It’s all over the news that President Obama held a huge fundraising gala at George Clooney’s house and raised over $14 million dollars. While this is the most any president has raised in one night, I hardly expect the average nonprofit to charge $40,000 per ticket and reap the same results. However, fundraising events are a major part of many charities’ strategy to earn dollars and this week we will focus on making the most of your efforts to host a successful event.
As a former special events coordinator for several nonprofits, I’ve been able to be a part of many different types of fundraisers including dinners at elite country clubs, crab feeds, golf tournaments, corporate receptions, and intimate concerts. Although I’ve shared some tips in past blogs, I thought I’d expand on some of them for this week’s theme.
1) Host a mix of high and low-end events – Of course we’d all like to host a celebrity endorsed and attended event where you put all of your energy into one evening of grandeur with stellar results, but the chances of that happening can be compared to winning the Mega Millions lottery. In all likelihood, your donor list is probably made up of a variety of givers from those who give 20 dollars a month to high-end bequest and planned giving supporters. With this in mind, one organization I worked for had an elegant banquet once a year for top donors and a Fourth of July picnic for volunteers and lower end donors. Yes, we need to court those with heavy pocket books, but the amount from lesser givers certainly adds up, too.
2) Give incentive to attend – When we were in the planning stages of one of these higher end banquets, we were researching different speakers who were well-known and had a passion for our cause. Of course many cost a pretty penny and so the question came up whether the draw to our event was the entertainment or the compassion to support our mission. The answer was both. Some guests need a hook to entice them to come (especially the newer supporters) and longtime donors feel a dedication to the organization and will likely attend regardless of the speaker. I’m sure many guests would have donated money to the candidate anyway, but most attended the Obama affair to check out Clooney’s home and the other famous guests in attendance.
3) Get the word out – Just as in high school, many people will only attend an event if they know what to expect and who will be attending. For non-formal events, advertise and promote on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks your organization participates in. Direct people to your website and show pictures of past years’ events. Post updates on prizes, auction items, menu selections, or entertainment that will be featured. Also, if someone is unable to attend, give the option of a donation button so that they can still contribute to your cause online.
Online fundraising is a great way to get donors to give, but event fundraising is also a must for many organizations to create a stronger bond of partnership and dedication between the supporter and charity. More tips to come this week to help you create a profitable event to benefit your organization.
Fundraising is a must for many schools and organizations, but does it have to be so difficult?
I played softball when I was nine and we had to sell beef sticks for $1 to raise money for our league. The first ingredient listed was beef hearts… yuck. When I was in first grade we had a Jog-A-Thon and had to run around the parking lot as many times as we could. It took days of scrubbing to wash the Sharpie tick marks off my graffiti-ed arm (not to mention my stick legs didn’t carry me too many times around the lot). In fifth grade we had to sell tins of cookies that were miniscule in size and grandiose in price. My mom gasped when we received our order due to the discrepancy of the picture in the catalog verses the product in reality.
As we try to provide wide and varied experiences for our children to learn responsibility, coordination, and self-worth, we pollute their bodies and minds with byproducts, chemicals, and cost inflation. While I’m all for students working to support their school, there must be a better way to raise money.
When my niece was selling Christmas wreaths to fund a trip to winter camp, I asked how much of the price actually went towards her account to pay for the trip. Regardless of the size (which cost anywhere from $15 – $40), she only made $5off of each wreath. Instead of buying a decoration that will die in a couple of weeks, I now just give her the cash.
Online fundraising is a great new concept that eliminates the hassle of coordinating orders or locking people in to buying overpriced goods that they don’t really want or need. And on the topic of Teacher Appreciation Week, this is one less duty that teachers will have to worry about. Don’t they have enough on their plates?!?! A well designed website can clearly state your goal, stir emotions in the viewer to act, and make donating fast and easy.
One way to incorporate this new idea into your school fundraising strategy is to create an awesome video of your school and encourage the students to participate and share why they need a new library, P.E. equipment, or text books. Upload the video to your webpage, share the link with parents, and have them pass it on to relatives and close family friends via e-mail. If grandma is on a tight budget, she can give at a level that she feels comfortable with.
With budget cuts and larger class sizes, fundraising isn’t an option for many schools. However, how you fundraise is! Fundly can make your online fundraising easy with a website template that only takes a few minutes to complete. Every time a friend or family member donates, it gets posted on their Facebook page to encourage others to do the same.
I’m not saying that you should throw away your catalogs and bake sale signs. (What would the world do without Girl Scout cookies?!) It’s just time to try something new that can bring great results without all the hassle.
This week is Teacher Appreciation Week and these sacrificial saints are worthy of honor and acknowledgement. Other than moms (and don’t forget yours this Sunday on Mother’s Day), who else works for such a small pittance, gets hardly a thank you for the direction they give, and finds joy doing what most people dread? This week let’s give praise where praise is due and show the teachers in our lives how much we care.
According to Edutopia, 40% of the teachers they polled said that a gift card would be the most appropriate gift. While Starbucks is a common choice, many said that they would like cards to book stores, restaurants, or spas. Consider having the class donate to this fund; parents don’t have to wrack their brains trying to figure out what to get and the teacher can purchase a gift she really wants. Plus, there are tons of great sites out there where you can buy a gift card online (such as Gift Card Mall or iCARDS) and either print it out or e-mail it to the recipient; you never even have to leave home!
Facebook is obviously a great way to connect with past and present friends. Why not look up a former teacher? Tell that special person how they impacted your life. Maybe they helped you overcome an obstacle or taught you a great life lesson. Teacher appreciation week doesn’t just have to be about current students thanking the teacher they have now.
Another way to show that special teacher in your life how much you care is to send an e-mail to the various parents of students in your child’s class. Create a list of classroom items that your teacher may need and each family can bring an item to the teacher (e-mail sign-ups can prevent overlap). Consider gifting crayons, pens, a CD player, some educational DVDs, books, stickers, or wall décor to your educator. Many teachers lack the tools they need to help their students learn and this is one way to make his or her job easier. You could also raise money online by creating a webpage on Fundly. In a few minutes you could set up a donation site for families at your school and relatives to donate funds for your school or classroom… no selling cookie dough and no expensive wrapping paper catalogues!
Novelist and historian Henry Brooks Adams once said “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” With such an important and demanding role in our society, shouldn’t we take the time to show our appreciation to these everyday heroes?
The fact that social media is being used in political elections is not news; the way that it is being incorporated is. While Facebook may be the most popular social networking site, Twitter has become a valuable testing ground for politicians to experiment with their political fundraising skills and their methods to improve their image. While this medium is certainly a double-edged sword, it is still one to be wielded.
Although only 13% of American adults are on Twitter, its influence has shown to be widespread. Many campaigns have begun focusing efforts on this site in an effort to secure the Oval Office. Heather LaMarre, a University of Minnesota communications professor who studies social media, discussed the shift in The Washington Post, “The subset of people on Twitter may be relatively small, but it’s a politically engaged audience whose influence extends both online and off. It’s not the direct message that has the biggest influence on people — it’s the indirect message.”
One amazing aspect of social media is its ability to enable public interaction with candidates like never before. In the past, the “average Joe” could voice his opinions in an article published in the editorial section of a newspaper or person-to-person in social settings with limited results. Now, he can freely write feedback on a politician’s Facebook page or Tweet a comment about a recent speech for thousands to read. This obviously could have positive and negative aspects that might impact a candidate’s image and therefore causing a need for new strategies of damage control.
“Our team understands that the most important issues in this campaign are jobs and the economy, not the Twitter controversy of the day,” Mitt Romney’s spokesman Ryan Williams said. “But we need to be on top of everything and monitor every aspect of this race. Twitter helps us keep our finger on the pulse of the fast moving pace of new media.”
Twitter has become a new sounding board, battleground, and public forum for the new era of politics. It has also helped with fundraising by guiding supporters to websites, garnering funds to further a candidate’s mission, such as a Fundly donation page. Sharing your opinions is one thing; sharing the fact that you put your dollars behind your beliefs certainly has more power. Plus, the ease of online giving has made campaign contributions more convenient than ever.
Sharing opinions, researching candidates’ stances on the issues, and political fundraising have never been easier because of the social media revolution that we are currently experiencing. While the presidential war may not be won on Twitter, it certainly is a battleground to contend with.
Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 13 and lest you forget to honor your mother or the mother of your children, I thought I’d bring the topic up early. Here are some great ways to honor your mom or to encourage donors to honor the moms in their lives through your organization.
Are you looking for a unique gift for the mom that has everything? There are several one-of-a-kind and exquisite gifts that benefit a variety of organizations. A recent article in the Huffington Post has even highlighted ten charities that support women through sales of products that either benefit a cause or are made by women who are helped by the non-profit. From bars of soap to jewelry to chocolates, there is definitely something for every mom to enjoy. You get a great present while you’re helping women in need; everyone wins!
For organizations that charge admission such as a symphony, art gallery, museum, or recreational park, how about offering a half off tickets to moms? You’ll generate more business while honoring this special day. You may also want to create themes based on Mother’s Day by focusing on female composers, artists, or environmentalists.
Looking for ideas to blog, tweet or post about? Share with your donors how your mom instilled compassion into your character, which led you to a career in non-profits. Discuss the moms who are using your services and their success stories. What was a saying that your mom always used that drove you crazy but made a lasting impression? Sometimes finding common ground with your supporters can make a big impact for a long term partnership.
Finally, consider challenging your donors to make an online donation on your webpage or Fundly donation page in honor of their mom or grandmother. This is a perfect way to acknowledge someone special or to remember a family member who is gone but not forgotten. Through donating on one of Fundly’s donation websites, donors can commemorate their mom with a special message and share a cause they care about with their social media networks.
Unless you want to be in the dog house, be sure to take a few minutes to decide how you want to remember that special mom in your life. Whether it be through flowers, candies, jewelry, or a charitable contribution, take the time to say “thanks”…. It’s a whole lot easier than saying “I’m sorry!”
In this final segment for this series I’ll continue to discuss a few more practical ways to train your employees to use social media sites to your organization’s benefit. Online fundraising and networking are musts for any successful nonprofit. These ideas can save you time (and therefore money) and bring the highest results for your efforts.
As we’ve mentioned before, there are a ton of Facebook posts and tweets out there. One way that you can make yours stand out is by adding pictures from your library or graphics. There are some great resources for this, one of my favorite places to find stock photography and free art is on Yahoo!. Type your subject into the search engine, click on the “image” tab, and voila! A variety of great graphics are at your fingertips. It only takes a few minutes but can add intrigue to your posts.
Coming up with new posts, blogs, or updates can seem somewhat daunting at times, but we all know that this is a great way to connect with donors. The key part is to create content that will facilitate engagement from your followers. Try posing questions, creating polls, or asking for comments. This is a great way to see who is listening and to show that you care about what your contributors think; it creates a partnership of commitment. Of course every comment does not warrant a response, but interaction is an important step to public relations online.
People aren’t going to read content they do not care about. Vague posts written in riddles, uninspiring stories, and irrelevant comments will not get your donors’ attention and will be a waste of your time. What exciting project are you working on? Did you have a great success story to share with followers and inspire others? Was there a news story or statistic published that addresses your cause? Keep it interesting.
There are many great sites out there that you can tap into to find social media success. For example, at Fundly we are proud to create an amazing product to help nonprofits, schools, and political campaigns alike garner donations, while sharing their cause through social media. When a donor makes a financial gift, they can post it to their Facebook page or Twitter for their friends to see. Others are more likely to get on board when they see that a friend supports a cause. Why go through the time, hassle, and financial expense of creating a donation site when you can use an established resource?
I hope that these tips over the past week have helped you and your staff gain insight into effectively using social media to promote your cause. We are working in a time like no other, with the potential to reach thousands of people with the simple click of a mouse. Like any new marketing strategy or advancement in technology, it takes time and practice to fine tune the skills to make the most out of this resource. It may take a little more effort in the beginning, but the end results are certainly worth the investment.
Social media continues to become a huge portion of marketing, volunteer coordinating, non-profit fundraising, and research for any charity, so it only makes sense to have your staff well trained concerning this useful marketing tool.
So far in this series we have covered using social networking sites responsibly, assigning one person to be the online communications manager, assessing your time and output for the best results, and staying focused on a few goals. Here are a few more ideas that you may want to incorporate:
I am terribly guilty of violating this rule. I usually have several tabs open when I use the internet and the minute one of them shows a new message, curiosity gets the best of me and I have to see the new e-mail in my inbox. Not only that, but if it’s a sale flyer from my favorite store or a friend who wants to chat, I end up wasting about 20 minutes with nothing to show for my time. Furthermore, I get out of the groove of what I was working on in the first place and have to go back and figure out where I left off and where I was going with the task at hand. So this is my new rule that I am desperately trying to follow: Unless I am waiting for an important response, the only tabs I am allowed to have opened are the ones that are required to complete the job I’m working on.
One good idea for your staff is to always keep an eye and ear out for what the competition is doing. The last thing you want to do is push a similar campaign on the tails of your competitor or to have a big event the same week. Know what like-minded nonprofits in your field are doing and focus on different areas. You also may want to research what nonprofits outside of your field are pursuing to gain ideas, success stories, or to learn from their mistakes. After all, there is no reason to recreate the wheel.
You already have a great base for spreading the mission of your organization: your staff! If they are working at your non-profit, they probably have a passion for your cause, they know the inner workings of your company, and, more than likely, they have accounts on social media networks. When you post a great blog, have an article in the local newspaper, or are promoting a new campaign, have your workers “like” your posts on Facebook or re-tweet your comments. Also, be sure to guide your potential donors to a well-designed website or Fundly webpage for the opportunity to donate. Each person has about 130 friends on Facebook, so just think of how many people you could reach with just the connections of your employees!
Come back tomorrow for the last installment of this series. When you know how to use social media tools effectively, your output can far exceed your input!
Social media is as much a part of the business world as spreadsheets and board meetings. You get to the office, grab a cup of coffee, check your e-mails, and prepare for the other details of the day. With a solid foundation of online communication for connecting with donors, vendors, and colleagues, it is important to have a strategy to make the most of your time. In the last post, we covered a few basics to using social media in the workplace. Here are a few more:
The speed of social media is remarkably fast. You can post or tweet a comment in the morning and by afternoon you could scroll down four pages before you come across it again. The average lifespan of a tweet is 2.8 hours and a Facebook post is 3.2 hours. With such a fast-paced medium, the best way to use this resource is in short bursts. Don’t spend hours constructing and reading messages that are just a flash in the pan. Create a well constructed update or announcement, post it, and move on. It can be so easy to lose yourself in the myriad of comments that are stated, so beware of the black hole steals away precious moments of your day.
Be a laser beam, not a flashlight. Depending on your time and staffing levels, figure out where your donors are and focus on a few social media sites. This can be a trial and error process, but you can be pretty sure that Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are safe bets. If you have time, you might want to consider MySpace, Google+, or Tagged.
One problem that many nonprofits are facing is the amount of noise that is on the web. How do you stand out? This is where quality and quantity have to work hand in hand. Each piece needs to be concise, well constructed and have a nugget of valuable information in it so it will keep your donors coming back. Next, you need to monitor your output; too many posts and your donors will ignore your messages. Too few and you’ll be out of sight, out of mind. The actual number varies between the many articles that I’ve read online. Some say that you should post between one to three a day to get more viewers. Others say between three to five times a week so you don’t bombard your supporters. I tend to agree with a few times a week, but it honestly depends on how many followers or ‘likes’ you have in your social networks, how you interact with your donors, and the events that are going on in your organization during that week.
Through social media you can get your name out faster and with less financial investment than any other resource out there. From getting volunteers to participate to increasing online fundraising, teaching your staff how to manage social media networks can boost your organization’s popularity and donation numbers.
We’ve all heard about employees having wild nights out and posting pictures on Facebook; not exactly someone you want to represent your organization. We’ve also heard that social media can be a mesmerizing time warp; without scientific explanation the clock can jump 30 minutes ahead when you quickly open the tab to check your e-mails or Facebook account. Here are a couple of ways to train your staff to effectively use social media platforms to benefit your organization towards your online fundraising goals.
The first way to save time and money using social media is to assign one person to being the online communication manager. You probably have a marketing manager, a special events coordinator, a volunteer coordinator, and many others that play an important part in running your nonprofit. However, if each person sent an e-mail or posted a tweet on behalf of your organization each day to your donor list, you will probably overwhelm your supporters. Not only that, but it’s impossible to open a Twitter account or Facebook page without checking all of the updates and wasting at least 15 minutes reading up on the mundane events of friend’s lives. Having one person control this task will save your nonprofit countless wasted hours and money!
The Internet is a crucial part to running any business and so is time management. Combining your updates and needs into one e-newsletter is more effective than sending out bits and pieces. Highlighting one event over one week or month also gets better results than letting your donors get overwhelmed by all of the projects that you are working on. Moreover, creating a calendar of updates and events can help keep you on top of your online communication while keeping your donors connected and not bombarded with a cluttered in box.
The next step is to teach your employees accountability. It’s always better to prevent an accident than to clean up after one. In your next staff meeting, consider addressing the issue of acting responsibly when using social media. There are countless stories of people posting inappropriate pictures or using derogatory language on Facebook and getting fired for their behavior. You never know who is going to see what you post when you make your private life public. Beyond the 9 to 5, each employee is a representative of your nonprofit and the cause you are supporting.
When used properly, social media is an effective way to connect to your donors and increase your fundraising dollars. Making sure your employees are using it properly is an important step to success in this arena.
I admit that I’m still getting used to the whole social media world. It almost feels like a marketing science experiment: if I post at this time on this day of the week while highlight a specific topic, will my results be higher or lower than my previous one? I know I’m hardly alone; many presidential candidates are also testing the waters of political fundraising using online resources.
I came across an interesting article on IndyStar.com that discusses some intriguing issues that the candidates are facing using the medium of internet communication. In the past politicians could debate on TV, send out flyers heralding their accomplishments and pay for ads in the newspaper declaring their stand on pertinent issues. However, many are turning to Facebook and Twitter to garner support with various results; now the voters can instantly respond which is causing both positive and negative effects.
So why would candidates risk having negative comments written on their Facebook pages? “It’s as much an issue about campaign and candidate identity as anything else,” states Kristina Sheeler, who studies political communication as chairwoman of the Department of Communication Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. “If you’re not using Facebook and Twitter, you risk being labeled an old-fashioned candidate.”
Twitter hashtags are getting impressive results in many campaign strategies by drawing in followers who otherwise might never have looked at a candidate’s tweets. One example is when President Obama in a speech in Chapel Hill, N.C. urged students to tweet to lawmakers using the hashtag #dontdoublemyrate to oppose an increase in student loan interest rates. Many politicians are also using Twitter to post stances and opinions to their followers and are even responding to voter comments and questions to create a two-way dialogue that was previously unheard of. This added attention is creating a new platform to reach additional voters with amazing success.
Furthermore, social media has been a recent method for the people to police political claims. There are tens if not hundreds of websites out there that rebuttal arguments and verify facts. If knowledge is power, than our society got a whole lot stronger in the political realm with the implementation of the internet.
Finally, with politicians connecting and communicating online, donations have also seen a dramatic increase due to internet fundraising. Personal and political websites, Facebook pages and online donation sites such as Fundly are making giving that much easier while also connecting to social media outlets.
Social media is certainly making an impact on politics, both locally and nationally. In this new era, it is important for candidates to experiment in this cyber realm to garner voter attention, support and dollars.
Teacher Appreciation Week is only two short weeks away (May 7 – 11), so I thought I’d give you some time to plan out how you will show the teachers in your life how much they mean to you. These visionaries touch the future everyday and deserve to be honored. As Alexander the Great once said, “I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.”
Teaching has to be one of the hardest occupations in the world. As a former high school teacher myself, I realize that this job truly is one of high risk and high reward. The full classrooms, budget cuts, and variety of student and parent personalities can really take a toll, but eyes lit up with understanding, a simple “thank you,” and a legacy of promise certainly is a reward unto itself. More than just a job, teaching is a calling to touch the future and to better humanity. So how does one show appreciation to those so dedicated and self-sacrificing?
An apple motif is charming and traditional, but there are only so many name placards, paper weights, and #1 Teacher chotckies a desk can hold. However, the gifts that always meant the most to me is when a student would pick it out himself, not when mom shopped and wrapped it up perfectly. A card written with handwritten words of gratitude, a stuffed bear paid for by a hard earned allowance, or homemade cookies would have me smiling all day.
My sister is currently a sixth grade teacher at a private school and some of the parents there collect $5 from each student to purchase a gift certificate for coffee or to a favorite restaurant. For my nephew’s teacher, last year a group of us painted her classroom and made art for the walls with her theme of “the State of California.” Another favorite idea is when a few of the parents get together and make lunch for all of the teachers during a teacher work day and their kids serve the meal and clean up.
With school funding being so tight these days, I think another way to make sure that a teacher is appreciated is to ensure that he or she has all of the supplies they need for their classroom. An online fundraising page with Fundly can allow parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends to donate to the school fundraisers without having to purchase high-priced wrapping paper or calorie packed cookie dough through traditional fundraising. A well stocked library, efficient computers, art supplies and other educational resources make life much easier for any educator.
Not only do these ideas help the teachers, but it also instills an attitude of gratitude for the students who sit in the desks. So how will you thank a teacher this year?
To continue with our Earth Day theme for this week, I am excited to share with you an amazing campaign that is successfully using a Fundly online donation page (fundly.com/takeabreath). Take a Breath for Earth Day is tackling the monumental task of not only preserving the precious resources of the rainforest, but they are also equipping those families who live there with the skills needed for sustainable living as an alternative to cattle ranching and harvesting timber. Through online fundraising, they are making an impact on the quality of life in Ecuador, Peru, and around the world!
The Take a Breath for Earth Day campaign is part of the Rainforest Partnership whose mission is to protect the “lungs” of the planet by helping the people who live in those “lungs” have a better standard of living and to grow their economy in harmony with their rainforest. Through partnering with forest communities, they help them to make an income that allows them to protect their forests through creating a market which provides products or services found only in the Rainforest.
We chose “Fundly based on the team you have, the CEO Dave Boyce and his vision for the company, and that the Fundly model is one of collaboration and strategic partnerships while providing the best tools that incorporate and make social media an integral part of giving,” explains Executive Director of Rainforest Partnership, Niyanta Spelman.
With their Fundly webpage, they are striving to raise $50,000 to benefit 108 families across 3 rainforest communities in Ecuador and Peru. In a short amount of time they have raised over $6,500 and have gained the attention of 69 supporters and 56 donors. When each of these supporters and donors partner with this cause, a post appears on their Facebook page to encourage their friends to contribute. Just think of the hundreds of people who are becoming aware of this incredible cause!
With inspiring and detailed text, captivating video, and a contagious passion, the Take a Breath campaign is the perfect example of the power of philanthropy combined with the broad reach of social media. We at Fundly are proud to assist the Take a Breath campaign and are excited to watch their numbers grow!
It seems like things have quieted down a bit on the presidential election scene for the moment. Is this lull due to the candidates’ and political action committees’ submission of their numbers pertaining to how much they have raised and spent this campaign season? Is this the quiet before the storm as new strategies are created concerning political fundraising?
Reuters posted these incredible numbers this past Saturday which breaks down the incoming and outgoing figures of the aspiring presidential hopefuls and their PAC backers up until March 31. These numbers reflect the FEC filings and include total contributions received along with amount spent regarding operating and independent expenditures.
In the lead with $147.4 million raised is President Obama. His high-priced banquets, online fundraising appeals, and various speaking engagements have won the hearts and dollars of countless Americans. While his PAC, Priorities USA, is far from the lead raising a mere $8.8 million, Obama has shown that his ability to raise dollars is not dependent on others.
In second place is hardly a surprise: Republican candidate Mitt Romney. With $87.5 million raised and $77.5 million spent, Romney is far behind in dollars but not in support. His PAC, Restore Our Future, has been a powerhouse contributor adding $51.9 million to his campaign efforts.
According to CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser, the Romney campaign said that 84% of all donations received through the end of last month were $250 or less. The Obama campaign announced that 97% of their donations were for $250 or less.
While the two other Republican candidates have raised considerably less (Newt Gingrich has raised $22.5 million and Ron Paul $35.9 million), their numbers are still quite respectable.
Holly Bailey from The Ticket reports that Romney’s campaign “hopes to raise $500 million in high-dollar donations for the campaign and for the joint fundraising account it has set up with the Republican National Committee. Romney aides hope to bring in another $300 million from small donors—an area where the former Massachusetts governor has lagged during the GOP primary.” It is also estimated that his PAC will raise “$200 million to support his general election bid—bringing the GOP’s overall fundraising target to at least $1 billion to defeat Obama.”
In response, “Obama aides estimated the president would raise at least $750 million for his re-election bid—though that total is now likely to be far more given that Obama has signed off on several Democratic super PACs to raise and spend millions to help him win a second term… Obama enters the general election with a major fundraising advantage. Through February, Obama had raised nearly $160 million for his re-election campaign—not including another $126 million he’s raised for a joint fundraising account between his campaign and the Democratic National Committee.”
The numbers are high and continue to grow. With a little over six months until the election, it will be interesting to see the tactics used in the attempt to secure the Oval Office. Undoubtedly more events, debates, and social media fundraising are in the future.
