Info For Nonprofits

Effective Online Onboarding Strategies

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Here is (yet another) compelling reason for your organization to leverage digital channels:  the next generation of donors are engaging more on digital platforms and are increasingly looking for a way to support and donate through these channels.

The data is in, but how can you acquire and “on-board” these digitally savvy people and convince them to donate to your organization?  Care2 and Parachute Digital teamed up to create a White Paper explaining just that! The report’s Six Stages of an Effective On-boarding Strategy guides you through and answers these questions:

Some of the key points that resonated for me were:

  • You don’t have to target everyone.  Your audience should be those people who connect with the work that your organization does and actively engage with you.  Find out what is important to them and what would trigger them to support you.
  • Use email, online petitions, and web or video content.  Get your advocates to take action, and then guide them through a timely set of communications that could start out by asking for a call to action and warm them up for a donation ask.  Your supporters will embark on a “journey of discovery” where they can become invested in your vision and goals.
  • Use each piece of communication as a measuring tool.  You can track and monitor your progress through what you send to your supporters.  Is there a higher Click Through Rate in one email vs another email?  Are your supporters responding to specific content?

With these questions in mind, you are primed to start thinking about digital in a new, hopefully more positive, way.

Good luck on launching your digital strategy!

Free E-Book: NetworkforGood Giving Day Planning Guide

Beth's Blog -

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While it may be the dog days of August,  GivingTuesday 2014 kicks off on December 4th.   After spending a year facilitating a peer learning community of  Knight Foundation grantees hosting giving days, one of the most factors for success  for local no nonprofits participating is having about 6-9 months timeframe to develop a plan.      NetworkforGood to the rescue! They’ve just published this terrific, free e-book with lots of tips and planning templates to help your organization decide whether to participate.

The e-book is written by Jamie McDonald, the Chief Giving Officer of Network for Good and the Founder of GiveCorps. Jamie is an expert in online engagement and giving, inspiring Millennial donors, and the force behind BMore Gives More, the movement to raise $5.7 million in a day on #GivingTuesday 2013.   If you don’t follow her on Twitter,  you should!    The e-book offers an overview of the benefits of participating in GivingDays like #GivingTuesday, followed by a whole lot of wisdom and best practices.

I love the metaphor of a successful GivingDay campaign to a party:

  • Timing is key
  • A unifying theme creates excitement and engagement
  • There are some key people you want in attendance to make the party great
  • It’s got to be fun – games and activities can make a big difference
  • The execution details matter: flow, food, decorations, music
  • Party favors (rewards) can be an unexpected delight
  • Sharing memories – stories, pictures – after the party keeps the good feeling going, and makes everyone want to attend next year

If your nonprofit is not familiar with the Giving Days format or a little bit skeptical about the potential benefits,   the guide includes a great primer in a compact visual format and good discussion starter for your team.     The planning steps begin with the question of timing.    There are a number of GivingDays in local communities as well as #GivingTuesday – so the first question to ask “Is the timing right?”

All good nonprofit strategists know that you have to begin with setting measurable goals.  The guide offers a few examples, and a reminder that  you don’t have to use them all:

  • Dollars to be raised
  • Number of donors
  • Number of new donors
  • Number of volunteers (if you are including an activity)
  • Increase in engagement of key groups
  • % Participation among key groups – like staff

The guide offers up 11 strategies for your GivingDay Campaign.   Here they are with some added insights from me.

