[VIDEO] Year-End Fundraising Campaign Marketing and Messaging Tips

In this webinar, Chris Hammond and Brittany LaGanke from Corporate Giving Connection will cover the necessary marketing components of a successful year-end fundraising campaign and the importance of thinking outside of the box in order to cut through the noise of the giving season.

Full Transcript:

Steven: All right. Chris and Brittany, my watch just struck 1:00 p.m. Eastern over here on East Coast. Is it okay if we go ahead and get this party started?
Chris: Yeah. Perfect.
Brittany: Let’s do it.
Steven: All right. Cool. Well, welcome everyone. Good afternoon if you’re on the East Coast. Good morning if you’re on the West Coast or somewhere in between. Thanks for being here for today’s Bloomerang webinar, “The Keys to Building a Successful End-of-Year Giving Campaign.” And my name is Steven Shattuck, and I am the chief engagement officer over here at Bloomerang. And I’ll be moderating today’s discussion, as always.
And just a couple of housekeeping items before we get going here. Just want to let you all know that we are recording this session and we’ll be sending out the recording and the slides later on today. I’ll get that to you this afternoon, I promise. So, if you have to leave early or maybe you want to review the content later on or share it with a friend or a colleague, have no fear, I’ll get all that good stuff to you today.
Most importantly, as you’re listening today, please feel free to make use of that chat box on your webinar screen. We’re going to be watching the chat throughout the hour here. I’ll be keeping an eye out for questions and some comments. So, if you have any questions don’t be shy, don’t sit on those hands. We’re going to try to save some time at the end for Q&A. So, we’ll try to get through many questions as we can. So, send them in throughout the hour. You can also send us a tweet on Twitter of course. I’ll keep an eye on the Twitter feed as well. If you have any questions there, I’ll be able to get to them for sure.
And one last bit of housekeeping items, if you have any trouble with the audio through your computer speakers, we find that the audio by phone is usually a lot better quality and it tends to track with the slides a little bit better since it doesn’t rely on internet connections, or browser speed, or anything like that. So, if you’re having any trouble with the audio, don’t give up on us completely. Try dialing in by phone if you can do that if that’ll be comfortable for you, if you want bug a colleague or an officemate or anything like that. You can find a phone number in the email from ReadyTalk that went out around noon Eastern about an hour ago. So, try that if you have any trouble.
And if this is your first Bloomerang webinar, I just want to say an extra special welcome to you folks. If it’s your webinar with us, you may not realize that we do these webinars just about every single Thursday throughout the year. We bring on great guests for an educational session. One of our favorite things we do here at Bloomerang, my favorite thing to do honestly. But if you also don’t know what Bloomerang is all about, we are a provider of donor management software. I saw a couple people in the chat talking about how they’re switching to us now which is awesome. That always makes me happy.
And if you are interested in that or just want to learn more about us, maybe you’re thinking of switching sometime soon, check out our website. You can check out a video demo and see the software in action if you want to learn more. Don’t do that now, because they are all in for a treat, we got a duo here that I had the privilege and good to see them and hang out with them last week. We were all at this Nonprofit Storytelling Conference in Orlando. So, if you were there, let us know. But we’ve got Chris Hammond and Brittany LaGanke joining us.
Hey, there friends. How’s it going? Thanks so much for being here.
Chris: Thank you for having us. We’re excited to be here.
Steven: Definitely. I just want to brag on you guys real quick. If you’re not following Corporate Giving Connection, great agency. They do really good work. They’ve been friends of Bloomerang now for a couple years now, I think. They’ve been blogging for us and it’s great to have them on a webinar. Like I said, got to see Chris and Brittany, got to see Chris speak on a panel. They’ve got a lot of experience and they do a lot of good work.
Between the two of them, dozens of years of experience. They’ve worked with organizations like Best Buddies, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Sexual Assault Response Network, and they’ve got some really good end-of-year giving tips for you. So, I don’t want to take up any more time away from them. Chris is going to share his screen and give you some great year-end advice. So, Chris, I think you’re going first. So, take it away, my friend.
Chris: Thank you. Thank you for the intro. Let see if I can do it pretty easily here. I hope everyone can see my screen now.
Steven: Yeah. It looks like it’s working.
Chris: Perfect. Perfect. Well, you know, thank you, Steve, and thank you everyone from Bloomerang. You know, we’re really excited to, you know, tell you guys a little bit more about why we love end-of-year giving so much. We’ve had the great pleasure of working with so many of our different clients in November and December, and really trying to put together exciting and fun ideas that we can, you know, also bring money in for these organizations or in the end of the year.
So, without further ado, I wanted to jump right in and like Steve said, we’re going to have nice opportunity for questions at the end. And just so you have just a little bit more of an idea on my background, I am the founder of Corporate Giving Connection and, you know, I know all too well the challenges that all of these nonprofit organizations typically have to face whether it being marketing or fundraising, we’ve really seen that. You know, sometimes you just need a team that can help you think strategically and add a couple hands on deck that you can put together a great campaign but also really be able to fulfill your mission. So, without further ado, let’s talk some stats.
