Webinar – How to Successfully Promote Your Year-End Fundraising Campaign – 2016-11-17

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Welcome, everyone, to “How to Successfully
Promote Your Year-End Campaign.” Thank you so much for joining
us today for TechSoup’s webinar. We are glad to have you
on as part of our audience. Before we get started with the content I’d
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If you’d like to tweet today you can
do so @TechSoup, or at #tswebinars, the hash tag there. We are joined today
by Noah Barnett. He is the marketing lead, Growth Marketing Lead at CauseVox. So we are
really happy to have him presenting with us. Prior to joining CauseVox he spent 6 ½ years
in fundraising and marketing leadership roles at World Help and the Adventure Project.
He knows firsthand the many, many challenges that nonprofits face in fundraising,
and he is passionate about equipping them with the resources that they need
to rally people around their cause. My name is Becky Wiegand, and I am the
Webinar Program Manager here at TechSoup. And so I am happy to be your host today,
having been often the ad hoc fundraiser/wearing of many hats at small nonprofits in my lifetime.
I’m always excited to learn some of these best practices because we know that this last
quarter of the fiscal year, or the calendar year, is when so many organizations really
bring in the bulk of their donations, whether those are individual donations
or donations from community organizations, or corporate donors.

So this is a really important
time of the year, and we hope that you are able to get some good useful tips on what
you can do to improve your fundraising out of today’s webinar. You will also
see on the back end assisting with chat, Susan Hope-Bard, TechSoup’s Education
and Training Manager who is on hand to help answer your questions and help you with
any technical issues throughout the webinar. We hope that during today’s webinar,
we will accomplish these objectives: that you will come away with an understanding
of some year-end fundraising best practices, that you will discover and learn about 6
different ways of segmenting your audience for the best results, and that we’ll uncover
some channels that you may be overlooking, including leveraging your existing supporters
for helping them help you raise more funds.

So we will talk about these. And Noah will
give you an agenda of the different steps that he’ll be covering today. We’ll
also have time for your questions. Before we get started with the content,
just a little bit about TechSoup. We are everywhere on this map that is blue,
which is almost everywhere around the world. And we are helping to connect civil society
organizations and social change agents around the world with the resources that they
need to succeed at bringing their missions to fruition. Go ahead and chat in to let
us know from where you are joining us today. And if you are joining us from outside the United
States, we recommend visiting TechSoup.Global and choosing your country from this drop-down
list. We will be talking about Noah’s company, CauseVox, a little bit later in our program.
And that donation program, a little bit later, may or may not be available depending
on where you are joining from if you are outside the United States. So
definitely start here if you are not in the US.

If you are joining from
the US, visit TechSoup.org. We have folks chiming in the chat from
Texas, Chicago, L.A., Michigan, Arizona, all over the place. So we are
really glad to have you all with us. We have been delivering this kind of technology
resources and information to nonprofits since 1987, and we have helped facilitate
more than $5.4 billion in donations and grants to the nonprofit and social good
sectors. I’m happy to be part of that. Now looking at today’s topic, we would love for
you, our participants, to tell us a little bit about your role in your organization.
And this just helps give us an idea of what you are bringing into today’s
topic and maybe where your role is at.

Are you an Executive Director, a leadership
manager? Are you on a communications or marketing team? Maybe your role is
specifically around fundraising and development. Are you program staff, IT staff,
board member, volunteer, or other? Feel free to comment in the chat. And
we have Olivia commenting, “Intern.” So I didn’t include all of the various
roles you may be occupying. And Leona, as many of us have experienced in
smaller organizations in particular, in caps she writes, “ALL OF THE ABOVE,”
which I’d imagine is the truth for many people joining today. Jill comments, “Jack of all trades.”
Ainsley says, “E.D., and the only employee.” So that is very true. We know that many
organizations are experiencing small staffs who do an awful lot and wear a lot of hats.
So I’m going to show the results quickly, and it looks like the great majority of
you right now, 42%, are in leadership roles, especially if I combine that with board
members. And then we’ve got about ¼ of you who are dedicated specifically
to fundraising or development.

In the same vein, I’d like to get an idea
of how many people work on fundraising at your organization? So maybe you are a
team of one. Maybe you actually have a team, and all of you work on fundraising. Maybe
you have a dedicated fundraising team where you have 5 or 6 people
writing grant proposals, and seeking out individual donor
relationships. Those of you who have a team, I’m very happy for you because
that’s hard to come by these days.

But go ahead and let us know. Again, this
helps give us an idea of what sort of capacity your organization is bringing to
the fundraising that you are doing. Some people are commenting that they
are first time as a new organization, communications committee chair,
web masters, stewardship committee. So lots of comments coming in, and we
know you can’t see all of those comments.

If there are things that are shared
in the comments and in the chat that we think are informational for the rest of
the audience, we will try and share those back out with you. So I’m going to show the results
at this point. And it looks like the majority of the people on the line, 50%, half of you on
the line that have voted so far have 2 to 3 people that are working on fundraising.

And the
biggest group after that is the 0 to 1 category. So that’s really helpful. Most of you
have pretty small fundraising teams or a couple of different people that are
working on fundraising. So thank you for sharing your input because that does help give us
an idea of how to best speak to your needs on today’s webinar. So I am going to go
ahead and turn it over to Noah to talk to us about how to successfully promote your
year-end campaigns. It’s November 17th today, so we’ve got a month and ½ left of
this calendar year. So it’s crunch time to get those campaigns all out there
and hopefully bring in lots of donations to your organizations. So Noah talk to us a
bit about how to best promote those campaigns and really get the word out to support your
organization before the end of the year. Thanks so much for joining us. Noah: Absolutely. Becky, thank you so much for
that intro and just for the opportunity for us to come on today’s webinar and share with
so many of you.

