How Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Raise Funds

How Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Raise Funds

How Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Raise Funds

A guest post by Sophorn Chhay 

We now live in a world where social rules and smartphones have changed access across the globe. What a pleasure to host this guest post by Sophorn Chhay. Sophorn shows us how mobile marketing is changing the way we raise funds!

It’s hard to believe that some charitable organizations still depend on cans by grocery store cash registers and bell-ringing volunteers to reach their fundraising goals.

While it’s true that every penny counts, no one carries pennies anymore.

See the problem?!

These old-school strategies worked because they hinged on one central, rather smart, idea: go where the people are. The problem is that those people don’t keep their money with them anymore, and they don’t have time to search their pockets on street corners or sit in front of the television waiting for the 800 number to flash on the screen.

We’ve gone digital, and nonprofits need to keep pace or risk losing the funding they need to help the cause nearest and dearest to their hearts.

Enter mobile marketing, perfect for finding people where they already are (even if that’s always changing), and find their spare change – or thousands ear-marked for groups just like yours – at the same time.

How Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Raise Funds

  • The Mobile Web

Some 80 percent of internet users now own a smartphone, so it’s no surprise that almost as many (72 percent, to be exact) say that they want mobile-friendly websites. These websites are designed to be viewed on mobile devices and feature responsive design so that the website adapts to whatever device it’s viewed on.

You can create a mobile-dedicated site at a separate URL (such as m.yournonprofit.org in addition to www.yournonprofit.org) or update/create your primary site to suit both audiences.

As you develop your online presence, a slick and fast-loading mobile website becomes more and more important. When people are in the mood to give, you want them to be able to do so without stress or interruption.

  • Text-Based Donations

A lot of nonprofits have already launched email campaigns, but did you know that email only has a 20 percent open rate? Contrast that with text messages, which have an almost unbelievable open rate of 98 percent. Send a text to potential donors and it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll read it. What better what to get your message out? You can also use automated messaging to streamline the process. Enlist the considerable talents of a company like Textpedite and you can:

  • Launch a text-to-join campaign that allows potential donors to subscribe to your text-based newsletter simply by texting a keyword to a unique short code
  • Remind subscribers about an upcoming fundraising gala or promote the needs of other non-profits
  • Send bulk messages that let your entire network know when you’re ready to launch your app or when you need ASAP donations to combat a funding crisis
  • Set up an auto-responder to welcome new subscribers or thank donors for their contributions

And that’s just for starters!

  • Mobile Apps

Creating a mobile app is one of the best ways you can jumpstart your mobile strategy. Of the three hours the average smartphone user spends on their device each day, 89 percent of that time is spent on mobile apps. The key is to create an app that serves your purposes while also somehow captivating the interest of your audience.

The Red Cross’s Blood Donor app doesn’t just ask for blood donations, it helps the user find a blood, schedule an appointment, and even hooks them up with rewards from popular retailers. Charity Miles appeals to people who love to walk, run, and bike; every mile they log through the app turns into money that can be applied to the charity of their choice.

If you want your nonprofit to succeed, you have to incorporate marketing into your overall strategic planning, and mobile marketing needs to be at the forefront of your game plan. What’s your take on mobile marketing for nonprofits?

What’s Next?

How do you ensure that your donors are getting the best mobile experience possible when interacting with your organization? Make sure to share them with us in the comments below. I would love to read them.

Author Biography

Sophorn Chhay is the marketing guy at  Trumpia, a mobile content delivery service that allows users to customize their one-to-one marketing efforts by interconnecting and optimizing all digital platforms. As an innovator in two-way SMS/MMS marketing, Trumpia’s mission is to empower brands and public figures with interactive access to their audiences, reaching targeted affinity groups in a personal way. Trumpia delivers world-class content such as video, ticketing, polling, products sales, contests, and giveaways.

Follow Sophorn on Twitter(@Trumpia), LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Livestrong Foundation Shows Importance of Nonprofit Marketing

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Shame on Donors Who Want Their Money Back wrote Elaine Fogel on her blog Totally Uncorked on Marketing.

I couldn’t agree more!

With all the noise about Armstrong and his fall from grace in competitive cycling, one would expect Livestrong.org the cancer fighting Foundation he founded to suffer. As Elaine pointed out, there are some donors who want their money back.

