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Art & Science of Moves Management

Posted by Rachel Muir at Jul 29, 2011 07:15 AM CDT
Categories: Fundraising

Usual SuspectsDoes your moves management program look something like this line up from The Usual Suspects? We go to the well yet again, and ask the same donors we just asked to support our most recent campaign.  Our donors may even call us on the carpet and tell us we need to widen our circle of friends. We nod and agree, but do we follow up to meaningfully engage them in actually helping us build our network?   

Here’s the million dollar question: when was the last time you spent time with your donor without the intent of asking them for a gift? How well do you really know them? Do you know what program you have that they are most passionate about? Are they getting prompt meaningful acknowledgement for their gifts? If you are properly (and promptly) receipting and acknowledging your gifts you are performing better than your peers but before you pat yourself on the back, are you personally contacting the donor to let them know how their gift had an impact? When was the last time one of your program managers contacted them to update them on their pet project?       

We don’t want donors to feel like an ATM for the nonprofits they support. Want to learn what your major giving program might be doing wrong and how to change it? No one makes the case better than Jeff Schreifels, senior partner at the Veritas Group and veteran fundraiser, in his post 10 reasons why major giving programs suck.

If you are hanging your head in shame you aren’t alone. You can’t have a methodical moves management program without the right tools. That’s like trying to fish with your hands. No tool is more important to a robust moves management program than a Constituent Relationship Management System, or CRM. If fundraising is part art and part science, CRM is the science. Let’s face it; you can’t track or strategize how to cultivate a prospect using sticky notes. And spreadsheets will only get you so far. You need a system that gives you a 360 degree view of your constituents so you can deepen your relationship with them and connect with their networks to widen your circle of friends. A strong CRM system like Common Ground allows you to streamline the process to pinpoint the donors who can have the greatest affinity and capacity to give and create step by step replicable moves to cultivate them to make a major gift to your cause. (To learn more about how Common Ground helps you implement moves management read our whitepaper.)

Having the right system in place to manage your relationships is the first part of the equation. The real art of fundraising is creating meaningful touches to move a prospect closer to a gift. To inspire you with a meaningful touch I challenge you to surprise a major donor today by doing something nice for them they don’t expect. 

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A reason to applaud Congress

Posted by at Jul 28, 2011 04:29 PM CDT
Categories: Advocacy, Nonprofit Trends, Research, Social Media

It’s been a rough couple of weeks with the debt ceiling negotiations dominating the media and negative public sentiment at an all time high. So, I want to call attention to a little gem of a report that was released this week which may lift your spirits. 

In their #SocialCongress report, the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) shared some really great research about how quickly our elected officials have adopted Social Media as a channel for communicating with and listening to their constituents. Considering that the word “luddite” could accurately be used to describe Congress’s pace in adopting technologies like websites and email communication, this is remarkable news.

A lot of the report’s findings are not terribly surprising, such as the fact that younger staffers and early adopters are much more likely to see value from social network communications.  But, since Convio sponsored the report, I had a chance to participate in a Q&A session with CMF and there are several  great takeaways from this report that grassroots advocacy organizations can put to good use as they start (or expand) the way that they engage with elected officials via social networks. 

  • Congress is using Social Networks to communicate with constituents
    Most notably, the report confirms that not only does almost every member of Congress have a Facebook page or Twitter feed, but they consider these channels to be an important place for them to communicate with their constituents.  As with so many other new channels of communication, this doesn’t mean that all the old channels are going away.  Members of Congress are turning to Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube to augment what they are hearing from other channels.
  • Other channels aren’t dead
    Earlier this week, when congressional webservers and phone systems failed because too many constituents contacted their Representatives all at once, it was the perfect time to rely on Facebook and Twitter to get messages through.  But, we shouldn’t interpret the report (or this week’s technical glitch) as a directive to stop using email, phone, or even postal mail as a means of communicating.  Effective grassroots advocacy campaigns are all about getting the right messages from the right constituents to the right officials at the right time via the right channel.   
  • You need a unique strategy for social media advocacy
    The report suggests that you may need a different strategy for how you engage via social networks. When it comes to taking the pulse of their constituents, members of Congress primarily turn to Facebook to create a dialogue and hear what their constituents have to say about it. This means that part of your job will be to find those dialogues being created about your issues and then driving constituents to comment. 
  • Quality still trumps quantity, most of the time
    With each subsequent report that CMF puts out, we are reminded that the quality (and uniqueness) of the message is more important than the channel by which it’s delivered.  In particular, Facebook does not lend itself to identical form comment campaigns.  I’m also told that Facebook has shared directly with CMF that they are prepared to squash any advocacy campaigns that appear to be run by an organization that is trying to “game the system.” So, it’s in your best interest to place the highest priority on comments that are written in your constituent’s own words.

