.

Want donors to stay engaged? Thank them!

Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s unfortunate how many nonprofits don’t thank their donors.

Of course we thank them. After all, many of our donations are done online and we have our system send a receipt/thank you note.

Is this really thanking your donor? Does this create engagement?

I suggest not. Want donors to stay engaged? Thank them!

I don’t believe that the lapse is intentional. But, those thank you notes are extremely important. Here are some meaningful ways to rectify the situation and ensure that your donors stay engaged:

Donor acquisition is extremely important. Yet 3 of 4 donors leave and never come back. Frank Barry, director of digital marketing at Blackbaud and blogger at npENGAGE, wrote a very interesting blog post One thing most nonprofits stink at (donor retention) and how you can change it interviewed fundraising experts from across the industry to share 12 super simple (but effective) ways to engage and retain donors. I was thrilled when I saw how many spoke to the importance of heartfelt thank you notes.

These 12 Ways to Thank Donors will keep them from saying goodbye offer a good guide for using thank you notes to keep your donors engaged:

  1. Offer donors a next step in your thank you note.
  2. Thank your donors for being them.
  3. Send a handwritten note.
  4. Treat each donation as the beginning of a meaningful friendship.
  5. Don’t ask for more money — yet.
  6. Keep it simple and emotional, not filled with jargon.
  7. Make your donor feel something positive in your thank you letter.
  8. Avoid careless errors – double check your grammar and spelling.
  9. Send your thank you letter as fast as possible.
  10. Make the letter relevant.
  11. Give the donor credit, not you.
  12. Follow up later.

Writing thoughtful timely thank you letters is hard work. But, it’s worth it!

Thank you for all you do for your community. And, thank you for following my blog.

I’d love to hear from you with suggestions for keeping donors engaged!

 

A focus on my donation patterns

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Every year in preparation for filing my taxes I list my donations from the previous year. This year I had an ‘ah ha’ moment when I realized that there was a wealth of information about my own donation patterns.

  • With a few exceptions I leave the majority of my charitable giving to the end of the year. The nonprofits to which I donate focus on my personal areas of concern. I no longer write checks, with one exception – my yearly donation to the local Food Bank is solicited by a friend who sends a self-addressed envelope.
  • I have become very sensitive to how easy it is to make my donations. I get frustrated when I have to jump through hoops to make the donation. But, I will admit that I don’t yank the donation because I had to fill-in a few extra fields.
  • I no longer look for opportunities to give. I admit that I expect the nonprofits that I support to stay in touch with me throughout the year.
  • I still open direct mail from organizations that support issues of concern and to whom I do not currently donate. On occasion I do add a new organization and usually continue to support them.
  • Social media plays a role in my giving. And, yes, I do expect a thank you for my gift.

My end of the year donations are different from the nonprofits in which I’m fully involved as a board member or trustee. My expectations and responsibilities affect my giving patterns – the more I’m engaged, the more I give.

I recently had an ‘interesting’ experience with an organization with which I have a long standing relationship. I served on the board of trustees, chaired the marketing committee and served as the volunteer coordinator for a yearly lecture series for years.

 I always gave beyond my membership dues and board obligations whenever I served on a committee. Then along came a new president who wanted to put her stamp on the organization. In her eyes that meant making changes as to who was asked to participate in projects.

No need to fill in the blanks here. Would anyone like to guess what happened to my donations?

My suggestion – treasure your donors. Find ways to keep them engaged. Empower those who want to be more involved.

Do you have any experiences to share? Would love to hear from you.

 

How Nonprofits Can Embrace Social Media to Attract and Engage the Next Generation

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A Guest Post from Richard McMunn, Founder how2become.com

“Although fundraising is the ultimate concern for most nonprofits and charities, the first step to fundraising is awareness and effective communication.”

Social media has pervaded the realm of interaction and communication in such a way, that words like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have become part of our everyday lives. We now live in a world where social media can enable revolutions, YouTube can turn people into global celebrities overnight, and everyone and their gran has a Facebook account.

Social media has changed the face of networking, communication and advertising and increasingly, non-profits and charities are beginning to use these tools to effectively engage people. Let’s look at some ways in which third sector organizations can use social media tools to appeal to a more media savvy generation that use social media as an intrinsic part of their social lives.  

