Clairity Click-it: Year End Addition w/Tips, Resolutions, Predictions + More Gifts!

mouse with gift 300x300 Clairity Click it: Year End Addition w/Tips, Resolutions, Predictions + More Gifts!

Year-End  Clairity Click-it Gifts — wrapped up in my blog. Open them!

Today I’ve got my year-end addition with some final tips for the end of the year, some ideas as you’re making your new year’s resolutions and a list of predictions to get you off on the right foot in 2015.

Don’t miss the practical, last-minute stuff, and tape these resolutions and predictions next to your computer so you can give them some serious thought when you return from you holiday break. Oh, and did I mention there are a few more gifts at the end?Continue Reading

Still Time to Get 7 Perfect Holiday Email Subject Lines

Email holiday Still Time to Get 7 Perfect Holiday Email Subject Lines

Will your email say “open me!” this holiday?

Still stuck for subject lines for your year-end emails?

The subject line is like the outer envelope for direct mail. It’s the window into your message. Make sure it’s wide open and gives a glimpse of something that grabs folks’ attention. Make it intriguing, urgent, exciting, compelling, emotional, shocking or funny. The more useful and specific it is the better.

And by the way, if you’re not planning a series of year-end emails — get on it NOW! Did you know that a full third (33%) of December gifts occur on the 31st of the month? If you’re not putting forward your most compelling fundraising offer at a timed when folks are primed to give the most, you’re really missing your best opportunity.

In 15 Subject Line Examples for Your Holiday Email Marketing Ryan Pinkham provides inspiration that applies as well to nonprofits as to retail businesses.  Here are examples I particularly like, with thoughts about how you can use them to boost your year-end fundraising:Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Civil Society; Boost Blog Traffic; Email; More Gifts

mouse with gift 300x300 Clairity Click it: Civil Society; Boost Blog Traffic; Email; More Gifts

This week’s Clairity Click-it Gifts — wrapped up in my blog. Open them!

Today I’ve got another eclectic Clairity Click-it mix of tips for you from both fundraising and marketing blogs. Plus I’ve got some real food for thought that goes to the heart of your fundraising and marketing strategy. Take a read, and see if you don’t find a nugget or two that makes you sit up and take notice. Oh, and did I mention there are more gifts at the end? Continue Reading

Can’t Scan it? Ban it! 10 Reasons Nonprofit Appeals Tank

10 placards 300x300 Can’t Scan it? Ban it! 10 Reasons Nonprofit Appeals Tank

Get 10 Ways to Make Your Content Scannable

Stop Making Me — and Your Readers — Work

If reading your appeal seems like hard work to me, than why should I bother? I work all day! If reading your appeal seems like a struggle for comprehension, then what’s the point? I struggle to understand stuff all day.

My brain needs a rest.

Even more, my brain would enjoy a treat. Something that lights up my pleasure centers and makes me feel good.

Does your appeal do that for your would-be donors? Or does it require them to put in great effort to get through it?

Reading may be a breeze for you. But it’s not for everybody. Lots and lots of folks suffer from a range of “reading processing disorders” that make it difficult for them to plow through a bunch of dense text.Continue Reading

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

Mouse heart cord 300x300 Clairity Click it: Year End Tips; Marketing; Social Media; Holiday Gifts

Click-it! And scroll down for some great 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?Continue Reading

Plan a Donor-Centered #GivingTuesday Next Year. Start Now.

world in hands 300x199 Plan a Donor Centered #GivingTuesday Next Year. Start Now.

Your donors mean the world to you. How do you show them?

How did your #GivingTuesday go? I’m hoping it was a great success from your perspective, but what about your donor’s perspective? What can you do to assure your donors feel like the heroes they are for making your mission possible?

Right off the bat, make sure you have a robust gratitude program in place. Thank them. Then thank them again. All through the year. The more consistently you practice gratitude, the better. If you don’t have a documented donor acknowledgment program in place, now’s the time to begin.

Whatever you do, don’t just stuff your “#GivingTuesday donors into your database, send out automated receipts, smack your lips and count up the results to report to your board. Really, truly make sure these folks feel thanked for having done something selfless and special.

Then, next year…Continue Reading

How One Little Word Gets Donors to Give to Your Nonprofit

you 300x199 How One Little Word Gets Donors to Give to Your Nonprofit

“Will YOU be our friend”? Never forget who your appeal is about.

In a recent Clairification post I told you I collect fundraising appeals. I suggested you do so as well. When you’ve got a nice little bunch, get together with your team and evaluate them. Figure out together what makes them work.

There are some neat little tricks I’ve learned over my 30+ year career that can really give your appeal a leg up. In the previous post we looked at the power of the word “because.” Today we’re going to look at the power of another simple word.

That word is YOU.

Did you know that “you” is one of the five most powerful words in the English language?

Does your appeal use YOU?