So Earth Day was yesterday, but let’s face it – everyday is Earth Day. There are countless ways to promote your cause while saving money and the earth’s resources. This week we are focusing on environmental causes and what other nonprofits can do to preserve our planet.
One way that nonprofits can save money and the environment is to publish their needs to their donors. When I worked at a homeless shelter we would have drives for coats, school supplies, and toys for Christmas. What better way to have the excess in your home reused than to give it away to the people who need it most? We also collaborated with several stores who donated nonperishable items that were seasonal or weren’t sold in a timely manner and used them for event auctions and raffles. We got great prizes and the store received a donation receipt.
Office efficiency is another avenue towards becoming environmentally savvy and pinching your pennies. Computers in the business sector unnecessarily waste $1 billion worth of electricity a year, so turn off that power strip when you leave for the day. While you’re at the office, set your computer to go to sleep automatically during short breaks. This can cut energy usage by 70 percent! Furthermore, think before you print. The average office worker uses 10,000 pages of copy paper a year. Print on both sides of the paper, reuse old documents for scratch paper, and recycle to reduce waste.
Technology is also a great way to saving financial and tangible resources for any organization. When I worked in my dad’s accounting office about ten years ago, they were using copy machines to keep records of client’s financial statements and previous year’s returns. Now with e-filing, scanners, and seemingly unlimited hard drive space, the halls that were once lined with thousands of files can be cleared. This holds true for many nonprofits: while direct mail and newsletters certainly have their place in fundraising, most donor communication can be done through the internet for online fundraising. Facebook, e-mails, online donations, and e-newsletters can save a ton of time, money, and paper for charities. 35% of landfill waste in America comes from paper that could be recycled; imagine the difference that could be made!
Using technology is also helpful for incorporating the above strategies. Send an e-newsletter asking donors for specific items your clients may need. In your office, create an e-mail so everyone knows the proper procedures for reducing waste. Through Fundly you can easily establish an online donation site to reduce mailers and connect to more supporters through Facebook and Twitter. Saving money and preserving our environment is easy with just a few simple steps!
To continue with this week’s theme of social media platforms, I thought I’d highlight some of the lesser known websites available to help you connect to more donors. Beyond Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn there are additional networks to connect with people, such as Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest. Can your organization be on too many social media sites? On one hand no because the more people who hear about your cause, the more likely you are to reach potential donors. On the other hand, there are only so many hours in the day and resources to devote to online fundraising. Where should you invest in the technological avenues of public relations and development?
Let’s first establish that in this day and age a well-designed, content-rich, and engaging website and a Facebook account are simply must-haves. These are the foundational pieces that every organization needs to attract and maintain supporters. From donor communication to event updates to online donations, these two tools are a necessity to be maintained and used on a regular basis. LinkedIn and Twitter are also viable outlets that are popular with connecting to others. From professionals to news updates, these sites are also great to belong to.
Now for lesser known websites, which one is right for you?
Google+ – This relatively new social media site is similar the more popular sites but has an interesting twist. With Facebook you post a comment and it displays for all of your friends to see. With Twitter you share short news statement Tweets with your followers. On LinkedIn you connect with other professionals. Google+ allows you to do a bit of each: on this site you create circles so you can choose who you want to share information with whether it is a life update for friends, a news story with others with your political views or industry information with professional colleagues. A nonprofit using this site could easily create circles for different levels of donor giving, a circle for board members, and a circle for volunteers with upcoming opportunities. The beauty of this is that you get to dictate who sees what messages. As with other sites, you can still share photos, links and videos.
Tumblr – Designed with more of an artist’s vibe and geared towards visual appeal, this social media site would be perfect to tap into if you’re a nonprofit focusing on the arts. Boasting as the site that is promoting the “instablogging movement,” this unique platform takes the mystery out of blogging and reblogging. The posts are more in depth than Facebook and obviously are quite different than Twitter’s limited character usage. If you are a nonprofit supporting advancement in the visual arts, why not feature a specific artist’s paintings, a certain time period of works or one genre of medium such as oils or chalk. What can you post? Pictures? Yep. Videos? Yep. Music? Yep.
Pinterest – Not since Facebook has a site taken off with such speed and intensity. It seems like everywhere I look and every friend I talk to has something to say about this phenomenon. Most women I know who use this online bank of information access crafting ideas, fashion tips and recipes, but many professionals are using it for event planning ideas and fundraising suggestions. You can share your upcoming concerts, favorite artists, popular music selections, or upload pictures. You can gain followers and highlight guests that you are supporting or featuring. Another use may be to post how to set up an auction, how to create a kid friendly after-school program classroom or craft ideas that would work well in a senior’s center. The possibilities are endless!
Social media is as vast and varied as nonprofit organizations themselves. Facebook is a catch all net, LinkedIn is geared towards professionals, Twitter provides snappy news bites, Google+ segments your contacts and Tumblr and Pinterest are great for arts and media focused organizations. Once you’ve determined which platforms are best to connect to your donors, focus your energy on the top three and then guide them to your website or Fundly site. The more traffic you can attract, the better!
I just had one of those “aha” moments (Thanks, Oprah!). My personal quest to connect schools with supporters through online fundraising seems right on track. This past week, I managed to catch the organizer of a Fundly campaign for a few minutes to hear first-hand about his high school soccer team’s goal of giving at least 5 players an experience with a community more challenged than their own. The team’s Fundly campaign kicked off just recently.
Coach Russell and the boys soccer team of Robert E. Lee High School of Jacksonville, Florida have their sights set on a mission (of sorts) to Haiti this Summer. Coach Russell is planning a trip with Many Hands For Haiti, to assist with soccer camps during the day and to teach English at night. This one-week trip is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these high school student athletes.
The team had spread the word through Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare, already at the $1,800 mark of their $5,000 goal when we caught up over the phone. Realizing they had not tapped the full potential of Fundly, we decided to encourage personal supporter pages for the players. Sure enough, the first player to jump on the opportunity raised $400 on his own right away. That’s a significant portion of the cost to send one boy on the trip.
It occurred to me, in a world where big dollar signs drive major nonprofits and businesses to move mountains, all it takes to change the life of a child in this way is a few hundred dollars. And the personal connection of that boy to his community facilitated through online fundraising via popular social media networks gives family, friends, and community members around him the empowerment to help to change a life with one simple act of kindness.
Best of luck, Lee High School Boys Soccer Team!
There’s an old saying that goes “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” I can’t honestly say that I agree with that, but with all of the online resources that are available, the knowledge that you can gather and the connections that you can make are limited only to the time you invest in it. This week we are tackling the theme of social media platforms and how to use them to your organization’s advantage. There are a variety of free tools available for online fundraising; why not make the most of them?!
LinkedIn has been around for almost nine years and has over 150 million professionals registered on their site. What separates it from other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is that it is primarily for professionals looking to connect with others in their field or as a resource to further their organization’s goals. So how can LinkedIn help your charity? Here are three main ways:
1) Groups – On LinkedIn you can sign up to join conversations with various groups who are in the same field as you. For example, as a nonprofit you may have questions about what fundraisers work, how to align your board members’ visions or how to apply for 501(c)3 status. You can post your question and other nonprofit leaders will respond with their experiences. You can also share your successes, a great website you found or an article that will benefit others. Another plus is that many leaders post when seminars are coming up (both live and online). Finally, this is a great way to get your name and organization out there for others to see and reference.
2) Contacts -LinkedIn is a great way to connect to professionals that you already know and keep their information close at hand. LinkedIn also notifies users when their contacts add new friends; it’s like having twice as many resources! Furthermore, you can research companies, follow them to discover what current projects they are working on and see who “likes” them as a way to check their credibility.
3) Business Resources – There are great tabs on this website for any professional to easily access. Articles on business trends, ways to post or look for jobs, reading lists, and polls are just a few of the features available.
With a multitude of online resources to increase your knowledge on fundraising and to connect to people with a similar mission, where do you start? Once you know how to resource LinkedIn for fundraising and pair it with other social media outlets and Fundly‘s social fundraising platform, you have an arsenal of tools to reach your organization’s mission.
The recent controversy surrounding women’s choice to stay home or pursue a career brings to mind something I’ve observed and embraced these past few years as a mom of school-aged children. Regardless of each person’s own choice, it takes that proverbial village to raise a child and to provide the support needed to bolster that child’s school experience. There’s not only room for but need for both the moms who stay at home and the moms who work, within the school support ecosystem.
As a Kindergarten parent I found that, overwhelmingly, parents wanted to be involved in their kids’ education. Families with one parent at home tended to have more time but less money to give to support the school. Families with both parents or a single parent working tended to have less time but more money to give. Each parent had value, which served the school and its students best when pooled.
But the idea of combining forces for good broke down to a degree because we weren’t reaching both “sects” of the school’s families.
Communication within the school’s Home & School Club (a non-association version of a PTA) was not doing a proper job of making the most of what every family had to offer. The main methods of communication in play, drop-off/pick-up time conversations, posters on classroom doors, and a paper flier envelope system, kept the moms who were regularly at school the most in the loop. This wasn’t in any way a premeditated approach but one of convenience. Key parent organization roles were held by moms who either stayed at home or worked part-time, allowing them more time to be present at school to plan the next school fundraising event or lend a hand in the classroom. Parents whose work schedules required their kids be in after-school care were uninformed of many opportunities to help the school simply because they weren’t where the information was.
It was the beginning of tough economic times in the US, 2008-2009. Fundraising and volunteerism needed a kick-start, and making sure the whole school community was tuned to the needs was key. Change was in order.
We expanded the reach of Communication.
As families took to online communication, the stacks of paper that once accumulated on the kitchen counter dwindled to a few sheets highlighting key information. Overall, parents became better informed and more involved. Both stay-at-home parents and those commuting to work everyday focused on the communication method that best suited their lives. Not just because we went online, but because we gave parents better and more succinct information in a form relevant to their world of chaos(!).
We expanded School Fundraising. When it came to the increasing challenge of funding school programs, online fundraising made greater fundraising possible.
While still a work in progress, three years later our school is better in sync and able to handle growing volunteer and funding needs because we’ve taken the care to address and welcome the value of both stay-at-home moms and working moms (and the dads who also deserve credit!).
And since, I’ve had the fulfilling experience of guiding other schools to successfully navigate the shift to online communication and online fundraising.
I’m particularly excited to be a part of Fundly’s 12 Schools in 12 Weeks Challenge to give schools the chance to increase their walkathon (and other a-thon) fundraising with one-on-one support and professionally-developed communications.
Every mom is valuable, not only at home but at school. The key is to embrace what each brings to the table, whether time, experience, skill, resources, or money, and create an environment where every parent is in the loop on their kid’s education. Just for kicks, calculate your mom’s work worth and remember that everything you make the effort to give makes a difference at your local school.
Is it just me or does the road to the Oval Office keep getting longer? It seems like the presidential candidates have been battling it out for an immense amount of time and slowly but surely the field has been narrowed down to a few frontrunners. Will the fundraising dollars to support these monumental campaigns still pour in?
There are several reasons why this election is a landmark in our country’s recent history: first of all, this is the first time in the post Watergate era that neither candidate is choosing to accept public funds. Secondly, a large portion of the monies collected has come from Super PAC’s which were deemed acceptable by the Supreme Court in 2010. Finally, the use of social media to gain supporters and donor dollars has never been used to this extent in any previous election. These factors alone will cause a huge impact pertaining to the results in this November’s election.
Paul Blumenthal of The Huffington Post explains that, “The public matching-funds system began in 1976 in response to the campaign finance abuses of the Nixon administration, uncovered during Congress’ investigation of the Watergate scandal. Presidential candidates who can show broad support through fundraising across the various states become eligible to receive matching funds from the government so long as they abide by strict spending limits. These funds are available for both primary and general election campaigns.” In this election both candidates have declined this option in favor of garnering unlimited funds from individuals and are able to avoid spending limits.
Super PAC’s have been rather controversial but influential, nonetheless. “Super PACs and political nonprofits have already poured more than $100 million into the 2012 elections, much of that on negative ads. Independent group spending this time is expected to easily eclipse the record $304 million spent in the 2010 cycle,” comments Blumenthal.
Social media has been the third major influence on this year’s presidential election. Online ads with Yahoo, thousands of Tweets, the implementation of Facebook pages and countless text messages have become the norm concerning modern campaigning. Not only is this appealing to a newer generation of voters, but it is making politicians more accessible to the public. Online fundraising has also increased creating a whirlwind of support like never before.
The times are changing and so are the ways that the politicians are attempting to climb up Capitol Hill. The winner will be the one who incorporates all three avenues brilliantly.
It seems like there is always something new in the social media realm. The latest trend seems to be focused on Facebook Timelines. So what is it, should you use it and will it help with online fundraising?
First of all, the name is pretty self explanatory. While this may be a technological version of your junior high history project, it basically is the same concept. A Facebook Timeline is simply a different format of your standard Facebook page. Instead of a small profile picture there is a custom masthead picture of your choosing and a timeline grid on the top right corner. This format allows you to highlight the most memorable or important days in your life or in the history of your organization. While a basic Facebook page lists posts in order of time listed, a timeline allows you to edit what is seen and by who, list various apps that define what’s important to you, and create a better understanding of the character of your nonprofit.
For a great example of how a nonprofit uses this online tool check out Livestrong, the organization founded by pro-cyclist Lance Armstrong. His page is brilliantly constructed starting with the date that Lance was first diagnosed with cancer on October 2, 1996 and continues up to the present. With heart wrenching pictures, vivid graphics and amazing updates, their site truly gets the reader involved in the campaign and passion of this charity.
So on to question number two: should your organization set up a timeline on your Facebook page? Absolutely! Many donors base their giving on progress and what better way to show your impact than through a timeline? Furthermore, a report by the research company Simply Measured found that brands with the timeline gained an average of 46% more engagement through using this tool. Those companies and organizations that had videos and photos saw a 65% increase in engagement.
Finally, will this new feature help to garner more funds? Personally, I think anything that helps you to share your vision with more donors is surely worth a shot. A timeline gives a snapshot of your history, mission, successes, and humanity while causing the reader to emotionally invest into your organization. Through pictures, videos and storytelling, you will be able to capture the attention and the heart of your donors.
Online fundraising is progressing at a rapid rate and the tools that are being developed are allowing nonprofits to reach a monumental amount of donors. When your donors link to your Fundly site, their contribution will be posted on their Facebook page and therefore will guide traffic to your website or Facebook timeline. Just think of the potential!
I confess that I am one of the millions that watch stupid videos on YouTube. From angry oranges with awkwardly shaped human mouths to sappy kid tunes to occupy my toddler, YouTube has worked its way into our entertainment arsenal as much as the television and Facebook. However, can this newer medium in the world of technology actually be useful towards online fundraising goals? How could it not?!?!
Last night I attended a board meeting and we were discussing strategies to get our mission more attention. I obviously touted the wonders of social media fundraising and the vast potential that Facebook has to connecting to more donors. We excitedly made a bare bones plan to incorporate more time and effort into this area, but one board member sat quietly in the corner and didn’t share our enthusiasm. When I asked his opinion about this topic, he commented that it felt too impersonal. Where was the human interaction and emotion? Everyone seems so connected to their media devices that we ignore the people that are in front of us.
This is a valid point and one that many nonprofit leaders share. However, with a limited amount of time and resources, social media can be a bridge between the needs of an organization and the giving power of a donor. YouTube is one such avenue to stay connected to supporters. I think this is a perfect way to have people near and far take a tour of your facility, attend events and outreaches and to hear the passion of the leadership through a simple video. You don’t need expensive cameras, editing equipment or directorial experience to create a powerful, heartfelt video clip.
YouTube is currently adding features to aid nonprofits to easily adapt to this platform. With live video streaming, image stabilization, light-filtering tools to help users clean up cell phone video, branding capabilities, and different resolutions to accommodate various internet connections, they are providing the tools to create quality videos with minimal time and skills needed.
Fundly has also tapped in to the power of YouTube by allowing users to view video directly on their donor page. There is something compelling about seeing highlights from a walk-a-thon to help a cancer patient or hearing a supporter explain why they are passionate about a cause. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how much is a video worth?
This week is National Library Week and we are honored to help various educational charities in their pursuit of creating positive environments of learning. One particular library has an amazing story using a Fundly campaign that was covered in The Daily GOOD. We are excited to share this example of a grassroots online fundraiser that had stellar results.
In Shutesbury, Massachusetts the local library mirrors many other small town libraries: built in 1902, this 900-square foot building lacks running water and a space to sit down. Also, while many of the townspeople are stuck using dial-up internet at home, the library offers the advantage of wireless internet. However, without chairs and tables in the building many have taken to sitting in their cars to plug away on their laptops. Nevertheless, the minimal accommodations rarely hinder patrons from using this valued facility. Young and old alike gather at this reading center to browse through the shelves of books and flip through pages of beloved novels.
Like many government funded services, this little library has undergone budget cuts which could hinder the future of this community pillar. “While the state agreed to cover 60 percent of the $3.5 million needed to build a new, energy-efficient building that could provide a suitable home for a town of eager readers, the town needs to prove it can cover the other 40 percent by the end of June. A recent town-hall vote to raise taxes to come up with extra funding resulted in a tie, with many opponents saying they simply couldn’t afford to pay more taxes. So a group of passionate townspeople is taking fundraising into their own hands by creating a grassroots campaign centered around digital media,” explains an article in The Daily GOOD.
With a creative and appealing video posted on YouTube garnering nearly 35,000 hits and a fundraising page with Fundly, this local project has been able to raise nearly $40,000 in a little over a month. From all over the country as well as Singapore, Australia, Canada, Kenya, and Europe, this grassroots campaign is proof that online fundraising can be extremely successful regardless of your computer skills and marketing experience.
At Fundly we have seen countless success stories just like this one. With passion, creativity and dedication, the possibilities are endless when you combine a worthy cause with the power of the internet.
New studies seem to be popping up all the time concerning online fundraising, and personally — I love it. We know that online giving is steadily increasing every year and that more and more people are joining the social media revolution. However, with so much to do and a limited amount of time to do it in, are you getting the proper return for the time and energy that is spent concerning fundraising online?
One way to gauge whether your organization is successful garnering funds is to compare your growth with other nonprofits. Fortunately, “M+R Strategic Services, a public relations and communications firm working with leading non-profits, and the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), a membership organization of non-profit professionals who use technology for their causes, will release their sixth annual eNonprofit Benchmarks Study of what is working today in online advocacy, fundraising and social networking,”according to Mashable.com.
The following infographic summarizes interesting results:
The study is based on primary research with 44 participating non-profits which include environmental, international, human rights, wildlife, animal welfare and other causes such as AARP, American Red Cross and the Worldwide Wildlife Fund.
I think what is most beneficial from this survey is the opportunity to measure your nonprofit against what others are doing. What percentage of your donations is through online giving? What is the return on your email asks? What methods of online fundraising have others succeeded at using that is worth a try? The greatest information a survey can provide is around opportunities for betterment.
It seems like many non-profits are stuck between a rock and a hard place right now: the needs are greater than ever while incoming donation levels are decreasing or at a stand still. With the funds you do have, should you meet the needs of your clientele or gamble with new development strategies? Here are five reasons why online fundraising is not a gamble:
1) Free Platfoms – Facebook, Twitter and emails literally don’t cost a dime! In the time it takes to compose an update, post a Tweet, or write a letter, you could reach thousands of donors. While direct mail is certainly beneficial to older supporters, it can be costly when you take in to account the price of production, postage, and assembly.
2) Expand Your Audience – I can honestly say that the majority of my friends under 40 years old have Facebook accounts. I think that one of the biggest mistakes that nonprofits make is not appealing or nurturing the next generation of supporters.
3) It Doesn’t Take a Techie – With all of the new technology out there, it can be intimidating to enter the world of keywords, SEOs and Tweetables. One thing that I’m really impressed with concerning these new platforms is how user friendly they are. Get on the website, sign up, spend an hour playing with the system and you’ll quickly become a pro. There are also great tutorials on YouTube that can walk you through the process. At Fundly, we also have a team that strives to make an online giving website quick, easy and accessible for both nonprofit and donor use.
4) Expanded Opportunities – Building the bridge to create a simbiotic relationship is key to garnering and expanding donor support; you need hands and finances to achieve your goal and your supporters receive affirmation that they are needed and making a difference. Social media only strengthens this bond through opening more outlets of communication such as updates, calls to action, and success stories.
5) It Just Keeps Growing – Currently Twitter has over 300 million users and 1.6 billion search queries each day. Facebook boasts of having more than 845 million users and more than half of those people log on each day. This is a huge market with unlimited potential! Furthermore, this past year showed a 13% increase in online giving which equals a 35-55% growth rate over the past year. Fundly can help you utilize social media in your arsenal of marketing strategies by connecting your organization to potential donors and making the process of giving social.
Every nonprofit has three basic needs to fill in order to survive: know-how, resources, and passion. Finding the right people and tools to fill these gaps is essential, especially when it comes to the task of fundraising. Online fundraising is a concept that has developed over the past years, however, the concept of “social fundraising” is fairly new. Social media networks are a great set of tools anyone can take advantage of… and they’re free. Leveraging social media to expand online fundraising efforts with Fundly provides you with a platform to use social media effectively and gather your resources and passion behind your cause, so that you can reach your goals.
Here are 3 big fat reasons to use Fundly to drive your online fundraising potential:
1) Fundly makes fundraising online simple, effective and fun!!! No, seriously… Starting a campaign page on Fundly is easy, and until you’re actually raising money, it’s free. Since it only a takes a few minutes, there’s no reason you can’t have a little fun and check it out! Your fundraising page is ready to share from the moment you sign-up. Fundly’s user-friendly interface makes it quick to customize your page by adding video and photos, choosing your fundraising goal and giving levels, and writing a description about your cause… And it’s exciting to see the final result!
The experience is even more engaging for your donors and gives them a chance to be recognized. It only takes a minute for your donors to contribute to your cause by a click of the ‘Donate’ button and give with ease with Fundly. Once they’ve donated, there are several ways for them to engage and feel like they are a part of the overall effort.
2) Donors turn into fundraisers. When a stranger asks for money, it’s easy and probable for people to answer “no, thanks.” When a friend asks for money, there is a foundation and level of trust in the relationship which usually produces a positive response like, “sure, I’d love to!” This is the basic idea of social fundraising and Fundly helps your organization reap the benefits in two ways. First, when a donor contributes to your cause through Fundly, their giving action can be posted to their Facebook and Twitter profiles to share with their network of friends, family, and colleagues. Now, not only are they bringing attention to your cause, but sending a call to action to their entire social network. The average person has well over 100 friends on Facebook and now you have over 100 potential donors. Secondly, your donors also have the option to launch their own fundraising page under your campaign and set their own goals. This empowers them to fundraise for the cause and they’re now motivated to achieve their own goal, adding to your donation yield. Your givers are now your gatherers!
3) Online donation yields can increase by as much as 52% on Fundly! Regardless of the cause or size of your organization, current statistics prove that online giving is increasing ever year. Launching a campaign on Fundly could increase your donation revenue by as much as 52%, as proven by a case study campaign on Fundly. Also, according to a recent study released by M+R Strategic Services and the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) entitled the “eNonprofit Benchmarks Study”, they have found that from 2010 to 2011 online giving increased 20 percent. That is a tremendous amount of growth and fundraising revenue. Furthermore, the average one-time online gift was $62 and the average monthly gift was $20. These dollars quickly add up! And Fundly is confident that as social media networks grow and continue to build into the routine of our daily lives, nonprofits will see online giving potential increase even more in the next year.
In all, online fundraising is here to stay. Fundly has taken out what has made it time consuming and complicated so you can do what you do best: run your nonprofit and strengthen support for your cause.
It’s impossible to watch the news these days and not see a report about the upcoming 2012 Presidential Election. Regardless of your candidate of choice or party affiliation, you have to admit the contenders are giving it all they’ve got to win the office at hand. From kissing babies to Google ads, this election is an interesting blend of old and new fundraising tactics.
While television debates, benefit dinners, and rallies are tried and true methods of gaining voter approval, what has truly sparked my interest is how these candidates are connecting with people that can now have their voices heard using social media. By the end of this election, the unchartered waters of online political fundraising will be vastly explored by these electoral pioneers.
In a recent report published by Fundly, we found that online political fundraising is being utilized like never before. We have had three of the presidential hopefuls as clients, plus one thousand other political figures petitioning for various offices. Due to our political clientele on both party lines, we are able to accumulate facts and figures pertaining to online fundraising in a way that has not been possible in previous years. As such, we have found that by the end of January 2012 political online fundraising had increased 53 percent as compared to the previous year. Furthermore, we saw that the daily social fundraising volume in January exceeded December’s average volume by more than 350 percent.
There is a good question that arises amid all of the controversies surrounding the use of PAC’s: will even more focus be placed on social media fundraising as candidates strive to gain public approval? The time, energy and finances invested into procuring funds can be vastly diminished with the launch of a simple Facebook page, some daily tweets on Twitter and taking a few minutes to start a campaign donation page on Fundly.
