If you work for a charity or nonprofit, chances are, there's a day in the calendar year that's dedicated to your organization's cause. According to NP Tech for Good, 64 known cause awareness days take place throughout the year. With two months worth of causes, it's a lot of recognition to go through. That's not even including some of the awareness months out there. The cause days are so frequent that some causes share the same day. Consider our personal favorite, World Penguin Day, which shares April 25 with World Malaria Day. Okay, it's not the best, but we'll take it.
So how do you play up your cause over the course of that day? Preparation helps, but here are a couple specific ways of going about it.
Embrace the hashtag and push the cause through social media
Over the past few years, social media is making a strong impact on how nonprofits engage with members, donors and other constituents. About 47 percent of people polled by nonprofit firm Avectra said that they found out about a cause through social media and other online channels. Social networks amazing results, according to communications firm Weggener Edstrom: 55 percent of people who engaged with a cause on social media undertook further action in the form of giving a donation or volunteering. There's meaning to that #WorldPenguinDay hashtag, after all.
But how do you leverage the hashtag? The best way is through storytelling. That's your strong point, after all: When you speak about a cause, you're spinning a yarn about something that has gone wrong and you want to fix. By telling a story, you get people interested in what you have to say and, more importantly, what you do. A powerful tale will stir the right emotions – feelings of joy, sorrow or anger – that will spur people to action. It's so effective that 56 percent of people who read a story on social media will be inspired to do more and take some form of action, according to the Weggener Edstrom survey.
Bring out the cause champions to preach the news
While using an awareness day can raise your profile significantly, you need cheerleaders who aren't from your organization to spread the word, too. Consider the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014: Families of ALS victims were the ones who started the viral phenomenon, with the ALS Foundation only joining in later.
These cause champions – people who support and preach the mission to others - are the ones getting the word out on your behalf, and not because they're a part of your organization and feel obligated. They do it because they truly believe in the cause. Combining social media with these champions can transform them into bullhorns for your cause.
Engaging with cause champions can help you in many ways. And you can help them better spread the word. If they have an event planned, you can use it as a springboard to make your day a more engaging one for constituents and visitors. Either way, these people will help you both directly and indirectly in getting people interested in your cause before, during and after its awareness day.
You know that Facebook is one of the main resources for developing a strong rapport with your constituents. With more Likes attached to your page, there's a chance more people are looking at your mission and cause, increasing the potential for additional volunteers as well as donations. A lot has changed in recent years, and as Business Insider notes, the recent restructuring of the news feed has resulted in significant challenges for nonprofit organizations. But that doesn't mean you should throw in the towel when it comes to that social media channel. Here are some ways to make sure you're still reaching out to customers through the feed and beyond.
Talk to your members and donors directly
As Hootsuite notes, developing a list of your constituents on Facebook can be really helpful. Matching this list with members found in your nonprofit CRM database can also assist you in making meaningful interactions. Another important aspect to consider as you have this list is to read what your members are saying and respond to them. By being involved with your supporters through direct communication, you show your organization is part of the larger community.
Recently, Facebook added a new feature where you can directly reply to comments, rather than have the comments form a single thread. This is very advantageous to your nonprofit for two reasons. For one, when you speak directly to someone, they'll feel like they're important and that what they're saying has relevance, helping you foster a relationship with them. Secondly, you can better isolate and capture this interaction for use with your CRM software.
Share your members' stories
You shouldn't just see your Facebook page as a way to raise money. It's also there to build awareness for your cause. In this environment, you should be on the lookout for people doing so because they care about the cause, especially if they have something to share.
Remember that you're storytellers, first and foremost. Look through the list of donors and, when possible, peruse their personal pages. They may have a story to tell either in text or video form. By utilizing the share functions, you can take advantage of Facebook's emphasis on sharing information to generate interest in your mission to both regular members and visitors who happen to like your page. Nonprofit executive Liz Strauss, in speaking with NTEN, suggested that's the best route.
"Let the folks who give be part with their hands and minds – not just their hearts and wallets," she said. "We're not the only ones with great ideas."
We’re proud to feature this guest blog post by Ashima Saigal, Founder of Database Sherpa. Database Sherpa is a Salesforce.com consulting firm serving nonprofit organizations and a Soapbox Engage Partner.
Salesforce does it again, working toward their mantra of Clicks Not Code, with Process Builder. Released in Spring 2015, Process Builder takes Workflows and Visual Workflows to the next level. You can create records, update fields on any related record, launch trigger-ready flows (immediate or scheduled), send an email, post to chatter and submit for approvals with Process Builder.
So, what does this mean for a nonprofit? Read more »
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:
Tomorrow, we will be hosting a gathering of community members for a Salesforce.com Nonprofit Starter Pack Community Sprint, and we couldn’t be more excited! What’s a community sprint? It’s an event where everyone, whether accidental techie or rockstar developer, can collaborate in person to contribute to an open source project. And, oh what a great open source project the Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack is! Empowering thousands of nonprofits to manage donor and supporter data, track program metrics, and do just about anything with data they need to through free or deeply discounted tools, we confess we’re massive fans and couldn’t be happier about lending a hand to help make it even better.
We’ll be giving a round up of the day’s events and accomplishments here on our blog after the keyboards are set aside and the dust settles. For now, we’ll just give a massive shout out to the fantastic community members who are giving of their own time and resources to make a contribution for the good of the nonprofit sector!
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?
Raising awareness for your cause can be a tricky business. You may have clipboard people on the streets and special ad placements in print and web publications, among other things. What about search, though? There are a lot of people thinking about your organization's mission, either directly or indirectly. These people could become donors, volunteers or supporters very easily. As a result, you should be looking at ways to improve your search engine optimization, or how you're seen and discovered on search engines. By doing that, you'll get more people to look into the projects your nonprofit is working on.
But how do you measure your SEO? Being a nonprofit is quite different from being a media page. You don't have people placing ads on your site, and you're not necessarily looking for page clicks. So here are some tips to get you going in the right direction, using basic analytics tools:
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.