WORKSHOP: The Infographic Movement

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Wednesday April 27

8:30am — 10:30am

The Montgomery County Foundation, Inc.

 4 Sentry Parkway East, Suite 302
Blue Bell, PA 19422

 

Registration is FULL. Thank you for your interest. Make sure your are subscribed to hear about our next workshop.

As the Internet grows ever more visual, infographics seem to be everywhere. This tool for turning complex ideas into simple visuals has become a powerhouse for sharing your content across media. For something that looks so effortless when its done, it can be amazingly hard to create one yourself.

This session breaks down the infographic movement to share how you can use this tactic in your marketing. We’ll discuss the ways you can convert content you already have into visual elements as well as how to create new media from scratch. From annotated illustration to data visualization, we’ll explore the ways visual information is changing how people connect with ideas.

 

Learning Objectives

  • The difference between data visualization and infographics
  • How to incorporate infographics in marketing
  • Where to find opportunities in content you already have
  • What makes a compelling graphic
  • How to create your own

Presenter:

Beth Brodovsky helps organizations drive participation. As the president of Iris Creative Group Inc., founded in 1996, Beth is committed to developing the communication strategies, tactics and tools organizations need to get people take notice — and take action. Beth also hosts the weekly podcast Driving Participation to share ideas on what’s working in marketing and fundraising communications.

 

How to Make a Multichannel Fundraising Ask

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Guest Post Contributed by: Abby Jarvis, Communications Coordinator at Qgiv

As clichéd as it may sound, no two donors are alike. Each of your nonprofit’s supporters has a different giving preference whether that be check, cash, credit card, or other payment method. Some enjoy giving time over money. And others like giving many small gifts over one larger donation. Just like these preferences matter to your donors, so too do the ways in which you ask for those donations. But if you have more than a few donors, it’s sometimes difficult to know which methods donors like and respond best to.

The best way to alleviate this issue is to use a multichannel fundraising approach. With the multitude of ways for your nonprofit to get in touch with donors and ask them for donations, using a multichannel fundraising approach not only makes the most sense, but is also effective at bringing in more donations for your organization and helping you acquire more supporters.

Check out these best practices for using a multichannel fundraising approach before you start asking for donations:

1. Ask your donors which method they prefer.

Before you start mailing out hundreds or thousands of direct mail appeals or hit the send button on that email campaign, talk to your existing donors and connect with them. Find out which communication methods they have liked in the past.

Your nonprofit should be constantly assessing donor preferences whenever you make donation appeals:

  1. If a donor makes a contribution online, include an option on your online donation form where they can select how they’d like to be contacted.
  2. When talking to donors one-on-one, ask them whether they’d like to receive emails, direct mail, phone calls, or a combination.
  3. Have a table at your fundraising event where donors can indicate their communication preference.
  4. Include a form in your direct mail appeals that donors can fill out expressing how they’d like to stay in touch.

Asking donors how they’d like to be reached is a good first step on the road to making multichannel fundraising asks.

2. Don’t overdo it with email.

There’s nothing worse than ending up on the email list of a company that sends too many emails. It clutters up your inbox and causes needless frustration. Many people wind up unsubscribing from those emails.

Make sure your donors aren’t unsubscribing from your emails. Sending out email appeals makes sense for many nonprofits; it’s a cost-effective and efficient way to connect with donors and ask them for contributions.

But not every email should be a request for more money. Instead, you can:

  • Update donors on current projects they’re funding.
  • Offer volunteering opportunities.
  • Promote your next event.
  • Share success stories.
  • And more!

3. Go mobile.

If you’ve been to a coffee shop, bus station, or really any public place lately, you’ve probably noticed that nearly everyone is on their cell phone. Whether they’re calling their friends to make dinner plans or using an app to find the perfect place for dinner, almost everybody has a smart phone to their ear or in their hand.

How is your nonprofit showing up on donors’ phones?

Make sure that your website is optimized for mobile and tablet use. But even more importantly, have a mobile version of your donation form. This way, donors can give even when they aren’t sitting in front of their laptops or desktops. They can even donate while waiting in line for their coffee! In the past year alone, mobile giving has increased by over 200%! Make sure you aren’t missing out on those donations.

You can also try using text-to-give. Technology has made text giving easier than ever, and your nonprofit can’t afford to miss out on this simple way to bring in donations.Donors like the ease and convenience of giving on the go. Meet that demand and go mobile!

4. Train your staff members to make better asks.

While a lot of fundraising appeals can be made through digital avenues, sometimes a good old fashioned face-to-face donation ask can be the way to go. In fact, for your major gift solicitation, in-person donation appeals are pretty much the only way to go.

But your face-to-face meetings might not go well if you don’t properly train your fundraising staff members.Training your team might mean practicing making donation asks in a group setting. It could also mean sending your staff to a fundraising conference to learn more about the latest trends and techniques.Your staff won’t be properly equipped to make those important in-person donation appeals if you don’t give them the tools they need!

5. Don’t discount direct mail.

Even though email and social media donation appeals are more cost effective, there’s still something to be said for direct mail. Many donors prefer writing out a check, placing it in an envelope, and sending it off to a nonprofit. While not all of your donors will want to go through that process, there is a significant portion of your supporters who like the physical, tangible aspect of direct mail.

Sending out direct mail letters, postcards, and other materials can be a great way to ask for donations from those donors who prefer a more traditional giving method.