So why should you use Fundly as part of your campaign strategy? When a stranger asks for money, it’s easy and probable for people to answer “no, thanks.” When a friend asks for money, there is a foundation and level of trust in the relationship which usually produces a positive response like, “sure, I’d love to!” Friends are also more open to supporting a candidate and hearing their positions when recommended by a friend. This is the basic idea of social fundraising and Fundly helps your campaign reap the benefits. When a donor contributes to your candidate through Fundly, that action can be posted to their Facebook and Twitter profiles to share with their network of friends, family, and colleagues. Not only are they bringing attention to your campaign, but a call of support to their entire social network. The average person has well over 100 friends on Facebook and now you have over 100 potential donors.
While the focus of political fundraising has mainly been on the presidential race, what we are learning from this election can be applied to campaigns for smaller offices, such as mayor, school board advisor, and the like. With Fundly, it’s easy for candidates to set up a website, gather supporter information, and start collecting donations. Regardless of the political position, the methods of fundraising are the same; it’s just a different scale.
When I think of fundraising, the first thing that comes to mind is a donation check. I’m sure many donors also have this image in their mind, but fundraising can be so much more! Just as the saying goes, “Ask and you shall receive,” think about what you are asking from your donors on Facebook and your other social media sites. Are you limiting yourself to just financial contributions?
Currently I am working on a golf tournament and have created a Fundly account to promote the event and the camp for foster children that it is supporting. Of course we are asking for money to aid the cause, but a Fundly website is more than just a financial donation site. From small to large nonprofits, there are a variety of ways to reach out to your donors.
Here some non-monetary asks that we have made: golf participants, volunteers for the day of the tournament, corporate sponsorships, and business donations for the raffle that will be held at the banquet after the tournament. We also made a separate section where people can directly work with the nonprofit by volunteering as camp counselors, provide prayer support for this ministry, donate craft items for the campers, or volunteer at registration.
Updating and recruiting golfers has been much easier through this site, too. With each post that the committee chairman puts on the Fundly webpage, the golfers that he is friends with can be reminded of discounts, deadlines and new course features that have been added to the tournament. He can also post how many spaces are left and promote the mission of the cause.
In a sad turn of events, one of the golfers who had participated several times in this event passed away a couple of weeks ago. We knew he loved to golf and wanted to help the children in this organization, so we also have started receiving donations in memory of this incredible man and will send his family a list of family and friends who contributed a gift in remembrance.
While every organization could certainly benefit from monetary contributions, it’s important to remember that social media networks are not limited to just one type of donation. With Fundly, there are a variety of ways to get your supporters to join as partners to your cause. What will you ask for today?
If you want to raise money on Facebook for your cause, you can start your own Facebook fundraising campaign today with Fundly!
A couple of weeks ago I went to my niece’s birthday party and had an interesting conversation with her grandfather. He was planning on attending a Crab Feed that I was organizing at our church and we were discussing the amount of money that came in last year verses the amount of guests who attended. He thought the giving rather low and I thought it was adequate for the level of guests that attended. In non-profit fundraising, different causes attract a certain group of people and you have to meet them where they’re at.
So far on my resume I’ve been a teacher then I entered the nonprofit world working at a homeless shelter, church and symphony. I’ve learned that in each of these fields, fundraising and the donors they attract are just as vast as the categories themselves.
Education fundraising attracts generous grandparents and family members who are usually hit up once or twice a year with jog-a-thon sponsorships, cookie dough sales and catalogs with overpriced candles and wrapping paper. These fundraisers tend to be fairly successful as prizes of cheap toys and gadgets are dangled before the eyes of sticky fingered, wide-eyed children; and what doting grandma or uncle can say “no” to little Susie when she says “Would you like to buy something to help my school?” (Currently I’ve consumed three out of five Girl Scout cookie boxes in two weeks with this approach and have two tubs of cookie dough from another niece stocked in my freezer… too bad the treats don’t come with “sucker” stickers for my forehead.)
Now I’m not saying to toss these ideas away, but my sister came up with a great idea to avoid overpaying for unwanted clutter and calories: she asks what percentage of the item actually goes to the school and then she gives a certain amount to compensate. For example, my niece sells wreaths to go to winter camp every year. It costs about $25 for a small wreath but regardless of the size, $5 goes into her account. I’d rather give her $10 and forego tossing the wreath in the trash when it dies. With Fundly she could even start her own website, e-mail friends and family members with her sales pitch and then give them the option to help with a purchase or direct donation.
School fundraisers are a great way for students to compete for and earn what their school needs, but a Fundly site would also be an ideal way to earn dollars year round. It would be perfect for a library building program, acquiring new playground equipment or buying updated textbooks. Friends and family members could get a letter or e-mail from the student and when they log on, they can see how close the school is to approaching their goal. No extra calories, no overpriced clutter, no juggling checks and cash in flimsy envelopes and all the money goes to the cause and not unwanted products.
This is one of my personal favorite areas of fundraising: homeless shelters, food banks and recovery programs. With the economy in its current state, more and more people are reaching out for help and the generosity of our communities is incredible as they are stepping up to help their fellow man. Sometimes I think that this is also one of the easier areas of fundraising because of the compassion factor: who isn’t moved by a picture of a family huddled in the cold or a before and after picture of a man caught in the grips of despair then miraculously transformed into finding hope and a future?
When I worked at a shelter, I had the privilege of being the Special Events Coordinator and I organized golf tournaments, annual banquets, Christmas gift giveaways and school supply drives. While most of our funding came through monthly direct mail campaigns, the connection with the volunteers and banquet guests kept the dollars rolling in. Currently they are incorporating more online fundraising options such as evites, e-mail campaigns and e-newsletters. I remember the budget for thousands of mailers was outrageous and I can’t imagine the savings that the internet is bringing. (However, I must also add that about 20% of the donors were elderly who prefer the traditional mailers and return envelopes. Compartmentalize your donors and focus on what works for each age group and giving level.)
I’ve been at the same church since I was 13 years old and in those 23 years since, I think I’ve helped out and participated in just about every type of ministry with events ranging from car washes to banquets to craft fairs to building programs. From the perspectives of a child, teen, adult and parent, I’ve seen more than my share of fundraising opportunities.
Now with the church going crowd, there’s an easy side and a difficult side to garnering funds. First of all, there are moral and spiritual obligations to give… that’s the “easy” part. The difficult part is that these donors are already contributing and in a church environment they are continually asked to give more: the opportunities include tithing, missions, maybe a building program or special family in need. Then there are outside ministries such as crisis centers, inner city outreaches or clothing drives that tap into the same church-going crowd. (Now this is where this post started: the grandfather I was talking to couldn’t comprehend why people weren’t being more generous. My argument was that the guests that were attending our event were already generous and this was just an additional cause to support.)
In churches, I think that social media is a greatly underused resource. The church is already an established community and Facebook is just a visual extension of that family. When I opened my Facebook account, within two weeks I had 86 friends and 90% are from church!
So far I’ve started fundraising websites for a golf tournament and have two pending with a recovery ministry and outreach to veterans. Fundly is great for these projects because while the funding will be funneled through the church, each ministry can have its separate site to post future events, how close they are to their financial goals and they can share their mission with the friends on Facebook. Also, the cost is minimal so the funds go directly to the task at hand with little to no time, man power and effort invested.
Fundraising for the Arts
When I started working at a symphony, the dichotomy of fundraising really hit me. I was used to the homeless shelter food donations, creating something out of nothing and an entirely different clientele. Then at this creative office an expanse of Juilliard graduates, prodigies, business moguls and wealthy retired philanthropists paraded through the doors. I worked in the development department and helped with events such as food and wine tastings, concerts in private homes and an annual grand ball. Just as the causes had completely different goals, so did the donors who contributed.
While many of these supporters aided both the arts and humanitarian causes, the acknowledgement and expectations that they required from the nonprofits they contributed to were entirely different. The motivation seemed to range between moral obligations to social prestige. Petitioning for funds also required a new thought process: to attract the wealthier donors’ attention, it took a refined touch of wining and dining accompanied by bells and whistles. They had seen it all and heard it all and usually earned their money through fine business acumen; if anything less was presented, the ask was left on the table.
While relationships are the basis for any size gift, the bigger asks and more powerful donors require more in depth one-on-one attention and nurturing. However, incorporating social media is a great way to open the door to any donor. Showing a sample artists’ work, advertising events and ticket sales and petitioning funds for future projects are all perfect things to display on a fundraising page. By using Fundly, donors can also have their giving posted on Facebook to encourage their friends to join their efforts.
With every cause there are a variety of donors that come with it. Furthermore, within your donors it is important to categorize giving levels, the most effective ways of communication and the best angles to get them involved. From direct mail campaigns to online giving, the most valuable way to reach your donors is by knowing who they are.
As I think back to the Constitution and the original form of our government in its essence of democratic purity, I can’t help but wonder what our forefathers would think of the current electoral process.
Would they be aghast at the immense amount of cash raised and spent? Would they be flabbergasted at political fundraising mixed with the advancement of technology? How would they feel about Super PACs? However, I also ponder if these questions are fair to pose in an apples-to-oranges comparison. In a world in which powdered wigs, wooden teeth and only male voters existed, do the same principles apply?
In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, it was found that 69% of voters believe that PACs should be banned. Furthermore, 78% of independent voters believe that they should be eliminated. Do PACs really deserve such a bad rap?
Restore Our Future, the super PAC supporting former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, has already spent nearly $34 million in early presidential primary states on his behalf. Winning Our Future, a super PAC associated with former House speaker Newt Gingrich, has already gone through $16 million. President Obama is also gaining momentum using a PAC; Priorities USA Action is in effect and is run by two former White House aides.
The Washington Post reports that, “All told, super PACs have raised more than $130 million and spent $75 million in the 2012 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Given that the 2012 election isn’t for another eight months or so and that super PACs focused on House races have already begun to crop up, it’s easy to see that number cresting $500 million or even nearing $1 billion before the election is over.
What does the future hold for political fundraising? Online fundraising through sites like Fundly are at an all time high and the candidates are spending time, money and strategic planning on optimizing social networking. We’ll just have to wait and see how technology and major donor giving influences the outcome of the presidential election in November.
If you interviewed a panel of consumers, undoubtedly most would be able to identify Nike by its swoosh, Disney by its three circles forming Mickey Mouse’s head and Microsoft Windows by its four-colored waving flag. Branding and marketing go hand-in-hand; not just in the marketplace but also for non-profit fundraising.
Rahim Kanani, contributor to Forbes Magazine, had an informative interview with Nathalie Kylander, adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a research fellow at Harvard’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. Kylander, along with Hauser Center Faculty Director Christopher Stone, are authors of an in-depth research study on the role of brand in the nonprofit sector. With more than a decade of nonprofit branding research to her credit, Kylander brings some useful insight to the subject.
First of all, why is branding so important to a nonprofit organization? Kylander explains that, “traditionally, brand was essentially viewed as a communication and fundraising tool, but we found that a new paradigm was emerging where brand was increasingly being considered in a strategic way, fundamentally anchored in the mission and values of an organization and critical at every step in the theory of change of an organization.
“We also found that the role that brand played internally was as critical to many of the organizations we interviewed, as the external role of the brand. Internally, a strong brand drives cohesion and helps an organization build the capacity and skills to implement its social mission. Externally a strong brand results in trust among its many constituents, be they donors, beneficiaries, partners, or otherwise, which enables the organization to have greater impact. However, what makes a brand strong is the close alignment between internal brand identity and external brand image, what we call brand Integrity.”
Can your donors easily identify your brand? Does your logo fully symbolize your cause? When constituents see your organization, what values and goals do they associate with it? “A brand is a psychological construct held in the minds of all brand audiences, a promise, a short-cut for decision making if you will. Strong brands in both sectors enable organizations to build trust, gain resources, and establish partnerships and access” explains Kylander.
A strong brand is needed especially when using social media networks for online fundraising. With Twitter’s shorthand and Facebook’s overwhelming traffic, a reliable brand makes the difference between a glance at your comments and a click on the “donate” button. Let Fundly help you create a free fundraising website today that can expand your social media fundraising and promote your organization’s brand!
What is the future of money? Quite honestly, the farthest I’ve ever really gotten with the question is whether I’ll have any or not. However, Fundly CEO Dave Boyce was on a panel dedicated to this topic at the South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival (SXSW) in Austin, TX on Monday and the reality of technological innovation is mind blowing.
In an interview with AP Mobile and MTV host Abram Boise* , Dave shared some of the topics that were presented to the panel. The future of online payments and consumer transactions are ready and available for use today and credit cards, wallets, and cash will soon be distant memories. (I was going to add checks into that mix, but somehow they seem to have already entered into the almost obsolete category.)
Basically, the future of money boils down to trust. A few years ago when I first started to use eBay and make other online transactions, I was terrified of cyber-hackers stealing my credit card information. Now I have a habit of researching products online, looking for the best deals, and without a second thought I put in my personal data to purchase anything from clothing to furniture to vitamins.
Dave uses the great example of the trust that people put into Facebook. Users post family pictures, events in their lives and share information for all to see. Regardless of generation, Facebook users from 12 to 100 years old have put their trust in the Facebook brand. Can you imagine if you could purchase goods through a Facebook account?
Secondly, the Apple Corporation has also won the trust of its users. This is one of the most tangible ways that transactions will be effected. Picture going into Starbucks, pulling out your iPhone and having the funds directly taken from your account without a bill or credit card in sight. According to Dave, “the technology is ready; the missing link is the trust.” Furthermore, the applications are available to retailers with minimal investment.
Dave also brought up the valid point that you spend money on things you want to be a part of your identity such as music, film and the philanthropic causes that you care about. Why not share the charities that touch your heart with your Facebook friends and challenge them to give, too?
Also directed to non-profit fundraising, Dave mentioned that the reason PayPal is not fulfilling their potential is because it is a difficult platform for third party users and the experience isn’t pleasant. “You either have to own the experience or own the platform,” advises Dave. This is a great principle for charities to apply to their own websites: is your site difficult to maneuver? Is it too complicated for your donors to give?
The future of fundraising is online, and the future of money concerning internet payments and mobile transactions is closer than we realize. Are you ready?
* Watch the full interview: http://http://bit.ly/yueFXl
In the early 1980’s when I was about 6 years old my dad ran for County Supervisor. I remember wearing frilly dresses and going to political parties. We ordered hundreds of bright blue and neon orange signs that said “Leadership for the 80’s” and put them up in friends’ yards and on busy street corners. We canvassed neighborhoods knocking on voter’s doors and had a phone call list a mile long with friends and family members spreading the word. He lost that race and ten years later we repeated the cycle when he ran for School Board (and unfortunately lost that election, too.) He’s not planning to pursue any more of his political ambitions; however, I’m still glad political fundraising methods have changed.
There was an article in The New York Times last week written by Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny which discussed how President Obama has created an almost corporate-like atmosphere as he pursues a second term as president. Like a well-oiled Silicon Valley techno-machine, his workers are busily scouting out past donors who gave in the beginning and are currently missing in action. “Mr. Obama’s re-election team is sifting through reams of data available through the Internet or fed to it by its hundreds of staff members on the ground in all 50 states, identifying past or potential supporters and donors and testing e-mail and Web-based messages that can entice them back into the fold” reports Rutenger and Zeleny.
President Obama, along with his Republican competitors, realizes that much of the campaigning to win the race will be done on the internet. “With the help of Web developers recruited from the private sector, [the campaign] has dedicated considerable hours creating technology that can make its Web site, barackobama.com, fit perfectly onto any screen, be it an iPhone, Blackberry or Droid — a seemingly small detail that campaign officials say can make a huge difference when it comes to enticing donors or volunteers to stay connected or click a ‘donate’ button” observes Rutenger and Zeleny.
Not by chance or trial and error, but through tangible reports, facts and figures is science being applied to the partnership of politics and social media. No longer are politicians from City Hall to the White House relying on knocking on doors to shake hands with the voters or passing out leaflets boasting of their past accomplishments and future goals. Today’s campaign trail is littered with crisp mailers, a path of Tweets and Facebook fodder to reach the masses and Fundly is proud to be a part of the future of political fundraising.
Running a nonprofit can be a lot like watching a funnel drain: you strive to get as many resources as you can from a variety of different donors only to have it continually drained. With everything happening so fast and the needs being so great, who has time to balance a budget, implement a fundraising strategy and keep track of bookkeeping?!
A new report released Wednesday by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University found that mid-sized nonprofits with revenues ranging between $1 million and $5 million were lacking in financial knowledge and cash reserves. “While 76 percent of the respondents said that they were financially literate, only a third were correct when quizzed on their financial knowledge,” states Chicago Tribune reporter Corilyn Shropshire.
More than 500 nonprofit leaders were interviewed in this survey from causes ranging from education to human services to the arts. Those participating were asked questions involving bond prices and interest rates, investment risks and diversification of funds. Shropshire explains, “According to the study, financial literacy increased in conjunction with the organization’s budget. In other words, nearly 45 percent of nonprofits answered all three questions, compared to just over 26 percent of non-profits with budgets less than $5 million.”
A quarter of those surveyed said they had four to six months of reserves on hand while almost half of these mid-sized nonprofits had less than three months’ worth of operating expenses available for times when they spent more than they brought in. Furthermore, as demands are increasing on many nonprofits, they realize that breaking even is no longer the goal. Long term planning is a must to continue to meet the needs of their clientele.
One solution for these nonprofits is to establish a strong online fundraising platform. Connecting to donors and supporters through social media networks not only can bring in additional funding, but it is also a great way to connect with people who may have the financial expertise to help stay within the budget and create a long term financial plan. Fundly can help you reach present and potential supporters using the internet so you can get one step closer to reaching your goal: improving the lives of others.
Next week is the interactive portion of the South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival (SXSW) and we are excited that our CEO, Dave Boyce, is going to be a panelist on Monday in the workshop “The Future of Money.” This action-packed event was designed with the purpose of creating, “an event that would act as a tool for creative people and the companies they work with to develop their careers, to bring together people from a wide area to meet and share ideas. That continues to be the goal today whether it is music, film or the internet.”
From March 9 – 18 at the Austin Conference Center, thousands will gather to experience the latest in cutting edge music, film, technology and global networking. The first week will focus on technology by organizing “compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable line up of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer.” With Fundly being the largest online fundraising company in the world, we are honored and thrilled to be invited to participate in such a groundbreaking event.
The SXSW is also well-known for its impact on the entertainment industry. With music and film moguls from around the world, these two weeks are also directed at sharing industry insider information and networking with other creative types to further the careers and successes of musicians and film makers. In this spirit, performances from Lionel Richie and Jay-Z are scheduled to entertain and inspire those in attendance.
For those who are unable to attend this great conference, they are offering web streaming on sxsw.com/interactive/live Friday, March 9 through Tuesday, March 13. With presentations entitled “Conquering the Digital Overload,” Driving Global Technology and Innovation,” and “Hack Your Brain for Peak Performance,” there’s bound to be a workshop that would interest you. Please visit their website for more information: sxsw.com.
Social media is a part of our world and nonprofits can truly benefit from watching other industries utilize these incredible resources. From watching web videos to online fundraising, technology is truly woven into the fabric of our culture.
People generally want to help. There are over 1,130,000 charities and foundations registered with the federal government in the United States alone and individuals donated approximately $300 billion to these charities last year. If there are all of these funds out there, why do some nonprofits struggle to make ends meet? Are these organizations contributing to their own financial detriment? What are they doing wrong?
The first way to get the dollars rolling in is to get your name out there. It’s like the old saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” Public relations and fundraising go hand in hand; without a PR strategy in place, your bank account is going to suffer dearly. Is your name clearly on your building? Do you have a leadership representative mingling in local mixers and participating in town hall meetings? Are you resting on past laurels and not pursuing current media attention for present projects? Are you up-to-date with your social media campaigns?
The second way to prevent a loss donations is to let your supporters know what your needs are and what they can specifically do to help. For example, don’t just say, “We need money to add on to our building.” Be practical in your ask. “Can you give $50 towards our John Doe Memorial Building program so that we can reach our goal of $100,000 by May 1? Our afterschool program desperately desires to keep kids off the street and in a healthy environment. ” Present your needs as urgent, necessary and attainable; skip any one of these qualities and your donor will just move on by.
Are you making it too hard to give? Yesterday I was shopping online and pop-up appeared asking if I would take a survey. I had a few minutes and I liked the website, so I was ready to dedicate five minutes of my life to share my opinions. After two pages of extensive questions and a glitch when I tried to input one answer, I gave up and closed the window. I didn’t have the extra time or patience to deal with this malfunctioning website. So here’s the bottom line: how well does your website function? How many clicks does it take from spotting the “donate” button to seeing the receipt in the donor’s inbox?
The final way to appeal to your donors is to take advantage of all of your available resources. Online fundraising is the fastest growing way to garner funds. Do you have a Facebook account? Do you check and answer your e-mails regularly? As mentioned above, is your website easy to maneuver without long loading times or a maze of pages to navigate through? Have you looked into Fundly as an option to connect with your current and potential donors? Fundraising is ever changing and by not keeping up, you may be leaving donors behind.
When is the last day that you can recall not flipping open your laptop, pulling out your iPad or making a call on your cell phone?
The internet and Wifi technology have taken over our world and are as much a part of our lives as television and automobiles. If you’re not fully incorporating social media into your online fundraising plan, maybe some of these facts will inspire you. After all, this is where your donors are at. If you are using social media fundraising, how are you standing out in the crowd of everyday media?
The minds at mbaonline have created this great infographic which gives the perfect snapshot of what a day in the internet looks like. With such immense figures and incomprehensible traffic, it is mind blowing to consider the impact that current technology is having on our world.
So with all of these videos, e-mails, blog posts and social networking sites, how can your organization stand out? Here are a few things to consider:
At the core of fundraising is story telling. Every person, every cause has a story to tell which can grab the attention and heart of the person reading it. Effective story telling involves pictures that trigger an emotion, sincerity and a call to action from the reader. Different stories also appeal to a variety of donors; be sure to use a spectrum of examples about how your organization is making a difference by highlighting men, women, seniors, youth, etc.
The bigger the net, the more fish you catch. How big is your presence online? Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail are the obvious choices, but have you considered looking into Google Grants for free online advertising or LinkedIn to share fundraising ideas with other nonprofits? Do you have a Fundly account to make managing online giving a breeze? Have you created a video to post on your website, Fundly site or YouTube to share your vision with a broader audience? There are a ton of tools out there to make your organization visible and to help you stay connected with your donors.
Finally, it’s important not to get overwhelmed by the influx of technology. The basis of every successful nonprofit is having a passion for your mission, an arsenal of people with a like mind, and providing accountability to your donors. Let social media work for you, not the other way around.
Can $3 make an impact on determining the future President of the United States? According to Mitt Romney, it can!
“Donate $3 today to be automatically entered to be Mitt’s special guest for Election Night on Super Tuesday,” reads an email appeal from the Romney campaign to supporters. A video was also put on the web petitioning donors to give $20 to battle the “Obama Attack Machine.” With the power of the Super PAC’s and Romney’s own personal bank account rivaling that of a small nation, why would these miniscule gifts tip the scales in Romney’s favor?
Reporters Matea Gold and Melanie Mason from the Chicago Tribune wrote that, “Although he has outstripped his Republican rivals in fundraising, he also is burning through cash. Romney spent money nearly three times faster than he raised it in January, leaving him with $7.7 million. Since then, his campaign has shelled out at least $2.7 million for television advertising alone, according to sources familiar with the ad buys.”
Furthermore, Romney’s donor numbers are vastly different than his political rivals. Just 9 percent of the nearly $63 million Romney raised through the end of January came from supporters who gave $200 or less. The Campaign Finance Institute found that two-thirds of the money he has raised so far has come from donors who have given $2,500. However, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, as well as President Barack Obama, have had about half of their funding come in from small donors.
Online political fundraising is definitely proving to be the favored choice for candidates to reach the masses. “Romney’s campaign is trying to reverse that imbalance by soliciting single-digit donations via the Web. That’s a tactic regularly used by the Obama campaign to gather new email addresses for future fundraising,” reports Gold and Mason.
So which is more important: investing more time into smaller donations to gain voter support or investing less time into major donors to garner more money? With democracy, I would have to say it’s both.
There are a few truths that are undeniable in the philanthropic world: First of all, you cannot run a nonprofit without fundraising. Second only to a heart of compassion, money is the catalyst that drives a charitable organization to accomplish social good. Next, if you always do what you always did, you’re always going to get what you’ve always got. Fundraising is about change. Finally, fundraising takes immense planning. Rarely does money come in by accident.
Now that we’ve established some basic ground rules, it’s important to keep in mind the basics to fundraising that can get lost in the shuffle over time. Here are some foundational steps in the fundraising process:
1) Create short term and long term goals – Don’t bite off more that you can chew. Every organization has visions of grandeur about having 50 or more employees, a building that spans a city block and a bank statement that has as many zero’s in it to rival Donald Trump’s. Can this dream be fulfilled over time? Maybe. However, it’s important to have a pyramid of steps to accomplish on the way to the grand goal. Start off with establishing an office in a good location, a staff that is committed and manageable and a bank account that boasts of three months worth of expenses saved. If you aim too high, discouragement is bound to set in.
2) Count the cost – Before building a house, it is essential to research how much supplies, labor and time will be invested into the project. No one wants to live in a home without a roof or plumbing! The same goes into fundraising. Create the best fundraiser you can within the man power and budget that you have to dedicate to it. It is better have an event with plenty of food and fewer guests than to invite the masses for stale crackers and packaged cookies. Also, you don’t want to kill your staff and have them face burnout.