You can prevent the unhappy ending. Yes, “you!” Your letter should be written to compel your reader; not to talk about how great your organization is. “We,” “I” and “Our” have no place in your fundraising appeal.

Why? This is personal. Your donor is the hero. Your job is to let your donor know she can do something, personally, about the problem.

You can send a kid to college.

You can prevent a child from sleeping on the streets.

Never forget your job: to invite people to join you in something amazing… essential… critical… inspiring. It’s about the experience. The outcome. The impact. And who makes that possible? Your donor!

And when you’re writing to your donor, what does this mean?

“YOU.”

You fed children last year.” Not “we fed children last year.”

You stepped up.” Not “Our nonprofit stepped up.”

Don’t make your appeals about you. Make it about your donor’s experience. Use “you” rather than “I” or “we” or “our.” Cross out all the ego-centric stuff and rewrite. As veteran communicator Tom Ahern says:

“You” is glue. Every time you use it (especially in headlines) the reader pays slightly more attention…involuntarily. Readers can’t help it! They’re hard-wired to respond to “you”! It’s the best cheap trick I know.”

People listen for the word YOU in a sentence to see when the conversation will come back around to them.

Guess what else people listen for?

Their own name.

The point of using “you” or “Claire” (assuming that’s your reader’s name) is that it’s reader-centric.  In fact, few things light people up as much as seeing their own name in print.

Call your donor by name (no “Dear Friend”) and show them how they – not you/your organization — can save the day.

Do this not only with the salutation in your letter, but also in the subject line of your email appeal. And think about other ways you might personalize your appeal, such as using something particularly descriptive of your reader such as geographic location (“Special for all Peninsula donors”), relationship with your organization (“Dear awesome monthly giving club donor”) or age/status (“Especially for Moms”).

Simply by using these connecting words you make your appeal relevant to the reader. The more relevant, the more likely your prospect will remain engaged. The more engaged, the more likely your prospect will take the next step. Voila! You’ve got your gift.

It’s December 1st. You’ve still got time to review your follow-up letters, email appeals and website copy. Stuff in the good “you” word wherever you can.

year end5 150x150 How One Little Word Gets Donors to Give to Your Nonprofit

How to maximize your chances, and not miss a trick!

Anatomy of an Appeal + Template 150x150 How One Little Word Gets Donors to Give to Your Nonprofit

How to make a fundraising offer your donor can’t refuse.

Year-End Fundraising “Cheat Sheets”

Get some quick tips using my Year-End Fundraising To-Do’s and Checklists e-Book to review a few things that can mean a big difference in your results. For a simple, step-by-step guide to crafting a killer appeal letter get my Anatomy of a Fundraising Appeal + Sample Template. I promise you’ll more than make up the $17 bucks you spend on either Guide — or I’ll make a donation to your nonprofit to assure that you do! Grab the To-Do’s and Checklists here and the Appeal Template here. Tell me what happens!

Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Here’s How Often You Should Mail to Your Donors

Mail email 300x250 Heres How Often You Should Mail to Your Donors

How many times do you mail or email your donors?

I decided to write this post due to the number of times nonprofits ask me “How often should we mail to our donors?” The corollary question is “How often can we ask people to give?”

The answer?

Well… if there was one quick answer I wouldn’t have needed to write a whole article. I’d just have given you a headline with a definitive response!

I know you want a definite answer.

And I could give you one. But it wouldn’t be the truth. Because the truth is different for every nonprofit. And the truth will even be different for your nonprofit at different points in your life cycle.

There are two definitive things I can tell you:Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Special Announcement! Plus Content Marketing; Social Media; Year-End Fundraising & Weekly Gift

mouse red and blue 300x199 Clairity Click it: Special Announcement! Plus Content Marketing; Social Media; Year End Fundraising & Weekly Gift

Did you hear the big announcement from Claire? Click-it! No time… end of year is coming… got to get more messages out! Are you a mouse or a… ? Chill a sec… you’re all tied up in knots! This will help. Plus… there’s a special gift offered at the end. A gift? Cool… I could use one about now. Maybe I have a sec…

First a Clairity Click-it announcement: I’m deeply honored, humbled and proud that I made the Top 100, and Maximize Social Business (for whom I write a monthly column on social media for nonprofits) made the Top 50, of the Top Content Marketing Influencers on Twitter. If you’re not familiar with Maximize Social Business and its founder, Neal Schaffer, please follow me there and stay up to date on the latest social media news. You’ll hear from over 25 social media experts, all with different perspectives and focuses. It’s a one-stop-shop for social media knowledge. Now, while we’re on the subject, let’s take a look at some useful posts on content marketing and social media that will help you raise awareness and drive more donations this holiday season!

