Free webinar: speed consulting for better year-end sites

first_imgAs we enter into year-end fundraising season, now’s the time to make sure your website is in tip-top shape. Have you ever wondered what should – or shouldn’t – be on your nonprofit website? Can supporters find your donate button? Do you really need to post your address and phone number? Where do you make your case for giving? Join Network for Good’s Nonprofit Team as they give homepage tips and tricks!Attend this webinar on November 27 to learn ways to maximize your website during the holiday fundraising rush and walk away with the following:• An overview of year-end website best practices• 60 second critiques of actual nonprofit websites (submit yours in the registration form!)• Question and answer period to address any nonprofit website issuesRegister now.last_img read more

Smile, you’re in the happiness business

first_imgYou’re in the business not only of doing good; you’re in the business of making people feel great. I like to quote the researcher M.A.Strahilevitz on this topic: “Most fundraisers probably don’t think of themselves in the business of selling happiness to donors, but that is … their job.”In an interview with Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky, Gretchen Rubin quotes Lyubomirsky on why this is the case:“Research shows that there are many simple activities that reliably make people happier. My favorite is doing acts of kindness. The generous acts don’t have to be random and they don’t have to be a certain kind (e.g, anonymous or social or big, etc.). We have found that almost any types of acts of kindness boost happiness. And two hot-off-the-presses studies reveal even bigger benefits. An experiment we just published in PLOS ONE showed that when 9- to 11-year old kids were asked to do acts of kindness for several weeks, not only did they get happier over time but they became more popular with their peers. And another big intervention we just finished at a company in Spain showed that asking some employees to be generous to a randomly chosen list of colleagues (we called this our “Secret Santa” manipulation) produced huge benefits (for increasing happiness, connectedness, flow, and decreasing depression) not just for the givers, but for the receivers and even for observers. The recipients of kindness “paid the kind acts forward” and even acquaintances of the givers became happier and were inspired to act more generously themselves.”Smile, you’re in the happiness business.last_img read more

Message isn’t working? Here’s a three-point diagnosis.

first_imgIf your messaging isn’t getting through or your marketing campaign isn’t making a difference, it is probably for one (or all) of these three reasons. 1. Falsely assuming that information results in action. It’s tempting to assume that if people have information, they will act on it. But sadly, information doesn’t equal action. We know it’s healthy to exercise every day – but that doesn’t mean we’re going to do it. Inertia is a strong force. Good causes are forever in conflict with the status quo and business as usual. We can’t just lay out information. We need to create a compelling reason for taking action that beats doing nothing. In marketing terms, we need to improve our reward and lower our price.2. Forgetting that we’re not the audience. The messages that appeal to us aren’t the ones that necessarily resonate with others. Every assumption should be suspect until we understand our audiences’ mindsets. When we assume our audience thinks the way we do, we are at odds with the principles of marketing. We must think like the people we want to reach if we want to succeed.3. Treating marketing as an afterthought. Marketing and communications are often tacked on to a good causes’s efforts at the last minute. In treating marketing as an afterthought, we deprive ourselves of the great benefits that marketing can bring to all our work. A marketing mindset throughout every dimension of our cause can help us design more effective projects, better meet the needs of people we want to help, win us more resources and support, and motivate people to act.last_img read more

8 Tips for a Mobile-Friendly Nonprofit Website

first_imgThe team here at Network for Good has been working on our new mobile-friendly donation services lately so I thought I’d pass on our tips for making your site more mobile friendly. Don’t worry – you can start with baby steps. You don’t need a special mobile version of your site or an custom-built app to improve how mobile visitors experience your site overall. With a few simple design tweaks, you can make your nonprofit website much more usable on a mobile device – and improve your visitors’ experience across all platforms.Try these best practices from my colleague Caryn Stein to help optimize your nonprofit website for mobile use and make your pages smartphone friendly:1. Make it snappy.Keep your website’s page load times under 5 seconds – under 3 seconds is even better for mobile delivery. Remove anything that makes your pages stall or fail to load.2. Minimize data entry.Whether it’s on a donation form or a newsletter sign-up box, try to minimize the amount of typing your visitors will have to do. It’s already a best practice on a desktop (they’ll be more likely to fill out your form or complete the action they’re trying to take), and it’s absolutely critical for mobile users, since typing in a lot of information can quickly become a drag on even the smartest of phones.3. Your copy must be short and sweet.Remember: online visitors don’t read, they skim. Reduce the amount of text you have on each page and break up longer blocks of text with headings. Use an easy-to-read font size and type. Choose shorter sentences and clear calls to action over long paragraphs.4. Focus on one high-quality image.Images can help quickly communicate a story or call to action, but make it your mission to focus on one high-quality photo rather than using multiple images on a page. More images will take longer to load and they won’t look good on a smaller screen.5. Remove the roadblocks.Website roadblocks can make your site virtually unusable on a mobile device. Reduce your dependence on Flash, JavaScript, popups or other animations for best results – most mobile devices can’t correctly display content in these formats. Swap them out in favor of static images and clear, compelling copy.6. Keep relevant content front and center.Don’t force mobile users to scroll across three columns and all four corners of your site to find what they’re looking for. Make it easy to access the key pages of your site by placing them prominently near the top and center of your page.7. Make links and buttons easy to use.Review your links and buttons: are they large enough to click on from small screens without zooming? Be sure to provide enough space between links or buttons to prevent a wayward thumb from clicking on something by accident.8. Keep it simple.A simple, clean design is a good idea for any site, whether it’s accessed on a desktop browser, tablet or smartphone. Embrace the use of white space, clear the clutter and narrow your visitor’s focus to one or two clear calls to action. This not only improves the usability of your website, but it will improve your conversion rates by removing unnecessary distractions.last_img read more

