The Corporation for National and Community Service shares this great data on volunteering. (Can’t see it in this post? Go here.)Parents clearly invest a lot of time in their children’s schools, which is a gratifying thing to remember.
Cause marketing grew again in 2012. Why are more and more companies embracing good causes? Because it works to drive sales – and do good in the process.According to Edelman and emarketer, customers are consistently more inclined to buy products from companies aligned with causes. That said, there is still plenty of research showing consumers are increasingly shrewd about discerning just how caring a company truly is. And they punish those that are not.If you are doing any cause-related marketing – or working with companies who are – remember these three golden rules.1. SuitabilityDoes the partnership pass the sniff test for suitability? For example, even if the company donated all of its profits, Hummer would never be a good partner for Greenpeace. Sounds obvious, right? But I’ve seen some partners that seemed poorly suited. You want a fit that makes sense to the consumer. You also want a fit that makes sense to the corporation and the cause, who should look for a deeper win-win. An ideal partnership is one where the cause and company’s objectives reinforce each other.2. AuthenticityA close cousin of suitability, authenticity is about the company walking the talk of the cause. Does the company advance the principles of the cause in its own work and products? Or is it a way of countering problems? The latter won’t work. That’s writewashing, greenwashing, or pinkwashing, depending on the cause.3. TransparencyIt’s not enough to say, we’re partners and a portion of proceeds benefits xyz charity. Both the company and the charity need to say what amount of money is going where to do what. Very, very clearly – on everything. Put it on price tags, marketing materials, everywhere. Err on the side of openness. The backlash is bitter – especially on social media – if you are not.If you’re a company, by all means partner with a cause. It will be good for your brand – and your sales. But only if you do it right. And if you’re a nonprofit, make sure your partners are genuine. When they are, you get a healthy bottom line – and a better world in the process.
This is a fun Friday flowchart to determine your social networking personality via Mashable. It’s extreme. But that’s what I like about it. It forces us to own up to our own foibles. Or at least call out the typical ones, like humble-bragging. What are you? I like to think I am Mr. Nice Guy according to my self-assessment, but perhaps I am deluded. The beauty of social media is you can vociferously counter that assertion right now, in comments.Can’t see the flowchart? Go here.
Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward have written a new book, Social Change Anytime Everywhere: How to Implement Online Multichannel Strategies to Spark Advocacy, Raise Money, and Engage your Community. Since I get so many questions about how to best integrate online and mobile efforts into an overall strategy, I thought I’d ask them to share their thoughts with us.This is the first part of our conversation. I’ll post the second half tomorrow.Katya: Your book is an answer to the question, “How will online and mobile tools really help our nonprofit and the issues we work on?” So, how will they?Allyson: I think it boils down to the speed of connecting with people wherever they are, giving them access to information and sharing personal stories to get people involved with your issues. As organizations it’s critical that we reach people across multiple channels and identify what channels they want to communicate with us on. For some of your constituents it can be through social networks like Twitter. For others it can be through your blog on your website or a through a thought provoking blog column that your President writes on Huffington Post. Yet others may prefer to receive a text message or an email alert from your organization reminding them about an urgent action to take.You realize how the Internet, social media, and mobile have evolved into some of the most effective tools to facilitate social change when you reflect on how major disasters like Hurricane Sandy or the earthquake in Haiti unfolded across multiple online channels. You remember hearing about personal stories of the destruction of homes and local businesses, the loved ones who did not survive. And how can you forget the numerous opportunities organizations offered people to get involved and support disaster relief efforts through donations, volunteer opportunities, etc. Nonprofits quickly raised $50M through mobile fundraising for the first time in the U.S. just through $5 and $10 donations. Can you imagine how long it would have taken for the news of either of these tragedies to reach people or raise that amount of money if it had happened 20 years earlier? It would have taken so much more time, resources, and money to connect directly with people, gather and share stories, and mobilize people into supporting relief efforts.Amy: Your mission and message don’t live on your website or in your office. Using multichannel strategies to ensure you’re meeting your supporters wherever they are – online or offline, Facebook or email – means you get your mission and message out to them more directly and can help them spread it even farther.Katya: What are your top three pieces of advice for organizations struggling to integrate these tools into their work?Allyson: The first step is to