1.  Set a big goal. I’d suggest making it realistic, so think “stretch” not pie in the sky.
2.  Convene A Passionate Team:   This is so important to have both internal (staff/board) and external champions helping you spread the word.   If you are the person tasked with supporting this team, remember you have to model enthusiasm and make it contagious.   Making it easy for your champions to do the work is also important and you’ll find lots of templates and examples that you can remix on the Knight Foundation’s Giving Day Playbook and toolkits on the GivingTuesday site.
3.  Create A Branded Campaign: The guide suggests developing a theme and a visual that is used consistently in all of your Giving Day outreach, plus making use of any assets that are provided by the Giving Day host.   You’ll find lots of creative examples of how organizations have incorporated their branding with Giving Day slogans, taglines, and logos.
4.  Use a Hub and Spoke Model: This advice will help you manage the many champions who will help you, especially if you centralized your toolkits.
5.  Build A Communication Plan for Champions: It is important, especially in an age of media clutter, to encourage your champions to share your messages about the Giving Day.  Having a way to communicate with them regularly is essential, both leading up to the Giving Day and especially during the day itself. Facebook Groups are great for this!
6. Take Advantage of Creative Generosity: This is good community management practice.  Let your champions and supporters roll with adapting and remixing your content or jumping onto fun memes.   Make sure you acknowledge and thank them!    The idea is to escalate engagement.
7.  Get Business Business Support: This is something that a Giving Day host may do as part of the overall marketing and sponsorship of the event
8.  Create Once, Publish Everywhere: This tip is a nod to the need to use multiple channels – email, web site, offline, mobile and social.   The content you create doesn’t have to be from scratch for every channel, you are simply tweaking or optimizing it for the channel.    The skill of writing good headlines is an important one to develop!
9.  Gamify:  The best tip for nonprofits is to identify a donor who might issue a challenge match for your organization.  This can really boost your efforts.
10. Saying Thank You: Find creative ways to say thank you to your donors beyond the generic thank you email from the platform.   Social Media is great for this sort of thing,especially if you can say thank you shortly after they make the gift.   It is also important to say thanks after the event as part of a wrap and lots of folks use videos.
11.  Build A Parking Lot of Ideas:   You will probably get lots of great ideas and see lots of great examples of content generated by your champions and donors.  You want to make sure to capture those.   Of course, you will also have some tactics that didn’t quite work out, the best thing is to keep calm and document as the day unfolds and do a debriefing with staff to generate areas for improvement the following year.

Is your nonprofit planning to participate in a Giving Day?   What’s your best planning tip?

Le Web, C’Est Moi


Alan Rosenblatt Director of Digital Strategy turner4d What do words and phrases like Webmaker, Maker Parties, and Thimble have in common? They are keys to web literacy and innovation.

The Web is fundamentally the creation of the people that use it. Almost everyone contributes to it in some manner. Certainly, people coding applications and websites are creating the web, but that is merely the tip of the iceberg. What makes even the most elaborate coding effort worthwhile is the content people share on the web and the communities people build around it. There are many organizations fueling the maker movement and teaching web literacy. The Mozilla Foundation’s Webmaker project is doing both.

#14LCS Facilitator Series: Meet Lisa Heft


If you’ve looked over the agenda for the NTEN’s first-ever Leading Change Summit (#14LCS) this September, you’ve probably noticed that we tried to build in a healthy mix of time that attendees will spend in their tracks vs. time that will be spent all together.

All this summer we’ve been introducing you to the facilitators who will make the three tracks so memorable. Today I’m happy to introduce someone who will lead our first chunk of all-attendee, cross-track time on Wednesday, September 3: Lisa Heft.

Lisa is an internationally renowned facilitator and educator known for her use of Open Space Technology and other participant-driven dialogic and interactive methods for engaging deeper reflection, learning, and interchange. Her experience is across cultures and industries for diverse meeting objectives, knowledge-sharing conferences, dialogue-based task work, planning, and reflection. Lisa has been coaching our Education Manager, Julia, as we design this inaugural Summit, and she knows how important it is that the first all-conference gathering on Wednesday afternoon set a foundation for the rest of the event.

When you arrive at the San Francisco Hilton, you’ll pick up your registration badge and head directly into the session that Lisa is planning. She’s working closely with Wednesday’s keynote speaker, Deena Pierott, to make sure that this first opportunity for learning and sharing is inclusive, fun, thoughtful, and sets the stage for you to make the most of the rest of the Summit.

We’re excited that if you register for #14LCS, you’ll get to benefit from Lisa’s experience and wisdom, no matter which track you select! You can learn more about Lisa via her website, Opening Space.

View the lineup of #14LCS speakers and facilitators and register today!

Planning to Win: A Framework and Free Toolkit for Nonprofit Campaign Planning

Beth's Blog -

Planning to Win is an online guide for nonprofits that are looking to win support for an issue, impact policy, or get a corporation or government body to change its policies.   Spitfire developed this upgraded version of its first campaign planning tool because of the many new factors affecting what it takes to design and run winning campaigns in today’s rapidly changing world.   The site and toolkit was created through a  partnership and support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and input from campaign experts.