Livestrong is succeeding and the donations are growing. Whether or not this continues in the long run is yet to be seen.

However, according to Charity Navigator, a prominent charity watchdog, it appears that the foundation has “successfully distinguished its mission from its founder’s woes.”

My suggestion to all nonprofits is to see your organization through a marketing lens.

What is Nonprofit Marketing?

“Marketing is so basic that it cannot be a separate function. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final results, that is, from the stakeholder’s point of view.” Marketing Guru Peter Drucker

I see marketing as – the strategies and tactics used to identify, create and maintain satisfying relationships with your donors, members, volunteers, clients and other stakeholders that result in value for both your organization and your stakeholders.

Creative Solutions & Innovations’ principles for guiding your nonprofit through a marketing lense:

1.    Always market your mission, not your current services. The ability to adjust its services to suit client need is key to ensuring the organization’s survival and its financial support.

2.    Carefully define whom your mission serves. You need to meet the needs of your  stakeholders.

3.    Measure your constituents’ needs. Research, research, research to ensure your programs & services resonate with your target audiences.

4.    Evaluate the success of programs & their relationship to your mission.

5.  Communicate regularly & consistently.

6.  Craft your messages to reflect how your mission effects your different audiences.

7. Develop an integrated marketing communications plan to ensure message integrity across all communication channels.

8.  Communicate in terms of your ROI even when it is not in monetary terms; quantify your economic impact.

9.  Celebrate your successes. Show how your ‘market diversification’ creates the funding to provide your services.

10. Know your organizational elevator speech so you can articulate your vision & Competitive Advantage Statement.

11. Keep a “face” on your marketing initiatives

12. Evaluate often & be prepared to refocus your efforts.

Any thoughts? Please let me hear from you.

 

 

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?

Fundraising without special events? No Way!

Do special events really make sense throughout the classic giving hierarchy?

You bet!

That was the message of my recent teleseminar Fundraising without special events? No Way!

Actually I can’t imagine a development plan that does not integrate special events at every level.

I first learned about integrating special events into development in 2007 from Jeff Shuck, President & CEO Event360.

This is a different way to focus on events. Seen this way events are part of a holistic development effort that integrates into everything you do as an organization to raise money. And, it is strategic – the events are focused on the mission. At each level of your giving paradigm you will find distinct events for distinct goals.

Giving hierarchy integrated with special events

 

  • Annual campaigns have three key elements: direct mail, special events & personal solicitations. Be sure and use all three! These volume events can cultivate annual and major gift prospects. Sample volume events include charity walks, runs & bike-a-thons.
  • Major gifts come from individuals, corporations & foundations. Successful major gifts campaigns are all about stewardship and cultivating relationships with current donors and prospects. Targeted events should be part of your cultivation toolkit. Targeted events include a variety of specialty parties from black-tie galas & tribute dinners, to wine tastings, private museum events and themed parties. Guests who attend these events often engage in live and/or silent auctions, and enjoy entertainment and/or dancing. The common denominator is that most honor a member of the community who supports your cause.
  • Capital campaigns are generally considered to be fundraising efforts for major capital purposes. The goal is usually millions of dollars and at times more. 60 -80% of money is raised during the quiet phase. This phase ends with the launch, the public rollout of the campaign. Launch events are a great way to create enthusiasm about your campaign and to get media attention.
  • Until recently no one did events to recognize people who had made bequests to their organization. But, it is so meaningful to hold smaller more intimate events to thank and recognize these donors and to reaffirm the impact their testamentary donations will make. It brings these donors closer to the organization and helps ensure their commitments.

Remember, special events at every phase of your campaign provide that experiential experience in which an emotional connection can be made.

Please let me hear from you with questions about special events and fundraising. You can reach me at deborah@creative-si.com.

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.

Putting together the puzzle pieces for your end of the year fundraising

A very dear friend lost her husband unexpectedly. I wanted to make sure the nonprofit in which she had been very involved knew about the funeral. I also wanted to make a donation in his memory.

I hit the website knowing that I would easily find the needed contact information, since I had worked with the organization as a marketing communications consultant in 2008.

Imagine my surprise when I could not find any email addresses or phone numbers except to a central box.

What a wake-up call!

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:

  • 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

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

Do you have any suggestions ? We’d love to hear from you.

Have questions? Need more information?

Please contact me at deborah@creative-si.com.