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Don’t Overcomplicate Year-End Fundraising

December 11th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Annual Giving, Direct Mail, Fundraising

You’ve got a little less than a month left before the bells toll announcing the end of 2015. For most fundraisers, that’s a time for balancing efforts—to end the year strong in terms of income, to use up accrued vacation, to be cheerful at the company party and to keep up on work so 2016 fundraising doesn’t fizzle before Valentine’s Day.

Here are five ways to stay focused on what matters in these final days of 2015 while still having time for holiday cheer.

1. Set realistic goals for December. It’s better to do some things well than plan to do everything by Dec. 31—but never get anything executed. A good mailing on Dec. 11 beats a great mailing that never gets past the planning stage. Especially in a small shop, accept that you can’t do everything; instead, do something, but make sure it’s something that matters.

2. Review your year-end donor communications and make sure the focus is on the donor, not your organization. When I was being nosy, my dad used to say, “This isn’t to you, for you or about you.” Unfortunately, too much year-end fundraising isn’t to, for or about the donor. “We have had a good year. We did this and that. I am so proud of all we have accomplished.” Where’s the donor in that? The formula for success in fundraising is not “What we do + your money = success.” If the donor isn’t front and center in your fundraising messaging, rewrite it until he or she has the starring role.

3. Set aside anything that catches your eye—in the mail or online. You may not have time to digest these pieces now, but think of them as free training for later in 2016. These samples sometimes are called a “swap file” because you can swap ideas from them. Sometime in 2016 when you are creatively coming up dry, the subject line that you actually noticed in the midst of the holiday-email clutter or that envelope that stood out from the rest of the mail can trigger a great idea that gets your own creativity flowing. Two ideas for jump-starting or expanding your own swap file:

  • Donate to organizations you admire from a fundraising standpoint. Then watch what they are doing and when they are doing it. You can’t assume everything they do is “best practice,” but you can see how others treat and communicate with donors and learn from that.
  • Consider a holiday gift to yourself of a subscription to Who’s Mailing What!, the ultimate swap file, collected and categorized for you.

4. Call some large donors from earlier in the year who haven’t given in the last four to 11 months, thank them and give them a report on what their gifts did that made a difference. Don’t ask. Just thank and report. Then see if it makes a difference in their year-end giving. (Don’t wait until Dec. 30 to do this; you want to give them enough time to make a gift after they get over the shock of being thanked and receiving a verbal report on impact.)

5. Celebrate your success in 2015. Fundraising is a train that never ends (unless the organization goes out of business). You did some great things this year; I know you did! Don’t wait for someone else to point them out and thank you for your amazing efforts. Look back at your favorite mailing and the one that raised the most (not always the same). Pull up that great e-news or e-blast you sent. If you were a kid, what would you want posted on the refrigerator door for all to see? Create your own virtual refrigerator door and take time to say “Well done!” to yourself.

Dec. 31 will come, no matter what we do. And this old dog knows that you won’t get everything done that you (or your boss) would like to see accomplished. But stay focused on what matters—your donor and your mission—and forgive yourself if other things get neglected. Choosing that new computer system or printer can wait until 2016.

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Should Board Members Be Required to Give?

November 3rd, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Annual Giving, Fundraising
How to Reach 100 Percent Board-Giving

At this point, it’s practically an unspoken rule. For the majority of nonprofit organizations, 100 percent of boards should be contributing financially. Chances are this includes your board.

Despite being aware of what should be, evidence actually points to the contrary happening. In fact, a Small Shop Fundraising survey that I conducted a couple of years ago revealed that an astonishing 55 percent of organizations claimed that they did not have 100 percent board-giving. Yes, more than half! Think about it. How can you reasonably expect others to contribute financially to your organization if the members of your board do not?

Yes, I know—there are plenty of reasons for why not. You have members who contribute in-kind services, volunteer or bring in new donors. They already are doing stuff to help out and you just don’t feel right about asking them to contribute financially in addition to what they already do. Plus, if they were to contribute, how much should they be giving? Would it make sense to enforce a minimum-giving level?

The reality is that more and more grant-making foundations are making it a component of their criteria to fund only organizations with 100 percent board-giving. I’ve even come across the far end of the spectrum, where a funder requested a notarized statement attesting to attendance at board meetings. Again, it makes sense if you really think about it. How can foundations reasonably give to your organization when there are members of your board who aren’t even giving?

While I don’t recommend setting giving amounts, every member of your board should be contributing financially at a level that is personally meaningful for them. Understand that generosity is a flexible, relative thing based on each individual member. Together, your board has the power to do a world of good and place your organization in the running for the next step: Foundation funding.

My friend Debra Baker Beck, from the Laramie Board Learning Project, said:

“My counsel to nonprofit boards, when it comes to a policy on member giving, is to do what is best for your organization. That right choice may very well be not requiring contributions from board members. However, that approach could ultimately have very real financial consequences, as more foundations and more major donors ask and expect to hear that you have 100 percent participation from your board members. This very tangible demonstration of commitment is increasingly important to those we ask to support us via grants and personal gifts.”

What’s that, you say? You don’t currently have a policy on board-giving? What are you waiting for? There’s no time like today to start.

The key lies in how you approach your board members. I have found that far too often we treat our board as an entity, rather than the generous, compassionate individuals they are. Instead of announcing your policy at a board meeting, make the time to meet one-on-one with your board members. Spend some time listening deeply. How did they become involved with your organization? What are their stories?

When I was an in-the-trenches fundraiser and handling everything from writing a grant proposal, to putting up a website, to loading the dishwasher, I typically included board-giving with my first fundraising appeal of the year and sent a letter written specifically for board members. You can download this sample template letter. Still awaiting a response from one or three board members? Try using this follow-up appeal or invite the board member to coffee. Still holding out? A gentle follow-up phone call from your board chair will do the trick.

Keep in mind that monthly giving offers the opportunity for board members to make a bit more of a stretch gift. When I have started monthly giving programs for clients, I’ve always begun with the board. Members, who ordinarily made a $1,000 gift, were delighted to give monthly at the $150 level.

Oh, and don’t forget to celebrate every little success. When you reach 100 percent board participation, celebrate it—perhaps with a pizza party at your next board meeting, or by breaking out a bottle of champagne. A board member has brought in three new donors? Send them a thank-you gift or present a token of your gratitude publicly at your next board meeting.

