Whither the Nonprofit Sector in 2015? 6 Ways to Assure Yours Doesn’t Wither

vines growing 300x199 Whither the Nonprofit Sector in 2015? 6 Ways to Assure Yours Doesn’t Wither

Think big to grow and bear fruit; Think small and wither.

I chose the word “w(h)ither” in my title very deliberately. It can mean “Where are you going?” It can also mean “Dying on the vine.” Which does it mean for you and your nonprofit?

If the former, where are you going? You’ll find some “To Do’s” in this article to help you on your way towards a sustainable future. If the latter, how can your prevent this from happening? You’ll find some “don’ts” to help you breathe life into your organization.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

#GivingTuesday – How to Be a Winner

Apple with heart 300x198 #GivingTuesday   How to Be a Winner

Have you considered making #Giving Tuesday a gift to  your donors?

In my last post, #Giving Tuesday, Win or Lose Day? You’re in Control I talked about the origins of the day and all the good intentions that went into its creation. Yet I’ve heard from many, many nonprofits that they just don’t have the bandwidth to develop and promote one more fundraising initiative during this very busy time of year. I’ve been there, and I empathize.

Sometimes the newest bells and whistles are simply a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing in the end.  But rather than reject the notion of #GivingTuesday out of hand, I began to wonder if there were ways to jump on the bandwagon without cannibalizing other types of year-end fundraising.  Or without burning out staff and volunteers. Or without confusing donors who feel like they’re being asked for this, that and every such thing.

I noted that I love the idea of using #GivingTuesday to celebrate and thank our donors. We don’t thank our supporters nearly enough, so why not have a day dedicated to donor love?

I think there’s a way to make #GivingTuesday about both giving and getting. And I promised to share an example with you in my last post.Continue Reading

#GivingTuesday – Your Win or Lose Day? You’re in Control

Apple with heart 300x198 #GivingTuesday   Your Win or Lose Day? Youre in Control

What does #Giving Tuesday mean to your nonprofit? To your donors?

Giving Tuesday. What’s it all about? Read about the origins here. It’s one of those things that sounds good on paper, but in actual implementation it can be less than ideal. Why? Because it comes right smack dab in the middle of most folks annual campaigns. So there’s often little time to do it right. And it can cannibalize other fundraising efforts.Continue Reading

9 Tricks to Boost Nonprofit Social Media Traffic and Engagement – Part 2

9 clouds 300x216 9 Tricks to Boost Nonprofit Social Media Traffic and Engagement – Part 2

Ways to acquire and retain donors using social media

In Part 1 of this article we discussed four out of nine tricks to boost your social media traffic and build relationships with your target audiences. They included (1) optimizing your profile; (2) joining different networks; (3) crafting catchy, relevant titles, and (4) creating engaging content. Now it’s time to reveal the rest.

Before I do, it’s worth noting that there’s one dominant strategy underlying all my recommendations: Develop and rock a blog. All of these tricks will work without one, but a blog is the absolute best way to deliver content to your social networks. So make it the hub of your marketing communications strategy. Honest-to-goodness it will make your life easier! If you have numerous excuses holding you back from blogging, read this article to get over them [and see below for some help with implementation]. Got it? Okay. Let’s move on to tricks five through nine. Continue Reading

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

BOO!

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