People keep telling you to add text messaging to your communications strategy, right? It’s a mobile world, and you need to reach people where they are. But how do you actually get people to opt in to text messages and grow your contact list? Let’s explore five ways to get your supporters to consent…Details
When You Can’t Get Up Close And Personal, How Do You Build Relationships With Folks Online?
Are you Linking In?
If not, it’s time to take a new look at this social platform to appreciate it for the beneficial research and relationship-building strategy it can be for you.
I find it to be a highly under-utilized tool when it comes to building your nonprofit brand, establishing authority and credibility, researching and recruiting new volunteers, donors and employees, and building stronger relationships with your current constituents.
Today we’re going to talk about how to use LinkedIn to uncover new donor prospects and build donor relationships.
Not too much. Just four no-nonsense strategies.
To begin, let’s look at two connection models:Details
Ever heard the mantra “digital first?” It’s been around a number of years, and I’ve little doubt you’ve been pondering how to do in the digital space. Today I’d like to suggest two simple ways to actively drive awareness and engagement on. 1. Influence Others to Build Your Network One simple way is to become a…Details
I’m excited to share three easy tips with you, and the results are measurable. Do these things and you’ll be able to tell if they impact your bottom line!
I was inspired to share these ideas with you based on a 2019 study by NextAfter and Kindful looking at how organizations are cultivating donors via email. They found plenty of data-driven ideas that can improve donor retention and boost online fundraising revenue — by as much as 27%!
Think about how much an increase like that could mean for your organization!
“Make way…” for these ridiculously easy, revenue-boosting strategies!
If you raised $100,000 last year, you could raise $127,000 – or more – this year.
And that’s without having to apply for a new grant, hold a new fundraising event or even ask for a new major gift or two to reap these rewards.
All you must do is simply pay a little more attention to your follow-through communication with donors.
Did you know most of the top reasons donors give for not renewing their giving have to do with how you do/don’t communicate with them after they make a donation?– or fail to personally, meaningfully and promptly communicate.
Meaningful, regular donor communication can hugely impact your bottom line.
To make a demonstrable difference in donor behavior, however, your communication strategy must tick more than one box. It must be prompt, personal and relevant to what your donor cares about and how they want to hear from you. Don’t just guess what your donors might like from you. Ask them! In fact, surveys, social media queries, online quizzes, solicitations for comments and feedback are all wonderful ways to communicate digitally in a manner that personally engages your supporters.
Never forget: The best fundraising is personal.
So… what are you waiting for?
Here are three strategies revealed by the research:Details
The fate of the world is in all of our hands
It’s out of tune when you fail to even acknowledge that which is top of mind for you constituents.
At any point in time.
For the last couple of years it was Covid. All the time.
At various points it was also a range of issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion, justice, law and order, or the lack thereof, individual rights and freedoms and, of course climate, including hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and droughts.
Right now it’s helping Ukraine and its people.
Whenever people are suffering, for whatever reason, it has a huge impact on the human psyche.
And when it’s in the news, that suffering and impact is hugely amplified.
People want to stop the pain.
If you can help people do that, they will be grateful to you.
How Can You Help People Now?Details
Philanthropy should not just be about big checks.
That’s why you should never eschew small gift fundraising. Today I’m offering some tips for building and mobilizing your community to find, sustain and grow smaller gifts.
This is important, because a donor’s first gift is seldom their largest. It’s a starting point.
The majority of your gifts will be small, but the majority of your income will come from a small group of major donors.
You have to grow this cadre of loyal, passionate philanthropists by building relationships with supporters over time.
The lion’s share of major gifts come from previously small gift donors.
A client I’m working with told me 50% of their major donors began with very small gifts. How about tracking this for your organization? Sure, some major donors come in at the top. But I’ll bet you a majority start by dipping their toe in the water. How can you get folks more fully immersed?Details
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?
You’ve no doubt become familiar by now with the term “digital revolution.” It’s something that’s been dawning on us, slowly but surely, over the past few decades, and particularly in the past ten years with the advent of social media. How far has your nonprofit come? Far enough?
It’s hard to believe, but a mere ten years ago so few nonprofits had jumped on the digital bandwagon I began blogging about it. I even wrote monthly for a national social media blog, becoming their guest nonprofit expert. It makes me chuckle now, because use of technology is by no means my sweet spot. But I was just so troubled by the elephant in the room too few nonprofits were naming.
Today, most nonprofits have a digital strategy. Some are even going so far as to discontinue direct mail entirely. I don’t recommend this; still, it’s testimony to how far we’ve come in a short period.