A simple picture to sharpen your focus

first_imgI’ve shared this before, but it bears repeating: Your organization should dwell in the intersection of this picture, which is a combination of thinking from Jim Collins’ hedgehog concept and BBMG‘s branding thinking. If you don’t know which program to pursue or which message to choose, ask yourself: which reflects all three of these factors?That’s where you focus.last_img

Help your corporate partners be brainiac cause marketers

first_imgimage via the SparkologistAs I’ve often written on this blog, human beings are inherently empathetic. Our brains are hardwired to relate to other people’s experiences. When we witness or imagine someone acting, our neurons fire the same way they would if we were undertaking the same action. That’s why your heart races when your favorite athlete soars toward the basket or why the sight of a mother struggling to save her child from floodwaters causes you pain. When we translate this empathy into helping another person, our brains have another reaction: We’re rewarded with happy feelings, thanks to a dopamine dose to our brain’s pleasure center.That’s powerful stuff for nonprofit marketers.You can read about how the science of giving relates to nonprofit marketing in Network for Good’s eBooks Homer Simpson for Nonprofits and Lisa Simpson for Nonprofits. And now I’ve translated these same learnings for companies looking to engage their customers through cause marketing programs. This new eGuide – The Brainiac’s Guide to Cause Marketing: How People’s Minds Really Work, and What That Means for Your Next Campaign – shows that if we get how people think, we can get them to do.While the findings are geared toward a corporate audience, the lessons still apply to those of us who work in nonprofit marketing. Plus this is a great resource to share with your corporate partners. You can demonstrate true value as a partner in helping companies deepen their engagement with customers through cause initiatives with your organization. The Brainiac’s Guide to Cause Marketing has lots of ideas to do just that.Download your FREE eGuide now!last_img read more

How to read this blog

first_imgLove reading this blog? Don’t miss out! For those of you reading this blog via Google Reader: Google Reader will be retired on July 1, 2013, which means you won’t be able to read your blog and news feeds through the Google Reader service after that date. We love our readers and want to make sure you stay in touch!The easiest way to stay updated is to receive the latest posts via email, powered by FeedBlitz. To subscribe to this blog via email, just visit: and enter your email address in the subscription sign up box in the left column of the page.To add this blog to another feed reader (we like Feedly), use this RSS URL: (For more information on how to export all of your Google Reader information — including this blog’s feed, visit this support page on Google.)Have another feed reader you like? Suggest it in the comments!last_img read more

5 Tips for Getting Started with Nonprofit Video

first_imgNot sure how to include music in your videos without getting into copyright issues? Check out Music Bakery for royalty-free music. With a good story as the foundation for your video, your organization can use YouTube to spread your message and raise money online. Here are some tips for nonprofits venturing into the world of online video:No video camera? No problem. Videos created with still images, audio, and text can be just as powerful as moving images. Programs like Animoto can help you create a powerful video with no need to shoot footage. For a great example of video storytelling without moving images, check out Epic Change’s video featuring a thank you letter from a student in Tanzania. Don’t forget: Tell a story! Give people a reason to watch your video and suggest a clear, simple action they can take to respond to what they just watched.For more on the telling compelling story, check out our on-demand nonprofit storytelling webinar. Is your video missing a call to action? YouTube offers a way for nonprofits to add an overlay message to their video with a clear message.center_img If your organization is struggling to develop video content, consider sharing short pieces (think 30 seconds) with simple storylines and clear call to actions before going all out and creating a 7-minute, year-end campaign video. charity: water uses a call to action overlay that pops up at the end of their YouTube videos.last_img read more

