3 Ways to Integrate Your Nonprofit’s Marketing and Fundraising

Digital world 199x300 3 Ways to Integrate Your Nonprofit’s Marketing and Fundraising
You can’t deliver your message today the way you did 10 years ago

Avoid becoming irrelevant in the digital age. It’s revolutionized fundraising and nonprofit marketing.

There are so many different ways to communicate today that it can be dizzying!

Ground yourself by remembering that though technology has changed, people have not. We have the same drives… needs… yearnings as prehistoric tribes.  We long for connection and meaning. We want to find where we “fit.”

Philanthropy provides that “fit opportunity” in spades (or, more aptly, in hearts). You’ve got the goods; you just need to tinker with your delivery system.

Here’s how to embrace the change.

1. Let’s begin with your gift of content marketing.

content marketing 300x225 3 Ways to Integrate Your Nonprofit’s Marketing and Fundraising
What is content marketing and what can it do for you?

Content marketing” is buzz-worthy because without it, you’ve got nothing. You’re just a box with nothing inside. Kids like to play with boxes; most folks — when they grow up — are looking for something of value inside the box.

That’s your content.  What you’re all about. The gift you offer the world and your donors. Continue Reading

6 Secrets to Rock Multi-Channel Integrated Nonprofit Fundraising Campaigns

Rock musician 198x300 6 Secrets to Rock Multi Channel Integrated Nonprofit Fundraising Campaigns
How you can rock your multi-channel social media and online/offline fundraising strategy!

This post includes 6 expert tips and best practices for any business, including a non-profit, wanting to run an integrated marketing campaign that generates more potential donors and raises more dollars.

Wait! What is an integrated marketing campaign?

An integrated marketing campaign is a marketing effort that uses a consistent message across traditional and non-traditional marketing channels. Ultimately all the messages should reinforce each other. Integrated marketing campaigns enable brands (yes, your nonprofit is a brand) to reach new audiences and gain mass exposure for their marketing promotions. Plus, in the information overload world in which we live, folks need to see your message multiple times before their brain will process it (Did you know that, on average, only 16% of Facebook fans will see what you share)?

There used to be a marketing ‘Rule of 7′ stating that a prospect needs to hear the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service.  Guess what? That rule was invented by the movie industry in the 1930’s! It takes a lot more impressions today (I’ve heard as many as 21).

So a multi-channel campaign is the way to go. Whether you reach folks 7 or 21 times, or somewhere in between, your messages should range over different sorts of media. Consider emails and newsletters, social media posts, website and blog, direct mail, advertising and even in person presentations. But it can’t be a big mish-mash.  You’ve got to integrate everything to ensure all your media channels are working together. That’s how you’ll ultimately get noticed.

To illustrate how this might work for you, here is an exampleContinue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Ice Bucket Aftermath, Integrated Fundraising/Marketing, Prospecting, Change + Learning Opps

Mouse mouse21 300x202 Clairity Click it: Ice Bucket Aftermath, Integrated Fundraising/Marketing, Prospecting, Change + Learning Opps

Click it!

There’s a whole bucket full of interesting, practical and inspiring stuff in this week’s Click-It (and I don’t mean an ice bucket)! I’ve got stuff about what you must do to compete in a digital marketplace… articles about integrating fundraising and marketing (which I’m passionate about)…  stuff about types of skills to look for in today’s communications staff and some ideas as to which marketing channels give you the biggest bank for your buck.  And speaking of bang for the buck, there’s info on how to research donor prospects. Plus I’ve got a thought-provoking cartoon for you at the end.  And, as always, some great learning opportunities (scroll to the bottom) you won’t want to miss! Continue Reading

Too Many Hats? 3 Secrets You Need to Build a Fundraising Marketing Team

nonprofit communications report 2015 Too Many Hats? 3 Secrets You Need to Build a Fundraising Marketing Team

Hats off to the newly released report from Kivi LeRoux Miller! See what it means for you.

