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Global Digital Fundraising - a world of opportunity | nfpSynergy

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Global Digital Fundraising - a world of opportunity | nfpSynergy: Global Digital Fundraising - a world of opportunity
Free ReportApril 2014

Global communication has created possibilities and connections, but also some problems. It has, however, opened up new opportunities for non-profits everywhere to engage with their communities and key audiences. We know digital fundraising is an area for growth, but what does this mean for non-profits in different environments? What are they doing in very diverse cultures and developmental stages? Is this an area they should be investing in?

Nonprofit Facebook ROI—Yay or Nay? (w/John Haydon)

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Get ready for a roaring point vs. counterpoint, thanks to Facebook for Nonprofits expert John Haydon, who shares his Yay below.

I’ll be following up with mini case studies and links to research supporting my recommendation. Please share your Facebook plan (or plan not to use) and why here, and/or tell us what it does (or doesn’t do) for your organization.

You’ve probably noticed the raging discussion about the value (or not) of Facebook for all organizations (profiteers too)—it even made the most mainstream ever Time magazine.

There are two main reasons Facebook use is in question:

  1. Long-time ugh: Facebook constantly changes its algorithm (a.k.a. formula) for what’s fed to your org page “likers” on their own pages and its page design, without advance notice or how-tos. That means for those of us with limited resources, it’s an enormous expenditure of time (and the related ) to learn how to adapt, and to do it.
  2. Most recent ugh: Pay to play with a huge decline in organic reach of your content. Now the frequency with which your posts are placed on “likers’” own pages relates to the level of Facebook ad buy by your organization.

What’s clear is that Facebook isn’t free— plan to pay to have your messages delivered.

My recommendation: Use Facebook ONLY if

  1. You’ve selected Facebook as your social media channel of choice because your priority people ARE on Facebook, and you have a good way to drive them to your page and keep them there. Few organizations can effectively utilize more than one social media channel, at least to start.
  2. You use Facebook as a complementary channel to direct marketing (online and offline), your website and the other places where you have a track record of motivating the actions you want (giving, registering, etc.). Content and look and feel are consistent, tone varies depending on channel and the segment of folks you’re reaching out to in each channel and/or each campaign.
  3. You set concrete goals for whatever is measurable on your page (much isn’t) and try to link actions taken on other channels back to Facebook (and other influences)
  4. You are willing to invest a lot of time, expertise in your Facebook presence, AND a lot of cash for ad buys (your nonprofit will be competing against Zappos and Proctor & Gamble—what are your chances?).

Most organizations I know DON’T FIT THIS PROFILE. So for most of your organizations, Facebook is NOT worth the investment, even if your CEO or board chair is pushing it hard.

Please share your Facebook plan (or plan not to use) and why here, and/or tell us what it does (or doesn’t do) for your organization.

Now over to John…
YAY, IF DONE RIGHT (from John Haydon)

Nancy: What is the value in nurturing a brand page/community for orgs on Facebook?

John: Every marketing plan—whether it’s for a brand or a nonprofit—should include word of mouth elements. You want to create opportunities for your community to tell their friends about you.

The fact is, people talk with their friends on Facebook about what’s important to them—movies, weekend activities, family milestones, and causes.

Nurturing your community on Facebook increases the likelihood that they’ll talk about your nonprofit with their friends. In fact, according to one study, Facebook is the most powerful word-of-mouth social media channel.

Nancy: Are there a few criteria a nonprofit can assess to clarify if and/or they should invest (or continue to invest) in its Facebook brand page?

John: It isn’t reason enough for you to simply have a Facebook Page. If your nonprofit depends on fundraisers and volunteers to exist, Facebook should be an important communications channel. Most of the people in your database probably use Facebook already.

If you want to see how many people in your community use Facebook, you can upload your email list as a custom audience and see how many Facebook users are in your email list. Just follow the instructions in this video.

Nancy: What should orgs change strategy wise, with this new algorithm?

John: The purpose of the News Feed algorithm is to display the most interesting content to each Facebook. This way, they will continue to to use Facebook as an important way to connect with friends.

Because Facebook is a friend network, using your nonprofit’s “brand voice” will not work. For example, if all you talk about is your 50th anniversary fundraiser gala, you will bore people and therefore get zero visibility in the News Feed.