Why one jar is not enough

first_imgDuring Labor Day weekend, my husband and I were exploring the Virginia countryside, which included a visit to the Graffiti House. The Graffiti House was used as a field hospital during the Civil War and still houses fascinating graffiti from the soldiers of that time. The building is also the headquarters of the Brandy Station Foundation and serves as a museum and visitor’s center for the nearby Brandy Station Battlefield. While Helen, the volunteer guide, showed us around the main floor of the house, I noticed that instead of having just one central donation jar, there were other donation jars placed around the exhibits and in various rooms. The jars were located in areas where visitors would be the most engaged: in the library where a short film was shown, next to binders where history buffs could research individual names, and near the “Wall of Honor” where visitors could leave their own signatures. I found this to be a good source of inspiration we can all use as year-end fundraising season rapidly approaches. Whether you’re collecting donations through your online fundraising campaigns, at an event, or even with Costco-sized pickle jars, it’s essential to provide easy pathways to give at the point of inspiration. Enable donors to give when they are in the moment of feeling the impact of your work. Don’t assume that someone will be moved to donate and then go on a mad hunt to find a way to give you their money. Some ways to make this work…On your website: Don’t just plop a big, juicy donate button at the top of your website and call it a day. Do that, and then also add links to donate from your blog, success stories, and photo galleries. In your fundraising appeals: Pause for a breath in your next fundraising email and offer direct links to your donation page at strategic points in your story.At your fundraising events: Make it easy to sign up to be a recurring donor on the spot and offer mobile giving options for donors who are in a generous mood, but no longer carry a checkbook.How are you making it easy for donors to give at the moments they are inspired by your work?last_img read more

6 Tips to Ensure Your Emails Are Read (and Enjoyed)

first_imgEmail is one of the most effective ways to communicate with supporters. But if your emails aren’t reaching inboxes, aren’t sparking interest with a thoughtful subject line, or are too generic, there’s a chance your supporters won’t read them at all. Below are a few tips to help you personalize messages and refine your delivery strategy so that your emails are read (and enjoyed). Customize the “From” fieldThere’s nothing special or memorable about receiving an email from “office” or But when you personalize the “From” address to send your campaign from an actual person, such as your executive director or a beneficiary of your work, you’ve taken the first step in creating a relationship with your supporters.Limit your subject line lengthThe perfect subject line length is up for debate. The rule of thumb is a 40 character limit, but some email clients display only the first 25. When in doubt, test across as many email clients as you can, and take a look at your open rates as you test.Perfect subject line copy You’ve got only one chance to make a good first impression. Your email subject lines can show how much you respect your constituents’ busy schedules by telling them exactly what they’ll find inside. Always avoid using ALL CAPS, dollar signs, and exclamation points, all of which will raise flags for spam filters. You should also avoid using words such as “free,” “help,” or “invite.” Try “complimentary,” “assistance,” and “confirm” instead. To increase your email delivery rates further, always use a spam filter test (Constant Contact has a great spam checker!) to scour your email header, subject line, body, and footer.Make it personal Formal salutations like “Dear Sir or Madam” can be appropriate when writing long form letters by hand, but with email, the expectations are less formal. Feel free to address your recipients with a familiar “Hi,” followed by their first name—provided of course that you have followed the email list building best practice of asking for first and last names.Bring it to a closeThe same advice to keep your content personal applies when signing off. Feel free to thank your supporters and be sincere, but remember to sign off with your own name to personalize the email further. Some organizations like to include a small photo of the sender to create an even more personal touch. The email’s closing also provides you with the chance to add one more reminder using a post script (P.S.) to prompt reader action. Be sure to take advantage of this, as it has proven to be one of the most read elements in emails.Test and refineWhen it comes to email marketing to any audience, there is no single proven path to guaranteed success. However, testing and refining your emails will help you better understand your audience and craft messages that raise more money while creating lasting connections.Ready to dive in to professional email marketing? Find out more about Constant Contact and start raising more money for your mission with email marketing. MedSend has raised over half a million online by combiningeffective email marketing with their online fundraising strategy.last_img read more

