Clairity Click-it: Year-End Tips; Marketing; Social Media; Holiday Gifts

Today I’ve got an eclectic mix for you from both fundraising and marketing blogs. Everything is applicable to nonprofits, and lots of the advice is stuff you can use right away to increase your fundraising success. Then there’s stuff to help you plan for even greater success next year. Woohoo! Let’s begin with the stuff you need the most now… Oh, and did I mention there are presents at the end?

Clairity Click-it: Leadership; Lead Conversion & Storytelling; Marketing Communications; Social Media

This week’s Click-it has some thought-provoking posts as well as some practical tips.  Hope you enjoy them!  Also, if you meant to sign up for my latest course — designed to help you with critical donor retention — this is your last chance. I know you have the best of intentions. Your donors are super important to you, and you mean to let them know more often. You really do. But somehow you don’t get around to it as much as you should. This course will help you make it a priority — so when this time rolls around next year you’ll be in better shape than you are today.  Sound good?  Okay!

Now… enjoy these articles, please.

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Why Your Nonprofit Fundraising and Marketing is Outdated

 

Philanthropy, Not Fundraising

For too many nonprofits something isn’t working. Change is happening at a rapid pace while people try to employ yesterday’s ‘best practices,’ seeming to work harder and harder to make do with less — while needing to serve more.

Before the digital revolution, an information imbalance existed.  This facilitated a one-way ‘push’ model of marketing/fundraising. We could define our own brand and sell it.  Guess what? 

Clairity Click-it: Build Relationships; Online Content; Social Media

This week is all about building relationships using online media – with tips from some of my favorite nonprofit and for profit fundraising, marketing and social media gurus.

With donor retention rates hovering around 30 – 40% — yes, that means you’re LOSING 7 out of 10 new donors and 6 out of 10 repeat donors – it’s more important than ever to use every tool at your disposal to truly engage with your constituents.  The majority of them are online, either a lot or a little.  So read these articles and put your best foot forward!

Spring Clairity Click-it: Email Marketing, Donor Newsletters, Small Gifts Matter, Donor Stewardship

Yes, it turned to spring at 12:57 p.m. early this morning. It’s a good time to do a little spring cleaning. Clear out the mistakes and the old stuff that’s no longer working for you. Keep the basics.  Freshen up with some new stuff, or just tweak things a little. This week’s links for nonprofit fundraisers and marketers includes some of all of this.   Happy spring!

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Hue Are You? What Color Can Mean for Your Marketing Strategy

 

 I adore color.  I’m definitely not someone who wears only black!  I thought it would be interesting to think about how we use color in our donor communications, and happened on several great infographics, including The Psychology of Color in Design and Color Psychology and Marketing. They offer a terrific overview of the meaning of colors in the western hemisphere. What you’ll learn is eye opening.

Weekly Clairity Click-it: Giving Trends, Cause Marketing, Email Marketing, Data Conversion, Donor Retention

Free Webinar alert below…  Now, on to this week’s great links…

Giving Trends

Click-it: ‘Strategic Philanthropy’ Shifts Too Much Power to Donors. This is a provocative Chronicle of Philanthropy article about the way foundations give today. Did you know that 60% of them don’t accept unsolicited proposals? The trend is towards a Madisonian approach where foundations determine which issues are meritorious vs. a more Jeffersonian approach  in which nonprofits, community groups and their constituents determine where resources are most needed. On which side of the debate do you fall?

Click-it: How America Gives. This is a super-awesome interactive guide

Weekly Clairity Click-it: Content Creation, Storytelling, Practical Social Media, Asking, Thanking

This week’s Clairity Click-it – your eclectic array of easy to-“click-it” links to posts I’ve found thought provoking. With, of course, a few comments of my own.