6. Do some digging.

Multichannel fundraising asks may seem a bit perplexing at first. How can you determine which communication methods will work best for each donor? You could try using a crystal ball or a psychic, but the surefire way is to simply do some research.Just like past giving is a great indicator of future giving, past success with donation appeals speaks to future success.

Look back at your fundraising asks. Did a particular email campaign bring in more donations than you thought it would? Did a speaker at a fundraising event spur the crowd into action?

Whatever your big-hitting donation appeal strategies were in the past, use them for your future multichannel fundraising asks.

7. Say thank you more than once.

There’s an old proverb that says, “Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.” This isn’t just good advice for our personal lives; it’s also a good tip for nonprofits!Nonprofit fundraising and multichannel donation appeals aren’t just about asking for money and then walking away. You have to show your gratitude to your donors if you expect to form a lasting relationship with them. Whether your supporters make donations online, over the phone, in person, or with direct mail, you must have a comprehensive acknowledgement plan in place.

This plan might look something like this:

  1. Immediately thank a donor for their contribution. As soon as you receive the funds, you should be thanking the contributor.
  2. Send follow up information when appropriate. If a donor expressed a desire to volunteer or attend an event, get that info out as soon as possible. Use it as a way to thank the donor a second time.
  3. Acknowledge past donations in your current fundraising asks. If you send out a solicitation to a loyal supporter, mention their past contributions and give examples of how their funds are being used.

Naturally, this plan will need to be tweaked depending on how you ask for donations. The key is to express your gratitude more than once.

Multichannel fundraising asks don’t have to be complicated! By diversifying your donation appeal strategy, you’ll be able to reach more donors via their preferred communication method. Follow these seven tips and you’ll be bringing in more donations than ever!

4 Letters and Emails Your Nonprofit Should Send to Grow Your Matching Gift Revenue

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Guest Post Contributed by: Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation

It doesn’t make much sense for you to walk around with only one shoe, and it certainly doesn’t make sense for your nonprofit not to talk to your donors about matching gifts. Skipping the matching gifts talk is like going out the door with only one sneaker on your foot.

But how exactly should you go about promoting matching gifts to your donors?

You’ve probably got questions, but luckily, we have answers. Read ahead for more information about matching gift communications you should be sending out to help you bring in more matching gifts than ever! Check out these four donor communications your organization needs to send out to boost your matching gift revenue.

Take a look at this article to learn how better writing translates into stronger connections with your supporters.

1. Matching Gift Reminders

Your donors might not remember to submit their matching gift requests unless your organization reminds them to do so!

Mention matching gifts in your various donor communications including:

  • Invitations to your fundraising events like school art auctions, church family fun days, or organizational dinners.
  • Newsletter updates about ongoing or completed projects.
  • Donation appeals.
  • Thank you letters.
  • Emails about volunteering opportunities.
  • And more!

Whenever you communicate with donors via letter or email, make sure that you mention matching gifts at some point. When the opportunity to double their donation is fresh in their minds, they’ll be more likely to submit requests to their employers sooner rather than later.

You can either dedicate an entire email or letter to matching gifts, or you can briefly mention it. However you choose to let donors know about matching gifts, make sure you give them a way to find more information:

  • Include links in your emails to a matching gift tool or database where donors can look up their employers’ programs.
  • Encourage direct mail recipients to talk to their employers or their HR departments to learn more about matching gifts.

The more informed donors are about matching gifts, the more likely they will be to have their donations matched!

2. Matching Gift Acknowledgements to Donors

Everyone likes feeling appreciated, and your donors are no exception! If they’ve submitted a matching gift request to their employer and you’ve verified and received the funds, send out a thank you letter or email as soon as possible.

Why?

Well, you’re already thanking donors for their contributions after they make their initial donation. But the process of submitting, verifying, and receiving a matching gift can take weeks or even months. A donor might have completely forgotten that he or she even submitted a matching donation request! By sending out a matching gift acknowledgement after you’ve received a donor’s employer’s contribution shows that you see donors (and their employers!) as more than wallets or ATMs, an important component of donor stewardship.

And if you’re sending out emails on a regular basis, check out these five ideas for increasing your open rates!

3. Matching Gift Acknowledgements to Companies

Let’s not be too quick to forget who sends the second donation to your organization! Companies and businesses deserve recognition and gratitude just like donors do.

In fact, if you’re looking to form long-term partnerships with your donors’ employers, then you absolutely need to acknowledge the donations that they send your way.

This gratitude can take several forms:

  • If one company in particular matches the donations of several of your donors, you can feature the business on your website or in your letters and emails to donors. Thank them and explain what their donations are going toward.
  • Send a formal thank you letter to the companies that match employee donations. Have a senior executive or board member sign the letter to add a personal touch.
  • Send the company email updates on what their donations have helped accomplish (P.S., this will encourage them to give in the future!).

Fundraising with matching gifts wouldn’t be possible without the help of the companies that donate those second contributions. Make sure that you’re including them in your letter and email acknowledgements and follow up communications.

4. Invitations to Special Events

Whether someone had a major gift matched by their employer or they’ve repeatedly had donations doubled, you might consider hosting a special “Matching Gift Donor Day” and sending out invitations via email and direct mail. Sending out personalized invitations is a good way to remind your donors of their past contributions and encourage them to give in the future. Previous giving is the best indicator of future donations, but sometimes your supporters just need an extra reminder.