The solution is igniting your nonprofit’s “friend” voice (your community sharing your content with their friends).

Nonprofits can start with these questions:

  • What does out community get passionate about?
  • What’s truly useful and interesting to them?
  • What needs are not being met by competing organizations?
  • What are specific ways you can become indispensable in their lives?

- again, getting your current true fans talking about you with their friends on Facebook.

Nancy: How should nonprofit communicators start advertising on Facebook, if they fit the criteria I shared?

John: There are four things to keep in mind when using Facebook ads:

1. Have a plan. As with any type of ad investment, be really clear about why you are using ads in the first place. Do you want more website traffic? Do you want more engaged fans? Do you want more likes?

2. Target wisely. If a breast Cancer foundation targets all women in north America, they will be wasting money on Facebook ads.

For example, it’s better to target only women who have expressed an interest in breast cancer (liking breast cancer related Facebook pages). Additionally, use your Facebook page Insights to determine what demographic is most likely to like your page, and engage with your posts. Targeting Facebook adds wisely will not only save you money, it will increase conversion rates for those ads.

3. Only promote awesome. If you are using Facebook ads to promote page posts, make sure you’re only selecting posts that have performed well. This way when people do see the post as a result of an ad, they will be more likely to engage with it as others have done before.

4. Avoid smelly fish. Facebook ads are like relatives and fish – they go bad after about 5 days. Always make an effort to push fresh posts with ads, instead of letting an ad run for 30 days.

Nancy: What can we expect next from Facebook?

John: You can expect more competition in the newsfeed from brands, friends, and competing nonprofits. Your only solution is to become likable in the real world, not just on Facebook.

Please share your Facebook plan (or plan not to use) and why here, and/or tell us what it does (or doesn’t do) for your organization.

P.S. Get more nonprofit marketing tools, templates, case studies & tips delivered right to your in-box! Register here for the Getting Attention blog & e-news.

Charity Miles App Nominated for Webby: Walking for A Good Cause

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Over the past year, I have been using a fitbit to help me incorporate more activity in my life.  I’ve committed to walking 10-20,000 steps per day and even earned my 1,000 miles badge.  But what if you could raise money for a charity just by walking, running, or riding your bike?    That’s exactly what the app “Charity Miles” makes happen.   You download the app, select a charity, and start moving and earn money from sponsors for that charity.  Walkers and runners earn 25¢ per mile; bikers earn 10¢ per mile, all courtesy of corporate sponsors like Timex, Humana, Lifeway and Johnson & Johnson.  The app is so good that it has been nominated for a Webby!

With Gene Gurkuff, Founder of Charity Miles at SXSW

In March at SXSW, I bumped into Gene Gurkoff outside of the Social Good Lounge.    He shared why he started this app:

“I started this app because I’ve been running marathons for 11 years to raise money for Parkinson’s in honor of my grandfather who has it. I’ve run 39 marathons and 6 Ironman triathlons for Parkinson’s and I’m one of the founders of Team Fox, the grassroots fundraising arm of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. I always wanted to get companies to sponsor me. But since I’m just a regular athlete, I could never do that. So, I figured that if I got enough people together then we could all get sponsored— just like the pros but for charity.”

This was meaningful to me because my father lost his battle with Parkinson’s last year and I felt like a great way to walk with intention to honor him.  This isn’t about fitness or crowdsourced motivation, it’s about supporting a charity that has some meaning to you.

Gene launched the app in June of 2012 and it has been growing ever since.   It’s been written up in most major fitness magazines, including Runner’s World.  It has also  have won several awards, including the SXSW Dewey Winburne Award for Community Service and the SXSW People’s Choice Award.  And, now the app has been nominated for a Webby – please vote for it!

The whole concept of walking with intention is intriguing to me.   It makes me wonder how can one integrate movement and walking into work?  I’ve written about why I think movement is the killer app for work but love to see this embraced by more people.


Mobile for Good: How Mobile Wallets Will Transform Fundraising


Heather Mansfield Blogger Nonprofit Tech for Good What is the potential for mobile wallets on processing payments and fundraising? It not just the convenience of swiping. Learn more in this excerpt from the new book, "Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits."