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” – Tom Peters

[We can help! http://brianlacy.com/consulting-services]

By Pamela Grow
NonProfit PRO Magazine

 

ALS Community Hopes to Make Ice-Bucket Challenge an Annual Event

August 4th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Annual Giving, Fundraising

Members of the ALS community aim to reignite the ice-bucket challenge with an eye to making it an annual fundraising event, while acknowledging it will likely continue on a smaller scale.

Their rallying cry: Every August until a cure.

“A lot of people think it was a one-time shot,” said Pat Quinn, who was diagnosed with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013 and helped catalyze the ice-bucket challenge last year. “But there are a lot of ridiculous things that caught on that are now worldwide movements every year.”

As an example, he and others cited Movember — an annual campaign in which men grow mustaches during the month of November to raise money and draw attention to prostate cancer.

To stay true to the organic roots of the ice-bucket challenge, it will be set in motion next month by some of its originators. The ALS Association is to play a supporting role. The nonprofit has redesigned its ice-bucket challenge web page and prepared a series of emails for its donors, among other steps designed to spur on the challenge once again.

ALS Association officials said they have a fundraising goal but declined to make it public. They do not expect to match last year’s $115 million in donations. Still, in the wake of the inaugural ice-bucket challenge, 600,000 new donors requested ongoing communication from the nonprofit, and at the national level its monthly fundraising numbers have be running about $500,000 ahead of pre-ice-bucket challenge levels.

“This will be an interesting time,” said Carrie Martin Munk, chief communications and marketing officer for the ALS Association. “We know some people give donations once a year. Some of these people could be once-a-year ice-bucket donors.”

Internet Rocket Fuel

The ice-bucket challenge has its own chapter in the annals of nonprofit fundraising, and it goes like this: In July 2014, people activated a grass-roots social-media campaign to generate attention and donations for ALS, also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Mr. Quinn, 32, and 30-year-old Pete Frates, who also has ALS, were among the first to rope in family members, friends, colleagues, and neighbors.

In the challenge, participants were prompted to douse themselves with buckets of ice water or donate to the ALS Association, one of a number of ALS-dedicated groups. Many chose to do both. The soakings were captured on video and then uploaded to Facebook and Instagram with challenges to three new participants.

The water may have been icy, but the videos proved to be Internet rocket fuel. By August, the ice-bucket challenge was tearing through social-media feeds, stoked by celebrities, professional athletes, business leaders, and politicians.

The ALS Association, which had welcomed a new CEO just months earlier, found itself the beneficiary of a viral nonprofit fundraising campaign with no precedent. Organization officials fielded a wave of media attention. They began releasing regular fundraising tallies, which further stoked excitement and participation, said Ms. Munk of the ALS Association.

Pre-ice-bucket challenge, the nonprofit had a $20 million operating budget. At the peak of the campaign, in August, it received $11.5 million in donations in 24 hours. By the time the water stopped flying, the public had donated $220 million worldwide to the cause, a little more than half to the ALS Association.

The ALS Association gained 2.5 million in new donors, and 600,000 requested to be added to the nonprofit’s standing donor list.

One-Time Magic?

The ice-bucket challenge, as it occurred in 2014, probably was a one-time phenomenon, many experts say. June Bradham, chairman of the fundraising consulting firm CorporateDevelopMint, said that part of the magic was that it was set in motion not by an organization but by caring individuals. The ALS Association does have a “great opportunity to build deeper relationships with those who participated and their contacts,” she said.

Fundraising consultant Edith Falk said that the publicity generated by the ice-bucket challenge reminded her of a 1999 publicity stunt by the City of Chicago called Cows on Parade, in which 300 ornately decorated, life-size cows were installed around the city and then later auctioned off. It was a huge hit, and there were attempts to repeat it in Chicago and other cities in subsequent years. But it never generated anywhere near the interest and excitement of the first event, she said.

“Certainly the ALS Association might consider some variation of this — a different, fun, creative event that lends itself well to going viral, but even that is unlikely to generate the amazing level of attention and support that the ice-bucket challenge did,” Ms. Falk said.

While it is unlikely that the campaign will capture the same attention that it did in 2014, it could still represent a significant fundraising and public-education event, said fundraising consultant Roger Craver. The building process starts with setting reasonable expectations.

“If the founding folks don’t get too hyperbolic and promise a mirror-image repeat of last year, they may well make this the year when the ice-bucket challenge starts down the path of coming a tradition,” he said.

Spending Detailed

On Wednesday, the ALS Association and the ALS Finding a Cure Foundation said they would spend $3 million on ALS-related clinical studies. It follows the $21.7 million in ice-bucket-related-spending announced by the ALS Association in October. The bulk of that sum, $18.5 million, is supporting four research projects.

The organization also increased spending on direct services, provided via a network of 43 treatment centers, to $25,000 per center for the next three years. Previously, the funding was $12,500 per center.

The balance of the initial outlay is earmarked for policy work in Washington.

It can cost as much as $2 billion to move a drug through research and development and into the market, said Lance Slaughter, chief chapter-relations and development officer at the ALS Association.

“What that means is we would need 10 to 20 ice-bucket challenges to actually deliver on the promise of what was launched last summer,” Mr. Slaughter said.

And as impressive as the estimated 5 million participants were, there are many more to be stirred to action, he said.

“There are 295 million people in this country who didn’t take the ice-bucket challenge,” Mr. Slaughter said. “We are going after those people. ”

While the 2014 campaign was extraordinary, little has changed, say ALS Association officials. There is no treatment for ALS, much less a cure.

“It is such a difficult disease to break down and study,” said Mr. Quinn. “Really, what happened last year was just a start.”

 July 07, 2015
By Megan O’Neil
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

9 Tips to Promote Monthly Giving on Your Website

January 19th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Annual Giving, Fundraising, Website

It’s 2015. The start of a new year — and in many organizations new fundraising goals and fundraising budgets.

So, let me cut straight to the point — if you are short-changing your monthly giving ask on your website, you are really just leaving significant money on the table. It’s amazing how many organizations actually “offer” monthly giving as an afterthought on their websites. It usually shows up below the donation amount area where a question is asked: “Do you want to make this a monthly donation?”

Oh my. We all know this is not the way to sell the need for sustaining gifts. Yes, we must sell this like any other donation option. It is absolutely not just an “add on.” The digital designers and strategist at Eleventy Marketing Group have put together a list of nine nonprofit website tips to encourage monthly giving. As you’ll see, it is about calling attention to the opportunity to support the mission monthly.

1. Feature it on your homepage
From the face of your website, make your monthly giving call to action prominent. Whether you put in on a slider or somewhere else on the page, make sure it’s clear this is a key action you want people to take.

