We live in a world of touch. Nonprofits touch lives with their mission and passion in working to solve the world’s crises. Individuals touch lives by taking a stand for something we believe in by walking, or marching or running for a cause. Technology touches us, and we touch technology. On average, Americans spend 2.7 hours a day socializing on their mobile devices. “Touch” technology is all around us.
As mobile phone usage increases and technology advances, it seems we now have the world at our fingertips. Whether I’m sitting in bed and catching up on email, out shopping and comparing the prices with the online store, or trying to register for a 5k run this Saturday, I’m touching technology. Literally. Of the 4 billion mobile phones in use on this planet, over 1 billion of them are smart phones. In a study by Microsoft tag, it is predicted that by 2014, that internet usage on mobile phones and smart devices will exceed that of laptops and desktops. That’s in less than two years. And, the growing number of smart devices that use “touch” technology tells us that it’s time to kick adaptation into high gear. In comes responsive web design. And, in comes responsive web design built into the newest release of Luminate Online. [And the crowd goes wild!]
To state it very, very simply, responsive web design is a principle in which websites are coded in a way so that no matter why type of device you are viewing a site on, that site will look nice. Using an iPhone, tablet, laptop or gigantic monitor to view your favorite website? If the site is coded using responsive design technologies (like HTML5 and CSS), then it doesn’t matter what size device you are using; it will render properly. With responsive web design employed on a site or application, the site or app will adapt to your screen size and input device. While it’s actually very practical in terms of technology, it sure feels like magic!
The Luminate Online team and TeamRaiser product are adapting as well. Our upcoming release will feature a re-designed TeamRaiser event registration process which utilizes the latest and greatest in responsive web design technology. What does this mean for your event participants registering through TeamRaiser? They will experience a much, much smoother registration process and will be able to easily complete registration no matter what device they use. [And the crowd goes wild again!]
Here’s a quick rundown on the key benefits:
Sound fantastic? Current TeamRaiser-using organizations may click here for more information.
The better you steward and recognize donors, the more they will give over time - as advocates, volunteers, and through giving. So how are you weaving donor recognition into your communications?
Take a fresh look at your stewardship and cultivation strategy. Think ahead and be proactive in your recognition, are you utilizing interactive tactics to thank and recognize donors?
When was the last time you interviewed a corporation or individual about why they gave to your organization? Write up an article for your eNews, but don’t focus so much on who the company is, but instead why they believe your mission is worth wild and how their investment will make a difference. Looking for people to interview? Look beyond the board or a major donor. What about the couple who has been giving you $250 for the last 10 years? There is a story and it’s more relatable to your base than the person who gives $250,000.
Your website is prime real estate; think beyond a donor profile. What about an interactive donor wall that you update quarterly or monthly? Don’t just list names; what’s the point really? Make it interactive and engaging. Link some of the names to a picture, a quote, a video, a media release or a website. While you’re giving visitors a reason to read the list you’re also recognizing the people that support your mission.
Do you list your donors in the annual report, post it on your website and announce the publication via email. If you’re worried about other people searching for names, convert the PDF into images, which makes the content unsearchable.
What about social media? Instead of posting a donor story, ask the donor to post a story about why they gave to your mission. Utilize their circle of friends and influence by asking them to engage with you on your social media assets. Be even more timely, while you’re at the playground renovation with the local beverage company, tweet updates and post pictures from the event – show the impact in action.
And don’t forget to keep the focus on the mission, your supporters and investors should be thanked appropriately, but it’s even more important to link their gifts to impact so people can see philanthropy at work.
In recent weeks, I’ve been hearing more and more interest from event fundraisers on providing online tools to support their third-party or Independent Fundraising Events (IFE.) This topic came up earlier this month at the Run Walk Ride Roundtable discussions in Chicago. You can read more about that discussion along with some tips on how to get your own IFE brand started from my friend Nancy Palo on the Friends Asking Amy blog.
Traditionally, most orgs have only provided support to these types of events using offline channels alone. Typically, the fundraising group signs an agreement, gets permission to use the org’s name/logo in promotional materials and maybe if the event is large enough, maybe a staffer would show up to accept the large check.
As online fundraising has grown in popularity and as traditional run walk ride events have adopted sophisticated online fundraising tools like TeamRaiser or Friends Asking Friends, we’ve seen a trend where third-party fundraisers are now requesting (or demanding) access to similar online fundraising tools to support their independent fundraising event campaigns. When done right, these types of online campaigns can provide a nice complement (and a revenue stream) to your overall peer-to-peer fundraising strategy by providing individuals who are not interested in your traditional staff-driven events with alternative ways to support your organization by hosting their own style of fundraiser.
WaterCan is a Canadian organization committed to fighting global poverty by providing access to clean water, basic sanitation and hygene education. They worked with Cathexis Partners to develop an extremely visually compelling website that promotes several types of IFEs; highlights include a 25th Anniversary Campaign (pictured), Kilimanjaro Climbing Event, Donate Your Special Day and (my personal favorite) the Board Challenge. If publically displaying a photo of your board members next to their fundraising totals doesn’t motivate them to fundraise, I’m not sure what will.
There are so many things I love about this website that it’s hard to only pick 2-3 to share with you... so I limited myself to 4.
Interested in learning more about third-party fundraising / Independent Fundraising Events? Check out our whitepaper on How to Raise More Money with IFEs.
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.
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.
Keeping your email list alive and kicking is one of the keys to a successful online marketing program. It's critical to develop a sound strategy for growing and maturing your house file and to always incorporate best practices in your day-to-day management. But attrition is inevitable, so I want to share a few creative tricks to give your list building an extra boost.
Here are three types of campaigns that will not only keep your constituents engaged, but encourage them to generate new supporters from their own network of family and friends.
1. Pledge or Petition Campaign
Constituents and prospects show their support by signing a pledge or petition and then forwarding information about the campaign to their family and friends. To sign the pledge, request that they complete a simple online registration form, providing your organization with contact information and the opportunity to continue the dialog.
2. Social Fundraising
With the integrated social tools now available through modern fundraising solutions such as Convio Common Ground®, your supporters are empowered to tap into their networks to raise awareness for your cause, start conversations, fundraise through sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn and even promote peer-to-peer fundraising events. Donations and sign-ups are automatically captured into your house file.
3. Download Campaigns
An email with a downloadable offer, such as a tip sheet, research report, resource guide or case study, offers the reader something of value in exchange for their contact information.
For more house file tips and best practices, download our Grow Your House File with a List-Building Campaign tip sheet.
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