The Secret of “Me Marketing” vs. “You Marketing”

first_imgAbout the author: Chris Forbes is a certified Guerrilla Marketing coach and founder of MinistryMarketingCoach.com. He speaks and writes on the subjects of ministry marketing, faith-based nonprofit marketing, social marketing, and Guerrilla Marketing for nonprofits. Many organizations put together their marketing materials with the worst approach for getting attention from the people they want to reach. They send their messages out with what Jay Conrad Levinson calls “You Marketing.”You marketing: is the kind of communication that centers on the organization. When I pick up your brochure as a prospect, I am learning about you. You are talking about you. You are telling your side of the story.Me Marketing: Most people are tuned into what matters to them. They tune in to the messages that speak to their needs from their perspective. If I pick up your brochure and it is talking about “me” I am far more interested. This approach, forces you to find the benefits and life-application of what you are offering to people.That reminds me of an illustration I read in the Outreach Church Communication’s Strategic Outreach Guide by Ed Stetzer and Eric Ramsey, imagine a restaurant that spoke only of their features in “you marketing”. They would talk about their staff, their great kitchen, their use of the latest cooking techniques. Who cares?Now, imagine that same restaurant with “me marketing.” They would talk about fresh ingredients, the options I have for what kind of food I want, the variety, the atmosphere of the restaurant for meetings and special occasions like my anniversary. They would make the price right for me, the food to my taste, the presentation pleasant to me.Now go back and look at your website or brochures. Do you tell about your mission, your great staff, your awards, your programs? Is it all about you-you, you, you? How can you change the copy to reflect more “me marketing?”last_img read more

Network for Good DonateNow Lite versus PayPal

first_imgNeed to start online fundraising? Have you checked out PayPal or Google Checkout?It’s time to consider a better (but still free!) solution. Network for Good provides a free online fundraising service to registered 501(c)3 organizations — DonateNow Lite.How does DonateNow Lite compare to Paypal?Donor experience is heightened because of Network for Good’s use of a donation form (rather than a shopping cart).Donors receive automated tax receipts and online donation history.You can accept recurring donations.You can track donations with online reports.Our service is registered to process donations for nonprofits from the residents of all 50 states + DC — PayPal is not. (While Network for Good is a registered charity in all requiring states, we recommend that you also seek professional advice for your unique situation in complying with applicable laws governing charitable appeals in the respective states.)Network for Good is a nonprofit like you are.We offer our subscribers free fundraising training & resources at www.fundraising123.org.Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!last_img read more

It pays to be personal

first_imgInside Influence Report, one of my favorite newsletters from the great gang at ASU, reminds us once again why it pays to be personal. Here’s the story, from Noah Goldstein:I have a friend who is a medical doctor. Nicest guy in the world. Will do, and has done, anything for anybody. So I was totally perplexed — and as a social psychologist, very interested — when I learned he was having difficulty finding someone to cover his shift on the weekend of my wedding. I asked him if he had ever volunteered to take his colleagues’ shifts, and he replied that indeed he had. Considering all he had done in the past to help them, and all that we know about the power of the norm of reciprocation, it was puzzling that he could not get a single person to volunteer to help him out during his time of need. By the time he had answered my next question, however, the solution to the mystery was clear. When I inquired how he went about asking for help, he said that he had sent out an e-mail. And it wasn’t just any of type of e-mail — it was a mass e-mail, in which all of the recipients could see all the other recipients. The problem with this strategy is that it creates what is called diffusion of responsibility. By sending out the mass e-mail in a way that made visible the large number of coworkers being asked, no one single individual felt personally responsible for helping. Instead, each recipient likely assumed that someone else on that list would agree to help. In a classic demonstration of diffusion of responsibility, social psychologists John Darley and Bibb Latané staged a situation in which a student seemed to be having an epileptic seizure during a study. When a single bystander was present, that person helped approximately 85% of the time. But when five bystanders were present — all of whom were located in separate rooms, so no one could be certain if the victim was receiving help — only 31% of the bystanders helped. Fortunately for this friend, Noah Goldstein knew what to do. He told the doctor to send personal emails asking individual people specifically. It worked. The doctor attended the wedding.The more your “asks” appear to be made from you, personally and directly, to an individual, the more likely people will support you. So segment your audience. Show you know them. Speak to them like individuals. Try some one-on-one contact with your biggest supporters. Mass, impersonal, Dear Friend emails just won’t do the same job. Just ask the doctor.last_img read more