2. Create a monthly giving page
Dedicate an entire page on your website to monthly giving — more specifically, the why of monthly giving. Show people the need for monthly giving, and let them know as specifically as possible where the money goes. Which leads to the next point …

3. Include a monthly donation visual
Visuals explaining how varying monthly donation amounts make a difference can be incredibly effective. For example: $50/month sends five children to school for a month; $100/month feeds a family of four for a year. This paints a clear picture of the why.

4. Add a monthly giving option to your donate page
This one seems pretty obvious, and yet so many nonprofit websites still lack this option. If someone is ready to support your cause and willing to donate, at least plant the seed in her mind of becoming of a monthly donor. Please note, this does not simply mean placing a check box next to the donation amount with a question about making it a monthly gift.

5. Ask about monthly giving after a donation
Someone makes a donation. He cares about the cause and supports what you do. He’s feeling good about contributing. What better time to ask him to become a monthly donor? On your donation thank-you page, give donors the chance to quickly and easily sign up to give that same amount each month.

6. Spotlight the monthly giving impact
On your blog or other area of your site where you provide updates on the work you do, regularly include information about how monthly giving is making an impact. If possible, shine a light on the specific efforts your monthly giving program supports. And make sure you include a link and tell people how they can become monthly donors.

7. Spotlight monthly giving donors
You can also spotlight individual monthly donors. Nothing inspires people to take action like seeing other people doing it. Interview donors, and ask them what inspired them to become monthly contributors. Put a face to your monthly donors. And, again, make sure to always include the link where other people can sign up.

8. Insert a monthly giving link in your header
Make a monthly giving reminder appear on every page of your site by putting a quick link on your website header, footer or sidebar (depending on how your site is designed). It could be as simple as a small graphic that says, “Make a difference all year ’round” with a link to your monthly giving page.

9. Enable people to share monthly giving with friends
Create a quick and easy way for people to tell their friends they’ve become monthly donors and encourage them to do the same. Include a “Share With Friends” button on your donation thank-you page that allows people to post a message on social sites like Facebook and Twitter saying something along the lines of, “I just became a monthly donor with Organization X and I want you to  join me” with a link to sign up.

Simply put, you’ve got to make monthly giving a key focus on your online fundraising.

By Angie Moore | Posted on December 09, 2014

Keeping It Clean and Simple

January 13th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Annual Giving, Database, Fundraising

List hygiene might not be at the top of your list of key focus areas when it comes to building a successful direct-marketing program, but it should be. I think of list hygiene like a car’s engine. It’s not the flashy part of the car, and it’s not something that you might think of every day; but if neglected, it could significantly reduce your car’s performance.

To ensure you’re building a solid, clean donor list, use business rules to determine what constitutes a valid donor record. For example, do you need to have a full name and complete address? Or is it sufficient just to have a last name, street address and ZIP code? You’ll also want to centralize who has access to make changes to a donor’s record to ensure the proper rules are being followed. Make sure you have your donor file NCOA’d at least annually so you have the most up-to-date addresses, and also perform database maintenance to merge duplicate records or duplicate names within a household based on business rules.

For e-mail records, make sure you identify bounce-backs. You should make the effort to update all e-mail addresses to valid addresses, but if you can’t, flag them as “do not e-mail.”

Whether you implement these ideas or others, take time to “tune up” your donor list. It will help you achieve maximum results.

By Brian Cowart

Brian Lacy and Associates provides NCOA Screenings and more powerful Advanced Address Correction services.

Brian Cowart is senior director of direct-mail donor acquisition and cultivation at ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He can be reached via www.stjude.org.

Be Accessible to Your Donors at Year End!

December 19th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Annual Giving, Fundraising

The next two weeks will fly by. This is such a busy time of year. Demands all around — work, family, friends and more.

This is also the busiest time of year for giving. People are in a holiday spirit, filled with generosity. People are also procrastinators. But if we are looking at 2014 for gifts to nonprofits, the clock is ticking.

For some of us, that means fulfilling commitments (and if we are doing a good job as fundraisers we have been keeping our donors up to date on progress toward any commitments). For others, it is making gifts that we have been contemplating for a while.

And for the planning donors, it means they now know how they did financially this year and with that information in hand are ready to make some additional charitable gifts.

This time of year is also a time of vacations. There are significant and very meaningful holidays. Some of us have vacation time accrued that we may lose. We have family and friends to visit. And for some in education (especially independent schools), our institutions close for part or most of the holidays — a nice bonus.

But what do our holiday vacation plans — well deserved, indeed — mean to our donors?

If you have a donor with a question on her year-to-date giving or a commitment, who can she talk to this week? Next week? The week of New Year’s day? How does she find that person?

Do you have information on year-end giving on your website home page? Is a direct-line phone number very prominent? Is your mailing address clearly found? And is there an email address or easy-to-complete form? If someone calls your office and it is closed, what does the message indicate? Is someone checking voicemails regularly? How about emails?

If a donor has a gift of stock, how can he find instructions on making the transfer so that he can get credit for the gift in this tax year?

Enjoy the holidays! But be sure that someone is either in your office or easily accessible to donors as they include your worthy cause in their year-end giving!

By Jeff Jowdy | Posted on December 17, 2014
Fundraising Success Magazine

Giving Tuesday: I’ve Changed My Mind

November 25th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Annual Giving, Fundraising

I think I ruffled some feathers last year with my post about Giving Tuesday, “Is Giving Tuesday Really Successful? (Don’t Hate Me For Asking!).”

This year I’ve changed my mind but perhaps not in the way you might imagine. There are certainly good stats on the last few years. Thanks to the folks over at MobileCause and their Giving Tuesday Infographic, we know the numbers obviously were better in 2013 than in 2012.

In 2012 Giving Tuesday raised $10 million with an average donation size of $101; in 2013 Giving Tuesday raised $19 million with an average donation size of $142. Clearly if the goal was to raise more money, it worked. I still have all the same questions about the type of donors that are being raised — do they retain, are they mission-specific, etc.? But I’ve changed my mind about one thing. I’m not sure it really matters that I have questions about the money and the donors.

With all the nonprofits in the U.S., raising $19 million seems small, but in my opinion the benefit is what is happening on that day around the dinner tables and in personal conversations. Our goal as an industry should be to continue to push the conversation to a broader level. I think we all saw the power of social media earlier this year with the Ice Bucket Challenge. Whether people actually donated every time they talked about it on social media or not, the fact that it was dominating the social conversation for a few weeks was the benefit. Social media and all digital channels should be leveraged to raise awareness of the continued need for giving to all generations around Giving Tuesday.

