Wondering what to do in digital?

Notably re-quotable

How does a new crisis impact giving in general?

Here’s fresh data from Mark Phillips’s latest Queer Ideas blog. “One of the consequences of the pandemic is that it caused large numbers of people to re-engage with giving. They saw need directly – in their communities and in the media – and they wanted to do something to help. So they opened up their purses and wallets and gave. This gave them a sense of control in a very worrying time. Many appeals broke records over Christmas – even compared to those in 2020. Additionally, there is zero sense that donors feel over-solicited.” Full drill-down post here.

Jacqueline, your guest expert today....

File under: Basic digital marketing for nonprofits

Guest post by UK expert Jacqueline Madron ...

Using your digital comms to enhance, improve, strengthen donor relations

Let’s get back to basics….

Digital marketing can attract donors, build connections … and get your org.s’ name in people’s heads.

The best part is that this can be done effectively and with limited resources, so don’t worry about having to hire an entire marketing team for a small fortune.

Here are a few ways non-profit organizations can leverage digital marketing and get their ideas up and running.

Create a weekly digital newsletter

A weekly newsletter is an easy and great way to thank donors … and to remind them how much good THEY are doing in the world!

In the process, you’ll also be showing gratitude, building relationships, and boosting your reputation.

Your digital newsletter can also include updates or other relevant information about projects you have underway, about successful past projects, and about any plans you have for the future. Maybe a past donor will be excited by a future project! [Tom here: Canada’s SeedChange is an amazing smaller charity working on Earth’s environmental future as well as female empowerment in Latin America; punching far above their weight in donor comms.]

Consult with a digital marketing specialist

We did mention that you don’t need an entire marketing team. However, consulting with a specialist in digital marketing can help you get your bearings and develop a plan - even if it’s a short-term one just to get used to how this works.

These days, of course, any competent fundraising communicator has to be reasonably articulate in BOTH digital and print.

But there ARE qualified specialists … such as social-media guru, Julia Campbell. Her latest book? How to Build and Mobilize a Social Media Community for Your Nonprofit in 90 Days. [Tom here: For years, I’ve admired Julia’s work; she’s a former Peace Corps volunteer; activist mom of 2; a global expert in her profession. When I recommend a digital consultant, Julia is always on my short list.]

Send out personalized emails

Adding the recipient’s name to your digital communication will help hook busy readers. Result? You’ll see higher response rates to your offers! As Ann Wylie reported in 2020, the daily email count has become insufferable for many: “American professionals receive an average of 121 emails a day — in each of their two or more inboxes. No wonder 276 emails languish unread.”

Personalization (i.e., using my preferred name) helps separate your email from the howling mob. Include the recipient’s name, possibly a line about how you know them, such as “We greatly appreciate your donation, and we’ve already allocated it to (that project they were interested in).” [Tom here: This can be tricky. My REAL first name, for instance, is Tom … NOT Thomas. Tom is the name on all my books; it’s my “authorial” name as registered with the Library of Congress. When you call me Thomas, you’re quoting from my credit card … and I judge you for that mistake.]

Curate authentic content

Your charity doesn’t have to create everything from scratch. I.e., >>>>

Curate! (Also known as reprinting what some other org. or expert has already published online … while giving the original author full credit and seeking her permission.)

If you’re looking for material for your website, newsletter, emails, blog posts, or other forms of media and communication, consider curating content from others.

This [Jacqueline notes] can be in the form of content that another non-profit allows you to use … an interesting post from a different company … or a piece of content that’s relevant to your project. [Tom here: For example: In a recent Ahern e-news, I quoted in part from Amy Eisenstein’s brilliant and sober reflections on how to give during the Ukraine crisis.]

Use professional writers (you can afford them, if you focus on ROI > Return On Investment)

Pro writers need to pay the same bills you do, of course. But they also often volunteer or reduce their rates for causes they care about.

Lots of professional writers prefer working for non-profits … at least for a cause they personally believe in.

Their freelance contributions can range from volunteer work … to dropping commercial-rate fees … whilst still giving your charity a hard-hitting professional piece.

If you haven’t before, try pro-written content at least once. See if it raises your fundraising revenue. [Tom here: When you use pros, the smart thing to do is let them try their hardest … and don’t second-guess their work.]

Last word goes to guest-expert Jacqueline: I hope these tips have given you some new ideas on how to get your digital marketing plan up and running. With everything in place, you should see an increase in donations as more people see who you are, and what you believe in.

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Did you miss any crucial back issues of my how-to e-news?

Immediately available! Just GO here.

Scream for Ukraine!

HERE. Feeling helpless, doing what you can? Me, too. Then along came a quick dram of emotional relief, from the World Tourism Network. Join the SCREAM!

Your monthly donor “road map”

HERE. I.e., how to ramp up your monthly giving. And if you don’t know WHY you should do that ASAP? Here. Thank you, incomparable Erica Waasdorp. HT to the mega-helpful Chad Barger.

Mark your calendar: On May 5, SOFII’s super-rewarding IWITOT 2022 arrives….

HERE. IWITOT stands for “I wish I’d thought of that” … and it features top fundraisers from around the world baring their analytical souls and explaining in detail exactly WHY they love somebody else’s fundraising triumph. If you’re interested in attending or presenting, contact Joanna Culling at joanna@sofii.org. To sample one of the amazing 7-minute presentations IWITOT has offered in the past: here.

Yes, Japanese manhole covers!

HERE. Just b/cuz fundraising is an art … as much as a science. And b/cuz you and I should be seduced and amazed on a regular basis.

The early Steve Jobs will amaze you

HERE. Apple. Co-founder. Right? There are 2 things you’ll learn from this behind-the-scenes YouTube interview with young Steve Jobs. (1) WHY certain things are done the way they’re done in TV interviews (useful communications advice). >>> & (2) WHY Apple was destined for greatness because of his vision and marketing insight. Keep listening is all I can really say. Big HT to FastCompany.