This past week, the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival hosted a panel on nonprofit organizations, called “Activism At Its Best.” In it, the main question was: What can organizations do to increase online engagement among potential supporters? This is an especially big question when it comes to the one demographic that everyone likes to talk about but nobody seems to grasp: millennials. You can’t just coast on your name anymore, especially because there are so many organizations out there that are trying to do what you’re doing. Instead, your cause is the focus, since their interest in you is often based on that alone. You have to reach out to them, rather than the other way around. Nonprofit CRM software can assist by giving you better ways to effectively communicate with them.
Go for the connection
When building up that connection, it’s important to have a strategy that invokes the cause as much as possible. At the SXSW panel, Hilary Gridley of DoSomething.org noted that her organization’s template for drawing in supporters is defined as, “Know it. Plan it. Do it. Prove it.” This model of thinking taps into the ideal of actions taking a personal agenda, according to The Nonprofit Times. Similarly, you should have a strategy for your nonprofit’s mission that is built on people doing things for their own sake, not just for the greater good of the cause.
Another way to interest millennials is direct communication and support. Young people, who have grown up on social media, feel a need to be more connected to the cause and people that influence their beliefs. Lori Painter of PETA turned her nonprofit’s site into a source that coaches people who are interested in supporting animal rights, but aren’t sure how to really do it. While you don’t need to overhaul your site and staffing to reflect how to help with your cause, you can be supportive by simply answering emails or social media posts.
“Even if you don’t have full time staff, just take the time to respond and listen, that’s the way to build relationships,” Painter said.
Provide a more direct way to give
Just as much as your organization develop a more personalized agenda among supporters, donors should be treated in a similar manner. According to Network for Good’s Millennial Donor Playbook, you should determine if you’re doing enough for your organization to create a connection with potential donors. Millennials can be an impulsive bunch, acting in the moment. Playing to that aspect through pictures and video can help push these people to contribute to your cause in some way.
More importantly, you should be able to give these millennials the means to explain themselves when they act on the cause. This includes explaining where exactly their donations went in a way that is transparent and succinct. For example, after the contribution is made, send the donor a video that shows your organization conducting a mission backed by monetary gifts. After seeing who benefits from donations, millennials can share the cause with others, making your more compelling to people everywhere.
As a nonprofit, why would you need a “sales” database and a customer relationship management software solution? CRM software, such as Salesforce, and integrated technologies can help you not just run your organization more quickly and effectively, but also help you grow and sustain relationships.
Simplify your operation – and make your life easier – by consolidating processes
Tal Frankfurt, founder and CEO of Cloud for Good, shared a personal anecdote with Beth Kanter, author of Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, that captures what nonprofit life may look like for many in the sector: As a nonprofit resource manager, he inherited a hodgepodge of project management and data-management tools, ranging from Excel to Constant Contact.
The result? A vast, unruly donor database that gave the organization very little actionable insight into their constituent relationships. Sounds like quite the headache.
Using the Salesforce Foundation’s philanthropic model (allowing a number of free Salesforce licenses), Frankfurt was able to not only consolidate data using Salesforce, but track every donor interaction as well – giving them an “institutional memory,” enabling personal communication with a diverse range of constituents.
Instead of spending time maintaining parallel databases and interacting with multiple interfaces, Salesforce empowered stakeholders to spend more time nurturing relationships. By no stretch of the imagination, Frankfurt’s organization doubled its donation-related income within the first year.
Crowdfund your own campaign without the scary cost
Groundwork Opportunities (GO), a nonprofit charity that invests in health care, education and environmental ideas, seeks out leaders in neglected communities around the globe and provides them the support they need to bring their ideas to life.
According to Bart Skorupa, GO’s executive director, crowdfunding platforms were originally used to raise funds online, which was OK – at least at first.
During one of their first projects, as outlined in a Salesforce Foundation e-book, GO raised $12,000 for a biogas plant in Uganda. The drawback? Crowdfunding platforms charge fees – and depending on how much money you raise, those fees could be significant. Very significant.
