You Deserve to Rock Nonprofit Email Subject Lines!

Five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

— David Ogilvy, advertising legend

Your email subject line matters. A lot.

So this article is all about learning how to rock your online ‘envelope’ – which is really what determines if your email will get opened.

When you stop to think about this, it makes a lot of sense. Your email subject line has a function! And its form should follow that function.

  • First, it must capture attention.
  • Second, it must convince people to open your message.

People’s inboxes are increasingly cluttered, so you need to stand out. Big time!  Really, you’ve probably got no more than two seconds to make an impression.

Do you think carefully about purpose when you create your email subject line?  Do you even craft it at all, or do you delegate this essential function to someone else, perhaps an assistant or someone in your marketing or digital communications department? Someone who perhaps doesn’t really understand the email’s primary purpose as well as do you?

If you’re like most nonprofit fundraisers and marketers, you likely spend a lot of time crafting the perfect email body copy, selecting images and figuring out just the right design that will entice someone to respond to your call to action.  Then, at the last minute, you’re ready to send it and hastily come up with a subject line.

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Forget about Building Nonprofit Loyalty. Deliver Meaning.

If you haven’t cottoned onto the fact that all marketing – nonprofit included – has vastly changed since the digital revolution, perhaps this incident will wake you up.

And I’m hoping it will persuade you to stop thinking so much about “engagement best practices” – all the social media tools and online strategies you read about every time you turn around, and where you’re directly competing with every business on the planet, instagramming friends, and whatnot – and begin to focus on an area where nonprofits have an unfair advantage.

Deliver meaning.

That’s what folks don’t have enough of.

That’s what folks crave.

And that’s what explains Nike’s recent daring move to put forward a polarizing marketing campaign featuring the face of American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick,

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Create 5 Donor Experiences to Boost Online Fundraising

How do you create loyal donors? By creating satisfying engagement and amazing experiences.

At. Every. Step. Of…

The. Donor. Journey.

This is the trek you facilitate.  You’re a bit of a Donor Sherpa.  The way you lead will impact whether, and how long, donors will follow. Every step of the journey is important.

How carefully are you thinking through each step?

No matter what you do, the steps exist.  Your donor has to step through them. Forwards or backwards. Upwards or downwards.

Ascertain what these steps look like for your organization’s donors. Are they leading folks onward and upward? Or are they forbidding, dangerous and inherently unenticing? Honestly assess whether the journey is one that is donor-centered. Or one that is all about you, your convenience and your needs.

Before we get started with the creation of five donor experiences to boost online fundraising, I’d like you to being with one “to do.”

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3 Content, Online and Social Media Venues for Every Nonprofit

Nonprofit fundraising and marketing is very different today than when I began. Yet not every nonprofit I encounter seems to have received the message.

That’s why I’m writing.  Because the road to success has changed more in the past five years than the preceding 50.

Why?

It’s been called a “digital revolution,” a “disruptive” force and the “end of business as usual.

Outbound marketing” has been proclaimed dead, making way for “inbound marketing.”

The world is networked digitally in a way that was, until recently, unimaginable to most of us.

So… what does this mean for nonprofits? Especially for small to medium-sized nonprofits who don’t have staff with titles like “Online Fundraising Coordinator,” “Digital Communications Associate,” “Social Media Specialist” or “Digital Philanthropy Manager.”

How can you compete to raise awareness and support among your likely constituents?

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How Important is Email to Nonprofit Fundraising? Very!

Here come 15 steps to successful email fundraising.

I’m going to tell you (1) why you should care about this, and (2) what you should do.

Not long ago, I posed the question: Why Aren’t You Doing More Online Fundraising?  I hope it caused you to think and ponder a bit.

Now, as you’re no doubt planning ahead for the most giving time of the year, is a good time to turn those thoughts into action. How big a role is email going to play in your year-end fundraising strategy?

If you’re making your email campaign an afterthought, don’t.