So, as you guys know, end-of-year giving is incredibly important. You know, I know that over the past few years the huge phenomenon that is taking place is Giving Tuesday. I mean, you know, I heard all too many times people asking me, “Hey, you know, what is the proper way to execute a Giving Tuesday campaign?” And really, my most simple answer that I try to say to everyone is, “I don’t think it should just be about Giving Tuesday.”
Yeah, this is an incredible opportunity that nonprofit organizations now have a day where everybody is really try and say, “Hey, there’s a Black Friday. Now there’s a Giving Tuesday.” But for what I think is important is, this needs to be a full campaign. We should really utilize Giving Tuesday for what it really should be. It’s a kicking off point. And so, starting that Giving Tuesday and starting your campaign on Giving Tuesday can really propel you into having a successful end-of-year campaign.
So, as you can see, November and December are the most popular months for making year-end asks. It really stays in line with that Giving Tuesday ideology. But it’s still incredibly important to take that momentum into December as the year is coming to an end. Most nonprofit organizations start planning their campaigns in October, so I couldn’t be more thankful that we’re having the opportunity to speak now. My hope is by the end of this webinar that you guys are saying, “All right, team, we need to get together and we need to start thinking about what we’re doing for the end of the year.” So many different nonprofits are raising anywhere from 26% to 50% of their funds from end-of-year giving.
We had a client that we had worked with and everybody’s different, but they would do two campaigns a year and all it was just them sending out a letter. And between the two campaigns, they would raise anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000 and a huge bulk of that was coming from their end-of-year giving. So, this is something that is incredibly important. I think more often than not when you’re hearing a lot of the tips that we’re going to be giving to you today, you know, think about your donor base, think about how you’ve been communicating with them. Or is this, you know, primarily an event relationship, or is this an annual supporter relationship, or is this somebody that you’ve been communicating with through your different touch points throughout the year?
And then, you know, one of the things that I hear so often is, you know, volunteers, they give their time but they don’t give the donation. You know, I truly believe that volunteers are incredibly important aspects of an end-of-year giving campaign and you should really look to them as potential supporters for this. You know, volunteers are twice as likely to donate for these end-of-year campaigns and they should not be overlooked.
One of the biggest things that, you know, certainly the nonprofits that we’ve seen that it had success is having different touch points. And what you’ll see with us, we’ll talk about multiple different touch points but the hope for us is that you can really leave this webinar learning four to five different touch points. So many different touch points that we’re going to talk about today are going to be, you know, email, website, direct mail, social media, and in-person. So, those are really going to be five of the big ones that we’re really going to focus on today. And the hope is at the very least you can find three different touch points. But if you can find five that you can actually execute with your organization, that will be incredible.
And then, what we’ve seen and in so many people often ask us this question, is direct mail dead? You know, we’re still seeing for the end-of-year asks, direct mail is still the most successful way of securing those funds. But like we said before, we do believe that it should be something that you can use that as a complement to very strong email campaign, a website presence, and if you have the opportunity, really having a chance to speak in person.
So, campaign theme. So, just so you guys are getting prepared, there’s going to be a lot of gifts going on in this webinar. So, get ready, get excited because that’s what we’re all about. I am sure everyone in here remembers the ice bucket challenge, right? This was an incredibly done campaign theme. I mean, it went viral, right? And so, all too often, you know, marketers say, “Hey, let’s not focus on going viral.” You know, but in my head, I don’t think it’s going to be easy to go viral but I’m challenging everybody in here to come up with their concept that make them believe that they can go viral. Because I’m sure when they started this ice bucket challenge, they didn’t think it was going to go viral. So, I really want it to be something where you guys say, “Hey, let’s go for it.”
And so, one of the greatest things about this, with this campaign and why it was successful is, it was consistent with the mission. You know, they were saying the ice bucket and, you know, feeling cold was something that was very, very similar to ALS. You know, it was memorable, it was easy, you could get people excited about it, you can challenge others to get involved. It was easy to understand, “Hey, pour some ice water on your head and then give a donation.”
And you were also able to story tell. You were able to link back, “Oh, this really fun challenge,” but you were also able to talk about the incredible stories of people that had dealt with ALS. And so, like I said, this is something right here, when you’re having a campaign, let’s go for the viral concept. I’m saying, “Hey, marketers tell us not to do it, let’s go for it, let’s go for something viral.” But more importantly, the biggest thing that I can say to you guys and this is something that I’m going to talk about quite a bit today is, if you’re going to put together a campaign, be excited, take risks, be okay with saying, “This is something that we haven’t done before,” but the biggest thing that I’ll focus on is you have to go 100%, because the reason why this particular campaign worked was this wasn’t a half effort. They said, “Hey, we are going to decide that the ice bucket challenge is going to be the thing that propels us,” and they made sure that they did that on all of their platforms, and all their different touch points, and that is why it was so incredibly successful.
So, one great example of a campaign theme is from the Greater West Hollywood Food Consortium. So, they had this incredible campaign where it was simple but the biggest thing that they were trying to convey to others was, you know, oftentimes we are walking on the street and we see somebody from the, you know, someone in poverty or somebody from a homeless community. We often don’t take the time to think about what is their story. We often just kind of write them off and say, “Hey, that person is doing their thing.”
Well, this is an incredible campaign where they were showing the different faces, not only of people that are homeless but they were also showing pictures of people that aren’t homeless or people that were family members of the homeless. And what they wanted to do was first off, take a look at these people, just by looking at their face. You have no idea where they come from, you have no idea what their story is, and you don’t even know if they’re homeless.