Understanding the Nature of the Beast

Social media can help non-profits on a variety of levels. Firstly, social media tools are communications platforms, and very dynamic and interactive ones at that. The first way in which non-profits can leverage the power of social media is to communicate their cause and their work to a large audience. Although fundraising is the ultimate concern for most non-profits and charities, the first step to fundraising is awareness and effective communication.

Different social media sites have different strengths. To give you an example, YouTube is predominantly an audio visual platform, and could be used to promote such content, and engage people in that way. The content and presentation can be designed to suit a specific audience.

For instance, as a non-profit we can aim to engage with a younger audience by targeted communication through videos, and other media. Facebook can be used to build a campaign, connect to people and connect people with each other, and to spread a message quickly.

Investing in Existing Supporters

Many organizations simply look at social media as a platform for incessant advertising and marketing. But we live in the age of increasing information overload, and it is becoming more and more difficult to get people’s attention. The fact is that impersonal advertising messages are far less effective than endorsement from someone you know and trust.

The beauty of social media lies in the fact that it allows people the power of reach. People who already support a charity or a particular cause and believe in it, have the power to create more awareness and help gain more support. As such, existing supporters of non-profits can play a pivotal role in fundraising and networking in this environment dominated by social media. Social media allows them to share their convictions and views with their own networks and give the cause the kind of impetus that was near impossible before.

In order to leverage the real power of social media, nonprofits must recognize this potential and invest in their existing supporters by providing them with essential tools and material to communicate the right message.

 Keeping Up-to-date with Changing Trends

Younger people have grown up with the internet as an integral part of their lives. Statistical research on social media usage in 2012 shows that over 95% of 18 – 24’s in the UK have a Facebook account; over 89% of the same age group actively use YouTube, with other social media sites like Twitter and Foursquare in close tow. It is possible to find detailed statistics of different platforms, users and demographics. To use social media sites successfully, it is important to understand the audience, and to use the right platform for engagement.

 Statistics also show that non-profits have increasingly begun to use social media for communication and engagement. In fact, the last year saw many charities and nonprofit organizations, both large and small, use social media for communication and fundraising campaigns. As the volume of advertising and communication on social media sites increases, non-profits will need to stay up-to-date with evolving trends in communication in order to optimize the contemporary media tools at their disposal.

Editor’s note: Richard McMunn, is the founder and director of the UK’s leading career website how2become.com.

Online Giving is Key to Successful Fundraising

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I’m not going to inundate you with too many statistics – only a few!

 Here are some key findings from The 2012 Charitable Giving Report. This is just an overview of the report with an emphasis on online giving trends. To review the complete report, click here.

  • Overall giving continued its slow recovery and grew approximately 2% in 2012.
  • Online giving grew by about 11% in 2012 compared to 2011.
  • Online fundraising was 7% of all giving in 2012, an increase from 2011.
  • Small nonprofits had the greatest increase in overall fundraising in 2012 while medium-sized organizations led online.
  • Nonprofits have embraced the reality that social media is required to optimize fundraising and engagement opportunities. The average donation made through social media networks has continued to grow — $38 in 2010 to $59 in 2012, a 55% increase.

This means that it is important for your organization to maximize your online giving. Although most of these suggestions are simple and you might say, “Well, duh,” I suggest you create a checklist and see if you’re making online giving appealing and easy.

  • Our website is visually interesting
  • We have easy to find contact information on the homepage
  • We keep relevant content updated
  • Our Donate Now button is prominent and easy to find
  • We provide a link to our donation page in all our materials
  • We have an easy to understand donation URL that we add to our phone message
  • We track our donors so we can monitor which pages are getting the most hits and which sources are sending the greatest number of visitors to our donation page.
  • We keep the number of clicks necessary to make a donation to a minimum.
  • We test the donation  form to ensure that it is easy to follow and doesn’t take too long to complete
  • We provide a contact name and number/email on the donation form
  • We have an auto-reply set up that thanks our donors for their gift
  • We provide personalized fundraising pages for our events & Friends & Family campaigns
  • Our donation page works well on mobile devices
  • We make sure we stay in touch with all our donors and share what a difference their donation makes

Why not invite a few board members, volunteers and clients to be Donors for a Day. Then invite everyone to a brainstorming session to discuss their experiences.

I promise you’ll learn a lot about your online giving. And, who knows, you might get some donations along the way!