Content Marketing

Click-It: 75 Resources for Writing Incredible Copy that Converts is your definitive list for learning everything you need to know about content marketing that engages potential constituents and converts them into supporters. It comes from the great team at Kissmetrics who know quite a lot about what it takes to succeed with online marketing. The resources are broken into useful categories: copywriting; direct response marketing, and headlines for a few, plus links to all the best websites and blogs on copywriting.

Click-It: This Simple Writing Technique Will Help You Overcome the Inertia of Perfectionism. If you ever have trouble coming up with topics for your blog or e-newsletter, check out this technique from Bryan Collins at Copyblogger called “free writing.” It’s a lot like brainstorming with a group, but you do it by yourself, setting a limit, and putting pen to paper. You keep it conversational, writing down your thoughts as fast as they come to you. No editing allowed! Check it out.

Click-It: How to Write Persuasive Emails. The next time you’re thinking about reaching out via email to a potential business sponsor, foundation grantor or individual donor prospect you’d do well to channel some of the advice offered by Henneke in the Enchanting Marketing blog. Ask (1) if your goal is crystal clear; (2) why your reader would care; (3) what might stop your reader from taking action, and (4) if you can cut out redundancies. The article offers some examples and fixes. Good stuff!

Social Media Engagement

Click-It:10 Ways to Maximize Holiday Giving Online comes from Teri Harel on the Constant Contact blog. This is important because “Around 30 percent of annual online gifts are made in December and donors give 80 percent larger gifts on average in December.” This article is filled with useful facts and tips. How about the fact that 66% of emails are opened on a mobile device, and 80% of people will delete emails not optimized for mobile? Or the fact that 2-3 part email series had four times the response rate and almost double the average donation size of single email appeals? Read the full article to learn more and set yourself up for year-end success.

Click-It: How Social Media Marketing Can Help Win New Business. Every business – whether for profit or not – needs to continually develop new users/supporters. Which is why this article about how to compete in our digitally revolutionized world is so directly applicable to the social benefit sector. How about: “Businesses [aka nonprofits] must showcase their skills and knowledge in social media marketing to overcome competition. They must provide interesting and informative content and share them with prospective clients [aka donors] to help distinguish them from other agencies.” Social media offers a valuable venue for showcasing your skills and strengths and establishing yourself as a leader in your area of concern. The more you become an active player, the more you grow your reputation. Thanks to the folks at Virtual Social Media for this post.

Click-It: 20 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros is another great post from Cindy King at Social Media Examiner. They’re all good, but #1 is something I’m amazed nonprofits don’t do more. And #6 and #7 will make your life so much easier if you stick to it. Then there’s #10, which is one of my pet tips and I wish you’d consider it for your nonprofit. These tips come from some of the leading lights in social media marketing, so I encourage you to check them out.

mouse with gift 300x300 Clairity Click it: Special Announcement! Plus Content Marketing; Social Media; Year End Fundraising & Weekly Gift

This week’s Clairity Click-it Gift — wrapped up in my blog. Open it!

FREE HOLIDAY GIFTS GALORE!!!

Since it’s the season, I’m going to offer you a gift every week from now until the end of the year. I’m a terrible wrapper (usually I use newspaper). Now that newspapers are dying (sniff, sniff) I may as well wrap my gifts to you up in a blog! Here comes your first present…

Open-It: Whitepaper – The Essential Guide to Social Media for Nonprofits. Salsa Labs is offering a real treat, completely for free. Grab it!

year end4 246x300 Clairity Click it: Special Announcement! Plus Content Marketing; Social Media; Year End Fundraising & Weekly Gift

If you check off everything on the lists included in this guide, you’ll raise more money.

Only 40 days left until the end of the year.

Get the most out of this year’s holiday giving season using my Year-End Fundraising To-Do’s and ChecklistsIt’s a “Cheat Sheet” to make sure you’ve got all your ducks nicely lined up and you’re not missing a few tweaks that could mean a big difference in your results. I promise you’ll more than make up the $17 bucks you spend — or I’ll make a donation to your nonprofit to assure that you do!  Grab it today!

Image courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

How “Because I Said So” Gets Donors to Give to Your Nonprofit

Father threatening son 300x199 How “Because I Said So” Gets Donors to Give to Your Nonprofit

Do it because I said so!

I’m a collector. I collect red and white kitchen memorabilia, flour sifters, tablecloths and fundraising appeals. I also tell my clients to become collectors (but just of the last item on my list!). I ask them to collect only appeals that demand their attention and cause them to give. After all, isn’t that the true measure of a fundraising appeal’s effectiveness?

I encourage them to ask everyone in their organization (other staff, board members, volunteers) to share winning appeals with them. Then I ask them to share the successful appeals with their team and endeavor to tease out what it is about these appeals the recipients find so irresistible.

Figure out what works; then copy it! After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

This is a great exercise for you and your team, and over the next several posts I’m going to suggest some things I find common to the most successful fundraising appeals. Ask these questions of the successful appeals you’re reviewing. Let’s begin!Continue Reading