The seven (or nine) things everyone wants

first_imgMark Rovner and I have been working on a little project – maybe it will turn into a book. We test-drove some of the content at the Nonprofit Technology Conference, and the NTC conference attendees were brilliant and contributed much to our thought process! The session was received warmly enough that we were asked to type up a little summary for the NTEN newsletter. I wanted to share that (it’s below), as well as the official blog for this topic. We welcome thoughts, comments, additions — any input at all!Here’s what we said:The NTC in New Orleans was full of fantastic, sparkly, shiny new technology tools. And then there was our session. No winsome widgets, no witty Twittering, no Dopplr-found Doppelgangers.And that was the point.Which is this: What makes technology tools great is not the technology. It’s the people behind them. Successful technology is about bonds, not wires. It’s human connections that matter. “Social media” is about “social” more than it’s about “media”. If you missed our session, we summed it up in the title: The Seven Things Everyone Wants: What Freud and Buddha Understood (and We’re Forgetting) about Online Outreach. Some very human principles make or break the success of absolutely everything you do online. These are the kind of truths Buddha or Freud – explorers of the deepest recesses of the human mind — talked about. To achieve true marketing “enlightenment,” you need to tap into fundamental human needs with your technology – rather than hoping technology can inspire alone. You may think this sounds a bit like Maslow – and it is – but with a twist: Maslow was uncovering human needs; We are showing how his and other deep needs can be employed to foster a more humane world. There are at least seven of these fundamental needs, and that’s what we covered in our session. We threw out a need, and the folks in the session talked about how they’d met it through online communications. (Hat tip to Britt Bravo for capturing the examples so well in her blog.) There are other human needs – we’d like to add simplicity and humor to the list of seven – but this was a start.Here is a taste of our discussion. But the conversation is far from over. Please help us continue it – we’re headed toward a book of some kind, we hope. Talk to us at our official blog for the topic.PLEASE: Don’t just read this article, tell us your story.Need 1: To be SEEN and HEARDMaking someone feel seen and heard is the most powerful thing any of us can do with online communications. On the other hand, not listening is the root of most problems, personal (just ask your partner!) and professional (just ask your co-workers!).Examples of great listening:•Teen Health Talk engages youth to talk about health issues rather than lectures at them.•Oxfam has used Flickr petitions successfully in several campaigns. Two of their staff members recently returned from Darfur and are putting together a video to raise awareness about it. They are collecting questions from supporters to include. The bottom line: See to be seen, hear to be heard.Need 2: To be CONNECTED to someone or somethingPeople are sociable creatures, and they want to find other people that share their interests. That’s what fuels Facebook or Twitter or any number of examples. In fact, one could argue that connecting people to each other is the highest and best use of technology.Examples of great connecting:•BeliefNet has prayer circles where people can share prayers for specific people.•March of Dimes’ Share Your Stories allows families of babies in the NICU to share stories. The bottom line: Engage by connecting to what your audience (NOT YOU) wants to hear.Need 3: To be part of something GREATER THAN THEMSELVESWe need to lay out the grand, inspirational vision of our cause. We should show how together we can leave the world a better place.Examples of vision:•18Seconds.org shows the cumulative effect of everyone changing their light bulbs to CFLs.•The MoveOn “endorse a thon” for Barack Obama is only the latest in a long line of creative, uplifting and inspiring efforts.Need 4: To have HOPE for the futureForget doom and gloom, finger-wagging campaigns. People hate them.Example of hopeful messaging:•Earth: The Sequel has been up for 2 weeks and has received 15,000 views.•The Yes We Can Obama video. The bottom line: Ix-nay on the apocalypse. Persuade through inspirationNeed 5: To have the security of TRUSTPeople are starved for a sense of trust. That’s why we glom on to authentic messengers. Examples of authenticity:•76% of givers according to Cone say they are influenced by friends and family. SixDegrees allows people to create widgets that feature a photo of themselves and 250 characters of text about why they support a particular cause.•The Packard Kid Connection site helps kids get ready to go to the hospital. It builds trust because it looks like Club Penguin (Club Penguin is a social network for children), and it has videos of children explaining how things work at the hospital. The bottom line: Cut the crap. Your authenticity is everything.Need 6: To be of SERVICEThe #1 reason people stop giving to a nonprofit is that they feel like they are being treated like an ATM machine. They want to help, but they also want to be of service and to have different ways of serving. That need is not being fulfilled if all they hear is the unimaginative drumbeat of dollars. If you are reading this, you already understand – and embody – the deep need to be useful and of service.Need 7: To want HAPPINESS for self and othersThe core of Buddhism is that everyone wants happiness and to be free from suffering. The more you want happiness for others, the better it is for you, and them.We wrapped up the session with the following happy dance. Remember, it’s about people. People who want to be happy in this world.last_img read more