On the other hand, Twitter’s retweet functionality better supports this kind of campaign, so I’d argue that it’s not a terrible idea to pursue that approach there.  Families USA’s recent campaign is a great example of how an org might go about doing that.  

I’d be remiss in my duties as an advocacy product manager if I didn’t point out that Convio Advocacy has recently added new tools to help you run grassroots campaigns on social networks.  Our Representative Lookup tool includes links to officials’ pages on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  And, in the release coming out in August, you’ll also be able to personalize emails and webpages with this content.  To get the most out of your next action alert, you might consider personalizing the thank you page with links to where the activist can go to “amplify” their message on their Rep’s Facebook wall. 

At the end of the day, all this new technology is bringing greater opportunity to grassroots organizations who are ready to think outside the box about how they conduct campaigns.  For those of you who are still having trouble convincing luddite organizational leaders to invest resources in social networks, I’ll arm you with one final piece of information.  A report released recently by the Pew Internet and American Life Project tells us that Facebook users are more politically engaged than the average American.  In particular, compared with other internet users a Facebook user who visits the site multiple times per day is two and a half times more likely to have attended a political rally or meeting, 57% more likely to have tried to convince someone to vote for a specific candidate, and 43% more likely to have said they voted or intended to vote (compared with non-internet users: 5.89 times more likely to have attended a meeting, 2.79 times more likely to talk to someone about their vote, and  2.19 times more likely to report voting).  So, get out there and fish where the fish are!

Watch live streaming video from facebookdclive at livestream.com

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Forget the Leash, Go to the Cloud

Posted by Cheryl Black at Jul 27, 2011 11:21 AM CDT
Categories: NPtech

The following post originally appeared on YNPN Detroit's blog on June 11.

I’d like to start by saying I really like Outlook. It does really cool things.

But…have you ever tried to access your Outlook via webmail? It’s kinda ugly and clunky. That’s because Outlook is software that lives on your specific computer and is best utilized from that computer.

Take Gmail or Yahoo mail on the other hand. It’s web-based...also known as “in the cloud.” It looks pretty great from just about any computer.

Now think about your donor/member database. If it is software that lives on your computer or your organization’s server, it probably looks great when you are at the office. It functions as it was meant to. Have you ever tried to access it from another computer? Can you even do that?

If your database (or other technology) is in the cloud, you can access it from everywhere (just like you can access your Gmail everywhere) and no matter where you are, it continues to function exactly how it does at the office, exactly how it was meant to function.

Think about that. That means you can work from anywhere you like. It means that leash to the office that is your technology resources no longer exists. Cool right?

This opens up a world of opportunity; for IT, for finance, for fundraising and for human resources.

Let’s look at those last two with a couple examples for your consideration.

Scenario 1: Fundraising Gold

Your development director is seated at a Chamber luncheon with a major donor prospect and holy cow, she cannot remember the name of his new start-up. If your donor database is tied to the office, she’s texting you asking for you to look him up and send her the details. But if your donor database is in the cloud, she’s nonchalantly opening it up on her smartphone, scoping out not only his company name but his wife’s name and how they got connected to your organization in the first place. And now she’s asking all the right questions, dropping the right names and building his relationship with the organization.


Scenario 2: HR Victory

Your HR director is stressed because finance just told him this will have to be year three without staff raises. He’s ready to watch all that talent walk right out the front door if he can’t come up with a new, enticing benefit soon. Since you’ve moved to cloud-based technology, he’s able to wheel and deal with organizational leadership to allow everyone one work-from-home day each week. Now commuting costs are lowered, work-life balance is improved and employee retention is rockin’.

