Why You Need the Wired Wealthy

first_imgA growing number of people are giving even bigger bucks online.  A new study, “The Wired Wealthy” by Convio, Sea Change Strategies and Edge Research, looks at these major online donors in depth.  Read the full study below, or just check out these key points from the study:Major and moderate donors are generous and onlineThe e-mail files surveyed represent one percent of the membership but 32 percent of the revenue for this sector80 percent of the wired wealthy made donations both online and offline72 percent say donating online is more efficient and helps charities reduce administrative costs51 percent said they prefer giving online and 46 percent said that five years from now they will be making a greater portion of their charitable gifts onlineMost charity Web sites are missing opportunities to fully engage wealthy wired with their organizationOnly 40 percent said that most charity Web sites made them feel personally connected to their cause or missionOnly 40 percent said that most charity Web sites are inspiring48 percent felt most charity Web sites are well-designedEmail shows signs of lost opportunities to connect with various donors74 percent said it was appropriate for the charity to send an email reminding them to renew an annual gift74 percent said that an email from the charity about how their donation was spent, and what happened as a result would make them more likely to give again65 percent said they always open and glance at emails from causes they supportThree distinct groups of donors emerged based on the extent to which the donor sees the Internet as a source of connection between themselves and the causesRelationship seekers (29%) – the group most likely to connect emotionally with organizations onlineAll business (30%) – not looking for a relationship or emotional connection, but a smooth and simple donation processCasual connectors (41%) occupy the middle ground, showing some interest in sustaining an online relationship, but also wanting a smooth and simple processNonprofits should create and provide options that let the wired wealthy customize their online experience with the cause, says the study.last_img read more

How to Start a Website for Your Organization

first_imgYour nonprofit organization needs to have a website. Period. It need not be flashy, overly colorful or even all that pretty-it just has to do its job. Your organization’s website should provide doormats for the major types of visitors, have relevant and timely information, and provide interested parties with your contact information.But, where do you even start? After determining your budget, follow these five steps to create your new website:Register a domain name (at least one):Think about other websites you’ve visited and other organizations you’ve searched for. The web address is straight-forward and relevant to the organization’s name and brand. People can’t visit your website if you don’t have a registered domain. You can get one free for a year through grassroots.org, or begin an inexpensive contract with godaddy.com. If your budget allows, you may consider purchasing more than one domain that all lead to your main webpage. For example, choose a common misspelling, reversal of words in your web address, etc.Develop the initial content for your website:What message or information do people visiting your site need to know? What are the goals of your website? Consider how you will incorporate your call-to-action (contact us, sign up for our listserv, make a donation, sign a petition), and who will be looking at your website. You may have an extremely varied audience-just make sure you’re providing information for each other: donation opportunities, background information and compelling storytelling of why people should care. Take into account the eight things your homepage must have.Determine if a free or really inexpensive option will work for you:Take some time to evaluate sites like Change.org and Grassroots.org. The former allows you to create your own branded social network (complete with online donation capabilities), and the latter has a free web-design/hosting service if you get on their list.Decide who will build your website (if step #3 doesn’t satisfy your organization’s needs, timing and/or format):There are a number of ways to create the page itself: outsourcing the work, creating a page in-house or finding an appropriate application provider (ASP). Read more about each of these options here.Allow your website to accept online donations:With all this “doormat” talk, it’s important to keep in mind that many donors will turn to your website for a quick way to get funds from their wallets to your organization. Network for Good offers an affordable, easy to use online fundraising solution.Once you have your website up and running, keep in mind that it’s an evolving tool and hub of information. Take some time to pat yourself on the back for getting it launched and donor-friendly/ready, but don’t forget to evaluate and re-evaluate how you can keep your site fresh and relevant.last_img read more