Your special event can be a fancy, black tie affair, or a more laid back social event. However you plan on thanking your matching gift donors, make sure that their invitations adhere to the following criteria:

  1. The greeting is personalized. No one starts out a party invitation with “Dear Friend,” and your nonprofit shouldn’t begin yours with “Dear Donor.” Get personal with your supporters and take the time to make each letter begin with their preferred name.
  2. The body of the letter makes mention of their previous donations. If you have a good enough relationship with your donors to invite them to a special event, your letter or email should definitely include a reference and acknowledgement of their past support.
  3. The letter doesn’t ask for another contribution. If you send out an invitation to a special event, don’t try to sneak in an extra donation appeal. It will only make donors feel isolated and unlikely to come to your event or donate again!

Your letter and email invitations should be special, just like your matching gift donors!

There are other letters and emails that you should be sending out to all of your donors, but these four examples are a great starting point if you want to start growing your matching gift revenue. Start asking for (and receiving) matching gifts by sending out these four letters and emails as soon as you can!

3 Mission Statement Mistakes that Nonprofits Make

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Guest Post Contributed by: Jack Karako, Founding Principal & Strategist at IMPACTism

Whether your organization is saving puppies and kittens, combating inequality, or improving our environment, you need a mission statement to let people know exactly what it is you’re trying to accomplish.

Sure, supporters might spend thirty minutes looking at the “About” section on your website or flipping through a pamphlet they picked up at a fundraising event, but your mission statement will likely be the first indication individuals have of what your organization does and how you accomplish that vision.

In order to acquire new supporters and keep the ones you have, your nonprofit mission statement will need to meet a few requirements.

Take a look at your organization’s mission statement and make sure you aren’t making any of the following mistakes.

 

1. Your mission statement is too vague.

Consider the following hypothetical mission statement:

“We Help People.”

This sentence fails to address several questions.

  • What demographic of people is being assisted?
  • How is the nonprofit helping them?
  • What kind of support do they need from volunteers or donors?

This fake mission statement is far too vague to pack any sort of punch. Do they provide after school programs for children in under-developed areas, or do they support cancer research? It’s impossilbe to tell!

Instead, take a look at the Harmony Project’s mission statement:

“Building healthier lives and communities through music.”

This mission statement helps supporters understand what the Harmony Project does and how they accomplish that goal. If you want to engage new and existing supporters, make sure that you have a clear and specific mission statement.

For examples, check out this list of forty mission statements from all types of nonprofits.

 

2. Your mission statement is hiding.

If your supporters visit your website and can’t find your mission statement, you’re doing it wrong.

There are many ways to build your nonprofit’s audience, but having a bold and visible mission statement is one of the easiest and most effective tactics.

After you and your nonprofit staff have crafted a specific and effective mission statement, send it out into the world!

Place it:

  • On your website.
  • Within your emails.
  • On promotional items like t-shirts and water bottles.
  • On your social media pages.
  • On banners and flyers promoting your fundraising events.
  • Anywhere you can!

Your mission statement should be highly visible and remind supporters of the work that you do. Not only will you be able to briefly explain your nonprofit’s goal through your mission statement, but your new supporters will be uplifted knowing that they are contributing or volunteering with an organization that is committed to a specific vision.

You should be connecting with your supporters in a multitude of ways. Having a visible mission statement is just another tactic for making those effective connections.

 

3. Your mission statement isn’t part of your nonprofit’s culture.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of your organization and completely forget that you even have a mission statement.

If you want to avoid wearing out your nonprofit staff, remind them of the importance of the work they do by making your mission statement part of your organization’s daily culture.

When you consistently make your mission statement a priority at your nonprofit, you help your staff stay focused on what they’re trying to accomplish. Similarly to how you would include your mission statement in your communications to supporters, you should include it:

  • Within internal emails, perhaps in an email signature.
  • On business cards.
  • On letterheads.
  • Within your office space.
  • On company promotional items.
  • Anything else you can think of!

The key is to make your mission statement as visible to everyone as you can. Supporters, employees, and random strangers should read your mission statement, know exactly what you do, and possibly want to be a part of your cause.

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If you aren’t sure where to start with your nonprofit’s mission statement, consider attending a nonprofit conference for inspiration. You can gain insight into how to craft an effective mission statement and meet nonprofit professionals who have years of experience in their fields. You’ll also be exposed to plenty of successful mission statements from your colleagues’ organizations. By avoiding these three mission statement mistakes, you’ll be poised for success!

5-Step Guide to Donor Communications After an Event

Guest Post Contributed by: Dan Quirk, Marketing Manager at Salsa

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There are few greater feelings in the world than the sense of accomplishment when you’ve completed a difficult task, such as the moments in the immediate aftermath of a fundraising event.

Your nonprofit has worked hard, gathered a great crowd, and raised money for your cause. Once the night is over, it is time to celebrate and revel in the fruits of your labor. Your team deserves to celebrate, but it’ll have to jump back into action pretty quickly. Post-event communications don’t write themselves.

Follow these five steps as you walk through your post-event donor communications.

Need event inspiration before you check out these donor communications tips? You can read DonorPro’s extensive compilation of fundraising event ideas here.