Planning to Win framework organizes the process of campaign planning into six stages.  The tool walks you through a series of questions that will help you make effective campaign strategy decisions each step of the way.  It is filled with lots of examples and practical advice.  A successful campaign strategy lays down the basics and then adds more details and nuances. This framework leads you through a logical decision-making chain where each step and decision builds upon the next.

The six simple stages to successful campaign planning are:

  • Define the Victory
  • Evaluate the Campaign Climate
  • Chart the Course
  • Choose Your Influence Strategy
  • Message for Impact
  • Manage the Campaign

You can download the print guide or use it online (after registering at the site.)   The site also includes a robust tool kit, including tip sheets to support each of the steps in the framework.


Reflections from #MFOM14: Email Marketing, Fundraising, and Visual Communications



On August 2-3, I attended the 5th biennial Money for Our Movements (MFOM) social justice fundraising conference in Baltimore, Maryland, convened by the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training.

I felt really humbled to be amongst a highly diverse group of both budding and seasoned grassroots activists. The last time I was in Baltimore was in 2007, with Amnesty International at their regional conference, attending as a bright-eyed student organizer trying to learn how to more effectively spread the good word of social justice and human rights (the story of how I got involved in nonprofit marketing!).

At #MFOM14, I participated as a speaker, leading one workshop, Email Marketing to Support Year-Round Online Fundraising, and as a panelist for the session, Visual Communication: Create pictures, videos, and presentations quickly, easily, and affordably.

Key takeaways from the Email Marketing workshop that took place on Day 1:

  • Fundraising is dependent on relationship building: Nonprofits should work year-round to cultivate and maintain relationships with donors, so that “the ask” is not a cold call at the end of the year. Channels such as social media can really help with this.
  • Think about goals and audience: Before you create content, first think about the ultimate goal and the target audience. Let that inform your decisions on what channel(s) to use to reach your audience. For example, if you’re trying to reach new donors, consider participating in #GivingTuesday (in addition to running your year-end campaign) to help increase visibility by connecting to this broader movement. Download this free recording from Blackbaud’s webinar about setting your goals for #GivingTuesday.
  • Set your own benchmarks: Guidelines, benchmark reports, and best practices are helpful to know, but ultimately it’s important to know your audience. To learn this, test as much as you can in order to get to know your audience well and understand what resonates with them. For example, consider creating a strategy for segmenting your emails and testing, this is a great resource from Kivi Leroux Miller.  
  • Everyone is a fundraiser: People donate to entire organizations, not just to one department (or silo). Make sure you’re set up for integrated fundraising success by regularly checking in with staff/departments to ensure that you’re accurately representing their work. Learn more about the three common barriers that nonprofits often face on Nancy Schwartz’s blog.

To learn more about how you can use email marketing to support year-round online fundraising, I’ve uploaded my slides to Slideshare.

While my workshop on Day 1 focused a lot on internal processes and best practices, the next question that we anticipated from attendees was, "What tools can I use to help create this compelling content?"

On day 2, I was part of the Visual Communications panel with four panelists (some you might recognize from the NTEN Community!): Tomás Aguilar, Progressive Technology Project; Yee Won Chong, Fundraising Consultant; Nadia Khastagir, Design Action Collective; and Chris Tuttle, Tuttle Communications. (See photo on the left)

Together, we joined forces and presented on the top tips and tools for creating visual media with a limited budget, and explained why it’s so important. We drew information from Resource Media's Seeing is Believing report, and explained how the language of pictures is universal - picture processing is an ability that we're all born with, as opposed to reading literacy. This is especially relevant if you're working with audiences around the world that communicate in multiple languages, or are illiterate.

Check out our presentation slides, as it’ll give you a lot of new ideas that can help support your year-end fundraising, as well as day-to-day content creation for social media, marketing, and beyond. Specifically, here are the key tools that are free/low-cost and easy to use:

We also asked the audience what tools they would recommend through Poll Everywhere. Here's what they said

Special thanks to the mighty team at the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training! To learn more about the 2014 MFOM Conference visit the conference website, and check out the conference hashtag on Twitter: #MFOM14.

I’d love to continue the dialogue about these two topics! Please post a comment below to share your thoughts and ideas about email marketing or visual communications, such as:

  • What are some email marketing tips that work for you and your organization?
  • What free or low-cost tools do you rely on for creating visual media? 


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