Viewing entries tagged
nonprofit organizations

5 Steps to Selling your Cause on Social Media

Comment

5 Steps to Selling your Cause on Social Media

by Shanley Knox

If there is a single key to mastering the art of social media, it lies in building relationships. Whether you are looking to drive donations, draw volunteers, or promote awareness of a social issue, it's critical that your followers and fans feel personally involved in your organizational success.

The secret to beginning this process? Effective, personal engagement with people in your online network.  Here are five steps to guide you in your efforts:

1. Start By Getting Personal

In sales, it is often said that if someone feels that they can relate to you, they are much more likely to purchase. The same is true of causes. Does a follower share a similar love of your favorite book? Are they tweeting about a movie you just saw? Reach out to let them know how you felt about it. Take it a step further... if they tweet about their passion for a cause that relatees to your organization, reach out with a comment about why you care. It may seem like a small gesture to you, but facilitating this personal connection lets your followers (and potential followers) know you’re listening, and will ultimately help to create buy-in.

2. Cultivate a Relationship

Now that you've initiated contact, refrain from immediately selling your cause. Instead, let them know you value their perspective. If they are posting relevant content, retweet it. Answer their questions. Like their photos. Ask about their day. There’s no need to rush. They’ll be more likely to buy or donate once they feel that they can trust you.

Meanwhile, take some time to learn about who you're engaging with. If done properly, this process will produce valuable research for your organization...
     - What type of people follow you and/or respond to your outreach? 
     - What events or hobbies are they interested in?
     - Where do they live? 
     - How old are they?
     - What drives them to speak up? 

3. Address Their Pain Points

When it comes time to directly pitch your organization, think back to your research. Is there some way they personally relate to your cause? Use it to spark the conversation. Are they looking for ways to get involved, but have limited time to give? Present them with volunteer opportunities that require minimal commitment. Do they wonder where donations dollars go? Show them with pictures and stories. Knowing these pain points helps you to send them relevant information (in 140 characters, no less). It will make all the difference.

4. Close the Deal

When it comes time to close the deal, don’t be shy. Many donors or potential volunteers are interested in causes, but forget to follow through, or procrastinate until later (don’t we all?). Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. Sending a friendly reminder such as, “Did you get the link I sent?” or “I’d love to have an offline conversation about our organization, if you’re interested!” will help to put pressure on them to respond, without pushing them to an uncomfortable point.

5. Follow Up

Didn’t get them the first time? Don’t be frustrated. Studies have shown that making a sale can take seven to eleven points of contact. By following up, you can help prospective donors to recognize their value to your organization. By asking for something specific, e.g. “Five minutes of your time?” or, “Think you can join us in volunteering on Saturday?”, you provide them with the opportunity to deliver. 

Beyond all else, be sure to continue using your social channels to engage with your prospects. Show them you care beyond their potential as a donor. It's all about building trust through authentic means of engagement. 

Have tips to add? Tell us in the comments below, or contact us via Facebook, Twitter or Email

Comment

8 Steps to a Powerful Nonprofit Case Study

Comment

8 Steps to a Powerful Nonprofit Case Study

by Shanley Knox & Alexandra Ostrow

Time and time again, it's been said that individual stories are the single most powerful tool for increasing nonprofit donations. These stories, when coupled with key facts and statistics, make for a very powerful case study. 

It is therefore important to take note of one of the key difficulties encountered when including an individual's life in a case study: publishing personal stories can have ramifications on safety, reputation, confidence levels, and so much more. While you want to demonstrate your impact, you also want to handle a life with the utmost caution and respect. 

Below, we outline a step-by-step process for building a powerful, results-driven case study, while maintaining respect, and also being mindful of safety:

  1. The End Result
    It might sound counter-intuitive, but you need to begin at the end. What does “success” look like for your organization? What are you able to prove? What are donors looking for? Make sure you're being specific about what you’re measuring. 
     
  2. The Person Behind the Story
    Based on the impact you plan to illustrate, identify the person or people whose story would be best to tell. Make sure to think through the personal elements that donors will relate to most, as these will need to be incorporated. 
     
  3. The Written Elements of His or Her Story
    Create a list of questions you would like this person to answer that will help illustrate "The Before", as well as "The After."  
     