Build Your House (file)…and Keep It Tidy, Too

first_imgDraw a map. Create a flowchart. Put together some document with all of your database fields and the naming conventions for those fields. Clean up duplicate records often. If you have the time to do this regularly, it can save you time in the future.Essentially the most important ingredient to keeping your housefile (list) clean is to dust it regularly. Empower your organization by coming up with a clear and outlined process of how you collect and store your data. Doing so will allow you keep a tidy housefile that is easy to report on and analyze. Make sure all individuals in your organization have that document. This will ensure that everyone in your organization will use the same naming conventions and mapping process when creating the online forms you use to collect constituents’ information. Source: Connection Cafecenter_img If you have uniform response options you want to have listed on multiple choice questions (that are going to be used on many of your online forms), decide upon the answer options and make sure everyone in your organization has a document outlining those response options. Building your housefile (list) is one of the key ingredients in developing a strong online presence. It is important to welcome a constant flow of constituents into your online home. But, what are the next steps in maintaining that list? Once you have a good list going, it is vital to keep that list clean, dust and clutter-free. Mom always told you to keep your room clean. Why should your constituent list be any different?Here are some tips to keeping a clean list:Decide on what data you want to collect and how you want it to be organized in your database. For example, if you want to have a field in your database to store information on constituents’ pets’ names, decide where you want that information to live in the database and how you want to get it there.last_img read more