 

1. Gather necessary contact information before the attendees leave.

Okay, I know. Technically this step does not take place in the post-event world. This is something you’ll need to accomplish before and during the fundraiser. But, hey, the early bird gets the worm.

You can’t send out excellent post-event communications if you are missing the names, emails, phone numbers, and addresses of your attendees.

Yes, fundraising events are focused on fundraising. However, they are also an opportune chance for your organization to deepen its relationship with supporters. You will not be able to build on your time with those supporters if you have no means of reaching them afterwards.

To ensure that you gather the necessary contact information:

  • Request those details during the event registration and store the data in your CRM. With the right donor database software, you should be able to set up registration and ticketing pages online and seamlessly collect all the requisite information.
  • Actively seek out those details while the event is occurring. This method of data collection is going to vary from event to event. For some, this might mean putting contact cards on dinner tables, while for others it might include asking everyone to put their details down to be entered into a raffle. Find creative ways to get the necessary donor data for post-event follow-up.

If you didn’t get enough information to move forward with, there’s an option for you. *Hint* It’s step two!

 

2. Prospect screen to fill in any blanks.

Now we’re officially on to post-event donor communication tips. Maybe your gala attendees brought plus ones that you didn’t have details on or your walk-a-thon walkers invited friends to watch you weren’t expecting. With the influx of new people, you collected some complete contact cards, but, for many, you only secured a name and maybe one other detail.

Worry not! Let prospect research fill in the personal data blanks. The more details you have, the better you’ll be able to research, but even with limited information, prospect research can fill in enough blanks for your nonprofit to be able to effectively communicate.

Once you have the right details to be able to reach out to your event attendees, prospect research can also assist you in getting to know them better so that you can customize your communications and stewardship.

Your screening could reveal that a few of your guests are high-quality major gift or planned giving prospects. You won’t know until you look, though.

 

3. Segment your attendees into communication groups.

Now that you know a little more about each of your guests, it is time to segment them. You could send them all the same emails and series of follow-ups, but that doesn’t serve you, your mission, or, most importantly, your supporters in the ideal way.

When it comes to doing the actual work of segmenting, you have options depending on your nonprofit’s need, such as grouping guests according to:

  • Expected giving level. That way, you can funnel monthly giving prospects down one communication path and major giving prospects down another.
  • Future event interest. Take your list of guests and compare it to your events calendar. Find the right events for the right supporters and send invites accordingly.
  • Preferred communication channel. Through careful tracking of donor preferences in your CRM and potentially a post-event survey, you should be able to ascertain how each attendee likes to be contacted. Within your organization’s resources and budget, try to cater to donor preference as much as possible.

There are plenty of other ways to segment your attendee list. You can personalize your segmentation efforts according to the needs and resources of your nonprofit.

 

4. Start with your thank yous.

Immediate gratitude is the first step in donor retention. As such, it has to be a step in your post-event donor communications.

The first communication an attendee should receive from you following an event is a thank you.

Your thank you should include:

  • A salutation with the donor’s name .
  • A direct, genuine thank you for attending.
  • An acknowledgement of any additional donations the guest made during the event with further instructions if needed.
  • A summary of what the event was able to accomplish thanks to the generous participation of the guests.
  • A signature from one of the more prominent event organizers, whether that’s a development officer at your organization or the event chair or both.

Your supporters offer so much more than money. Show them that you value the relationship you’re building before diving into solicitation mode.

 

5. Move attendees into your email list.

The heading here says email list, but it doesn’t necessary have to be email. If a donor feels like email is a source of spam, you’re not going to be able to connect with the donor that way, so it isn’t worth your time.

The point of this step is to emphasize that after an event, the ball is in your organization’s court. It is up to you continue the relationship. Adding guests to an email list is one way of doing so. You don’t want to fade from their memory, so sending email newsletters is the perfect, cost effective way to stay in touch without overwhelming them. Make sure your newsletter includes calls-to-action and is donor-centric, not organization-centric.

There’s a right way and there’s a wrong way to manage email, so check out this advice to avoid giving subscribers email fatigue.

Once you’ve gone through this process with your next few events, your team will be able to follow the steps in their sleep. At a certain point in the not-too-distant future, study your communication performance using fundraising success metrics. You’ll find out your strengths and weaknesses and account for them after your next fundraising event. Happy hosting!

French Lessons in Donor & Visitor Engagement

How is your summer? I am just back from Paris, the beautiful Loire Valley and sunny Provence in France. It was my first trip to Europe. When you have babies in your 20s and start a business at 30 there isn’t much time for travel.

I went with my brother to celebrate his 50th birthday. We figured going someplace where everything was half a millennium old would make being half a century old seem young. And clearly I have spent too much of my life catering to children. I kept looking at quaint French villages and thinking they look just like Disney.

Every day was filled with visits to museums and historical monuments and sites. Somehow it was all so much more interesting than when I had to take Art History in college. I was supposed to be on vacation, but kept seeing examples of visitors and donors more deeply connected so I thought I’d share a bit with you.

French-Lessons

We started out in Paris where my friend Katia Blanchard Lapeyre, Private Events Manager at la chez Musee de Louvre was able to give us a guided tour.

Did I mention it was on Tuesday when the Louvre was closed! We got to see the Mona Lisa all by ourselves.  I am still pinching myself. 

