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 [email protected] 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