10 Steps to Being Found on Search Engines

first_imgLet’s do an experiment. Go to Google and type in the most commonly used version of your organization’s name. Do you show up first in the resulting list of sites? What if you type in a short phrase describing the type of work you’d like to be known for? Do you show up in the top page of those search results, too?Your placement on search engines like Google or Yahoo Search is important. At a minimum, it should be easy for your current constituents to find your site using your organization’s name. Showing up on the first page of search results for key terms — for instance, something like “Cincinnati women’s shelter,” if that describes your organization — can also make a huge difference in your site traffic, not to mention in potential donors, volunteers, and clients’ ability to find and connect with you.You don’t have complete control over where and how your Web site shows up in search engines, but you have more power than you might think. The process of site tweaking and outreach that’s used to enhance your search engine placement is called search engine optimization (or SEO for short). While SEO is often described in ways that make it seem like a mystical art form, in fact none of the key steps are particularly hard to understand. They are often, however, time consuming, and most require at least the ability to update your site’s text, if not basic HTML skills.Investing time in comparatively straightforward tasks like including key phrases in titles and headlines can reap some substantial benefits. Below, we suggest 10 steps that can help search engines find and prioritize your site content. While some steps are more technical than others, these concepts can help anyone understand and prioritize search engine optimization for their organization.1. Ensure Your Site Has High-Quality InformationThe cornerstone of any optimization strategy — or just a good Web site strategy, for that matter — is a lot of great, relevant information tailored to those you’d like to attract to your site. A large volume of high-quality content helps with a number of the steps listed below — for instance, you’re more likely to have information that’s useful to any particular person, you’re more likely to include the key phrases for which people are searching, and other sites are more likely to link to yours.Not to mention, of course, that a terrific site is more likely to engage the people who find you through search engines, and encourage them to become not only repeat visitors, but friends of your organization.2. Help Search Engines Find Your SiteSearch engines read through huge volumes of information on the Web with software programs called “robots” or “spiders” (because they navigate, or “crawl,” through the Web). These spiders create an index which contains, essentially, all the pages they’ve found and the words that are contained on them.You need to make sure your Web site is included in those indexes. You can easily check to see if your site has been indexed by Google’s index by searching “site:www.yourdomain.org” — i.e. site:www.idealware.org. This search will show a list of all the pages from your site that are included in Google’s index (ideally, every page on your site).If you’re not included in the indexes — for instance, if you have a new Web site, or one without much traffic — none of the steps below will do much good until you are. How do you get included? You can submit your site to the search engines — to Google, or Yahoo for instance — but experts are divided on how useful this is. It’s certainly not a quick way to be included.A better way is to get other indexed sites to link to yours. You can start this effort with huge, general-interest directories like the DMOZ directory, but you’re likely to have as much or more success with directories or listings related to your field. Is there an online directory of children’s service organizations? Does your United Way have a listing of local organizations? Do your funders have a list of grantees online? Any of these (or ideally all of them, as per the next section) could provide the link you need to be indexed.Some online services say they’ll submit you to a lot of directories and search engines automatically. These generally aren’t worth the money, as indiscriminate listings aren’t nearly as useful as ones targeted to your sector.3. Encourage Others to Link to YouLinks from other sites to yours are a critical aspect of search engine optimization. A couple of links will help the search engines find your sites, but lots of links will show them that your site is a central, important resource for particular topics.The more incoming links you have from credible organizations (that is to say, organizations that show up high on search engines themselves), the higher you will be listed in search results. To check to see the links that Google has indexed for your site, enter “link:www.yourdomain.org” into the Google search bar. The resulting list doesn’t include every link from every site, but is a guide to the approximate quantity of high-quality links.How do you get people to link to you? As we mentioned above, there are likely a number of organizations that have a list of organizations like yours. Ensuring you’re included in all the relevant directories is a good start. See if partner organizations will link to you. Do a search on the phrases for which you’d like to be found and look for ways to get the organizations at the top of the search results to link to you. Think through content you could provide — perhaps reports, articles, toolkits, directories of your own — that would be so useful that organizations would be inspired to link to