More than any other mobile payment processing technology, mobile wallets have the greatest possibility for transforming fundraising, but the technology and its implications are not well understood in the nonprofit sector. Learn more about opportunities for nonprofits in this excerpt from the new book, Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits

Nonprofit Crisis Communications: Passover Case Study

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This week’s triple murder at a Jewish Community Center (JCC) and Jewish-run retirement home in Kansas City—by a white supremacist, because he thought his victims were Jewish—generated empathy and concern among everyone I know. It was made even worse by the timing just a few days before the anniversary of 2013′s Boston Marathon massacre.

But for us Jews, about to celebrate Passover the next evening, it spurred extra sadness, anxiety and fear. Like many other peoples, Jews are periodically targeted for acts of hatred and violence. And this one, coming on the eve of such an important holiday, was especially frightening.

I was awed by the way community leader Alan Feldman, CEO of JCC Metrowest, conveyed calm, reassurance and hope to members and student families in this right-things, right-now email. He implemented this six-point approach:

  • Sets a straightforward, calm, reassuring tone
    • From Alan’s clear, short, informational subject line—On Incident at Kansas City JCC—to his closing wish—Chag Pesach Sameach! Please try to enjoy a very sweet and wonderful Passover and holiday season—Alan is as positive and forward-looking as possible
    • It would have been natural to send an emotionally-charged email, mirroring what I’m sure Alan felt on the inside, but he took the higher role to provide what the community wanted
  • Bonds with us by speaking personally, with a first-person approach
    • I know that you join me in expressing outrage at the news of the shooting at two Jewish community institutions in Kansas City
    • By putting himself and the reader on the same “side,” Alan builds buy in and faith
  • Redirects our focus to those who are most important—the victims and their families
    • Our most heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this terrible tragedy…
    • He brings community’s attention back to the real victims, motivating our empathy and clarifying how lucky (and safe) we are
  • Connects further over a topic that’s collectively top of mind—Passover
    • Our most heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this terrible tragedy as well as our hopes that a sweet and liberating Passover will in some way ease their pain.
    • Then Alan links his call to action (calm and empathy) to the Passover story for greatest relevance
  • Reassures us via his clear, comprehensive list of how the JCC is keeping us safe
    • Regarding our own agency here in West Orange, please know that we are in constant contact with the West Orange Police and The Secure Community Network (SCN) (with full details on both)
    • By showing what safety approaches are in place, rather than addressing fears, Feldman demonstrates his dedication to community safety.
  • Strengthens our bond by inviting us to get in touch with questions or discussion, and there’s nothing more calming than that.
    • I will keep you informed if new information becomes available, but, if you have any questions or comments, please contact me personally

This six-point approach is backbone of crisis communications. It works for the JCC, and will work for your organization.

How have you communicated around a crisis? Please share recommendations for crisis communications dos and don’ts here.

P.S. Get more nonprofit marketing tools, templates, case studies & tips delivered right to your in-box! Register here for the Getting Attention blog & e-news.

P.P.S. More Crisis Communications Guidance


Thank you for your 14NTC feedback!


Thanks again to everyone for being a part of the 14NTC! It’s our community that made the conference such a rich experience—and it’s your feedback that will make the 15NTC even better. We take all feedback seriously and appreciate the time you took to give it. Thank you.

Shouts out to Lauren Girardin and Jen Newmeyer, our randomly selected winners from the pool of submitted conference and session evaluations. They both will receive shiny new Surface Tablets generously donated by Microsoft. And, hooray to Shumway Marshall who won the speaker raffle for free 15NTC registration.

Learning is the Work

Beth's Blog -

Last month, I had the pleasure of participating in National eXtension Conference which was amazing for many reasons.    I first did several professional sessions with this network back in 2007 and an online class on knowledge sharing and online collaboration – so it was great to long-time colleagues.     The highlight was a master panel with Dave Gray,  Harold Jarche, and Jane Hart on connected learning and culture change needed to embrace this type of learning.  We used Dave Gray’s “Board Thing” online tool to crowdsource questions to discuss from the audience.   You can find a storify of the curated tweets and links here.

What was most exciting for me was to finally meet three people  in person after following their writing, blogs, and books for almost a decade.   If you are not already familiar with their work, you will learn a lot about online collaboration, knowledge management, informal learning, and networks by following them.