I’m not going to give away all the thoughts in the great MobileCause infographic, but it also provides eight ideas for how NPOs can strengthen fundraising on Giving Tuesday. The key here seems to be to raise awareness and money. In other words, ask your donors to also do things that are not just giving a credit card or writing a check. Ask them to talk to their friends and post photos of themselves and how they are getting involved in Giving Tuesday.

Remember, “giving” can also mean giving your time, or accessing your personal and social networks to get involved in something that is important to you, etc.

When all the money is counted for 2014, will it be fantastic if we have another 40 percent increase in revenue from last year? Yes!!!! But, perhaps the other metrics we need to be tracking to define success are around nonfinancial impact. How many tweets? How many photos associated with #GivingTuesday, etc.? As the infographic states, these numbers are small right now, but any growth means the message is getting out broader and broader.

While the data nerd in me really wants to know how many new donors are generated to a charity because of Giving Tuesday and how they retain, I’ve decided to not worry about that anymore and watch how the buzz continues to grow each year. Of course, now the goal is to measure all the buzz … stay tuned!

By Angie Moore | Posted on October 21, 2014
Fundraising Success Magazine

Are you surprised by World Giving Report findings?

August 12th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Annual Giving, Fundraising

The UK is top of the developed world for giving money to charity, with 76% of Britons giving to good causes in a typical month.

This increase in financial giving makes the UK the sixth most charitable nation in the world, up from 8th, in the World Giving Index, the biggest annual global survey of giving published today.

The survey also found that Britons are becoming more generous with their time. Volunteering levels rose by three percentage points from the previous year to 29%.

The UK also became a friendlier place, with a huge increase in the amount of people who helped a stranger in a typical month, up by nine percentage points to 65%.

The index is based on surveys in 135 countries by Gallup over the past year and looks at three measures of giving: the percentage of people who give money to charity, volunteer their time or help a stranger in a typical month.

While the UK tops Europe in terms of giving money to charity, Ireland is the most generous nation in Europe overall, with a higher proportion of the Irish volunteering (37%) pushing the UK into second place in Europe.
The index found that the United States was the most generous country on earth, followed in joint second place by Canada, Burma and New Zealand, with Ireland in fifth place.

The next five most generous countries were the UK, Australia, Netherlands, Qatar and Sri Lanka respectively. Greece was bottom of the World Giving Index with Croatia just above them.

Overall, the world became a more generous place last year. Despite a slowdown in the global economy, the average percentage of people donating money, volunteering time and helping a stranger all increased.
The rise in giving was largely driven by an extra 200 million people helping a stranger in 2012. This was more than double the growth in the number of people giving money or volunteering.

Globally, women are more likely to give money to charity, while men are more likely to volunteer and help a stranger. There was a big increase this year in men helping strangers, meaning that proportionally more men are helping strangers than ever before.

Emerging economies are surging ahead in giving: in India 244m people give money to charity in a typical month, up from 163m last year. In China 373m people help a stranger in a typical month.

John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “It’s excellent news that the UK is sixth in the world for generosity and second for giving money to charity. With the difficult economic climate and rising living costs, it is humbling to see that the majority of Britons choose to give money to good causes every month.

“We should be proud of the excellent culture of giving we have in the UK, but must not get complacent. There is still so much the government, businesses and charities can do to encourage greater giving and volunteering.

“Global levels of generosity are growing, with developing economies showing a huge surge in giving and volunteering. These rapidly developing countries have the potential to have a massive positive impact both in their local communities and internationally through their giving.

“It’s important that governments and charities in these countries work together to harness the giving potential of these growing middle classes to create an even greater charitable culture in these booming economies.”

On the three key indicators of giving money, giving time and helping a stranger, the report found that in 2012:

Giving money

  • Burma was the country with the largest proportion of people donating money to a charity (85%). This highlights the fact that giving is about more than just wealth. In fact, out of the top ten countries for donating money to charity, eight are not in the G20. The UK was second (76%), Malta third (72%) and Ireland and Thailand joint fourth (70%).
  • More people donated money to charity in India than anywhere in the world, with over 244 million people having donated. Pakistan also entered the top ten for the amount of people donating money to charity, following a third successive year of disastrous flooding, affecting over five million people.

Giving time

  • Since 2011 the biggest increase in participation in volunteering has been among 15-24 year olds (from 18.4% in 2011 to 20.6% in 2012). Over the last five years this age group has gone from least likely to volunteer to second most likely to volunteer.
  • Turkmenistan topped the list of countries with the highest proportion of people giving time (57%), followed by Sri Lanka (46%), United States (45%), Burma (43%) and the Philippines (43%).
  • Due to India’s vast and growing population, coupled with a sharp increase in the proportion of its people volunteering (from 10% to 18%), India has surpassed the United States, with as many as 157 million people volunteering in a typical month.

Helping a stranger

  • Americans were more likely to help strangers than any other nationality in 2012 (77%), and the country also boasts the third highest number of people who do so.
  • Qatar had the second highest proportion of people helping a stranger (73%), followed by the State of Libya (72%), Colombia (70%) and Senegal (68%).
  • China tops the list for the highest number of people helping strangers due to its large population. Over 373 million people help a stranger in China in a typical month.

 

Table 1: Top 20 countries in the World Giving Index, with scores and participation in giving behaviours.

Country World Giving Index Ranking World Giving Index Score (%) Donating Money (%) Volunteering time (%) Helping a stranger (%)
United States of America 1 61 62 45 77
Canada 2 58 68 42 64
Myanmar 3 58 85 43 46
New Zealand 4 58 67 40 67
Ireland 5 57 70 37 64
United Kingdom 6 57 76 29 65
Australia 7 55 67 34 64
Netherlands 8 54 69 37 57
Qatar 9 51 60 19 73
Sri Lanka 10 48 45 46 54
Norway 11 48 56 35 53
Malta 12 47 72 24 46
Switzerland 13 47 56 32 54
State of Libya 14 46 29 37 72
Austria 15 45 52 28 56
Philippines 16 45 31 43 60
Hong Kong 17 44 63 15 55
Iceland 18 44 63 25 45
Indonesia 19 44 63 30 40
Nigeria 20 44 30 36 66

Only includes countries surveyed in 2012.

Data relates to participation in giving behaviours during one month prior to interview.

World Giving Index scores are shown to the nearest whole number but the rankings are determined using two decimal points.