So, this campaign was really big on first learning the stories behind the people, what got them to this place, also learning about the people that have been impacted by their stories. But this was also just a great opportunity to break down the barriers and have a more human-to-human understanding of these people. This is an incredibly successful campaign and I love it because it’s strong and you have these beautiful portraits of these people and you really are looking at somebody that you really can learn their story.
So, that actually leads me to storytelling, right? If you’re going to have an incredible campaign like I talked about in the campaign theme, you need to have stories. I am sure that all of you in here do incredible work. You have an incredible mission. You are serving an incredibly needing community. You have some incredible stories, and sometimes one of the things that we think about is, you know, people don’t want to hear our stories. No, we do. We want to get an idea, we want to personify your mission. We want to see, who are the faces of people that have actually been impacted?
This is an incredible opportunity when you’re having an end-of-year giving campaign, you had this incredible campaign theme. You now can say, “These are the stories that actually tell you why this campaign is important.” You give people the opportunity to have empathy. You inspire these donor stats.
Once again, what I love about end-of-year giving that is different than any other time of the year, people want to give. People has been shopping for their kids. They have been shopping for themselves. They’ve bought jewelry. They’ve waited in line at Walmart to get flat screen TV. They have really focused on themselves. It’s a giving season, and it’s finally the opportunity that they are looking for an organization to give to. And there are so many different nonprofit organizations out there that are doing the same exact pitch that you are.
You have an opportunity to dare to be different, you have an opportunity to share your story, and you have an opportunity to move people. This is one of those great opportunities for you to do that and this is your chance to really look at the people, the people that you’re impacting on a daily basis and put them in the spotlight and share their story.
And I’m sure a lot of you are incredibly familiar with Charity Water. We love Charity Water. Charity Water, one thing that they do better than anybody else is they share stories, right? They do it well. They are able to have it where you can track the journey of your donation. You can see how the donation that you’ve made have impacted a region. They do it well. But they do it in a very, very skilled manner.
But what I think is the thing that that is not as easy, is being able to move somebody with an image, with a short story where you can still inspire somebody to act without being incredibly verbose. This is a great example of it. This is a great email opportunity where you’re getting a chance to see, okay, this family, I don’t know who they are but they didn’t have clean water. You have a child that had to consistently walk to get their clean water. They weren’t able to go to school. Now, that there was a donation of the water, they’re able to spend more time in school and they have clean water.
This is short, this is concise, this is on theme, but more importantly, this is something that I was able to spend 30 seconds but I felt moved by it. I was inspired to act. And look at that, there’s that Donate Now button. They’re taking advantage of my peers and my warm heart, and I’m giving a donation, right?
There’s other ways to tell your story. And so, one story that I really liked and one organization that did it quite well is Pencils for Promise, right? They did this through their website where they weren’t even . . . they didn’t even need to tell a story. They’re telling us a story through images. There’s no words that are being utilized right here, except for this, “Can you imagine writing here?”
I don’t know about you guys in here? You know, I was fortunate. I went to a school that had, you know, doors, you know, and when it was hot outside we even had air conditioning. So, when I’m looking at this, I’m getting anxiety, I’m getting ice sweating, and I’m like, “I do not want to go to school in there,” right? But this is a great opportunity to see, “Oh my gosh, I couldn’t imagine learning in there. I need to know more.”
Okay, well, without giving me too much, you’re like, well, we got to tell you if you have . . . if you don’t have a quality education, you know, these are the things that could happen. Bad weather, let’s be real here. That hut was not going to be stopping a rain storm, right? Poor infrastructure. I talked about it. I love having a door. I didn’t want to hear those people in the hallways talking, but walking along distance, just like we saw with the Charity Water. That is something that’s going to make you not want to go to school. So, these are some of the barriers that can be caused by this and I got all of that by just looking at an image, right?
But this is incredible. Now can you imagine learning here? Once again, you’ve shown the cause and effect of the donation, right? And how this could actually change somebody’s life, change of community’s life. That’s storytelling right there. You can story tell in so many different ways, and like I said, the people want to see what are you doing, people want to see impact. And if you can actually show that and convey that whether it’s through images, whether it’s through video, whether it’s through story, that’s going to inspire people to act.
So, now that you know you need to have a campaign theme, and now that you know that you really need to have some good storytelling, what do we do? We have to compile that content people, right? You guys have content up the wazoo. You have testimonials, you have video, you have images — these are those moments and if you don’t feel like you guys have the content, I’m challenging everybody on this webinar today and say, “Hey, let’s have a meeting and let’s talk about what is the content that we have? What do you think that people want to see? What are the things that could they are mission? What is the things that corporate donors, individual donors wants to see?” Right?
And so, oftentimes people will say to me, “Well, we have images or we have all these different videos but there, you know, they’re too long, or they’re too old, or they’re too outdated.” You know, all too often when we’re not expecting it, you know, we’ve all probably received an email one time from a guy that said, “Hey, can’t give you a donation, but I would love to take photos for your next event, or I would love to take photos for this, that and the other.” Or somebody that says, “Hey, maybe I can’t give you the donation but I would love to be able to, you know, video something that you’re doing.”