The identity and promise of your nonprofit’s brand

first_imgIn Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits, branding and design maven Debbie Millman rounds up thoughts on brands, culture, and marketing from smart folks such as Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Pink, and Virginia Postrel. This collection of interviews is a fascinating read for anyone who is in the business of communication and sharing ideas. Two key qualities of brands appear throughout these conversations between Millman and friends. These two qualities can help you focus your fundraising and marketing to clearly communicate your nonprofit’s unique viewpoint to donors and potential supporters. Identity.Your nonprofit’s brand is much more than your visual identity or carefully crafted slogans. The way your organization portrays itself to the world happens at a deeper level. The passion that fuels your mission, the people on the front lines, and the stories of those you serve— these are more powerful representations of who you are and what you do. Interestingly enough, your brand’s identity can take on a more personal meaning for your audience. When they become donors or volunteers for your cause, supporters take pride in owning the qualities of your organization and make it part of their identity, too. Questions to consider: How is your nonprofit’s true identity portrayed? Is it different than the one you’re publishing in your marketing material? How would supporters of your organization identify themselves as part of your tribe?Promise.Brands can explicitly or implicitly offer promises to their audience—in most cases they do both (whether intended or not). Beyond the explicit promises you make to your donors in your fundraising appeals or in your annual report (we are good stewards of your gift, we will use 90% of funds for program activities), your nonprofit’s brand becomes a promise in itself, implying certain values each time someone encounters your organization. This is why your work to maintain trust and transparency with your donors is vital. Of course when you’re making promises, it’s important to keep them! It’s extremely difficult for an organization to rebound from broken promises in the eyes of their fans.Questions to consider: What promises are you making to your community of supporters? What promise does your brand convey? Do these match what your donors would say?last_img read more

Gmail’s New Inbox: What to Say to Your Nonprofit’s Gmail Subscribers

first_imgThat should do the trick! If you’re a Constant Contact customer, we created a special template you can use as well.How to find the “New Gmail Tabs” template:Just log in to your account, create a new email, and type “Gmail” in the search box. You’ll then be able to select the “New Gmail Tabs” template. *Drag and drop [my/our] email into your Primary tab and click “yes” when Gmail asks if you’d like future messages from this email address to go to your Primary tab. As you may know, Gmail recently rolled out a newly designed inbox. If you’ve been using the new design, you also know your emails are now being sorted into three tabs – Primary, Social, and Promotions – with two additional tabs, Updates and Forums, available from the Configure inbox section of your Gmail Settings. As Constant Contact’s Content Developer, Ryan Pinkham helps small businesses and nonprofits recognize their full potential through marketing and social media. [I/We] hope this information helps. If you have any additional questions please let [me/us] know. You may also have noticed that [my/our] emails, maybe even this one, now appear in your Promotions or Updates tab. If you’d rather receive the emails [I/we] send in your Primary tab, it’s simple to tell Gmail where these emails should go. [Dear subscriber/first name], Thanks!center_img [Your name/organization name] Here’s how: That’s it! At this point, you’ve probably heard about Gmail’s new inbox. Although it’s still too early to tell what impact the new tabs will have on your nonprofit email marketing, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can do to be proactive with the Gmail subscribers on your list.The first thing you can do is to continue to send relevant, valuable content to your donors, supporters, volunteers, and everyone else who has signed up to receive emails from your organization. This is the content people will look for regardless of which tab Gmail sends it to.Next, you may consider sending an email to your Gmail subscribers showing them how to move your emails to the Primary tab.Here’s a sample email that you can modify to match the voice of your organization or copy and paste (just be sure to make changes where appropriate) and send to your Gmail subscribers. It explains the recent changes to Gmail’s inbox and what your customers should do to move your emails into their Primary tab if they’d rather get your emails there. Here’s the sample nonprofit email you can use. Just remember to change the bold sections appropriately for your situation before sending:Subject line: Did Gmail put this email where you want it? Aside from teaching your readers about Gmail’s new inbox, it has never been more important to offer relevant, helpful content that your supporters will thank you for. Here’s how to create a list of your Gmail subscribers:Go to the Contacts section of your Constant Contact account. Search for email addresses ending in “” and save the search results as a new list which you can label “Gmail Subscribers.” That way you’ll be able to send this email to just your Gmail subscribers.last_img read more