Network for Good DonateNow by the Numbers

first_imgDid you know that people gave more than $7 billion online to charity last year? With Network for Good’s DonateNow service, we can help your nonprofit get your share. DonateNow is an online donation processing service for nonprofits to accept credit card gifts on the web. And with a low monthly fee of only $49.95, online fundraising is now affordable for even the smallest organization.What You Get for $49.95/month1. Money for your mission!Our customers raise an average of $29 for every $1 they pay for our services. That’s great ROI. We wish we got that in the stock market!2. A Rolls-Royce donor experience for the price of a Kia!Our services cost a fraction of the priciest, most feature-rich options out there, yet they include nearly all the same options. Now that’s a deal. And remember, cheaper services generate far less in donations because they don’t reflect your brand. Another brand’s shopping cart lacks the warm-fuzzy feeling donors should get from supporting you!We give you:YOUR BRAND FRONT AND CENTER – A giving page that looks EXACTLY like your website that you get to customize in all kinds of waysMONTHLY GIFTS – Recurring giving options for steady fiscal support to youHAPPY DONORS – Cool features for donors like donating in honor of someone or designating their gift for a specific purpose – plus you can provide thank you gifts for generous donors.CUSTOM RECEIPTS – Customized receipts that will make your supporters smileINSTANT GRATIFICATION – Instant notification when your organization gets a donationALL THE NUMBERS – Great donation tracking reports3. What IRS auditors want!If you want to keep it legal in accepting online donations, you need to file registrations for receiving donations. At present, more than forty states require nonprofits to be registered! Nonprofits that solicit donations in a given state may be required to register as a charity in that state. Network for Good is a registered charity in all requiring states! (That being said, we do recommend that you also seek professional advice for your unique situation in complying with applicable laws governing charitable appeals in the respective states.)4. Control that’s fun to exercise!We want you to call the shots. With our services, YOU choose the look and feel of your giving page. YOU decide what donation amounts to request. YOU choose the language in your thank-you receipts. We think you know your donors best, so we give you the creative control – and we make it easy for you to exercise that control. Our tools are extremely simple to use – no technology expertise required.5. A marketing and customer service A-team!Along with our services, you get marketing/fundraising tips and training that are so good, it’s like having your own agency! Our nationally renowned marketing, sales and customer service team members and guest trainers – along with our online Learning Center – ensure you’ll get the dollars flowing on DonateNow. And if you’re ever stuck on a thing, a nonprofit expert at Network for Good is just a phone call or email away. We’re here to make you a smashing success.Ready to get started? Contact Us to learn more about DonateNowlast_img read more

Trust is a triangle – why and how to get it

first_imgMy dad visited this weekend. He’s a psychoanalyst and quite brilliant, so I spent time asking him about some of the issues I’m exploring with Mark Rovner under the topic, “the seven things everyone wants.” My dad had some particularly fascinating comments about trust.I want to share those today because there is a huge demand for trust in our sector, yet a serious supply problem. Holly at NTEN blogged on it just yesterday. She cited a some important data:Want to guess what the number one source of trusted information is for most Americans? People like them — their friends, colleagues and peers. So we trust people like us. That is definitely true. But how does that work? What is trust, really, and how does it come about? That’s what I asked my dad, since he’s spent a lifetime understanding people’s minds.He says trust is a triangle. Person A trusts Person B when Person B authentically represents or speaks to something that matters to us. Think of that thing as “C” – the third point that makes a triangle. For example, a person might trust a politician that stands for their vision of America. A customer of Amazon will trust another customer at Amazon who credibly reviews a book they are considering buying. A person might trust a brand if it consistently stands for quality. A person will trust their spouse if they stand for a faithful marriage. It’s not so much the person on the other side of the relationship as the stakes we share, the point that forms a triangle.Given the power of word-of-mouth marketing, if we’re trying to promote a cause (the “C” of our triangle), we need to ensure that our target audience (“A”) sees a triangle — that they actually care what we stand for — and that the other person in their triangle is not necessarily us but someone very close to them. That creates a strong triangle of trust. We don’t get a triangle if they don’t care what we do or don’t know the person speaking. What does this mean to us? That our triangle requires new points. It’s time to change our message – so we are creating a point of trust that matters to people – and the messenger speaking to that point. We won’t have trust without that kind of shape.last_img read more

