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3 Ways to Integrate Your Nonprofit’s Marketing and Fundraising

You can't deliver your message today the way you did 10 years ago
You can’t deliver your message today the way you did 10 years ago

Avoid becoming irrelevant in the digital age. It’s revolutionized fundraising and nonprofit marketing.

There are so many different ways to communicate today that it can be dizzying!

Ground yourself by remembering that though technology has changed, people have not. We have the same drives… needs… yearnings as prehistoric tribes.  We long for connection and meaning. We want to find where we “fit.”

Philanthropy provides that “fit opportunity” in spades (or, more aptly, in hearts). You’ve got the goods; you just need to tinker with your delivery system.

Here’s how to embrace the change.

1. Let’s begin with your gift of content marketing.

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What is content marketing and what can it do for you?

Content marketing” is buzz-worthy because without it, you’ve got nothing. You’re just a box with nothing inside. Kids like to play with boxes; most folks — when they grow up — are looking for something of value inside the box.

That’s your content.  What you’re all about. The gift you offer the world and your donors.

Clairity Click-it Future of Fundraising Edition: Culture of Philanthropy, Donor Retention, Gratitude, Nonprofit Change + Learning Opps

Catch this Special Edition!
Catch this Special Edition!

This week is all about what we need to do, collectively and within our organizations, to assure a bright future for philanthropy. I’ve gathered articles from some of the leading thinkers and researchers in the civil sector. This is important stuff — and one “Click-it” you won’t want to miss! Plus, as always, some great learning opportunities for you (scroll to the bottom).

Clairity Click-it: Keep Donors; Make a Case; Neuromarketing; Appeal Frequency + News to Use

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Click it!

Want to keep more donors? This week’s Click-It will show you how in a number of different ways. Create magical experiences for supporters by taking a page from Disney. Craft a persuasive case for support by stepping into your donor’s shoes and asking yourself, and your team, some critical questions. Learn more about the importance of personalization by watching a video from Starbucks. Understand the psychology of the three different types of buyers (aka donors). And think critically about the number of appeals you send, and how this may help or hurt your donor acquisition, renewal and upgrade efforts. Plus you’ll find some “News You Can Use” (tons of really useful data and reports) at the bottom of this post.  To your success!

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Surprising Science: Do Men and Women Respond to Different Fundraising Appeals?

Male Donors Respond Best to Pitches That Stress Self-Interest, Study Says.

I came across this Stanford research study in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and I have to say I’m surprised.

The article claims there’s an “empathy gap” between men and women. Because of this, it advises emphasizing how the prospective male donor will benefit from their philanthropy, rather than highlighting the impact of their philanthropy on the beneficiary.

Hmmn…

I’m not certain the right take-away from this research is to smother men with “hard” factual data and women with “soft” emotional stories.

Because I’ve read study after study that show the heart trumps the mind – and stories out-pull data — every time.

Clairity Click-it: Give to Donors with Thank You’s and Stories

It’s the last Friday in January, which means Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. That’s a great day to send your donors some love – and that’s what Monday’s post will be all about. So… keep your eyes peeled!

Meanwhile, today I’ve got stuff to get you in a giving and sharing mood. Today it’s all about telling stories and saying thank you. Both are ways of offering your donors gifts. And I hope by now you know that if you want to get gifts, you must first give them.

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Philanthropy, Not Fundraising: I Have a Dream 2015

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I have a dream…

I have a dream for 2015 – and beyond. I have a dream  this is the year your organization will move beyond defining yourself by what you’re not (nonprofit) and will begin to define yourself by what you are (social benefit). I have a dream  this is the year your people will move from an attitude of taking and hitting people up (aka “fundraising”) to a mindset of giving and lifting people up (aka “philanthropy”). I have a dream this is the year your staff and volunteers will move from enacting transactions to enabling transformation.

I have a dream you will think big, because thinking small will not get you where you need to go. You will understand there is great power in a big, wildly exciting vision. You will share this vision broadly to attract people — and financial resources — to your cause. You will no longer be content to remain a “well-kept secret.”

I have a dream you will learn who your best influencers  and advocates are and you will embrace them.  You will recognize you are no longer your best messenger. You will understand that many forces beyond you influence your donor’s decision to invest with you, and you will expand your thinking and operations from a one-dimensional to a multi-dimensional model.  You will allow your constituents to engage with you at multiple points of entry, and to move freely between these points during the life cycle of their engagement.

I have a dream you will push yourself and your organization towards transformative change.

