Mark 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.
Did 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 DonateNow
This 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!
There 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.
Download the MP3 audio recording, transcript, free e-book and presentation slides below!Everybody’s talking about Twitter and its potential for online fundraising, but is anyone actually raising money with it? What are the key success factors shared by nonprofits who have used Twitter successfully? Where do nonprofits start on Twitter?This webinar covers how to tell if Twitter is a good fit for your organization and where to find recommended resources, free tools and reading.In this presentation you will:Know how to explain Twitter to your grandmotherMaster the 4 post types – when and how to use themUnderstand the pros and cons of Twitter vs. email and direct mailLearn Twitter campaign management basicsTraining made available in part due to the support of the Surdna Foundation
The Washington Post had an article yesterday (registration may be required to read it) that made the same mistake nonprofit marketing folks often make when judging the relative value of Facebook: it simply looked at Facebook as a place you post a cause and expect the dollars to roll in. If it doesn’t do that, the Post concludes, it doesn’t work.I’ve heard fundraisers say the same thing.But there is more to the story.Be sure to read the excellent comments here and more important, read Allison Fine’s response on her blog.Bottom line: the value of Facebook is not to be calculated by dollar per donor. Allison notes:Let’s reframe: what if Causes was judged by the number of people who know about a cause who didn’t know about it before; the number of people who increase their involvement with that cause by sharing information with friends about it, organizing an event, blogging and tweeting about it, and so on; the number of people who have self-organized an event for the cause. I’m sure there are other meausres, but you get the point, what measures we use to define success will utlimately define us and while dollars in might be easy to measure it’s not alwasy the best one to use… Causes isn’t just about raising money, it’s also about raising friends and awareness, and in the long run turning loose social ties into stronger ones for a cause may be more important than one-time donations of $10 and $20 dollars right now. Our rush to judge this application effective or ineffective over a very short time period with a primary user base of very young people is off base.Facebook is one tool for interacting and engaging with a community — not a fundraising silver bullet.UPDATE: Be sure to read Beth Kanter’s post on this as well.