Five-Minute Facelift for Your Website

first_imgThis is product placement, but it’s a well-intentioned plug: If you’re not already signed up for Network for Good’s weekly fundraising and marketing tips, I encourage you to do so here. Here’s a sample of the types of tips we feature from editor Rebecca Ruby: Why isn’t your website performing better? Where are all those online donors? Is this creating the urge to completely revamp your site? You may not have to start from scratch! Here is a way to give your website a five-minute facelift: Make your Donate button easier to find. Grab a friend or relative, sit them down in front of your website home page, and count how many seconds it takes them to find and click on your Donate button. If it takes them more than two seconds, you need to place your button in a far more prominent position. Make it central to the page. Make sure it is above the fold. Make it big. Make it colorful. Make it impossible to miss. Here’s an example of an easy-to-find Donate button. Frame the Donate button in a more compelling way. Now think about why someone should click on your Donate button. Your financial needs are not enough. Create an appeal around the button that is focused on donors, their interests, and what they get in return for their donation. What tangible change will result if they give? How is that tangible change relevant to them personally? Will it feel good to make the donation? Is clicking on the button fun, touching or compelling? Here’s an outstanding example of framing. Add a sense of immediacy. You want to inspire someone to give right now, but that can be hard to do if it’s not December or if there’s not an urgent crisis to address. Create a sense of urgency for donating by creating a campaign with a goal and deadline, matching grant, or appeal for specific items or programs that are highly tangible. Here’s an example of bringing a sense of urgency to an appeal by making it clear what the donation does (it buys a bed net) and tying it to a popular show. Recognize that getting clicks requires cultivation. While you want someone to donate right away, it’s important to remember that it takes time to cultivate donors. Be sure your website includes a way to capture the email addresses of visitors so that you can build a relationship with them and turn them into donors in the future. Think beyond a newsletter sign-up. Here’s a nice example of an innovative approach to capturing emails. Tweak your DonateNow page. (This is step is particularly easy if you have Network for Good’s service. Yes, NFG is my employer, so I’m biased!) Take a hard look at your donation form/page. If you are asking too many questions, potential donors may abandon the form. This page may also need some increased messaging and reinforcement of why and how donations are important. Remember: This page has the last copy a donor is going to read prior to actually giving you money–you don’t want to lose them in the home-stretch!last_img read more

Keeping Info in Your Donor Database

first_imgDonor database systems are often only as good as the information we put into them (check out this post on choosing a donor database). Over the last couple weeks I’ve been working with a new donor database, building some crystal reports, and setting up a tracking system. Here are a few reasons that came to my mind why keeping information in your donor database is important.Donor information is easy to forget, we can’t keep everything in our heads.Information is available after you leave the organization. How will the organization continue where you left of it they don’t know where that is.It’s searchable so you can find a donor based on little things about them. Find all the donors that live in a neighborhood where you’re starting a new project.Helps in setting up an annual plan and in organizing the development process or moves management with hundreds (or more) donors.It allows us to segment our donors so we can send an appeal based on location , program interest, or giving history.Databases allow information to be shared throughout the entire development department instead of just one person. This allows donor development to be a team effort.Feel free to fill out the poll below or add your own thoughts and reasons for using a donor database below.Source: http://www.asmallchange.net/last_img read more