Katia said the Louvre has only recently begun individual giving. Despite it’s size, even they cannot afford to acquire everything the want so they decided to experiment to find other ways to fund acquisitions. They created a very focused campaign to buy a piece of furniture. Initially, individuals could contribute as little as 1 euro to become part of the effort. They hung a huge banner in the museum about the campaign and have some simple temporary banners listing the donor names. It was hugely successful in getting new people involved and really ended up working like an internal crowdfunding campaign.

The Louvre is also using their brand very effectively in their events to create really individualized experiences for donors. Katia shared the work she has been doing to create enticing major giving packages that include allowing the donor to hold an event in the museum as part of the opportunity.  Luckily for you I recorded our conversation and it will be coming out as a podcast in a few weeks. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes to be sure to catch it.

Next we headed southwest to Chartres Cathedral. Cathedrals were my favorite part of Art History. I am fascinated by the fact that people could imagine and construct something so massive and enduring so long ago. This version of Chartres was begun in 1194. It has these crazy mismatched spires that I love. One got struck by lightning in 1506 and that architect decided rebuild it in the High Gothic flamboyant style. You know what its like when the new boss comes along and wants to chase the latest trends…Noah_IMG_1833

On this trip I got to see the inside and hear the story of the windows. Back in the 12th century, the cathedral was the place for education and the center of the community. The windows each tell a story. Most people couldn’t read so they translated the stories into pictures so all the people could participate. A critical part of storytelling is making sure your intended audience understands. That is often missed in all the talk about the importance of storytelling. This one is the story of Noah.  Click here for  a key to reading the panel. My favorite is scene #33 — Noah getting drunk. Nice to know they had a sense of humor in the dark ages.

The other interesting fact about these windows is that they were donated by groups of craftsmen and merchants. Colored glass windows were expensive.  Specific windows were donated by the butchers, the farriers, the shoemakers, etc. Just like putting your name on a building, the donors are showcased in the panels.

For more than 800 years people have come together to contribute to creating something greater than themselves. To literally become part of the story. It was really inspiring.

On Creating Experiences

Further south we stopped to visit Chambord Castle. We had to see it. My parents used to give us Chambord Liqueur when we had a cough as kids. My parents are awesome.

The Chateaus are now mostly state run organizations. Who else could afford to heat them? Here we saw some interesting things in visitor engagement.   Many places only have tours and signage in French, which I can’t speak at all. I came here knowing the art terms trompe l’oeil and papier-mâché. Not the most helpful travel words. I have since picked up the much more useful “toilette”.

Many sites had what looked like great apps that gave you an enhanced experience of the site. The Eiffel Tower, Versailles, the Chateaus all had them. But we found out about them on a sign at the site which, if we were lucky, had some English. I now appreciate the design and accessibility challenge of deciding when to offer translation. They provided a QR code to download the app, but I had removed the reader to save space for pictures. And, as foreigners, we didn’t have cell service to download it on site. This is where a wifi hub would have been brilliant.

At Chambord, they offered a rented ipad with a virtual reality tour and a treasure hunt for kids. There were cute icons all over and clues that families could search together. It was a perfect choice for that specific space since it was cavernous and had almost no furniture. Running kids were no problem and no one was whining or crying. I’ve dragged my kids on educational excursions so I know how rare and blessed that is.

Technology has been growing as an engagement enhancer to onsite experiences. One of my staff was at Universal Studios the same week. She bought her son a magic wand in Harry Potter World. Throughout the park there were medallions in the ground that showed a wand movement and spell to say that would trigger some action around them.

The worlds of education and entertainment draw closer together every day.  It will be interesting to see if the new beacon technology will take hold and add something valuable. I could see this working well at museums, conferences, city, garden and college tours. Have you tried it in your organization? I’d love to hear from you so we can share it on the podcast.

Lifting Your Head Up

I’m not known as a good vacationer. I haven’t had a lot of practice and, as you can see, I’m still squeezing in a little work. This year I am trying to learn that stepping away from the day-to-day is important. I can’t tell you how many times I have sent a designer or a writer home because they were fighting the problem only to come in the next morning and nail it.

Stepping away and thinking about other things can really spark creativity. I need to remind myself of this. You may too.

I hope you took some time this summer to change gears, and do something that re-energizes you and shifts your perspective.

Being in Europe was a rare treat for me. Its totally different, and I was mostly without my beloved technology.  I left my laptop in the care of my staff. I couldn’t look things up on Google, research restaurants on the go or check directions. I had to actually look around and live in the moment, make uninformed choices, wander, get lost and not ask Siri for help. It was unsettling and disruptive. That probably means I need to do it more.

Next summer I’ll head to Spain with my youngest son to celebrate his college graduation. He speaks the language so I’m basically trading translation for transportation.  I’m looking for new friends with connections for private tours there now…call me!

3 Ways Prospect Research Can Help You Market to Your Donor Population

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Guest Post by Sarah Tedesco, Executive Vice President at DonorSearch

 

Donors are savvy. They know when they are being ‘handled’ and when they are being connected with.

It doesn’t take much, but donors want to feel appreciated and seen by the organizations they give to.

With the ongoing challenges of donor acquisition and retention, nonprofits should use every tool at their disposal to take their marketing strategies to the next level.

Prospect research should be a part of every nonprofit’s tool belt.

A well-executed prospect screening can unveil a treasure trove of information about both prospects and donors. With those details revealed, fundraisers can cater their marketing efforts to the donors in an accurate and highly personalized manner.