set up a small multichannel campaign and test it. To do this you will need to set up a multichannel campaign plan, which should include identifying realistic short term and long term goals, identifying your advocacy target (if it’s an advocacy campaign) and who your supporters are, developing the core campaign message, outlining what actions you want people to take and what different channels you will reach your target audiences on, etc. (We have a chapter devoted to setting up a multichannel campaign plan and rolling out the plan in the book.)Amy: You can also start where you can have the most impact: personalization and segmentation. Are you segmenting your email messages to go to those who respond to that kind of content or are interested in that topic? Are you personalizing those messages? What about segmenting content for each social channel instead of just having your tweets auto post on your Facebook Page?Use your current communications or content to test what works and what doesn’t – it’s great to invest in some of this testing and tinkering when you aren’t running a campaign so you know what gets the most response from your community. Try subject line lengths or message lengths for email, test out links to your website or ways to engage that keep people on the same page on social media.Katya: Thanks. Tomorrow, we’ll cover how to get your colleagues on board with mobile and online tools.
Here’s a recent reader question.I have two board members that I like and want to keep as supporters, but clearly they don’t have the time or don’t make the time to be good board members. Elections will be here soon, should I just call them and tell them that it appears they don’t have time for the board and ask them not to run or do you have a better idea?This is an interesting one. I find myself asking, what does it mean to be a good board member? I think there are a range of qualities. Good board members are generous – with money, skills, time or preferably all of the above. They are engaged at the right level — they lay out a vision and then let the executive director define the path toward it, without micro-managing. They are reliable, showing up for most meetings and speaking thoughtfully when they are there. They ask for and track results. And they are public champions of the organization, lending their voice to your message and recruiting new supporters. So let’s assume your two board members are none of the above. That’s a problem. Or maybe they only have some of these qualities. I don’t hear you saying they are toxic – in which case, I would offer different advice than I do here. Basically, I glean that they are checked out. So before calling them up and calling them out, I’d think about why they might be disengaged.Are they lazy? Is their heart not in the mission? Or do they simply not have the time to make your organization a priority?Or could it be something you are doing? Maybe you haven’t clearly told them what you expect. Maybe you haven’t asked them to do more. Do you keep them closely updated on your organization? Are you giving them well-organized, clear materials before meetings? Do they get enough time to prepare beforehand? Do you run lively, interesting and engaging meetings? My advice would be to call them up on a fact-finding mission to get the answer to these questions. Or ask a fellow board member to do it. This is the problem of the whole board, not just yours.Say something like this:“I am calling to thank you for your support of ABC nonprofit. We depend on people like you to help us (talk about your mission here). You’ve been with us as a board member for some time, so I wanted to check in and see how you are feeling about your board service. Elections are coming up, so I’m exploring with each board member their interest level in continuing with us.”Then listen. You may get a simple “Great.” Or you may get a confession (“I’m so sorry I haven’t been to meetings, I just don’t have time”) or an insight (“I am not sure how I can best be involved.”) That tells you where to take the conversation next. If the person said “great,” and they are anything but, you might want to ask another question. Like, “That’s wonderful. Looking forward, we’re going to take steps to make our board more fully engaged. Are you willing to…” then list every single thing they need to do. That should result in their opting out or committing to more. Either way, you get what you need. If they say something like, “I’m sorry I can’t do more” or “Sorry I don’t go to many meetings,” you can gently suggest they don’t run for re-election. Or if they say something like, “I’m not sure how to be involved,” you can tell them. Maybe they had no idea of what was expected.You say you want to keep them as supporters, so I’d make that clear in any conversation. Be ready with ways they can continue to help, just not on the board.The bottom line? Rather than calling them and saying “it appears you don’t have time,” ask and listen. You’ll know what to do from there. In my experience, ratcheting up expectations encourages less committed people to be honest about their dedication level, and disengaged people usually are relieved to volunteer themselves for a graceful exit. If you let them do the talking and they don’t want to do more, they’ll walk out the door for you. If the problem is how you’ve communicated or engaged, maybe there is an opportunity to turn things around. Either way, the conversation will be seen as you being a caring partner. And that’s what you want.Readers: What is your experience? Share your tips in the comments!