Free webinar: How to sustain your nonprofit through social enterprise

first_imgWhen I talk with groups of nonprofits at conferences and training events, I often hear the same common concern from fundraisers and marketers: how can we cover our expenses and expand our programs when we rely on shrinking, restrictive, or difficult to manage funding sources? To become truly sustainable, many nonprofits need to diversify funding sources and supplement the support they receive from grants, loans, and charitable contributions. One way to do this is with a social enterprise model. Nonprofits that apply the best practices of businesses and explore earned income strategies can open up new opportunities for revenue streams through fees for service, production of goods, or for-profit enterprises. Examples of organizations using a social enterprise business model include Goodwill Industries, DC Central Kitchen, and Habitat for Humanity, through their home improvement ReStores. Kevin Lynch, president and CEO of Social Enterprise Alliance, will join us tomorrow (February 18) for a free webinar to show you how you can apply these tactics and boost your bottom line. He’ll explain what social enterprise can do for your organization and how to get started. This session is a must for any nonprofit professional who wants to move their organization forward in 2014. Check out the details below.Free Webinar: Transform Your Nonprofit with Social EnterpriseTuesday, February 18, 2014 | 1pm ESTRegister now.(Can’t attend the live session? Sign up anyway—we’ll send you the slides and recording so you don’t miss it!)last_img read more

The 4 Rs: Be Real, Relevant, Realistic, and Rewarding in Your Content Marketing

first_imgAs you start using content marketing to capture the hearts of your nonprofit supporters, remember to stay true to your organization with the four Rs: Be real, relevant, realistic, and, most importantly, rewarding! Here’s how:1. Be real.When you’re talking about your nonprofit or cause, are you being real? It’s important to keep your organization’s story at the forefront of everything you do and to stay true to your nonprofit’s voice. Be mindful of your supporters and where they’re coming from, and be mindful of how you can reach them. Are they heavily using mobile? Do they rarely go on Pinterest?2. Be relevant.Does your nonprofit make sense in its context? That might sound like a lot of marketing speak, but it really means are you relevant. For example, are you holding a coat drive in the hottest part of summer? Make sure your content and actions make sense with what’s happening in your community and in current events.3. Be realistic.Do you know the barriers to communicating with your audience? Identifying what can get in the way of communication might seem hard, but it’s just making sure you’re reaching your supporters. If the dollars are flowing and volunteers are knocking down your door, then your content is doing amazing work! If you’re asking people to do something hard and getting no response, how can you make it as easy as possible? Is the action inconvenient or seemingly expensive? Use your messaging to acknowledge that and take action to make it seem easy.4. Be rewarding.Do you tell people what the benefits are to taking action? Let your content express the benefits of taking the course of action you want. If you want people to attend your event, emphasize that guests will enjoy a good meal, good company, and a good time. If you’re asking for a donation, emphasize the feel-good feeling or tempt them with free swag. Make sure that you offer a reward in your message.last_img read more

Facebook for Fundraising: Worth It or Waste of Time?

first_imgWith refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build the 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 There are two main reasons Facebook use is more in question than ever:1. Longtime challenge: Facebook constantly changes its algorithm for which posts are fed to your page fans’ newsfeeds and its page design—without advance notice or how-tos. Keeping up with these changes requires an enormous expenditure of time and expense, especially for those of us with limited staff and budgets (most nonprofits).2. Most recent ugh: Pay to play, along with a huge decline in organic reach for your content. Now the frequency with which your posts appear on fans’ newsfeeds depends on your organization’s level of Facebook ad spend.As the chart above illustrates, if you don’t pay Facebook to boost your content, you can expect that only six of every 100 fans will even see your posts. How many people do you expect to read, much less act, on it?What’s clear is that Facebook isn’t free. Plan to pay to have your messages delivered. Now it’s just another paid advertising channel, albeit one with targeted reach if your organization thinks the expense is worth it.My recommendation: Use Facebook only if you fulfill all of these criteria:1. You’ve selected Facebook as the social media channel of choice because you know that your low-hanging fruit (priority prospects and donors) are on Facebook, and you have a good way to drive them to your page and keep them there. Few organizations can effectively utilize more than one social media channel, at least to start.2. You use Facebook as a complementary channel to direct marketing (online and offline), your website, and the other places where you have a positive track record of motivating the actions you want (giving, registering, etc.). Content, look, and feel are consistent across channels. Tone varies depending on the channel and segment of folks you’re reaching out to in each channel or campaign.3. You set concrete goals for whatever is measurable on your page (much isn’t) and try to link actions taken on other channels back to Facebook (and other influences).4. You are willing to invest a lot of time and expertise in your Facebook presence, plus a lot of cash for ad buys. Your nonprofit will be competing against Zappos and Proctor & Gamble—what are your chances?Most organizations I know don’t fit this profile. So, for most, Facebook is not worth the investment, even if your CEO or board chair is pushing it hard.Exceptions!1) If your organization works with cats, puppies, or other adorable animals, that’s another reason to pursue Facebook reach. Take at look at RedRover’s Facebook page. Cute animal photos pull big-time on Facebook!2) If you’ve successfully built a loyal, active group on Facebook, keep up the good work. Two examples, from small to mammoth, are the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation and Planned Parenthood of America, which has nurtured a dedicated, at-the-ready group of activists via Facebook.If you decide to invest in Facebook, these relevancy strategies will help build your reach:• Be transparent, helpful, and accessible.• Share behind-the-scenes content.• Engage your audience with questions.• Share self-explanatory pictures and visual content. Your organization’s free Facebook ride is over! Now, when checking Facebook page activity stats (aka Insights) for our client organizations, I make sure to dive in with a sweet treat in hand. That’s because I need to balance the bad news—which tends to decrease followers and reach—with something good.I bet you’ve noticed the change, too—that is, if your organization is striving to use Facebook to strengthen connections with supporters and prospects and spur them to give. And by now you’ve probably heard the raging discussion about Facebook’s value—or lack thereof—for nonprofits and for-profits alike.If you’re not up on these changes or are unclear on the facts, let me fill you in. You need to know what’s going on so you can make the right decisions for your fundraising and marketing agendas.Facebook—so adored, so dear to so many of us at a personal level—has dramatically changed its spots.Those of us who have been in the Facebook weeds for a while, trying to figure out how best to use it to drive causes and donations forward, know how tough it’s always been—and now it’s even tougher.This graph, from a recent study by EdgeRank Checker, says it all:last_img read more