3 December 2013
Charities Aid Foundation

 

 

To help our furry friends, don’t give nationally

July 28th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Annual Giving, Brian Lacy

With 70 million households in America owning pets, it’s no surprise that the TV ads with sad music showing needy cats and dogs tug at our heartstrings.

Americans give hundreds of millions a year to national animal charities. Sadly, a good chunk of that money isn’t going to help those animals. It’s going to pay a racketeering lawsuit settlement.

Last month, several animal-rights groups including the Humane Society of the United States agreed to pay $16 million to settle a suit over their alleged behavior in a different lawsuit.

The payout settles claims that they’d engaged in illegal payments to a witness as well as bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice and other wrongdoings. That’s on top of $9.3 million the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals paid in 2012 to settle.

The conduct at issue is far from cuddly. Animal-rights activists sued a circus company over a decade ago, claiming elephant abuse. That suit was thrown out after years of litigation, with the court calling it “frivolous” and “vexatious.”

In its dismissal, the court pointed to a scheme by which the activists had paid the key witness in the case nearly $200,000. That witness had also lied to the court, and so naturally the court found him to be discredited and essentially a “paid plaintiff.” The animal-rights law firm representing plaintiffs was even sanctioned by the court.

You wouldn’t know any of this is going on from those ads with sad dogs and cats.

In fact, a lot goes on behind the scenes at national animal groups. Not all of it is bad. But many of these groups have troubling priorities.

As a 30-year veteran of the animal-welfare community, I know there’s a difference between local and national groups that the public does not understand.

One reason is the similarity in names. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, is separate from local SPCAs.

The Humane Society of the United States, or HSUS, isn’t affiliated with local humane societies, and only 1 percent of the money it raises goes to local pet shelters.

I used to work as director of education for the Humane Society of the United States.

Everything always seemed to revolve around constant fund-raising, with publicity second and lobbying also important. Direct care of animals was far from the main priority.

Unsurprisingly, then, the overhead of national animal groups can be quite high.

The independent charity evaluator CharityWatch finds that the ASPCA spends up to 35 percent of its budget on overhead. HSUS is worse, spending up to 45 percent of its budget on overhead. That adds up to tens of millions in fund-raising expenses.

Essentially, lots of money is spent on fund-raising in the name of some crisis. Then much of that money gets pumped right back into more fund-raising on the next crisis.

The big winners are the firms that send out the mail and make the commercials. The animals? Not so much.

In contrast, I have worked for local animal control and with local humane societies for most of my life. These groups need money, but they just aren’t as good at marketing themselves as a large national group with mega-sized direct-mail and TV campaigns.

These local organizations are too busy providing hands-on care for animals in their communities.

National awareness or lobbying campaigns can serve a purpose. But donors need to know where their money is going.

National groups wouldn’t raise as much money if their ads didn’t show dogs and cats, but instead the highly paid executives, lawyers and lobbyists who get so much of the cash.

The tear-jerking ads from national groups should come with a warning: If you want to help pet shelters, give to your local ones directly.

That’s a disclaimer these ads will never voluntarily include, but it is a message that any animal lover can spread to others.

June 3, 2014
By Diana Culp

Diana Culp is the managing director of the Humane Society for Shelter Pets, a nonprofit dedicated to creating a sustainable base of local support for the nation’s network of local pet shelters.

Why Are You Slackin’? Get Past the “Like” Already

July 11th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Annual Giving, Fundraising, Marketing, Social Media

The rules of the game for engaging supporters have changed with the digital age. Now, nonprofits like yours have to really think about how you are reaching out to your supporters and how you can translate a “like” online to taking action. The key is creating programs that meet the needs of supporters first, and then gradually deepen their relationship with your organization through individualized communication. Ready to turn slacktivists into activists?

“we demand too much from technology and not enough of ourselves.” Nate Silver

THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION is catching on organically. It is easier  now than ever for individuals to start their own fundraising campaign for a cause, or to organize a group of like-minded individuals to take a  political stand. This movement has opened new audiences to nonprofits and with it comes change. It is an exciting time where nonprofits can expand their reach like never before, or risk being left behind if they don’t tap into the new found power of grassroots organizing in the digital space.
However, nonprofits often question the power of social media and struggle to get past the awareness of their digital presence and get to engagement. They all complain it doesn’t work for them. In the activist world, it’s called slacktivism. Whether it’s fundraising or advocating for a cause, nonprofits think people online care only enough to click “Like” or maybe share a Facebook post or retweet, but are not bothered enough to take further action.
To be successful in today’s digital age, nonprofits need to step back and evaluate the operations inside their own organizations and take a hard look at what they are communicating, to whom they are targeting and the channels they are using to reach their supporters. Offline and traditional methods for communicating, engaging and organizing are declining (eg. direct mail) or fragmenting (eg. television).
Whether nonprofits are doing fundraising or advocacy, if they don’t rethink how they are reaching individuals (note that we don’t say people, but individuals), and understand the modern rules of engagement, they can expect their support to decline as well. With several active generations spanning in age from teens to matures, all with different backgrounds and communication preferences, the traditional approach to engaging a group of supporters will no longer work. The Millennial generation has come of age and they work differently than past generations. Generation X and Baby Boomers are also online, but their behaviors, intentions and usage differ from each other as well as from Millennials. Thanks to B2C companies like Amazon with advances in microtargeting, all three generations have come to expect a customized online experience – a message and call-to-action built specifically for them.

It’s hard to measure behavior, which is why campaigns are judged based on likes, retweets, and clicks. If these metrics are the only thing that determine a campaign’s success or failure, then the campaign’s strongest call to action will focus on driving online engagement…which brings us back to slacktivism. Nonprofits need to think differently and stop expecting online supporters to simply take action offline the moment they click “Like.” To do that, organizations need to embrace new strategies and technologies to truly understand the audience they are going after and engage at a micro level. They need to create programs that meet the needs of their
supporters first, and then draw them into a deeper relationship with their organization, gradually, step-by-step.

At one time, nonprofit organizations thought social
media could do amazing things – all they needed was
a “Like” on their Facebook page to build a community
and raise awareness. But just clicking “Like” doesn’t
get those bikes to children in need, petitions signed, or
playgrounds built. And now that Facebook is close to
10 years old, and Twitter is seven, there is a mounting
backlash against social media – nonprofit leaders want
to see more results. Some have even started calling
their social media followers “slacktivists.”