Dave Gray:   Dave Gray is a guru on the topics of design, innovation, culture and change. He’s written two books - Gamestorming and The Connected Company.    I first discovered Dave’s work through colleague, Eugene Eric Kim, who recently shared this great story about Dave and his work.

YES YES YES YES YES @davegray “People don’t learn from spreadsheets, predictions, and plans, they learn from making things” #NeXConf

— Jason Adam Young (@jasonadamyoung) March 27, 2014

Jane Hart: Jane has been blogging for many years and writes about informal and workplace learning .   She is one of the leading voices of  ”social learning practice” which is about self-directed and informal learning from your online networks.  She’s written a book about this, “The Social Learning Handbook.”   She has a wonderful Twitter stream called “Learning Flow” that is a continuous learning stream of short activities (15-20 minutes) a day.   She also publishes the Top Learning Tools Index, a crowdsourced list of the best technologies for networked learning.

In her keynote,  Jane gave us the big picture and framework about what social learning is and why it is important.   Jane described social learning as “learning the new” to keep up with our industry.     It is about digesting a steady flow of information from a diverse online professional network.   “It is about constantly looking around you and at new resources to learn new things.”   She used the metaphor of white river rafting.

Why is learning the new important?  She pointed out that an individual’s knowledge and skills will be out of date within 5 years and a college degree will be out of date long before the loan is paid off.       This means we need to build the skill of learning the new and this means building online social network competence.  Most importantly, it is about building a professional network of peole in your industry or professional area  (external experts and others) and interacting with them to keep up to date.

What does learning the new mean for organizations?  She explained that “learning or teaching the old” is about training, knowledge transfer, and structured, directed learning.   Teaching the new is not structured because it is social learning. She points out that you can’t teach people to be social, only to show what it is and help facilitate it.   She also talked about a new role called “Social Learning Practitioner,” someone who encourages and enables and supports knowledge sharing and learning across the organization.

Harold Jarche: I’ve been reading Harold Jarche’s blog for many years and was thrilled to finally meet in person.  He is a network consultant and recently wrote an e-book, Seeking Perpetual Beta: A Guide Book for a Networked Era.    In 2011, I read about his  ”Seek, Sense, Share” framework for personal knowledge management and adopted this approach for a year which was an invaluable for learning.

After Jane’s keynote,  Harold lead a master class with practical exercises on how to “learn the new” or manage/design and use a professional learning network.

Mapping Your Professional Network Exercise:

He asked to think about this question:    Who are the people with you have most frequently communicated with in order to get your work done?  He asked us to list them.  Then asked us to do analysis based on:

  • Age
  • Organization
  • Gender
  • Hierarchical Position
  • Area of Expertise
  • Geographic Location

He asked to reflect on our network map.  Is your professional learning network diverse enough?  Diversity correlates with innovation?  Are you getting new ideas from your network?  If you find Twitter boring, perhaps you are following wrong people.   This sparked an excellent discussion about how we identify people to follow – how do we tune our network?  Here’s a blog post from Jamie Seger summarizing some of the ideas into practice.

He also shared some points about how you need to filter your professional learning network.  The illustration above is Jarche’s “Seek, Sense, Share” model that integrates  Five forms of filtering by Tim Kastelle.    The filtering approaches fall into two categories:   Human Judgement Based or Mechanical.

The most important takeaway was to understand how to use human filtering in your professional network.  You can identify the recognized experts on a topic, especially if it is a side topic to what you need to know and follow them.    But if the topic is the core of your work, you need a network expert filter – this is multiple perspectives on the topic.    This is about being intentional about selecting who you follow to build your ability to learn.


Is it “Mobile First” or “Content First”?


Kristina Halvorson CEO Brain Traffic Mobile is simply one more way to connect to your audiences through content. Without powerful, useful, usable content, channels don’t matter. Mobile doesn’t matter. You have to get your content right, and that requires content strategy.

“Mobile first!” It’s a phrase we often hear … but what exactly does it mean for your organization? Do you redesign your website to be responsive? Build a standalone mobile app? And—no matter what—how can you execute “mobile first” without compromising your messages and calls to action?

How Do I Get My Nonprofit’s CEO To Use Twitter or other Social Media?

