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Guest Blogger

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Guest Blogger  

From time to time, a guest blogger will appear on Connection Café. Guest bloggers are industry experts contributing useful, relevant content to the conversation on Connection Cafe. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, contact Cheryl Black.

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4 Ways to Encourage Self Donations

Posted by Guest Blogger at Aug 09, 2012 11:56 AM CDT
Categories: Constituent Empowerment, Fundraising, Nonprofit Trends, Volunteerism

ADATourDeCureWhen the American Diabetes Association made the decision to focus on promoting self donations in their 2011 Tour de Cure fundraising campaign, they increased the number of participants contributing to thier own fundraising efforts from 2% in 2010 to more than 37% in 2011. There is no doubt this strategy contributed to the event’s 19% growth in online donations that year.

How can your organization see this kind of success? Here are four ways to promote self donations in your next Peer to Peer Fundraising campaign on TeamRaiser.

  1. Ask and inspire on your registration form
    To inspire to the registrant to make a donation at the point of registration add mission focused text that relates to how the money raised at the event will be used or statistics of how fundraisers who self donate raise more to your registration form.  (Customize Pages ->Participation Options->Additional Gift Solicitation Header)
  2. Ask for a donation in the Thank You for Registering email
    Include text in the Thank You for Registering Autorepsonder email to request a donation from all participants that did not self donate in the registration process. (Manage Autoresponders ->Thank You for Registering)
  3. Ask for a donation in the first follow-up Autoresponder/email
    In the first email your participant receives 2-7 days after they register, encourage them to kick off their fundraising with a self donation to show their potential donors they too have financially supported your cause. (Manage Autoresponders -> TeamRaiser First Follow Up)
  4. Activate the Personal Gift Achievement Badge
    Develop an image that represents your event or organization and upload it with text that indicates that the participant made a self donation. This image will appear on the participant’s personal fundraising page after they make a donation. (Select Fundraising Options -> Configure Personal Gift Achieve Badges)

In addition to all of the above mentioned it is important that you include information about self donation opportunities in all communications about fundraising. All fundraising activities should include the importance of kicking off your fundraising with a self donation.

Nancy PaloToday's post was prepared by Nancy Palo, a Senior Consultant in Blackbaud's Strategic Services team with an specialty in TeamRaiser and peer-to-peer fundraising. She brings more than 10 years experience in the event fundraising experience, including 8 years with National MS Society where she raised more than $30 million. 

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The Imperfect Storm, Part 2

Posted by Guest Blogger at Jun 06, 2012 01:53 PM CDT
Categories: Fundraising, Nonprofit Trends

This post was written by Marc Chardon and Hal Williams. It was orginally featured on The Huffington Post, June 4, 2012.

In our initial blog post, we identified five key shifts affecting the environment for nonprofits that have co-mingled with the economy to create the potential for continued rough times. That is, if organizations don't change. So where to begin? That's an easy one. Begin with your donors.

Shift #1: Nonprofits need to engage their donors.

Although nonprofits talk about keeping their donors "up to speed," the real challenge is keeping the organization itself up to date on its own contributors. Generational shifts are changing - in often profound ways - how people are doing things. Our parents gave to causes because they felt they should, to gain status in their community and to "get into Heaven." Our generation (boomers) focuses on the results a nonprofit generates through its services (the question of what the money's actually doing to help people vs. the focus on the money itself). Our children, and the next generation, ignore the "once-a-year" cycle we've always thought was the way to give and, instead, seek multiple touch points in a search for meaning. They tie accomplishment of the nonprofit organization, or the cause, to their own donor identities. They want to put themselves in the picture in deeper ways.

Today's nonprofits need to ask some vital questions about how they are looking at the world of philanthropy. Are donors external (outside looking in) to the nonprofit and what it does, or are they part of it? Does the organization inform, or does it engage? (The two are very different.) Do supporters feel that the only thing of value they have available to give is money, or do they offer other treasures, like time and talent? We know of a donor who gives to an orphanage in Mexico that tells its sponsors they are expected to visit at least once a year and stay in touch with the kids they support via email, phone and Facebook. This is really different from the days when donors to international NGOs got cards in the mail with a photo of a kid, not caring if the same picture went to thousands of others.

