What’s Nonprofit Content’s Purpose? Awareness or Money?

Are you focusing on the purpose of your content marketing?

Are you focusing on the purpose of your content marketing?


I know you’re probably thinking “both.”

Or maybe you’re thinking “awareness.”

That’s why, too often, nonprofit communications are considered the step-child of fundraising. A support function, rather than an essential one.

Because your answer to the question “What’s the purpose of our nonprofit content marketing” should be MONEY.Continue Reading

9 Simple Ways to Reach Different Generations of Donors Successfully

9 Simple Ways to Reach Different Generations of Nonprofit Donors SuccessfullyWe’re in the midst of a generational shift: Millennials have recently surpassed Boomers as the largest generation in America, and have surpassed Generation X as the largest part of the American workforce.

As these changes happen, nonprofits should take a look at their marketing channels and make sure they are using the right methods to reach each generation.

The biggest mistake nonprofit organizations can make is using a blanket approach to try to connect with the entirety of their current donor base or reach out to gain new donors.

Each generation is unique when it comes to expectations, values, experiences, giving habits and communication preferences, so your marketing strategy should reflect that.

Once you achieve a better understanding of what makes each generation different, your nonprofit will be able to take whatever great fundraising ideas you may have and effectively engage more people to increase attendance at your next event, grow the members of your volunteer program, and get more donations than you’ve ever imagined.

Understanding Generational Giving Behaviors is Key to Maximizing Supporter Engagement and Investment

Take a look at this useful generational giving infographic about the giving behavior of the four key demographic segments in the US.



Why people give does not vary as much as how they give. 

So understanding their preferred communications channels becomes increasingly important.

Let’s take a closer look at today’s different demographic segments.

Millennials and Gen Xers make up of over two-thirds of the workforce today.

Why is this important? Being part of the workforce means getting a paycheck, and with a paycheck comes the ability to donate to causes. With the vast majority of Millennial and Gen X donors owning a smartphone, mobile giving will soon dominate the fundraising landscape.

Millennials: Age 18-35

There is a perception Millennials are self-centered but they may be far more generous than you think, wanting to take action for causes they care about.

Millennials are active on their phones and respond best to text messages and social media, but rarely respond to personal email or voice calls.

They tend to watch videos online and check the organization’s website before making a gift. Over 62% gave through a mobile device at about $25 per donation, but as Millennials climb the pay scale, that number is projected to grow.

Gen Xers: Age 36-50

These donors are most likely to fundraise on behalf of a cause, make a pledge, and volunteer their time to an organization.

These donors check email regularly, stay up to date on social media feeds, and prefer to receive communication by text message making mobile and online solutions vital in targeting them.

They also volunteer more and more often than any other generation. This is a huge opportunity for your nonprofit because volunteers are almost twice as likely to donate to charity as non-volunteers.

  • Gen Xers donate an average of $732 annually
  • 80% own a smartphone (2nd only to Millennials)
  • 59% give to charity
  • 30% of Gen Xers volunteer—more than any other generation

Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation are retired or heading there, meaning that their donation behaviors will soon start to change.

Once Boomers and the Greatest Generation retire, they tend to end up volunteering more as well. Incomes may be fixed, but many have done well and are more generous as other obligations fall away.  How they give is different than their younger counterparts, but they are still important for philanthropy.

Baby Boomers: Age 50-68

You may think Boomers don’t have tech skills but don’t underestimate them—they’ve adopted mobile and social technology at a rapid rate. On average, boomers spend 19 hours a week online and 71 percent use a social networking site daily.

These donors answer calls and check their email on a regular basis.

Recurring giving is the norm for a lot of Boomers, who make up 21% of all monthly donors.

When it comes to online fundraising boomers have been a growing and driving force in recent years. In 2010 just 44% of boomers donated online, today over 60% give online.

  • Boomers donate an average of $1,212 annually
  • 54% own a smartphone
  • 72% give to charity

Greatest (or Silent) Generation: Age 69+

This generation is very civic minded and their experiences and values make them great contributors to your organization. They feel like the biggest difference they make is through the money they donate.

These donors’ preference of communication are voice calls and direct mail. They are late adopters of email and rarely use text messaging or social media.

  • Greatests donate an average of $1,367 annually
  • 27% own a smartphone
  • 88% give to charity – a higher percentage than any other group

5 Simple Ways to Engage Millennial and Gen X Donors

1. Reap the benefits of mobile marketing with a 98% open rate

Utilize a text-to-donate campaign to target Millennials and Gen Xers where they spend most of their time: on their smartphone.

Text messages have a 98% open rate which almost guarantees that your message will be seen, keeping your supporters engaged and up-to-date with your cause.