3) Delegate to those you trust – Just as King Arthur had his faithful Knights of the Round Table, so every leader needs a committee of competent advisors. When everyone does their part and does it well, then no one in particular is overly stressed. Find the best group of people to work with who have the same passion and dedication as you, and the fundraising process will go smoothly and efficiently.
4) Slow and steady wins the race – Relationships and a consistent flow of donations both take time to nurture and grow. Showing your organization to be reliable, trustworthy, significant and purposeful will definitely set the foundation for future partners and successful fundraisers.
5) Be willing to change with the times – Review your list of donors and see if there are gaps. Is most of your list made up of seniors? Create a social media campaign to reach the younger crowd. Fundly has a variety of ways to support an online fundraising campaign for your charity. Is your annual banquet declining in guests? Maybe a concert or food and wine tasting evening will bring in new donors. Just because you’ve always done it one way does not mean that that is the only way.
With fundraising a hot topic in the news, Fundly has been generating headlines and visibility as the leader in social fundraising.
The San Francisco Business Times published a terrific article about Fundly today — and this comes in addition to the great stories written by Micah Sifry for CNN and Mike Cassidy for San Jose Mercury News, as well as Dave Boyce’s TV interview on FOX Business News this week. We’re delighted about the visibility because it will allow us to connect with more philanthropic causes and advance their social fundraising success.
Campaigns have raised over $238M since 2009
– by Sarah Duxbury, Reporter
Fundly is dragging nonprofit fundraising onto the social web.
The result, Fundly believes, is more money raised at a lower cost to the nonprofit. Better still is the opportunity to meet potential new donors at a click by tapping the social networks of supporters — something most online fundraising does not yet do.
Americans give over $300 billion to charity every year, and few leverage their social networks to round up other friends in supprt of the cause.
When a donor makes an online gift, “Why not ask me who else I know who may be interested in digging wells or educating kids or feeding the hungry? Probably, some of my friends are interested,” said Dave Boyce, Fundly’s CEO. “Why not welcome me into the family like other web-based social experiences do?
“The social web is insanely well-wired up to facilitate the introduction, and those referred donations end up being where the magic is,” Boyce added. “That’s found money.”
In some ways, Fundly is the nonprofit world’s Salesforce.com, a cloud-based platform that’s taking on expensive, customized software giants like Convio and Blackbaud — the Oracles of the nonprofit fundraising world.
Fundly campaigns have raised over $238 million for charities and political campaigns (think Barbara Boxer and Rick Santorum) since 2009, Boyce said. It got its start as a political fundraising platform, but expanded to 501c3 charities in October 2010.
Of Fundly’s 8,000 customers, nonprofits outnumber candidates, though most dollars raised are still directed to political campaigns. Boyce hopes that will change once the election is past. Teach for America, San Francisco Goodwill and the national Boys and Girls Clubs are among Fundly’s thousands of nonprofit customers.
Between 50 and 100 new nonprofit customers sign on for a Fundly campaign every day, Boyce said, and 17 percent of them become active users of the platform.
It takes just a few minutes for a nonprofit or individual to set up a branded Fundly campaign, which can be embedded on a website, Facebook page or blog. Nonprofits can promote a campaign through different social networks, and Palo Alto-based Fundly provides online support to help fundraising campaign managers figure out how to slice and dice click-through rates and yields of specific campaigns.
“In my role as a leader of an education foundation, we found telethons and emails and all those processes very difficult to continue and to be effective,” said Mark Goines, a partner at Morgenthaler Ventures and an early angel investor and board member in Fundly. “Donors are migrating away from those methods to talking to friends on Facebook and other media available. It was time to be committed to this model of fundraising.”
In October, Fundly closed a $5 million series A round led by Morgenthaler Ventures, bringing to $7.5 million the total amount it has raised from investors, including Mitch Kapor.
Fundly is for-profit; it takes between 3.5 and 4.9 percent of all money raised as its fee and to cover credit card costs. Nonprofits only pay Fundly if it actually helps them raise money, and Fundly says it has helped nonprofits increase their online fundraising by over 50 percent. Privately-held Fundly does not disclose revenue, and it is not currently profitable because it is expanding.
It has doubled its head count to 22 since Oct. 1 and will soon move to a larger 4,000-square-foot Mountain View office. Fundly will add up to 10 more people this year, particularly engineers, visual designers and marketers.
It has always cost money for a nonprofit to raise money, be it an email or direct mail campaign, a gala or a telethon. Fundly believes it may be the cheapest fundraising platform out there.
“We’re out to transform philanthropy,” said Boyce. “I feel like philanthropy can use it.”
In high school I locked myself in my bedroom with Gone With the Wind and a jar of Jelly Bellies and finished both in three days. Last year I received a Kindle for my birthday and thought the heavens had opened up and granted me a tangible miracle. With today being Read Across America Day, this is probably my version of Mardi Gras.
The National Education Association (NEA) came up with Read Across America Day in 1997 and it is annually held on March 2 because that is Dr. Seuss’ birthday. “Motivating children to read is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers. Research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.”
As a former high school teacher I had the privilege of being the Literacy Coach for the Social Studies Department and fully agree with the NEA’s emphasis on the importance of reading. Every Thursday the kids would groan at the thought of the half hour silent reading time on this adjusted schedule day. I would relish the moment that I would have a peaceful room of teenagers, most reading and some sleeping, all having books cracked open upon their desks. I would get a break from being both entertainer and disciplinarian and could lose myself in the pages of a novel.
From a nonprofit’s perspective, the NEA has implemented some brilliant strategies for gaining support and attention highlighting this cause. First of all, they partnered with the company behind Dr. Seuss who is obviously well-known and loved by kids of all ages. Secondly, this year their timing coincides with the release of the movie “The Lorax,” which is also gaining a lot of publicity. Finally, this year’s corporate sponsor is Mazda who has pledged up to $1 million in support of the nation’s public school libraries through a unique test drive program. This is brilliant marketing aimed at both kids and adults!
Now I know that every charity can’t put on the calendar a day to honor their cause, but reading is a broad enough topic for many schools, afterschool programs and children’s organizations to piggy back on. Send out a Facebook post, Tweet your friends and e-mail your donors to challenge them to read. Fundly is the perfect way to reach out to your supporters online and to encourage them to involved their friends. The important thing is to maintain your relationship with your donors and to stay in the forefront.
Does your child have a school fundraising campaign coming up? If so, set up a free fundraising page in minutes with Fundly and begin fundraising online right away with the support of other parents and teachers too!
The other day on TechPresident.com, Micah L. Sirfry discussed the interesting argument on whether or not the media is inflating the impact that social media is having on the upcoming presidential election.
From followers “liking” candidates on Facebook to online fundraising contributions, is the action on the web really influencing the race to the Oval Office? Does every person on Twitter equate to a ballot submitted on Election Day?
Sirfy states that, “Politics isn’t only about voting; it’s more deeply about organizing to get and keep power. And the evidence that social media is helping organized groups get more power–sometimes more than their raw numbers might get them at the ballot box–is staring us in the face.”
At Fundly, we would have to agree with Sirfy. At the end of the 2010 election cycle, 120 political customers were using Fundly to raise money and currently our numbers show 10 times that amount. The campaigns have ranged from local races to the presidential efforts of Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and a Newt Gingrich PAC. Candidates also successfully raised $71 million for the 2010 midterm elections.
Now let’s move beyond dollars. Sirfy brings up the interesting point that the nomination for the Republican presidential candidate is still up in the air in large part because of the role that social media is playing in creating factions among the conservative party. There are dozens of groups on Facebook that are backing the politician of their choice and there is even a social network that has more than 168,000 users who are largely beyond the control of any Republican organization.
In an ironic turn of the internet, not only is technology bringing more people of like-mindedness together, it is dividing the GOP. While the Republican Party is getting a ton of press for the Super PACs that are changing the landscape of political fundraising, an arsenal of small donors are also equipping the candidates with the funds to pursue the office of Commander in Chief. “On Fundly, a social fundraising site, the Rick Santorum page has nearly 3,000 donors who have built personal fundraising pages generating an average of about $80 each. By contrast, Romney has two donors who have created personal fundraising pages on the site, one of whom is his son Tagg” sites Sirfry.
So let’s get back to the original question at hand: do high numbers on Facebook equal high numbers of voters at the polls?
When so many people have invested their time, finances and opinions concerning the political scene, I can’t imagine them abandoning the cause at the apex of the battle.
Read the TechPresident.com article here: How Social Media is Keeping the GOP Primary Going
Funny, I didn’t see a section of cards at Hallmark to celebrate this special day, but nevertheless today is International Corporate Philanthropy Day and an occasion to be in the spotlight. Not only does this day give much needed attention and volunteer time to community charities from local businesses, but it promotes unity and bonding experiences for those who are working together outside of the office. Everyone wins!
Now what exactly is International Corporate Philanthropy Day? Not surprising, it’s just like it sounds! Started in 2004, the purpose is to promote, “a global advocacy day created to mobilize the business community and others with a stake in the positive role that companies play in helping to address pressing societal problems. It’s a day of sharing best practices, communicating progress on established programs, forging new partnerships, and recognizing the importance of collectively addressing the pressing challenges of today—and tomorrow,” as described by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP).
When I worked at a local homeless shelter we would all anticipate this flood of volunteers that would descend upon our property. Armed with buckets of paint, an arsenal of gardening tools and a plethora of cleaning products, these business professionals excitedly got their hands dirty until the job was done. The thing I remember most though was the cheerful banter and the laughter that steadily streamed into my office. They were having a blast!
From a nonprofit’s point-of-view, it was nice having a fresh coat of paint and the weeds pulled, but the most important part was the fact that we were gaining partners in our mission of helping the homeless find a shelter where they were safe, fed, and valued. It was so important to us that others saw the amazing work that we were doing to change lives and giving hope where there previously was none. The volunteers invested one day of their time, but hopefully they also invested a piece of their heart into our purpose.
Supporters can see pictures, hear stories and send a few dollars, but having them see your work on the frontlines is priceless. That’s where solid relational partnership is formed. Then continuing communication such as Facebook posts, e-mails and blogs can create an ongoing commitment. Fundraising and social media networks are the perfect ways to keep your volunteers connected.
So happy International Corporate Philanthropy Day! How are you going to celebrate it?
At Fundly, we know that the future of fundraising is through online social media channels. Twitter has over 300 million users and 1.6 billion search queries each day. Facebook boasts of having more than 845 million users and more than half of those people log on each day. Furthermore, this past year showed a 13% increase in online giving which equals a 35-55% growth rate over the past year! With numbers like these, which are only increasing over time, it just goes to show that online social networking and fundraising are here to stay.
While we continue to encourage nonprofits and political candidates to take full advantage of their online fundraising potential, it’s nice to know that we’re not alone in our optimism using this strategy for garnering donations. Mike Cassidy wrote in the Mercury News this past weekend an interesting article entitled, “Will Facebook, Twitter, Fundly and the like be the fundraisers of the future?” (Can we answer an astounding “YES!” to that question?)
Cassidy proposes that, “as we move into the meat of the 2012 election season, think of the accelerating convergence of social networking and campaign fundraising as the anti-Super PAC movement.
“Super PAC money rolls into campaign coffers in the form of six-zero checks signed by supporters who possess unfathomable means and political interests that they’ll spend tens of millions to protect. The social network money, on the other hand, comes from no-name nobodies, kicking in $20 or $50 or maybe $200 at a time, in part because one of their Facebook friends did the same.”
Cassidy also highlights the point that social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are allowing those who normally wouldn’t contribute to political campaigns to now actively participate. This is reaching a younger demographic and getting more people involved in the political process.
Fundly has definitely seen the popularity of online giving grow over the past couple of years. At the end of the 2010 election cycle, 120 political customers were using Fundly to raise money. Now the number is 10 times that. The campaigns range from local races to the presidential efforts of Republicans Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and a Newt Gingrich PAC. Candidates also successfully raised $71 million for the 2010 midterm elections, including $23 million for Fundly money leader Meg Whitman, who ran for the office of Governor of California.
Online fundraising is the wave of the future, and we are excited that the word is getting out. We have helped thousands of nonprofits, schools, individual causes and candidates and we would love to help your organization, too!
Oh, to be able to pull out the old checkbook and give one million dollars to any organization of my choice. That’s what about two dozen extremely wealthy donors have recently done to promote the presidential candidate of their choice through one of the new political action committees.
According to an Associated Press review of financial reports filed by the various campaigns, it was revealed that more than half of the $60 million generated by the PACs was donated by only 24 very wealthy supporters. “The super-sized checks amount to $33 million, and in some cases, the contributions of $1 million or more represent most of the money that several super PACs have collected” states the AP.
“Freed by the Citizens United case and other rulings that allowed unlimited donations with minimal disclosure, the mega-donors are pumping unprecedented amounts of cash to favored candidates. The lavish gifts are stoking negative campaign ad wars and making mega-donors essential to the tactics and operations of the super PACs,” explains the report.
So who are these big wigs that are supplying these immense amounts of funding? According to the Associated Press, the top five donors are as follows: Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his family have given $11 million to Winning Our Future, the group supporting former House Speaker Gingrich. Texas billionaire Harold Simmons so far has donated $12 million — both personally and through his firm, Contran — to American Crossroads, the Republican-leaning super PAC co-founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove.
The co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, Peter Thiel, has given $2.6 million to Endorse Liberty, the group supporting Texas Rep. Paul. The chief executive at DreamWorks Animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg, has given $2 million to the group supporting Obama’s re-election, Priorities USA Action, which accounts for nearly half the group’s $4.5 million total. To round out the top five, hotel magnates and brothers Bill and Richard Marriott have given $1.5 million to Restore Our Future, the group supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Romney.
These are numbers that would make any nonprofit CEO’s head spin and I can’t help but wonder what effect this new system of political fundraising is going to have on the election. On one hand, you need money to reach the masses on the election trail. On the other hand, are these PACs garnering more support or alienating the average voter? Finally, is it better to have a large group of individual supporters via social media with a huge Facebook following, or just one big conglomerate donor? I guess we’ll find out soon enough come November.
With Monday being President’s Day, we thought we’d carry the theme for one more post. Fashions, technology and industry may change, but the need to help one’s fellow man does not. Nonprofits and government programs will continue to exist until the basic needs of food, education and shelter are met. There will continue to be programs that were and are of particular interest to our presidents that continue to thrive as important issues today.
Somehow it seems like more natural disasters are hitting our world; every few months images of despair and destruction are flashed upon the television screen. Obviously these forces of nature are hardly new, and presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt and George H.W. Bush had to face the repercussions of earthquakes that hit the San Francisco Bay Area during their terms in office. Add to that countless hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts and blizzards, and I’d account that just about every president has had to compensate to address various disaster assistance resources provided by the government. In recent history, from Japan to New Orleans to Haiti, thousands have had to start over as they rebuild their homes and their lives. Independent nonprofits have also made an impact for these individuals and communities who have needed help to travel down this difficult path of reconstruction.
Nonprofits have the incredible task of providing aid to clients while maintaining a current fundraising strategy. A good example of online fundraising success is a recent disaster relief campaign on the Fundly platform that has raised $82,379 of their $125,000 goal. For every 100 donations that were given, 3,878 impressions were made to the cause’s Facebook page within a 24-hour period. This flow of web traffic brought a 15% increase in their donation yield during that period of time. This is the power of social fundraising.
Most importantly, through this site they have been able to serve hot meals, first aid kits and shelter to countless people. Fundly is proud to partner with incredible causes like these as their online fundraising platform and looks forward to aiding more organizations to achieve this success!
I think one of the biggest hurdles that nonprofits have to scale is the jump from making one-time donors into consistent supporters. They’ve heard your message, they want to help your cause, but what prevents them from making further contributions? This is the focus of one study being conducted by the Red Cross in collaboration with Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI) and six teams of researchers from around the country including analytics experts from Baylor University, the University of Pittsburgh and the IBM Watson Research Center.
The catalyst for this study is the dilemma that the Red Cross shares with most charities: during a disaster people are more than ready to give a one-time gift. However, the financial need of most nonprofits extends far beyond high profiled natural disasters or tragic incidents.
Andrew Watt, CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, states that, “Giving rates still have a long way to go before we reach pre-recession levels, and it all begins with reducing the number of lapsed donors… This is one of the biggest challenges charities face — losing nearly 60 percent of donors every year and relying too heavily on new donors. It’s much less expensive to retain and inspire existing donors than it is to find new donors, so charities should focus on stewarding their current donors and reducing losses there.”
Customer analytics is nothing new to the for-profit world: companies track credit card purchases, prescriptions written by doctors and prevalent topics on internet search engines. With this study, the WCAI hopes to track donor giving on a more individual level.
So far they have found that nonprofits use available data to support projects that they are already doing rather than deal with the process of changing their dynamics for a better outcome. Peter Fader, a Wharton marketing professor and co-director of WCAI, comments that, “There are a lot of companies that would call themselves ‘data-driven’ that are using this in a passive way… People are afraid to trust data too much. They often trust their gut more.”
Online fundraising is a great way to track giving, stay in communication with donors and to nurture a relationship with existing supporters. “Customer analytics” just seems like a fancy term for determining who your supporters are and what motivates them to give. That is nothing new to the nonprofit world and neither is the answer: building relationships. Whether it’s through social media or a line in the mail, letting your donors know they are appreciated and needed will keep them coming back.
It’s sometimes called “social fundraising”, “friend-raising” or “peer-to-peer fundraising” – Catchy terms for students and their families asking their friends for financial support on your school’s behalf. It can be a powerful tool to reach more people…and their charitable donations.
The more than 98,000 public schools and nearly 29,000 private schools in the US rely heavily on donations to deliver anything from paper and pencils to arts education to technology to scholarships. Enabling people connected to your school to reach other supporters is critical to your fundraising success. A popular source of fundraising for many schools is the walk-a-thon (or any “a-thon” for that matter).
When the school PTA plans an event like a walk-a-thon, jog-a-thon, or read-a-thon, it relies on families to ask their networks for financial donations. Turning students and parents into active fundraisers requires that the fundraising organizer make it:
But most schools haven’t caught up with the new wave of online social fundraising that is transforming how people give. Here are just 5 of the many reasons online fundraising leads to success for schools:
If you’re shy about dipping your toe in the online fundraising waters, rest assured it has already proven successful for schools. And if you’re ready but don’t know how to start, Fundly has announcement the 12 Schools in 12 Weeks Challenge, to help 12 schools succeed in online fundraising for their Spring 2012 “a-thons” with dedicated support from Yapper Girl and a fundraiser’s toolkit worth more than $3,000.
We’ve all done them or seen them done. The big “oops” that makes us cringe or has us scrambling to do damage control. With online fundraising, I’m not sure if these embarrassing incidents happen more or less. First of all, we tend to communicate with donors more online than with traditional methods increasing our chances to misfire. However, with technological advancements and management being more meticulous and cautious these days, there may be more thought put into doing a project right. Anyway, here are some mistakes you should definitely avoid:
1) Direct Mail Campaign No-no’s – Mail merges make life so much easier but one wrong click of the keys and your whole spreadsheet could be off. Make sure that your donor’s names, addresses and giving amounts are correct but also keep in mind that addressing a letter to “Dear Friend” is just as unsuccessful as using the wrong name. Also, do what you can to avoid signature stamps or scanning in a signature. That is just way too impersonal, especially when someone has taken the time to donate to your organization.
2) Pestering Your Donors – Are you running too many campaigns at once and asking too much from your donors? Are you filling their mailbox and Inbox with countless updates? Are you asking a $10 donor to jump to being a $50 donor? Create a calendar for your organization and spread out your updates, events, campaigns and e-mails so departments aren’t overlapping.
3) Not Delivering On What You Promised – From buying cookies to investing in a building program, if a supporter commits to handing over their dollars they want to see a return. Follow up on how your campaign is going and if you didn’t raise enough and have to bail on your goal, be honest about it. Your word is your greatest asset to gaining donor trust and their dedication to your organization.
4) Build Relationships – Sending out a mass of mailers or asking for money in front of a grocery store never brings in very good results (unless you are the Salvation Army and have a red bell and history of 100 years behind you.) People tend to be motivated by their hearts and emotions causing formal letters and door-to-door solicitations to be unfruitful. Use photos, first names, and anything else that brings the human touch and a bridge of relationship into the mix. Invest into donors and they will invest into you.
5) Keeping Up With the Times – Echoing the last point, the old ways of fundraising involve a lot of time and money without stellar results. Online fundraising through social media can make life so much easier for any development team. Communication, ease of donating and seeing pictures and videos of your mission tie your supporters into your cause. Since the investment is also low, you can experiment with your fundraising strategies and campaigns to reach new goals.
With today being President’s Day and it being an election year, it seems only appropriate to look back at the history of presidential philanthropy throughout our nation’s rich history. This has not been the first time our country has faced an economic downturn, nor are the topics of inequality and health care new to our textbooks. Here is a look back at some causes that have been near and dear to our Commanders in Chief and by looking back, we’ll be able to assess the future.
Abraham Lincoln was forced with the issue of keeping a nation united amidst the chaos and tragedy of the Civil War. With racial conflicts as a central issue causing such dissention, he had the monumental task of changing the status quo to redeem the lives of thousands of slaves. Skip ahead one hundred years to the presidential term of John F. Kennedy and the racial riots of the 1960’s. The birth of the NAACP, March on Washington and leadership styles of Martin Luther King, Jr. clearly set the stage for modern nonprofits and their ability to garner a strong foundation of committed supporters.
Franklin D. Roosevelt had a mess to clean up as he entered office with the Great Depression influencing much of America and impacting the world. With the stock market debilitating the U.S. economy, international trade decreasing by 50%, unemployment reaching an unfathomable 25% and farms and factories shutting down in mass numbers, many people relied on the charitable acts of neighbors and government programs. I find it interesting that many of the issues from this time are still present today: How much government intervention is too much? Is there a common thread between the crash on Wall Street and the collapse of the current housing market?
Now here’s a crazy thought: Can you imagine how social media would have been used on these past causes? Imagine a cyber Underground Railroad and the texts that could have saved hundreds of lives. What about the Tweets that would have been posted during the King’s “I Have a Dream” speech? What kind of online fundraising campaigns would have been started during the Great Depression? How many people could have found jobs using Craigslist and Monster.com?
Fortunately we are not in the time of “what ifs,” but we can use these incredible online resources now. We can accomplish what no other generation could before us. If we could combine the passion and determination of the past with the potential of today, what kind of tomorrow will we see?
In this final installment of Social Media Week posts, I would be remiss to not touch on the topic of the blogging world. From personal to professional blogs, I’ve been sharing my opinions for about two years now and have found this part of the technical arena to be something that I love. Here are some things I’ve learned:
1) Find Your Focus – Before you start a blog determine what you want your subject matter to be. Obviously as a nonprofit your topics will probably orbit around your cause and mission statement, so keep that in mind when you write. Avoid random political opinions, anything that might isolate your supporters or any negativity that would turn someone off. This is a great platform to share your heart and readers will keep coming back if they know that they’ll find something thought-provoking and informative.
2) Keep it Real and Relaxed – Unlike reports, news articles, and board minutes, blogs are meant to be conversational. Keep it relatable and avoid sounding like a textbook. If your readers are primarily donors, share stories of how your charity is making a difference or honestly share a difficulty that your organization is facing. You may also want to discuss a measure coming up on a ballot that directly affects your cause (without sounding too controversial or preachy). This is a great way to build relationships with your donors because they can truly see the reality of your cause on a regular basis.
3) Finding Content – Sometimes it can be tough to write on the same topic day after day but you just need to know where to look. I love Google Alerts; you can type in keywords that are the core of your topic and everyday Google will send you e-mails with lists of articles pertaining to your subject matter. Also try typing in keywords into any search engine; it’s amazing how many newsletters and websites are devoted to specific topics of interest. As a nonprofit, the Chronicle of Philanthropy and Mashable have great updates on the philanthropic world.
4) Creating a Blog – I’ve used WordPress for almost a year and a half and they have a great site if you want to create a blog. It’s free, easy to use and I’ve never come into a problem with it. It also shows you stats on how many people are reading your blogs, which posts are the most popular and it helps to sort out real comments from spam. If you’re considering starting a blog, this is the perfect launching pad.
Blogs are a great way to connect to donors and supporters by sharing updates, special needs, client success stories and plans of action. Through this form of social media you can expand on thoughts that would be limited on Facebook and Twitter or costly via direct mail. Blogs also are a great strategy to tie your donors in to future fundraising campaigns; instead of making the occasional ask you’re inviting them into your organization’s world one blog at a time.
In this series:
Happy Social Media Week – http://bit.ly/yKlkNr
Woman Uses Fundly and Facebook to Help Fulfill Stranger’s Last Wish – http://bit.ly/wluGiv
Twitter vs. Facebook: To Tweet or Not to Tweet – http://bit.ly/ADdqwn
Implementing an Online Fundraising Plan for Beginners – http://bit.ly/x5BymH
Starting Your Own Blog – http://bit.ly/yxR2kG
In this fourth blog pertaining to Social Media Week, let’s start at the very beginning of how to actually use social media for those who are either new to the nonprofit world or unfamiliar with the basics of social media. This week we’ve discussed the purpose and differences of Twitter and Facebook, but here are some practical ways to slowly incorporate them into your development department’s strategy for fundraising.
