9 Tricks to BOOst Nonprofit Social Media Traffic and Engagement – Part 1

pumpkins scary 300x243 9 Tricks to BOOst Nonprofit Social Media Traffic and Engagement   Part 1


Did I scare you with that big BOO!? Aw, shucks. Just trying to get you in the mood for Halloween. I want you to have more than a ghost of a chance at generating leads and converting visitors into supporters. And that’s why I’m offering up 9 tricks to help you make your social media strategy worth the effort you’re putting into it.

In fact, these 9 tricks are really treats. If you use them, no one will end up with rotten egg on their face.  So… fear not! Why the heck not get in the spirit and … go for the ghoul?Continue Reading

8 Nonprofit Lead Generation Take-Aways from the Ice Bucket Challenge

ice bucket champagne bottles 300x199 8 Nonprofit Lead Generation Take Aways from the Ice Bucket Challenge

Celebrate what your nonprofit can learn about social media and fundraising from the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Whether you fall into the “it was just dumb luck” or the “whoa… that was brilliant” camp when it comes to evaluating the recent Ice Bucket Challenge social media + fundraising phenomenon, there is certainly much to be learned.

I’m still amazed at the pooh-poohers who are wringing their hands over the fact that it’s highly unlikely ALS will retain more than 30% of these donors because these donors are new and new donor retention rates are abysmal . True, but… they secured over 3 million donors! So, at bare minimum, they’ve got 3 million “leads.”Continue Reading

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


Specific gifts 300x264 Losing Too Many Donors? 5 No Brainer Ways to Keep Them

Thoughtfully thank donors for their specific gifts if you want their continued, thoughtful giving

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.Continue Reading

You Can’t EXPLAIN People into Caring – Nonprofit Social Media Messages that Work


Secret shh.. You Cant EXPLAIN People into Caring – Nonprofit Social Media Messages that Work

Does it feel as if what your organization does is a big secret no one knows how to share?

“We’re the best kept secret around.” “No one knows what we do.” “If folks understood the depth and breadth of our work they’d want to support us.”

Does this lament sound familiar? It’s probably the most common complaint I hear from nonprofits. And all too often folks think the answer is hiring someone to write a newsletter or annual report. Or getting someone to “do” social media. All with the end goal of explaining what you do to people so they understand and want to make a charitable gift.

Folks, you can’t explain people into caring about you.Continue Reading

How to Create an Ice Bucket-type Challenge for Your Nonprofit: A Formula for Success

fallon ice bucket hed 2014 How to Create an Ice Bucket type Challenge for Your Nonprofit: A Formula for Success

Jimmy Fallon and friends prepare to take the Ice Bucket Challenge

Are you wringing your hands because your boss or board wants you to come up with a viral social campaign to rival the “Ice Bucket Challenge?” Oy!

I was first introduced to this phenomenon one evening as I was watching the Jimmy Fallon show on t.v. Jimmy, some of his crew and his band all dumped buckets of ice water on their heads; then challenged the New York Jets to do so as well (Jimmy had been challenged by Justin Timberlake). I had no idea why they were doing it or what the “Ice Bucket Challenge” was about.Continue Reading

Yes, The Donor Pyramid is Really Dead

dinosaur 300x300 Yes, The Donor Pyramid is Really Dead

When it’s our time to go, we all gotta go — dinosaurs and pyramids alike!

An Open Letter to Andrea Kihlstedt — Part 1

[I am responding to Andrea Kihlstedt’s Open Letter to me, Is The Donor Pyramid Really Dead, in the Guidestar blog. She was responding to my recent posts on the death of the Donor Pyramid in Fundraising Success Magazine: R.I.P. Donor Pyramid? and Maximize Social Business Blog How Social Media Toppled the Donor Pyramid – What that Means for Nonprofits.]

First, let me say this is a great dialogue to be having. The donor pyramid is a sacred dinosaur, and it’s good to challenge old assumptions from time to time. After all, the dinosaurs had a very good run, but even they became extinct.

Andrea says “no, the pyramid is alive and well,” making the case that (especially in capital campaigns) not all donors are equal. She also finds use for the pyramid in other campaigns, noting a Kickstarter campaign she recently worked on in which the biggest gifts came from donors who were approached face-to-face rather than via online strategies.Continue Reading

Just Puppy Love? 4 Ways Nothing Beats It When it Comes to Donors

puppy love 300x300 Just Puppy Love?  4 Ways Nothing Beats It When it Comes to Donors

How to build donor loyalty and take puppy love to forever love.

Do you know why your dog is not only your best friend, but your exuberantly best friend – a Best Friend Forever on steroids?

Can anything be as joyous and lovingly loyal as a dog? Picture Snoopy doing the ‘Ode to Joy’ dance. Unbridled ecstasy. Happy, happy, happy. What makes Snoopy Charlie Brown’s BFF? My guess is that it’s the same thing that makes your pooch pop with pleasure as you poke yourself across the threshold at the end of the day.

Chances are 9 out of 10 that your doggie is your BFF because you are hers. You treat your pet like royalty. How are you treating your donors?Continue Reading

If it’s Broke, Better Fix it: Two Disarming Truths

broken arm xray 247x300 If its Broke, Better Fix it: Two Disarming Truths

What’s wrong with this picture?