Two likes, 83 views. No shares or comments. Typical for us.Today I read Guy Kawasaki’s tip on your blog about using graphics or video. I created a graphic using a photo of the author and the same quote. It wasposted about 4 hours ago:42 likes, 27 shares, and over 2,700 views. One of the shares was from a national organization–Healthy Families America. Yow!Thanks for sharing Guy’s tips. I’ve subscribed to your blog and plan to direct my volunteers there as well.MaryThanks for sharing, Mary! We’re so glad that these tips are working for you and we hope that our other blog readers are experiencing the same great results! We love hearing your success stories; let us know in the comments if you’ve tried other tips we’ve shared on the blog. Photos and video allow you to create a more immediate, emotional connection with your supporters than just words alone. In March, we shared Guy Kawasaki’s top ten social media tips for nonprofits , one of which is, “Add Bling: On every post, include a picture or video (that is properly credited to the person who created it). Visuals matter.”Mary Armstrong-Smith, the community partners director for Prevent Child Abuse Indiana took Guy’s advice and immediately saw a response. She writes:Earlier this month I posted a quote on PCA Indiana’s Facebook page. It was shared directly from the author’s FB page, and was simply text:
Here at Network for Good, it’s the season for fundraising appeal reviews. As part of our Fundraising Fundamentals premium training, we look at year-end fundraising appeals for hundreds of nonprofits to help them be the best they can be for the busy giving season ahead. All too often, these appeals fall short of packing the emotional punch they need to spur donors to act. While it’s definitely important to remember the key components of an effective fundraising appeal (a clear call to action, a sense of urgency, statements about what a donation will do), what will make your appeal really stand out is an attention-grabbing, emotionally compelling, authentic story. Your cause’s story is the heart and soul of your fundraising letter. It’s how your appeal will have a personality that allows you to connect with your donors and inspire them to give. Without it, your appeal will read like many other cookie cutter letters your supporters will receive this giving season. To help you jump start your storytelling efforts, Working Narratives recently released a new guide, Storytelling and Social Change. The guide includes insight from storytelling heavy hitters like Andy Goodman and Marshall Ganz, as well as case studies featuring Ford Foundation and GlobalGiving. If you feel stuck, the good people at Working Narratives offer some ideas to help you explore a narrative for your stories: • Jot down a short list of favorite social-change stories you’ve heard, told, or participated in, and notes about what form the stories took and how they affected you. • Write a story that illustrates how you think change happens and another story that tells of change happening in a very different way. Explore the differences in the characters, settings, conflicts, and endings.While this resource focuses on the needs of foundations and grantmakers, all organizations can benefit from the tips and examples offered in the guide. To download your free copy, visit the Working Narratives website.
How important is recurring giving to your organization? We examined recurring donations across Network for Good’s platform and found that donors who set up a recurring gift gave an average of 42% more per year than those who only gave a one-time gift. In line with stats from our Digital Giving Index, we also saw that donors were 31% more likely to set up a recurring gift on a branded donation page vs. a generic giving experience. Check out the full infographic for more:For more tips on recurring giving, check out our new eBook, A Nonprofit’s Guide to Recurring Giving. Download it for free to learn how organizations are making the most of recurring giving and how you can set up your own monthly giving goldmine.What’s your organization’s recurring giving strategy? Tell us your ideas in the comments below and we’ll share your tips in an upcoming post.
