August 21, 2014

My take on the ALS #IceBucketChallenge

Bill Gates
Video still of Bill Gates taking the ALS #IceBucketChallenge (via YouTube)

3 reasons I’ve decided to embrace this campaign — and why you should, too

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, general public.

Caroline AvakianAs you all likely know by now, the ALS #IceBucketChallenge is taking your Facebook news feed by storm. Your friends, colleagues, heck, even your grandmother might have been nominated to dump a bucket of cold water and ice on her head in the name of charity. And in this case, it’s a very good cause. ALS is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease,a neurodegenerative disease characterized by muscle spasticity, rapidly progressive weakness due to muscle atrophy, and difficulty in speaking, swallowing, and breathing.

As a social media consultant working with social causes and nonprofits, I have taken great delight in the virality of this meme all in the name of a disease that gets very little attention and fundraising dollars. Continue reading

June 16, 2014

3 ways Milaap is changing the face of giving

Milaap creates sustainability by blending crowdfunding and micro lending

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, educators, journalists, general public.

Shonali BurkeIcould begin this post by regurgitating any number of statistics on the sensory and information overload we all experience these days, but I won’t. We all know that that’s the world we live in. Technology has really broken down barriers to information and while that’s mostly a good thing, it can be really overwhelming as well.

As a result, breaking through the digital clutter these days is tough. So what do you do when your cause depends on you doing just that? How do you make sustainable giving a reality, so that both your cause and supporters benefit? Continue reading

March 27, 2013

3 ways nonprofits can use Facebook apps to motivate donors

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Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, fundraising pros, marketers.

Guest post by Jim Belosic
CEO, Shortstack

Jim BelosicAnyone who works for a nonprofit knows all too well about the donation scramble. This is why creating an impactful Facebook Page should be an integral part your marketing efforts is a no-brainer.

Facebook serves as a doorway to donors, allowing nonprofits to provide brief updates and news bites to constituents. It’s also a one-stop shop for photos, success stories, and calls to action, which reinforce the mission. Plus, Facebook is a favorite tool among nonprofits because of its low, low price of … free!

Using custom apps like ShortStack can help increase donations during fundraising campaigns. Check out these three ways that nonprofits can use Facebook apps to motivate donors. Continue reading

March 25, 2013

Why nonprofits have low retention rates (and how to fix it)

Why donor retention should be a priority

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, marketers, Web publishers.

John HaydonDid you know that nonprofits as a whole have a donor retention rate of 49 percent? Retention rate refers to the percentage of donors who make another gift or have an ongoing relationship with a nonprofit.

That number is astonishingly low compared to business’s customer retention rate of 94 percent.

Why the huge gap? I mean, you’d typically expect that people who support issues like gay rights and global warming would be repeat donors. But nonprofits rarely make donor retention a priority.

To help shed some light on this, I called Marc Pitman, an expert on fundraising. “Instead of talking about annual donors, we should think about nonprofits’ relationships with donors,” he said.

In this 13-minute video, we talk about:

  • How fundraising jargon and fiscal calendar thinking has hurt retention rates
  • Why making a second ask in 90 days can increase retention
  • How setting expectations creates better donor-centric relationships
  • How you can leverage events to boost retention
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February 11, 2013

Nonprofits: Focus on donor retention in 2013

small-npo

Takeaways from Blackbaud’s Charitable Giving Report

John HaydonBlackbaud’s just-published 2013 Charitable Giving Report shows that small nonprofits, with annual total fundraising of less than $1 million, grew their fundraising by 7.3 percent compared to 2011.

These small guys blew away the large nonprofits who only grew 0.3 percent!

Five key observations from the 2012 Charitable Giving Report: Continue reading

January 9, 2013

6 reasons your nonprofit should be a Big Listener

Photo courtesy of CarbonNYC via Creative Commons

How Big Listening can help your organization improve

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations and advocates, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, monitoring services.

Guest post by Rachel Weidinger
Upwell

I started Upwell from the premise that it might be possible to do really Big Listening with social media. Listening beyond a brand, a program or a campaign. My curiosity drove me to investigate:

● Can we listen to the tides of Internet conversation on an issue, and learn to predict and ‘surf’ them?

● Can we use the momentum of focused attention to raise an issue above the noise?

Upwell is a pilot project, testing the waters to transform the ocean conversation. Our team sifts through the vast amount of real-time online content about the ocean and amplifies it. The mission of Upwell is to condition the climate for change in marine conservation, and prepare people to take action. Continue reading