These are an opportunity to utilize those in-kind services that people have already offered to you. And utilize it. Get that content people. You have these incredible stories of people, all you need is somebody to actually capture it. And testimonials as well, let’s keep those testimony in short, let’s keep them concise, but we want people that can actually say, “What an impact we’ve made in their lives?” Do you have somebody that’s great at copywriting or a volunteer that has said, “Hey, I want to help. I’m a good writer”?
They can cut down the testimonial for you and that’s something that could truly drive a campaign. But for the most part, I feel like a lot of you already have that content. You just need to get an idea to create a campaign theme and a story that you could really put it all together. I know you guys can do it. So, I’m challenging everyone in here to do it.
So, once again, Charity Water, they do so well at sharing stories. This is an awesome video that Charity Water does where they’re just taking a little time, just on the theme, like a high quality video. They probably used an iPhone, but they’re talking about the journey of the water, right? The journey of the water that we donated through individual donors and they’re actually saying, “Hey, you gave us X amount of dollars. Now you’re going to track the journey and you are going to see the impact that you are making in the Cambodian community.” Right? That’s not a difficult thing you do, just take the time. And it takes having, you know, a story to share.
And they do it incredibly well and it makes it so that even if you said, “Hey, I only gave a $25 donation, but I want to continue to get these videos.” I’m going to continue giving to you, so I can just . . . I want to stay in the loop. I don’t want to miss out. I want to know how is my $25 going to help somebody else in India, right? I want to know what kind of impact I’m actually making. This is a perfect opportunity to utilize that content and really take the donor on that journey and take that journey to your impact. And so, they can track the impact and actually feel like they’re closing the loop and they have a full understanding of what they’re actually getting.
So, you got to have a call-to-action, right? We’ve been talking about all of these different pieces to put together a great campaign. But if you’re not saying, “Donate here,” and if you don’t make it easy to donate, you don’t have a great campaign, right? And so I will back it up because some people like the opportunity to say, “Hey, I’m not looking for dollars, I just want you to share our close.” Okay, that’s a call-to-action. I might not agree with that call-to-action but some organizations really want to do that.
Keep it simple. Make it very easy for somebody to look at what you are . . . the story that you’re giving, show the theme, show what you’re doing, and on all the different touch points make it incredibly easy for somebody to act, right? And so, that they can do it now because like I said before, you know that it’s that giving season. And even more, we know in the final three days of the year, that’s the biggest time of giving. People want to get that tax credit, right?
So, if you are capitalizing on that and you say, “Hey, donate today.” “Oh, its tax season is coming up, by the end of the year is coming up.” Donate today, right? That’s an awesome opportunity to capitalize. But make it easy because if you don’t make it easy, you’re going to lose their attention span within 30 seconds to a minute, right? And while you’re at it, if you put “donate now,” you should just have an option if you can, you know, say, “How about applying a recurring donation? Would you like to donate on a monthly basis? Would you like to donate on an annual basis?” You know what? You will be surprised if you just give somebody that option, you will be surprised on how many people will actually take it. So, make it clear. Make it easy. And let the people make the decision.
So, this is a sample call-to-action right here. You have a couple of different ways that you can get involved with them. You put on there, “Hey, you can become a fundraiser,” so if this is a peer-to-peer campaign and you want somebody to fundraise on your behalf, you have that option right there. But you also have, “Okay, you don’t want to be involved with the peer-to-peer campaign. You can also just donate now.”
These are two great options they have identified their call-to-action, they’re front and center, and you’re hearing about the campaign below, you’re looking on the awesome image, you even have different ideas on what these different fundraising levels actually equal, and what kind of impact that they can make. It’s all in front of you and it’s a one page. Make it easy, so that they don’t have to figure through. They have a big blue button. All they got to do is click on it and if they’re going to have the opportunity to put their credit card information.
So, this is another opportunity where you have a little bit of options here. So, in this particular situation, the people gave about three different options in one small area. They have already said, “Hey, you know what? Do you want to join us?” You can click on that. That’s still going to take you to the donation screen page. But now, you have the opportunity to say, “Hey, give us a donation and we’ve made it even easier for you because we’ve given you suggested donation types. And we’ve made it so it’s a monthly gift.” “Okay, if you don’t want to give a monthly gift, we still have an area at the bottom where it’s like, give a one-time gift.”
Like I said, most of the people on here, they’re going to be like, you know what? I’m in a giving spirit. Why not? I’m just saying, I’m giving $100 a month. That’s an awesome opportunity for an organization, and something that could have easily just been a hundred dollar donation, just became a $1,200 donation. So, give the donor the option. Empower them to make the decision because if you do a great job of being compelling, sharing the stories with them, and making them feel warm and excited to give back, you will be surprised.
So guys, you have the options, you have the call-to-action, you have the theme, you have everything. Let’s be skilled with our messaging here. And it’s a really great opportunity to really create an urgency. As you can see from my man Captain Obvious, the time is now, right? So, you need to have those clear call-to-action. You need to have an impact ratio. If somebody’s giving you X amount of dollars, we need to tell the donor, X amount of impact that’s actually going to come from it.