Must read: the changing US consumer

first_imgThere is a great piece in Advertising Age online today from Peter Francese, founder of American Demographics magazine (registration required to view the article). He writes about the changing face of consumers. Like me, they’re getting more wrinkly and set in their ways by the day.Here are a couple of the highlights (warning: sweeping generalizations ahead), along with thoughts on the implications for us. You can read the full article here (with registration).OLDER: A full 80% of the growth in US households in the next five years will be from those headed by people over age 55. Yep, that’s right — EIGHTY PERCENT. The average age of the US household is already only six months shy of 50. The first boomers hit 65 in less than three years. So what does that mean? The older set (65+), says Francese, tend to be risk adverse and inflexible in their attitudes. That means clever marketers will play to this world view with messaging about guarantees, safety and experience. Warranties, corporate history and testimonials work. So, nonprofit marketers, emphasize your organization’s storied history and great performance with these folks. Don’t be too cute or flashy. Meanwhile, the second fastest growing segment is folks 25-34 – a group that is increasingly diverse ethnically. The bigggest spending, best paid group — those 35 to 54 – is shrinking. Groan.ALL OVER THE PLACE, IN EVERY SENSE OF THE EXPRESSION: As you read this, I suspect you’re having the reaction that I did – sheesh, how are you supposed to reach such different groups? It gets even more challenging when you consider geographic segments. The West is getting younger and more multicultural while the Northeast is getting older and whiter. (I told you there would be generalizations – this is demographics, after all.) The answer? Segmentation of course. You’re going to need different positioning for different audiences — AND different message delivery vehicles. The latter is actually good news – it’s easier to target your message when not everyone is getting your messages the same way and when people are clustered into certain locations. There are people who live online and on their phones, and there are folks who stick to the newspaper. You need to look not only at the age of your audiences, but also where and how they live so you know the best way to reach them. Fancy marketers call this ethnographic research. Throw that into your next convo to look extra smart.last_img read more

How to Convert One-Time or Annual Donors into Monthly Givers

first_imgRevisit the language you’re using in your appeals. Frame your ask in such a way that it’s a win-win situation-monthly donations for you, convenience and budgeting for your donors. (Read more about the four parts of a great fundraising appeal.) Make sure your donation form offers a recurring giving option. Whenever you’re asking for money, ask for the monthly pledge, not just a one-time gift. (Need a donation form that allows and encourages donors to set up monthly giving? Find out more about DonateNow.) Package the appeal in an exciting way. For example, some organizations have an ambassador program or a sponsor-a-child every month program. Put a face on that sustainable gift. This way you’re creating some tangible tie to the idea of giving every month. Remember: To increase charitable donations, you should appeal to the heart–not the head. Thinking about monthly giving is one of the smartest things you can do as a fundraiser. At Network for Good, we find that 30-40% of the online donation volume coming from a nonprofit’s website is monthly giving. It would be wonderful for nonprofits to thank people every month instead of asking them for donations every few weeks.How do you do that? How do you turn your annual givers into monthly supporters? Don’t be afraid to ask for a monthly gift of support after someone completes a one-time transaction. It can be ingrained as a nice thank-you message: “Thank you so much for making a one-time gift. This is how you can put your support to work for us each and every month. Would you consider becoming a monthly supporter?” This can be done when asking for another gift later in the year, but consider this: First-time online donors are more likely to turn into monthly donors within three days their original online gift. Think of using this strategy during the holidays when you’re experiencing high traffic of one-time donations!Source: Adapted from the Nonprofit 911 Presentation “The Experts Are In! Your Online Fundraising and Nonprofit Marketing Questions Answered.”last_img read more

Should you make your CEO blog?

first_imgNo. Unless they really, really want to.•It takes a huge amount of energy and time to blog. You have to be really enthusiastic about the medium, or it’s really not going to work.•Your CEO may not be your best spokesperson. Perhaps you have a volunteer, another staffer or a constituent that can speak better to what you’re attempting to accomplish through this mode of communications.•You’re welcome to blog yourself, but others may be doing it already! If you don’t want to start a blog yourself, what bloggers in your community are talking about your issue that you could reach out to and engage so they’re spreading the word on your behalf?It really comes down to the commitment and the purpose behind the blog. You need someone who will continually contribute and enjoy the process as it’s happening. And, it’s a great opportunity to think about whom you have helped, or what other champions or advocates you have who could blog to advance your mission.last_img read more