it.4. Identify the Keywords For Which You’d Like to Be FoundWe’ve talked so far about ways for people to find your site as a whole — but people are unlikely to be looking for your site specifically. They’re much more likely to be looking for good information or a resource on a particular topic, which they’ll identify by entering the first words that come to mind when they think about their topic, known as keywords in search engine optimization lingo.Identifying the keywords that people are likely to use, and for which you’d like to be found, is a critical step in search engine optimization. You should ideally think through keywords not just for your organization as a whole, but for each content page that might have useful information for your target audience. For instance, “Cincinnati women’s shelter” might lead people to your organization, but if you offer meaty content on your site, a search on “signs of domestic abuse” might also lead people to you.How do you identify your core keywords? It’s not a science. First off, try to identify phrases that are reasonably specific to your organization. Trying to show up in the top of the search results for “the environment” is likely to be a losing battle, but “measuring river-water quality” is a more achievable goal. In thinking through your keywords, consider: Be careful of duplicate pages.Search engines react badly to duplicate content, as it’s a common ploy of those trying to spam a search engine into better placement. Be careful of structures that show the same page content at multiple URLs (for instance, as a print-friendly version). If multiple versions are important, use the “robots” metatag to specify that additional versions shouldn’t be indexed. Also, take particular care not to set up a site so it can be seen in its entirety at multiple domains (for instance, at both http://www.idealware.org and http://idealware.org) — instead, redirect from one domain to the other. Page text.Repeating your keywords a number of times (but not so many times to annoy your readers, of course) throughout the page text is likely to boost your placement. If you are looking for a comparatively quick way to optimize each page, adding keywords in just the title and description metadata can provide substantial results without a wholesale rewrite of your site.Note that the keywords need to be shown as text. Spiders can’t read images, so any page, header, or feature that’s displayed as a graphic — regardless of how prominent on the page — is invisible to search engines.6. Ensure a Search-Friendly Web Site ArchitectureOkay, we need to delve into a bit of technical detail for a minute. Unfortunately, the detailed structure of a Web site can affect your search engine placement in important ways. If you’re not generally familiar with Web site construction concepts and HTML (the language of Web sites), you may need to flag this section to the attention of a trusted Web developer.Spiders don’t read in the same way that a human would, so it’s important to follow some basic site-structure guidelines to ensure that they can find and read your information: How many keywords should you have? That’s up to you. Ideally, you’d have a least a couple keyword phrases for each page on your site. Some organizations optimize for thousands of keywords. However, starting with just a few phrases and a few pages is far better than nothing.5. Place Keywords in Prime LocationsOnce you’ve identified your priority keywords, the next step is to integrate them into your Web pages. When someone searches on a key phrase, the search engine looks for pages that include prominent mentions of the phrase: ones that contain it a number of times, show it toward the top of the page, and include it in key locations.Unfortunately, there’s no substitute for the time-consuming task of incorporating your keywords into each content page. For each page, consider how you can incorporate your keywords into: Headlines and section titles.Text that is formatted prominently (bigger, bolder, higher on the page) is more likely to affect search engine placement than other text, so keywords will hold more weight in headlines. What search phrases are people using in your domain?Tools like Good Keywords or WordTracker can help you to brainstorm keywords related to the ones you’ve already identified, and to find the phrasing that searchers are most likely to use. Ensure there’s a simple link to every page on your site.JavaScript navigation schemes — particularly ones that use rollovers — can make it hard for spiders to recognize and follow a link. Dynamic URLs, particularly ones that indicate the parameter with a question mark, can also be problematic. If your site is dynamic, consider creating a site index that contains a link to every page. Ideally, convert your dynamic URLs so that they look like static pages with a command like mod_rewrite. What phrases are associated with your organization?Start the keyword process by listing the words and phrases that you’re already using in your marketing materials. The name of your organization is an obvious one, as is the name of any well-known people associated with you. Do you have a tagline or short mission statement that concisely and usefully summarizes what you do? What phrases do you use in that? How are people currently finding you?If you have access to a Web site analytics tool, you can likely see the search engine phrases that people are currently using to find you. These can be a useful starting point in understanding how people search for your information. Think about how you can increase the ease with which you can be found for these phrases, and use them to provide inspiration for more important phrases. Page