Once a development office knows the potential of specific donors, that team can adjust its marketing strategy to best solicit maximum funding from those key supporters.

Donor-centric marketing should be a top focus of fundraising organizations, and prospect research can help fundraisers zero in on what makes their donors tick.

To help get your prospect research-enabled marketing going, here’s a list of 3 ways that screening can aid in the marketing process.

 

#1 Uncovering Major Gift Prospects Hiding in Plain Sight

 

We often think of prospect research in terms of what it can reveal about potential donors, but it can also provide a wealth of game changing data on your current donor population.

With a prospect screening, you can learn who of your annual fund donors has the potential to be a major gift donor. Annual fund donors are already loyal to your cause, so making the switch to a major gift is easier than starting from scratch.

For example, a donor who has given numerous $150 contributions to your cause over five years could be revealed as someone who gave an $8,000 gift to another organization.

The opportunity is there, exposed by prospect research, and ready to be acquired through marketing.

Once you know who your existing major gifts prospects are, your development staff can put in the extra effort help encourage the transition to major gift donor.

This more targeted marketing can be anything from highly personalized acknowledgements to additional check-in phone calls from staff to meeting for a meal out.

The good news is that with prospect research information, your staff can spend additional time marketing to potential high quality donors and know their time is being well spent.

 

#2 Identifying Planned or Deferred Giving Prospects

 

In a similar vein to number 1 on our list, prospect research can identify who among your donor population is a likely candidate for planned or deferred giving.

Most organizations don’t know where to begin when looking for planned or deferred giving prospects, even though 78% of planned giving donors gave 15 or more gifts to the nonprofits named in their wills during their lifetimes.

Given that statistic, there clearly are predictive behaviors of planned givers, and prospect research will help your nonprofit make those predictions.

Once your staff has a group to focus on, they can begin the rather unique marketing courtship of planned donations.

 

#3 Singling Out High Quality Prospects Before or After Events

 

Events are can be major sources of funds for nonprofits. Whether it’s a gala or a golf tournament, an event can render a huge financial boost.

With such a high value event, marketing before and afterwards needs to be catered towards soliciting big donations.

In order to secure big donations, your organization is going to need to have:

  • a great guest list
  • superior donor service during the event
  • an excellent method of post-event follow up

Prospect research during the planning of, for example, a gala, can help define the guest list.

If the guest list is already defined, you can screen that to isolate who your staff needs to spend invaluable face-to-face time with during the event.

The experience during the event is also a great promotional opportunity for your cause in general, and any specific campaigns you’re running.

Let’s consider a push for matching gifts, for instance. At a gala you hopefully have a large subsection of your high quality donors in attendance. Sometime during the gala, either by an announcer or via pamphlets on tables, bring up the topic of matching gifts and how easy it is for donors to increase their donations with help from their companies.

Starting a dialogue about matching gifts deliberately in the presence of pre-screened high quality donors could yield massive donations for your organization.

Once the gala is finished, the attendees can be screened to determine how best to approach acknowledgement and continued engagement.

The goal with all three of these prospect research benefits is to better enhance the marketing relationship between donor and fundraiser.

Development staff are usually stretched very thin. Money is tight and always in demand. Employees need to be able to make the most of their efforts. Prospect research is a great way to maximize fundraising efforts.

Prospect research can focus a campaign by prioritizing donation targets.

Customized marketing can only happen when organizations have a specific sense of who is being solicited, what they should be solicited for, and what the organization has the chance to gain.

Prospect research answers those questions.

 

……………..

“Sarah Tedesco is the Executive Vice President at DonorSearch, a prospect research and wealth screening company that focuses on proven philanthropy. Sarah is responsible for managing the production and customer support department concerning client contract fulfillment, increasing client retention, and customer satisfaction. She collaborates with other team members on a variety of issues including sales, marketing and product development ideas.”

Last Minute #GivingTuesday Tips from our Guests & Friends

Last_Minute_GTTips

 

With one week to go until #GivingTuesday, are you wondering what (or what more) you can do to soar on #GivingTuesday? Last week on the Podcast, I shared my 10 tips. Now hear from past consultant guests from Driving Participation (plus a few friends) who share their ideas.

 

From Vanessa Chase, The Storytelling Nonprofit
Episode 002 Getting People Involved in Your Story
Make your campaign as donor-centric as possible. #GivingTuesday is not about your organization’s needs, it’s about donors. In your call to action be sure to eliminate the word “we” and instead use “you” to highlight what the donor make possible. Organizations should also think about highlighting donor giving stories that day, which is a great way to appreciate donors and incorporate social proof into your campaigns.

 

From Christopher Davenport, 501 Videos
Episode 003 Telling a Moving Story
Make an offer that’s simple but specific.  Many of the appeals I’ve seen play up the #GivingTuesday angle. I seriously doubt that donors care about #GivingTuesday all that much.  So, instead of talking about #GivingTuesday as a great day to give, talk instead about how one person can be helped by the donor in a significant way if they donate on #GivingTuesday.  It’s less about the date, and more about the bigger impact a donation will have on #GivingTuesday.