You probably already know that images are a great way to get your audience’s attention.But are the images you’re choosing really showcasing the important work your nonprofit is doing every day?Images can help you connect with your donors, members, and volunteers and make your mission come alive.To help you create and share images that have high impact, here are five image mistakes you might be making and advice on how to fix them:1. Choosing the wrong stock photosWhen possible, make sure to use photos that show real people doing real work for your organization.This could include photos of volunteers at a recent event, or behind-the-scenes snapshots of your staff at your office.When you don’t have original photos available, stock photos can provide the backup you need. Just make sure you’re choosing photos that look authentic and accurately represent your organization.2. Forgetting about mobile But before you hit send on your email, make sure you’re previewing it on your phone or tablet! With 65 percent of all email first opened on a mobile device, you need to make sure you’re looking good on mobile.Once you choose the right image, you probably can’t wait to share it with your audience. One of the most direct ways you can reach people is in their inbox.You might need to resize your image so it fits in well on a small screen. We suggest using a single column template to save your readers the trouble of zooming in or out to view your image.3. You’re not adding text to your imagesWe’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. To help your readers focus on the words that are most important to you, why not add them to your image?You can use a free tool like PicMonkey to edit images online and add text in a matter of minutes. Putting in a little extra effort can go a long way in making your image stand out and connecting it with powerful ideas.If you’re a Constant Contact customer, you can also use our built-in image editor Aviary to add text to images right within our email editor.This is not something that you need to do to every single image. Just choose one or two of your favorites to start with. You can add a powerful quote or add your logo or a hashtag to tie an image back to your organization and campaign.4. You’re not getting the most from your imagesImages can help humanize your organization across a number of different channels.Don’t limit your image’s potential by only posting it on one channel.If you’re using Instagram for example, you can easily share your photo across your different social networks — like Facebookand Twitter. You can also use images in your email marketing to help your next newsletter stand out in your supporter’s inbox.5. You’re not following up with a call to actionOnce you’ve grabbed your audience’s attention with a captivating image, makes sure you’re building on their interest by telling them what they can do to get involved.Your call to action could be something small like to visit your website or something bigger like encouraging people to make a donation. Fixing these 5 image mistakes means you’ll be ready to engage your audience, make them feel invested in your organization, and inspire them to support your cause. With the right image you can make a meaningful impression on your audience and you’ll be fresh in their minds when you need them most.
There are as many approaches to fundraising as there are nonprofit organizations, but if you really want to raise money online, then you need to have a donation page that is easy to find and to use. Your donors are no different than the rest of the internet users and study after study has found one thing in common amongst them—they don’t dawdle. When a visitor arrives at a website, they decide in a matter of a few seconds if they will read the page. If a donor arrives at your website and isn’t sure who you are, or what you are about, they aren’t going to stay on the page very long.Get to the PointThe same is true of your donation page. Even if donors get there from your main website, and know you are a worthy cause, they are not going to fight their way through a bunch of irrelevant text, follow a series of links, or fill out a long form.If your main page has inspired them to give, they are ready and just want to get it done. The longer it takes to make a donation, the more likely it is that they will stop the process, usually thinking they will get to it later, or maybe send a check. So while it may be tempting to try and get as much information as possible and build your database; refrain.Your donation page should be attractive and reflect who you are. Use your brand, including your logo, colors, familiar fonts, slogan, etc., but keep the layout clean. You need to make your point in a straightforward manner and get the donation.Be Brief, but Include a StoryYou have a lot of room elsewhere to talk about who you are and what you do, but it’s still important to have a brief version of your story on the donation page. Keep the importance of your work right in front of the donor.Explain Donation LevelsWe highly recommend posting clickable buttons that specify differing amounts, and having a note beside each one, saying just what you can do with that amount of money. That gives donors a concrete sense that their money is being well used, and often also inspires them to give at a higher level than they originally planned to.Don’t restrict donors to presets, though. Always include a “fill in the blank” option that lets donors give whatever amount they choose to. Some will give less and some will give more, so again, make it easy for them to give just what they want to give.Network for Good has a blog with more free information on how to be successful at nonprofit fundraising. We also have specialists available to discuss how we can help you get the most out of your fundraising efforts, so contact us today.