Building Your Nonprofit Brand in 8 Words or Less

first_imgIn today’s competitive marketing environment, is your nonprofit’s tagline strong enough to get attention and provoke questions? Does it complement your org’s name, convey the unique value you deliver to your community and differentiate you from the competition?Or is your nonprofit’s tagline vague, ambiguous, over-reaching, too abstract or simply non-existent? 72% of nonprofit organizations rate their taglines as poor, or don’t have one at all. But a tagline is a terrible thing to waste.Think about it. Your tagline is seen and heard more than any other eight or less words you communicate. It’s on business cards, email signatures, signage, online and print communications, fundraising videos, voicemail and more.  Without it, your organization just can’t compete for donors, volunteers, board and staff members and more.This sesson showed key findings from the Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Report, what makes a strong tagline work, and the seven deadly sins to avoid.last_img read more

How to Build Relationships and Achieve Fundraising Success in a Web 2.0 World

first_imgPresented October 10, 2008 at the The Technology in the Arts Conference in Pittsburgh. Download the slides [PDF] below.Social networking tools like Facebook, MySpace and blogs were the hot topic of the past year. So are they worth your time?  How can you fundraise successfully with Web 2.0?  Does using the Internet mean getting rid of your offline marketing tactics?Establishing your organization’s brand and presence on the Web, with opportunities for potential donors to learn, blog, question and connect, leads to community-building and, ultimately, long-term giving. Join Jono Smith, director of marketing at Network for Good, to learn how to build affinity for your organization and use your Web presence to turn Web visitors into Web donors.Session attendees will leave with:Practical tips for how (and why) to dive into online fundraisingAn understanding of the new “Web 2.0? model of online communicationsHow and why community-building works for fundraising, and how you can empower your supporters to become champions for your causeWhy Web 2.0 makes community-building easier for youSession Leader:Jono Smith is responsible for marketing Network for Good’s online fundraising services to nonprofit organizations.  Network for Good is a nonprofit organization that helps other nonprofits raise money and reach supporters online.  Network for Good has processed more than $200 million in donations for 30,000 nonprofits since its 2001 founding by AOL, Cisco and Yahoo!.  Prior to joining Network for Good, Jono spent eight years at SunGard Higher Education, where he was responsible for managing the company’s marketing efforts in Europe and the Middle East.  Jono also held marketing and sales positions at SCT and Campus Pipeline, before their acquisitions by SunGard.  Prior to this, Jono served in the Clinton Administration as Special Assistant to the Director of White House Communications.  Jono holds an undergraduate degree in English from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.  In his personal time, Jono has raised over $10,000 for AIDS vaccine research.last_img read more

This viral video will make your jaw drop

first_imgFirst Name: AARP 08 Video Last Name: Why it’s great: Incredibly audience centric. Very customized. Extremely fun. And you immediately want to pass it on.center_img You MUST try this out. Be sure to enter your name – it works better that way. Enter your name to see who can bring real change to Washington.last_img

Talking vs. Doing: Inversely Proportional!

first_imgThe above is by Chas: Read more at Talking vs. Doing. (My board members talk AND do, by the way, but I’m just lucky I guess!)Sorry I haven’t blogged lately. Like Chas’s graph, I’ve been talking rather than doing — giving speeches, to be exact. I spoke at the Grantmakers in the Arts conference in Atlanta yesterday and I’m delivering the keynote at the NC Nonprofits conference tomorrow morning.If you like this chart, you’re in for a treat. The Chart Fun Blog Carnival Extravaganza is here! Stay tuned – in about two hours it will be up here on the blog.last_img read more