  4. The Process
    Where were funds spent? Who was brought in to help? Why were these specific measures taken? Provide clear, concise descriptions of the factors that led to success. 
     
  5. Rich Media Assets
    Think through what assets will best illustrate the story. Get creative... Photos? A video interview? An infographic? You should be prepared to illustrate "The Before", "The Process", and "The After".
     
  6. Consent
    Create a signed release/express permission form that explains exactly what information and assets will be shared. Find creative ways to shield personal details and/or identities for those who could be hurt or embarrassed were their identities or personal details to be revealed. If it's necessary, change their name, and use a small disclaimer such as, “I'll call her Joanne…,” or “John, a pseudonym...” Make sure you've secured explicit written permission before publishing stories or photographs, and when in doubt, don't hesitate to consult a lawyer.
     
  7. Assemble the Pieces
    Because your case study involves a personal story, it can be difficult to isolate the most important information to include. If you’re not careful, you might find yourself incorporating emotional, yet irrelevant, information, which subsequently detracts from key points. When pulling together your case study, make sure that you're still focusing on a single area, for which you're able to measure the results. 
     
  8. Distribute
    Once you’re finished (and you've circulated your case study for feedback), be sure to:
    • Incorporate into fundraising presentations
    • Include in grant proposals
    • Post to your website
    • Send out via e-newsletter
    • Share through your social channels

Don't forget to integrate Calls-to-Action. Readers/viewers have many pieces of content competing for their attention. If they've taken an interest in your case study, you want to convert their interest by telling them what to do next... Donate? Sign up? Contact us? Don't miss your opportunity.  

Is there something we missed? Or, do you have a particularly compelling case study to share? As always, our team would love to hear from you! Post in the comments below, or contact us via Facebook, Twitter or Email

———

For further reading: 

  • Click here to hear from other organizations on protecting confidentiality
  • Click here to read Lizbeth Paulat's, "How Not to Be a Jerk While Visiting Africa," a piece about photographing children
  • Click here to hear from FamCare on how to best use case studies for fundraising

Comment

How to Use Social Media for Nonprofit Fundraising and Engagement

Comment

How to Use Social Media for Nonprofit Fundraising and Engagement

In 2012, the nonprofit charity: water raised $8 million through their online fundraising platform. They are, perhaps, one of the more telling examples of the power of digital platforms to grow nonprofit fundraising and engagement. By creating a strong digital story, targeted social content, and participating in regular engagement with fans and potential funders, nonprofit teams have more opportunity than ever before to promote their cause online. 

Here are several ways for your nonprofit to get started: 

Use a virtual help desk

Platforms such as Help Scout provide access to multiple team members, thereby allowing for prompt responses to donor emails. Features include: email integration that allows you to respond from your own inbox; the ability to leave private notes for your team; actionable reporting providing insight on response times and team performance; and real time monitoring that lets you know when someone has accessed or already responded to an email.  

Create advocates out of your donors

Your online platform should give members of your network the ability to engage with your cause and share it with their friends, family and networks. This type of relationship creates efficient opportunities for fan advocacy, and often occurs by giving fans the ability to create their own visual and written content to share with their networks. Here’s a helpful blog explaining several specific ways to encourage brand advocacy. 

Leverage social proof 

Many donors express that their chief concern is that their money is going to nonprofit overhead, rather than projects and individuals being served. One way to increase trust and comfortability is to leverage social proof. Social proof can be described as “informational social influence,” or the positive influence created when one person finds out that someone else they know or relate to is taking part in a campaign. As you provide ways for your donors to publicly share that they have donated to your cause, you will subsequently gain the trust of your donors networks. 

Identify brand evangelists

Is there a leader within your company that has a strong presence on social networks? Their wide reach can be used to elevate and tell the story of your cause. By posting their own unique story of passion for your nonprofit’s mission, perhaps with the history of how they arrived at their commitment, this individual (or several individuals!) can create a corresponding story that communicates the power of your mission and vision, while expanding your reach amongst their networks.

Use powerful storytelling 

Storytelling is perhaps the most effective way to utilize social media. Your organization should seek to tell one overarching story of your mission and cause. Within it, you can present the facets of several different ongoing stories, such as the individual success stories, the fans who donate and volunteer, and the connection between the two. The more personal you can make the story, the more powerful it will become. 