 

From Elizabeth Engel, Spark Consulting
Episode 006 Rethinking What it Means to be a Member
Many associations don’t do any fundraising at all. And even those that do, it’s more like a trade association’s foundation, so they’re reaching out to a REALLY limited audience. They’re not trying to blow up social media with a major public campaign.
That said, if an association does have a foundation or does fundraising for conference scholarships or endowed programs, there’s certainly plenty of time to send a #GivingTuesday themed appeal that sends potential donors to a simple landing page that incorporates social sharing as part of the donation process.
If associations want to get serious about trying to do something related to #GivingTuesday for 2015, they need to pay attention to John Haydon. He’s outstanding on using social media for fundraising and has written extensively about #GivingTuesday.

 

From Peggy Hoffman, Mariner Management
Episode 011 Banning the “V” Word
I’m coming from how you engage your members in community service rather than raising funds for your own organization. We know members want to be involved in outreach so this is a great easy way to do that in a small, but meaningful way.
If you have a scheduled meeting with members in attendance – pass the hat for a charity of choice. Maybe it’s the association foundation or one association I know has a fund members can tap if times of need (like cancer care, emergency funds).
No meeting? Pick a charity and highlight their work on your blog leading up to GivingTuesday. Announce that on the day you will post a link and ask all members to click through and give.

 

From Cynthia D’Amour, People Power Unlimited
Episode 016: Care and Feeding of Online Communities
The key is to get the word out. The personal ask make a huge difference. People have tons of choices about where to spend their donation funds.
Also realize one ask many not be enough. If you post to Facebook for your fans, only a small portion will actually see the post. You’ll want to repost it a few times – perhaps give it a fresh spin periodically. Same with Twitter. The life of an average tweet is less than 20 minutes.
Call out your thanks as publicly. If you know people have contributed, thank them publicly – unless they ask you not to. Build the thanking momentum. Make people proud to be on your team.
Create interesting graphics that tell a tale and show why the money matters. Create fun twists that make it cool to give to you. Write copy your folks will feel comfortable sharing with their friends and families.

 

From Justin Ware, Bentz Whaley Flessner
Episode 022 Manufacturing Viral Campaigns
Do something! A lot of conversation takes place online during #GivingTuesday and people are thinking about philanthropy. So at a minimum, send an email to your database reminding them of the work you do and the opportunity they have to support your organization.
Conduct a mini social media campaign to celebrate philanthropy – it’s not all about the ask – create posts that celebrate giving to your organization that are fun to share. People are focused on philanthropy during #GivingTuesday and are primed to share fundraising-related messaging.

 

From Stephanie Cockerl, NextSteph
Episode 023 Winning and Working a Google Adwords Grant
Nonprofits can take this time to make sure that subscribers with a Gmail address are indeed getting their email messages by posting a blog post on how to move their messages from the “promotions” tab to the “primary” tab so that their messages for #GivingTuesday are being received and read.

 

From Jamie McDonald, Network 4 Good
Episode 013: Turning Online Events into a Party for your Cause
Send out a Save-the-Date Email to your donor and prospect lists, highlighting your key campaign messages and goals.
Jamie has a checklist with many more last minute ideas you can download here.

 

From Josh Nelson , Client Outreach Coordinator, DonorPerfect
Build your #GivingTuesday campaign into your overall end-of-year strategy and make it special. If you could get a donor to provide a one-for-one matching gift campaign through midnight on #GivingTuesday, that could really help.
Share this video with your donors.
Consider making your campaign a recurring gift or monthly giving campaign. These donors will give more and you’ll be able to retain them longer (on average) than single-gift donors. Make sure you clearly state the impact the $10/month donation will have towards your mission.

 

From Sandy Rees, Get Fully Funded
Nonprofit Toolkit Annual Appeal Q&A Webinar
Be sure your “Donate Now” button works.  You don’t want to be caught with problems on your website! Make sure the site is ready for visitors, the donation button is easy to find, and that the auto-receipt that people receive is consistent with your nonprofit’s brand.

 

From Kait Sheridan
Episode 028 Starting a Movement and Building Momentum
For nonprofits who are just thinking of getting started: I would tell nonprofits to jump in.  There is still time to plan an initiative and if you are new to #GivingTuesday, is a great day to experiment and try something new!  All of the tools and resources you need to get started is on www.givingtuesday.org.  And remember you don’t have to go huge in your first year – you can always plan a campaign for this year and save the bigger ideas for next year, when there is more time to plan.
For nonprofits already on board: Now is the time to make some noise!  Partners are already starting to spread the word about their campaigns.  Use the hashtag #GivingTuesday to start telling your story and engaging your communities.  Also, remember to share your results and thank yous after #GivingTuesday to keep the momentum alive through the end of the year.

 

Consultant_Tips1-1Good luck with the kick-off to your giving season!

Download the Tips as a PDF

3 Free Ways to Build Your Nonprofit’s Audience

This week I attended AWeber’s first (and I hope annual) Ascend Summit. It was a digital marketing conference clearly designed for people who are as dorkily into new media marketing as I am.

I spend so much of my time at nonprofit and education communications conferences I was quite surprised at the message that permeated this high tech, business focused event: “Give first to attract an audience”. And while that sure sounds like familiar nonprofit lingo, it’s actually the opposite of what you’re used to.

AWeber is an email marketing company and, aside from a welcome, in two days only one current staff member ever stepped on the stage. They turned the entire event over to experts in industry to share big ideas and stocked a room down the hall with computers and staff to answer as many detailed questions as we wanted. They didn’t make the conference about promoting themselves, it was about giving us the inspiration and education we wanted. Exactly how I recommend nonprofits communicate – as a facilitator of what the donor wants.