I love asking that question that Becky did, where you say, what role
do you play? It’s a question that is built into our natural networking eco
system and how we relate to people. The people in the nonprofit space and so many
of you on this call can’t answer that question. And it’s because all of us in fundraising, and
up until joining CauseVox, that’s where I was, are always managing and wearing many hats
and balancing the unrealistic workload alongside limited budgets, and it’s a
challenge. So I’m excited to be able to share with you all and speak into how even though
we’re all managing unrealistic workloads and balancing all of that, there are some
very key ways that we can successfully promote our year-end fundraising campaigns, so that
we can raise more money and really drive more impact that your organization has in
the world. Here at CauseVox, we talk a lot about how we really want to help audiences
like yourself ensure that their work is seen, supported, and shared.

So we’re going to
follow along that same narrative as we share along today’s webinar. Just as an
overview, a quick agenda just to guide us in today’s conversation. We get
asked all the time here at CauseVox, “Why does year-end really matter?” There’s
all the buzz and talk towards year-end. Like Becky mentioned, there’s only 45 days
left or 43 days, depending on how you count. There’s not much time left, but these
last few days, especially as we lead up to the end of the year, are really, really
important. So we’re going to dive into that at the front of the conversation. Then
talk about, before get into promotion, I think we need to talk about this idea of
segmentation. It’s something that is talked a lot about in various fundraising and
nonprofit circles, especially in today’s kind of niche-minded, small audience-focused
world we live in just because of how connected we are.

So we’ll talk about the idea of
segmentation. Then we’ll dive into the meat of the presentation and spend the
majority of our time together talking about how we’ve learned over the years, as
we’ve observed more than 10,000 fundraising campaigns here at CauseVox,
some best practices and some tips that you can leverage to really
promote your campaigns in various ways. Then we have some free resources just as a
thank-you for you dedicating your valuable time and spending it with us and the
TechSoup team. Then, as Becky mentioned, we’ll dive into some Q&A
following our main content today. So let’s dive in. Before we do, just
to give a background on who CauseVox is and what we do, CauseVox is
an online fundraising platform, and it’s specifically designed for small
fundraising teams. One thing we’ve seen is that a lot of fundraisers have to do
everything. They don’t have an IT team. They don’t have designers. They don’t have all
these people. They really have to do it all. So we wanted to design a tool and a platform
that really helps you do online fundraising well, without IT, without a designer, and making
it really easy for you to do that as well.

We allow you to easily launch and manage your
year-end fundraising campaign with CauseVox. You can create campaigns but really drive some
of the best practices for online fundraising, incorporating social and even just this
idea of social proof, so that you can see who’s contributing to your campaign,
how close you are to your goal, and even include a countdown,
so you can countdown to year-end. Our platform is used for a variety
of different fundraising campaigns, everything from year-end campaigns,
which we’re going to focus on today, all the way to annual fund, capital
campaigns, peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, and even as simple as donation pages, that as
smaller nonprofits just don’t have the technology resources to be able to facilitate, they can
use our platform to be able to create those and also create them in a way that’s
campaign-specific, which is quite the challenge when you don’t have a team
of IT staff or a huge budget.

The next part of the conversation we want to talk
about is, why does year-end fundraising matter? There’s really only one reason
why year-end fundraising matters. And it’s because over 30% of
giving occurs during this time. So even depending on your cycle and
how your organization fundraises, year-end might not be the time that you’re
driving your most important campaigns. A lot of nonprofits have different cycles based
on your fiscal year or even just based on the work that you do and how that flows with the seasons
differently. But for the majority of individuals and the majority of nonprofits, the last 45
days, the last 30 days, and even the last 2 days of the year are the days that the
most charitable giving is done, and that’s for a lot of different reasons.

So
it’s just essential for you to be able to be a part of this and have a year-end fundraising
strategy, so that you can take advantage of that. Because even your key supporters, if you
don’t ask them to give during this time, when they’re thinking about being
generous, they’re also thinking about how this plays into their tax obligations and
various other reasons they give at year-end, especially here in the U.S.

And many other
places, you’re missing out on that opportunity to really provide them a vehicle to be able to
give to your organization because they support you. So you really need to be in front of them and
asking. There’s this quote, and I can’t remember it, but I think it was the founder of Save
the Children said, people are generous, but people are lazy. And you really have
to, as fundraisers, kind of engage them and provide an opportunity for them to
give, and we can do that through having an effective fundraising campaign. Next thing we’ve seen – This whole
webinar is supposed to be focused on, how do we really promote our
year-end fundraising campaign? You know, we live in an environment where
the cost of renting attention has skyrocketed, and most of those channels where you can
rent attention, the value and effectiveness have really deteriorated. Especially for
those that are on this call but pointed out that they’re a smaller nonprofit, it’s created
an environment where you really can’t compete.

It favors the big organizations. It
favors budget and reach. But we believe that there are some key ways that you really
can think differently about how you fundraise, and what your role is as a fundraiser that
can really get around those and tap into some of the resources that you may not be
leveraging to their full potential, and usually that starts with your
supporters. But before we start promoting or trying to engage our supporters, we
really need to understand who they are and how we can communicate best to them.
Something that nonprofits tend to struggle with, because for the majority of nonprofits,
they’re very good at talking about their work, they’re very good at talking about
what they do, why it’s important, how it’s going to make change in the world,
but they’re not necessarily ones that focus on, who are the people that support this?
Who are the people that align with us, and how can we engage them
in the most effective way? Sometimes you have to put your mission to
the side for a second and really think through who your audience is and how
they want to be communicated with, why they give to your organization, and how
you can effectively engage them, inspire them, and then activate them to really get involved.
So segmentation is key for you to be able to have a successful promotion
strategy because you have to understand the audience that you’re serving and that
you’re trying to activate to support your cause.