Email is a critically important tool — especially at the end of the year when most of the money is raised,

Don’t worry that your donors will be annoyed. If you do it the right way, they won’t be.  In fact, they’ll thank you for giving them the opportunity to do something that makes them feel good — and for making it easy for them to do so!.

Let’s begin with the “why”.

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Why Aren’t You Doing More Online Fundraising?

You really must! Because the world in which we fundraise is changing rapidly.

Keeping up is challenging.

Yet that’s not a good reason to pretend that time has stopped. I’m not suggesting you neglect the tried-and-true fundamentals, of course (direct mail, telephone, events, face-to-face).

You need them! And they still work. But you’ve got to leverage them with today’s tools, within the context of today’s marketplace.

This is your time. This is our time. But, these times are different and what comes next is difficult to grasp. How people communicate. How people learn and share. How people make decisions. Everything is different now. Think about this…you’re reading this article because it was sent to you via email. Yet more people spend their online time in social networks than they do in email…Technologies such as social, mobile, virtual, augmented, et al compel us adapt our story and value proposition and extend our reach to be part of communities we don’t realize exist.

The people who will keep you in business or running tomorrow are the very people you’re not reaching today. Before you continue to read on, allow me to clarify my point of view. My inspiration for writing this is to help you augment, not necessarily replace, the programs you’re running today. We must still reach those whom matter to us in the ways they prefer to be engaged. .

Brian Solis, The End of Business as Usual

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An APPealing Strategy to Raise More Money for Your Nonprofit

Today we’re going to think outside the box.

I’m going to suggest your nonprofit consider creating an app.

Yes, one of those things people buy at the app store.

Lest you think I’m crazy, this is an idea I’ve been noodling around for some time now.

And I think its time may finally have come!

Okay, maybe not 100%.

But there’s something to be said for the mobile, app-based experience.

Not just for retail giants, but for social benefit causes too.

Personal APPocalypse

The idea began to glimmer for me

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Essential Strategies to Succeed with Online Fundraising Campaigns-Pt.2

In Part 1 of this two-part article I described the importance of:

  1. Beginning with your well-oiled content marketing engine and plan.
  2. Building an intentional donor-centered content marketing plan.
  3. Building an online fundraising campaign strategy that’s integrated with your content marketing plan.

Part 1 also included links to a lot of articles I’ve written previously about mastering online social fundraising. Some of them are on Clairification. Others are guest posts I’ve done for other blogs.

I truly, passionately, want you to master the integration of a robust online communications and fundraising strategy with an equally robust offline strategy. In our digitally revolutionized world, they are two halves of a whole.

You need to rock them both.

Today we’re going to layer on with some other important essentials if you want to succeed with your online fundraising.

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Essential Strategies to Succeed with Online Fundraising Campaigns-Pt.1

I’ve written a lot over the past several years about why mastering online social fundraising is critical to nonprofit success (e.g., here and here, just as starters).

A bit later in this article I’ll give you a link to a mini-guide for nonprofit online social fundraising. It really boils down to taking charge of the “customer experience” — which is a huge meme du jour in the for-profit world today.

If you need to persuade someone about why this is important, you can read up about how the digital revolution has changed the way people are influenced to give in Penelope Burk’s Cygnus Research studies from the past several years. Here are some of the indisputable truths:

I could go on and on about the why, but I’m going to assume if you’re reading this article you’re already sold.  You know you need to do this better than you’re doing it now.  You’re just not sure how.

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5 Simple Ways to Use Video for Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Video marketing is taking over the world, and for good reason. Compelling videos are the best way to connect with your audience no matter where they are or what device they’re on.

For nonprofit organizations, video provides the opportunity to strengthen donor engagement and outreach across channels, especially through social networks where the medium continues to grow in popularity.

So how does video relate to peer-to-peer fundraising?

It’s all about getting people involved!

In order to get people passionate about raising money from their personal networks on behalf of your cause you have to show them why they should care.

Video is the perfect platform to help you do just that—in fact, 60% of people prefer watching a video to reading text. And it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Here are 5 simple video ideas your organization can use to encourage more participation and donations for your next peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.

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