What is your biggest fundraising challenge?

first_imgWe recently asked our nonprofit Learning Center community about their biggest fundraising challenges. These fundraisers and marketers overwhelmingly indicated that acquiring new donors was the biggest challenge, with 61% choosing this as their top issue, followed by diversifying funding sources (16%), donor retention (9%), and increasing demand/staff constraints (both coming in at 7%).There’s a lot that goes into a successful donor acquisition strategy. Once you have a strong marketing plan in place, it’s important to understand how to effectively tell your nonprofit’s story and make the case for giving to actually convert your target audience into donors. We have two free guides that will help you do just that:Storytelling for NonprofitsHow to Make the Case for GivingWhat’s your biggest fundraising challenge and how are you working to solve it? Share your story in the comments below and we’ll feature selected responses in an upcoming post.last_img read more

Reboot with These 6 Summer Camp Strategies

first_imgOur daughter Charlotte’s world right now is probably familiar to many of you. She’s in the middle of a blissful summer at a few different day and overnight camps. At the end of every day, her mind and creativity are stimulated, she’s made new friends, and she sleeps soundly with a smile on her face. Charlotte finishes the summer inspired, energized, and smarter than ever.As a longtime overnight camper myself, I greatly envy her. Finally, this summer I decided to follow her summer camp strategy lead and am doing something completely different from the everyday. I’m taking a two-month sabbatical to refresh and restore—my first-ever break beyond a brief vacation since I rushed out of college to work.For many, however, a sabbatical isn’t possible, so I wanted to outline effective approaches used by fellow nonprofit staffers and consultants. I became a reboot detective, determined to find what’s working since rebooting is so valuable and so productive in teeing you up for a great fall and beyond.I did what I typically do when I’m looking for answers—ask my friends and colleagues. Here are some of the fantastic approaches I heard from our peers in the field:Seek a different point of view. Gillian Ream Gainsley, who works in communications and development at the Ypsilanti District Library in Michigan, does something very surprising.“My summer camp plan is to go to overnight camp. Literally. I’m on the board of a summer camp and spend a week volunteering there every year. It’s the most rejuvenating part of my year,” Gillian says.“Mostly, it’s a fantastic break. But I do communications for a youth organization, so it’s a great way to take a deep dive into how kids talk and think and feel. You have a much better sense of what their (and their parents’) needs are after a week of 24-hour interaction at camp.”Get together and get outside. Caroline Avakian, founder of Source Rise, which connects journalists with experts in international development, spends more time outdoors and with her family. “Not only is it necessary, but I find that it fuels my work and creativity, making me much more productive during my work time,” she says.Make a commitment to doing summer differently. Unless you’re lucky enough to actually go to summer camp, as Gillian does, it can be super hard to pry yourself away from the day-to-day routine, no matter how much you want to. That’s where I often fall.You’re much more likely to succeed in getting to your own version of summer camp if you formalize your commitment. I did so by telling a few close friends and colleagues about my plan and asking them to keep me honest. My husband is good at policing as well!I’m not alone here. “I have to consciously cut down on work hours to do that,” admits Caroline. “But it’s worth it since my productivity shoots up when I do get down to business. I tend to goal-set instead of clocking in my hours, so as long as I feel I’ve met my goals, I’m happy. That said, my ‘summer camp’ goals tend to be more focused on strategic priorities and organization. That focus gears me up and preps me for the busy fall season.”Take a new approach to the same old. Danielle Brigida, senior manager of social strategy and integration for the National Wildlife Federation, is one of the most creative people I know. She brings that creativity to the way she tackles her work, including her own version of summer camp.Like most of us, a lot of Danielle’s day is spent tackling ongoing challenges. Although the challenges themselves don’t vary wildly, she spices up the way she approaches them: “I break out the sidewalk chalk and the Idea Frisbee in the summer. I grab whomever I’m working with, and I just toss the Frisbee around when we need to think up clever names or ideas around campaigns. We find that moving while we brainstorm really helps.” Work your body, nourish your soul. Many of the folks I spoke with increase their physical activity when summer comes around or add seasonal treats like biking and waterskiing.Danielle, for example, goes way beyond the Idea Frisbee. “I went out on a limb and signed up for a marathon in Iceland in late August,” she says. “So I’m mostly training for that and spending as much time outside as I can. I also try to balance the running with yoga.”Connect with peers in the field to build satisfaction and smarts. Graphic designer Julia Reich uses summer’s slight dip in her firm’s client work to build relationships with other nonprofit marketers and, she hopes, find some strong strategic alliances.How will you get a little summer camp this summer? Please chime in with your comments to share how you recharge and look at things differently. With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build the 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 read more

