A 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.
Your 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.
Draw 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 Cafe 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.
Do 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/
I 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.
Here 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!
Empathetic. 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!
Imagine 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!
Taglines 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.