Cranking Up Your Email Marketing for Fall Fundraising

first_imgGet more tips here: “10 Surprisingly Easy and Startlingly Effective Ways to Improve Your Nonprofit E-Newsletter” And check out Kivi’s weekly webinar schedule for real-world, affordable training on a variety of nonprofit marketing topics.© 2006-2008, EcoScribe Communications Presentation OutlineCrank Up Your Email Marketing: Six Steps for a Successful CampaignWhether your email campaign is about grassroots outreach, advocacy, or fundraising, the basic steps you need to take to pull it off are the same.Get an email newsletter service provider.This is a must-do. There are several affordable services for nonprofits, including Network for Good’s EmailNow powered by Emma. You shouldn’t use Outlook or your regular email account for many reasons, including the potential that you’ll be labeled as a spammer.  Email newsletter service providers will also save you tons of time (and money too) and give you lots of extras, like sign-up forms and open/click-through reports.Get your current mailing list into shape.Do you know who is on your mailing list? Understanding the typical person on your list will help you develop great content that works for your supporters.  Also consider ways to segment your list. For example, do you have two or three distinct audiences who really aren’t interested in the same types of articles and info from you? Carefully managing your list is the best way to avoid spam filters. Send what people want only to the people who really want it. Cull out bad, bouncing addresses and import email addresses you have collected offline with permission.Make it really easy for people to join your list and manage their own subscriptions.Put your sign-up form on your website in a very obvious place – ideally in your template so it appears on every page. Offer incentives to encourage people to sign-up (explain what goodies come in your newsletter, offer special downloads, etc.). Consider letting people segment themselves on the sign-up form by interest or how often they’d like to be emailed. Encourage people to change their email addresses themselves (if your system allows it) and respect all opt-outs. It’s better to lose a subscriber than to have that person tag you as a spammer.Create an editorial calendar a few months at a time.Think about what’s going on in the next few months, not only in your organization, but in your community and on the calendar (e.g., holidays, changing seasons). Pick a schedule that works for you and the people on your list based on past experience, such as monthly, twice a month, or weekly. If you aren’t sure where to start, try every two weeks and adjust from there. Plan out some topics, mixing good information with advocacy calls to action and fundraising appeals. Be prepared to adjust your topics based on what’s happening in the headlines (that shows you are timely and current, which are big bonuses in email marketing).Write and design your email messages – always with your readers in mind.Pay very close attention to your subject line – make it benefit-laden or intriguing for the reader.Talk directly and personally to your readers. Write articles that are timely, helpful, and interesting to them. Also makes sure readers understand how important they are to your success.If you aren’t comfortable with HTML, start with a template from your service provider. Design for the preview pane (those first few inches at the top of your message are vital), and use mostly text with a few good images. Remember to appeal to skimmers: use headlines, subheads and short chunks of text.Measure the results and track over time.How many people are opening the email? How about clicking on links and which ones? Who is following through on calls to action, like donating? How many people unsubscribed and which addresses bounced? Analyze your results and adjust accordingly in future emails.Read the full version of this article with additional tips here:http://www.nonprofitmarketingguide.com/resources/email_newsletters/emailsteps/ Kivi Leroux Miller is president of www.NonprofitMarketingGuide.com and hosts a real-world, affordable weekly webinar series for do-it-yourself nonprofit marketing staff. Scroll down below to download the transcript and slides.Does your email newsletter have what it takes to turn casual observers into gung-ho supporters, and supporters into generous donors? Do they check their inboxes fervently and religiously chomping at the bit in anticipation of your organization’s next email? Or, rather than cracking open their wallets in search of the ATM card, are your email subscribers “filing” your emails away in the “read later” folder?During this Nonprofit 911 call, Kivi Leroux Miller, president of EcoScribe Communications and Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com, will cover the basics of effective e-newsletters, including answers to those pesky questions about what to send and how often.In addition the basics, what next-step topics can you expect?Segmenting your listsUsing auto-responders (trigger emails) to get your supporters more deeply involved with your causeWriting calls-to-action that get your readers clickinglast_img read more

“It’s because of you” letters

first_imgA great comment from Maya Enista of Mobilize.org from the session I just blogged about here at Independent Sector. (That Maya is dynamite, BTW.)In communicating with our supporters, she said we need more “it’s because of you letters.”For example:“Dear xyz, You said xyz at a Town Hall. Here’s what we did. This is what we accomplished. Look what you’ve done!”This is how we build our base, she pointed out.I totally agree. Totally. It’s not about the “I need you because I have no funding” letters.It’s about the “It’s because of you” letters.last_img read more

Katya’s websites of the week: toilets and trips

first_imgI’m starting a new feature in 2009 – website(s) of the week. This week’s have nothing to do with marketing – they have to do with urination and travel! Because I want to make your life easier not just as a marketer but also as a fellow human being. In the future, I promise to sometimes feature content relevant to marketing.This week’s winners:Check out MizPee to find the nearest clean toilet to where you are now. Ratings available – measured by little toilet paper roll icons. (I read about this in today’s Wall Street Journal.) I’ve always been too intimidated to rate anything at Zagat’s but this I could do.Check out TripIt for your next journey. When you get all your confirmations from airlines, hotels, etc., just hit forward to their email address and they assemble a nifty little itinerary for you! They’ll even tell you the weather! I learned about it from TechCrunch, natch.last_img read more