“So suddenly we owed $850 for the privilege of using the platform,” Skorupa cited. “We thought at that point, how hard would it be to build our own crowdfunding platform?”
GO learned that, utilizing Salesforce‘s campaign feature, it didn’t need to use crowdfunding to receive donations. Instead, the nonprofit could run its own crowdfunded campaign directly from its site – without fees – by connecting the site with the CRM via a simple data bridge. That meant more of the money raised would go toward the causes it was intended for instead of supporting a third-party crowdfunding platform. Sounds like a win to us.
There are many integration tools available to nonprofits to streamline and automate Salesforce operations. Some solutions involve complex coding challenges that nonprofits may not be suited to tackle or have the budget for which to pay. Luckily, platforms like Soapbox Engage exist so you can easily create and build online engagement tools that integrate with Salesforce at a nonprofit-friendly price.
Ignite cultural shifts across your organization
According to Hopeworks N’ Camden Executive Director Rev. Jeff Puthoff, the No. 1 benefit of switching to a Salesforce CRM is the meaningful engagement it makes possible with constituents, as cited in the Salesforce Foundation e-book.
Before, Puthoff said his staff used an Excel spreadsheet, which was time-consuming to update. Nor could it track specific information. Puthoff explained this disorganization made it difficult to locate information, much less use it effectively.
Now much of the organization’s operation is automated, pushing volunteers to new levels of engagement. Surprisingly, however, something else began happening, too.
Using Salesforce’s Chatter feature, employees began to communicate much more effectively with one another, increasing collaboration and sharing.
“Chatter is ultimately a cultural change,” Puthoff said. “It’s about understanding data, and defining opportunities, and grasping the importance of transparency and power structures. It’s a new kind of stream, much different from email, and learning how to use it can take some time…Culturally, as an organization, we need to understand that we have relationships with each of our volunteers, our donors, our trainees, and those relationships need to be managed with care. Salesforce and Chatter are helping us do that.”
Employing Chatter, Puthoff and his team organized a “reduce the murder rate” campaign. By sharing information and data across the organization, the nonprofit was able to successfully campaign an effort to combat the city’s murder rate.
Be it consolidating data, making data more actionable and flexible to the needs of your nonprofit or igniting a shift toward a more socially engaged organizational culture, Salesforce is a powerful ally when it comes to nonprofit management. And everyone needs allies.
It can be difficult to find new donors. Every person has their own unique tastes, and more importantly their own reasons to be interested in your cause. There are many things going on in a potential donor's head that could either favor your appeal or cause it to be ignored. In addition, today's society is increasingly individualistic and fragmented, turning everyone into special snowflakes. It's become increasingly less useful to send out blast communications and expect people to follow through. So what can you do then to drum up support or increase the amount of money raised through each donor? Targeting your donors can be the answer. Here are some ways to do precisely that with the help of nonprofit CRM software:
So, you've got a lot of supporters, and many of them make donations on a regular basis. But not every donor is the same. You need to think about them both as individuals and as different groups of people.
But they all donate money, what's the difference?
It's how much money they contribute. Depending on the amount of money they're willing to give, people have certain expectations for you and your nonprofit.
Like, they want a place on the board? Special privileges? Snacks?
No, not snacks. However, through giving more or less money, donors have different expectations about how they should be treated and what they should have access to. They also have unique ideas on how they receive communications from you regarding your organization. But the behavior varies with the amount of money contributed. This is why you should consider using donor levels. Nonprofit CRM software can help you develop and assign them to new and existing donors.
But how would I set up donor levels? Our donor base varies wildly in terms of what we receive.
There are a lot of methods you can use to set up donor levels. Simple tiers with max limits is one way of doing it. In fact, that yields its own rewards if you have people that aren't entirely sure how to donate. You can create donation incentives at levels based on what donors receive in return as well as based on what the money will do, according to the Nonprofit Hub.
