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Quick Guide to Get Your Nonprofit “Crowd On”

quick_guide_to_get_your_nonprofit_crowd_onI’ve been thinking a lot about crowdfunding lately.

Bzz… bzz… buzz… buzz… Do you hear it?

It’s the sound of the times. It’s the bees flying around crowdfunding campaigns like honey. Sweet, golden honey.

Are you getting yours?

With the mainstream shift into digital communication, and the advance of technology through online donation and peer-to-peer fundraising platforms, crowdfunding is something I believe you should seriously consider if you’re not already getting your “crowd” on.

Especially if you have…

  • A big campaign going on.
  • Or a specific project that lends itself well to the telling of a compelling story.
  • Or you need to raise a lot of funds in a relatively short time period.
  • Or there’s a strong tie to some big event – anniversary; holiday; news story.
  • Or your current constituents are more inclined towards being ambassadors than asking or giving.
  • Or you’re having a hard time breaking out of the “box” of folks you think might be interested in your cause, and are looking to build your audience in new ways.

So I’ve put together a few resources, and some of my own thoughts, to help you think things through.

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Why are Good Nonprofit Fundraisers Hard to Keep? RESPECT

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I can’t get no…

Fundraisers report that money is the number one reason they leave their jobs [See Part I of this two-part series here]. While I do believe too many fundraisers are underpaid relative to their skill sets and performance, I’ve a hunch it’s not the real chief culprit for fundraiser dissatisfaction. What is?

Guess what? The reason is very similar to why donors leave you. If you read through this article, you’ll learn both (1) how to keep more fundraisers, and (2) how to satisfy, inspire and retain more donors.

Ready?

I gave you a hint in the title. Yup. It’s what Aretha Franklin famously sang about:

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

It’s not just respect for fundraisers as individuals that’s lacking. It’s respect for their profession. For what it takes to succeed with development in a nonprofit organization. For what it means to be a part of a team — all working together towards the same goal — and why it’s impossible to succeed without a supportive infrastructure and culture.

And by the way, donors won’t thrive absent a supportive culture and infrastructure either. They’re looking to be a part of your community, your family, your way of life. If you won’t give them this warm, fuzzy, connected feeling — they’ll find someone else who will.

So what pre-conditions must be in place for fundraising staff, and donors, to want to stay?

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6 Secrets to Rock Multi-Channel Integrated Nonprofit Fundraising Campaigns

This post includes 6 expert tips and best practices for any business, including a non-profit, wanting to run an integrated marketing campaign that generates more potential donors and raises more dollars.

Wait! What is an integrated marketing campaign?

An integrated marketing campaign is a marketing effort that uses a consistent message across traditional and non-traditional marketing channels. Ultimately all the messages should reinforce each other. Integrated marketing campaigns enable brands (yes, your nonprofit is a brand) to reach new audiences and gain mass exposure for their marketing promotions. Plus, in the information overload world in which we live, folks need to see your message multiple times before their brain will process it (Did you know that, on average, only 16% of Facebook fans will see what you share)?

There used to be a marketing ‘Rule of 7’ stating that a prospect needs to hear the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service.  Guess what? That rule was invented by the movie industry in the 1930’s! It takes a lot more impressions today (I’ve heard as many as 21).

So a multi-channel campaign is the way to go. Whether you reach folks 7 or 21 times, or somewhere in between, your messages should range over different sorts of media. Consider emails and newsletters, social media posts, website and blog, direct mail, advertising and even in person presentations. But it can’t be a big mish-mash.  You’ve got to integrate everything to ensure all your media channels are working together. That’s how you’ll ultimately get noticed.

To illustrate how this might work for you, here is an example

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!

Clairity Click-it: Get Outside the Mailbox

Today I’ve got stuff to help you get outside the traditional mail box. It’s a great way to communicate with folks – tried and true – but you have many more options in 2015. If you get stuck in the past you’re going to miss out on a lot of potential donors.

Did you know that when the telephone was invented people thought it would be disruptive and distracting? This is the year to seamlessly integrate strategic social media into all your fundraising and marketing campaigns.

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6 Best Ways to Make Storytelling Part of Your Nonprofit Culture

How do you fill the brains of your staff, volunteers and donors with stories about your organization?
What better way to talk about accomplishments your donors make possible than through stories that portray them as heroes?

Everyone loves a good story. Everyone.

Which is why storytelling should be at the heart of your nonprofit’s strategic communications. I know ‘storytelling’ is a meme du jour. But that’s no reason to ignore it. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! There’s a reason these phrases become buzzworthy. In this case, because you want to serve up content that’s relevant, attractive and accessible to your constituencies. Storytelling fits the bill better than anything else.

In fact, of all the content you can create, storytelling is your ultimate weapon and the most powerful means of communicating your message.

Let’s look at this a different way.

