PICnet’s 5 best articles of 2014

Before we truly put an end to 2014, let's remember the best moments.

While some people like to think that looking back on 2014 is strictly limited to December, we at PICnet believe that a year-in-review should happen in January. After all, December is part of the year, so it's rather silly to consider the year finished before the ball actually drops. In any event, 2014 was a big year for us and we saw a lot of things happen in the nonprofit sector, from payments to petitions. Here are some of our best articles from the last year. We think you may find them enlightening and fun.

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Coast Guard Foundation nets nod as Sig Hansen’s Celebrity Apprentice charity of choice

We couldn’t be happier than to see organizations using Soapbox for their website needs succeed so we could barely contain ourselves to learn that the Coast Guard Foundation reeled in Deadliest Catch star and Celebrity Apprentice contestant Sig Hansen’s nod as his charity of choice on the popular TV competition ruled by Donald Trump and his coif.

Should Hansen avoid hearing the oft-quoted, much-parodied “You’re fired!” phrase from the real estate mogul, the Coast Guard Foundation will net a cool quarter of a million dollars. Read more »


4 ways to improve your email deliverability

When you're sending out an email to your constituents, the idea is that they'll actually see it and open it. But the viewing part can be an assumption. There is a distinct possibility that your messages won't land in the inbox, but the spam folder. In some cases, they may even be blocked. As a nonprofit organization, your online presence and reputation depends on making sure your email gets to people consistently and effectively. As a result, you have to develop a strong strategy for ensuring overall deliverability on any message, whether it's a call to action or just a general newsletter. Here are a few ways of doing this, some of which can be easily managed with nonprofit CRM software.

High email deliverability ensures people get the message.

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“Investing” and crowdfunding: Trends to watch out for in 2015

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.

Getting donors on your side is a big trend for 2015.

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Start the year right with new fundraising plans and goals

What’s your plan for the new year? What do you have in store for your nonprofit organization?

Well, we’ve got some balloons, silly hats and flat champagne…

No, what are your plans in terms of operations? What are you doing to further your mission in the next 12 months?

The same we’ve always done: raise funds and bring more people into the fold.

Perhaps you should look into more specific goals, since everybody does that. If you have specific goals for your nonprofit, you can actually achieve those results. Developing some resolutions around constituent relationship management (CRM) can help you do that successfully.

You should focus on your supporter relationships in 2015.

Well, then, what would you suggest?

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Fighting donor attrition after the holidays

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?

How many people donated this holiday season? How many didn't?

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?

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What kind of relationship do you have with your supporters?

When you're working in a nonprofit, make no mistake: You're working with a lot of people all the time. Even if your cause isn't directly affecting somebody, you're dealing with many individuals and groups who have a stake in what you do or your intended mission. You're building connections with people every day. The question is: Is your entire organization capable of making those same bonds and building on them?

What relationships do you have with the people who support you?

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Turning your holiday donors into year round donors

It's great that you've been receiving a lot of donation for this holiday season. However, you know that after the holiday season is over, it's back to the usual business of focusing on the mission. The thing is, you get a lot of your money from the holidays. In fact, according to the Network For Good, one-third of all online donations are made in December. The only other time you'll be able to raise as much money is either through consistently scheduled annual or semi-annual fundraising, as well as if a timely event makes your cause a more urgent priority, like after a natural disaster.

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What it takes to make giving feel good

Considering it's the holiday season, it only makes sense that people seem more than willing to give money to their favorite cause or charity. Their donations help you pursue your organization's mission by funding operations, run campaigns that raise awareness for your cause and expand your outreach. With that said, people donate for various reasons other than to provide you help. One reason is that, quite simply, giving feels good. When running your holiday campaign or any other fundraiser, make sure your supporters are happy making a donation. This seems obvious, but this sort of thinking will help ensure they feel more inclined to give more with greater frequency. You're building a relationship with the constituent by making them feel good, and when you use nonprofit CRM software to manage their donations and support, you can make them feel better.

Giving makes people feel warm and fuzzy

Studies have consistently shown that donating money to a charitable cause is heavily tied to positive emotions, including happiness. The Non Profit Times recently cited a study by Harris Interactive on people's emotions when they donated. The results showed that 60 percent of people who donated felt hopeful their contribution is making a difference. Forty-eight percent stated giving makes them feel satisfied, while 43 percent said it makes them excited.


Ending your holiday donation season with a bang

We're now entering the second half of holiday donation season, and this can be a high mark for your organization. Donors give more money this time of the year as it is: The most recent survey from the Center of Philanthropy found that people give about 24 percent of what they donate on an annual basis to nonprofits and charities around the holidays. With the season's end fast approaching, you want to make sure you get the most out of your supporters in ways that build your relationship with them. This is especially the case as more people donate online.

Give them a guiding hand

As more people donate online, it's a good idea to give them a little guidance. If you aid them throughout the donation process, they'll feel inclined to make a larger donation while trusting you at the same time. The first thing you probably want to do is make sure your site is it's mobile-enabled. As Google noted, providing a great mobile site experience is essential. With so many of your supporters connecting to the Internet with a smartphone or tablet, more are going to find out about your organization on these devices.

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