There are a number of blog posts and resources on online giving. You might want to check out:

  1. Network for Good’s 10 Fundraising Mantras for 2013 
  2. The Benefits of Online Giving
  3. 3 Advantages to Online Fund Raising

If you have any suggestions to add to the checklist I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

It’s not too late to improve year-end giving!

 

 

Okay, I know it’s late. But, there’s still time to ensure that your organization is primed to reap the benefit of end-of-year donations.

So, as you get ready for your end-of-the year push, I want to share my personal pet peeves that make me think twice before supporting a nonprofit. These were originally posted last year – Putting together the puzzle pieces for your end of the year fundraising:

  • No way to send an email and/or make a phone call to a specific staff member
  • Sending me a letter and/or an email addressed to ‘Dear Friend” – There’s just no excuse. You need to send personalized email and letters.
  • No one to answer the phone and/or respond to email the end of December – It boggles my mind when nonprofits completely close down during this most important fundraising period. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard from ‘almost’ donors who moved on to support organizations where they could reach a human being.
  • Making me hunt for a way to make a donation – A donate now link is not enough. Visitors to your website need to see a donate button regardless of where they land when they enter your site. Complement each page with a donate pitch with an easy to find donate button
  • Donate now buttons that don’t link directly to the donation page – For each extra click you are losing potential donors.
  • Donation pages without contact information and an address for regular mail – Personally I like to charge my donations. But, there are still people who like to send a check. Be sure to invite visitors to do so.
  • No way to make a tribute donation – I’ve developed deep relationships with nonprofits who provide a phone number and/or email address for tribute donation details. On the flip side I’ve crossed off nonprofits that don’t have some mechanism for making these gifts.
  • No personal thank you notes for online donations – Most online systems have an automated response system. Be sure and follow up with a personalized thank you.
  • A registration that promises an online newsletter that never comes

Recently I read an interesting article by Curtis Chang, founder and CEO of Consulting Within Reach, posted in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. I found myself nodding my head as I read the article.

Here’s a summary of End-of-Year Appeals: Five Bad Habits to Kick. (I strongly suggest you read the article. It contains a number of great links).

1. Sending everyone the same message

Do you really want to send the same message to people who have already donated this year and to people who have never given? Not acknowledging a previous supporter’s donation is like greeting a good friend at a party by extending your hand and saying, “Hi, it’s nice to meet you.” With all of the database technology at hand, every organization should be customizing their appeals.

2. Over-reliance on emotional stories

Stories are important to appeal to prospective donors. But end of the year letters also need to contain data that demonstrates the overall impact of donations. Don’t forget to compile your stats, and display them in a compelling way to help persuade people to support your organization.

3. Killing with words, words, words

In our communication era, people have a decreasing capacity to consume long stretches of text. During the holiday season, as more and more physical and electronic letters arrive than usual, that capacity plummets even further. Nonprofits would be well advised to look for other media to embed in their annual appeals.

4. Neglecting the little things

Almost ¼ of all email opens occur within the first hour of being sent. This means that a little thing like when you’ve scheduled delivery of your electronic appeal can make a real difference. Your placement—and testing—of your hyperlinks to a giving opportunity can also have out-sized impact. For physical mailings, the biggest little thing you can do is to include a handwritten message: Some studies show that this increases the chances of a donation by 300 percent.

5. Botching the thank you

One very obvious bad habit is to forget to send a timely thank you to donors. Thank you cards matter—but beware: According to other studies, thank you gifts can backfire by ruining the donor’s sense of altruism.

Don’t let these stumbling blocks keep you from reaping the end of the year fundraising benefits.

Do you have any further suggestions? Would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

Are you converting your event donors to program donors?

Your nonprofit just completed a successful event. Whether it was a black-tie dinner or fun run, you now have a great opportunity to engage the participants and acquire new donors and/or sponsors.

Create a conversion campaign. Add post-event action steps into your event planning. Here are some simple, but powerful ideas:

  • Post-event surveys
  • Invitations to sign up for e-newsletter
  • Updates on programs
  • Announcements of volunteer opportunities at future events and programs
  • Invitation to hold a third party event (see earlier post The Lure of Independent Fundraising Events)
  • Other ways to stay in touch
  • Add information about your programs and the people you touch in your auto-responder
  • Use Social Media to encourage and sustain conversations
  • Add information to your website and e-newsletter on what you are doing as a result of the fundraising event.
  • Schedule ways to stay in contact
  • Hold a brain storming session with your leadership to identify prospects.
  • Develop an email conversion strategy to educate and encourage a lasting relationship.