For example, you can set donation tiers on the initial give. If you work for a foundation that provides healthcare to people in third-world countries, you could say that $25 would help vaccinate an entire family against various diseases, $100 could supply the whole village with vaccines, and $300 would supply them with all the medical equipment they need to perform basic care. This has twofold benefits: For one, you can better identify and communicate with your donors based on what they donate. Smaller individual donors will get regular emails and social media communications regarding general information on your cause, while big individual and corporate donors will have a direct line to what you. Two, it incentivizes donors to give a little bit more. They may be wavering on how much to contribute, but if they have a clear idea of where it's going, it'll inspire them to donate more.
Well, the small and big donors are already easy to deal with. What about those in the middle? There are a lot of them, and they donate quite a bit.
You're right. The idea with the middle tier is to give them a sense of distinction from the rest of their donors. As The Non Profit Times suggests, you want to make sure that they feel more prestigious than standard donors while at the same time not giving too much away to the point of alienating your elite sponsors. Giving them a club name, as well as making targeted efforts to get them to auto-renew their donations. These little features you can create using CRM software for nonprofits.
Every nonprofit, including yours, are likely still envious of the ALS Association. Last year's Ice Bucket Challenge campaign not only raised a significant amount of cash for the organization, but brought a huge amount of attention to the condition also known as Lou Gehrig's disease and its overall lack of research funding. Can you imagine what would happen if you could knock out two birds with one stone like that for your cause?
Last week, just outside Washington, D.C., a large group of video game players and fans gathered for a week-long event called Awesome Games Done Quick. It was a marathon streamed live on the Internet that had gamers finish video games as fast as possible using skills and a variety of exploits, a process called "speedrunning." You may think that this event seems ridiculous and unrelated to nonprofits. However, by running it like a telethon, AGDQ raised $1.56 million in donations through various channels in that week for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Such an incredible fundraising drive helps us provide valuable insights on using the Internet as way to hold events and raise money. Here are four lessons you can learn from this experience, especially as it relates to using nonprofit CRM software.
The Coast Guard Foundation made waves when it landed the celebrity endorsement of Sig Hansen, Deadliest Catch star, on the show Celebrity Apprentice. We sit down with Jennifer Fyk, Senior Director of Communications for the Foundation, to ask how nonprofits can leverage celebrity endorsements to further their missions and how using Soapbox for their website empowers them to get the most out of this unique opportunity.
Q: Why did Sig Hansen choose to support the Coast Guard Foundation?
A: As a crab fisherman who makes his living in the rough seas of Alaska, Sig Hansen is personally familiar with the life-saving work that the U.S. Coast Guard does on a daily basis. Once he learned there was a way to give back to the men and women of the Coast Guard by supporting the Coast Guard Foundation, it was a perfect fit.
Now that the New Year's celebrations have come to a close, you should already have a strategy in place to improve your organization's standing this year. You do have one, right?
Of course we do! Why else did you publish that previous post?
That's true. In any event, planning and executing strategies is important to running a nonprofit organization. That includes implementing constituent relationship management software that targets and nurtures your members. But you also have to pay attention to what's around you, especially when it comes to current or new development. Otherwise, you miss small things that lead to big events like that viral "Ice Bucket Challenge" that the ALS Association completed last summer.
Well, nobody saw that coming…
But they were based on trends that were developing at that point: A straightforward silly viral campaign to raise awareness.
Our strategy isn't about raising awareness, though. It's about raising funds.
Well, then, there are trends to look out for there as well. Consider donors: They made a roaring comeback in the last year, according to fundraising expert Gail Perry in her blog. Building up your relationship is now more important than getting more of them. They're becoming more trusting of you and your organization to use their donations for the aim of your organization. Their mentality has changed, however. They are far more cautious with their money. They don't like the idea of donating for the sake of giving so much as they want to make an investment that has a return.
For all the efforts you made in bringing donors into your organization this holiday season, you're probably wondering, is it worth it? Are the amount of money you raise and people you enroll enough to help you grow? Or does it feel like you didn't receive all that much money despite a lot of new people delivering funds to you?
Those are quite a few questions, so I'll just say yes to all of them.
Well, let's be a little more concise by posing a single question: Have you earned more donors and money than you have lost this past holiday season?