NOTE: I find abandoning direct mail a bit extreme and precipitous. A classic “leaving money on the table” rookie mistake. Merely substituting an online for an offline channel ignores today’s reality. What’s that? It’s a multichannel world. Sure, it’s more work than in the past. Where you used to just have to communicate in one space, now you must show up in many. Yet there’s good news: layering your strategies can result in richer engagement than before, because you’re meeting folks where they are and reaching people you’d never have before reached. And donors cross channels! The lion’s share of philanthropy still comes from direct mail, but things are evolving. Online giving may be precipitated by offline fundraising strategies. Even if you engage in direct mail, you need to consider the convenience of your prospects and donors. What makes giving easy, convenient and likely for them? Simply sticking to online fundraising may narrow your chances for success. Did you know average email lifespan is 17 seconds vs. direct mail’s average of 17 days? Also, did you know 31% of offline-only first-time donors are retained for over a year, versus 25% of online-only first-time donors? So you’re going to want to hedge your bets and not just fundraise in one place.
Okay, back to the revolution.
Nothing accelerated the transformation to digital like the past year.
Is your digital adoption of a transformational nature? Has it fundamentally altered how you do business? We’re at a transformation tipping point, and transformation doesn’t move backwards.
Going digital is now an in-your-face proposition that can’t be ignored.
I’m about to share some data with you to demonstrate how online engagement and revenue grew in 2020. But first I want to share some broad perspective strategic thinking on the subject.Details
When I think about nonprofit content marketing, one of my favorite marketing strategists is Jay Baer, author of Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help, not Hype.
He says the difference between “helping” and “selling’ is only two letters. But what a difference those two letters makes!
If you substitute ‘h’ and ‘p’ ( in ‘helping’) for ‘s’ and ‘l’ (in ‘selling’) in building your nonprofit content marketing strategy you’ll convince more of your nonprofit social media fans and followers to convert to subscribers or members, and more of your subscribers and members to convert to donors.
Think of it this way. If you’ve traditionally focused on selling vs. helping, you’ve emphasized ‘s’ and ‘l’ [stupidity (your customers) and laziness (you)]. You’ve acted like your customers don’t know very much, so they need you to show them the way. Yet at the same time you’ve been too lazy to gently teach them what they need to know.
Now imagine you focus on helping vs. selling. You emphasize ‘h’ and ‘p’ [humanity (your customers) and peer (you and your customer)]. You treat your constituents like individuals with specific values, needs and desires. You endeavor to learn more about them so you can meet their needs. You engage them as partners, showing you’re all in this together. You create a community of like-minded folks, welcome folks to your community, and take care of your members. Not as infants, but as peers. No one likes to be infantalized.
Sell something and you create a customer today. Help someone and you create a customer for life.
It’s human nature to fall into a ‘sales’ model when you feel so proud of what you do you assume everyone else will want to jump on your bandwagon. Yet just “doing good” is not enough. Anymore than having a good product is good enough for the soap manufacturer. You need to tell people how you can be helpful to them, their loved ones and their community. And don’t expect them to just take your word for it. Show them by offering up useful content and sharing powerful emotional stories and facts that demonstrate your outcomes. Otherwise, you keep people dependent on you to tell them what to do because “you know best.” When you keep people in the dark about the details, they feel both stupid and disempowered. Since these are not good feelings, how to you think this “sales vs. help” model makes your constituents feel?Details
I get lots of questions about what to include in donor surveys. But that’s the wrong place to begin.
First you must have clarity on why you’re sending the survey. You can’t bring top value to your donor survey unless you’re specific about what value you want to receive and deliver. The great thing about donor surveys is they’re a genuine “twofer.”
- One is for you(useful information you will act on);
- One is for your donor(a way to usefully participate, other than giving money, and feel a part of a community of like-minded folks).
Donor surveys are an opportunity for a value-for-value exchange. This is at the heart of all successful fundraising and marketing. The donor gives something of value (usually time and/or money) and you return something of value (usually an intangible “feel good;” a sense of meaning, purpose and connection). Donors are focused on value; you need to focus there too. And value is understood as a clear ‘walking’ of your talk.
Never do something merely to check the task off your ‘to-do’ list. If you’ve had “do a survey” on your back burner for a while, now’s the time to move it to the forefront and give it a closer and more purposeful look. What pieces of the puzzle are you looking to uncover? Begin with asking: How will I know this survey was successful?Details