Hi! I’m Pat, the new VP of Worldwide Sales for Convio. In the short time I’ve been here I’ve learned a lot about you – the passionate people who drive the nonprofit sector. I know you are committed to your communities, resourceful in everything you do and most importantly, devoted to causes that make our world a better place.
It seems a little one-sided though that I know so much about you without revealing hardly anything about myself yet. Let’s change that. I hope this video acts as a good little virtual introduction and I look forward to meeting you in person at Summit next week and through the many other opportunities we’ll have together.
For the second Connection Cafe podcast series, I had the pleasure of chatting with Chris Simoes, Convio Director of Engineering. Chris has always impressed me with his enthusiastic and friendly approach to challenges and tasks at Convio. You may also remember that Cynthia mentioned him last month because of a fundraiser that he and others from our teams participated in. I hope you enjoy getting to know Chris a little in this interview as much as I did talking to him.
(You would think with a last name like Pudhorodsky, I'd be better at pronouncing last names. Apologies to Chris for slightly mispronouncing his last name in my intro. I was speaking so fast I didn't even notice it until after editing!)
Connection Cafe Podcast 2 - Chris Simoes
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At the risk of preaching to the choir…volunteer programs are a great way for your organization to engage constituents and achieve your mission.
A recent study by The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) states that overall US volunteers served 8.1 billion hours in 2010, valued at an estimated $173 billion, with volunteers providing 52 hours of service per year. With the budget challenges you may face, can you imagine the impact to your organization if you had a volunteer force giving an hour a week of service for a full year! On top of the time dedicated to your organization, volunteers also donate 10 times more money to nonprofits than non-volunteers.
Not that you really needed extra convincing on the value of a volunteer program. What you might need though is tips and best practices for making that volunteer program simply fantastic.
Here’s three quick tips from our recent Volunteer Management Tipsheet.
For more tips and ideas, check out the full tipsheet.
How do you think online constituent engagement is trending for nonprofits? All your personal indicators – your organization’s web visits, prevalence of social media, your personal online engagement – say it’s growing, up and to the right.
But it’s one thing to have a hunch about the trends. It’s another to have hard, quantitative data.
Each year the Convio Benchmark Report tracks just this: how well nonprofits and their constituents are engaging with each other online. And when we compare year over year we can see that our collective gut feeling is right on the money – online continues to shine. (Convio Luminate™ would be a good name for a solution that helps that even get better…)
Recently published in NTEN’s Change, on Mashable and on Katya’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog, the infographic below shows market trends year over year since 2008. We hope you’ll use it to make your case for online engagement, benchmark your success and to be the proof in the Internet pudding.
Break out the Manischewitz …. or apples and honey, it’s time to ring in the new year!
I know what you’re thinking—take a page from the Nordstrom playbook and don’t rush the seasons, Emily. Alas, I’m talking about the Jewish new year (also known as Rosh Hashanah), which begins at sundown on Wednesday. I dusted off my former Jewish non-profit staffer cap then connected with a few savvy folks* within Convio-land and am here to share some Jewish High Holiday online marketing tips with you.
To Appeal or… Not?
Many Jewish organizations assume that just because its shofar time, it is an obligatory time to send out an appeal. Think again, buckaroos! Some organizations (especially those that are providing a service around HighHo time, say Hillels providing SERVICEs to Jewish college students, more on this later) will have great success with a High Holiday appeal. This is not necessarily a given for all organizations.
Consider using this time of year to send out a cultivation message, reminding your housefile members of all the excellent work you’re up to. Think about incorporating a soft ask and capture some of the feel good Jewish energy often stirred up by round challot to reiterate your mission. September to December is a great time to raise money.. but give some thought to whether your mission supports a High Holiday specific ask.
Hype Services, Like Services
Some organizations who provide a service see a huge spike in online giving around the High Holidays (think of tickets to services for college students or the planting of a tree in Israel). Consider working a very specific and tangible service into your ask around this time of year—especially incorporating a seasonally appropriate tie-in. I love the National Council of Jewish Women and American Jewish World Service Rosh Hashanah ecards, putting a little web 2.0 spin on the tradition of sending New Year cards.
Multiples of 18, and Beyond
Make your fundraising ask culturally relevant by using multiples of 18 as suggested donations. (Based on the experience of my informal focus group, donors often entered in multiples of 18 even when they weren’t suggested.) Think about using the numbers that correspond to shofar notes around Rosh Hashanah to tie in additional Jewish content to your ask.
Tishrei or December?
Apples and honey or funky 2012 glasses: end of year is king! Jewish organizations are like other non-profits in that fundraising toward the end of the year will always be a powerful and profitable time to encourage giving from your housefile. Donors are looking to maximize tax deductable gifts before day one of the (secular) New Year. Use the High Holidays to begin stewarding donors and think about incorporating Chanukkah language or imagery into your end of year asks (it is late this year)!
If you’re an organization with a housefile composed of different faiths, consider the language you use in your end of year messaging. A very Christmas centric message could be off-putting if you know much of your constituency doesn’t celebrate Christmas. But, don’t be silent on Christmas Day! If many of your usual donors are not Christmas celebrators, they may not be up to too much else on the holiday itself and would welcome a well formatted, engaging email appeal that day.
I’d love to hear about your other High Holiday online strategy tips. What worked last year? What are you trying this year? And which recipe are you using for brisket?
*Special thanks to Convio strategy consultant rockstars, Miriam Kagan and Scott Gilman, for their help with this post!
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