description metadata.Each page has a “description” field, a longer description of page content that can be accessed in a similar way to the “title” metadata. The description is another important place to include your keywords, and is also sometimes shown by search engines as the description of your page in search results. Page title metadata.Each page has what’s called a “title metadata field,” which controls the text that shows up in header bar at the top of the browser window — and which is also frequently shown as the page title in search engine results. This is one of the most important places to include your keywords. This title field can be edited through the HTML code of the page, or through most methods you might use to update your site — for instance, through Dreamweaver, Contribute, and most content-management systems. Link text.The words used as a link to your page are prioritized highly when the search engines consider that page. Optimize the links within your own site and especially any external links you have control over, for example in your blog, email signatures, social network profiles, and so on. Encourage others to link to you using your keywords — for instance, by providing keyword-heavy titles and descriptions for resources on your site. Include content early in each HTML page.When looking for content keywords, search engines prioritize keywords that show up early in the text of the page — and that text includes all of the HTML code. Try to structure the page so that the HTML code includes the content as early as possible — as opposed to, for instance, including code for complex headers, navigation bars, and sidebars before getting to the actual page text. Use standard header tags.Some search engines prioritize text that is displayed in standard formatting tags such as H1 or H2, so it’s worthwhile using those as opposed to creating custom names for your header styles. Page URL.If you can control the actual filename of the page (e.g. “search_engines.html”), keywords embedded in the URL are also counted as highly relevant. One last caution: avoid tricks. In reading through this article and others, you may think you’ve found loopholes to get higher placement without the work. That’s very unlikely. Search engines spend a huge amount of time trying to preclude shortcuts, and they don’t take kindly to being tricked. If you set up your site in a way that looks to a search engine like you’re trying to fool them, they may remove your site from their listings altogether.7. Keep Your Site FreshSearch engines love new pages. Try to add new stories, reports, news releases, and the like so that search engines feel that your site is frequently updated and thus should be frequently indexed. If your site is rarely updated, it can take months for search engines to find your infrequent new additions.Blogs can be a particularly useful way to easily add new pages to your site — and can also provide great information that encourages links from others (not to mention all the other ways blogs can help in marketing and outreach!).8. Consider Google GrantsSo far, we’ve focused on ways to tweak and optimize your site in order to be listed for free on any search engine. There’s another way, though, to be listed on Google: Google gives away free search-engine advertising (the links listed as “Sponsored Links” down the right side of the search results page) through its Google Grants program.If you’re approved for the program (at the moment, Google appears to be using a non-competitive vetting process, although it can take up to six months or so to hear back), you can place text ads that show up each time someone enters key phrases into the Google search box. The grants often offer enough free advertising to allow you to place ads for hundreds of keywords.Google Grants isn’t a replacement for the steps above. It only affects Google and not other search engines, and many organizations find that an ad to a page doesn’t bring nearly as much traffic as a link to that page from the traditional search results. However, it’s a straightforward process that every nonprofit should consider.9. Be Patient, but Keep Checking InSearch engines don’t respond to changes overnight. In fact, it might take a month or more to see the results of your efforts reflected in search engine results. Don’t give up hope — keep including keywords in new content, and asking other organizations to link to your resources.Once you do see some results, don’t rest on your laurels. The Web is a dynamic place, and new Web sites, new articles, and changing search engine priorities can affect your placement. Check in on the search results for your keywords at least every month or so, to help maintain your position and continue to enhance your strategy.10. Enjoy the Fruits of Your LaborUnfortunately, search engine optimization isn’t a particularly short or easy road. But it’s important to take on at least some of the basic steps — for instance, ensuring your site is linked to from a few well-known sites, and including some of your most important keywords in page titles and headers.When your new donors, volunteers, and clients mention that they found you through Google or Yahoo Search, you’ll be glad you took the time.Many thanks to Heather Gardner-Madras of gardner-madras | strategic creative, Kevin Gottesman of Gott Advertising, and Michael Stein, Internet Strategist, who also contributed to this article.This article is courtesy of Idealware, which provides candid information to help nonprofits choose effective software. For more articles and reviews, go to www.idealware.org.Copyright © 2008 CompuMentor. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.last_img read more