Content Creation

Click-it: 25 Brain Lubricants to Generate Content Ideas. This guest post on the Convince and Convert blog comes from creative director Barry Feldman. If you feel like you don’t have enough content to fill a blog (and if you read me at all you know I believe every nonprofit should have a blog!) check out these great ideas for combating writer’s block.  Here’s one I like: Got a bookcase full of dusty old classics? Crack one open. Try poetry. Hit Pinterest for inspirational quotes. There’s something about great thinkers that makes you think.

Weekly Clairity Click-it: Marketing, Viral Social Media, Nonprofit Management and Decisionmaking

Here’s this week’s Clairity Click-it, the most intriguing and thought-provoking of the more than 100 articles I seem to read every week – all in an easy-to-“click-it” format with links to posts from an eclectic array of online resources, often sourced from more than one discipline, as I believe we can learn a lot from our colleagues in other sectors.  Of course, I add in a few comments of my own.

Let’s begin:

This Week's Clairity Click-it: Competitive Advantage, Nonprofit Management, Decisionmaking, Online Content, Measuring Performance and The Overhead Myth

Here’s this week’s Clairity Click-it, the most intriguing and thought-provoking of the more than 100 articles I seem to read every week – all in an easy-to-“click-it” format with links to posts in fundraising, marketing, social media, leadership, change and all sorts of good stuff. I aim for an eclectic array, often sourced from more than one discipline, as I believe we can learn a lot from our colleagues in other sectors.  Of course, I add in a few comments of my own.

Let’s begin:

The Clairity Click-it: Your Weekly Potpourri of Nonprofit Management, Marketing, Branding, Social Media and Fundraising

Here’s this week’s Clairity Click-it, the most intriguing and thought-provoking of the more than 100 articles I seem to read every week – all in an easy-to-“click-it” format with links to posts in fundraising, marketing, social media, leadership, change and all sorts of good stuff. I aim for an eclectic array, often sourced from more than one discipline, as I believe we can learn a lot from our colleagues in other sectors.

Of course, I add in a few comments of my own.

Let’s begin:

The Clairity Click-it: Your Weekly Potpourri of Nonprofit Management, Marketing, Branding, Social Media and Fundraising

I’m trying something new. I must read over 100 articles every week, and many of them say things with which I agree.  In fact, some say them better than I could have said it (Yup!). So I’m putting together the very best in an easy-to-“click-it” format with links to this week’s best and brightest in fundraising, marketing, social media, leadership, change and all the good stuff. You’ll find it to be an eclectic array, often sourced from more than one discipline, as I believe we can learn a lot from our colleagues in other sectors.

Of course, I can’t help but add in a few comments of my own. I hope you’ll find it useful. Let’s begin:

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What App Developers Can Teach Content Marketers: 5 Tips to Energize Your Brand

Find a need and fill it. That’s Marketing 101.   Well, today some of the folks most clued in to what people want are the apps developers. Why not piggyback on their insight and research to enrich your content marketing strategy?  The key is to tie it to your brand promise (i.e., why you’re on this planet and what folks perceive your value to be to them). Find an angle that makes the trend relevant to your business.

End your constituents’ pain.  This is simply another way to think of taking the consumer-oriented approach that means the difference between failure and success. What’s bothering your community?  What keeps them up at night? How can you help? This is how app developers – and inventors, and successful business start-ups – think. 

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Philanthropy; Not Fundraising: How Inbound Marketing Enhances Opportunity for Human Connection

Dylan Lyrics to Times they are a changin'In my last post I channeled Bob Dylan, calling for a change in the way we do fundraising. Because the times truly are a changin’…

Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command, your old road is rapidly agin’…

When I grew up in fundraising I had a shoe box as my database.  I wrote grant proposals on yellow legal pads.  When we got our first FAX machine I complained that now folks expected us to mail and FAX them (so double the work).  When email came on the scene I complained that now folks wanted us to mail and FAX and email (so triple the work). But it was still the same old road of outbound marketing.  At least I understood what it was all about.

Now we’re on a new road entirely.  Because folks are coming to us.  They’re telling us what they want.  They’re defining our brand.  And they’re doing so in real time via a multitude of online channels and using a multitude of Web-connected devices. Opportunity is knocking.