1) Get your website up and running – Facebook and Twitter are great ways to contact donors but if you have nowhere to lead them, it almost defeats the purpose. There are great website templates that you can find on the internet that average about $20 per month for a basic account, or you can set up a donation page on Fundly. Last night I created a Fundly page for my brother-in-law’s charity event and it literally took me about 25 minutes. You can share your mission, contact information and collect donations in a matter of minutes.
2) Set up Facebook and Twitter accounts – You can’t contact donors via these internet applications if you don’t have an account. Fill in the required information and spend about half an hour playing around with the different fields and features. Also, check out YouTube for video tutorials on how to use these online tools. If millions of people can do it, you can too! It just takes some time and basic computer skills to figure out the online social scene.
3) Set up a calendar – I live by my calendar and a to-do list. If I don’t organize my life on paper, I feel frazzled and overwhelmed. Once you get your online accounts set up, set aside a time and schedule or assign this task to someone on your team to keep up with creating updates and posts for your online donor list. Maybe every Wednesday you can create a post on Facebook to let your supporters know what project you are working on. Possibly send out an e-newsletter on the first Monday of the month with a success story or urgent need. On Twitter you can report on a great article you read pertaining to your cause or state how much money you raised at a fundraiser. Create a plan and then stick with it!
4) Reply to your donors – Social media is a two way street; you can post all you want, but donors will comment and ask questions. Be sure someone in your organization replies. Of course you don’t have to comment on everyone’s message, but filter through your account and reply when necessary.
5) Expanding your online presence – Once you have Facebook, Twitter and e-mail mastered, you may want to check out LinkedIn to connect with other professionals. There are a bunch of great groups focused on nonprofits and the forums are perfect if you have questions or need ideas.
So those are some of the basics to using social media resources. Tune in tomorrow for our final installment of Social Media Week posts: Starting Your Own Blog.
In this series:
Happy Social Media Week – http://bit.ly/yKlkNr
Woman Uses Fundly and Facebook to Help Fulfill Stranger’s Last Wish – http://bit.ly/wluGiv
Twitter vs. Facebook: To Tweet or Not to Tweet – http://bit.ly/ADdqwn
Implementing an Online Fundraising Plan for Beginners – http://bit.ly/x5BymH
Starting Your Own Blog – http://bit.ly/yxR2kG
To Tweet or not to Tweet? Is that really the question? With this week being Social Media Week, the answer is definitely “to tweet!”
If you’re new to the social media scene, you may be wondering what the differences are between Twitter and Facebook. You also may think that using Twitter is just another thing to do on your long task list. Most importantly, will using this site really benefit your nonprofit?
Here is a simple breakdown of the differences between Facebook and Twitter: first of all, I think that depth of communication is one of the main qualities that separate these two applications. If Facebook and Twitter went on a date then Facebook would be the woman sharing family photos, what she did that day and using a ton of words to communicate her thoughts. Twitter as they guy would respond in shorthand-type statements, stick to bare facts and hang out with guys with similar interests.
Secondly, Facebook has “friends” that follow you via invitation; you must approve them or they won’t be able to see your posts, pictures or make comments. Twitter allows anyone to join your group of followers and lets them comment on your Tweets unless you specifically block that individual.
Finally, Facebook is a more personal approach with its unlimited word count verses Twitter’s 140 character limit. However, Twitter’s advantage is that you don’t have to sort through extensive paragraphs to find the point of the message. Facebook is great for building relationships and Twitter is perfect for business goals such as gathering concise opinions or commenting on conferences or events.
Which one is right for your nonprofit? I’d have to say both. Different methods attract different donors, so it would be an asset to implement both social media sites into your development strategies. Facebook allows supporters to really get a sense of your organization through pictures, updates and links. Twitter could be used as a reminder when you have a new blog post, if there is a website you want to share or to give updates on a campaign.
The most important strategy for fundraising is to build relationships and meet your donors where they’re at. Twitter has over 300 million users and 1.6 billion search queries each day. Facebook boasts of having more than 845 million users and more than half of those people log on each day. Since these applications are free, it would be a shame to miss out on connecting with all of these current or potential supporters!
To continue the theme of Social Media Week, tomorrow’s topic will help give you practical tips on how to incorporate social media into your fundraising strategy.
In this series:
Happy Social Media Week – http://bit.ly/yKlkNr
Woman Uses Fundly and Facebook to Help Fulfill Stranger’s Last Wish – http://bit.ly/wluGiv
Twitter vs. Facebook: To Tweet or Not to Tweet – http://bit.ly/ADdqwn
Implementing an Online Fundraising Plan for Beginners – http://bit.ly/x5BymH
Starting Your Own Blog – http://bit.ly/yxR2kG
Fundly is proud to announce that we have published the first ever index that measures the social fundraising activity across the social web during the 2012 campaign cycle. The candidates are consistently and creatively using social media to gain supporters and dollars and we are excited to be a part of this historical event concerning technology in partnership with the electoral process.
“Social fundraising” is a term that we use often, but for those who aren’t familiar, social fundraising is peer-to-peer fundraising leveraging Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media networks to share causes and create an opportunity to build engagement and increase donations through online communities. It’s connecting with donors through using the internet and accomplishing what time, energy and finances rarely allow.
With this in mind, many candidates are actively making social media part of their campaign strategy and Fundly is proud to be a part of this democratic process. Currently we have three presidential hopefuls as clients plus one thousand other political figures petitioning for various offices. Due to our political clientele on both party lines, we are able to accumulate facts and figures pertaining to online fundraising in a way that has not been possible in previous years. As such, we have found that by the end of January 2012 political online fundraising had increased 53 percent as compared to the previous year. Furthermore, we saw that the daily social fundraising volume in January exceeding December’s average volume by more than 350 percent.
“Social fundraising has become a driving force in political fundraising, as candidates ranging from President to town commissioner use social media in unprecedented ways to organize and activate their bases to help generate awareness, money and votes,” said Fundly CEO Dave Boyce.
As cliché as this may sound, the future of fundraising is now. From politicians to nonprofits, from school athletic departments to individuals helping terminal patients, online fundraising has incredible momentum that seems to be increasing with time and success rates.
With this being Social Media Week, it’s essential to know how to use Facebook to fully unleash your online fundraising potential. Here is a great example of the power of Facebook:
While talking to a friend one day, a young woman named Crystal Mills learned of a man named Dustin Hughes, a husband and father who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Feeling the overwhelming need to help, Mills decided connected with Hughes on Facebook. Using Fundly and Facebook, Mills has now achieved her goal to help.
On June 24, 2011 Hughes was rushed to the emergency room where it was discovered that he had a brain tumor; it turned out to be stage 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme, an aggressive and incurable form of brain cancer. Hughes states, “In the blink of an eye, my world changed forever.”
With a burden to help Hughes and his family, Mills contacted him via Facebook and asked what top items are on his “bucket list.” Hughes replied that his biggest dream was to take his boys to Disneyland one last time.
Amazingly, in just a few months Mills’ goal of raising $10,000 for this incredible cause has been met and exceeded! Currently, $10,135 has been raised on fundly.com/operationhughestroop with the generous contributions of 110 donors and supporters. Mills shares that, “The money WILL officially be sending these boys to Disneyland, but that’s not all. Dustin had also shared a wish that he thought would be the hardest to accomplish, which is to start a charity for glioblastoma multiforme cancer, the cancer that he is winning the fight against, and help others do the same. We are going to make this happen.”
So what made this online campaign so successful and how can you apply it to your nonprofit fundraising? Well, first of all I can’t help but think that Mills is a stay-at-home mom with no marketing skills or a staff to strategize with. She was sincere, heartfelt and genuine. Secondly, the pictures on her website are beautiful and portray a message that hits to the heart of the matter. Thirdly, this cause has mass appeal to anyone who has a family; it’s not too specific so as to alienate donors. Finally, she used social media tools brilliantly. She posted on Facebook, there were several YouTube videos to upload and the message spread like wildfire. If Mills can run a successful fundraising campaign using Fundly, just think what you can do!
Tomorrow’s blog will focus on Twitter and how to incorporate this tool into your online fundraising plan. The more ways you can connect with your donors, the better!
In this series:
Happy Social Media Week – http://bit.ly/yKlkNr
Woman Uses Fundly and Facebook to Help Fulfill Stranger’s Last Wish – http://bit.ly/wluGiv
Twitter vs. Facebook: To Tweet or Not to Tweet – http://bit.ly/ADdqwn
Implementing an Online Fundraising Plan for Beginners – http://bit.ly/x5BymH
Starting Your Own Blog – http://bit.ly/yxR2kG
The greeting card industry has done us a great service: they have created a holiday for every month to make sure we have something grand to celebrate. Be it Valentine’s Day with its saccharin sappiness or Halloween and its sugar-high loaded spooky splendor, nonprofits are sure to find some way to capitalize on these fundraising opportunities. Here are a few ways to make the most of these special days.
1) Matching Fund Day – I came across a great campaign called Giving Hearts Day in which one couple is willing to match funds up to $4,000 for every donation that comes in on Valentine’s Day. Choosing a holiday is great for donors to remember when to give and is perfect for charities that are in the health care industry, a heart disease foundation, etc.
2) Banquet Time – I know I focus on banquets a lot, but this is a perfect way to gather a bunch of donors together and with a holiday, the theme is already built in. On a night like Valentine’s Day
many people are already going to drop a pretty penny on a special night out; why not create an evening of dinner and dancing to support your cause?
3) Client Focused Events – Most people tend to get super sentimental about any holidays. It seems to bring up elementary school construction paper projects and a sense of nostalgia that brings forth a generous spirit. Tap into this opportunity by creating a special project that brings donor volunteers and maybe your charity’s clientele together. An informal party, craft project, concert, or play would make the day memorable and cause your supporters to become more emotionally invested in your mission.
4) Perfect Time to Show Appreciation – E-cards are free and can show appreciation for your donors while wishing them a happy holiday. It is important to stay in contact with donors and this is a perfect time to say thank you. For Valentine’s Day you can say “We love our donors!” or on St. Patrick’s Day you can write “We’re lucky to have you.” Cheesy? Probably. Does it get the job done? You bet.
We all know that Thanksgiving and Christmas are the biggest giving seasons of the year, but every month seems to have a day of celebration. Why not use that as an online fundraising strategy? You can easily post your events, thank yous and campaigns on your website or in Facebook posts and reach a multitude of supporters. Get into the spirit of the season!
Would you venture to take a bicycle trip across your city? How about across the state? Would you travel across the country to promote your cause? What do online fundraising and traveling by bike have in common?
These are some interesting questions that Alaskan Brian Lyke and Michigan resident Nicole Gaunt have raised with their mission to travel from California to Maine with the hopes of bringing more attention to Free Hugs, a grass-roots program which promotes human empathy and connection in urban environments.
Lyke explains that, “Cities are scary, alienating places. Free Hugs tries to solve that problem. Throwing your arms around a smiling stranger feels good, and is a quick way to meet people. We picked this program to carry with us across the country because we need to bring that sense of community along with us. We hope that sharing that community across America will have a ripple effect, encouraging service and inspiring action against apathy and antipathy.”
Lyke and Gaunt came up with this unique and exciting journey while they were on a 40 mile bike ride in Alaska. They both have offers for summer jobs across the country and decided that a road trip was too expensive, a plane trip was too fast, and a bike trip would be the perfect way to experience an adventure while bringing attention to a worthy cause.
Along with grant writing and bargain shopping, Lyke and Gaunt have turned to online fundraising and have almost reached their $2,000 financial goal through using Fundly. “I found out about this website when my activist friend sent me a fundraising appeal. It was much better than the appeals she usually sent… Making an account on the website was easy, the fees were reasonable, and the platform robust. When the donations started pouring in, I was won over.
“I’ve worked in community organizing for five years. Fundraising is hard. It takes a lot of time, thought, talking, and follow-up that can be hard to juggle with life, work, and planning logistics on a 100 day expedition. Fundly’s suite of features made a well-run fundraising campaign happen for our little adventure,” states Lyke. So far this team has raised $1,936 of their $2,000 goal and started their journey on February 1. To check out their webpage or donate, please go to http://fundly.com/akfreehugs and you can follow them on http://akfreehugs.tumblr.com/ as they update their blog regularly. We with these adventurists a safe and successful journey!
Did you even know that it’s Social Media Week? Well, it is and I am excited to celebrate this monumental advancement in technology. From keeping in touch with old friends to finding out what my favorite organizations are doing, I honestly can’t remember my life before Facebook.
So what exactly is Social Media Week? Quite simply, it is a conference that takes place in 21 of the largest cities in the world to celebrate and share the global impact that social media is having cultural, economic, political and social change in developed and emerging markets. This event has more than 60,000 worldwide attendees with another half million who join either online or through other mobile connections.
This week of cyber-talk is particularly important for nonprofits for one simple reason: most of your donors are connected to the internet and the best way to reach donors is to meet them where they’re at. Just look at some of these statistics from JeffBullas.com:
1) Each Facebook user spends on average 15 hours and 33 minutes a month on the site
2) More than 250 million people access Facebook through their mobile devices
3) More than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook
4) 30 billion pieces of content is shared on Facebook each month
5) YouTube has 490 million unique users who visit every month (as of February 2011)
6) 190 million average Tweets per day occur on Twitter (May 2011)
7) Twitter is handling 1.6 billion queries per day
8) Twitter is adding nearly 500,000 users a day
9) Google+ has more than 25 million users
10) Google+ was the fastest social network to reach 10 million users at 16 days (Twitter took 780 days and Facebook 852 days)
Just imagine how much time and money it would cost in a direct mail campaign or cold call list to contact even 1,000 of these people! With social media you can type in a message, hit send ,and instantly hundreds of your donors can be contacted and the amount of re-posts or re-tweets are immeasurable.
Furthermore, this conference has some of the most brilliant minds in business who have combined marketing skills with technological advancements to create profits worldwide. I can’t even begin to grasp what knowledge and experience they have that can be applied to nonprofit fundraising.
So raise up your mug of lukewarm coffee and take a bite of a sugary pastry to welcome Social Media Week. It may not be Mardi Gras, but for the guy in the cubicle next to you it may just be the next best thing.
Tune in tomorrow to learn how Facebook can impact your online fundraising numbers…
In this series:
Happy Social Media Week – http://bit.ly/yKlkNr
Woman Uses Fundly and Facebook to Help Fulfill Stranger’s Last Wish – http://bit.ly/wluGiv
Twitter vs. Facebook: To Tweet or Not to Tweet – http://bit.ly/ADdqwn
Implementing an Online Fundraising Plan for Beginners – http://bit.ly/x5BymH
Starting Your Own Blog – http://bit.ly/yxR2kG
Right now I am helping a golf tournament committee with fundraising ideas. This event is for an amazing cause to help foster children go to camp for one week this summer in which they are treated like royalty. I’ve been involved with this tournament for several years and I love to help such a worthy cause.
This year I’ve taken a bit of a different approach to suggesting ideas to help this nonprofit raise money. Like most organizations they have little time and cash to spare and all of the people that I am working with are also volunteering their time and skills. Fundly has made me really try to think outside of the box to use social media fundraising in new and different ways. Here are a few ideas that we are using to promote the tournament.
First of all, we need golfers to have a golf tournament. The good thing is that most golfers know other golfers. We are contacting our faithful participants and asking them to contact their friends to create foursomes. What better way to do this than on Facebook? It’s easy to drop a line and ask a friend if they want to participate in a day on the green. This works much better than a bunch of letters sent through the mail because their contacting their own buddies.
Secondly, we are sending out reminders every two weeks to our Facebook friends about new donations, games on the course and new features that we will have that day. We want to tempt golfers who are on the fence to join us for a great day with wonderful prizes.
The next thing we are using social media for is to ask friends who own businesses or have contacts for corporate sponsors to partner with us to make this day a success. Business owners can donate products or gift certificates to our raffle which will be held at the evening banquet. Corporate sponsors have a foursome, their name and/or logo in event advertising and their logo on different gift products. Once again, relationships are the best way to get support; mass mailers are not.
Another benefit to online communication is that we can easily direct people to the e-mail of the organization we are aiding. They can see pictures of the camp, read letters from the kids and choose to donate to the charity if they are not golfers or can’t participate the day of our event. The bottom line is that the more money we raise, the more kids are able to attend this memorable camp.
Social media has been a great way to keep in communication with our golfers, sponsors and committee members cheaply and effectively. If you want to stay ahead, online fundraising is a must for every charitable organization. It saves time, money and energy. Why not give it a try and brainstorm some new ideas for your own nonprofit!?
Clayton Christensen is a personal hero of mine. I count myself lucky to also call him my friend, and as if in a perfect trifecta, he is also an investor in Fundly. I have learned many things from Clayton, which does not make me unique. He has been a mentor to Andy Grove, Steve Jobs, and many other successful innovators. His book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, is one of the bestselling management books of all time, and his class at Harvard Business School is the most popular class in the history of the school.
Clayton was recently in Silicon Valley speaking to a group of non-profit professionals about innovation, and he called us as a group onto the carpet. He told us that the non-profit sector is not configured for long-term success. We are not the only ones… Clayton predicted the disruption and reconfiguration of the newspaper industry, and those who listened did very well, while those who ignored did not. He is predicting the disruption of higher education right now. Clayton was not all doom and gloom regarding the non-profit sector, but he did point out some misalignments, and he made a few salient points:
We are not set up to meet the needs of our supporters. They give us money, we take their money and do our thing. We don’t thank, ask, or give back. This is unsustainable We are too dependent on grants. We do not have a common language–we do not talk to each other… supporters, donors, non-profit leaders…
The good news, he said, is that non-profit leaders are not afraid of hard work. That is what we do. But in order to solve new problems, we need to come up with new ideas, and this will take innovative and disruptive thinking. “Old ideas will not solve new problems,” he said.
Here is one of my favorite clips about innovative people:
Most non-profit leaders I meet are the person Clayton describes–curious, confident, and innovative. Now we have to throw off the shackles of convention and old thinking, stop letting foundations tell us how to behave, begin to build meaningful bridges of understanding with our donors, and invest in a sustainable future. I have lots of ideas on this… more later.
Social media fundraising is becoming more popular as a valued resource for nonprofits organizations. Whether this shift is because of the success that peers are sharing in the field or because of the attention it is getting for political fundraising pertaining to the upcoming presidential election is anyone’s guess. However, the fact remains unchanged that more charities are turning to online fundraising and the numbers of participants and fundraising dollars are higher than ever before.
Charity Dynamics, an online marketing and consultation firm, conducted the 2012 Digital Marketing Survey which involved 70 of their clients. They found that, “73 percent of respondents indicated that their organizations plan to address social media strategies in 2012. This is up significantly from the previous year when 51 percent felt social media was a top priority. Additionally, 62 percent of those surveyed indicated that converting one-time donors into repeat donors is a key priority for 2012. This also is up significantly from the previous year when only 36 percent indicated repeat donor conversions was a key area of focus.”
Furthermore nearly 98% of the organizations surveyed replied that they are using social media and 90% said that they are actively seeking out resources to use this technology better in order to reach their nonprofit’s goals.
In addition to the expected forms of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and e-mailing, the survey found that, “the mobile channel is expected to grow sharply in 2012, with 51 percent of non-mobile users indicating that they plan to implement a mobile strategy in the coming year. Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed indicated that their organizations used mobile technology in 2011 to support their fundraising and marketing activities–up from 27 percent last year.”
There are many different ways that nonprofits can implement social media into their fundraising strategies. From weekly updates on Facebook to e-newsletters to a link to receive donations on their website, there are countless ways to open the line of communication with donors. The most important goal with using online resources is to build a strong relationship with your supporters.
As a nonprofit organization it’s hard not to think about how the new president will affect the philanthropic world. Will the impending Commander in Chief cut back government spending impacting the poor, the arts and education? Will increased income tax reduce donor giving levels? Will privacy and copyright law proposals concerning the internet return therefore limiting online fundraisers? What priority do these candidates place on the nonprofit world?
The presidential hopefuls have released their recent tax returns and their charitable giving is quite impressive. According to CNN reporter Charles Riley, in 2010 President Obama donated $245,075, or 14.2% of his $1.7 million income, Romney donated almost $3 million, or 13.8% of his income, while Gingrich gave $81,133, or 2.6% of his income to charity. (On a side note, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul have yet to release their tax returns.)
“Romney and Obama are very generous charity-wise,” said CharityWatch president Daniel Borochoff. Gingrich is still doing pretty well, but Borochoff said his giving level is “more like an average donor for the income.”
So what charities are benefitting from these generous donors? In 2011, the Romney’s gave $2.6 million in cash contributions to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and in 2010 they gave $1.5 million. The Romneys also have a foundation that they started called the Tyler Foundation in which they filtered money to other charitable organizations such as Harvard Business School, City Year, the George W. Bush Library and the Boys and Girls Club of Boston to name a few. The Obama’s spread their generosity to groups ranging from the American Red Cross, the University of Hawaii foundation, the National AIDS Fund and the Greater New Orleans Foundation. On Gingrich’s tax returns , it was unclear as to what organizations he delegated his funds to other than $9,540 to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
Honestly, the amount of giving is quite impressive but the fact that these presidential nominees are so generous does not surprise me. After all, isn’t being president like being the ultimate public servant? He has the interests of the country at heart, he needs public approval to achieve his goals and he has to love people to interact with so many with varying and diverse backgrounds.
From government intervention to taxation to health care, we all know that there is a chasm between the views and ideals of Republicans and Democrats. Apparently there are different takes on political fundraising, too.
“The Democrats and Republicans really have opposite problems right now,” said Anthony Corrado, a professor of government at Colby College in an article in thedailybeast.com. “The president has a head start and will out-raise whoever the Republican nominee is, but it’s going to be a financially competitive race because on the other side of the ledger, the super PACS will step in to help erase Obama’s advantage.”
Corrado has strong statistics to support his opinion; Obama has raised about $30 million more than his four Republican competitors combined. However, the Republicans are far in the lead concerning PAC giving with such numbers like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, which raised $51 million last year and Restore Our Future, the largest of the independent groups supporting Romney which collected more than $30 million last year. “By comparison, supporters gave Priorities USA Action, the main super PAC backing Obama, just over $4 million,” states The Daily Beast reporter Laura Colarusso.
Colarusso explains that the Democrats aren’t tapping into the PAC trend because “in 2008, Obama’s record haul was made possible by the fact that he broke a campaign pledge and opted out of the public financing system. He was the first candidate ever to take that step, and he justified it with the prospect of hostile outside spending. But Democrats haven’t embraced that lesson and have instead rallied against the Citizens United decision that effectively elevated money into a new form of protected political speech. Many supporters of the party have been reluctant so far to contribute to the super PACs the decision effectively empowered.”
On the flip side, Republicans are thriving on this new policy for political fundraising because of anti-Obama sentiment and the fact that individuals can give to independent groups without a donation ceiling. However, many GOP nominees’ numbers from individual supporters are suffering because their party’s funds are divided between candidates while many Democrats widely continue to support President Obama.
“The president still has the advantage,” says Corrado. “The real question is going to be whether conservative small donors will rally behind the eventual nominee to provide the money his campaign will need in a contest against Obama or if he’ll have to rely on the super PACs.”
I love event fundraising and the excitement it brings: generous people getting together to further a worthy cause, deliciously-bad-for-you food being served and the account totals that are calculated at the end of the event. A fun evening AND the chance to help others; what could be better!? Here are some guidelines to help your event run smoothly from recruiting volunteers to social media fundraising.
Right now I am on a committee for a Crab Feed to take place in early March so my mind is in event mode. I am in charge of the decorations and live and silent auctions, but somehow committee members seem to have an opinion and hand in all the other areas of the event, too. While this is far from being my first non-profit event that I am involved with, I am still learning a ton about the process of creating a successful fundraiser.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
1) What is your specific goal? What project are you working towards and what is your financial target? When people know how much you want to raise, it’s much easier to reach a specific amount. If you aim low, that’s where you’ll end up.
2) Is this a one time or annual event? – When you keep this idea in mind, it will determine how you plan. Keep meticulous records, take pictures and video for the following year’s advertising and announce it at the event so your donors can plan to save the date. It is also important that everything runs smoothly so that your guests will want to come back and bring friends.
3) Carefully choose your volunteers – The leader of the non-profit that I am volunteering for in the Crab Feed is awesome; she is gracious, appreciative, listens and has a great passion for the cause. The volunteer leader under her is quite the opposite. Determine what your volunteers’ strengths and weaknesses are so you can apply their skills to the best job suited for them. Choose your volunteers and their roles carefully because they reflect you and your charity.
4) Relationship building – The best way to get donations for an auction is through relationships. Do you go to a particular restaurant every week? Ask for a gift certificate. Do you have a faithful donor who owns a spa? Ask for a product gift basket. Sending out a mass of donation letters to companies is basically a waste of time and postage.
5) Get the word out – Facebook, Twitter and e-mails are a great way to promote your event through online fundraising tools. Instead of sending save the date cards, write a few posts or tweets. Online communication is also a good way to ask for donations (but be specific on what you are looking for.)This method is perfect for informal information and requests, but stick to the tried and true invitations for formal events. A donation link on your website is also perfect if someone is unable to attend; they can still contribute through without being present. Finally, you can use this medium for a general thank you and update on your goal, but send traditional thank you letters for those who donated or participated.