Make Your Website a Hit: Improve Your SEO in 4 Steps, Step 1: Keywords

first_imgDo you ever wonder why some websites seem to steal the top positions on search engines?  No, it is not magic, and yes, your nonprofit can do it too.  The “secret” to achieving this success for your website is by harnessing the power of search engine optimization. By following this step-by-step guide, you will be well on your way to drastically improving your websites standing in only four steps.What you need to know:Despite what some companies may want you to believe, there are no tricks or shortcuts to search engine optimization (SEO) and you will not top the list of search results overnight.  Three major areas should be focused on for a successful SEO campaign.  These areas include:KeywordsWebsite designLinksStep 1: KeywordsObjective:Your first set of objectives include submitting your site to several link directories and improving your websites keyword structure.Let’s Get Started:Directories- Submitting to nonprofit directories such as CharityNavigator, Yahoo Health, idealist.org, and fundsnetservices or general directories such as Business.com, Best of the Web, and DMOZ will immediately affect your website’s search rankings.  While listing your site on directories is worth your time, the links are of little overall value and will only have a minimal impact on your ranking.Keywords- Keywords are the words/phrases that tell search engines about the purpose of your site.  It is important to identify which words are most advantageous to your organization so they can be optimized in your content.  Begin selecting keywords by brainstorming every word/phrase that is topically relevant to your organization.  Remember, put yourself into the shoes of the searcher and avoid industry jargon.   Be sure to include the name of the organization and the main service the organization provides.  Additionally, when selecting keywords try to avoid general terms such as “nonprofit”, “charity”, or “fundraiser” and select keywords that are unique and relevant.  Two problems arise when general keyword terms are used:The phrase becomes more competitive and harder to rank well on.The site receives traffic from people who are looking for a different service than your organization provides.Nonprofit organizations in particular need to include action keywords such as “donate” or “contribute” to make their fundraising campaigns more successful.  If you are still unable to generate keywords, browse through websites of similar nonprofit organizations and look which keywords are used on their sites.Keyword Tracker Tools- Once you have developed a starter list, you are ready to test the words using one of the many online keyword tracker tools.  The best free online tool today is yahoo’s Overture.  This will show the popularity of the keyword entered during the last month and give a rough idea of what additional keywords may work for the organization.  However, for the organization that wants to launch a more targeted and successful SEO campaign, Wordtracker is the correct instrument to use.  Wordtracker has additional features such as the inclusion of plurals and misspellings in its search.  Most importantly Wordtracker includes the competition for each of the keyword phrases.  The trick here is to select keywords that are popular searches but not commonly used by other organizations.Keyword Density- There has been a great deal of hype regarding keyword density and finding the correct density for each search engine.  Keyword density refers to the frequency that the keyword is used.  According to the most current and accurate articles written on the subject, such as the Unfair Advantage (within searchenginenews.com), keyword density is in fact much less important than originally predicted.  The only standing rule of keyword density is not use “keyword stuffing” techniques where the phrase is repeated multiple times.  Search engines now monitor this tactic and will actually lower your sites ranking if they detect stuffing.  Search Engine Land’s article, SEO “Don’ts”: 20 Fatal Mistakes You Must Avoid to Succeed, gives an accurate list of pitfalls such as keyword stuffing that you will want to steer clear of when implementing your SEO strategy.New Website Content- When incorporating keywords into the websites text, be sure to look at the content from the users’ point of view, and strike a balance between the user and the search engine (priority always goes to the user), making content friendly for both.  For further reading on how to layout your website to optimize its effectiveness with search engines read Matt McGee’s 21 Essential SEO Tips & Techniques or one of the many articles on the subject in Search Engine Land.Title and Header Tags- The most important keywords identified should be included in the websites title and header tags.  A title tag is a short html code that tells search engines about your site, while headers are viewed by users on the top of each page and tell the purpose of the page.  The 7 Essential Title Tag Strategies of High Ranking Web Pages in 2006 has further information about how to improve title tags to optimize your search performance. Step One Checklist:Submit your website to directoriesList keywordsTest your keywords with online toolsResearch title and header tagsImprove your websites content by adding keywordsSource/contact: Lance@TicketPrinting.com, http://www.ticketprinting.com/last_img read more