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6 Ways to a Kick-Ass Content Plan for Your Nonprofit Blog: Part II of the C.P.A. series

 

C.P.A.? Yup. In my last post I introduced you to the ‘accountant’ theory of an effective blog content strategy.  C for constituent-centered. P for plan. A for accessible. You can review the C post here.  Today we’re going to talk about the P.’

For starters, you’ve done your market research and you know what your constituents care about (if you haven’t done this, look at the 6 actionable tips in the previous post). Now, take all the great topics you’ve researched and brainstormed – all the questions you’ve been collecting from your constituents – and build an editorial calendar for your blog. I’m going to give you some tips and tools that will make this really simple. Promise.

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5 Reasons Why Nonprofit Marketing Must Change from Inside/Out to Outside/In

For years nonprofits have worked from the “inside out” in terms of prioritizing constituencies to target. It was accepted wisdom that effective fundraising was an “inside out” proposition and that we should work our networks beginning with those with the greatest reasons to give (e.g., board members, clients, family and friends). As resources allowed, we’d then…

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Please Stop the Madness in March (and any other time): Integrate Fundraising and Marketing

Shall we join forces? Fundraising is not basketball, but it’s madness not to play as a team. I’ve spen with three nonprofits in the past several months that, rather than joining forces, have decoupled their marketing and development departments. I surmise they do this because marketing doesn’t understand development. Or development doesn’t understand marketing.  Or…

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Brand Spanking New: The changing meaning of ‘mark’ in marketing, ‘relationship’ in CRM and ‘social’ in branding and business

Branding used to connote something done with a hot iron to mark ownership of a steer.  If there was a relationship quality to this it was only in the fact of being an owner of the thing possessed. It was certainly not about building a relationship, or any important social bonds, with your livestock. In…

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You Say "Potato," I Say "Patattah": Development vs. Marketing, Part 2, How to persuade your E.D. and Board that they’re the same thing

The fact that development and marketing are charged with making the same relationship-building and communications decisions means that it is time, once and for all, to actively align these functions.  Yesterday in Part 1 we discussed the natural linkages between these functions and that, first and foremost, everything we do is about the customer experience. Today,…

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How to Supercharge Nonprofit Major Giving Using the Language of Love

language of love alphabetWhat motivates someone to make a major philanthropic gift?

Generally it takes one or more meaningful conversations with a donor who (you hope!) may contemplate a gift to your organization. At some point you’ll be ready to make them an offer you hope they won’t be able to refuse. But how do you develop their interest and passion to the point where they’re willing and ready to enact them?  Today I’m suggesting it’s actually pretty simple, as long as you truly understand the process of what the nonprofit sector has come to call “development.”

To get folks to “YES” you simply need to learn the language of gift planning!

It’s not just about HOW people give, but WHY.

Planning is the operative word. Alas, when many folks talk about ‘planned givingit’s a term that’s come to mean giving vehicles. Often it’s just about deferred giving vehicles. Most donors don’t think this way. Rather, they consider how they want to help. They concern themselves with the best ways to enact their values. This may mean an outright gift today or a deferred gift tomorrow. Or both. Form follows function. So thinking in terms of gift vehicles is a decidedly non-donor-centric way of framing things.

People making bequests or gifts in trust often visit legal and financial advisors. So we think of this more as “planning” mode. And we ask “planned gift officers” to work with these folks. This isn’t wrong, but it’s not as right as it could be if you approached the donor’s giving decision more expansively.

In othe words, major gift officers are also planned giving officers.

Anyone who contemplates a major, or stretch, outright gift plans ahead.

No one gets up one morning and decides spontaneously to give away $100,000.

Or let’s just stipulate it’s relatively rare.

Rather, would-be philanthropists consider how making a particular gift at a particular point in time may match their values and help them accomplish their objectives, personal and philanthropic.