Any time you endorse a cause on social media or sign an online petition without taking any corollary action outside the digital world (like volunteering or raising money), you are guilty of slacktivism. But are we too quick to blame the very individuals that are supporting these great causes? While there can definitely be a few issues there, the positive side of digital activism is being ignored – and in the right hands, with the right message, it can be very effective.

Calling Names Won’t Solve the Problem

Referring to online supporters as slacktivists has negative consequences in and of itself. The term devalues the potential of these supporters and demotivates your team to find solutions to move these folks along the ladder of engagement. Throughout this post, we
will offer tips on deriving strategies so you can determine where to focus your resources online. Suffice to say, you may not try to turn every person who “Likes” your page into a supporter, but you definitely shouldn’t dismiss the entire population so easily.There is too much potential in social media for nonprofits to give up on it or its fans yet.

Online Behavior by Generation
Social Media Users

Millennials (18-29)  80%

GenX (30-49)  78%

Baby Boomers (50-64) 60%

65+  43%

 

The important distinction to make is that there are very diverse supporters across several different generations that require different communication and prefer to take different kinds of action. The youngest users of digital media, the Millennials (Generation Y), are the most active, but Generation X and Baby Boomers are online too and are still a valuable resource to be targeted. To be successful, nonprofits need to understand how each of these groups wants to be engaged and personalize their campaigns accordingly.

Millennials

Millennials born in the mid-1980s and after represent the single largest generation (90 million) in history (in 2014, the oldest millenials are in their early 30s). By 2015, Millennials will have more buying power and influence than Baby Boomers.Thanks to the Web and social media connectivity, Millennials think very differently than previous generations.They aretransforming communities, involved in causes that are important to themand are changing the world for the better. And they are doing it collaboratively, interactively, transparently and predominantly online.

Millennials are the social generation – they are often found taking selfies, telling the world every detail of what they’re doing, hyper-aware of Facebook ‘likes’ and obsessed with hashtags in their tweets.

They came of age with social technology and are extremely comfortable using these tools as an integral part of their life and work. they build engagement with word-of-mouth through their social media channels as well as face-to-face events. Thisgeneration places a higher value on the opinion of someone with firsthand experience, preferably a peer or close friend rather than experts with professional or academic credentials, to recommend a brand or product. “Crowd sourcing” (tapping into the collective intelligence of the public) has become popular among Millennials.

Millennials and non-Millennials spend roughly the same amount of time online, but Millennials are more likely to use the Internet as a platform to broadcast their thoughts and experiences and to contribute to user-generated content. Millennials think technology offers them a way to grow closer to friends and family. Meaning – the connections that Millennials are making to your causes and to one another online are real.

According to a recent survey by The Boston Consulting Group, Millennials are actively engaged in consuming and influencing. On average, U.S. Millennials shell out and influence the spending of hundreds of billions of dollars annually and the amount is only expected to increase as they mature into their peak earning years. They are optimistic about the ability of business and government to affect global change.

Millennials will support causes they are passionate about, so it’s up to nonprofits to inspire them andshow them that their support can make an impact on the bigger picture. Nonprofits that are not targeting this population and learning how to reachthem the way they want to be reached will find themselves outdated very quickly.

Other digital habits of Millenials include:
• Engaging in activities online such as rating products and services (60 percent versus 46 percent of non-Millenials) and uploading videos, images and blog entries to the Web (60 percent versus 29 percent).
• Being receptive to cause marketing and thus, more likely to choose products whose purchase supports a cause.
• Putting a premium on speed, ease, efficiency and convenience in all of their transactions.
• Making direct donations (34 percent), almost half donate through their mobile devices (15 percent), compared with only 5 percent of
non-Millennials.

Millennials take action online

Donate     46%
Like.Retweet,Share   75%
Connect   51%
Receive Email or Newsletter   65%

 

Generation X

Generation X (Gen Xers), representing the smallest generation since the Great Depression, is the term often applied to those born between the late 1960s and early 1980s (in 2014, they typically fall between the ages of 35 and 46). This generation is sandwiched in between two large demographics – the Millennials and the Baby Boomers, each twice the size of Gen Xers.

Gen Xers are said to be one of the most misunderstood generations. Children within this demographic saw the energy crisis, corporate
downsizing and AIDS unfold in front of them. They graduated high school and college facing stock market crashes, economic recession
and hiring freezes. As a result, Gen Xers have a strong survival instinct and are naturally skeptical of all institutions – financial, political, religious or corporate.

This generation is highly educated and was the first group to experience the Internet as a part of their daily lives. Gen Xers are highly technical, and with that added skepticism, they are known to habitually research the purchases they make, which means they will have done their homework prior to supporting a particular nonprofit organization.

Although Gen Xers are not as tied to social media as the Millennials, a large number of this group will use social media for news and updates as well as to show support for organizations. This group is more likely to be motivated by a friend who asks them to make a contribution to a favorite fun run, or participation in the company’s philanthropic efforts. Gen Xers can also be inspired to engage in a particular cause based on what is being discussed in their social media networks. When this group feels they can trust, they will engage and be more inclined to give.

To reach Generation X, nonprofits will have to take deliberate steps to create programs and opportunities aimed specifically at their interests and values.

Generation X online pattern

74.5%  of Gen X web users use social networking sites on at least a monthly basis.

Gen X Twitter audience:
2012   14.7%
2017   19.5%

 

 Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 and make up a substantial portion of the North American population. Representing nearly 20 percent of the American public, Baby Boomers have a significant impact on the economy. Many Boomers established a connection with the organizations they care about in early adulthood, and they are now in a position to give financial
support. While many give through direct mail, Boomers are becoming more digital savvy each year as their social media usage is increasing.

This generation will keep things simple. They are more likely to value building relationships and trust than any bells and whistles. They care that you are true to your word and follow through on what you promise. The key to engaging this generation is to gain their trust – the more you know, the more likely you will be able to build a long-time supporter.A MarketWatch blog, from Aug 9, 2013, quoted
Tammy Gordon, vice president of social media with AARP in Washington – “The older generations are starting to shift from only following friends and family to getting more interest-based in who they follow,” she said. “It’s not about just following the grandkids anymore.”

There’s also evidence that older Americans are using social media to influence family and friends with regard to the causes with which they’re concerned, Gordon said—and that includes urging their connections to vote a particular way during elections.

Baby Boomers are experienced givers and will continue to engage with organizations they’ve known for years and often belong to, such as churches and synagogues. Although they have become more connected digitally, they still give through direct mail or telemarketing solicitations.To be successful with this group, nonprofits must build trust and show how they will spend the money wisely.