I gained lots of new ideas I’ll be bringing into client projects over the next few months. Here are my top three:

 

1. Don’t Throw Away that Adwords Gift Card

Do you ever get those $100 gift cards from Google to try Adwords? I do and I always tossed them thinking it was too little to have any impact. Anne Holland from Which Test Won has the perfect use for it: push traffic to a specific blog post on your site.Google gift card

When planning a blog post, choose one to three key phrases you would like to rank for in Google. Write a solid, long form, informative post of 2000-3000 words. Contrary to popular belief, statistics prove that people do read long posts when they are looking for information. Then use the free gift card money to buy advertising for those keywords to boost its exposure.

It would work especially well if you timed your spending to something popular in the news like a holiday, a media event like the Oscars or a key issue in your field. Your small spend will go further when boosted by the increased search volume.

And if you wish you could do more Google advertising, listen to Stephanie Cockrel from the Driving Participation podcast episode 23 talk about how to win and make the most of Google Grants.

 

2. Give Something Away with Every Blog Post to Build your List

Tim Paige from LeadPages gave a presentation about turning “Taking Pages” into “Giving Pages”.

In the nonprofit world, we think of a giving page as synonymous with a donation page – a place where people do something for you. Tim talks about giving pages as places you can give something to your viewer without asking them for anything more than their email address.

The point is to have a something valuable to the reader that that interests them enough to give you their email address. Building your email list is one of the most vital marketing activities you can do. And visitors are getting more protective of their inboxes every day. We need to do more than have a box on the bottom of the website that says “sign up for our newsettter”. If you want to grow your donor base, have control of communications and reduce mailing costs, put your energy here.

If you write frequently, “every blog post” may be a tall order. I know I’m not there yet. Focus on the posts that you are using to drive traffic to your site (as in Tip #1) rather than the posts you are writing to share with your current email subscribers. They are already on your list. For this post I can offer you a downloadable design template I created for our Nonprofit Toolkit customers. Its a customizable social media post for #GivingTuesday. Happy Fundraising!

 

3. Making Email Mobile Friendly

Many email systems use responsive design to shift the email design to a format readable on a small screen. Does yours?Slide1

Justine Jordan of Litmus shared how even in the right template, you may be doing things that make it impossible for users to take action on your emails.

No matter how big screens get, those dang text links are hard to hit. Justine reminded people to put lots of space around links and to create what she called “bullet proof buttons”. Instead of using an image to create your button graphic, put the text in a box and give it a color. This ensures it loads even if the reader has images turned off in their email client. You know, sometimes its the little things that make a huge difference.

My favorite tip was about something that even I tend to ignore – the pre-header. It’s that little line of text at the top of an email that says something like “Use this area to offer a short preview of your email’s content.” But do we? No. I have to say even I delete it most of the time. Justine showed that that line appears right after the subject line on mobile devices, giving you another chance to invite opens.

I spend time every month in the for profit media world. While its good to know the language, needs and rhythms of nonprofit marketing, its important to remember that there is a lot that can be learned and adapted from corporate, entertainment, publishing and other kinds of marketing. Translating and adapting these techniques is my favorite part of the job.

 

What I Learned About PR From Being an Over-Involved Mother

M&JLove

It’s been a whirlwind summer.

As I have been telling everyone, my son graduated from college, was commissioned as a Naval Officer and got married all within 2 weeks this past June. On top of that, the girl he married is our designer Monica.

Monica started out as our intern and ended up as my daughter-in-law. I am a full service employer.

I may be biased, but c’mon, that’s a great story! So I pitched it to the weddings section of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Yes, I’m that mom. And it got picked up.

I tell you this because to be honest, PR is not my personal strength. Or I didn’t think it was.

I’ve written a ton of press releases following a formula. Some get placed and I cheer my success, most get lost. When we need PR for clients, I’m not the one to do it (don’t worry).

And now I know what I have been doing was all wrong. But when I submitted a pitch on behalf of my son I had no doubt the story would get printed.

How did I know? Here are three things I did differently:

  1. Familiarity. I am a sucker for the Love column and read it every week. I knew the style and the history of what the writer covers. I noted the author likes variety and diversity so I mentioned she had not covered a military wedding lately. That showed I knew her work and how their story would bring something new.
  2. Make it easy to imagine. I wrote the pitch in the same order as her column and tried to mimic the style. My goal was to have her imagine the piece written.
  3. Tell a story. I’m Gen X so I am wired to be formal and business-like, separating my personal and professional worlds. (It’s even hard for me to use this story as an example). But when I emailed the reporter, I was sharing my joy in these kids and it came through in a way I never capture in my business attempts at PR.

Based on what prize-winning writer and journalist Amy Vernon shared with me recently, I am on the right track. Amy wrote a great article that talks about building a relationship with reporters by being a resource and helping them find what they need.

Sound familiar? Relationships. Helping. Emotion. Speaking audience language.

Switching to a storytelling mindset changes everything.

In this case, it created a connection that got the reporter to call. In others its the thing that inspires a donation, nabs a volunteer or intrigues your next hire.

So now I am off to read the stack of publications and the blog feeds that have piled up and get to know the folks who cover the topics I care about.

How about you? Have you had a PR success? I’d love to know what’s working for you.

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