President Obama always seems to be on the cusp of innovative and new ideas whether it concerns health care, aiding homeowners with their mortgages or addressing unemployment. Regardless if you approve or disapprove of his policies, you have to admit that he always seems to be on the cutting edge. It is obvious that in this race to return to the Oval Office for a second term, he is treading new ground in the realm of online political fundraising.
Like the majority of Americans, the president seems to be glued to his mobile phone. Always with Blackberry in hand, he is constantly abreast of impending news and connected to his various contacts. He is also taking this same approach in his fundraising efforts.
NPR.com reports that the president’s campaign committee, Obama for America, took contributions from more than half a million people in the final three months of 2011 in which 200,000 of them were brand-new donors to his campaign. One reason is due to the immense effort his campaign is focusing on social media fundraising. “You know, they spent a million bucks in the quarter, basically, on technology,” says Clay Johnson, author of The Information Diet: A Case For Conscious Consumption. He says he’s not surprised to see that the Obama campaign spent about as much on Internet ads as it did on postage — more than $2 million.
“Now, the online advertising and the postage, that’s about either getting new people into the campaign or convincing people to donate. But the million dollars in a quarter on technology is about creating infrastructure,” Johnson says.
According to this same article, it appears that this is just the beginning of Obama’s efforts to dominate the online world to gain more donor support. It was reported that his campaign spent close to $400,000 on software and Web hosting, more than $600,000 on computer equipment and more than $43,000 at Apple stores just in a three-month period starting from last October. It is interesting to note that last quarter, Obama also invested $65,000 in text messaging.
In this fast paced world where everyone is connected to the internet, it seems rather obvious that this is the best way for politicians to gain support and financial backing. With the new strategies that are being formed in this election and the innovative devises that are continually being advertised by computer companies, who knows what the 2016 presidential elections will look like?
From television celebrity news shows to charities to consumer products, I’ve heard companies say a ton of times “Like us on Facebook.” I may be one of the ignorant masses, but I can’t help but wonder what good that could do. Of course it shows advertisers their popularity and social presence to get more money and approval ratings, but if I “like” you once and move on, what’s the point? How do you move supporters who “like” our non-profit organization into partners who are dedicated to participating in your online fundraising efforts?
I must admit that 90 percent of the time when I browse the posts on Facebook it’s rarely to search out a cause or person in need. I like to see what my friends are doing, where they’re at and pictures of their kids. I am connected to several non-profits and I do enjoy their one or two sentences about the projects they are working on and I like to see pictures of their progress. Rarely do I link to their site to donate. I have I feeling that most people are casual Facebook followers like I am.
On the Guarian.co/uk, Tom Latchford writes an article for non-profits to attract Facebook users like me to get actively involved in their charitable organization online. Latchford writes that organizations need to support the donor journey while communicating with the masses. There are definite steps to a charity-donor relationship: 1) Attracting people so they sign up for your e-mails and posts, 2) Prompting them to become supporters, and 3) Getting people to partner with you as advocates.
So how to you initiate attracting people for step 1? Latchford suggests that, “There are people talking about topics related to your charity all over the web, all the time. These are warm prospective supporters, already actively engaged in the topics your charity cares about. Topics on Twitter are found using the hashtag (#), so your charity should be finding the hashtags for the relevant topics and engaging with the people contributing to these conversations. You need to tap into these conversations and cultivate their interest in your cause. The true power of Twitter is tapping into pre-existing communities in this way.”
The next step is to invite your potential donors to check out your website which should be interactive, engaging and meaningful. “The website should be the transactional hub, managing the relationships with people as they contribute in various ways. Whether it is through appeals, an online shop, raffle tickets, volunteering or attending events, the site is a vehicle for accelerating towards or accomplishing your charity’s vision, with your community of committed contributors acting as a driving force,” explains Latchford.
Finally, non-profits need to cultivate donors into partners by having them actively connect to their online relations to promote your cause. Latchford proposes that, “The key is to understand that most people have more impact through their influence than a direct donation alone. These social media approaches challenge the institutional fundraising models. My theory is that we should seek out the right people, trust them and aim to move those supporters to a level where they are as effective as a paid member of staff. When you do this, you get results.”
That may all sound wonderful, but you may be wondering how to even establish an online presence for your charity. To establish this online social presence, using a social fundraising platform such as Fundly is key. Social fundraising tools can keep your donors engaged to create a community of doers who will also bring along their friends and contacts with a similar passion for your cause.
We all have opinions about the big issues and most of us don’t mind sharing them. How would you like to have your thoughts on important political topics posted on a billboard in New York’s Times Square? You just may have your chance!
In a New York Times article a new Facebook application was highlighted called 2012 Matters: What Matters most. According to reporter Tanzina Vega, “Starting this week, Facebook users will see poll questions in their newsfeeds asking them which of two issues matters more — say, the economy or the environment. When a user answers the question, the result will show up on that user’s personal news feed and on friends’ newsfeeds. The friends also will be prompted to take the poll… Data showing which issue is most important to users in each state will be posted across the street on the Nasdaq digital billboard.”
The motivation behind this idea was brilliant: the purpose was to create interest and start discussions with people who are not engaged in politics with those who are. Combine this with executive vice president and chief technology officer at R/GA John Mayo-Smith’s idea that “we’re at the intersection of social media and branded event advertising” and you’ve got an impressive link between social awareness and marketing strategies. Furthermore, “Facts don’t spread. Emotions do spread,” said Paul Adams, a brand experience manager at Facebook, in a presentation before the group. “We need to think about what an interaction looks like in that environment,” he said, referring to Times Square.
This is a perfect instance where non-profits can follow the example of the for-profit world. This strategy could get people involved in national and global issues and emotionally invested. Getting people to stop and think about a cause and then getting them to engage with others is the first main hurdle that any non-profit tries to scale. Add to the mix the millions of people on Facebook, and this could spread like wild fire.
Fundraising via social media is by far the most effective and efficient way to further a cause, and this is one extreme example of how to reach millions of people to take notice. While probably less than 99% of charities have the resources to rent space on a Times Square billboard, most can invest a little time and effort into connecting with their supporters online.
When donors are ready to give you have to make the opportunity available, easy and show your gratitude. If a site is too difficult to find, if the donation box is not easily located, or if error messages pop up on the screen, it’s more than likely that your donor will give up trying to contribute to your cause. Is your website engaging and user friendly?
Online giving has been a practice that many non-profit organizations have adopted. However, there seems to be a substantial gap between the success that could be had verses the donations that are being made using this internet resource. I was intrigued by the results of a study which was reported by user experience company Nomensa. Three comparable charities were analyzed concerning the donation process that each presented their donors with on their respective websites. This study found that 47 percent of people who started to make an online donation failed to follow through with the process. What happens that hinders their giving?
Bertie Bosrédon, assistant director of services (information and multimedia) at Breast Cancer Care (one of the charities involved in the study) and in the foreword to report speculates that “Most charities are taking donations through their website, but the journey is neither engaging, nor inspirational; the experience still feels too similar to buying travel insurance.”
So how should non-profit websites turn away from this formal approach to receiving donations and apply a more personal and heartfelt process to ensure donors follow through on their intentions to give? First of all, Bosrédon suggests that these websites need to be more engaging. Present your needs as urgent and necessary. Secondly, “make [sure] the next steps are clear, promotes regular giving and provides alternative ways to donate.” Next, support your donors by using a progress indicator and streamline the procedure. Ensure that your logo is on each page to garner your donor’s trust that your site is secure and legitimate. Finally, reward your users with a thank you message when they’re done. You may even want to list donors who have given to your cause on your website.
Online fundraising is the most effective and easiest way to promote donor relations, communication and giving. While many agencies try to use this web tool to their advantage, they are not tapping into the potential results that could be achieved. At Fundly, we have created a variety of tools to help charities and political candidates connect with their supporters to reach their fundraising goals through engaging and easy to use applications. We would love to partner with you to make your non-profit mission a success!
I am in the silent majority: I am part of a two income family, I have an upside down mortgage and we are putting off buying that new car for yet another year. As I watch the progression of the 2012 presidential election and the financial reports that are being gathered, my mind is blown away at the magnitude of dollars being raised.
As I read articles commenting on President Obama’s $35,000 per ticket fundraisers (yikes, that could buy me a nice new car) to the donations raised for the candidates who have dropped out of the election, it seems there is plenty of money out there for political fundraising.
Midnight on Tuesday marked the filing deadline for campaign reports and here are the current statistics according to USA Today: Barack Obama has currently raised $139,526,311 (which includes contributions from individuals, loans, political action committee (PAC) contributions and other income). 41.9% of his donations are from small contributions under $200. Mitt Romney is in second place with $57,112,767 and 9.2% of that amount has come from small contributions. Ron Paul is next in line with $26,104,721 coming in from donor support (52% from small contributions). Newt Gingrich follows with $12,733,254 raised (49.2% from small contributions) and finally Rick Santorum brings up the rear with $2,184,953 (32.3% from small contributions).It is also interesting to note that the total amount raised for Republican candidates equals almost $157 million which exceeds Obama’s numbers (even if it took nine candidates to do it).
I am really impressed with the percentage of small contributions that make up almost half of many of the candidates’ fundraising bank accounts. With this being the first presidential election fully using the power of social media, I must say that I believe much of this financial support is due to this surge in technology. While the PACs are flexing their financial power, the individual small contributors seem to be holding their own.
Social media fundraising has never been easier, and Fundly is making strides in bridging the gap between casual internet use and donor involvement. Between Facebook posts, live Tweets being shared during debates and the State of the Union Address and ads on the internet, candidates are reaching their supporters en masse and it seems to be paying off.
Last night my husband was watching television after dinner and the program captured my attention. While I was earnestly trying to work on my laptop, I kept hearing the words “Facebook,” “Mark Zuckerberg” and staggering numbers and statistics. I finally gave up what I was doing and plopped down on the couch next to him; as a member of the social media fundraising world, The Facebook Obsession on CNBC was like History of the World 101.
Everyone knows the product that is Facebook. Everyone knows that the Facebook god is Mark Zuckerberg. What astounded me was the snowball effect that Facebook has had growing from a small group of Harvard guys armed with laptops at a kitchen table to the mega machine that it is today. I was also blown away by the value of the company and Zuckerburg’s commitment to stay at the helm. Now with the company going public, many others have a chance to profit from this technological marvel.
What is it about this website that has millions addicted? (Even as I am writing this I decided to look up some facts on Facebook and was sidetracked for 15 minutes reading friends’ posts!) Is it that life is so busy that this is the only way to keep up with friends? Are we all so nosy that we want to know when people go to Starbucks or are up all night sick? Are my friends and contacts the only ones who write crazy or pointless posts? (I won’t even bring up how one dad posted a picture of his kid at the hospital with a big gash in his head….)
Anyway… all this got me thinking about how nonprofits can harness this power for good. If so many people have this crazy addiction, just think of the masses that can be reached using this online tool. At Fundly we’ve heard tons of stories about people using social media to raise money to help friends recover from an apartment fire, strangers donating funds to make a cancer patient’s final wishes come true and people uniting to bring attention to a plethora of passions and causes.
It seems like Facebook isn’t going anywhere and nonprofit organizations would be remiss not to jump on board. It is certainly worth the time and effort to post weekly updates and the needs of your charity. Just think what could happen!!
I’ve been on both sides of charity fundraising more times than I can count. I’ve written direct mail letters, organized banquets and events and sent out donation letters so many times that I think my friends are wary when I walk in the door for fear that I’ll hit them up for something. On the flip side, I’ve sent in a ton of donation forms, bought buckets of cookie dough and have tithed off of my earning since I was ten and earned $2 a week for an allowance.
My background is probably similar to most people working in the nonprofit world whose lives walk the balance of asking for donations and giving as much as we can to others. We sacrifice not to be acknowledged, but because we know there is a need that has to be met. However, there are always going to be needs vying for our attention and some are more successful at getting it.
Non-profit fundraising is a tricky business. You have to spend money to make money all the while showing your donors that you are wisely investing their funds. Not only that, but you have to bestow appreciation to your supporters to continue receiving a steady cash flow while simultaneously tending to the cause that requires the funds in the first place. It certainly is two distinct jobs wrapped up in the one position of CEO.
The point I’m trying to make is this: there definitely is a way to show gratitude to your supporters and there is a way to turn them off. Time and effort have to come into balance for both donor relations and client aid to succeed. For most individual contributors who send in $250 or less, a simple form letter should suffice; under $1,000 and a nice hand written note from the CEO shows extra effort and thought; over $1,000 and I would put in a phone call from the CEO to thank the contributor. Any higher and it depends on the situation as to whether the donor wants attention or is giving for a particular project. This isn’t a set formula, but it helps to have a certain method to the madness of donor acknowledgement.
I have found that the biggest mistake that charities make concerning donor fundraising is either asking too often or asking for more than the supporter is willing to give. I think an ask should be made no more than once a quarter and that varying giving levels should be provided. If you want to send a newsletter every month or post updates on Facebook once a week, I think that is a great idea. However, it helps to cycle your donors with ask letters or e-mails so the funds are steady and the supporter won’t just throw your mail in the trash.
Fundraising via social media is a great way to keep into contact with your donors and to thank them for minor gifts, but I would use it as an outreach tool while not losing the human touch. E-mails, Facebook posts and Tweets are perfect for mass communication, but keep your relationships strong through individual acknowledgements every now and then.
I’m addicted to the internet and I know I’m far from alone. Not only that, but last year I invested in a Kindle and donated over one hundred books from the bookshelves in my living room. Five years ago we stopped our subscription to the local newspaper because we watch the reports on TV and check out stories of interest online. In this eco-chic society, I am apparently part of the masses that favors technology over print and it is reflected in current marketing numbers; for the first time in history online ad spending has surpassed the amount that advertisers shell out for print ads.
In 1742 Benjamin Franklin printed the first American magazine ads, so in light of the long history of advertising I find it monumental that online ad spending finally outnumbered the traditional form of reaching consumers.
Mashable Business posted a report conducted by eMarketer which stated that, “online advertising is expected to generate $39.5 billion in sales this year — a 23.3% increase from 2011 — compared to a sum of $33.8 billion on print.
“That’s impressive growth, especially since 2011 also witnessed a 23% jump in online ad spending, according to eMarketer’s calculations. Online ad revenues should continue to grow over the next half-decade, albeit at a more modest rate… Total online ad investment is projected to hit $62 billion by that time.”
Why am I mentioning this on a social fundraising blog? So many people are online that marketing professionals are investing a ton into this medium. Obviously if this is one of the best ways to reach new customers, it seems likely it’s also one of the best ways to attract new donors.
A couple of weeks ago Fundly held an informative webinar highlighting Google Grants and it seems to perfectly tie in to this story. Eric Facas, Founder and CEO of Mediacause.org and former member of Google’s ad service team, gave an exciting presentation sharing the perfect way for non-profits to get free online advertising. By typing in Google.com/grants, you can apply for an in-kind donation valued at $10,000 per month for three months in advertising funds to post your organization’s information on specific web searches that include your keywords. For example, if you run a homeless shelter and someone types in “homeless,” your ad will pop up next to the links that coincide with your topic.
The for-profit world knows that online promotions are the new way to attract more consumers to their products and its time that non-profits take notice. Online fundraising is here to stay. The staff at Fundly would love to partner with you to make the most of this incredible resource.
How do you capture information about your donors and supporters? Most non-profits collect email addresses on their donation forms or newsletter subscription forms. This is good practice. Now you can stay in touch with those supporters digitally, send them updates on new initiatives or campaigns, and encourage them to take action on the Web where they spend most of their time anyway.
This is good practice, but it is not best practice. Far from it.
Consider the following: When a donor shows up on your donation form, it is over 60% likely that she is simultaneously logged in to Facebook. That means she has 135 friends in tow as she approaches you. If you simply ask her for her email address as part of the donation, you are surgically disconnecting her network of friends, collecting only her email address, and tucking it away for future use. Effectively you are closing the door behind her and shutting her 135 friends out. To make up for this, maybe you put “share” buttons on your form, hoping she will share back to her friends who are still waiting outside.
Facebook connect changes all this.
With Facebook Connect, you give her the option to “register using Facebook.” She then gives you a few permissions–permission to use her email address, permission to read her profile information including likes and interests, and permission to see who her friends are including likes and interests. This is easier for her (one click registration), and MUCH better for you. Now you have a lifetime email address that is and will always be current (as long as it’s current with Facebook), you have her demographic and likes / interest information, and you have the same information about 135 of her friends who are more likely than not to share some of her views.
Wow. Why would we EVER pass up the opportunity to make this deep connection?
I think it’s just because very few people understand the power of Facebook Connect yet. Maybe they believe a donation form is a commodity and that collecting an email address and asking someone to share on Facebook is the same as getting a Facebook Connect. It is not.
So how do you get a Facebook Connect from your supporters?
One option is to hire a development team to build a Facebook Connect application for you. This will cost between $15,000 and $250,000, depending on how involved you want the application to be. You then have to keep it up to date and maintain it–figure spending the same amount each year to keep it current. Another option is to sign up for a free Fundly account. We’ve already built a state-of-the-art application and you can use it for free.
With Fundly’s donation platform, we get email addresses 89% of the time and we get a Facebook Connect 25% of the time (and climbing). The people who Facebook Connect with non-profit organizations through Fundly have an average of not only 135 friends, but 550 friends! Once you’ve built this social database, you can send out a single message to your supporters that they can forward on to their friends with a single click. Think about the amplification!
So to summarize: 550 friends vs. 1 new supporter; Lifetime valid email vs. “hopefully valid” email; Demographics, likes, and interest data on all 550 friends; Amplification channel for all future initiatives and campaigns.
What’s not to like about Facebook Connect? Fundly is the only donation platform that is built as a Facebook Connect application. No wonder it is the largest and fastest growing social fundraising platform. Thanks for spreading the word!
I’ve worked for three non-profit organizations over the past 11 years and have learned quite a bit from each one. From fundraising strategies to employee relations to event planning, I’ve gained an arsenal of ideas concerning the non-profit world and human relationships that drive these relationships. While each charity has its distinct personality, here are some things I’ve learned along the way:
1) Don’t expect your workers to work as much as you; don’t expect your workers to work less than you. – I’ve had two bosses that were at opposite ends of the spectrum: one worked 10 – 12 hour days and expected everyone in the office the share the same commitment and passion as her. The second worked five hours and day and expected her employees to pick up the slack. Lessoned learned: there needs to be some balance. Of course there are times in a non-profit where major events and outreaches require everyone to pitch in a little extra time, but not every event is major and not every dilemma is a crisis. On the flip side, lead by example.
2) Build relationships with your employees – Now don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean going out for drinks after work and sharing intimate details of your personal life, but showing that you care brings commitment. We’ve stressed relationship building and communication to strengthen donor relations; the same goes for employees. Let’s face it: working at a non-profit usually means a compromise in pay. They are working at a cause for the love of it and just want a little appreciation and respect.
3) Be genuine – I once heard that integrity is who you are when no one is around. My dad is an incredible leader in the business and non-profit worlds and at home. He is the same humble, caring man when he plays with his grandchildren as when he is doing million dollar deals at the office. With his amazing character he has amassed an impressive group of dedicated employees, friends and clients. Niccolo Machiavelli’s book The Prince asks the question of a leader: “Is it better to be loved or feared?” Loved, definitely loved.
4) Surround yourself with people you trust – I saw one leader self-destruct because he wasn’t willing to accept constructive criticism nor was he willing to admit his need for help. No one is an expert at everything and no one is perfect. Surround yourself with a board that has you and your cause’s best interests at heart and be willing to adjust when things aren’t working.
5) You set the tone – The organization is based on the CEO’s personality. Be positive, respectful, dedicated and caring. Your employees with works as you do, treat each other as you do and will take on the perspective you have.
With a strong leader at the helm, there’s no telling what your non-profit can accomplish. When your office is running smoothly your work with have greater impact and your donors will see the amazing organization that you are running. The basis of a strong social media presence starts at your office; happy workers will reflect their enthusiasm online and the word will spread.
There is a crazy cycle when it comes to finances: the more money you have, the more money you seem to need. When you started your non-profit you probably created a slim budget to include rent, a couple of employees, some direct mail campaigns, a couple of computers with printers and a few reams of printer paper. As your organization grew, so did the donations and the projects that would further your mission. Regardless of the size of your budget, everyone seems to need more charitable fundraising ideas. Here are a few from Mazarine Treyz, author of The Wild Woman’s Guide to Fundraising, and Steve Havelka, a Web-design consultant who is on the board of the Austin Civic Orchestra in an interview with Tony Martignetti on Philanthropy.com.
1) “Know who your competition is. Create a message to your donors saying why your need is urgent and relevant,” explains Treyz. Make people fall in love with your organization: marketing is everything. One way to do this is with a monthly or bi-monthly e-newsletter. Not every time you communicate with a donor needs to involve an ask; just let them know what your organization is up to and that you are using their funds appropriately.
2) “Your website is your face” states Havelka. Your donors and future donors are going to go to your website. If it’s not polished, they may not give. Most importantly, your donate button needs to be easy to find and put on every page. Secondly, put your story and human faces on your site and make it relatable.
3) “Partner with people in your area to advance your cause,” suggests Havelka. Look for non-profit associations in your community that are contributing in a similar cause to your to find those with a like-mindedness.
4) Create something for everyone to do. Treyz comments that 90% of volunteers are also donors. When you get your volunteers involved in an activity that they enjoy, they become more committed to your organization.
5) Give your board members specific instructions on how they can support the organization. Make it easy for them to know how to be involved, be it through mailers or phone calls explains Havelka.
6) Say “thank you.” Treyz mentions that when you show gratitude, your donors are twice as likely to give again.
All of these tips can be applied effectively through using social media. With this online communication tool you can easily share your non-profit’s personality, goals and projects. It’s a great way to connect with those who have similar interests and to recruit future donors and volunteers while staying in contact with your current supporters. Contact Fundly today to make the most of online fundraising. We would love to help you take full advantage of this effective tool.
I can’t remember a time when my dad wasn’t on some board to help the homeless or that involved a ministry. When I became a teenager my parents started toting me along to various fundraising banquets and I would paste on a smile and present a firm handshake. Then when I needed a job I accepted the position as Special Events Coordinator at a local mission. From golf tournaments to banquets to toy giveaways, I learned the ropes of event planning. Next I moved on to work at a symphony where I continued planning events such as fashion shows, intimate concerts at donor’s homes and supporter meet-and-greets. Here are five tips that I’ve learned over the years:
1) Plan, plan, plan – The first vital step is to create a firm foundation for your event. What is your goal for the event and who do you want to attend? Who are the most important people on your guest list and what dates are they available? Next, pick a date that doesn’t coincide with other local charity events that may vie for your donor’s attentions and that doesn’t land too close to any holiday or sporting event.
2) Timelines are your best friend – Once you’ve established a date, guest list, “tone” for your party (ex. formal, casual, intimate, etc.), create calendars and timelines detailing every aspect for your event. The calendar should have drop dates for Save the Date cards (if necessary for a large event); when the invitations should be designed, approved, sent, and RSVP deadline; when to meet with caterer or facilities coordinator; meetings with the event committee, and all of those things on your to do list. Also, create a “day of” timeline accounting for every minute of the event day from set up to the presentation itself. For example, assign times for your set up crew to arrival, guest arrival, salad served, main course served, MC introduces your CEO, video presentation, etc. When you’re well organized things will go much smoother.
3) Leave them wanting more – Many non-profits leaders are so passionate about their project that they want their guests to catch that same fire by giving endless examples of how they’ve helped people and what is in store for the future. That is great information for special events, but stop way before your guests start to check their watches and their coffee gets cold. From guest arrival to “Thank you for coming,” your typical event should last no more than three hours tops.
4) You’ve got to spend money to make money – Your event is a reflection of your organization and many times you have this one chance to meet donors or future supporters face to face. If you run out of food or have cheap appetizers, your guests will not have a good experience with your non-profit. Spend a little more or invite fewer guests to ensure that you can provide the quality that puts your best foot forward. It’s the lasting impression that counts.
5) Relationships – This is by far the most important point! Make each guest feel welcomed and appreciated. It’s the human touch that creates a partnership and a lasting relationship. Have your leadership team and staff spread out and talk to as many people as they can. Thank each guest for coming and tell them you value their sacrifice and support. Be genuine and caring.
Special events are a great way to fundraise and build a foundation for a strong relationship with your donors. Once they’ve committed to your cause, keep the momentum going through social media fundraising and encourage them to share your message with their friends. Although you may not see instant returns on your effort, special events are a high investment, high return.
I think the State of the Union address was pretty much on every basic cable channel last night. With an upcoming election and a low approval rate, did President Obama rally the masses to get one step closer to winning a second term? Will his speech to the nation further his political fundraising efforts?