57.6% Used social networking sites

Boomers accounted for more than one in five social network users

Six in 10 boomer Internet users downloaded or streamed video at least monthly in 2012

 

 

Special Advice for Small and Mid-Sized Nonprofits:
Take It One Segment at a Time

If your nonprofit organization is small, your ability to tailor communications and programs for every segment of your audience is likely limited. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Instead, take it one segment at a time.Determine who your very best supporters are (online or off), and then focus your efforts there. Invest in the social media outlets they use most. Since you already have some success with that audience, expand on it and create programs to reach more people like them.
Craft your messages to have the greatest impact with them. Then, after you have a strong
foothold with that segment, you can work on the next.
Tailored messages have exponentially more impact. It is better to get big impact with one group, than little to no impact with an unfocused campaign.

Getting Supporter Demographics without Asking Nosy Questions

For online sign-up, donation and petition forms, best practices would have you ask for the least amount of information possible (reducing the time to complete the form and increasing form completions). So, you need to learn more about your online supporters without asking a lot of questions.
Lucky for all of us that Google Analytics offers more demographic, geographic and interest information than ever before. Just look under the “Audience” section in your Google Analytics account to see who is visiting your site to get a clearer picture of your online supporters.

 

In his book, “Contagious: Getting Your Message Read and Spread,” Jonah Berger has proven through research what elements are necessary to make a message viral – i.e., more likely to be spread by word of mouth or online.To get your supporters to retell your story, you can’t just show them a video or make a speech and expect them to parrot it for you.

Instead, you need to help them get their own story to tell. And, your offline events can have a big impact on that.For example, if your event has a big, “Wow” factor to it, maybe a celebrity appearance, it is easy to imagine your supporters taking pictures and sharing
them on instagram. But, you don’t need a celebrity to get them to do that. Be creative. The famous marketer, Seth Godin, talks about giving people something remarkable to talk about like a Purple Cow. The only difference between a purple cow and a regular cow is a little color. Creating that color can be easy – what about having a pancake-flipping contest for guests to compete for prizes at your next fundraiser. The prizes don’t have to be over the top for you to get talked about. More than likely there will be some great social-media-worthy photos or videos coming out of the event.

Or, for your next direct mail piece, send out fewer pieces to only your best supporters and invest more in each one to do something they have not seen before like a Fathead (life-size wall decal) of a celebrity that supports your cause. Now, that’s an offline story that is likely to get shared online.
How Offline Impacts Online

Offline and traditional methods for communicating, engaging and organizing are still important but are rapidly declining as each generation continues to age. Nonprofits need to look at creating multichannel campaigns to successfully incorporate the needs of all generations.

Research shows that each generation uses a variety of online and offline channels. For example, when responding to a nonprofit’s fundraising efforts, the younger the donor, the greater the number of ways they give. Relying on direct mail exclusively no longer makes sense, but when used with online methods, the result may be different. For instance, a donor may receive a direct mail piece and choose to give online. Or donors that are acquired via the internet may prefer to continue to give through direct mail. That same donor might learn of a cause, or be motivated to support a cause based on something a friend posts on their Facebook wall, but then write a check or donate online. Or, in a natural disaster situation, a donor may respond by makinga gift via their mobile phone.

Surprisingly, traditional media is the primary wayall generations learn about a particular cause, with the exception of Matures, also coined “The Greatest Generation.” Matures, born prior to 1946, valuehistory, loyalty, and hard work and rank mail as the primary way to learn about a charity. Mail did rank in the first three choices by Boomers (19%) and Gen X (16%), but it doesn’t even show up for the Millennial generation.

Direct mail and email communication on its own is not enough. The median click-through rate for emails in 2013 was 0.5 percent. the next generation of supporters is engaging through multiple channels – people are drawn in by stories and visuals. Traditional ways of building lists will no longer work effectively or economically. Nonprofits need to think through HOW they are asking supporters to engage.

Email will remain an important piece of the puzzle, but the decline in response rate shows the importance of including additional channels in the mix. Nonprofits must track and account for multichannel behavior. The Millennial generation is growingup and they are very active online. Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are also online, but as you can seefrom the data, their behavios, intentions, and usage differs from each other as well as from Millennials. All groups can be reached effectively with the right messaging.

Nonprofits need to think about offline and online communications in conjunction with each other. If you have something offline, like an event, have an online component to it so supporters can pledge during the event from their mobile devices. If you have a special rally, make sure you have all the related hashtags communicated before it starts. The same goes for direct mail pieces – have the hashtags and URLs listed.

Whether nonprofits are doing fundraising or advocacy, if they don’t rethink how they are reaching individuals (note we say individuals, not people), and understand the modern rules of engagement, they can expect their support to decline as well. Nonprofits who define their communications and match their campaigns up with their supporter’s needs, will ultimately see the results of their efforts.

Today’s Digital-Savvy World Requires a Change in Culture

The way generations connect today is forcing the need for nonprofits to look at doing things differently. Today’s supporters want to be more engaged – to feel more connected. They are passionate about their causes and willing to give, but more creative and interactive approaches must be used going forward.

Changing a nonprofit’s culture isn’t as simple as identifying new ways to work or articulating a new set of goals and values associated with them. To effectively drive change, buy in from the top down is required.When looking within your organization, there are a few key questions to address so that change can take place more smoothly.

•  What is our relationship with our internal people? What do they want, but most importantly, what don’t they want?
• What is meaningful change?
• Do you have buy-in from the whole team? Some won’t and may even move on, and that’s okay.
• Is everyone prepared for the change? Have a conversation on willingness to try new things and to sometimes fail at first.

Once you have buy in that a change in direction is needed, organizations will need to take a look at how their departments are structured – are direct mail and online fundraising efforts managed in different departments? Do they compete with each other? Who manages the website, social marketing outreach and email communications? If these groups are not working together in the same silo, multichannel marketing will never be effective.

Nonprofits must get out of their comfort zone and start learning how to reach the Millennial and other impactful generation supporters, or risk becoming obsolete in the next 10 years.

Digital Teams Research
Regardless of size, digital teams – their
structure, leadership and how they are
affected by the culture of the institutions
where they work—are the biggest
predictor of online effectiveness.

THE FOUR GOVERNANCE MODELS
OF A DIGITAL TEAM

1. Informal Tactical, not empowered or
resourced to affect change. Many nonprofits
still reside in this group

2. Centralized Easy structure,
downside is bottleneck, hard to provide
strategic leadership, makes innovation difficult,
most nonprofits fall within this group

3. Independent Sees multiple centers
of digital leadership established with digital
roles sprinkled throughout. Can only work if
leaders of the two groups work well together.
10 percent have this structure.