Make your business card a marketing hero

first_imgI have a pretty boring business card, but that’s about to change. Ever since a designer friend handed me a clear plastic business card with a field for inking a personal note, I realized this is a neglected opportunity.What are you doing to make your card about your cause?Here’s a great source of inspiration from librarians. Librarians rock. Not only do I love them, I think they are marketing superheroes. Here’s the proof. Is this a fabulous card or what? I share her source of power, by the way: coffee.Write me if you have a heroic business card.last_img

Three pieces of fundraising advice

first_imgHere is my Fundraising Success column for June, featuring my alter ego, the maven.Dear Marketing Maven,My donations are down, my heart is heavy, and my job is on the line. Worse, I think I’m coming down with something. Paging Dr. Dollars!-Sick in SyracuseDear Sick,I don’t need a stethoscope to diagnose these ailments. You’re suffering from one or all of the three most common diseases in the nonprofit world. Sadly, they are at epidemic proportions. We’ve got to stop their spread!#1: “Field of Dreams” syndrome. Those who have this disease believe that, “If you build it, they will come.” By “they,” I mean a big team of generous donors. For example, if you have FODS, you think that if you build a website and stick a DonateNow button on it, donors will arrive and click. This disease also manifests itself as an assumption that uttering your mission statement will inspire people to give. If you find yourself saying, “If people only knew, they would” then you have FODS. Declaring your existence is not a fundraising campaign. It is a symptom of FODS.The cure? You need to reach out to people and build relationships with them. Then maybe they’ll want to support you.#2: “It’s all about us” disease. Nonprofits suffering from this disease are easy to spot — their home pages, emails and all of their correspondence reads like an “About Us” page. Sometimes, this ailment is called “Nonprofit Narcissism.” Mission statements, the history of your organization and other related details should not be found everywhere and do not constitute a strong message.The cure? Make it about your donor, not you. Why should they care? What can they accomplish? How have they changed the world with their support? #3: “Call to inaction” problem. In order to generate donations and increase your donor base, you need to have a clear call to action. It’s not enough to state who you are, what you do and what’s new. You need to clearly state what you are asking and appeal to prospective donors to take that action. “Save the earth” is not a call to action. Nor is “support us.”The cure? Be specific. As in, “Click this button and give us $10 for a bed net so a child will be saved from malaria.”Be well,MavenDear Marketing Maven,Our image is not what I want, so I’m thinking of rebranding with a new logo. Thoughts?-Making Over in HanoverDear Makeover,Bad idea. Branding is not about logos, it’s about how people perceive you. That’s got a lot more to do with how you treat them, how you conduct your programs, and how you communicate your achievements than it has to do with your logo. Don’t spend a cent on a new logo until you dig deeper into these aspects of your brand. Without that level of makeover, a new logo or color palette is about as effective as slapping lipstick on a pig. I don’t think it’s worth spending money on a logo change unless you conclude after fixing everything else that your logo is in direct violation of the brand you’ve built. Happy makeover,MavenDear Marketing Maven,Why did you not open my last eNewsletter?–Hurt in HalifaxDear Hurt,I get about 20 email newsletters a week. I read about two. I must have somehow overlooked yours – I’m sure it was worth a read, unlike the other 18. For what it’s worth, here are some thoughts on newsletters:1. Maybe you don’t need one.People are inundated with newsletters. I’m not the exception – we all get too many. Yawn. Why not put your time and energy into something truly exceptional? Like the packet a friend just got from DonorsChoose to thank him for buying a carpet for a classroom. He got a picture of the kids on the carpet – along with the students’ little handwritten notes and pictures. Wow. Not feasible, you say? How about simply sending out something useful to your audience? At Network for Good, we send out weekly free fundraising tips rather than a newsletter about us. Our nonprofits love it! If you’re an organization focused on diabetes, how about weekly tips for managing diabetes? 2. If you do an enewsletter, don’t forget the “e.”You can’t just slap your print newsletter into a PDF, email it, and consider yourself the editor of an “enewsletter.” Write to the medium. Online communications need to be shorter and formatted for the web. People skim online. They don’t read. Don’t make them download a PDF and turn pages on your computer. Grab attention with photos, short text and good stories. 3. Make it about the donors and not you.Don’t manifest “All about us” disease in your newsletter. Your newsletter should not be about how great you are. It should be about how great your donor is! Make your donor feel like the center of attention. No one can resist reading about themselves – or about what they accomplished.Write on,MavenStay tuned… more on email newsletters in next month’s column!last_img read more

Create an Online Fundraising Plan: Know Your Numbers

first_imgEmpathetic. Donor-centric. Sympathetic. Your marketing communications are “ticking” along as they should be. But, as we’re all painfully aware, the right-side of the  brain just loves piping in to talk about numbers, figures, trends and goals.Instead of telling that portion of the brain to buzz off (as I often do), use it to create the fourth and final piece of your online fundraising plan: The Numbers. Below, check out our tips for getting a jump on mapping what your numbers look like now and what you hope they look like later:Budget Tips:Planning to raise money online? Of course you are! Why else would you be developing an online fundraising plan? Be sure to build into your budget what you plan to spend for donation processing. For instance, you can check out our own DonateNow service–great value for a price that won’t eat up your budget.Fixing up your website? Be realistic about the features you need versus the features you want. Set up your budget ahead of time, and don’t be distracted by shiny objects: your website is a tool and a resource, not a fireworks show.Thinking about advertising? If you’re considering developing banner ads or other paid online outreach, remember to keep in mind the various items you’re paying for: design, development and placement costs.Hiring extra help? You may be planning to use the talents of a copywriter for your website or consultant to help you out. Those folks often like to get paid–go figure. And in planning this line item, do some brainstorming about how you might cut costs: Maybe a graphic designer (could be a student) will donate time or a communications intern can develop testimonials for your website.Tracking, Benchmarking, Reporting Tips:DonateNow. Are you a DonateNow customer? If so, don’t forget to log into your account to check out your donor reports. You can even track your campaigns by evaluating the tracking codes for different DonateNow buttons on your site and in your emails. Email messaging. Determine an evaluation schedule for monitoring your e-communications. Will you track the number of donors (past and new) directly tied to your email communications? Monitor giving levels of donors receiving your emails versus those who are not.Website traffic. Sign up for Google Analytics to evaluate site traffic. Work language into your online fundraising plan about how you will determine which content is most appealing and how you will increase visibility of that content while simultaneously finding a way to tie in giving opportunities.Testing. Not happy with your fundraising results? Test out new ideas! Vary your email messaging and mix around your website a bit. Testing is a vital piece of the puzzle when working to improve your numbers!last_img read more