Donors don't just want to give money. They want what we call "personal discovery" that involves a give and take of information, shared by both the donor and the organization. They want to advocate, volunteer, test things out and be a part of the cause. They want, through all of their gifts, to find meaning. This makes communicating with donors -- getting to know them - something you can't just do by deploying the latest technology tool.

The news is all atwitter about Twitter. It's all about Facebook. It's all about the latest version of the iPhone and the power you hold in your hands to connect with the world through a small little screen. Being on Facebook and Twitter, using smart phones and tablets are all important in some way -- really important, in fact. But on their own, they have little value if they aren't used for intentional engagement, used to help you get to truly know the donors you have today (not yesterday).

As a donor, what do you want from an organization? As a nonprofit, how are you engaging your donors? Please share your experiences, and look for our next post introducing shift #2: Nonprofits need to define themselves by their results.





Marc Chardon is CEO of Blackbaud, Inc., a global software and services provider for nonprofits.





Hal Williams is the former CEO of The Rensselaerville Institute and currently an Outcome Guide who has helped foundations and nonprofits both large and small use an outcome-based approach.



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I want to be like J-Hud

Posted by Guest Blogger at May 25, 2012 02:27 PM CDT
Categories: Advocacy, Constituent Empowerment, Fundraising, Nonprofit Trends, NPtech


Better Together: Today's post is written by Amy Braiterman, principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud and author of the Friends Asking Amy Blog.  As the smart minds at Convio and Blackbaud converge, Team TR is excited to welcome Amy into the P2P braintrust as an additional resource for our clients.  She supports customers with their P2P fundraising programs using a process she refers to as “data-driven strategy.”   Amy’s data driven strategy analyzes how effective event participants are using online fundraising tools and takes those results to develop an event fundraising plan. 

I want to be like J-Hud: Inspire Your Participants for the Fundraising Journey

You’re probably wondering why I’m referencing Jennifer Hudson (J-Hud) in a post about inspiring and motivating event participants, so let me explain. I had an epiphany the other day. Fundraising is like weight loss. We all want it and we want it immediately. But, just like weight loss, achieving fundraising success requires planning and hard work. Even though there are lots of short cuts on the market, to help you lose weight fast, they never seem to live up to their promises.

So, what does this have to do with event participants? The weight loss industry does a great job motivating and inspiring individuals to buy their products. We spend more than $58 billion dollars a year on weight loss products and services. I have to admit that I contributed to that total.

For the last few years Jennifer Hudson has been WeightWatchers' spokesperson. The team has created several inspiring commercials, but I think they got it right with the first one. The campaign was built around a simple and powerful statement: I Can. The commercial features J-Hud saying “before WeightWatchers my world was can’t…, but on WeightWatchers I can”. This is an awesome message. My life was I can’t, but now I’m empowered and my life is I can. This is exactly what we need to do for event participants.

In the nonprofit events world, we’re great at sharing mission information or providing fundraising tips like how to raise $500 in a week. Let’s add another tactic into the mix and take a cue from our weight loss friends. In your next email or newsletter, include a story about an individual’s or teams’ fundraising success. Motivate your participants by sharing stories about what their peers are doing. Turn them from I can’t to I can. Plus, this is a great way to recognize your participants. They’ll be excited to be featured in your email and you might motivate them to do more.

How are you motivating your participants? Are you currently sharing peer success stories?

If you’re interested check out the commercial. It’s a great message.



 Interested in Learning more from Amy?  Sign up for her free webinar on How to make Social Media Impactful, Actionable and Profitable

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The Imperfect Storm

Posted by Guest Blogger at May 23, 2012 01:21 PM CDT
Categories: Advocacy, Constituent Empowerment, Content Management, Nonprofit Trends, NPtech

This post was written by Marc Chardon and Hal Williams. It was orginally featured on The Huffington Post, May 18, 2012.

The storm, for nonprofit organizations, is fully brewed. The demand for services is up; contributions have barely regained their pre-recession levels; government funding is way off; and expenses are rising. We are tempted to call this a perfect storm.

This turmoil, however, is actually imperfect. Although it's tempting to blame the economic downturn for all that ails nonprofits and charitable giving, the reality is that the current uncertainty is the new normal.