I recently had the privilege of presenting at the ALDE Conference, during the course of which I had the good fortune to listen in on the Keynote Address presented by Kivi LeRoux Miller. It got me to thinking about becoming a nonprofit milliner.

Say what?

Well, here’s the deal. I’m sure I could do a brisk business selling all sorts of different hats based on what Kivi had to say about results from her 2015 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report. After surveying more than 1500 nonprofits, guess what she found?Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Online Fundraising, Donor Engagement, Social Media, Writing + Free Stuff

Click it check mark 300x225 Clairity Click it: Online Fundraising, Donor Engagement, Social Media, Writing + Free Stuff

Click-it!

The Click-it is jam-packed with meaty articles this week – lots of stuff you can really use from some of my favorite writers/fundraising and marketing communications experts. Plus, of course, some fun stuff. And at the end you’ll find some great opportunities to get amazingly high-quality training, and it won’t cost you a dime! Continue Reading

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

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

It’s Not That Hard: 6 Secrets to Succeeding with Online Fundraising

6 spheres 300x225 It’s Not That Hard: 6 Secrets to Succeeding with Online Fundraising

The biggest secret? Everything works TOGETHER. No silos.

Julia C. Campbell and I were clearly separated at birth, and I’ve told her as much. Because I tend to agree – in spades – with everything she writes.  [Plus, her middle name is Claire, so what further proof is needed?]  Her recent article, 6 Ways Nonprofits Are Getting Online Fundraising All Wrong, is no exception.

Here are Julia’s 6 tips, to which I’ve added a few of my own thoughts (although they’re really not my own because there are no new ideas – and Julia and I think the same)!

1) Online fundraising does not work in a silo.

Julia reminds you that no fundraising or marketing effort works in a silo. This is SO important! Just building it isn’t enough. Whatever it may be. A blog. A Facebook page. A Twitter profile. A donation landing page. You name it. Sorry. They won’t call.  They won’t write.  They won’t wax on rhapsodically about your finer qualities. The most they might do is notice you out of the corner of their eye; then move on.

ACTION TIP: Convene a multi-disciplinary communications team. It’s on you to work it – together – as a full organization invested in engaging those folks who share your values. Whatever you do online must be supported by what you do offline. And vice-versa.

2) Online fundraising does not work if your website sucks.

And, by the way, these days if your website isn’t optimized for mobile it sucks. Because I’m willing to bet that a huge percentage of those who intentionally search for you, encounter you serendipitously, or open email from you, do so via mobile devices. And you’re losing them because…  you’re just so user-unfriendly. In fact, a recent study by Papilia, Donor Conversion: Why Mobile Optimization Is an Urgent Matter, revealed that more than 20% of online giving comes from mobile devices but more than 50% who attempted to make a mobile donation dropped off. And they’re not going to wait until they get back to their desktop computer to check back. You’ve lost them for good. That should be totally unacceptable to you! What are you going to do about it? Also, if you only have one generic Donation Landing page, your website sucks.   The spider whose web isn’t sticky won’t catch any flies.  What’s on your landing page that will get folks stuck there? Folks want to give for the purpose/campaign that moved them. If you don’t reassure them – right away on the landing page – that this is how their gift will be allocated, then they’re going to jump ship. “Your gift reduces economic inequality” is not the same as “Yes! I want to send a kid to college today.” The average donation made through a branded checkout page is 38% larger than the average donation made through a generic page.

ACTION TIP: Check out this edition of the nonprofit blog carnival. It’s all about how to build, maintain and evaluate a great nonprofit website.

3) Online fundraising does not work if it is not easy.

Make your donation landing pages inviting, easy to navigate and persuasive. Research has indicated that websites lose 40% of visitors with every click – so make sure yours count! In fact, make your entire website a nice tasty treat for folks!  “What’s the nicest thing your website does for your constituents” is a question I sometimes pose to my clients. It turns out that one of the nicest things you can do for folks is make it really easy for them to have a conversation and give/receive feedback. Your website can be a way you collect/consolidate what is happening in multiple media channels so that constituents who wish to can find everything from a single portal.