I can’t help but wonder at the timing of Obama’s dissertation just one day after the Republican debates. It’s obvious that the incumbent usually has the advantage over new nominees, but the back biting and mudslinging of the political party that is trying to offset the reigning elected majority never seems to bode well. While Obama was able to present a polished speech with calm reserve and his usual charisma, his opponents had to battle it out the night before with indignation, flustered comebacks and on the defensive. Does this seem fair? (And is anything “fair” in love, war, and politics?) However, I digress…
As the polarization of the two parties seems to increase, it appeared that Obama’s main strategy to gain support was to appeal to the middle class by addressing the issues concerning taxation of millionaires (a not-so-subtle jab at the recent Mitt Romney controversy) and government involvement to aid homeowners whose mortgages are upside down. These are certainly appealing issues, but will this be the net that gathers more supporters to Obama’s team?
In the Chicago Tribune Peter Hart, Democratic pollster, commented that “Obama knows he has 44% of the electorate” to start with, and in a country as divided as the U.S., “44% is a big number. He’s decided “I’m going to keep those people on board, then we’ll go after everyone else.”
David Lauter of the Washington Bureau writes in the Chicago Tribune that, “Getting the rest of the way to a majority depends on persuading a handful of crucial voters in the middle who find themselves tugged in two directions. On the one hand, voters — including those who call themselves independents — hold a deeply skeptical view of government and its ability to help them. Fewer than one-third of voters have a positive view of the size and power of the federal government.
“At the same time, pollsters have found a sharp and rapid increase in the percentage of people who doubt the Republican idea that America has no class divisions. In 2009, a majority of both Republicans and independents said they saw little if any conflict between rich and poor, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. Now, more than two-thirds of Americans, including those independent voters, say they think such conflicts are ‘strong’ or ‘very strong.’”
So basically Obama, Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, and Paul all are trying to win the favor of disillusioned voters. Fortunately there is still ten months ahead to turn this tide. Using social media fundraising tools and connecting with their supporters just may be the key to winning the election.
I must say that the longer this presidential campaigning goes on, the more interested I get. I particularly like how in recent weeks the candidates are showing more of their personalities. From President Obama’s rendition of Rev. Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” to Newt Gingrich’s snappy comeback to CNN moderator John King for opening a debate with a question concerning his ex-wife, I certainly like these more human sides of the candidates. Add the recent Republican debates to the mix, and now the election is starting to get really fascinating. Are the political fundraising numbers reflecting all the media attention that these men are garnering?
I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of the debates. In a battle of wit, words and wisdom, the candidates are rallied on the defensive to cut the other down and rise fairly unscathed. To me it just feels like bumbling rhetoric and back biting. On the other hand, well practiced speeches with teleprompters rarely gives the public a full sense of the value of the candidate either.
I can’t help but think of the first televised debate for the 1960 presidential election between John F. Kenney and Richard Nixon. While I was not even a glimmer in my parents’ eyes, as a history major I was intrigued by this event. The television viewers thought that Kennedy had won the debates due to his fit appearance and charisma while Nixon was recovering from an illness and seemed rather disheveled. The radio listeners thought that Nixon had better formed points and was more knowledgeable.
Interestingly enough, the Great Debates of 1960 also showed that this televised event didn’t change voters’ opinions but only solidified who they supported. 70 million viewers were glued to their screens however only 6% said that they voted based on what they had seen. Does this still seem to be the case?
Possibly. Even with Gingrich’s negative press concerning allegations from his ex-wife, his win in the South Carolina primary made him a serious contender for the Republican nomination. But don’t count Ron Paul out. Twitter has some statistics up on @mentionmachine that reports that Gingrich has had 286,313 Twitter mentions this week while Paul has 319,394. Does this equal voter support and high fundraising dollars? Probably not, but just when you think you know what’s going to happen next in this electoral race, you realize that you were wrong.
When I was working at a homeless shelter a local news station came by to highlight the work that was being done at the Rescue Mission. They captured vivid imagery of where one man would spend the cold winter nights huddled under a building awning, the long lines he would stand in at generous churches for a meager meal and the closing shot was an amazing silhouette of him walking alone down a filthy, abandoned road.
The next segment featured the same man, Jeff, as he ventured to the mission and the amazing transformation that had come over his life. He lived in an apartment, held a decent job, and looked like a completely different person; where his eyes spoke of grief and hopelessness, they now glowed with pride and life. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth?
It’s been six years since I saw that presentation and yet those pictures are embedded in my mind. There is something so impactful about the emotions that images convey that words can’t express. Whenever I see a homeless person asking for food or sleeping near an abandoned building, I always think of Jeff. Imagine the donor base you could create with one heartfelt video that is shared through social media fundraising. The National Council for Non-Profits has five video making tips:
1) Purpose – What is the purpose of your video? What do you want your donor or potential donor to do, feel and learn as they watch the screen? But be careful: it’s easy to want to jam pack too – much information into what should be a 7-9 minute video for banquets, meetings, etc. or a 30 second – 3 minute video on your website. The video I mentioned above focused on one man’s journey. They could have listed statistics, shown pictures of crowded shelters and had the president do a monologue of their future goals but that would only have diluted the message.
2) Who is your audience? – Are you targeting current donors, potential donors, guests at an event or web viewers? Your audience will determine your message.
3) What story do you want to tell? – Non-profits leaders have a ton of great, heartwarming stories to tell about the success and struggles of their organization. List them out and discuss which ones are most relatable, impactful and if the individual would be willing to share the story on camera. Three examples are about the max you can share without being redundant and losing your audience.
4) Be genuine – Don’t worry about hiring a fancy production company if it’s not in your budget. Being heartfelt and honest is way more endearing and believable. Just get started!
5) Share the word – Put the video on your website, on Facebook, YouTube and anywhere else that it can get traffic. Promote it like you would any other campaign. Darian Heyman Rodriguez, Co-Producer of Social Media for Non-Profits, recently said in a recent Fundly webinar that videos have a better chance at going viral if you use the following equation: Compelling + Concise + Credible = Contagious
The National Council for Non-Profits declares 2012 to be the year of the video, so don’t be left behind! Once people see your mission and the passion of your organization, who knows the impact that it could have on your online fundraising numbers?
Anyone who’s been an elementary school or booster club parent – or a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or work colleague of one – braces for the time (times!) of the year when the order form comes home from school to raise money through product sales. Whether it’s cookie dough, candy, entertainment books, wrapping paper, magazine subscriptions, or some other consumer item, this is big business! School product fundraising is a $1.7 billion industry.
We can probably agree that public and private school systems don’t have enough money to fund education. Private funding gathered by school PTAs, PTOs, foundations or other parent organizations ensures kids don’t lack paper and pencils, music and visual arts, computers, and other components of a solid education. However, we all secretly question why the de-facto standard in school fundraising is hawking goods.
This review is not meant to discourage ALL product fundraisers, but to help schools look carefully at the motivations, value, effort, and alternatives before continuing in that tradition.
Myth #1: Product fundraisers make it easier for parents to ask for money.
Reality: Let’s be real. Either parents are standing right behind their kids or doing all the fundraising on their own. While it’s difficult for most people to ask for money, it’s often embarrassing for parents to make a phone call, go door-to-door, or office cube-to-cube selling goods in the “name of charity”. While some feel a little more at ease offering something tangible in exchange for their friends’ money, we still dread it. That’s because in most cases, the people we’re asking don’t really want what we’re selling. They could go down to the grocery store and buy a tub of Tollhouse cookie dough for $7 instead of spending $15 on ours. Or they could go to Costco to get the entertainment book at a deep discount, if they even want it in the first place. While parents typically reserve judgment for off-campus coffee talk and private venting sessions, a recent blog by The Stir asserted, with mommy comments chiming in, that product fundraisers are overdone.
Myth #2: Selling cookie dough and wrapping paper is easy for volunteers.
Reality: PTA chairpersons and volunteers work their fingers to the bone to support our kids. There is nothing quick and easy about sending out fliers to hundreds of students, collecting order forms, processing check or cash payments, tracking class or grade-level sales, placing the order with the fundraising corporation, receiving the order, and distributing the products to all those students (add more stress for frozen or refrigerated goods), then cutting the final check to the fundraising product corporation. It’s plain time-consuming.
Myth #3: Schools raise a lot of money on product fundraisers.
Reality: Most parents are unaware or numbed to the real costs of product fundraisers. Schools typically make between 25% and 50% “profit” on goods sold. That means when my son sells a roll of wrapping paper for $8, his school gets to keep just $4. Most parents feel compelled to purchase the products themselves, whether by perceived obligation or to help their kids win a prize. If 200 families just donated that $8, instead of buying the product, the school would raise $800 more!
I’m not saying to quit product fundraisers cold turkey, but be selective. Look for opportunities where there is true demand for the product or it fits a school initiative that the kids can stand behind. At our school a few years ago, we tried with overwhelming success selling reusable bags by Mixed Bag Designs. They were stylish, practical, and affirmed our schools’ “go green” initiative, and best of all parents came back clamoring for more. We heard over and over again they were easy to sell, because people actually wanted to buy them. Before continuing with or selecting a new product, survey parents for their level of interest. Their frustration will only limit your school’s success.
Are we focusing on the wrong fundraising message?
Part of the problem is focusing so heavily on selling something rather than on the meaning and benefit behind a fundraiser – the support for a quality education for the kids. A school walk-a-thon or jog-a-thon presents an opportunity to ask genuinely for financial support from family and peers, while assuring nearly all of the donation amount directly benefits the school. By wrapping a fundraising campaign around a community or school event, we not only raise money, we also raise awareness within and outside of our community for needs in education.
There’s great news for schools already hosting an annual walk-a-thon type of event! Online fundraising for schools can dramatically increase donations by making it possible for students (and their parents) to reach out to supporters through email and Facebook, quickly and easily getting donations by credit card. It also alleviates work for the PTA!
A bonus benefit of the school walk-a-thon? It burns calories as opposed to eating a tub of cookie dough one spoonful at a time!
On this blog we’ve shared a lot of suggestions on how non-profits and political candidates are using social media fundraising tools to their advantage in order to increase donations and share their mission. However, here is one tragic story that tells how individuals are using this tool to aid in the recovery of victims in a devastating fire.
On January 9, a terrifying electrical fire tore its way through the Brooklyn apartments of Robin Newman, Monica Yi and Darrelle Vary. Newman was hospitalized and in critical condition after falling five stories in a desperate attempt to escape the flames. Yi and Vary fled with just the clothes on their backs and two of their beloved pets in their arms. Now these three individuals are left with nothing but the need for shelter, clothing, food and financial assistance to pay for high medical and veterinary bills.
With a modest goal of raising $10,000, close friends created and promoted a fundraising page via social media to accept donations online for each of the victims at http://fundly.com/reliefforrobinmonicaanddarrelle
Along with their friends, complete strangers have promoted this page on Facebook, Twitter and other web channels while people from all over the U.S. have created personal fundraising pages to help raise money for the victims as well. So far, their efforts have paid off. They have raised nearly $12,000 and over 20% more than their goal from over 230 donors and 300 supporters which continues to grow daily.
“We are overjoyed with our fundraising success and how easy it has been to spread the word and raise donations from our Facebook and Twitter networks,” said Elise Kindya, a friend of the victims who launched the effort. “Seeing this widespread expression of love and support from online communities near and far is a tremendous source of hope and strength as Monica, Darrelle and Robin work to recover from this tragedy.”
It is heartwarming and encouraging to watch as people are rallying around these three to help aid in their physical and emotional healing. Social media is obviously a part of our daily lives, but to watch it in action as a philanthropic tool to help those who are hurting and in need provides a fresh light on the impact technology can have. Not only is fundraising online an asset for charitable organizations and politicians, but individuals are taking hold of this advance in technology to truly make a difference in the world. With minimal effort and financial investment, the results are astonishing as shown by the success of this story. Fundly would love to join together with your organization to help you attain whatever financial goals you have to achieve your philanthropic success.
We’re amazed by stories of children who at an early age become inspired to start charities, like Ryan’s Well Foundation, founded by a 1st grader to provide clean and safe water to developing countries; Alex’s Lemonade Stand, founded by a 4-year old who wanted to help other kids with cancer, since 2004 raising more than $50 million!; and Free the Children, founded by a 12-year-old in 1995, now the world’s largest network of children helping children through education, with more than one million youth involved in 45 countries.
Yet, it doesn’t require starting a charity for young people to have an impact on their communities. We need to emphasize to our kids that they can make a difference every day in their own backyard.
I was invited recently to give a speech to a group of 50 highly influential individuals: Kindergarten through 5th graders. The topic? How kids can become involved in community giving. I needed to illustrate and explore how each and every one of them can make a difference. This was no easy task – It’s hard enough to get in the heads of an adult audience, but it’s significantly more challenging to engage the mind of a child.
My first challenge was speaking their language. According to Tanya Truong, founder of Volunteer X, an online community promoting volunteerism locally and globally, “With children, it’s better to focus on the word ‘share’ rather than ‘give’. Kids are taught by teachers every day about generosity through ‘sharing’. Using that common language allows kids to relate better to the concept of service to their community.” Keeping that in mind, I began my lesson.
First, we defined “charity” (in kid speak) as an organization that is in charge of doing great things in our community, like helping to get clothes on people’s backs or food for those who have none. Through a series of graphics on my iPad, I illustrated 3 ways we can share:
Time. Kids excitedly recalled volunteer service projects like the Cub Scouts creek clean-up day.
Money. Prompted by the image of dollar bills on a toilet paper roll (I hoped they wouldn’t pick up on the real meaning), they remembered coin collection jars at the school to support kids with cancer.
Recycled or new products. Images of toys, Spaghetti-O’s, and used clothing urged stories of canned food drives at school and clothing donations curbside at home.
Next, the kids offered up the names of nonprofits they knew – Second Harvest Food Bank, Toys for Tots, and Hope Services. How amazing it is that the school and home become a youth marketing channel for charities!
I added our very own parent association, the Home & School Club and shared information about the 4,000 hours of volunteer time and $100,000 per year donated to support the school. Eyebrows raised when the boys calculated you could buy 1,000 big Lego kits for that! These kids didn’t realize that a “charity” was so closely tied to their own school.
My final hurrah was a game orchestrated to give the kids the power to donate “money” to charity (Hershey’s Kisses do just fine to represent money). My approach:
It went rather smoothly. At the end of the game, “volunteers” (a word we had discussed) added up the total donated to each cause and shared the results:
Second Harvest $25
Home & School Club $20
Hope Services $16
Toys 4 Tots $15
Apparently 4 “dollars” were eaten in the process. However, the experiment was a success. The kids seemed to take away a better understanding of how they might have a positive impact on their community. A few tweaks and I thought I could take it prime time!
Then I learned the formula behind the giving, at least for a group of 2nd-5th graders. Turns out, my son and his teammates determined that they would donate their “money” according to the donations each charity had already received. If a charity was low on dough, the team increased the amount of “money” they had planned to give. If a charity had significantly more “funding”, they decreased their originally planned giving and moved it to a more needy cause. They had embraced the power of sharing in a way I had not imagined.
It’s important to bring the message of giving (sharing) close to home for kids. It can be as simple as encouraging them to volunteer time for a local food bank or to help raise money at their own school. The students I addressed had no idea that computers, music, and the school garden were paid for with donations through the parent organization.
When I was a kid in the old days, I went door-to-door to ask neighbors for donations for school fundraisers, usually selling candy or magazine subscriptions. Today, kids’ natural technology saavy can be harnessed for good. For example, online fundraising for school walkathons has never been easier. Students can help parents create an online donation page, produce a personalized fundraising video, and encourage family and friends through email and Facebook to support their school with a credit card donation.
Teaching concepts of philanthropy in kid terms and guiding those concepts into action not only benefits our communities but more importantly gives children the satisfaction and positive self esteem that come from doing for others.
Fundly is proud to be the Lead Sponsor in the upcoming Social Media for Non-Profits Conference which will take place in New York City on January 30, 2012. With social media fundraising growing exponentially, there is a large gap for many non-profits concerning the dollars they could be accumulating verses their current fundraising strategies. This conference builds an amazing bridge for charities to cross to meet their donors in the social media world.
This event boasts of having some of the top leaders in the non-profit world who are successfully implementing online fundraising to reach countless donors. Their success stories and valuable advice will undoubtedly change the way many organizations view and implement technology into their fundraising tactics. From insight on how to go viral to maximizing your Facebook presence to monitoring and optimizing the impact of your campaigns, there is a topic and presenter who will inform and motivate leaders at every level.
I am honored to be one of the guest speakers among such a high caliber group of non-profit and social media trendsetters and I am thrilled to share the incredible ways that Fundly is benefiting charities and political campaigns. With over $237 million raised, our goal is to maximize the online giving potential of our clients. With minimal effort and financial investment, the returns that we are seeing are truly incredible.
The focus of this conference will be on providing practical tips and tools for fundraising, marketing, and advocacy, all delivered by dynamic experts (such as Carolyn Miles, Director and CEO of Save the Children and Alex Abelin, Community Affairs Manager for Google) in keynotes, workshops, roundtables, and panels. The sessions are designed to provide attendees with concrete insights and takeaways, showcasing best practices, pitfalls to avoid, and free, helpful resources for nonprofits and causes.
This conference promises to be a valuable resource for organizations to raise money online. This is one event that is not to be missed!
As I mentioned earlier this week, Fundly was proud to assemble three of the leading experts in online fundraising to be a part of our panel for a webinar on Thursday, January 12, 2012. If you missed this outstanding discussion or just want a recap, keep reading. This is the third and final posting on the webinar, but you can also visit Slideshare.com to review the PowerPoint or connect to GoToMeeting.com for the recorded webinar. This is definitely one hour that will change how you look at your social media playbook.
Eric Facas, Founder and CEO of Mediacause.org and former member of Google’s ad service team, gave an exciting presentation addressing the question, “What is the best way to find new supporters once the right content and engagement funnels are set up?” His answer: Google Grants. I had never heard of this resource before and apparently most non-profits haven’t either as only about one third of one percent of charities access this free tool.
By typing in Google.com/grants, you can apply for an in-kind donation valued at $10,000 per month for three months in advertising funds to post your organization’s information on specific web searches that include your keywords. For example, if you run a homeless shelter and someone types in “homelessness,” your ad will pop up next to the links that coincide with your topic. Facas commented that no one searches for a non-profit to donate to but they do search for information on issues that concern or interest them. What better way to connect with potential donors with a like mind than when they are researching your cause?
Facas continued to advise that the long tail is a big opportunity that non-profits tend to overlook. Think about as many keywords as you can to build on your campaign. The more keywords you have linked to your advertisement, the more chances you have at connecting with donors searching for topics related to your cause. It’s just like fishing with a bigger net.
Finally, Facas suggests that organizations should improve their CTR (Clickthrough rate) and their quality score measure once their ad is up. If you can prove to Google that you can spend your $10,000 a month, then they up your budget to $40,000. The more clicks your ad gets, the more attention your non-profit gets… up to $480,000 of free advertising a year! Facas also recommends that you test your ads and check up on them to make sure they are getting the clicks you need. If something doesn’t work, create a new one. Also, try to ask a question in your heading which garners more responses.
As a leader in social media fundraising, Fundly is proud to bring you all of the most vital tools and information to partner with your organization to achieve your fundraising goals. We would also like to thank our three wonderful panelists for taking time and energy to share their expertise with non-profit leaders. Together we can make the world a better place!
With the 2012 presidential election just under ten months away, a current survey conducted by Fox News shows that it’s going to be one close race. So far President Obama is ahead in his political fundraising numbers, but does that translate into high approval ratings?
There are some surprising results presented in this survey involving telephone interviews with 906 randomly chosen registered voters. If Obama and Romney were to go head to head in the polls today, 46 percent of voters would back the incumbent and 45 percent would support Romney. Consider that there is a three percent margin for error, and it could be anyone’s game.
In an interesting twist, the report states that, “behind those numbers is a striking contrast: 74 percent of Obama backers say they are voting ‘for’ him rather than ‘against Romney’ (21 percent). Yet for Romney, his support is mainly anti-Obama. Fifty-eight percent of Romney voters say they would be voting ‘against Obama’ rather than ‘for Romney’ (33 percent).”
Not surprising is the dedication that voters have towards the political party that they are affiliated with. 88 percent of Democrats support Obama and 86 percent of Republicans support Romney. What I do find intriguing is that with other Republican contenders still in the race, Romney’s numbers are rather high. I know that these numbers are based on an Obama vs. Romney election, but it seems pretty clear that the Republican forerunner has a strong chance at grabbing the nomination for president.
Furthermore, even with drastically low approval numbers, Obama still has a fighting chance at a second term. The survey found that, “currently 45 percent of voters approve and 47 percent disapprove of the job President Obama is doing. That’s little changed from December when 44 percent approved and 51 percent disapproved… Meanwhile, about four voters in 10 are either ‘very happy’ (7 percent) or ‘satisfied’ (35 percent) with the Obama administration. More than a third is ‘disappointed’ (37 percent) and about one in five is ‘angry’ (19 percent). These views are mostly unchanged from the last time the question was asked in September 2011.”
So what can we learn from this survey? For non-profits and politicians alike, if you have a strong and faithful support team, the possibilities are endless at what you can achieve. Secondly, these numbers are too close to call at who will become the next leader of the nation. It has been said time and again that the battleground is on the internet, so hang on as we see some new strategies being implemented using social media fundraising.
As I mentioned in the previous blog, Fundly was proud to assemble three of the leading experts in online fundraising to be a part of our panel for a webinar on Thursday, January 12, 2012. If you missed this outstanding discussion or just want a recap, keep reading. In this second part of a three part blog series, I’ll do my best to summarize the most important points that will help to accelerate your fundraising success this year. You can also visit Slideshare.com to review the PowerPoint or connect to GoToMeeting.com for the slideshow in conjunction with the discussion. This is definitely one hour that will positively impact your online fundraising strategies.
Our second presenter who shared in the discussion was Jeff Riddle, founder of TheGiveGive.com and Riddle & Company which was recently acquired by advertising technology company ReTargeter. Addressing the question “How do we use social channels to attract, convert, and retain donors?” Riddle boils down the answer into one word: relationships. Technology is an incredible resource; however, we tend to lose some of the humanity when we don’t interact face to face. For example, when the telephone became commonplace it included the challenge to interpret what a person is fully saying without being able to read their body language. Compound this on the internet with a form of communication that doesn’t allow for voice intonation and it can be difficult for an organization to build deep, strong relationships from a distance.
Riddle’s first recommendation is “Relationships first, transactions later.” Giving is based on building a relationship of trust which takes an investment of time and effort. Secondly, Riddle explains that not all relationships are created equal so non-profits need to segment their audiences. “Give 80% of your time and resources to 20% of your top donors.” Finally, scale down your efforts based on your effectiveness. Random Tweets on your Twitter account thanking donors for their giving is cost and time effective, but will bring in a low return. Taking each donor out to a steak dinner takes a huge amount of time and financial investment, but the returns will be phenomenal (but this approach is highly improbable.) With this in mind, Riddle suggests that charity leaders create a “chain to balance effectiveness with time management.” Create the most effective method such as dinner meeting down to the lowest effort method such as writing a personal, handwritten thank you letter and compromise somewhere in between with your various levels of donors.
I must agree with Riddle: in order to create a lasting relationship, time and effort must be invested in order to have a decent outcome. To establish an ongoing partnership, we need to see each donor as an individual and appreciate each sacrificial donation that they make. Social media is a great way to connect to many people with little time and financial investment but knowing the right way to use this tool is key. Contact Fundly today to create a social media fundraising strategy to reach the masses while valuing the individual.
Is it just me or are politicians starting to look more like movie stars? The forerunners seem to have suits tailored to perfection, speeches memorized with eloquence and passion, and wives flawlessly styled and ready to walk any red carpet. Okay, that may be a little extreme, but can an old fashioned, grassroots politician gain the support of the American people? Republican candidate Ron Paul seems to think so.
More Mayberry than Hollywood, Congressman Paul is surprising political analysts with his ability to sway a wide demographic of supporters into his camp. “In the third quarter of 2011, Paul raised over $8 million, including ‘contributions from more than 100,000 unique donors — “more than five times the number of total donors to the campaign of Texas Governor Rick Perry.” ‘In the final months of 2011, Paul raised $13 million,” reports Robert Taylor on Policymic.com.
Furthermore, “The disparity of donors becomes even clearer when you compare Paul’s support to the other candidates. While President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s top donors are Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, CitiGroup, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America, the top three donors to the Paul campaign are PACs and individual members associated with the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. According to the New York Times, only 11% of Paul’s donors gave more than $1,500.”
In a surprising turn, Paul is gaining the support of a large group of the under 40 crowd. Taylor speculates that this section of voters is disgruntled by the political machine and tainted by having to foot the massive bill for wars and bailouts from previous administrations. Speaking simple truths and avoiding catch phrases, Paul’s honesty and integrity is winning over an unlikely bunch. “It is precisely because of Paul’s anti-establishment message, and not his personality or status, that so many non-traditional donors are attracted to his campaign. Although Paul’s chance of claiming the GOP nomination and the White House are slim if you listen to the mainstream media, it his fundamentally his ideas — individual liberty, free markets, constitutional government, sound money, and a humble foreign policy — that are winning and changing the face of public discourse,” observes Taylor.