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How to Hire a Fundraiser: Practice and Psychology

I happen to currently be working with a number of nonprofits who are seeking to hire the perfect development officer. It’s got me thinking about what to look for in a candidate, and how to best assess someone’s likely ability to perform the job as you need them to perform it.

Of course, this will vary from organization to organization. But if you’re seeking someone to fill a one-person or two-person development shop, there is remarkable similarity in the performance habits (practice) and innate qualities (psychology) that will spell success.

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Why Your Nonprofit Communications are a Waste of Time: 10 Easy Fixes

I know you’re strapped for time. But that’s no excuse for slapping your communications together with the sole purpose of “getting them out there.” Why bother? Checking this task off your list (and maybe reporting to your boss and/or board that you did so) may make you feel a bit better. But it won’t help your readers (and potential supporters) feel good.

If you want to get gifts you must give them. Consider your communications a gift to your supporters. Don’t give something generic. Give something your recipient will appreciate.  Ask yourself…

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Nonprofit Donor Retention is Not as Hard as You Think

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What do you do to let your donors’ love blossom?

At least if shouldn’t be so hard.  After all, the commercial sector manages to retain 94% of their customers. Then why does the nonprofit sector only manage to retain 41%? Even worse, new nonprofit donor retention is only 19%, down from 27% in 2011. That’s abysmal. What’s going on?

Why are our for-profit brethren beating the pants off of us when it comes to retention?

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Will Your Year-End Fundraising Be Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing?

I love my Agitators, I really do. I’m hoping they meant to provoke, and were really being tongue-in-cheek with their recent article.   Forget About Donor-Centric is very provocative, and certainly there’s truth here. Nonprofits do seriously ramp up their fundraising activities at this time of year, and it may appear they’re thinking more about money than their donor. It’s solicitation time, not stewardship time.  And “Donor Tom” (Tom Belford) tells us he understands. He reasons that at this time of year he’s going to be so bombarded by appeals that he’s not going to be thinking about building a relationship with you. He just wants to give to those he’s already given to and “escape with some spending money for Christmas presents.”

That’s exactly the perspective you don’t want your donor to have.

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

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Old MacDonald’s Theory of Outstanding Fundraiser Qualities: E-I-E-I-O

Philanthropy, Not Fundraising

I’m about to reveal my Old MacDonald’s Theory of the qualities of outstanding fundraisers (you know how they say “the farmer is *out standing* in his field”)? Ahem.  Well… the outstanding farmer is surrounded by a chorus of E-I-E-I-Os.  The outstanding fundraiser is similar in many ways. S/he sings a similar tune and also works in a nurturing, productive space that enables cultivation and growth.

And that’s why I developed my E-I-E-I-O paradigm. Forget about all the nasty business of “it’s a jungle out there.” No, YOU (the fundraiser) work on a farm.

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How Google Works for Your Nonprofit Blog -Easy SEO and Search – S.S.T.S. Series Part IV

Share, Shareable, Talk, SearchIn Part I: Share, Part II: Shareable  and Part III: Talk of this S.S.S.T. Series we covered the importance of sharing your blog, making it shareable by others and getting folks to talk about you with their online networks.  But there’s one important component of your super-sonic blog promotion strategy that we’ve missed.  Here it is:

SEARCH

Let’s begin with why it’s important to talk about search. Because you want more readers for your blog, right? Well, the people who are your friends, plus the people who are their friends, are not all the people in the world.  They’re not even all the people who may be interested in what you do!  Search is how most people find you.  Search is the most common online activity after email, and that fact cuts across generations.

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Where you’re Going Wrong with Donor Retention – Purely Practical SMIT for February

Here comes this month’s *SMIT (Single Most Important Thing I have to tell you): the odds are good that you’re searching for love in all the wrong places.

Do a little spring cleaning and get rid of your apathetic donors.  I don’t mean you should toss them out the window. I mean you should do something to overcome their apathy. It’s not their fault.  Chances are it’s yours. I know that may sound harsh.  But, gosh darn it, we betray our donors all the time. Instead, we should go to them and give them some love. It’s really not that hard to retain your donors; you simply must have a strategy.

Most of us don’t even see the mess we’re making.  Just like that pile of papers that’s sitting over in the corner waiting to be tended to, our eyes glaze over. We’re apt to virtually ignore the broad base of donors in the middle, as well as our donors who lapse.  We send them one or two perfunctory renewal appeals; then we’re done.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps it’s because announcing a big upgrade and securing a new donor just seems a lot sexier than renewing folks.  But sustainable fundraising is not about sexy.

Out with the Old, In with the New: Avoiding Common Strategy Mistakes in 2012

It’s interesting how these Five Common Strategy Mistakes shared by the Harvard Business Review blog are as applicable to nonprofit as for profit businesses (albeit with slightly different twists). Many thanks to Joan Magretta , author of Understanding Michael Porter: The Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy, for alerting us to these common traps into…