So we’re going to provide a few different
things, but really regardless of the size of your nonprofit, donor segmentation
is an important strategic process. There’s a few reasons for that. You
can customize your tone and information to a smaller target audience. You can
speak more directly and more personal. You can encourage donors to engage
with your nonprofit wherever they are in the donor continuum. Meaning
you’re going to speak to a new donor versus a long-time supporter in a different way.
But if you really just group all of those together and speak to them in one way, you’re actually
doing a disservice to both those individuals. In addition, you can ask for donations
strategically based on the empirical data that you have, the giving level. For those
that have been around fundraising for a while, the biggest mistake we can make as fundraisers
is asking for the wrong amount from our donors.

So by segmenting, you can make sure that
you’re customizing those asks in the way that is most valuable and most aligned
with the giving level and the affinity that that supporter has to support your
organization, and just the capacity that that individual has. You don’t want to ask
$100 donor for $1000, but you don’t want to ask a $5000 donor for $10 or $100. You
really have to make sure you align that, and segmentation offers you
the opportunity to do that well.

The first way you can segment is
really on how your donors were acquired. Segmenting based on acquisition channel or
the campaign can allow you to communicate more effectively through the channel or lens they
were initially drawn to support your organization. So an individual that maybe was acquired online
or was acquired through a fundraising event, you can speak to them in a way that aligns
with where they’re at, how familiar they are with your organization, or what really
drew them in.

And you can leverage that to bring them further in and engage
them in a new way during year-end. In addition, you can talk about giving size
or last gift amount. This is really important based on some of the information I had already
said. But you really want to focus on the fact that you don’t want to ask donors for the wrong
amount, and you don’t want to turn donors off by asking them for too much, and you don’t want
to turn them off by asking them for too little or really underutilizing that relationship
that you’ve built with that supporter. The third thing you can do is segment between
first time donor versus returning donor. Again, this is very familiar because
you’re targeting them where they’re at. New donors may need more background
information than returning donors, so you can speak to them in a different way.
Similar to the way you would speak to a friend that you just met that you’re maybe
hanging out with for the second time, or you met in a social environment, and
now you’re taking them out to coffee.

I see this almost in the same way as the way
relationships work. We have a podcast here at CauseVox, and we interviewed someone
that wrote a book called Date Your Donors, and he talked about this idea, that really
this idea that donor cultivation is similar to the dating game. You don’t want
to ask people to marry you too soon, and you cultivate through the various stages.
So that’s why segmentation is important as well. The fourth thing is donors’ giving frequency. This
is really important because you can kind of see when your donors give to you regularly, so that
you can reach out to them in a proactive way, when they either miss their regular
donation period, so you can reach out to them and engage with them, or you can even
provide them impact reports and updates prior to their next normal giving cycle,
so you can hopefully upgrade their giving through that next opportunity that
they give. In addition, this is great because you can actually monitor how
frequent someone is giving to you, which shows to your organization that they have
a higher affinity to support your organization, and you can reach out to them in a different
way during the year-end fundraising season.

I will say, segmentation takes a
lot of work, but it’s a great way, especially for the smaller nonprofits,
to raise more money from less donors because you’re cultivating and catering to
those relationships in a more effective way. And you’re really being a better steward
of the supporters that you’ve been given as an organization instead of always
fighting to get new donors. That’s one thing that’s actually surprising is, you talk
to nonprofits regardless of the size of their organization, and their number
one concern is, we need new donors. We need new donors. And as soon
as we start talking and uncovering how are they treating their current donors,
or how many donors give to them year over year, and look at their donor retention, we
see that there’s a big problem there.

So the focus is on new donors, but sometimes
that is in spite of actually taking care of the supporters that care about
you. And that’s so much more important for smaller organizations like many of the
ones you guys are a part of on this call. The fifth way is just really the
engagement level of the donor. This ensures you’re really just presenting the
right opportunity. So asking a donor to give isn’t the only way that someone can support
your organization. People have their experience. People have their networks. They have their
relationships. They have their influence in the community. So understanding how
they want to engage with your organization and how they’ve done that previously
is really important to help guide you in how you engage with them during
year-end.

Or ask them to be a part of your year-end campaign because the best
thing for you to do may not be to remind them one more time to give because they already
give on a regular basis, but rather, invite them to share what your organization does
or to be a part of the solution and fundraise alongside you. We’re going to talk about
that in a little bit as we dive further into today’s concept. Number six
is one I think nonprofits understand probably more than others. But it’s
just harder for smaller organizations that don’t have access to as many data sites
where you can pull in more data on your donors. And demographics is one of those ones that
kind of makes sense and everyone understands, but it’s a lot harder to implement, especially
if you’re a part of a smaller nonprofit or a smaller association or even like a public
library. So this one I always say is important, but it’s sometimes harder to do than it might
seem.

It’s definitely a way that you can segment your supporters during year-end, but the
other ones you have that data in front of you regardless of the size of your organization, but
it’s a lot easier to focus on the [indistinct] side. And if you have the opportunity
to segment based on demographics and what motivates each of the
different generations, that’s another way to really drive more effective year-end
fundraising campaigns as you’re promoting them. When done effectively, donor segmentation
really builds trust and credibility with your audience.