And having urgency, can just mean an expiring deal. “Hey, we have a donor match that has coming through by, but we can only get it by, you know, in the next 48 hours.” Send that email and blast it out. Put it on social media. You’ll be surprised, people love having a deadline, right? I love having a deadline. If I don’t have a deadline, I’m just going to live my life without a deadline, right? So, give the donor the deadline, put the ball in their court to make their act now.
So, this is an example of just having a nice, you know, expiring opportunity. “Hey, we have a donor match. It ends at midnight. They even have a running clock, so you can see.” “Oh my gosh, I got to get this going because I want this organization that I care about so deeply to get these dollars.” You have it right there and it is just a constant clicking clock.
You also have that same one, Oxfam, and the International Rescue Committee are doing it so well. But they also keep in mind that they’re like, “Hey, we know this is a tax-deductible gift. We know that the end of the year is coming. Please make the donation now or you’re not going to get the tax credit.” That’s just taking messaging and knowing what the donor wants to hear. And saying, “Hey, let’s address it, let’s make sure that you know that if you give this donation on January 5th, you are not going to get that tax credit for this particular year.” It’s easy, it gives an extra layer, but it’s something that really does make a difference for an end-of-year giving campaign. And unlike a lot of different and other campaigns, you actually have a very expiring date that they have to actually adhere to.
And then impact ratio. What’s great is for some people, they don’t like the idea of just blindly giving a donation, right? Somebody said, “Hey, I’m going to give $100.” They end up asking you in two months, “What are my hundred dollars do?” Right? What’s awesome about this, if you could just say, “Hey, the bed frame $65, if you buy 10 of these and you give us a $650 donation, there is 10 students that just got a bed.” Right? There are 10 people. It makes it much easier to story tell and people can wrap their heads around it.
I mean, I remember speaking with the board member for one of the nonprofits that I used to work on. And it was funny because we have a leadership conference and, you know, he had given, you know, a $5,000 donation. But when I talked to him I was like, “You know, hey, you gave a $5,000 donation last year. I really appreciated that, that was incredible what you did.” He look at me and he’s like, “No, no, no. Yeah, I sent ten kids to the leadership conference.” Hey, however there’s one can make sense of it is great. But that is the best way. If you can make it very clear and they can actually feel, touch and know what they actually impacted, you’ll be surprised. A lot of donors really love that.
So, without further ado, I am going to welcome on my colleague, Brittany. And she’s going to . . .
Brittany: Hello . . .
Chris: . . . dazzle you with some marketing tips.
Brittany: All right. So, now we’re going to get a little more into the nuts and bolts of putting together these campaigns. So, scheduling and things like that. And so, obviously if you’re doing an email heavy campaign, one of the first things you’re going to want to do is create a calendar for yourself. So, make sure that you’re scheduling out all of your emails in advance, so you and your team know what’s coming and exactly what’s next as things are going out.
Create a calendar to keep everybody on track. But also you want to be able to get a nice bird’s-eye view of all the emails going out. Make sure they flow together and that they’re creating that narrative that Chris just talked about it. It’s all about that messaging.
Also, create the copy in advance. Again, we want to make sure that they make sense in the order that they’re in. The information is building upon each other. So, we’re telling a story through a campaign. So, we never want to just wing it and send things out, you know, willy-nilly.
Design the email, so that they have the same look and feel. This will help keep the campaign nice and cohesive. It’ll keep that in people’s minds, so when they see the images, they see the hashtags that they’re using, they’re immediately going to know this is your organization and this is the particular campaign that you’re working on. And this is why they want me to donate.
We want to keep those emails nice and short to the point. So, nobody likes to go into their inbox and open, you know, something that seems exciting and then end up looking at this really long-winded email with a ton of paragraphs that they have to read through. Nobody likes that. So, make sure you’re keeping it nice and concise.
If you have a longer story or a longer testimonial that you do want to share and you feel like it’s important, what you could always do is just give a little snippet of it. Maybe just includes the introductory paragraph and then have a button, you know, “click here to read more.” So, people can always look to your website and find information if they want to find it. And that’s just another great way to link back to your website. You want all traffic going back to your website as much as you can.
Having that clear call-to-action, again, keeping it really simple for people. People want to know exactly why they’re donating and what the outcome is going to be. I’m assuming that the goal for most of you is going to be to get donations, so have that big large Donate Now button on there always. And then we just wanted to mention a couple of things, a couple of these email tools that we like to use, MailChimp and Constant Contact. And another thing with those is, it allows you to track your opens, your clicks, your unsubscribes, so throughout the campaign and especially if this is your first time doing a campaign, it’s going to be a great, you know, learning lesson for you so that you can look for different patterns, adjust as you go along, and learn these things for future campaigns. So, which types of subject lines work for you? What types of content are people opening? What are the best days and times to send your email? So, those are some things to look out for.
So, we go to the next slide. We actually have a sample email, and this is from the World Wildlife Fund, so, you can see they’ve got this great, large, impactful image with just the word “Save” on there. Nice, big, and bold so we know exactly what this campaign is about. We know exactly what, you know, we’re working towards. “Save these turtles,” so the message is very clear.
So, they have their big blue “Acts now” button, nice and bold. So, I know exactly where to find more information and take action. There’s also an opportunity to learn more in there, so I know it’s small but you can kind of see that, that blue highlighted line there. You know, if you want to read more of that story that they’re talking about, you can click but, you know, for the time being in this particular email they’re going to keep it nice and simple for you. And then, just kind of a bonus there, there is a PS in this email and for some reason I feel like people, people like to read a PS. People’s eyes go to a PS always, so play around with that. That might be something fun to have.