How to make advocacy sticky

first_imgImagine you had to mobilize an audience of working moms to advocate for paid sick days – something that too few receive.You could talk about the importance of paid sick days for the working mom. Yawn.Or you could use humor and interactivity to relate to how moms experience this issue – which is by living in fear of getting ill and avoiding sick people like the plague.I pick door #2.So did RisingMoms. This is the first RisingMoms email (and they send too many) I’ve really liked – because it makes the issue sticky and VIRAL!last_img

Great tag lines – do you have one?

first_imgTaglines are tough. They challenge us to sum up the essence of all we do in a few words that are pithy, profound and pack a punch. My blogging frolleague Nancy, also known as president of Nancy Schwartz & Company, has a big announcement about those tough little beasts: She’s found the BEST nonprofit taglines of 2008. We’re happy to see Network for Good friend LandChoices as a big winner. (I voted for them!)Nancy says the Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards program came about when so many powerful taglines were submitted to a survey she did on nonprofit taglines. More than 1,000 taglines were submitted. Survey findings, the entire list of submitted taglines and details on finalists and award winners will be featured in a report to be published in September. Stay tuned for the report – I’ve seen a sneak preview, and it’s packed with great pointers on vastly improving your tagline. I’ll blog it as soon as it’s off the presses.Without further ado, here are the winners in each category along with comments on what makes them great:Arts & Culture: Where Actors Find Their Space —NYC Theatre SpacesThis clearinghouse for NYC rehearsal and performance spaces uses a double entendre to go beyond a description of its services and highlight the value of its work.Civic Benefit: Stand Up for a Child —CASA of Southwest MissouriCASA’s tagline provokes anger, compassion and a desire to help, in just five words.Education: Stay Close…Go Far. —East Stroudsburg University of PennsylvaniaThis simple yet distinctive tagline from East Stroudsburg cuts through the clutter. Its straightforward character mirrors that of the school.Environment & Animals: Helping Preserve the Places You Cherish —LandChoicesLandChoices’ tagline thoroughly communicates the value of its work while evoking one’s most precious memories of walks in the woods, wildflower meadows and childhood camping trips. There’s a real emotional connection here.Grantmaking: Make the most of your giving. —The Greater Cincinnati FoundationThis clear tagline articulates the value of the foundation for donors considering an alternative way to give.Health & Sciences: Improving Life, One Breath at a Time —American Lung AssociationThis unexpected focus on the breath—a core element of life—gets attention, and understanding.Human Services: When You Can’t Do It Alone —Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Sarasota–Manatee, Inc.This tagline tells the story succinctly and powerfully: It’s all about getting help when life becomes overwhelming. It makes a strong emotional connection.International, Foreign Affairs & National Security: Whatever it takes to save a child —U.S. Fund for UNICEFUNICEF engages hearts and minds with its passionate focus on helping children. Who could turn down a request for a donation?Jobs & Workforce Development: All Building Starts With a Foundation —Building Future BuildersVoters enjoyed the word play here: It adds depth of understanding without being glib. Religion & Spiritual Development: Grounded in tradition…Open to the Spirit —Memphis Theological Seminary (MTS)MTS conveys the two equally important halves of its values and curriculum in a way that makes you think about the connection.Other• The Art of Active Aging —EngAGEEngAGE surprises with the imagery of active aging and the use of the term “art” to describe the way it does its work.• Because facts matter. —Oregon Center for Public Policy (OCPP)This tagline introduces the nature of OCPP’s impact in Oregon and entices the reader or listener to find out more. Its value proposition—the truth—is particularly compelling at a time when facts are frequently disregarded in public debate.last_img read more