Clairity Click-it: Social Media Engagement; Blogging Tips; Creativity; Science of Persuasion

One of my favorite things to do is to raid the halls of business blogs to see what they’re doing that should be applied to nonprofit businesses. Sadly, we still seem to be last to the party when it comes to really thinking outside the box, adopting tried-and-true best practices (I don’t mean the shiniest new object; I mean stuff that’s working super well, creating lots of brand awareness and raising lots of money). So this week I’ve got a bunch of simple and powerful business tips for you… plus some stuff to get you thinking. I hope a light bulb goes off for you!

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October Halloween Nonprofit Blog Carnival – Major Gifts Tricks and Treats

 

Fear not! The Halloween Nonprofit Blog Carnival is back, offering tricks and treats galore from nonprofit experts all around the web – a full Baker’s Dozen (or shall I say a Witches Coven)! — to help you find, cultivate, solicit and steward your major donors. When you trick and treat, you always like to go to the houses that give out the most candy, natch?  Well… let’s find the donors giving out the most goodies so your mission is assured of success. But you’ve got to be prepared! No just showing up without a costume, a plan of attack or a strategy for success. You’ll get some lollipops and stuff, sure. But I know that’s not what you really want. Go for what you need.  Go for what will make your time spent on this effort feel worth your while.  And we’ve got 13 experts telling you exactly what to do.

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Find Yourself Failing at Fundraising? Put on Your Radiator Cap!

Do you find yourself sinking into a fundraising hole?

If so, you’re not the first. And you won’t be the last.

I’m going to tell you how to begin to dig yourself out!

First, stop blaming others. It’s not because so-and-so foundation just pulled their grant (how dare they?).  It’s not because the government just cut back funding in your area (those bastards!). It’s not because your development director is lazy (why can’t she work 70 hours?)… and it’s not because your board doesn’t give enough (they’re so stingy!).

Sure, some of those things may be happening.  But

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Losing Too Many Donors? 5 No-Brainer Ways to Keep Them

 

When it comes to improving donor retention, I often try to guide organizations through the process of shifting their thinking – and the culture of their organization – in the direction of gratitude rather than greediness toward their donors.

What’s important about making this philosophical shift is that it forces you to think very specifically about what you’re grateful for.

You aren’t simply asking your donors for money. Similarly, you aren’t thanking your donors for money.

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Check Your Next Appeal Letter Against This 16-Point List Before Sending

Are you starting to worry about whether you’ll raise enough money this year to meet your goals?

Are you concerned because last year’s appeal didn’t raise as much as you had hoped?

Are you fresh out of ideas for what to put into an appeal to generate the giving response you need to sustain vital programs?

Fear not!  Help is on the way!  Just use this 16-point checklist before you send anything to your printer.

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You’re Not Alone: What To Do When You Start To Fail at Fundraising

Once upon a time (around about 2008) a big mean recession cast its dark shadow over many a nonprofit. Grantors cut back on funding. Donors zipped up their wallets. Salaries and benefits got cut. Seasoned professionals were laid off, or left voluntarily. Others lasted awhile, but became increasingly discouraged.

Six years out from the biggest stock market crash since 1929, I’m beginning to hear a lot of organizations crying “Uncle!” These are the ones that, for reasons unbeknownst to them, have not rebounded. And they’re desperately trying to beat back the wolf at the door.

The thing they fear most? Failure.

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Why Your Nonprofit’s Events are a Waste of Time

Fun events may bring in hundreds of attendees, but a fundraising event is not an end in and of itself.  Often the charity never sees these folks again (or at least not until the next event) because these folks are golfers or ‘thoners, not donors. These events are a waste of your precious resources.

Don’t tell me that you “raised awareness.”

Unless you raised awareness towards a particular end (usually generating greater philanthropic support) – and you have a plan to intentionally build on this awareness — then everything your attendees may have learned about you will go in one ear and out the other. Awareness that isn’t reinforced lasts about two seconds.

Don’t tell me that you “raised good money.”

Did you really? Well, think again.

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!

Clairity Click-it: Mobile, Newsletters, Volunteer Recruiting, Writing, Engaging Board, Stories

I this week’s links because they’re both thought-proving and actionable. Pick one that speaks to you, and consider doing something different. Heck, the only way we grow is through experimenting. Take chances! Make mistakes! Mobile  Click-it: Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits by Heather Mansfield at Nonprofit Tech for Good is…

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ONE BIG THING Your Nonprofit Must Do TODAY to Succeed in 2014

Adopt an integrated inbound marketing and fundraising strategy.

If you don’t know what that means, you’re in trouble. Read on.

If you do know, are you really doing it?