2. Save time and money by using social media effectively

Implement a social media strategy to engage supporters through the social networks where they are most active online.

Find out which networks your supporters frequent and focus on the channels where you will get the most engagement. If most of your supporters are on Facebook and Twitter, then you will probably want to hold off on Snapchat until you nail down the strategy for the others.

Here are helpful tips and free tools to implement into your social media strategy to save your organization time and money.

3. Create compelling videos to tell a story about your cause

Most Millennials have no patience for traditional marketing methods like flyers and other direct mail. They want to learn about and build a relationship with your organization before they decide to become donors or volunteers in the future, and video is one of the best ways to do that.

Make sure to include a call to action at the end of the video, be it to donate to your cause or subscribe to your channel. Learn more about video marketing for your nonprofit.

4. Mobile-friendly websites and donation forms are a must

Over 80% of Millennials and Gen Xers own a smartphone which makes it absolutely imperative that your organization’s online presence is optimized for mobile devices.

The amount of people from these groups that your organization can engage with will be affected by how mobile-friendly your website and online donation forms are. Mobile solutions allow these groups to:

  • Make donations
  • Become volunteers
  • Join your cause
  • Sign up for events

Optimizing these for mobile delivery will allow you to appeal to this fast-growing group, which will bring your organization lasting success for years to come.

5. Crowdfunding campaigns can garner fast results

Crowdfunding is emerging as one of the very best ways to gain new donors. Don’t believe it? 5 out of 8 donors crowdfunding for nonprofits are new to each organization and the average individual collects $612.

Volunteers, advocates, celebrities, and corporate partners can raise donations from friends and family using their own peer-to-peer fundraising pages shared across social media, text message, and email.

90% of Millennials and Gen Xers are receptive to these peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, which are now generating ⅓ of all online donations.

4 Simple Ways to Engage Donors 50+

1. Reach a wide range of donors through email marketing

Email is still one of the most effective ways to reach supporters young and old. A 2013 Pew Research Center study, shows 70% of adults 65 and older use the internet on a daily basis.

You do not want to miss a chance to reach potential large donors that are waiting for you to ask them for donations through email. Over 50% give to charity in response to an email and over 80% use email on a regular basis, so an effective email strategy can cultivate great results.

2. Direct mail drives online donations

For many people, direct mail is annoying and often gets thrown away, but it is still embraced by older generations and drives these donors to make online donations. However, a poor online experience will actually decrease giving.

Direct mail is not dead and can play a strong supporting role in multi-channel fundraising. 35% of donors say they prefer to respond to direct mail by giving online. For each direct mail campaign sent, follow up with 3 compelling messages across your online channels.

3. Personal phone calls

Older generations still enjoy interacting over the phone and establishing a relationship with the caller before they decide to give. Around 15% of Boomers and Greatest Generation donors still give over the phone.

It is also important to listen to your potential donor when you make your call and find out how people feel about your organization. This information will tell you how to personalize the ask, increasing your chance to get them to donate.

4. In person

Make sure that when you speak to donors face-to-face your passion for your cause shines through. Anyone can read off a bunch of stats and facts, but if you are not actively displaying passion for your organization and showing how you care, then neither will your donor. Show interest in your donor too. Make it a conversation where you also ask them to share their passion with you. The key is making them feel like they mean more to your organization than just dollars.

Don’t forget to ask them for their email so you can keep in touch. And ask them if there are social media channels they frequent. In a short period of time, you’ll be able to engage them with your organization across channels, thus engaging more consistently, increasing their loyalty and causing them to be more pre-disposed to give to your cause.

One constant across generations is managing relationships, which has not changed.

What is changing is how to manage and cultivate those relationships. Nonprofit leaders need to embrace the changes in the generational giving landscape. In the upcoming years, the fundraising landscape will continue to shift more and more towards mobile and online. Your fundraising plans need to change to fit the desires and needs of the future.

More and more of your supporters are on social media and are attached to their smartphones. In order to be successful you will need to expand your marketing efforts to connect with your supporters through online and mobile channels to increase engagement and giving to your cause for years to come.

Steve PageThis is a guest post from Steve Page, blogger, marketer, and webmaster for MobileCause, a mobile and online fundraising software platform for a new generation of donors. Steve enjoys helping nonprofit organizations with their websites and getting their online campaigns running successfully.











10 Ways to Build Donor Trust and Overcome Negative Views about Charities

trustWhat prompted me to write this article was a recent post by Matthew Sherrington on the 101 Fundraising Blog about the dangers to the public benefit sector posed by erosion of trust.  We’ve known for some time that whenever there’s a charity scandal, the bad behavior of one player can become detrimental to all.  But over the past year in the U.K. the problem has become even more challenging. Could it happen here?  Matthew says “yes.”  And I concur.  Trust is a fragile thing.