The economy may be down, but online giving is up

first_imgThe economy has been sluggish for over a year, but the financial crisis on September 15, 2008, shook consumer confidence and set off another round of corporate layoffs. Recent numbers show that unemployment is at its highest since 1994. Many of our clients have been asking, “What does this mean for our online fundraising program?”It’s a great question—and one that we couldn’t find a good answer to, so we decided to do our own analysis. We looked at online giving for five nonprofit clients during September and October, including Easter Seals, Habitat for Humanity International, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Oxfam America, and The Wilderness Society. To control for external factors such as online fundraising campaigns, we compared online ‘white mail’ – unsolicited gifts via the organization’s main donate page. We looked September and October of 2008, and compared those results to the same two months in 2007.Our analysis showed:The amount raised during this period was 34% greater in September of 2008 than in September of 2007.  But when comparing October of 2007 to October of 2008, the amount raised increased by only 5%.The number of gifts went up by more than 15% in both September and October of 2008, as compared to September and October of 2007. Despite the economy and the possible distraction of the election, a significantly larger number of donors gave in these two months in 2008 than they did in 2007.However, the average gift size appeared to drop off in October of 2008 as compared to October of 2007. This may be a sign of the weakening economy, as many donors continue to give online but in smaller amounts.Overall, the news is good; despite both the financial crisis and the elections, nonprofit online fundraising grew in both of these months as compared to the previous year.Why has online fundraising continued to grow while many other forms of fundraising have declined in the current economic climate?Nonprofit direct marketing was on the decline even before September 2008. Many nonprofits saw lower-than-average growth rates starting in 2006, with a more severe slowdown occurring in Q2 of 2007, according to the Target Analytics Index of National Fundraising Performance. Nonetheless, online fundraising has continued to grow for most nonprofits, as seen in the most recent e-Nonprofit Benchmarks Study published by M+R and N-TEN, which found that online fundraising grew by 19% from 2006 to 2007.Online donors tend to be younger and more affluent than direct mail donors, as found in the 2006 donorCentrics Internet Giving Benchmarks Analysis. This may account for the steadier online returns, as younger donors – with more disposable income, less significant savings invested in retirement portfolios, and so on – may feel less vulnerable to the volatile market and thus may not be adjusting their giving to reflect the downturn.Despite the relatively good news for online donations, we have to warn nonprofits not to get complacent about online fundraising. Many economic analysts predict the current economic crisis will continue to worsen before it gets better. And the fact that growth was slower in October of 2008 may be a sign of things to come.What are other nonprofits doing to stay the course? One M+R client recently tested two versions of a special appeal: One simply stated the need for funds for many reasons, but did not make mention of global financial crisis. The other appeal led with a brief sentence stating that the current global financial crisis has made the need even greater. Both email messages had identical open rates, but the email with the mention of the financial crisis received 20% fewer click-throughs, and a 12% lower response rate than the email that did not. The lesson learned? Reminding your constituents of the current economic crisis, even when it is topical and strengthens your case for giving, does not make donors more likely to give, and may actually turn them away from giving.For this reason, in order to maximize your online fundraising results in a time of economic uncertainty, we recommend keeping your message focused on your mission and on the compelling reasons to give to your nonprofit. We’ve found that focusing on the basics continues to yield the best results. Using urgency, making a compelling case for giving, and even throwing a premium into the mix can all help boost returns.Nonetheless, nonprofits may want to lower their expectations for end of year fundraising. This is a time of year when donors traditionally make larger gifts, but given the decline in average gifts across the past two months, it is possible that many donors will continue to make their gifts online but will scale back the dollar amounts.We’d like to thank the five nonprofits who generously shared their data for this study: Easter Seals, Habitat for Humanity International, National MS Society, Oxfam America, and The Wilderness Society.ABOUT M+R STRATEGIC SERVICESM+R is dedicated to helping our clients advance their missions in order to bring about positive change. We do this by helping organizations and campaigns we believe in develop smart and effective strategies, hone their messages, mobilize their members, build grassroots support, raise money, and communicate effectively with the media, the public and decision-makers, both online and offline. www.mrss.comlast_img read more