September 1, 2016

3 Tips To Get the Most Out Of Conferences

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Photo courtesy of Mashable Social Good Summit

Post by Caroline Avakian

Fall conference season is getting underway, so I wanted to share a few helpful tips to help manage and maximize your time spent at a conference(s). You’ll be glad you set these in motion when you get back from your next event.

Start with the end in mind

1What are the top three things you want to get out of this conference? Is it meeting a particular attendee or speaker? Is it networking or gaining a better understanding of how to create a social media strategy for your nonprofit? The more specific you are, the more likely you are to walk out of that conference feeling satisfied and accomplished.

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August 1, 2016

3 Ways to Make a Lasting Impression with First-Time Donors

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john-haydonAccording to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, most first-time donors never come back to make a second gift.

Nonprofits as a whole are losing 57% of their donors every single year. And 71% of first-time donors never return!1

Any fundraising professional will tell you that retaining existing donors costs less than acquiring new donors. The quickest and surest way to a positive net revenue is to focus on retention.

What makes donors stick around for the long haul?

The factors that influence donor retention have been well researched and documented. In his amazing book on Retention Fundraising, Roger Craver shares 7 reasons donors keep giving after that first gift:

  1. Donor perceives your organization to be effective in trying to achieve its mission.
  2. Donor knows what to expect from your organization with each interaction.
  3. The donor receives a timely thank you.
  4. Donor has opportunities to make her views known.
  5. The donor is given the feeling that she is part of an important cause.
  6. Donor feels her involvement is appreciated.
  7. Donor receives information showing who is being helped.

As you can see, the first experience a donor has with your nonprofit is key. Is their first impression glorious or lackluster?

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July 14, 2016

How to Double Online Giving in Six Months

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By Darian Rodriguez Heyman

More and more nonprofit donations take place in today’s digital landscape, but how can causes ensure their online storefront is not only open for business, but optimized?

As I explored this critical issue in my new book, Nonprofit Fundraising 101, I interviewed Roderick Campbell, the CEO of nonprofit fundraising platform CommitChange. He shared a few takeaways from their efforts to maximize digital donations for Mercy House, a $3.8M nonprofit that has provided housing and support to California’s homeless since 1989.

This simple formula helped Mercy House double online giving in just six months, and I believe it can do the same for your nonprofit, too:

  1. Break it Down: CommitChange helped Mercy House break the donation process down into four steps: recurring versus one-time; amount; info; and payment. Instead of asking for the information all at once, they simplified the process, which is especially helpful for digital donors contributing on their mobile device. Another great example of what this looks like is charity: water, also profiled in the book.

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July 7, 2016

Building your Nonprofits Thought Leadership Capacity

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By Caroline Avakian

Content marketing has risen to the forefront in recent years as an important tool (if not the most important) in the nonprofit communication toolbox. It’s about creating great content on your blog, through social media messaging, email, quarterly and annual reports, case studies, whitepapers, etc.

At its core, content marketing is about communicating wisely with your supporters. The nonprofit, social enterprise or organization is providing value by creating and sharing information, innovative ideas, and insights that makes your supporter smarter and in the know. You become a resource. The result, much of the time, is that you earn the trust and loyalty of your supporters and donors. You no longer interrupt them with “messaging” but invite them into a conversation they find value in, that resonates, that they deem worthy of sharing with others, that makes them come back and ultimately invest in you.

The issue with creating great content is that often change-makers and nonprofit leaders are unsure about how to activate the most powerful resource they have: their intellectual capital. Nonprofits can be treasure troves of insights, experience and expertise, just waiting to be unleashed and shared with the world, but often the best of ideas and expertise lies dormant within the walls of an organization.

The Readiness Dance: Share your insights despite the misgivings

There are many reasons why organizations keep their most valuable thoughts and findings internal. I call it the Readiness Dance. People will say, “Our data isn’t completely ready yet – we’re not 100 percent clear internally on our direction with this project,” or something similar. While I completely advocate for presenting breakthrough insights that are research-based and clearly thought out — in fact, that is the essence of true thought leadership — very often it’s more about that “readiness” variable. It’s less about how analyzed the data is and more about how comfortable and confident we are in sharing our ideas and insights with the world.

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June 28, 2016

Asana for Nonprofits: How to Manage your Direct Mail Schedule

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By Leili Khalessi

As a nonprofit fundraiser (and communications officer and technologist and…), I’ve developed sharp project management skills – it’s the key to wearing all of the hats!

My favorite project management tool for nonprofits is Asana, a web-based “teamwork without email” platform.

I use Asana to manage our direct mail fundraising and communications processes – a series of critical deadlines involving multiple team members and vendors – with ease.

Here’s how you can manage your nonprofit’s direct mail process with Asana, too:

1. Create a new project for your mailing

Start by setting up a new project in Asana. Write a descriptive title and include the drop date in the title. Using a standard naming convention will make it easier for you to keep track of multiple mailings. For example: Direct mail: Summer newsletter – 6/20/16

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June 14, 2016

Is Giving Tuesday a Waste of Time?

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By Edgar Rodriguez

Is Giving Tuesday a waste of time? Good question, right?

First of all, the data says it’s been hugely successful in the past. Over 15,000 nonprofits participated last year, raising over $45 million.

Yes, some nonprofits probably raised very little money. But Giving Tuesday is NOT just a 24-hour fundraising campaign. It’s a movement that your supporters are embracing, more and more each year.

How did your nonprofit do last year?

If you participated in Giving Tuesday before, you can look at several metrics to judge your past success.

Depending on your goals, you can look at:

  • Total donations ($)
  • Number of new donors acquired
  • Number of current donors who gave
  • Number of new emails acquired
  • Number of people who engaged with campaign (clicks, conversions, shares)
  • Engagement with follow up messages (email, social, etc)
  • You get the idea

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