There was such a
large time that mass marketing worked, where we all consumed the
same feeds of information. And because of the technological wave
in how connected we are – Honestly, we have the ability to really
curate our experiences nowadays more than we ever had before. You can even
see that in how the election here played out in the U.S., where you have both sides
saying, I knew this was going to happen, or I can’t believe this happened, just based
on the feed that we’ve curated for ourselves and speaking into that. So by you also making
sure that you see the individualized individual, and you speak into them and really
create a personalized experience, that’s when your nonprofit can stand out.

I’ve
supported a lot of nonprofits over the years and been a part of many others, and
when we see donor loyalty increased is when we stopped focusing on
the masses and start thinking about how we really can cultivate authentic
relationships with our supporters. And you do that by segmentation and
really looking at them in a personal way and being human. People give to people.
So even though your cause is inspiring, you as an individual have the opportunity
to really tell your story, share your story and then talk to someone in a personal way.
And that’s going to drive more effectiveness for your year-end campaigns.
I can go on for hours talking about segmentation. It’s kind of my soap
box, but I won’t bore you with that any further.

It’s really important, and I think there’s a lot
of opportunities for you to take advantage of that, especially during year-end when there’s
so many messages going down our supporters in our inboxes, in our mailboxes, events,
galas, etc. There is so much noise, and really how you can stand out is
really making a personalized experience. We’re going to spend the rest of our
conversation today really in this section. We’re going to talk through various
channels and how you can effectively promote your year-end fundraising campaign through
those channels. More than ever before, multiple channel marketing or
fundraising strategies is really important because people consume information
in a variety of different mediums. And if you’re not presenting your campaign
or your fundraising strategy or promoting it through multiple channels, you’re missing
an opportunity to really engage people at different stages or through different mediums
that they’re engaging with on a daily basis. We’re going to talk through
some of the main ones.

And the reason I focus on these, there’s
many others, but are kind of smaller avenues that you can promote your campaign
through, but I feel like the ones that we’re going to talk about through
the majority of the conversation today are really the meat and potatoes of fundraising
promotion. And those are the ones that, until you have those down, and you’re doing
those right, you really should focus more on those and invest your efforts
because you don’t have a lot of time.

You don’t have any more effort to give,
especially at year-end. So focusing in and making sure you do the things
that are going to have the best impact well are going to really drive those results
for your organization, and you’re going to see it in new donors. You’re going to see it in returning
donors, and ultimately, you’re going to see it in the funds that you raise during the
year-end time, so that you can drive the impact and change that you
believe in for our world. The first place we’re going to start is
email marketing. I always use this line, that it’s more powerful than you think. The
reason I say that is because people are like, great – emails. I get emails every day, but I
hate email, or there’s a lot of spam out there. Should I really email? Do people
even read it? Here’s just a stat.

So what we’ve seen, and this is a stat
from 2015, but organizations reported that they had a 3800% ROI, which
means a return on their investment, when they looked at their email marketing
programs. Just based on the stats, email is astoundingly important. So for
your organization that maybe has prioritized direct mail or personal relationships in your
organization, it’s really important for you to start thinking about how you can
incorporate an email communication strategy into your fundraising. That’s more
difficult than it sounds, but it just starts with collecting information and start
sending out regular email communication.

We’re going to talk about some
of the best practices to do that. But just having an email marketing
program or an email fundraising program is very, very important because though
there are so many other mediums and channels where you consume information, email has still
proven year over year that it is an effective and growingly effective channel to
communicate with your supporters in. There’s four components of what
we’ve seen here at CauseVox, as we have observed successful campaigns
and even unsuccessful campaigns, is targeting your subject line, the
content and the core meat of the email, and then the call to action.

So we’re going
to talk about each of these in isolation. Email targeting – We’ve talked a lot about
segmentation. And again, if you can understand who you’re emailing instead of just emailing
your list the same exact email to everybody, you can actually start prioritizing who and
what actions you want specific audiences to take. What I mean by that is, when you’re sending
out emails, the thing we see most often here at CauseVox is, they send out an email and
they’re saying everything they can think of. Nonprofits reporting on how their Monday night
programs went, where their fundraising goals are, they’re having three events next year, the
executive director wanted to promote something, the board member wanted to promote
something.

And it’s just this epic email that includes 42 different ways
that you can engage with that email. What we see is that’s not really effective. Email
is a tool to communicate and then get someone to take an action. So if you have 42 actions,
you’re putting it all on your audience to decide what action is most important.
Whereas what I think is important is being able to target and position a message
with the right information at the right time to the right people with the right call to
action. So we always encourage individuals that are fundraising on our platform to
really have emails that have a single focus and a single targeted call to
action.

pexels photo 3194519

Those are the most effective, and you’re going to understand whether
people want to take that action or not. And you can learn a lot quicker if
you say, “I want to send an email that I want people to go from my email
to my year-end campaign fundraising page,” and see if they donate. If only 10 out of 1,000
people do that or 10 out of 100 people do that, you start learning whether you’re really targeting
people with the right offers or the right asks, so you can adjust more effectively. Whereas
with an email that has 42 call to actions or 42 links in it, it’s really difficult
to know what worked, what didn’t work. Did no one donate because there was too much
distraction? Did they not know how to donate? No one showed up for the event.