You need to be realistic. You need to analyze the reasons people came to your event. Then tailor your outreach to your prospects:

  • Were they asked by a friend? If so, you might be able to engage them to hold an independent fundraising event.
  • Do they support your mission? Invitations to on-site visits and lectures with leading authorities in your field will be appealing.
  • Are family members touched by the issues you tackle? In this case a compelling  appeal focused on a specific program that will help ensure quality of life might lead to a new donation.

Regardless of the pathway, be sure to say thank you and stay in touch. In today’s world, you can launch a conversion campaign through your electronic fundraising provider. Speak with your website designer to ensure that your landing page is up-to-date and makes it easy to contact you and make a donation.

Do you have any examples of successful conversion programs? Need any help?

Please contact me at deborah@creative-si.com

 

 

The lure of independent fundraising events

In a recent blog post Fundraising without special events? No Way! I review the importance of integrating special events into development, which I learned in 2007 from Jeff Shuck, President & CEO Event360.

Giving hierarchy integrated with special events

Today’s post focuses on Independent Fundraising Events (IFE). These are activities designed and run by non-staff volunteers to raise money on behalf of a specific nonprofit. They are conducted locally with minimal support from the beneficiary.

The types of activities that these local supporters conduct are quite literally endless. They can range from a bake or garage sale to a wine tasting or gallery opening.

One of the major advantages of IFE is that the costs are covered by the independent event organizers.

Other benefits of IFE –

  • An effective addition to any organization’s development portfolio.
  • Independent fundraisers are more likely to have a much stronger and direct emotional connection to the organization.
  • Great way to give these highly dedicated individuals the opportunity to match their passion without the limitations of traditional fundraising events.

How can your nonprofit support Independent Fundraisers?

Develop a secure website with useable tools:

  • Media Kit and publicity guide
  • Approved logos, graphics, banners, stickers
  • Informational pieces
  • Personal fundraising page for online donations
  • Printable donation forms
  • Registration materials
  • Staff support

Of course, there are IFE Challenges. As described by Zach Anderson, at the Canadian Internet Summit, these include:

  • Budgeting Revenue from events
  • Justification of Costs
  • Connecting with IFE donors
  • Providing supplies and giveaways
  • Reputation/Brand Risk
  • Shortage of staff support
  • Unavailability of board members to participate

Two organizations standout to me as providing great support to independent fundraising events. These are:

Alex’s Lemonade Stand – Fighting Childhood Cancer One Cup at a Time

 

Team Fox – Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

What better way to augment your special events than with independent fundraising events?

Role of the Board & Successful Fundraising Techniques

The rollercoaster ride that nonprofits have experienced since the beginning of the ‘great recession’ has been anything but fun!

Although the great recession began in 2007 according to the National Bureau of Economic Statics, the reality of its effects on nonprofits really hit home the day the venerable brokerage firm Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September ’08. Pretty soon nonprofit leaders and staff came to realize that how nonprofits managed their fundraising would be changed forever.

The Nonprofit Finance Fund provides financing, funding and advocacy services to nonprofits and funders nationwide. For the researchers among us, they are a fount of data. Their “Guide to Navigating Changing Times” provides answers and resources to help weather these difficult times.

An October 11 blog posting from David King, president Alexander Haas highlights “10 Lessons Learned from the Great Recession.”

  1. Relationships matter more than causes
  2. Serving on a board in not an honor, it is a real job with real responsibilities
  3. If you stop fund raising, you will stop raising funds
  4. Endowment is not an insurance policy against declines in earned and donated revenue
  5. Take donors for granted and they will take their donations elsewhere
  6. Financial acumen is, in fact, a requirement for nonprofit executives
  7. Your next campaign does not “have” to be larger than you last campaign
  8. We have a new definition for what we “need”
  9. The donor pyramid has been pinched in the middle (think hour glass)
  10. Fear of multi-year pledging has reshaped how capital campaigns are executed.

I have always been committed to a fundraising board. Last year I was asked to do a presentation on the “Role of the Board & Successful Fundraising Techniques.”

This presentation is a Call to Action for nonprofit boards to encourage ownership and enthusiasm for fundraising.

You are welcome to share with your nonprofit’s board of directors. I’d love to hear from you to learn of their response.

I know this is an extremely busy time for fundraising. We at Creative Solutions & Innovations wish you the very best in your quest.