In the U.K what happened was a perfect storm of perceived over-solicitation and insufficient outcomes, exacerbated by a barrage of media that sounded an alarm about nefarious practices.  Trust plummeted. A wake-up call, for sure.

But what does it mean? Continue Reading

Get Social to Create Awareness for Your Nonprofit

Engage supporters, new and old, with a thoughtful social media strategy.

Engage supporters, new and old, with a thoughtful social media strategy.


The majority of nonprofits are not paying enough attention to social media. This may have been understandable five years ago. Today, it’s just plain dumb.

If You’re Absent No one Can See You

Nonprofits constantly talk about their need to “build awareness.” In our digital world, it should be patently obvious that if you want to be found you need a strong online presence – and particularly a social media presence. You can’t raise money from folks who don’t know you exist.Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Donor Retention; Content Marketing; Boards; Learning Opportunities + More

Mixed #nonprofit links and free resourcesPlease enjoy these links, free resources and training opportunities. I hope you’ll find plenty of food for thought, plus some useful practical tools to help you along your journey towards making the world a kinder, gentler and more caring place.Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Culture of Philanthropy; Content Marketing; Newsletters + Opportunities

Clairity Click-it includes links to fundraising and nonprofit marketing resources from around the web.Hope you enjoyed/are enjoying the week-end! Please also enjoy these links. There’s all sorts of interesting stuff for you on boards and fundraising, storytelling, newsletters that make money, how to get better results from snail mail and more.  You’ll find some great training opportunities and five (count ’em!) free resources.

Culture of Philanthropy

Click-it: Turning Board Members into Fundraisers: Q&A with Claire Axelrad. Emily Wang of Network for Good recently interviewed me on this subject. If you missed it, here’s your chance to check it out.Continue Reading

Be Clairaudient to Make Your Nonprofit Donors Happy

Listening Woman

Do you listen underneath what they say to truly hear what your donors want?


Ever hear of “A.Word.A.Day” with Anu Garg?  I hadn’t. Until a friend recently shared with me that day’s word. She said, “this one’s all about you!” The word?


It’s a perfect word for fundraisers, because it’s precisely what you must do – a skill you absolutely must have – if you’re to succeed with sustainable fundraising.

It means the ability to hear what is in people’s hearts and minds. 

It’s a lot like clairvoyance, but it brings in the audience perception. It’s the ability to “hear” what is inaudible — by getting a read on what folks are thinking and feeling on the inside. Despite what they may reveal on the outside.

Guess who is good at this?Continue Reading

How to Fundraise like it’s Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

How to Fundraise Like it's Yesterday, Today, and TomorrowTwo good posts recently at re: charity (Brady Josephson) and Future Fundraising Now (Jeff Brooks) about what charities should do today to prepare for tomorrow. Both embrace a quote from Jeff Bezos:

I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow are sort of the same.

Sounds good.

But think about this a bit more.Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Dive the Five Fundraising Fundamentals

Clairity Click-it includes links to fundraising and nonprofit marketing resources from around the web.

Click it!


This year I’ll be sharing a lot of resources related to the “Dive the Five” fundamental principles we’ll be discussing in our ongoing virtual fundraising curriculum. You remember them, don’t you?

  1. Major Gifts
  2. Donor Retention
  3. Social Media
  4. Content Marketing
  5. Culture of Philanthropy

I want you to use these “buckets” as an organizing framework for your development efforts this year, so I’m organizing my “Click-its” this way as well.

From time to time I’ll add in other subjects and offer you some food for thought that I just can’t help but share with you. And, as always, if you scroll to the bottom you’ll find some free resources and upcoming learning opportunities.Continue Reading

Integrate Fundraising and Content Marketing for Nonprofit Survival

Integrate Fundraising and Content MarketingYour year-long “Dive the Five” virtual course continues!

I’ve selected five major themes – fundamental nonprofit fundraising strategies — to discuss with you this year in depth. Strategies that are so important to your success in 2016 – and beyond – that I want to be certain (1) you’ve got them on your priority list, (2) will begin to dedicate some serious resources towards them, and (3) will commit to practice them regularly, until they become almost second nature.

If you learn to “Dive the Five” you’ll be able to raise money for anyone, any place, any time. And I’ll be your Guide.

Some of these skills will seem familiar, but the way you employ them may need to be tweaked in order for you to survive and thrive in our digitally-revolutionized society. Other skills may be things you’ve thought about, or dabbled in, but haven’t really committed to with serious intent and dedicated resources.Continue Reading