ACTION TIP: Hubspot offers a free Nonprofit Guide to Calls to Action and Landing Pages to help you turn strangers into supporters.

4) Online fundraising does not work if no one knows about it.

This is a variation on just building it isn’t enough. You’ve got to work from a plan. Every chance you get, let folks know where to find you online.

ACTION TIP: Telling a great story in your e-news, blog, mailed newsletter, fundraising letter, web page or Facebook post? Include a “Donate!” link. Never waste the dose of inspiration you’ve provided. Don’t just leave would-be donors wishing they could give the story a happy ending. Take them by the hand and SHOW them how to do it!

5) Online fundraising is not a substitute for a major gifts program, planned giving program or annual campaign.

Online tools are a complement to nonprofit donor moves management. You’d be silly not to use them. But don’t abuse them. Just because you can doesn’t always mean you should. If your mail campaign is not as effective as you wish it were, throwing it out in favor of an email campaign is probably not the answer. My hunch is that you’d be better off going back to basics and clarifying your messaging. Get crystal clear on why your mission matters, and what’s in it for the donor if they join you.

ACTION TIP: Become a consummate “drip” story teller. Your donors want an ongoing tale. A little today. A little next week. And so forth. There’s no better delivery mechanism for “drip” storytelling than social media. And don’t get hung up on thinking it’s just Facebook or Twitter. It’s lots of things… email; texting; LinkedIn (where a lot of professionals, aka donors, are); Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube, Yelp… if you start to ask, you’ll be surprised to find out what your donors are doing digitally.

6) Online fundraising does not work if you do not communicate your impact to your donors.

You can’t raise money if no one knows what you do. You really must integrate and adapt your marketing to support your fundraising. Don’t leave marketing staff, or your executive management and program staff either, to their own devices.  They’re apt to wax on and on about how wonderful you are, your newest Board member, and your years of service to the community. Readers will be exposed to graphs and pie charts and all sorts of impressive statistics designed to impress people and engage their rational minds. No, NO, no. That’s not going to serve your fundraising purposes. More and more the research reveals that people give from the heart, not the head. From emotion, not reason.

ACTION TIP: Develop a storytelling culture. Stop a minute to consider what you’ve got to “sell.” Your “program” or “service.” Right? But you’ve got to make it about more than that. Those are commodities. You’ve got to make it about hope, or ego or fear or empathy. Something emotional. The best nonprofit stories spin a tale of misfortune, struggle or conflict; depict a protagonist you come to care about, and then show your donor how to be the hero who creates the happy ending.

Year End Appeals Course 2014 cover 11 266x300 It’s Not That Hard: 6 Secrets to Succeeding with Online Fundraising

Back to School means Back to Giving Season

Speaking of showing your donors what’s in it for them…

One of the best ways to rock your annual appeal is to fill it with content that rewards your donor for acting. Learn how to do this — and much, much more — in my upcoming 5-week E-Course: Your Ultimate Guide to Successful Year-End Appeals. Typically nonprofits raise as much as 50 to 80% of their annual income at the end of the calendar year. Learn to take advantage of this time when donors are feeling most generous. Your annual appeal is a terrible thing to waste! Check out the curriculum here or grab the Early Bird deal and register here.  Full satisfaction guaranteed — or your money back.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Why Your Nonprofit Should Dump Your Marketing Communications Program

Tips and Hints 300x249 Why Your Nonprofit Should Dump Your Marketing Communications Program

Puzzled why your old school marketing communications program isn’t delivering for you as you wished it would? HINT: Embrace content marketing.

Because I’ll bet you it’s not embracing two key elements essential to raising awareness and getting folks to engage with you in 2014 and beyond.

What’s that? (1) Content marketing. (2) Social media. For real.

Let me explain.Continue Reading