Was that
because we didn’t communicate as often? It’s really difficult, and then you
just start playing a guessing game instead of actually having some clear
results and data. So use email as a tool and use it in a targeted way. The
next thing is the subject line. I worked for a company that did digital
marketing. So I’ve had the luxury of being a digital native. One of the things
I heard very often that a wise man told me was that subject lines, you should spend
50% of your time on your subject line and 50% of your time on your content. Most
people spend 99% of their time on their content and what they’re going to send, which makes
it all about you and what you want to say versus how can I engage someone with this
content.

And maybe right before you send the email, you type out a
subject line and send it. The thing is that the subject line is the
gatekeeper for them to get into your email. So the thing I see is that people get
frustrated that no one reads their email. People get frustrated that no one opens
their emails. But when you ask them, “How much time did you spend on your subject
line? Have you tried different strategies? How do you think about
your subject line?” They’re like, “I don’t know what you’re talking
about.” It’s like, well, no one’s opening your email because the subject line
isn’t engaging enough.

Or the subject line isn’t really drawing them in. Or the subject
line isn’t really connecting with them in the way that they were at. Again, it goes back to that
idea of sending the right content at the right time to the right people with the right
message. So that’s why I spent the majority of the beginning of the call on this idea of
segmentation because you have to understand your audience for you to have
an effective promotion strategy. Not as many people care about what you’re
doing as you think. So you have to understand what they care about and try to bridge
that gap. That’s really, really important and done really effectively with the
subject line. So we have some best practices. We talked about this idea of keeping
it short, not overusing capital letters.

Again, that’s just making it human and making
it more normal that you’re sending them an email one-on-one. Posing a question if appropriate,
those are really impactful ways to drive people, and personalizing it with the donor’s name. In addition to this
– And I left this off my list, and I wish I didn’t, so this one is not
on here. So those that are taking notes, this one is really important
– Send it from a human. Yeah. That’s right. Send your emails not from
the nonprofit’s name, but send it from a human. Because again, communication is one-to-one.
Communication is all about someone emailing me and telling me something.
And that’s what email was designed to do.

So you as an organization, you would think
through how you can effectively leverage that channel to make sure that your message
actually gets delivered and engaged with. So we always encourage people, as you can
see in this example from a few emails I got from an organization that I used to work
for, is that we always send it from a person because we knew that we wanted
to create this individual dialogue as though we were sending this to an
individual. And there’s stats out there. The stats are really significant, but at the end
of the day, if you send it from an individual, your emails will get opened more than if
you send it from your organization’s name. The next thing is really the email content.
This is things a lot of nonprofits have. They understand how it works. The only thing
that I would kind of address here is that, again, keeping it single-focused, keeping it really
concentrated and thinking about email not as, I have to communicate everything, but rather,
as a tool to get someone from their inbox, which is full of distraction, to
your website or to your donation page or to your event registration page.

Email is not just a communication tool in its
entirety like, hey, communicate everything. It’s really a tool that you want to move them
from their inbox, which is very distraction-filled, to your content and your ecosystem in
your house. So I always think about it as this idea that it’s almost like an
invitation. You want to bring them along. You want to bring them into your ecosystem.
So I think that’s a really important way to think about how you craft your content. In
addition, I think it’s really important for you to tell a story and to really connect
in an emotional way to your supporters. A lot of organizations, and many of you could
spit off five to 10 to maybe 60 minutes of stats on why your cause matters and why
it’s important that people support it.

No one cares about that. A lot of times stats
kind of, you know, people close their eyes. People kind of glaze over. They’re like, I get
it. There are 42,000 people that are in X, Y, and Z circumstance, and if all I do is give $10, it’s
important. I get it. That’s just not what drives us. So connecting with people in an emotional
way and really drawing them into the story and clearly identifying where the gap is
and then the action that they need to take, which is that one action not 42, that’s what’s
going to drive the best results for your email. Let’s get to the last thing with emails, really
just a call-to-action, being clear and direct, stand out on the page. Make it very easy
for your supporters reading your email to know exactly what you want them to do
next.

That’s really what the call-to-action is designed for. The next part we’re going to talk about is
social media. Social media gets a lot of talk on the internet and a lot of discussions and a
lot of, you know, social media is the best thing. But many nonprofits are like, I don’t get it. It
is what it is. I don’t get it. I didn’t grow up in the digital age. I don’t
understand social media. The problem with that attitude is that today,
65% of online adults use social networking sites. And it’s really this idea about
creating an ecosystem that we connect. So it’s really taking offline relationships
that we have and bringing them online. And you know, a lot has changed over the last
15 years, and maybe some of you on this call have been in fundraising for 30, 40, 50
years. But really in the last 15 years, all of these social media sites
have fundamentally changed, and there’s so much more that has changed in
the last 15 years.

Really the last 15 years’ theme has been all about
change. So how you communicate or how people consume information has
fundamentally shifted. So you as a nonprofit really need to tap into that.
What we see is that more than half of the social media users discover
social initiatives via social media. In addition to that, 64% of social media
users surveyed gave $100 or more to nonprofits in the last year. So this is a really important
stat to see for those that have board members that are skeptical about social media
or that said it’s a waste of time. Some of these stats might be helpful for
you to show that people are discovering social initiatives and social causes
to support through social media.

They’re also supporting them in a big
way. So it’s not just a kid’s thing or something that is outside the
realm of what you want to focus on or, “Oh that’s just a waste of time. That’s where
all the kids hang out. That’s what my kids waste a bunch of time.” It’s really a place
where people are using it as a discovery platform and really to connect with like-minded
people that support and fund the causes that are most important to them.
The best content we see is authentic. It’s emotional. It’s compelling. All of these
big things that are used to capture your audience. It’s a very busy, distraction-filled place.
Especially as Facebook and other sites are just becoming more and more
filled with attention or things that are grabbing the attention.
What I love is that the SPCA tapped into some pop culture references, also
understood that cat videos and cat pictures travel fast on social media. But they
also wanted to communicate their message and didn’t really sacrifice that.