It’s seldom a spur of the moment action.

For purposes of this gift planning article, let’s consider your audience to be prospective major (outright) and legacy (deferred) gift donors.

Let’s try an experiment.

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10 Tools to Give You and Your Nonprofit Donor Space to Co-Create — and Change the World

Man pointing to ear and hearing aidI recently wrote about 4 Strategies to Listen so Others Will Talk, noting the secret to building authentic relationships is to use your two ears and one mouth in that proportion.

It’s a good start, but there’s more.

You can’t just listen passively.

Active listening, supported by powerful, succinct, to-the-point generative questions – that’s what will draw you and your donor (or anyone with whom you’re in relationship) closer together.

But not all active listening is created equal. And you may think you’re actively listening, when really you’ve listened for a hot minute; then gone down your own rabbit hole of reality. In that rabbit hole, you become the narrator. It thus becomes your story, not the donor’s.

Uh, oh.

Today we’ll explore how to draw your donor out so you truly hear their voice and sense their emotions, not your own.

1. Economy of language.

This is something I value, as an outsider looking in.

I’m not good at it.

10 Strategies to Actively Build Nonprofit Donors Trust

trustTrust defines the credibility and legitimacy not only of your organization, but of the entire social benefit sector. Yet too few organizations make the effort to operationalize this construct into their fundraising and marketing planning.

You should.

Without donor trust and confidence in philanthropy there’s no future for social benefit organizations.

Donor retention guru Professor Adrian Sargeant has spent 20+ years researching the relationship between trust, philanthropy and continued donor commitment. And he has found, unequivocally, that trust is the essential foundation of the philanthropic relationship.

Ignore this at your peril.

Actively Build Donor Trust

The Donor’s Bill of Rights is a great starting point.  But simply using it as a checklist is not enough.  Too transactional. I encourage you to go above and beyond. Because the best predictor of future giving is when people feel good.

You can make giving to you a transformational experience. How? By actualizing what you learn here into a series of multi-step plans for:

  1. Gift Acknowledgement that Satisfies Donors
  2. Donor-Centered Communications that Instill Happiness
  3. Useful Content Marketing that Offers Gifts
  4. Consistent Branding that Instills Confidence
  5. Relationship Fundraising that Creates Meaning and Builds Loyalty

If you take these five steps, I can guarantee you’ll steadily build trust and make donors happy. What I’d like to do now is break these steps down into 10 action strategies. They may seem simple, and they are. But honestly ask yourself if you really do these things? I’m going to guess you could do better. So please read these with an eye to what you might do to make your donor retention plan – what I prefer to call a “donor love and loyalty plan” – more vigorous.

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How to Kon Mari Your Nonprofit Work Plan

This year it’s been easy to hoard.

You had all the strategies that worked for you in the past, PLUS you had to add a bunch of new ones when faced with the realities of the pandemic economy.

Then you had to add things to be relevant to supporters who were thinking about a million news stories. You needed to be relevant, and consider your stance on BLM, BIPOC, DEI and a range of political and social justice issues.

The extraordinary times could not be ignored, so strategy got piled upon strategy, got piled upon…

And your nonprofit work plan got super crowded.

Time to clear out some space!

You’re likely wondering if you have to do everything virtually as well as in person. You’re wondering if your messaging needs to change to be more inclusive? You’re wanting to connect with folks in ways they’ve come to expect, and to offer meaningful engagment opportunities, but… where is everything going to fit?!?!

Never fear. Help is here!

What if you were to look at your work plan this year from the KonMari perspective?

If you’ve been living under a rock, Marie Kondo’s KonMari is the art of “tidying up to transform your life.” It’s a popular book that’s become a Netflix sensation, and it may not be your cup of tea, but…

What if, through some simplification and organization, you could transform your life (at least at work) as well as your nonprofit’s life — so all involved felt greater inspiration and even serenity?

You. Can. Do. It.

