August 1, 2016

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

Volunteers

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?

Continue reading

July 7, 2016

Building your Nonprofits Thought Leadership Capacity

 shutterstock_298674425

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.

Continue reading

June 6, 2016

When Your Biggest Enemy is Being Perfect

cult of done manifesto - better than perfect

john-haydon

You spent five hours on that blog post to get it perfect, and you still haven’t published it.

You can’t find that perfect image for Instagram, so you don’t post anything.

And forget about video – you’ll never get that perfect so don’t even try.

Done is better than Perfect

Perfect slows everything down. Perfect can never be agreed upon. Perfect never gets done.

Are you daunted by perfectionism? If so, here are a few ways to tame the perfectionist in you:

Continue reading

May 16, 2016

Using Virtual Reality for Social Change Work

VictoriaFamily_BB003649

Caroline Avakian Headshot finalVirtual reality is a newer medium that has the potential to revolutionize the way many global development and human rights organizations communicate their work. It also presents an opportunity to virtually bring supporters, donors, and all others curious about the work being done on the ground, right to the communities and people they would otherwise not have access to.

The award-winning, “Clouds Over Sidra” a virtual reality film that was released in January of 2105, was one such film. It follows a twelve year-old girl named Sidra in the Za’atari camp in Jordan — currently home to an estimated 84,000 refugees from the Syrian civil war. The groundbreaking film shot for the United Nations using the Samsung Gear VR 360-degree platform, is the first ever film shot in virtual reality for the UN and is designed to support the UN’s campaign to highlight the plight of vulnerable communities, particularly refugees.

Since the success of “Clouds Over Sidra” there has been some buzz on how nonprofits and global development organizations might be able to leverage virtual reality to build awareness of their causes.

One such organization taking on virtual reality is Trickle Up. Trickle Up is a global poverty alleviation organization that works with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people to help them achieve financial independence and social connection. I spoke with Tyler McClelland, Trickle Up’s Communications Officer, to learn more about what the learnings, challenges, and best practices were for them as a smaller organization, taking on VR for the first time.

Continue reading

May 5, 2016

How to Build a Marketing Funnel Your Donors Will Love

funnel

john-haydonFundraising is quite a different game then it was even just a few years ago. Mobile and social media has donors constantly distracted (and bombarded) with messages from friends, brands, and competing causes.

For nonprofit marketers this shift means embracing a donor-centric approach that moves from interruption to invitation.

For example, Human Rights Campaign often presents a fundraising ask only AFTER a supporter signs a petition. Their assumption (a correct one) is that people signing a petition are more likely to give.

After signing a recent petition supporters were encouraged to buy a t-shirt:

marketing-funnel-hrc-follow-up-action

Continue reading

April 4, 2016

3 Core Twitter Strategies That Will Never Die

Twitter-birds

john-haydonTwitter followers will be more likely to retweet your content if they like, know, and trust you. But where do you start? How do you develop a strong network on Twitter?

One way to think about building a stronger network on Twitter is to focus on three core Twitter strategies: Search-Building, Raft-Building, and Klout-Building

 

1. Search-Building Twitter Strategies

An important part of any online strategy is search. How will people find you when they want to find you now? How will people discover you when they’re trying to solve a problem?

But how does Twitter help you get found – both on Twitter and Google?

Continue reading