So they used this
image to share and really equip their supporters to also share it, which is the power of
social media, to talk about what they do in a unique and different way
that’s fitting for the media. Stories connect us. Telling stories
is really important. Using visuals but then also using words to really tell
your story is the best way to promote your year-end campaign on social media. And
using a story of one. A lot of you do complex work, but you have to simplify it back to the
person’s story. I was talking to Lori [indistinct], who is a fundraising consultant. She was
talking about how you really need to break down anything you do, even if you’re an environmental
cause that’s all about the environment or something that just doesn’t seem to have a
human connection, you can always bring it back to where people are being impacted or how
that national parks are being destroyed.

So me, as a father who grew up
going to national parks with my dad, will not have that same opportunity to
take my six-year-old and four-year-old to the parks because they’re being destroyed
by climate change. Maybe that’s your message. Maybe that’s your story, but you’re able to bring
it back to something that we can connect with. Again, videos are really effective to tell
your story. Being human. Again, having someone share and drive call-to-action is
also a great way to use social media. The other one is, of social media users who
donate, 56% said that compelling storytelling is what motivated them to make a
donation. Here’s a few more examples that you can take a look at when you check
out the slides that TechSoup will send out after the webinar today. The next section
I want to talk about is direct mail. Yeah, direct mail is not dead. A lot
of people talk about how the mailbox isn’t being used anymore. Although
it feels like it sometimes, still the majority of fundraising is still
done through direct mail.

A lot of it’s done through direct mail, personal fundraising
appeals, one-on-one. So we have a few tips that have kind of changed because of
how technology has really enabled you to do direct mail in a different way. One of them
is going back to that idea of personalization. Before, where you had simple letters that
you wrote and sent out, kind of increased up to being much more about these flashy
things or these tricky labels that say, “Open Immediately,” or “Important Information,”
or “Reply Requested,” and all this other – I don’t know what the language rights are on
here. But anyways, it’s very, kind of like, deceiving direct mail. And that’s
why direct mail really got a bad rap. But when you make it personalized, when you make
it effective and connect with the individual, it really can make a difference.

The
other one is just to keep it familiar. Send requests to your current lapsed donors,
customizing the content to each audience. Technology has fundamentally shifted, where
you can customize everything in direct mail for a cost that isn’t crazy like it used to
be. So the tools and resources that you have are really opened up to a lot broader
audience, especially smaller nonprofits, to leverage some of the best practices that
larger nonprofits have been using for a long time. The other thing I know we talked about a little
bit with email. I don’t want to spend too much time on this, but A/B testing is something
that you can also do in direct mail. And again, the cost to do that, though
a lot more than digital fundraising, is still much cheaper than it used to be.
So you can really test out different things so that you can drive an impact.

The
last section we’re going to talk about is this idea of peer-to-peer fundraising.
Many of you might be unfamiliar with peer-to-peer
fundraising [silence] are unfamiliar with peer-to-peer fundraising, but
it’s really this idea of tapping into the current supporters you have to help you promote
your campaign. Like I said at the beginning, the cost of renting attention has really
skyrocketed, and in addition to that, standing out is harder than ever. There’s
more nonprofits soliciting for giving, and in addition to that, things like BuzzFeed or
Netflix or even just all the tragedies going on around the world, are trying to coach
the attention that you used to maybe have more exclusive rights to with your
supporters.

But what has shifted in your favor is that the influence that your supporters
have is much higher to convince others to support your cause than you have as an
individual. Just to say that in a different way is that the power each individual supporter
you have is much higher than your influence as an organization is to convince
new people to support your cause. Because the world you fundraise
in is fundamentally shifted. What we see is that before you would
rent attention. You would buy lists. You would have maybe sales reps, and
you would have TV ads because everyone was consuming the same information.
It was all about budget and reach. The only people that it favored were the
people that had budget. So that was the large, mega organizations that were able
to pay exorbitant amount of money to be able to rent the attention of the masses.
And at scale, that’s where renting attention actually pays off. But for organizations like
the one I was at or the one that you’re serving and running – many of you said you run the
entire organization -you can’t compete in a world against budget and reach.

It’s just not
going to happen, and that can be frustrating and feel like you’re kind of
really running up against a wall. But the world we are fundraising in
has fundamentally changed and shifted. And that’s really important to remember because
now it’s all about building relationships. The way we buy, the way many of you
might buy, has fundamentally shifted. When was the last time you bought
something without someone recommending it or you asking a friend or you seeing
someone else or even seeing blind referrals? Referrals and others’ opinions over the
brand’s fake promises and bolstering marketing is more important.

That’s what’s really
driving people’s decision-making nowadays rather than good marketing. What
we see is that you can tap into that because that’s the way people are also
giving. If we look at the way people give – This research reporter talked to donors and
said, 85% of donors prefer being asked by friends and family to make a donation versus you as
a fundraising rep or your organization saying, support us because we’re doing good work,
and you just want to make a difference, so you’re going to support us. 85%. And
that’s only increasing. We live in a world that’s about people-to-people transactions.
If you look at things like Uber, where people are using their personal
cars to drive strangers around from one place to another, if you look at
Airbnb – You know, next week is Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and I’m actually renting
out my house to strangers to rent my house. So they’re trusting me to leave a place for them.
But they trust me because there’s other people that vetted this and that are valuable, and
I trust them because other people vetted them.