There are five key shifts affecting the environment for nonprofits that have co-mingled with the economy to create the potential for continued rough times if organizations don't change:

Donors are dramatically changing what they want from philanthropy. The fundraising appeals that used to bring in record donations no longer work, even in a stronger economy. Smart nonprofits want the check writer, not just the check.

Contributors increasingly shift from funding programs to investing in results. They are less interested in how many are served, than in how many are improved. Soon, information on nonprofit effectiveness will trump information on efficiency and even sustainability.

Many donors have moved from a desire to support multiple groups working on a single issue to investing more in the specific organization that produces the strongest result. Blending in for nonprofits is now less useful than standing out.

Donors want to see data, not just hear a few stories. Donors want to see data showing impact beyond the few stories that can be told. They will use the same business sense that they used to make their money in deciding how to give it away.

Execution of programs no longer defines the results. The shift is from the program to the participants and how these individuals make progress toward improving their lives and conditions. A great predictor of success lays in the extent to which a person engages in his or her own achievement.

Nonprofits cannot ride out this storm. They have to find a way to succeed within it. Put differently, we are not interested in how groups manage in tough times. Too often, that is about staying afloat. We are focused, instead, on how these groups thrive in a new reality, which is defined as both having a destination and reaching it.

So we begin the conversation, and we hope you'll join in. In the posts that follow, we'll dive deeper into our take on how to navigate the imperfect storm, organizing our thoughts as a response to the five shifts noted above. In all cases, our responses share one premise: that loosening up is better than hunkering down.





Marc Chardon is CEO of Blackbaud, Inc., a global software and services provider for nonprofits.





Hal Williams is the former CEO of The Rensselaerville Institute and currently an Outcome Guide who has helped foundations and nonprofits both large and small use an outcome-based approach.



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Social Community Impacts Volunteerism

Posted by Guest Blogger at May 15, 2012 06:30 AM CDT
Categories: Constituent Empowerment, NPtech, Social Media

What’s the sure fire way to make certain your constituents continue to volunteer for your cause – ensure they are emotionally invested to the organization. Allowing your volunteers to be able to find other volunteers through your online directory, post messages about their upcoming events, blog about their experiences, and share pictures within your community site, empowers them to be more committed to the cause and yields higher fundraising for your foundation!

  1. Establishing a Discussion Group - When your volunteers can post and reply to messages to events they have an interest in, it facilitates a type of community in which volunteers feel more connected with their peers and committed to the cause. Through Discussion Groups they can coordinate logistics, share creative ideas, discuss marketing and communication strategies to increase attendance and involvement, share their stories, and receive feedback from their peers leading up to, and after the event. Higher engagement of volunteers yields a more significant commitment to the cause and subsequently higher fundraising dollars for the organization.
  2. Creating a Blog within your Community - Why send the traffic back to Word Press and Blogger? You want your volunteers to be able to share their stories of volunteering at a homeless shelter, building homes for their neighbors, and running marathons for great causes within your community. Bring the traffic back to your private online community site that is branded for your organization. This also enhances SEO by allowing new members to search for keywords and having your volunteer’s blogs appear in the search results within your community site. The easier it is for volunteers to be able to share their experiences from the events or their personal story with the organizations, the more likely they are to be engaged and invested in the organizations. Higher emotional investment indubitably yields higher contributions.
  3. Enhanced Volunteer Directory - Volunteers want to network with those whom they will be working with. They want to see their profile pictures, learn more about their bio, job history, volunteer history, and see if went to the same Alma Mater.  What better way to do that than to have them search for other volunteers in the communities and events they are involved with, add them as a friend and send them direct messages in advance of the event? This pre-event relationship building, instantly builds stronger connections for the volunteer members and helps foster the sense of community which the organization is trying to instill.
  4. Sharing within a Resource Library - Your Volunteer Champions can upload pertinent documents within the community for the volunteering events which can be easily referenced at any time from the volunteers smartphones and community site. This also builds a knowledge repository and archives of the agenda, project management, logistical, and budgetary plans. The easier it is for volunteers to be able to see the relevant documents pertaining to the events, the more likely they are to be engaged and invested to the organizations.

Angelika HigherLogicAngelika Lipkin is the Manager of Strategic Partnerships for Higher Logic, a social media and mobile software company for associations and nonprofits. Angelika specializes in fostering relationship development, developing social media engagement strategies, and consulting organizations on launching private social networks.

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