Truths: Today, there are two things broken from my perspective: (1) my arm, and (2) the donor pyramid.

Yup! I’m really not much of a camper, but had a momentary lapse in judgement over the week-end. Kaboom!

Luckily, I managed to type up an article about the sad state of the donor pyramid prior to being reduced to a one-handed hunter/pecker (because this method is SLOW, baby)! That article, “R.I.P.Donor Pyramid,  is gracing the cover of the May/June Fundraising Success Magazine, so I hope you’ll check it out over there and let me know what you think. Here’s my bottom line: Continue Reading

8 Secrets to Building Online Relationships with People Who Matter – Part 2

Pizza delivery 199x300 8 Secrets to Building Online Relationships with People Who Matter – Part 2

Here’s your pizza! I sensed you wanted it, even though you didn’t order it.

In Part 1 I covered how quality trumps quantity when it comes to networking with your supporter base. It’s not so much about counting fans as it is about developing fans you can count on. In this two-parter I’m offering 8 ways to reframe your nonprofit marketing and fundraising stewardship objectives so you actually get something out of them — beyond counting. Click here for the first 4 ways, with accompanying ACTION TIPS.

4 More Relationship Building Secrets + ACTION TIPS

5. Be intriguing.

Don’t just do what people expect. If you want to make a connection with a new contact, especially a very busy one, the quickest way to arouse that person’s curiosity is with something unexpected. You can borrow a page from Disneyland when it comes to thinking about ways to “wow” your supporters.

ACTION TIP: Brainstorm 10 things you might do to delight your supporters in the weeks ahead. They do say ‘it’s the thought that counts’ – so think about what you might do. Another way to frame this is by taking a page from customer experience guru John Goodman, author of Strategic Customer Service, who talks about delivering “Psychic Pizza.” What if someone showed up right now with an unexpected gift of pizza? Or what if you did something really unexpected, like sending out a non-appeal headlined “Don’t send us money!” Then you could simply enclose a brief survey asking for feedback/advice on your programs. What a nice way to simultaneously demonstrate you care about folks for more than their wallets and also get them directly engaged.

6. Think people, not positions.

“Everyone reading this knows people who are smart, ambitious, motivated, and interesting,” Sobel says. “Some of those people, in eight or 10 years, are going to be influencers. They may even be CEOs.” Don’t just think about the obvious, established philanthropists and influencers in your community. Those folks are harder to reach and connect with than would have been the case 20 years earlier.

ACTION TIP: Make a list of folks you know who seem to be up-and-comers. Make connections with them now, early in their careers, before others catch on to them. If you do, this will pay dividends down the road.

7. Give before you ask.

Sobel tells the story of a business school classmate he hadn’t heard from in 30 years – until he received a long email asking him to invest in a new venture. He hadn’t invested first in building a relationship. Sobel ignored him.

ACTION TIP: If you don’t want your donors and/or influencers to ignore your requests, develop and implement a relationship-building plan first. Call them up on the phone. Get to know them as people. Don’t keep everything at arms length; then expect a hands-on response to your request.

8. Be generous.

This takes you back to the “attitude of gratitude” I encouraged you to adopt in Part 1, #4. Another way to think about this is simply as instilling an organization-wide culture of customer service. “You can’t operate with the thought of reciprocity in mind,” Sobel cautions. “You have to have a generous spirit. The greatest networkers I know genuinely like to help others. They’re always doing it. And if they ever do need anything, people will fall over themselves to help them.

ACTION TIP: Make engaging with your ‘customers’ everyone’s job. Don’t silo relationship building to development or marketing staff. Never underestimate the power of your constituents to make or break you. If you’re generous with them, just as a matter of course, they’ll be generous with you.

Always keep in mind that no one has to help you.

You can’t make people do anything for you. The way to make your supporters count is to join them, not browbeat them. As John Haydon notes in 5 Mind Shifts That Boost Social Sharing: “Become one of them… find the people who are already talking about your cause, and join their conversations. Quite naturally, on their own terms, they’ll accept you as one of their own.”

Ready to build your army of influencers and donors and make them count?  What’s one thing you’ll do differently starting next week? Please share.

For More Online Relationship Building Tips…

Get my updated  ‘Hop on Board’ Nonprofit Social Media Guide. You’ll get 27  full pages with more than 100 tips, resources and tools to help you with your resolve to fully embrace social media for your nonprofit.  Get started today!

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

8 Secrets to Building Online Relationships with People Who Matter – part 1

Business card 300x275 8 Secrets to Building Online Relationships with People Who Matter   part 1

“Stop treating your schmoozing like a business card collection contest. Start over with a new goal: quality always trumps quantity.” – Minda Zetlin, President, American Society of Journalists

Collecting — whether business cards, numbers of followers on Twitter or ‘likes’ on Facebook — is meaningless without a strategy to turn those relatively “blank” connections into meaningful relationships.  If your marketing and/or fundraising strategy is based on counting, it’s time to rethink this strategy. Collecting is merely the “on ramp to build new relationships.”   In his new book “Power Relationships,” author Andrew Sobel tells us there’s a better approach to networking.Continue Reading