Technology that ties you to a desk is so last millennium. It costs more than just a line item in the IT budget; it costs you opportunities. You need technology that is versatile, accessible and flexible.

The cloud can help.

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Integrated Marketing Key Findings

Posted by Sara Spivey at Jul 26, 2011 02:31 PM CDT
Categories: Fundraising, Nonprofit Trends, Research

Integrated StudyWe all know that multi-channel marketing isn’t new, but data on what exactly organizations are doing with it isn’t necessarily well documented. Some organizations may be tracking their results, but many aren’t utilizing the information in their findings. We wanted to look closely at the best practices organizations are taking within the world of multi-channel marketing. Where are the nonprofit organizations today and what are are their key success factors moving forward?

Commissioned by Convio, Edge Research conducted an online survey for nine weeks gathering responses from 123 nonprofit practitioners and conducted 15 in-depth interviews, resulting in the Integrated Multi-Channel Marketing Study.

The principal finding was that adding online communications to a direct mail-only treatment improved donor retention rates, increasing frequency and consequently lifetime value. Other key findings include:

  • There is a broad consensus that an integrated approach makes sense. The word is out and the masses agree: integrated marketing is not only a logical approach but it strengthens brand, cuts through the clutter, increases response rates, engages new audiences, grows revenue, and can even save some money.
  • Motivations for adopting an integrated marketing philosophy vary. There are many forces that drive the integrated mindset, including the need to save money, need to unify message to preserve/enhance the brand, need to generate better response and as a byproduct of managing online
  • Integrated marketing sophistication and size don’t closely correlate. Size doesn’t really matter. More than 50% of the $20M+ orgs are only considered Juniors (in the participant categories), just beginning their journey with integrated marketing. Contrarily, more than 50% of <$10M organizations are marked as Advanced in their multi-channel efforts.
  • Online marketing’s contribution varies greatly. Percentages of funds raised online are all over the board in terms of org size.
  • Concept may be logical, but making it happen is anything but trivial. Two important findings that tend to have the greatest impact on advancing marketing and communications are an org’s commitment to the philosophy and investing in the mechanics to make it happen.
  • A supportive culture fosters integrated marketing success. Time to get current! Organizations who say they are successful at integrated marketing attribute their success to their org’s culture.
  • Organizational structure makes a big difference.
  • Integrated strategy and processes are essential – many seek outside help.
  • The systems and technology to support integration are an essential part of the process. Having systems that support integration has implications on the front end for campaign design and on the back end for measurement and analytics.
  • The process of proving ROI is complex. As one of our survey participants put it, “some things you can’t measure – you just have to trust your gut!”
  • Critical to understanding success is tracking and mining engagement interactions. Some of the most valuable types of interaction include: opens of each email appeal, website visits/activity, duration from message to activity, cross channel activity, etc.
  • Social media is a new channel for most, but an integrated part of the strategy for the more sophisticated groups. Some are professional tweeters at this point, but others are slowly wading into the ocean of social media.
  • Mobile marketing is of real interest, but is uncharted territory. “Sounds cool but I have no idea what, where and when!” Some are in the experimental phase; many are still tilting their head at what exactly mobile marketing is.

The whitepaper is chock-full of valuable metrics, current best practices used by nonprofits, new media channel activity levels, organizational strategies, and more. Take some time to look over what 123 nonprofit organizations are doing today with integrated multi-channel marketing and discover best practices that may be the key to your organization’s multi-channel success!

Download the full Integrated Multi-Channel Marketing Study now.

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Introducing Luminate

Posted by Gene Austin at Jul 25, 2011 07:01 AM CDT
Categories: Advocacy, Constituent Empowerment, Email Marketing, Fundraising, NPtech

Engaging constituents is a challenging proposition. Constituents want to be engaged on terms they care about with messages that are tailored to them. To do that organizations have to employ a multi-channel strategy. That’s why Convio is introducing Luminate, a constituent engagement solution for enterprise nonprofits.

The video below explains how constituent engagement and Luminate can help you build stronger, longer-lasting relationships with all your constituents.

I look forward to hearing your ideas on Luminate and working together to fulfill your mission.

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