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November 5 Webinar: 33 Online Fundraising and e-Newsletter Best Practices for Nonprofits

June 18, 2013

33-Online-Fundraising-WebinDate: Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Time: 1pm-2:45 EDT
Cost: $50 or Webinar Special
How to Register: Sign up!
Presented By: Heather Mansfield
View: All Webinars for Nonprofits

This webinar covers 33 online fundraising and e-newsletter best practices most of which are at an intermediate to advanced level. Incorporating 15 years of knowledge about proven online fundraising and e-newsletter best practices, this webinar also looks forward to trends and tools that will transform online fundraising and e-newsletter campaigns over the coming half decade. Topics include:

  • Services and functionality to look for a “Donate Now” vendor
  • How to use social media to increase your online donations
  • How to launch a sustainer program
  • How to utilize peer-to-peer fundraising
  • How to build your e-newsletter list
  • How to design your e-newsletter for smartphones and tablets
  • How to integrate social and mobile media into your online fundraising campaignsAn exploration of social and mobile fundraising apps
  • How mobile wallets could transform online fundraising

Related Links:
On-Demand: Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Webinar Series for Nonprofits
Webinar Special for Nonprofits
Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits

[RESEARCH] Is Your Nonprofit Utilizing Text Alerts?

June 17, 2013

HSUS Text AlertFor my next book due to be released in the Spring of 2014, I’m currently researching nonprofits that utilize text alert campaigns to mobilize supporters and donors. If your nonprofit is experimenting with text alerts, please post your short code and keyword pitch [such as, text HRC to 30644] – or a link to your website where potential subscribers can enter their mobile phone number – in blog comment below. I’m looking for nonprofits that excel in their use of group text messaging to be featured on this blog and in the book. I’ll subscribe to your text alerts and for those nonprofits interested in utilizing text messaging, I’d highly recommend that you subscribe as well so you can learn from those nonprofits that are pioneering text alert campaigns. Thank you.

Related Link:
[RESEARCH] How Has Social and Mobile Media Changed the Way You Donate to Nonprofits?

[RESEARCH] How Has Social and Mobile Media Changed the Way You Donate to Nonprofits?

June 14, 2013

social-fundraising-researchThis blog post officially launches the research stage of writing my second book which will be published and shipped in Spring 2014. A follow-up to Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits, this book will place much more emphasis on using social media and mobile technology for fundraising. That said, I am very curious how social and mobile media is changing the way donors give to nonprofits and if you are a donor, I’d love your feedback in a blog comment below – and I’m sure nonprofits would appreciate it as well.

Below are just a few questions I have ruminating in mind these days. Answer one or answer them all. All comments are appreciated. Finally, if you are comfortable with me using your quote in the book, please say so in your blog comment and tell me how to contact you. Thanks.

  1. Do you give more or less as a result of the rise of social media? Are your donations made more often and smaller? Or more often and larger? What impact has of millions of nonprofits telling their stories through social media had upon your giving?
  2.  Have you donated through text messaging? How do you feel about the process?
  3. Have you ever received a text message from a nonprofit that inspired you to make a donation? How was the donation made? Do you find text alerts from nonprofits annoying or useful and inspirational?
  4. Have you ever donated using a smartphone app or on a mobile-optimized donate page?
  5. If a nonprofit uses PayPal or Google Checkout for donation processing, do you hesitate to donate or are you comfortable donating through PayPal or Google Checkout?
  6. Have you fundraised for a nonprofit online? If so, did the nonprofit train you on how to be a good fundraiser? What motivated you to fundraise? What tool did you use for fundraising? Facebook Causes, Razoo, a tool offered by the nonprofit?
  7. What online messaging tool inspires you most often to give? An email, a Facebook Status Update, a Tweet, a blog post, a slideshow?
  8. When is the last time your wrote a check and mailed it to a nonprofit? Do you open the fundraising appeals sent to you in the mail?
  9. If you are a major donor, what is your preferred method of giving?
  10. Have you ever donated to a nonprofit using a mobile wallet? If so, which service and to what nonprofit?
  11. Age tends to have a big impact on how donors give. If comfortable, please let us know your age and how your giving has evolved over the last 10 years – if at all?

The Math and Science of Social and Mobile Media: A Spreadsheet to Track Your Fundraising Success

June 13, 2013

Spreadsheet-Social-Media-ROThere absolutely is a math to social and mobile media. If your nonprofit has a good content strategy in place and understands the power of integrating all your nonprofit’s communications channels (website, email, Facebook, texting, etc.), then as your numbers grow on social networks so will your e-newsletter and mobile lists which in turn significantly increases your fundraising success. It’s a strategy that I have been using, testing, and adapting since @NonprofitOrgs first launched on Myspace in 2006 and now there’s an ever-increasing flow of data being released that proves that social and mobile media are, in fact, powerful fundraising tools.