So we’re more comfortable with transacting
with individuals. So you as a nonprofit move from being someone with a megaphone
to really selling us a rallying cry where you can take the supporters
that you have and really engage them to share on your story. At CauseVox
we build tools that help you do this. It sounds like a lot more work than
it really is. Because we believe that if you can empower your supporters
to share your cause and your story, that’s where you’re going to be able
to circumvent all this budget priority, attention-grabbing, renting attention, all this
other stuff that you’re not going to be able to compete in. And any money and budget
you have that you invest in that is honestly just a waste. It would be more valuable
for you to really spend your time cultivating relationships
with your key supporters. We talked about this idea of capturing a
changing world through people-based fundraising that are always connected. They buy
and donate differently, and standing out is harder than it ever was before.
So the best way for me to illustrate this type of promotion tactic for
your year-end fundraising campaign, is by really talking through an example.
There were these two ladies.

Lauren and Maria, have a very, very small, local organization
that they rally people around to really advocate for maternal health in their community.
This is a city of maybe 70-80,0000 people but they have 200, 300 women
that have participated in this. So what they did was they were
able to activate those individuals. So you can see how they have 23 people that said,
“I participated in this. I find this valuable. I’m going to actually go and fundraise
on this organization’s behalf.” This is a two-person organization that
recruited 23 people to go fundraising. That’s more than most of the fundraising
people on this call. They were able to activate and empower to fundraise on their
behalf. And they were able to raise $6,000 towards their $10,000 goal and help
3100 more women with their programming. Small organizations know that a small
amount of money makes a big difference.

So they were able to do that through
their community of supporters. One of those supporters was Alicia,
and she was able to rally seven donors, which is a lot, to raise $375. On the surface
you might look at this and say, “$375 – That’s not that much.” But the key thing
is here, she recruited seven new donors to this organization that now that organization
can cultivate and build relationships with. Truly incredible and very fitting
for the connected world we live in. Where the power of Alicia is more
than the Motherhood Collective. And the Motherhood Collective realized that
and was able to tap into that for their recent campaign and activate Alicia. And now Alicia
is more invested. She was invested before, but now she’s a part of it. She’s felt the weight
that all of you on this call are bearing yourselves or with a small group of people and was
able to burden herself to be able to advocate for this organization that was making a change
in her community.

That’s what we see every day here at CauseVox, and it’s incredible to
see how many organizations are able to pivot, see their supporters as an advocate, and drive
forward. So they were able to use CauseVox to build out this whole campaign. We’re going
to talk about various pricing options at the end, but it didn’t really
cost them that much. There’s a bunch of other opportunities that I
wanted to go through. They’re not important as what we talked about today, and I
spent way too much time talking already. So there’s a few other slides here that you can look at
– social advertising. You can look at PR and media.
You can even look at partnerships that you can do with inside your community to
really help promote your year-end fundraising campaign.

There’s lots of information on this
slide. There’s tons more information on our blog where we produce two to three more
articles a week at causevox.com/blog. We have tons of resources on any of these
various subjects. But I’m going to kick it back over to Becky because I ate up all my time. But
thank you, guys, for having me. I’m so grateful to the TechSoup team and just for giving us the
opportunity to really share some of the insights that we’ve learned over the past six years
as we’ve helped thousands and thousands of nonprofits really capitalize and really
get around all the difficult environment we’re in these days. If we’re all
honest, it’s really hard to fundraise. It’s something we don’t talk about as much.
I’m just grateful that we have the opportunity, like TechSoup, to come alongside those that
are in the trenches and help them raise money for the change that they’re trying to make
in the world.

Anyways, thank you, guys. Becky: Thank you for that, Noah. Lots of really
great information. A lot of really good ideas. Some things you can probably take back
and work on. Spend that 50% of your time on your subject lines. That doesn’t take any
special tools or any extra money to do that, to improve that, to think about what
your audience might want to open instead of what it is you want to tell them. A lot
of really great practical tips shared in this. So thank you so much for that,
Noah. You’ll see we have a bunch of additional resources here in the slides
toward the end. You will get the slides, so anything we had to go over quickly,
you will have time to review those at your convenience later. Really
quickly, I wanted to talk about CauseVox before we open up to the questions.
We have a couple of different options of CauseVox that are available through
TechSoup’s discount program with them. But CauseVox also does have a totally free
option available.

So if you want to try it out, you can do that for free. Just know that some
of the more advanced features go up in price, essentially. There are two different
plans available through TechSoup for one-year subscriptions: The Impact Plan
which is $88 plus the 4.25% transaction fee per transaction. That’s the Impact Plan.
Then the Pro Plan, which gives you even more features, is available for a $232 admin fee.
And again, I believe those transaction fees – I’m not sure if they’re actually part of it still
or not, but these are open to all organization types.

I saw somebody just chime in saying
they’re part of a small catholic church. They could use these as well. If you’re a
library or friends of the library program, you can access these. So definitely check them
out. And like I said, there is a free option available directly through their
website that has not as many features, but it would give you a taste of what you can
do to see if it’s something you want to invest more time and money in. Noah: Hey, Becky. If I
can share really quickly – Becky: Sure, go ahead.