Why Donors Want to Help One Person but Not Every Person

first_img1. Donors want to feel happy and hopeful when they give. Hearing a story and framing an ask to help on a small scale is the way to go.Here’s an example: Message 2: “A $20 monthly gift will make sure a veteran gets the job training she needs.” = My donation can actually help! According to psychologist Paul Slovic’s research about how the head and heart can influence how much people want to give to support a cause, your message is more compelling when you tell the story of one and stick to how a donor’s investment can help that one person, not many. An NPR story caught my attention this morning. Maybe you heard it too? The story was about a psychologist’s study onwhat kind of message inspires people to give more. 2. People get too caught up in the numbers. Annual reports with numbers are necessary, I know, but don’t get carried away! Tell the whole story, but highlight statistics that show how your work really made a difference instead of focusing on all the work yet to be done. In Slovic’s study, volunteers heard a story about a young girl suffering from starvation. The researchers then stepped into the fundraiser’s role and made an ask. They measured how much this group was willing to donate to help this girl. Next, a second group of volunteers heard the same story about the little girl and were told some overwhelming statistics about starvation. The same story + stats on what the issue looks like overall. Are you surprised to learn that the second group gave only about half of what the first group gave? I’m not surprised, and here are three reasons why: 3. Stories get the job done. Stories connect with the heart, and numbers make sense in your head. Potential donors will be more willing to give when you inspire them with a story. Specifically, a story that makes them feel good about what they can do to help. Message 1: “Thousands of veterans need our help transitioning back to civilian life. Please give now!” = Overwhelming. My donation won’t even make a dent. Want to read more on this topic and how it relates to fundraising success? Download Homer Simpson for Nonprofits: The Truth About How People Really Think and What It Means for Promoting Your Cause.last_img read more