It’s time to stop pussy footing around this.

Here’s why:

(1) Nonprofit marketing and fundraising have changed more in the past five years than the preceding 50. I’m not kidding!  The digital revolution ended business as usual.

(2) Fundraising and marketing must be seamlessly integrated. They cannot be separate silos any longer.

Have you caught up with reality?

Clairity Click-it: Compel, Kvell, Sell – Your 3 Keys to Year-End Fundraising Success

This week it’s about the three things that will boost your year-end giving: (1) social media done well will drive awareness of your cause and the current opportunity to make an impact; (2) creative, compelling content presented in the form of a story will trigger emotions that inspire philanthropy, and (3) your user-friendly, up-to-date website will make it easy for would-be donors to connect with you, donate and then continue to stay connected – and feel good about it – over time. This week’s links will give you food for thought – plus actionable tips.

Clairity Click-it: Tweak Your System to Improve Year-End Fundraising

As year-end fundraising approaches, just doing it the way you’ve always done it – or imitating the way others do it – may not be enough to set you apart from the crowd.  So… our theme this week is to think outside the box – just a little. Teach yourself a few new tricks, and get outside — literally! —  to invigorate your fundraising.  So… let’s start with a post of almost the same name!

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For Whom the Bell Tolls: Major Gifts Officers Will Lose Their Jobs in 2 Years

Unless… they reinvent themselves.

I know this sounds harsh. But check out Seth Godin’s Tried and false where he bluntly tells the truth about the tried and true: “In times of change… most of the tried is in fact, false. False because what used to work, doesn’t, at least not any longer.”

You may have been the best major gift officer on the planet five years ago.  But that was then. This is now. The buying/giving market has fundamentally changed. And, yes, the culprit is the digital revolution. That’s how revolutions work. It’s truly the end of business as usual.

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4 Crucial Steps to Develop a Donor Retention System

When you ask a fundraiser what the most difficult part of their job is, chances are you’ll get one of two answers – acquiring donors or retaining donors. Any fundraising organization is bound to come up against these problems at some point. But here’s the thing that is often overlooked – if you do a better job retaining donors, you can spend less time and money trying to acquire new donors.

Could this be the secret formula for fundraising success? Well, not entirely. But it’s a solid start.

Donor retention can seem elusive for many non-profits. It’s frustrating to pull up your annual reports to find out that you’ve only had 50% of last year’s donors make a gift again this year. Sometimes, it can even feel like a personal defeat.

If you’re working on the annual giving side of development, keep track of thousands of donors is nearly impossible. Your database can quickly become your archenemy. Having the highly personal relationships that major gift officers have with donors is a novel pipe dream.

But what if it was possible to scale this concept to create a system that retains donors?

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Earth Day: What the World Needs Now – 7 Ways to Influence Change

We want help solving our problems, both significant and commonplace. We want help improving our lives. We want help making sense out of world fraught with uncertainty.” — Jay Bear, Convince and Convert

It’s a day for thinking about the planet, and how to repair our world.  There are many different ways.  Sometimes it’s just hard to get started. The problems seem so insurmountable… it’s hard to envision making a difference.

Your job, as a nonprofit fundraiser and marketer, is to help folks see how they can influence the outcome. Then, you must help them to do it. Guide them towards being the change they want to see in the world. Persuade them that your cause is a fantastic way to achieve this change. Your cause may be one cause among many picked by your constituents; that’s fine. Your task is simply to (1) engage them to act, and (2) entice them to choose your organization to facilitate that action.

How do you turn thoughts into action that improves lives?

R.I.P: Top 3 Things Required for Content to be King + 17 Questions You Should Ask Before Building a Content Marketing Strategy

 

Is your content pushing up daisies?  It should be.  That’s the way to grow and blossom.   I call it  the R.I.P. Content Marketing Strategy:  (1) Relevance; (2) Ideas; (3) Plan. [Coincidentally, adhering to these principles should bring peace of mind so that you can rest easy in the knowledge you’re doing the right things (relevance; ideas) in the right ways (plan).]  So, to mimic Do,Re,Mi from the Sound of Music:

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R.I.P: Top 3 Things Required for Content to be King – And 17 Questions We Should Ask Before Embarking on a Content Marketing Strategy

Is your content pushing up daisies?  It should be.  That’s the way to grow and blossom.   I call it  the R.I.P. Content Marketing Strategy:  (1) Relevance; (2) Ideas; (3) Plan. [Coincidentally, adhering to these principles should bring peace of mind so that you can rest easy in the knowledge you’re doing the right things (relevance;…