There seems to be a fine line that politicians must walk to please the masses: they have to be polished without appearing fake. They have to have strong opinions without offending their supporters. They have to keep up with the times by using social media fundraising while still connecting with the people on a personal level. They are required to wine and dine millionaires while still appearing to be the “every man.” Nope, I don’t think I have what it takes to be a politician…
Rarely can so much information be packed into one short hour as it was during a webinar that Fundly was excited to present on Thursday, January 12, 2012. With three expert panelists discussing how to accelerate fundraising in this upcoming year, invaluable information was shared that will definitely impact the giving numbers of your non-profit. If you were unable to attend, fear not! This three part blog series will make sure that you can have the tools you need to jumpstart your 2012 fundraising efforts. You can also check out SlideShare to view our presentation slides and GoToMeeting to watch the recorded webinar.
Since we had three experts discuss their expansive knowledge on major fundraising factors in the charity world, I’m going to break down each topic for the next few days. The basic catalyst for this webinar was based on the facts that $300 billion dollars is given each year in the United States by private individuals (so this number does not include grant monies, corporate giving, etc.) Furthermore, 13% of this giving was online with a 35 – 55 % increase over the past year. If all that money is transferring bank accounts, how do you get some of these funds into your organizations!?!
With this thought Darian Rodriguez Heyman, Co-Producer of Social Media for Non-Profits and former Executive Director of Craigslist Foundation, addressed the question “What role does content play in engaging and mobilizing a supporter base?” Basically, you need to know your audience and be skilled enough in your social media skills to properly address your donors. Here are some applicable examples that Heyman gives to maximize your donor interaction: when you post your comments on a social media network, there are specific times of day that you will get the most traffic and responses.
Try from 8:30 am – 9:30 am when people check their media accounts first thing in the morning, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm during their lunch breaks, 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm when they check their accounts before they head home from the office and 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm after they’ve put the kids to bed. Another easy strategy is to post a question rather than a statement. Usually this brings in ten times more responses.
Heyman also addresses the issue that many charities have about going viral on the internet. How can I make my videos, pictures and posts spread like wildfire and cause my donors to want to share our information?
There are three factors to consider:
1) It’s not about the what but the so what – why should people care about this and what would motivate them to pass it on?
2) How do you expect me to pass the word on if it’s too complicated?
3) Be credible. Compelling + Concise + Credible = Contagious
Finally, Heyman suggests that non-profits avoid the “Empty Store Effect.” Plan before you leap to keep a consistent presence on the web. Consistency is key to grabbing donor attention. Heyman also recommends that you recognize and appreciate every $20 gift as if it were a $20,000 gift to completely nurture the donor relationship. When you know what drives your donors to give, you can establish a strong partnership.
This is only the first part of this exciting series, so please check in tomorrow to learn more about maximizing your giving for 2012. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at Fundly. We would love to partner with you to strengthen your social media presence and to develop a successful online giving program for your future non-profit fundraising campaigns.
Does “survival of the fittest” apply to politics? Apparently so as we are slowly seeing GOP presidential candidates withdrawing from contending in the 2012 election. With Michele Bachmann ceasing her pursuit of the Oval Office on January 4 and Jon Huntsman Jr.’s speech on January 16 which announced the end of his journey to the White House, we are getting closer to finding out who the Republican candidate for president will be and who will win this battle fought in the social media realm.
Someone once said that wisdom is learning from other’s mistakes and I can’t help but to agree. There are several lessons to be learned from the termination of these candidates in their hopes of becoming president. Both non-profit leaders and political camps alike can benefit from these lessons:
It was reported on the SCTimes.com that Michele Bachmann had 6,000 supporter cards filled out with people who wanted to give their time and/or money to invest in her candidacy. Eight weeks later the information was still sitting on a shelf indicating to her donors that their time and money was not needed or appreciated. This incident along with a campaign team who had two separate political strategies were the beginning of the end of this fateful path for Bachmann. Furthermore, poor financial choices, embarrassing mix-ups in her speeches and a declining reputation hindered her chances for office.
So why did Huntsman leave the race? According to the Deseret News, Huntsman ran out of money and couldn’t pay for commercial time or direct mailings, even with investing over $2 million of his own money into his campaign. Besides his low numbers in political fundraising, he also seemed to be rather unknown compared to his other GOP competitors.
Will the final Republican hopefuls learn from their peer’s mistakes? Who will scoop up the supporters from the fallout: Romney, Paul, Santorum, Perry or Gingrich? In this new world of politics that vies for donor support online, we’ll have to see who can adapt to technology while still maintaining a strong television presence and a balance of compromised beliefs and integrity.
Brafton.com highlighted a report that 89% of non-profits use Facebook. We all have learned by now that social media is a cost effective and successful way to communicate with donors, but I still find the number staggering. It’s incredible how far the online community has come in such a short time.
With over 800 million users and more than 50% of those users logging on every day, it would be a huge missed opportunity for non-profits to not use this amazing cyber tool. Furthermore, their users interact with over 900 million objects including pages, groups, events and community pages (which must be thousands of non-profits!)
Facebook is a great informal resource to reach out to your donor base. Brafton.com commented that, “consumers respond best when social media content demonstrates the personality of the business. While some industries should stick to fact-based, straight-forward content, others, including nonprofits, can use share information via more compelling styles and tones to garner interest.”
How do LinkedIn and Twitter compare in the report to Facebook’s impressive numbers? “Cause marketing (like general consumer use) is lower on these platforms. According to the study, Twitter actually saw fewer users among nonprofits in 2011, with 57 percent reporting use, when compared to 60 percent in 2010. The same was true for LinkedIn, with 30 percent saying they had a presence – a 3 percent dip from 2010 when 33 percent of organizations were active on the professional networking site.”
Now, I wouldn’t throw away the baby with the bath water. While LinkedIn may not be the best way to connect with donors, it is a great tool to connect with other non-profits and garner advice. Twitter is not to be disregarded either with over 200 million users dedicated to “micro-blogging.” I personally like it for its condensed language verses lengthy posts that sometimes sandbag Facebook.
Regardless, social media networks are unarguably one of the best tools that charities and non-profits can master to reach donors with minimal financial investment and the potential for a substantial profitable gain. Fundly has dedicated itself to creating a dynamic platform for non-profit organizations to reach out to donors with a new and exciting fundraising strategy.
With over 800 million people using social media, who could you reach with your mission?
In a report conducted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and The Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, their project entitled the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP), has solidified some ideas that we have suspected all along: it’s the long term donors that keep the non-profit organization financially stable.
Dr. B.J. Bischoff reflects on the findings of this project in the Sonoma Valley Sun. Involving 2,377 non-profits and five years of monitoring donor giving, the FEP’s goal in this study is to “help nonprofits measure, compare, and maximize their annual growth in charitable giving. Specifically, the FEP measures the percentage of new and lapsed donors and the size of donor contributions from year to year.”
Here is the bottom line: “The 2011 FEP report showed that nonprofits have a donor retention rate of only 43.1 percent, meaning that 56.9 percent of their 2009 donors did not give in 2010. The cumulative study results over the past five years reveal that nonprofits (1) lose over 50 percent of their donors between the first and second donation; (2) lose 30 percent of those donors year after year thereafter; and (3) lose 30 percent of regular or sustainer givers from one year to the next. So, merely looking at the overall net income, and not calculating the difference between net gains and losses of donors and dollars from year to year does not give the management and boards of nonprofits the real picture of what’s happening in their fundraising efforts,” reports Bischoff.
So what is the best way to garner donor retention? Jodi Anderson, the incoming president of the Wine Country Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professions and an experienced fund development professional with Hanna Boys Center has some great advice. Based on her record of keeping 70 – 75% of her donors over a two year period, she suggests that, “donor retention is achieved by making sure that donors feel respected and valued by the organization. This can be accomplished through a number of mediums, including (1) prompt and personal acknowledgments (not generic); (2) periodic updates regarding achievements and successes of both the organization and the service population; (3) focused appeals related to a specific need, coupled with motivational information about how their gift will make a difference; (4) invitations to events; (5) phone calls; and (6) special hand written notes.”
The key to non-profit fundraising is communication, relationships and a shared passion for your cause. An important element to nurturing these donor partnerships is through social media. With a great website, updates on Facebook and Twitter and even through e-newsletters, your donors can continue to stay in touch and in contact with your organization. Contact Fundly today to get the most out of your online donor fundraising.
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How many dollars does it take to win the Oval Office? That seems to be the billion dollar question of the hour. In a capitalist society, supporters plus donations can’t be entered into a well formulated calculation to determine the outcome of an election. However, if money makes the world go round, than campaign season must have the earth ready to spin off of its axis.
It’s clear that running for president must be one of the most expensive investments anyone could make. Time, money, energy and emotional stamina are all high costs for the candidates to imbue into any campaign to have even the slightest chance for victory. Mitt Romney is certainly paying his dues as his commitment to being a contender in the 2012 presidential is paying off as he leads the pack of GOP hopefuls.
Romney is currently at the top of the list of the six Republican presidential candidates and boasts of raising over $56 million dollars for his campaign, according to the New York Times ($24 million came in during the last three months of 2011). GooglePost.com states that, “Romney drew in $24 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 alone and is going into the new year with more than $19 million cash on hand. Romney’s fundraising figures dwarfs the other Republican presidential candidates in comparison… Rivals Texas Rep. Ron Paul collected $13 million in the fourth quarter while former House speaker Newt Gingrich raised $9 million.”
So with an unrivaled amount of fundraising numbers from other GOP contenders, it seems like Romney’s biggest obstacle to the White House would be the incumbent who has currently raised approximately $88 million according to opensecrets.com.
How does Romney’s fundraising savvy compete with recent history candidates? “Romney’s fourth quarter total is competitive with what then-Sens. Hillary Clinton ($27 million) and Barack Obama ($23.5 million) brought in over the final three months of 2007 and dwarfs the amount that eventual GOP nominee John McCain raised during that period ($10 million). Romney also raised more in the final quarter of 2011 than then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush did in the final three months of 1999 ($11 million),” explains a report in The Washington Post.
While Barrack Obama still may lead the pack in political fundraising, it seems that Romney is up to the challenge for competing for funds. Both are mastering the skills it takes to garner online support and both are using social media in the political realm like never before.
“What is your non-profit’s personality?” What kind of crazy question is that? Do organizations and charities have personalities? Why is it important for your donors to associate your cause with certain traits and characteristics? Who thinks of this stuff?
I came upon an article by Kivi Leroux Miller on Network for Good and she has some applicable points for non-profits to benefit from. She got me thinking that every major brand has a clearly defined personality to relate to its specific target group. The soda and fast food conglomerates have bright colors and flashy slogans to gain the attention of the younger generation. Pharmaceutical brands create commercials to appeal to their consumer base. Fashion lines direct their advertising with graphics and music to grab the attention of their market. Non-profits could truly benefit from the marketing savvy of the business world (which is happening more and more.)
So, let’s get back to the topic at hand: What is the personality of your non-profit? From my experience and observations, I must say that who your company is is defined by who is in charge. If your CEO is laid back and casual, that is the attitude of your office. If your president is organized, structured and no nonsense, that is the feeling that your donors will get at events, in e-mails and in your direct mail campaigns. The person in charge is the compass that directs the personality of your organization.
How do donors get a feel for your personality? Miller suggests to always write in the first person and to let the donors know who is doing the talking. Business meetings can have formal notes, but let your communication with supporters be more personal. Next, share your honest opinions. “Don’t be afraid to take a stand. Point out what and who is right, and what and who is wrong (or at least heading in the right or wrong direction, if you need to be more diplomatic about it). People look to nonprofits as trustworthy leaders, so show some leadership by pointing the way,” explains Miller.
Your supporters also want to know a piece of the reality that goes into your outreach programs. What are your up and downs? What are you struggling with? What specific stories tell the tale of how you are making a difference? Engage your readers with humor and honest mistakes. They want to know that there is a living, breathing human behind the keyboard.
Relatability and honestly are two strong characteristics that donors seek when looking for a cause and charity to support. Accessibility is another. Through social media, you can easily show your personality to a larger group of donors through e-mails, Facebook posts and blogging. Let Fundly partner with you to help your personality shine through as a way to further your fundraising goals.
The New Year always seems to be a great time for reorganizing, reanalyzing and reprioritizing. It also seems like the best time for reflection to determine what worked, what needs tweaking and what completely flopped last year. With the ebb and flow of the trends in the philanthropic world, it’s also of great importance to determine what trends are impacting fundraising and to thoughtfully predict what challenges may lay ahead.
In an article written in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Suzanne Perry, Caroline Preston, and Nicole Wallace have written an article predicting what challenges non-profits will face in 2012. When you know what battles are in front of you, you can be better equipped.
1) Economic inequality raises tricky issues for donors – Many have complained that charitable tax deductions primarily benefit high-income donors. With an increasing gap between the rich and poor, the high end donors are being encouraged to give towards causes that help the impoverished rather than erecting buildings at their alma maters. “This year, the question of how to broaden opportunities for all Americans is likely to occupy much of the philanthropic agenda,” suggests Perry, Preston and Wallace.
2) Shrinking government aid – With decreasing government funding, many charities are going to have to look elsewhere to keep their doors open. Perry, Preston and Wallace share this surprising statistic: “A new study found that households in the hardest-hit states would have to increase their giving by 60 percent in the 2012 fiscal year just to help nonprofits make up for projected cuts in state spending on social services, Medicaid, and education—an unprecedented (and unlikely) jump.”
3) The generation gap – With an ailing economy, there are fewer jobs for graduates and Baby Boomers are less likely to retire due to dwindling savings, stocks, and mortgages. Not only are these donors able to give less, but Perry, Preston and Wallace suggest that these two groups are having friction in the workplace.
4) Measuring results – The cost of administrative overhead versus the amount of dollars a charity brings in has long been the standard for success and donations wisely spent. Without a tool to truly evaluate a word as vague as “success,” non-profits will still have to show proof of their effectiveness as best they can.
5) Social purpose versus profits – One of the biggest trends right now in the philanthropic world is applying a business model to charity organizations. “Several states, including California, created new corporate structures that allow companies to incorporate social purpose into their businesses and put social goals ahead of profits… Will hybrids give nonprofit groups a bold, new way to pursue their missions—or will the new entities siphon off financial support that had previously gone to traditional charities?” questions Perry, Preston and Wallace.
While there are always mountains and valleys for non-profits, the good thing is that more organizations are joining together to share their methods for success. It’s important to use the resources available to you to jump over these hurdles and not to get distracted from your mission statement. Social media is one way to bridge the generation gap, enlarge your donor base and keep in contact with your volunteers.
Let Fundly be one resource to aid in your fundraising success for the New Year.
As mobile phones are getting more popular and user friendly, it seems like more apps are being created to include everything from music streaming to e-mail access to complex game playing. Cell phones are no longer just used as a form of verbal communication or a handy little answering machine, but now these miniature computers are continually making the world a smaller place. As technology advances, many non-profits are refusing to be left behind and are creating mobile apps to their organization’s advantage.
Jacob Payne and James Brown have explained some great tips for creating apps for charities in The Guardian. In the UK, these two entrepreneurs help charities create apps for their donors to use based on the fact that, “Smartphones now make up 30% of the three billion mobile devices worldwide, and users spend over half the time on their phone apps.” With such a large audience attached to their phones, it would be a shame to neglect this tool that is rapidly gaining popularity.
Here are the five mistakes that non-profits make according to Payne and Brown when creating apps for their organization:
1) Forgetting your website – Non-profits need to optimize their website for mobile users. “Information-provision and awareness are often top charity goals, and unless you hit PR gold with a truly exceptional app, then your main website is still the best place to reach supporters,” comments Payne and Brown.
2) Missing out on exclusive features – “Is your app location-aware? Are you considering the touch interface? What can it do offline, or in the background while it’s sitting quietly in a pocket? Can you make use of the device’s orientation?”
3) Ignoring your users – Talk to people who are using your app to see if it works well and suits what information they are looking for. “Your users can help you sense-check ideas, decide on the little details, test at every stage, and share the message after launch. If you involve them closely, and listen carefully, then they can become your biggest advocates.”
4) Hiring the wrong people – You’ll need an iPhone developer and a web master to collaborate to make sure everything syncs together.
5) Taking a short-term view – “Just over a quarter of all apps are only used once, so it’s important to think about ways your app can encourage repeat use. Just as with your other services and marketing campaigns, this ought to be a long-term exercise that fits in with your broader strategic goals. Regularly examine your analytics, app store reviews and user feedback.”
Now, I’m not saying that every non-profit needs to jump on the app bandwagon, I just wanted to share with you yet another piece of technology that is becoming available to non-profits in the realm of fundraising. Of course what method you use depends on the demographics of the majority of your donor base, but with technology the possibilities for donor connection seems endless. The staff at Fundly would love to partner with you to see how technology can help you reach your fundraising potential.
AYT M Market Research just released an infographic about branding in the Social Media Age. Though non-profits rarely use the terms “branding” and “consumers,” much of the research can and should inform non-profits’ approach to promoting their causes and bringing in donors.
The team asked 2,000 Internet users about their online behaviors and interactions with brands.
Here’s some of what the research found:
This research should only be giving non-profits more resolve to beef up their social media game. With huge networks at your finger tips, it’s important to play your cards well. Be an active social media user, and if you keep them in the loop and make them feel important, they just might mention you in a status update or tweet.
To further tap the power of these thriving social networks, consider “going social” with your fundraising. Fundly’s super-easy fundraising platform allows donors to share support for their favorite causes with their friends. Organizations using this platform are rapidly finding new donors every day, and the benefits of social fundraising are exponential.
Create a Fundly account for your organization in 2012 and kick off the new year with an increase in fundraising success.
I came across this quote from George Bernard Shaw from his book, Man and Superman; a Comedy and a Philosophy, over the past weekend and it has haunted me ever since. It seems quite apropos for non-profit leaders and the start of a New Year.
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
Every time I read it, I can’t help but chuckle over the poignancy and boldness of such a brash statement. It also makes me feel extremely proud to be working with exceptional people in the non-profit and political worlds which are working towards a “mighty” purpose and who are such amazing “force[s] of Nature.”
As the New Year begins and resolutions are being made, I am also humbled by the caliber of people who I am able to partner with to aid in their selfless work to help those in need. While many are creating self-focused goals based on pipe dreams of exercise and diet, those in the philanthropic world are focusing outside of themselves to create goals of improving the quality of life for the less fortunate, creating laws and policies for a stronger America and building bright futures for our children.
The world of philanthropy is based on unique individuals whose goal is not fame and fortune but a life well spent making the world a better place. With this sense of pride and optimism, I gladly enter into the year 2012. On behalf of myself and the staff at Fundly, we would love to come alongside your organization to help make your philanthropy and fundraising goals for the New Year a reality. The best is yet to come!
The days before the Internet are about as inconceivable as the time before TV remote controls were used and Henry Ford’s invention of the car. When something becomes such an integral part of our everyday life, it somehow seems that it was always there. The same feels true concerning the upcoming 2012 presidential election and the use of social media and the internet. How in the world did candidates share their opinions, platforms and garner funds without this vital piece of technology?
There is one Republican presidential candidate who is truly using this resource to its potential. In fact, the Internet is probably the main factor contributing to the fact that he is still in the running to be the next president. Buddy Roemer, former Governor of Louisiana, is putting all of his eggs into this digital basket. Alex Fitzpatrick writes on Mashable that “The first move the campaign made was hire a social media firm to create its website. Roemer’s team has been actively building an online team of supporters called ‘Free to Lead,’ which Sierra calls the campaign’s ‘online army.’”
“Online is the most important part of our campaign,” Campaign Manager Carlos Sierra says. This certainly seems to be the case since “the Governor’s campaign is unlike that of any other Republican presidential hopefuls. As a staunch supporter of campaign finance reform, he’s refusing donations from Super PACs and he has limited contributions to $100 per individual. A whopping 98% of Roemer’s donations were made online.
“Roemer’s team has spent virtually all its advertising budget on digital ads, eschewing traditional media with the exception of radio (Roemer is using Fundly, an online donation tool, to raise money for more radio airtime,” explains Fitzpatrick.
Roemer is also creatively using Twitter and YouTube to gain a following. On Twitter “So far 121 people have donated their accounts, allowing his campaign to tweet through their accounts daily to 62,664 unique followers” and he is streaming a bunch of videos on YouTube.
It will be fascinating to see how Roemer’s efforts using technology and popular social media networks will impact his progress in the current campaign and how it will impact future fundraising. Fundly is excited to be a resource used by Roemer and we strive to create the best online products for all of our clients, whether they are in the political or philanthropic arenas.
If there is a saying that applies to fundraising, I’d have to say that it would be “strike while the iron’s hot.” If you have a donor’s attention and they are willing to give, the more convenient you make the transaction the better. If you wait five minutes or even a day it seems like the opportunity withers away. Fortunately with technology, giving can be done almost instantly via phone or computer.
In the Fairfax City Patch reporter Lydia Patrick explains how technology is making great strides in non-profit fundraising. Through texting donations, QR codes, and online giving, charities have a variety of ways that donors can contribute to their cause.
With the many hurricanes and natural disasters that have struck our world over that past few years, texting donations via cell phone has become a great way to garner funds in an emergency situation. Patrick explains how donors can use this method for giving: “The sponsoring charitable organization provides the phrase to text and the number in their announcements. An example would be ‘text GIVE to 123456’. You’ll get a text back asking you to confirm. Reply yes. The donation amount plus a fee for processing the transaction will be on your next phone bill. You may also be charged for the text messages depending on your text message plan. Your phone bill serves as your donation receipt.
QR codes have become popular in the retail world, especially in catalogs where more information might be needed. These funky little black and white stamped sized squares have moved to the non-profit realm and can appear on posters or flyers to give the donor the option to “Scan the QR code with your QR Reader app. The Web browser on your device will open to the Web address provided in the QR code. Complete any requested information. Enter your donation amount and payment option,” explains Patrick.
Another method of giving is through a web browser. Most charities have a box located on the top of their website that says “donate.” If you don’t have this option, Fundly can equip you with the online fundraising tools you’ll need to make giving quick and easy for your donors and cost efficient for you.
Technology is always advancing by leaps and bounds. When you know what options are available, you can tap into an inexpensive and easy way to connect to more donors, volunteers and partners.
Giving is up, and that’s great news for non-profits. According to the Giving USA Foundation and its research partner, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, Americans gave about 10 billion dollars more than in 2009 which brings the astounding total to about 290 billion dollars. Our country is becoming more generous as giving steadily rises. Furthermore, these organizations estimate that about 75 million households gave to at least one charity this past year.
The Voice of America (VOA) highlights this study conducted by Giving USA and the Center on Philanthropy and details that 35% of all donations went to religious groups followed by schools and education based organizations who received 14% of total donations.
The VOA also discusses findings conducted by Charity Navigator who interviewed more than 500 donors and over 100 charities. They found that, “On average, these charities said they received forty-one percent of all their donations in the last few weeks of the year. Charity Navigator also asked donors about the kinds of charities they would likely support this holiday season. Human services rated at the top of the list. Arts, culture and humanities rated at the bottom.”
As more people are needing help because of lay-offs, foreclosures and government cuts, I find it heartwarming that so many donors are stepping up to the plate to help their fellow man. I believe that compassion and close-to-home situations are prompting this surge of generosity, but I also think that social media is bringing attention to these needs like never before. Social media is also making donating easier and connecting donors to charities that appreciate their sacrifice and will carefully use their dollars.
If you are a leader at a charity that has not yet tapped into the full potential that social media fundraising has to offer your organization, the staff at Fundly would love to help you implement this valuable resource. If so many people are willing to give, then why not make your charity available to those funds?
I’ve read countless articles proclaiming that the Latino voters, swing states, Baby Boomers and many other factions will be the group for the 2012 presidential candidates to win over in order to control the Oval Office. Now, the newest members of society to be targeted are the middle class. Is there any truth to this latest claim?
On ABCNews.go.com, Associated Press reporter Erica Werner explains the important role that the middle class will play in the upcoming election come November 2012. “Highlighted by the Occupy movement and fanned by record profits on Wall Street at a time of stubborn unemployment, economic inequality is now taking center stage in the 2012 presidential campaign, emphasized by Obama and offering opportunities and risks for him and his GOP opponents as both sides battle for the allegiance of the angst-ridden electorate.”
Just for argument’s sake I looked up on Wikipedia who makes up the middle class and how many people are included in this broad, loosely used term. There are several models and definitions being used which can include anywhere between 25% to 66% of American households. Generically speaking, it’s anyone who makes an individual income equal to or greater than the national median of $32,000 or a $46,000 income for a household. On the high side it includes incomes varying from the low six figures. Clear as mud, right?
So, now that we know who is in the middle class (um, sort of), why is this group of voters so important for the candidates to earn their support, both financially and in the voting booth? Werner explains that, “Obama is viewed as more likely to help the middle class than is the GOP, so he can capitalize on this by playing on concerns about inequality and contrasting his positions and the GOP’s on issues like tax cuts for the wealthy,’ John Sides, political science professor at George Washington University, said by email. ‘However,’ Sides added, ‘it’s an open question whether that strategy would enable him to overcome a weak economy and win.’”
With unemployment reaching 8%, social security dwindling and the weakening of the value of the dollar, the middle class are taking the brunt of the economic downturn. With the broadening gap between the rich and the poor, the middle class seems to be in the crossfire of a precarious future. Whether the Democrats or Republicans can restore confidence to this cautious group will very likely have a major impact on who the future leader of this country will be.