Yep, chime in. Noah: If you do sign up for the free plan
and check that out, you can change and upgrade at any point in time. So you can use the
TechSoup discount. Once you check it out and see that it’s a great tool for you
and come back, use the TechSoup discount, and you won’t have to start all over again.
I just wanted to make that really clear that if you use the free plan, and then you
want to take advantage of the TechSoup discount, we make that very easy. Becky: That’s terrific. So you don’t need to
have separate email addresses you use to do that; you can upgrade from the
existing account. Very helpful. We do have a couple of questions in here before
we wrap up. Sandra comments that she’s found that a lot of her emails that she sends are
not getting through because they go into spam, or they end up in, like, the promotions.
You know how some email services have your primary account, your
social account, and your promotions? They’re not really accounts, but they’re like
tabs that they’ve organized your email into, like Gmail does.

So she’s wondering,
how do you get around that? What’s the best way to do it? You know, is
there a way so that you don’t have your emails sync into spam? I know we had
issues here, where if we put “win,” like “Win an hour of tech time,”
which is something we used to do as a monthly give-away, that those
emails would end up in spam boxes because “win” was seen as junk
mail because it’s a spam-y word. Are there things like that that you
can recommend to help people get around either the spam box or
being sorted into promotions? Noah: One of the things we see is that there’s a
lot of different ways and a lot of advice out there on how to get around some of those things.
But at the end of the day, if you understand what the email provider, or the email
mail services are actually trying to do, is they’re basically saying, we’re going
to try to help our customers get the emails that are most important to them.

What we’ve
seen, just from our personal experience here at CauseVox and then with some of
our nonprofits, is that the sooner you can actually invoke a reply to your email, the quicker
your emails will never get put into the spam or promotions or whatever tabs because that is
an email that has been indicated as important. For example, when someone signs
up for your nonprofit’s newsletter, or you welcome them as a donor,
and you want to thank them and say, “Hey, we send updates on a monthly basis,”
ask a question and get your supporters to actually reply because at that point,
that really unlocks and prevents those issues from happening in the future.

So again,
it goes back to really understanding what the mail providers are trying to
do and thinking how you can play along with those rules. There’s a bunch
of other things like you mentioned, Becky, about avoiding certain words
and trying to mess around with that. But again, if you’re writing in a human tone,
you’re sending messages that are important and that are being helpful to the
supporters that you’ve cultivated. That’s really how you’re going to win or
get around that game and those spam filters in the long-run. So don’t spam. The company
I used to work for said, “Don’t make spam. Make love.” And I think that’s really important
to remember, especially when it comes to email. Becky: Great advice. We also have a couple
of questions.

Does CauseVox interface with existing CRM’s? So if you’re using
Salesforce or Dynamics CRM or CiviCRM or any number of them, does it sync
up with any of these existing CRM’s? Noah: We allow you to export all your
data from CauseVox in a very easy way and kind of full-encompassing. There’s a lot
of platforms out there that don’t actually give you access to the donor data because
you’re fundraising on their platforms. We’re really a tool that’s empowering you to
fundraise, so you own those donor relationships. So you’re able to export those really
easily and then import them into the CRM or database system like Salesforce or
Dynamics or a few others, really well. In addition to that, we’re currently in
the process of developing some integrations that are going to help with that because
we really want to make CauseVox more and more helpful to you to facilitate your
online fundraising.

So we’re going to do that by making sure your
systems talk to each other. Becky: Great. And we are actually at the
top of the hour, so I’m going to go ahead and wrap us up. I know we
didn’t get to every question. But some folks have asked about the
campaign example that you showed, and it was run on CauseVox, so that
answers a couple of people at once there. But we would love it if you’d chat
in one thing that you’ve learned today that you are going to try and take
back to your organization and implement. Maybe it’s that you’re going to spend
more time on that subject line work.

Or maybe you’re going to try the A/B
testing. Maybe you’re going to try asking your existing supporters if they will
start asking their friends and family to support your organization. Let us know in
the chat what things you’re going to work on for your year-end campaign that will hopefully
help improve it and bring more donations into your organization before December 31st.
We’d also ask that you share this information with other friends and colleagues in
your network who may benefit from them and that you’d take a few minutes
at the end and give us some feedback on our post-event survey that
will open up when we close out. I’d like to just point you to a couple
of other upcoming TechSoup things that you can participate in. We have launched
a full, new catalog of TechSoup courses, where you can take a variety of courses
on training your staff on technology, technology planning.

I can’t remember what else
is in there right now, but there are courses that you can access at your own time. You
don’t have to show up at a specific time. You can access these 24/7 at this
techsoup.course.tc. And if you put a /catalog at the end, you can see the full catalog of
what’s listed right now, and go ahead and sign up and check those out at your convenience.
We also have a number of webinars coming up, including “5 Things You Didn’t Know
About TechSoup’s Donation Programs,” coming up next Tuesday. We’ll be talking
about SEO, our Search Engine Optimization for beginners, how to get your
website to percolate to the top of those search engine results. We’ll
learn some steps on how to do that.

We’ll also be looking at Adobe Photoshop,
learning about some of the different tools and filters available. Then we’ll have a
webinar in mid-November, or sorry, mid-December – I can’t believe we’re at December already –
around how libraries can support social good and partnering with nonprofits. So we hope
that you’ll join us for some of those events. Thank you so much, Noah, for your time today
and for sharing a bit of your expertise. Definitely folks, check out CauseVox.
They have a lot of resources available. And keep your eyes peeled for that
post-event email where we will include links to the resources discussed today.
Thank you, Susan, on the back-end, and thank you to ReadyTalk, our webinar
sponsor, for providing the use of their platform.

Please take a moment to complete that
post-event survey and have a terrific day. Thanks so much, everyone. Bye-bye..

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