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

Want 17 Surprising Headline Hacks to Boost Click-throughs?

Head in paper bag 231x300 Want 17 Surprising Headline Hacks to Boost Click throughs?

Never be ashamed of your headlines again!!!

I know you’re working overtime to get more folks to pay attention to what you have to say. You want them to listen to you. You want them to volunteer with you. You want them to attend your events. You want them to support you. Where do you begin?

Get them to notice you! In How to Write an Irresistible Headline on the Convince and Convert blog you’ll learn how. I commend the full article to you. For me, here are the highlights:Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Boards & Fundraising; Storytelling; Social Media; Email

Mouse heart cord 300x300 Clairity Click it: Boards & Fundraising; Storytelling; Social Media; Email

Click-it!

First, you’ve still got time to send your donors some Valentine’s Day love. If you missed Monday’s post, check it out here. Meanwhile, today I’ve got another eclectic mix of links for you from across the World Wide Web – both from nonprofit and for profit sources. Enjoy!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

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

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