In terms of graphic design, so you’re going to want to create again that that really consistent message. So, using banners on your email, something that you have at the top of each of those that you’re sending out. You want that to have the right look and feel to draw people into your campaign like Chris talked about. So, you’re going to want to have the same banners on your social media and on your website, keep everything really consistent. Everybody knows that this is your campaign.
Canva actually something we wanted to mention, so many of you may already use this, but we just wanted to bring that up. It’s a nice free and low-cost tool for nonprofits if you don’t have a graphic designer that’s on your team. This is something that you can use. It’s very user friendly. It’s online, so you can just look that up. And these are actually examples on this page here. This “Give All Year” and “We Are Familia,” those are two banners that we created in Canva for a couple of our clients. And they look nice. They’re very visually appealing, super easy to create. We are not graphic designers but it’s a really easy tool.
And so, going on to social media. So, social media really, you may or may not get an influx of donations through social media, but it’s just a really good thing to be able to monitor. It’s another touch point with your crowd. So, you can make these targeted. Chances are, if you want to do that you’ll need to put money in to boost posts. You might be an idea that’s worth playing around with a couple times to see if it helps really boost a Facebook post or two, see if you get a little influx of traffic. It’s always worth a shot.
The only thing that we want to make sure that we touch on here in terms of social media is that with the new privacy laws and everything that’s going on especially with Facebook right now. If people are donating directly through Facebook, you’re really not going to be able to get good donor data out of there. So, which is important for your future campaigns, you want to have those people getting your future emails, your updates, maybe add them to your newsletter list, whatever you want to do. So, always make sure whenever you’re posting on social media that you’re linking, you’re driving people back to your actual site. So, we want to avoid people just donating through Facebook. Send them back to your site.
Creating a social calendar, so that’s something just along with your email calendar, you should be creating a social calendar. So, you know ahead of time what you’re posting, you can have them ready to go, you can schedule them as possible, so you don’t even have to press click. But it ensures that there’s a strategy and the message is on theme with the campaign and it makes sense. And it should really go along and support that email calendar.
Very direct calls-to-action, big images, so Facebook especially really likes videos and images, so, if you have those, those are great things to post. And typically, the less text that you have in the captions the better. So, like in this example here, you can really see these girls are having a great time, makes me want to give all year. I want to give to her future today. So, they’re keeping that text nice and short. They’re sending you right to their site.
So, on the next slide we have a sample social calendar and this is something that we created for one of our clients and it’s pretty robust, so in this instance they’re deciding that they’re going to post on social media every single day and they want to have a theme for each day of the week. So, you don’t necessarily need to post every single day. Some organizations like to do that, some don’t, kind of depends on how often your audience wants to hear from you. But obviously, you know, one thing is you can only post as often as the content you have. So, like Chris talked about you want to be creating, gathering all that content ahead of time and, you know, something like this, this schedule requires tons of content. So, you want to gather that with plenty of time.
And then moving on to direct mail. So, direct mail like Chris said is a lot of people still use this. It’s still very, very successful especially with older donors. So, it’s definitely worth trying if you don’t already, if you feel like you have a good dedicated base for that. It allows you to target key donors. So, maybe large donors or people that you feel like have the potential to be large donors are really good prospects for a mailing like this. Something that you can do is have your board members help you put together a list. That you might already have a list you want to send to but go to your board members and say, “Hey, can you send me names of friends, family, colleagues, potential donors that we can mail to, you know, 10 to 12 names so that we can make these really, really targeted and personalized?”
And you can even have your board members help you personalize those. So, if they’re giving you their list of contacts, why not make it clear, “Hey, your friend so-and-so is a board member at this organization and they’re asking you to donate.” So, something that we do with our clients that has worked really, really well is you can either . . . one option is either having the board member actually be the signer of the letter that you send out since the letter is coming directly from them.
But something that’s even worked better from that is having, you know, your letter in the format that you typically have it coming from maybe your executive director or whoever it may be at your organization. And actually giving the board members the opportunity to add a little note in there along with it and slip it into that envelope. So, we at times have had, you know, these big lists printed of letters going now to all, the people and we’ll actually have the board members either handwrite something right on the letter or slip in a little note piece of paper, note card, whatever they want to do just to say, “Hey, you know, this is coming from me, and I want you to pay attention to this, and I would appreciate your support.” So, that definitely those really personal touch points to go a long way.
And it’s just a great way to be able to check back in with people, maybe they’ve heard from you via email a couple times, they’ve seen your social media, and maybe this is just the final thing. Okay, now, I’m looking at a physical letter and, you know, if you’re looking at so many different things, sometimes you forget a couple times at what you’ve looked at. But it just could be that final reminder. ‘Okay, now, I actually am holding this letter. This is the thing that’s going to make me want to donate.” So, you just want to make sure that you’re having lots of different touch points with your donors throughout your campaign.