4. Hybrid Nimble, responsive. Some
nonprofits “think” they have this model, but
they don’t. This is the most progressive and
most conducive to producing continuous digital
innovation.

 

Embrace Technology to Micro-organize, Listen and Micro-target
Know What Your Supporters Want

It’s time to stop complaining about supporters being lazy and start thinking about who your supporters actually are and what you can do to effectively engage them. Do they value long term relationships? Are they passionate? Do they go to Facebook for advice? Do they have your trust? Do they place more importance on conveniencee?

Nonprofits need to think through their messaging and start engaging at a micro level. Instead of one ladder of engagement that gets only 10 percent of your supporters to move up, have two, five or 10 ladders that get 50 percent of your supporters moving on up.

With the technology available today, nonprofits can organize more efficiently than ever before. Every message sent to a supporter list should be individualized, to show the recipient that, yes, I know you and understand what is important to you. If your nonprofit is still doing traditional email blasts – nine out of ten recipients aren’t opening your email.

79% Get Involved  - Because they are passionate about the cause

Don’t Personalize, Individualize

To personalize is to add a name in the address field and distribute the same message to an entire list. To make your message individualized, you are truly trying to create a message for as small a group as possible that speaks not just to their name, but to things you know they care about. Use dynamic content to populate a supporter’s most recent donation amount in a quick donate button – so they don’t have the same donation amount as everyone else – they have what they gave last time (or maybe an amount that is just a little but more). An individualized message would also make a reference to past activities with the nonprofit and why they need to give again.

Email segmentation based on demographics and interests led to a 244% increase in email opens, a 161% increase in click through, and a 330% increase in revenue through mailing.
Good Content Requires Good Listening

To write good content that taps into what supporters want, nonprofits need to listen. Social media listening, also known as social media monitoring is the process of identifying and assessing what is being said about a nonprofit, a cause or a particular campaign that you’ve recently launched. To succeed in any campaign, social or otherwise, nonprofits will need to recognize that social media has transformed marketing from a monologue model to a dialogue model and is quickly becoming an important intelligence tool.

Forbes, reporting on a survey of 12,000 U.S. and U.K. found that 81 percent of U.S. respondents believed “posts from their friends directly influenced their purchase decision.”

So how do you get into the conversation and influence the online discussion? You need to do what doesn’t always come naturally – listen.

If you do, you’ll know where the conversation takes place. Whether on Twitter, Facebook, forums, blogs or other channels, if you listen, you’ll know what topics are being discussed. The information found will provide insight to what is on your supporters’ minds and what they care about most. You will also become aware of key words people are using related to the environment, global policies, current events or popular culture. By incorporating messaging that your recipients care about and use regularly, you will show that you are in touch with what’s important to them.

While everyone’s input matters, some matter more than others due to their reach and influence. Social listening will enable your organization to identify the top influencers on your supporter lists. Once identified, you can begin buildingrelationships that may result in their extending such influence on your behalf.

It seems like supporters are saying “listen to me when I want you to,” which is something to think aboutwhen planning your social conversation. By listening, nonprofits can figure out what their supporters are saying, as well as where and how they might best insert themselves into that conversation.

Have no idea companies are listening to them

Millennials (18-29)         38%
Gen X (30-49)                   32%
Baby Boomers (50-64) 32%
65+                                        32%

50% want companies to listen in order to improve
60% want companies to respond to complaints made through social media

Social Listening Options

With a steady stream of posts, shares and tweets, how do you keep track of it all? Thankfully, there are a number of third party tools out there to help you monitor and track your supporters.

The most basic is to set up a Google Alert. Other free tools include Tweetdeck and Hootsuite – both allow you to monitor certain users as well as trends and interactions. Facebook Insights lets page owners view various Facebook metrics. Social Mention is another tool to consider if you are tracking blog content too.

More advanced tools, which come with a greater level of customization, functionality and analytics, include Attentive.ly and TrackMaven. Both will enable your organization to bechmark, track and improve your social listening – giving you the data needed to create more personalized messages.

Effective Data Drives Engagement and List Growth

It’s no longer the 1960s and not everyone can be Coca-Cola and blast the same ad to the entire world and expect recipients to have a Coke and a smile. Nonprofits have to target people with appropriate messages that resonate with supporters, challenging them to think. Supporters will engage when they see messaging that reinforces their ideas of what is important.

Innovative marketing and social automation tools enable nonprofits to create highly individualized, multichannel communications with their supporter contacts that produce significantly improved response rates by integrating social media analysis directly with a CMS linked to the  nonprofit’s database, telling  nonprofits exactly what their supporters are saying on social networks, segmenting them into groups and reaching out to them with automated, individualized messages. Import an organization’s supporter email list to match public profiles on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks, enabling nonprofits to create a more customized and interactive email experience, including provision of Klout score and basic demographic information (age, gender) which will provide nonprofits with the ability to identify key influential supporters, enabling even the smallest of nonprofits to move their online supporters along the ladder of engagement from a simple social “like” to tangible action or a donation, even recurring donations.

Targeting expands past an individual and takes advantage of the idea that birds of a feather flock together. People seek out others with similar thoughts and preferences. If you can identify your influencers within your supporter lists and turn them into advocates of your cause, then there is a good chance your followers will be interested in your message and potentially become your supporters as well.

With the technology to listen to what supporters are saying about themselves, about your cause, and about your nonprofit, you can target the rightpeople with the right level of individualization. The result – long-lasting, high-quality supporter relationships that translate to higher response rates on your email asks, and ultimately increased overall engagement.

Conclusion

The digital age has provided a great opportunity for growth, and nonprofits can expand their reach like never before. To take advantage of this revolution, connect with today’s generations, and build new support, nonprofits must be open to change and be willing to understand and integrate the shifting digital channels of each group into their marketing plans. The pace is much faster and with each new generation brings a new list of habits to consider. The rulebook to which many were trained is not longer valid.

If nonprofits can take a step back to listen and truly understand what their supporters want and how they want to receive the information, they will be the organizations that can successfully develop targeted communications plans to effectively reach and inspire action.

Technology has forever changed how communities consume information – the only question is whether nonprofits will invest in the digital transformation to engage their supporters and drive the desired change, or whether they will leave the tools behind and continue on a path of traditional communications.

By Wendy Porter and Christine Schaefer
of (respectively) WilkinsonShein Communications and Salsa Labs