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.

It Started with a Simple Question – Building a Website

Building a website from scratch

It started off as an innocent request – “I need a few important changes to the website today!”

“Well, first you have to make a request. Then the webmaster has to schedule the changes. Don’t make any until we see the cost.”

Anyone who works in communications knows how important the website is. This is especially true for nonprofits struggled to ‘cut through the noise’ and raise much-needed funding.

 To some, the word “technology” is titillating – it conjures up excitement and pumps adrenaline to the brain. But to others, “technology” elicits an uneasy feeling in the gut that makes them want to curl up on the couch with a blanket and a book. Exposure to too much of the geeky stuff causes them to just shut down. From a webinar description presented by Jay Wilkinson, CEO of Firespring

So, instead of making that request I wrote the rationale for having a website built on a platform that the organization could manage – without an outside webmaster.

Then I started on a most interesting journey. Although I had designed, not in the technical sense, websites for organizations, I had never actually worked on one. I knew that if I could manage the process . . .well, just about anyone could.

So, please see for yourself. I’d love your opinions on www.dekalbpolicealliance.org.

It is a constant work-in-process, which is just what the DeKalb County Police Alliance wanted.

Are there glitches? To be sure. Do I make mistakes? Absolutely. But, I can fix them.

Now, if I could only find those extra hours in my day.