And then, in terms of website. So, this is just kind of a reminder slide. Your campaign should always be on your website if possible. So, if you do have a nice banner created, you’ve got images, you’ve got those hashtags, make sure that you’re there on your organization’s homepage. So, all roads should be leading back to that donation page at all times. During this time of year, we really want to make sure that we’re focused on that campaign as much as possible. So, make sure that that is on the main page of your site. And then again, it’s consistent with your email and with your social media. In this example we can see the Season for Service banner, so, they’ve got that big, bold, donate now. And I just want to click and learn more about his story immediately.
So, holiday fundraisers. And this is kind of just a bonus thing but something that we like to do with a lot of our clients is put together really easy kind of low effort. Cocktail parties, happy hours things like that, to really rally people around the campaign. So, they’re not just consistently hearing you beg for donations but they’re also given an opportunity to come and learn a little more, support you, and have some fun.
So something we like to do with our clients is cocktail parties. Usually they’re hosted by a board member, or maybe even just a dedicated volunteer, or a large donor sometimes in their home or maybe at a bar restaurant that they go to frequently. Have them provide just some appetizers, maybe some drinks, maybe a member of your staff or an ambassador can speak briefly, give a quick presentation, and then just make an ask for donations at the end. So, they’re enjoying themselves, there’s that light ask, but it’s just getting your community kind of invigorated a little bit and excited around your campaign.
Maybe even ask the host if they want to kick it off with their own donations. So, they could say, “Hey, I’ve donated $500, I’d like everybody here to donate as well and support this campaign. But make sure you have an attainable goal for each one of those events.
A happy hour is a great way to engage young professional donors, so maybe they’re not going to be those major donors quite yet but they could be in the future, so let’s engage them now and ask them to do that lower level donation opportunity. Hey, just show up at a happy hour and, you know, maybe the bar is able to give you a percentage of their sales for that night. So, that’s just more money in your pocket. If you’ve got some things laying around in the office, I know a lot of us do auctions and things like that, we have items that don’t sell, maybe you could do a raffle at a happy hour. And maybe those people would want to buy a raffle ticket.
And then throughout the campaign, we always want to make sure that we’re broadcasting our goals, we’re broadcasting what our progress is up until this point. You want to keep people excited and engaged. Obviously nothing is possible without your donors so make them feel special, make them feel appreciated every step of the way. So, give updates on your progress through social media and your email, people just love working together to reach a goal. So, we want to keep them inspired.
Make sure you’re sending thank you letters, very important. Some people forget to do this still which is unbelievable that they do. Email thank you letters. If you receive the donation in the mail, send the letter in the mail. Handwritten thank yous are something that almost nobody does anymore but they’re just so special. You could even, this is a great opportunity to engage some of those volunteers and some program participants to help you write thank you letters to people who have made donation. It’s really going to set you apart.
And then always make sure that you’re publicly recognizing and the large individual donors and the corporations who have made your campaign successful. Give them updates throughout the year. So, make sure that, you know, they know for example that number of schools that they helped build, those bed frames, and things like that. People like to know where their money is going.
And then, of course, you always want to celebrate our success. So, it’s been a long campaign, we’ve put all these plans together, we strategized for months, wrote all those emails, licked all those envelopes, and so we want to celebrate with people. So, don’t forget to celebrate your success. Post on social, follow up via email, and definitely don’t let this be the last time that your supporters hear from you.
Send the follow-up, you know, months after the campaign. Add them to your newsletter list. Whatever you can do to keep them engaged and keeping them informed without bombarding them. And then the chances are that they’re going to want to donate to you again next year. They’re going to remember, “Oh, yeah, that campaign was really fun to be a part of, I know exactly where my money went, I felt good about it, and so I’m definitely going to donate to them again this year.”
And I think that’s it. So . . .
Chris: And before we get the . . . yeah, before we get to questions, real quick, one thing that I just want to say again, be creative people, dare to the different, but most importantly, if you are going to put together a campaign, give it a 100%. Because like I said, you will be surprised, your donors are going to love it and it needs to be something. But you don’t wanted to say, “Oh, I guess we’ll do an email here. I guess we’ll do a letter here.” Go a 100%. If you’ve come up with a banging concept and you’ve had an awesome time planning with your team, go all out. You’ll be surprised and let’s try to really get those goals and let’s knock it out of the park. Let’s do something that we’ll talk about for years to come. Questions?
Steven:All right. Cool. Yeah, I think we got time for questions. We probably got about, let say maybe 7 or 8 minutes for questions. So, if you have not sent a question in, now is the time but luckily, we got a lot, so we can get started on. So, Brittany and Chris, I’ll just kind of roll through these. Here’s a good one from Rhonda, and this is something that we deal with or we hear about at least at Bloomerang quite a bit. Looks like Rhonda’s in a community where there is a day of giving in addition to Giving Tuesday. So, it looks like there are only a couple weeks apart, wants to participate in both of them. Any advice for her so that maybe they’re not, you know, cannibalizing one day over the other or maybe not, you know, bombarding people with the same kinds of messages or very similar campaign. You know, very close together, if that makes sense. So, how do you kind of balance, you know, two online days are giving within two weeks of each other within the holiday season?