Rallying the Troops: the Staff Plan for #GivingTuesday

first_imgThank key partners and sponsorsAlert the community to Day-of challenges and contests (especially if they change hourly)Inspire the community with Day-of rewards or incentivesAsk the community to GIVE and SHAREMention the Campaign Hashtag and URL Volunteer Event coordinatorIf your nonprofit is hosting a hands-on service event for #GivingTuesday, the volunteer service coordinator should be part of the war room team. Ask them to provide photos, quotes, and results from the volunteer activity that can be shared with potential supporters online and in email. Make this #GivingTuesday your best yet! Kick off your year-end fundraising with our tools, training and matching funds. It doesn’t matter if your organization has 2 staff members or 200, you can raise money on #GivingTuesday and we can help.Free #GivingTuesday resources are available to all nonprofits through Network for Good’s All TUEgether campaign. Network for Good customers can leverage matching funds for all donations made on December 1, 2015. Plus, customers have access to expert coaching, new donors, and exclusive resources to help plan a stellar #GivingTuesday campaign.Not a Network for Good customer yet? No problem. Sign up for a demo and find out how easy it is to raise money online. Get ready to have your best giving season ever. Work hard, have fun, focus on your goals, and it will be a great #GivingTuesday! Set up a #Givingtuesday ‘war room’ so the team is all together in one place. There will be hard work to do and a party atmosphere will make a long day more fun.Consider these suggestions to elevate the excitement and spur the efforts of your staff and volunteers: Make #GivingTuesday an event for your team, and a win for those you serve. In just a few days #GivingTuesday will be here. Whether you’ve planned for months or just for a week or two, there’s one more thing you can do to make it a great day for your nonprofit.Organizations large and small can put their campaigns over the top on #GivingTuesday by creating a “day of generosity” that involves your staff, board, and volunteers. Plan a day of hard-working fun that involves your team in outreach and celebration as you hit milestones toward your goal.The recommendations below are targeted at a mid-sized organization, so scale the plan for your day up or down to fit your organization’s capacity. Make it a party! Provide special t-shirts, wristbands, hats or other swag if you have it. If you don’t, consider asking each team member to wear something in the colors of your organization’s logo to create that spirit of a team.Have food throughout the day.Have a first gift ceremony, where the team members contribute whatever they can to the campaign and put that total on the board as the “founders” gifts for the campaign.Take an UNselfie of each team member and one of the whole team together and post on social media.Have a visible tally board so everyone can see when you are getting close to key milestones Phone outreach teamYour phones can be the most powerful weapon on #GivingTuesday. You can organize an actual phone-a-thon of sorts, reaching out to supporters to thank them for past generosity and invite them to join your #GivingTuesday campaign. At a minimum, you should reach out to board members, key friends of your organization, and active volunteers to enlist their participation as givers or sharers.Donor supportAssign one or more people to be available to answer questions from donors should they arise.Social outreach staff The social team will be the ambassadors of excitement for the campaign. They will focus on: Covering the dayYour #GivingTuesday staff plan should cover a time period from about 8am to 10pm. The busiest donation periods are likely to be from 9am to 3pm and 7pm to 10pm, and these are the windows when you’ll want the most coverage.Suggested staff rolesLeaderAppoint a leader so campaign staff have a single point of contact for questions throughout the day. The leader should have a list of contact information for all staff and partners (include cell phone numbers and email addresses). He or she should be ready to address technology issues should there be problems with your online giving site. Have the phone number of your software provider handy in the event there is an issue. He or she may also be assigned as designated representative to talk with the media if there is press interest in your campaign.The leader (or a designee) should be ready with talking points highlighting the key aspects of the campaign. · Building excitement by posting content to social media channels.Engaging with followers, fans, tweets.Promoting key milestone content such as Goal Updates, Prize winners, media coverage.Alerting other staff to any social postings related to issues or questions.Forwarding any social postings from the media to the team leader.last_img read more

Social Media for Nonprofits: Top 4 Dos and Don’ts

first_imgYour nonprofit’s social media outreach is a powerful way to share your impact, increase trust and credibility, and highlight constituents quickly and easily. Instead of making social media an afterthought, make it an integral part of your overall engagement strategy. When you do, people will connect with your organization and in the process become powerful allies and advocates for your cause.Here are the top four social media dos and don’ts—plus the “ultimate do”—to help you build engagement with every status update and tweet.Don’t include just a link in your Facebook posts.Do include both a link and an image to garner lots of likes, comments, shares, and click-throughs. (Check out the example on this page from Charity Water’s Facebook wall.) Avoid using stock images. Photos don’t need to be super high quality; they just need to be interesting. Gather snapshots from events or in the field, for instance, and develop a good backlog of images you can use with various types of content.Don’t post the same type of content over and over again.Do post a variety of content on all channels: blog posts, photo galleries, videos. People consume media in different ways. Mix up your media and content—tell a story, ask for donations, announce an event, etc.Don’t ignore comments and tweets.Do engage with your followers. Answer questions. Respond to feedback. Wish donors a happy birthday or even happy anniversary for, say, their fifth year as a supporter. Thank volunteers by name after a work party. We all love to be acknowledged, and we often respond by sharing those posts and telling our friends.Don’t try to manage eight different platforms.Do focus on just one to three platforms—and test everything. Keep it simple. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great places to start. Post different types of content to see what gets the most likes, shares, retweets, and comments. Learn where your audiences are, optimize your content for each platform, and make every post shareable, engaging, and unique.The Ultimate Do: Above all, make sure every post is shareable, engaging, and unique. If it isn’t all three of these things, don’t post it until it is.Adapted from Network for Good’s Nonprofit 911 webinar “How to Use Content to Boost Donations” with Taylor Corrado from HubSpot. Download the full webinar herelast_img read more