Alas, I’ve participated in many a planning session, and seldom do I recall – if ever – really focusing first on what we could stop doing to make room for new endeavors.  If this sounds familiar, you’re likely also familiar with the unfortunate consequences.

There are some things that really should not be part of your work plan moving forward. Or, at the very least, they should be pared down. Quite. A. Bit.

Here’s how you know you need, as Marie Kondo might say, to tidy up.

  • Do you try to stuff too much into your work plan and end up doing nothing as well as you’d like?
  • Do you allow daily clutter to crowd your inbox so you’re often responding to the little issues rather than the big ones?
  • Do you keep working on things that no longer have the payoff they once had, causing you to miss out on newer and more cost-effective opportunities?
  • Do you allow inertia to divert your focus towards ‘make work’ transactional stuff that satisfies your need to feel ‘busy,’ while you know it’s not really transformational work?
  • Have you allowed your job to become overloaded with tasks you don’t enjoy, to the point where you feel a bit like a lobster in a pot?

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How to Improve Your Nonprofit E-Newsletter

Does your nonprofit have an email newsletter?

I’d rather see you rock a blog, but let’s talk a bit about your newsletter. Since you already have one, you may as well make it better.

Otherwise, what’s the point?

[BTW: If you don’t have an e-newsletter, go read the article above about creating and rocking a blog. Also read this. A blog can serve the purpose of an e-newsletter, and do so in a more donor-centric, user-friendly fashion. IMHO.]

Okay. Back to improving your newsletter. You can always evolve it into a blog (and doing so will make sense after you read the rest of this article).

Guess what most donors simply won’t tell you about your newsletter?

It’s boring them to tears!

Or at least most of it is.

Actually, let me rephrase. Not to tears. That would mean they’re feeling an emotional connection. Sadly, they’re not.

Why?

Most Donor Newsletters Are Boring To the Point Of Numbness

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5 Ways Mobile Bidding Can Help You Raise More Revenue

Title slideWhen planning a charity auction, there are several moving parts to keep track of: your venue, item procurement, guest registration, guest management, and more. Whether you’re running a silent auction or a live event, these moving parts are important and need to be carefully monitored.

So, how can you best oversee the planning process and the event itself?

Mobile bidding and auction software has grown in popularity among charity auction events. With this software, you can streamline your event planning process from start to finish and make it easier for people to bid. But before we dive into the specifics, let’s define mobile bidding.

What is mobile bidding?

Mobile bidding is a paperless bidding method that allows guests to place bids straight from their phones. The software simplifies all aspects of your live and silent auctions, your event planning and management, ticketing, and other needs. It can add engagement to the event as well.

There are many ways mobile bidding can help boost your revenue and streamline everything at your charity auction. In this article, we’ll focus on the following areas where that can happen:

  1. Item Procurement
  2. Guest Experience
  3. Competition
  4. Participants
  5. Analytics

Are you ready to take a closer look at the ways mobile bidding can help you reach your fundraising goals? Let’s get started!

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Nonprofit Gift Planning: Do You Use the Language of Love?

language of love alphabetI recently listened in on a thoughtful webinar by Scot Lumpkin for The Stelter Company. It’s all about meaningful conversations with donors who (you hope!) may contemplate a gift to your organization.

To get folks to “YES” you just need to learn the language of gift planning!

It’s not just about HOW people give, but WHY.

Scott was speaking of what is often called ‘planned giving.It’s a term that’s unfortunately come to mean giving vehicles, which is a decidedly non-donor-centric way of framing things.

Anyone who contemplates a major, or stretch, outright gift plans ahead.

No one just gets up one morning and decides to give away $10,000.

Or let’s just stipulate it’s relatively rare.

Rather, would-be philanthropists consider how making a particular gift at a particular point in time may match their values and helps them accomplish their objectives, personal and philanthropic.

It’s seldom a spur of the moment action.

For purposes of this gift planning article, let’s consider your audience to be prospective major (outright) and legacy (deferred) gift donors.

Let’s try an experiment.