There is also a science to social and mobile media. After 10 years of experimentation, nonprofits are learning that there are correct (and incorrect) ways to post on Facebook, format a tweet, upload a photo, and send a text alert, but if your nonprofit doesn’t know the science, then math isn’t going to work.

For those of you who have read Social Media for Social Good and have taken my webinar on how to launch a social and mobile media strategy for your nonprofit, you know that the core of the strategy that I advocate for is tracking and proving your success. This is most easily done through a Social and Mobile Media Fundraising Success Spreadsheet.

[Download Spreadsheet Template]

Of course, a lot of factors can affect your success such as staff capacity and budget, the design of your online and mobile campaigns, and the skill set of your social and mobile media manager, but if your nonprofit has yet to start tracking your success (or lack thereof), download the spreadsheet, pick one day a month to enter your data, and begin to track your metrics. If your numbers do not grow from month to month, then something is terribly wrong with your content strategy (posting/sharing/sending the wrong content) and fundraising campaigns (not publishing an e-newsletter or using the wrong “Donate Now” service). That said, below is selection of metrics to track and a brief explanation as to why.

1. Website Unique Visitors

The foundation upon which all successful social and mobile campaigns are built is a well-designed, mobile compatible website.

2. eNewsletter Subscribers

Email is still a very powerful tool for fundraising and the likely reason why donor conversion rates dropped in 2012 is because nonprofit e-newsletters are still formatted to primarily be read on desktop and laptop computers. The number one activity on smartphones is reading email, so for your nonprofit to continue to be successful using email fundraising, a mobile compatible redesign of your e-newsletter should be at the top of your to do list.

3. Online Donations

Track the number of monthly donations and the total given. Understand that giving is higher in some months than others. November and December are the highest months and thus you will have to compare November 2013 to November to 2014, for example, to get the full picture of your fundraising success. As far as selecting the right “Donate Now” service, if the donation process occurs inside of your website and doesn’t send your donors to a third-party website, then you’re likely on the right path.

4. Blog Unique Visitors

Nonprofits that blog have a great advantage on social and mobile media because blogging allows your nonprofit to easily create a constant stream of fresh content that can be shared on social networks, incorporated into your e-newsletter, and texted to your mobile subscribers.

5. Social Network Followers

The brutal truth is that if your nonprofit posts boring content that does not inspire activity on social networks i.e., likes, shares, retweets, repins, and +1s, then your communities will grow very slowly. If you post too often or at the wrong times, then you’ll likely lose as many followers as you gain and your social networks will stagnate. This is especially true for small to medium-sized nonprofits.

As social media science clearly indicates, there is a right way to post and share content on social networks and a wrong way to post and share content on social networks. Silence speaks volumes on the Social Web and if your followers are saying little to nothing and are not liking, sharing, retweeting, repinning, or +1ing your content, then you’re are most likely doing it wrong. Rather than waste your time, get some good training and learn how to do it right.

6. Text Alerts Subscribers

Very few nonprofits are utilizing text alerts. Texting can be a powerful tool if it is done well, but annoying to supporters if it is not. However, unlike social media, pioneering mobile communications and fundraising is not “free” and over the last five years nonprofits have become very accustomed to free services. For those nonprofits wisely investing in the future, using social media and your website, e-newsletter, and print materials to build your mobile list is crucial.

7. Text-to-Give and/or Mobile Wallet Donors

Mobile fundraising is in its infancy and we’ve yet to see which tool will go mainstream, but my bet is on mobile wallet apps that are also web-based, such as Google Wallet. Google Wallet is currently only available to Android users, but if Apple launches an iOS wallet app that is also web-based, then that is the day that fundraising as the nonprofit sector has known it for 20 years instantly changes. Those nonprofits that pioneer mobile now will of course be in the best position to reap the benefits when mobile giving goes mainstream.

8. Other Metrics

Again, if your nonprofit has a good content strategy in place and understands the power of integrating all your nonprofit’s communications channels, then social and mobile media will also increase your success at recruiting volunteers, downloads of annual reports and case studies, online store sales, and online petitions.

How the Spreadsheet Works:

Spreadsheet Social Media ROI

1. Create 13 columns of which 12 are for the 12 months of your fiscal year.
2. In the far left column, add the metrics you want to track. Under the green row, add your fundraising metrics.
3. At the beginning of each month, plot your metrics.
4. SUM your totals for monthly columns and annual rows.
5. On the far right hand column, plot your annual goals based on the first month’s metrics. A 25% increase is recommended for your first year.
6. If your social and mobile strategy is sound, then you should see an increase in your totals from month-to-month for website and blog traffic, e-newsletter and text alerts subscribers, and social network followers. However, because fundraising is seasonal, you won’t get a full picture of your fundraising success until you have tracked two years of metrics.
7. At the end of each year, revise your metrics and your goals. It’s that simple.:)

Related Links:
12 Must-Know Stats About Social Media, Fundraising, and Cause Awareness
11 Obvious Signs Your Nonprofit Needs Social Media Training
Social and Mobile Media Webinars for Nonprofits

Must-Read Online Fundraising, Social Media and Mobile Communications Reports for Nonprofits

June 13, 2013

The reports listed below are just a small sampling of the research available to nonprofits about online communications and fundraising, social media, and mobile technology. These reports are, however, some of the most valuable in terms of insight, useful and practical data, and how-to advice.