Are there other ways you have used digital media to grow your nonprofit reach? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below! 

Comment

Crowdfunding & Crowd Investing: Which Platform is for You?

Comment

Crowdfunding & Crowd Investing: Which Platform is for You?

It seems that a new crowdfunding or crowd investing platform crops up every few days. With seemingly endless opportunities, it's important to choose a platform that fits your cause, reaches your target audience, and helps you tell the brand story that matters most to you. 

Below are six of the best platforms for finding the funds needed for your particular model: 

1. Looking to raise donations for your nonprofit?

Try Razoo

Who? Anyone can fundraise on Razoo – for a personal cause or for one of the 1 million+ registered US nonprofit organizations.
What? Razoo accepts donations that are received and receipted by Razoo Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 charity that operates a donor-advised fund to fulfill donor advisements. 
What’s the Fee? Razoo Foundation retains a low, flat 4.9% on all donations, one of the lowest transaction rates in the online fundraising industry.
How Will I Process Payments? Razoo partners with U.S. Bank to securely process your donations.
Campaign ideas? Here’s a list of Razoo’s best campaigns.

2. Want to support a charity (your own or someone else’s?)

Try Crowdrise

Who? Anyone raising donations for a charity. 
What? Donations to US-Based 501(c)3 charitable organizations through Crowdrise are 100% tax-deductible. You'll automatically receive an email receipt that meets the IRS requirements for a record of your donation.
What’s the Fee? Crowdrise charges a flat 3 - 5% (depending on your membership level), plus credit card fees.
How will I process payments? Network for Good or Amazon Payments.
Campaign Ideas? Run/WalkDo something Ridiculous or Donate your Birthday, among other things

{cke_protected_1}

3. Need investors for your social enterprise?

Try Return On Change 

Who? Startups in Tech, CleanTech, EdTech, Life Sciences, & Social Enterprises.
What?  This online funding portal seeks to meet all of startup's capital raising needs, as well as providing a place where investors can find socially innovative businesses to invest in. 
What’s the Fee? Return on Change does not charge posting fees. Broker dealers on the Return on Change site charge a 6% fee.
How will I Process Payments? You will need a business bank account to ‘close’ and receive the capital that you raise.
Campaign Ideas? Here’s a list of startups that have been approved.

4.  Looking to run a fundraising campaign?

Try Indiegogo

Who? Anyone looking to fund a creative or cause based project. There is no application process, so anyone can be involved!
What? Indiegogo provides a platform for your family, friends and anyone else you find through digital platforms to donate to your campaign. 
What’s the Fee? When your campaign raises funds, Indiegogo charges a 9.0% fee on the funds you raise. If you reach your goal, you get 5.0% back, for an overall fee of 4.0%.
How will I Process Payments? Visa, MasterCard, and American Express credit or debit cards, or PayPal.
Campaign Ideas? Check out Indiegogo’s recent success story,&nbsp;</span>Occupy Love.

5. Looking to fund a project?

Try Kickstarter 

Who? Creatives looking to fund projects in film, music, art, theater, games, comics, design, photography, and more.
What? Project creators set a funding goal and deadline. If people like a project, they can pledge money to make it happen. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing — projects must reach their funding goals to receive any money.
What’s the Fee? Kickstarter collects a 5% fee from a project’s funding total if a project is successfully funded. There are no fees if a project is not successfully funded.
How will I Process Payments? Kick Starter uses Amazon Payments.
Campaign Ideas? Check out Kickster’s staff picks.

6. Trying to launch a new product?

Try Crowdfunder

Who? US based businesses with a product or service. 
What? Crowdfunder connects your business to their local networks of 20,000 interested investors.<br>What’s the Fee? 5% if you meet your goals plus payment processing fees.
How will I Process Payments? Crowdfunder uses Amazon Payments.
Campaign Ideas? The most funded project to date is It's For Life, a company producing consumable and convenient health products.

Helpful points to remember: 

1. Posting a project is not a set-it-and-forget-it project. You must use social media to get the word out, and make funds come in.
2. Once you launch your campaign, it can be almost a full-time job to reach your goal. 
3. Individuals and companies with customers, an audience, or a social/professional network that can be converted to “backers” tend to be most successful. 

Have a favorite platform you want to share with us? Leave it in the comments below.

Comment