Beth's Blog -

“You have to show not just tell your CEO about social media”- @carolynsave “Create a tweetorial” – @kanter #afpshift

— Ettore Rossetti (@EttoreRossetti) March 25, 2014

Last month, I participated in a keynote panel at the AFP Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX on the theme, “Social Media for Social Change” with Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children, Ben Rattray, Founder of Change.Org, and Ritu Sharma and Darian Rodriguez Heyman, co-founders of Social Media for Nonprofits Conference.     It was a blast!    Carolyn, Ben, and I each did a brief presentation on the topic and then we sat down for a discussion facilitated by Darian and Ritu using questions from the several thousand people in the audience.

Here’s a storify of the curated tweets, but I wanted to pull out one of the questions that came up:

“How do I get my nonprofit’s CEO to pay attention to social let alone use it?”

1.  Get Their Attention: “Camp outside their door.”    This is the advice that Carolyn Miles of Save the Children offered.  She said that as a busy CEO, there are many things to pay attention to and she would not be using any social media if wasn’t for her staff person, Ettore Rosetti, VP of Digital Marketing.   He camped outside her door and not only told her about how nonprofit CEO’s were using Twitter, but showed her how easy it was.

2. Show How Social Amplifies the Work They Are Already Doing:     Now that you have got their attention, make sure you discuss how social media can amplify and enhance their current work by asking some simple, but powerful questions.  Here’s a story about the CEO of the ACLU of New Jersey and how he uses Twitter to reach out to the press and policy makers and the questions he and his staff answered.   Here’s another example about a nonprofit CEO (Helen Clark of UNDP) using Twitter to engage audiences about policy.

3.  Give them a “Tweetutorial”: Most likely, your CEO uses a mobile phone.   Give them a “Tweetutorial” of how to use Twitter on their mobile phone and the basic commands.   Here’s a collection of cheat sheets that you can use to teach any Nonprofit CEO almost any social media channel.

4.  Show Examples of Peers: Sometimes peer pressure can motivate.  Be sure to show other examples of nonprofit CEOs, preferably from similar nonprofits, using Twitter.   Here’s my Ultimate List of  Lists of Nonprofit CEOs Using Social Media.

5.   Share Time-Saving Tips: Be sure to let your CEO know that using Twitter or other social media channels doesn’t require hours and hours of time.  They can build their network while they wait in line for lunch or commute to work.  Here’s three good tips for easy content strategies for leaders.

6.  Teach Them How To Be Twitter Literate: Your organization’s brand communication strategy will complement your CEO’s use of Twitter.   For them, it is about being authentic and the personal touch.   For CEOs or anyone to be successful using Twitter, they need to know how to tune the network of people they follow and how to “feed” the network of followers the best content and engagement related to your organization’s work.

7.  Show Their Impact: After they have been using social, so how their presence is reaching a different audience.     Using a tool like Twiangulate, you can easily see the overlap of followers and reach for the CEO and the organization’s branded account.  Here’s an example of Save The Children and its CEO, Carolyn Miles.   As you can see, the CEO’s reach is larger, although she has fewer followers than the branded account.  That’s most likely because more influential  people are following the CEO!

Does your nonprofit’s CEO use social media for leadership?  How?  What are the best practices to sustaining and supporting their effective of social media to support your organization’s mission?


Last-Mile Impact Measurement: Mobile is the Way


Heather Franzese Executive Director Good World Solutions Four nonprofits are leveraging mobile technology to measure the impact of their programs, and hear from their remote beneficiaries that may not have access to the internet. Learn how they're implementing this technology, and the five lessons learned so far on how to maximize participation.

Why use scissors to cut the grass when you can use a lawn mower? In the world of impact measurement with remote beneficiaries, mobile is the new lawn mower. Four nonprofits are leading the way in leveraging mobile technology to hear directly from remote beneficiaries. While each has a very different mission, all have the shared goal of hearing directly from their beneficiaries about whether their work is working, and mobile enables them to do it. 

Firefly Partners

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Firefly Partners: Firefly and our friends at Heller Consulting are super delighted to share our hot-off-the-press CMS Guide for Nonprofits White Paper. The paper provides context and perspective into a few of today’s most popular CMS products for nonprofits.

All new for 2014 – our guide cuts through the jargon to serve up our take on several key CMS tools. If you are evaluating your CMS – and frankly you should be – you must download this free paper today.


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