If you would like to suggest a report be added to the list, please post the name and a  link to the report in a comment below. Most of the reports listed are based on U.S. nonprofit research, but I would also like to add similar reports from other countries.  Thanks.:)


For Nonprofits in the United States:

1) 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study :: Download
Published by M&R Research Labs
View: All M&R Reseach Labs Reports

2) 2013 Digital Persuasion Report :: Download
Published by Waggener Edstrom

3) 2013 Charitable Giving Report :: Download
Published by Blackbaud
View: All Blackbaud Reports

4) 2013 Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark™ Study :: Download
Published by Convio
View: All Blackbaud Reports

5) 2013 Visual Storytelling Best Practices Guide :: Download
Published by Resource Media

6) 2013 Benchmarks for Nonprofit Video :: Download
Published by See3 Communications

7) 2013 Checklist for Launching a New Website for Your Nonprofit :: Download
Published by Bureau for Good

8) Giving USA 2012: Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2011 :: Download
Published by the Giving USA Foundation
View: All Giving USA Foundation Reports

9) 2012 mGive Text Giving Study :: Download
Published by mGive
View: All mGive Reports

10) 2012 Effect of the Economy on the Nonprofit Sector Report :: Download
Published by GuideStar
View: All GuideStar Reports

11) 2012 Millennial Impact Report :: Download
Published by the Millennial Impact Project
View: All Millennial Impact Reports

12) 2012 State of the Nonprofit Industry Report :: Download
Published by Blackbaud
View: All Blackbaud Reports

13) 2012 Nonprofit Technology Staffing & Investments Survey :: Download
Published by NTEN
View: All NTEN Reports

14) Social Networking: An Ongoing Series of Reports :: Download
Published by the Pew Internet & American Life Project
View: All Pew Internet & American Life Project Reports

15) The Future of the Internet: An Ongoing Series of Reports :: Download
Published by the Pew Internet & American Life Project
View: All Pew Internet & American Life Project Reports

For Nonprofits in Europe:

1) 2012 Charity Social 100 List :: Download
Published by Visceral Business and JustGiving
View: All Visceral Giving Reports

For Nonprofits in Australia:

1) 2012 State of Social Media Use in Australian Nonprofits :: Download
Published by Australian Policy Online
View: All Australian Policy Online Reports

2) 2011 Nonprofit e-Business in Australia Report :: Download
Published by Connecting Up
View: All Connecting Up Reports

For Nonprofits in Canada:

If you know of any similar reports from Canada, please let us know.

Related Links:
Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits
Social and Mobile Media Webinars for Nonprofits

October 29 Webinar: 12 Steps to Launching a Successful Social Media Strategy for Your Nonprofit

June 5, 2013

12StepsGraphicDate: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Time: 1pm-2:30 EDT
Cost: $50 or Webinar Special
How to Register: Sign up!
Presented By: Heather Mansfield
View: All Webinars for Nonprofits

This webinar demonstrates how nonprofits can implement a successful social media strategy in twelve steps. Topics include understanding how much time social and mobile media requires, how to track return on investment (ROI), and how to craft a social media policy for your nonprofit. Attendees will also learn the importance of integrating all their communications channels to maximize awareness of their cause and online donations, as well as gain a realistic understanding of how much financial resources are required to be successful on the Social Web.

Related Links:
On-Demand: Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Webinar Series for Nonprofits

Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits
11 Obvious Signs Your Nonprofit Needs Social Media Training

October 15 Webinar: How to Launch a Mobile Communications and Fundraising Campaign for Your Nonprofit

June 5, 2013

MOBILE-WEBINAR Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Time: 1pm-2:30 EDT
Cost: $50 or Spring Webinar Special
How to Register: Sign up!
Presented By: Heather Mansfield
View: All Webinars for Nonprofits

This webinar begins with an introduction to the Mobile Web and its rapidly increasing role in nonprofit communications and fundraising. Next the webinar covers in-detail how to launch a new responsively designed website (or mobilize your current website), a texting campaign, and then moves on to explore current trends mobile fundraising, such as text-to-give, text-to-pledge, mobile wallets, and NFC technology. The webinar features numerous vendors, highlights best practices in launching, maintaining, and promoting your organization’s mobile campaigns and features nonprofits that excel in their use mobile technology.

Related Links:
On-Demand: Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Webinar Series for Nonprofits

Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits
11 Obvious Signs Your Nonprofit Needs Social Media Training