Chris: Okay. Yeah. So, I mean, I think sometimes if you’re having two different campaigns, you know, taking place, I think it does help you try to see how can you link them together as much as possible, right? Because I think the last thing you want to do is get that donor fatigue. And it goes back to, you know, just as I had said with the Giving Tuesday, or you have an event, or something like that. It’s hard to do that if you’re doing it after the fact. But if you know that this is just part of a greater calendar that you’re going to have, I think it’s important to say, “This is almost an event that’s kicking off a campaign or this is the campaign that it’s kicking off the end of your season.” Because I . . . then it makes sense and people are actually getting used to knowing, okay, this is just a beginning of more to come.
But if you make it and you say these are two separate campaigns, that’s going to be difficult and at a certain point people are going to start, you know, really canceling you out. So, that would be my advice. Brittany, do you have any thoughts on that?
Brittany: Yeah, I was just going to say, we deal with this with some of our clients because a lot of them want to do a big campaign and a big push throughout the month of December. But then they also want to have some kind of presence on Giving Tuesday, right? So, we always say, you want to be out there on Giving Tuesday, you want to have your hat in the ring, so to speak, but maybe use Giving Tuesday as the kickoff for your December campaign. So, just kind of like Chris said linking those two together, find a way to make it so that it’s still cohesive and people aren’t confused as to where they’re donating.
Steven: Cool. That makes sense. Here’s one from Karen, and I’m sure you’ve heard this question before we get a lot of it myself. Karen works with an organization where it’s not appropriate to use the actual photos of service recipients. So, they work with prisoners but, you know, organizations that work with kids or maybe, you know, people who have been abused, you know, you don’t want to be, you know, too exploitive there. Any suggestions on how to still be visual? Should you go to stock photos? Should you do something else visually? Any ideas for Karen and other organizations like that?
Chris: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I always say, yes, you can, you know, stock photos to me are the bottom of opportunities. But I think it really is trying to be creative once again of who are the people that you can share. Can you share the people that are actually be impacted? Can you share their family members? Can you share the colleagues or somebody like that that has actually been impacted by the mission as well? You don’t necessarily have to be focusing exactly on that participant especially if you can’t share them.
But, you know, I think what could be so compelling is, you know, hey, you’re maybe talking to a person, say you’re talking to a service agency or something like that that deals with different, you know, children from different homes. Having an opportunity to speak to somebody that’s actually implementing the mission, can be just as powerful as, you know, speaking about the actual child that’s been impacted.
So, I think once again, it is challenging yourselves to be as creative as you possibly can. If that’s not possible, you know, it is one of those things that they can really just be strong by just seeing the narrative and reading the stories as well. And maybe having to put a stock photo, but I really do think it comes down to the story. If the story is powerful, sometimes if you can’t get that image, you’re going to have to work around that by having somebody that actually fulfills that image. Brittany, thoughts?
Brittany: Yeah, I agree. I think, you know, like Chris said, that was my first thought. Maybe getting a great quote that you can really blow up and make that the focus instead of the actual person. Or if you’re, you know, if you like for example, I think somebody mentioned, you know, people who are undergoing abuse or something like that. Maybe even having, you know, a photo a really powerful image of you can see a person but their face is blocked out. Maybe you want to highlight the fact that you can’t share your program participants for whatever reason. Maybe that’s compelling. So, I think just being creative.
Steven: Yeah, we had . . . while you were answering that. Brittany, you made me think of a Bloomerang client that deals with refugee resettlement. And they always stray away from, you know, showing photos of people. And what they do is, well, I remember one post specifically made me think of it. They shared a piece of artwork that one of the refugees had made. And it has performed really well on social media, probably better than maybe just a photo of that person who needed help. So, I love the quote idea, so, it seems like you could use something like Canva or maybe make that quote really pop visually too. Great. Love this advice.
Here’s one from my buddy, Jori, hey, Jori, the person in the line. I think he responded to this, Chris, when you were mentioning or think it was Brittany, you mentioned keeping email short. Any sort of logic behind that? I haven’t ever seen anyone suggest anything other than short emails. But it’s interesting that in kind of like the direct mail letter world, longer letters tend to perform better than shorter ones. I’m wondering if you have any theories or ideas of why the opposite is true for emails. It seems like maybe the idea or purpose of an email is to get someone to click through to a webpage where maybe there could be longer form content but have you seen any success with a longer form email?
Brittany: Yeah. I think when you’re thinking about this just definitely, you know, consider your own preferences when you’re looking through your own inbox. I know, I personally sometimes get overwhelmed by long emails. For whatever reason, there is something different about holding a physical letter. I think, you know, we’re so, you know, the internet and technology now, so many emails every day, we’re constantly cycling through. So, people for whatever reason just don’t seem to be willing to spend as much time looking at a screen. But they’re holding something physical. It’s okay if it’s a little longer. So, just kind of think about what are your own behaviors when you’re going through your inbox? And what would you like to see coming to your inbox?
Chris: And one piece that I would add to what’s Brittany saying is, you know, for a lot of our clients we have videos and a newsletter, or things that are much longer emails. And what we’ve noticed is if you have an email that’s too long, you suddenly get to that point where the email essentially gets cut out, right? You have to click the [dot dot gap 00:56:28]. We see that all the time and everyone that is actually contributing an article to that gets angry because they’re like, nobody will looks at it, right?
It’s one of those pieces that, at a certain point, we do it with our own newsletters on an opt-in basis is we always try to give just a quick blurb and say, “Hey, you can read more if you would like.” But more often than not, people just want to look at that quick blurb but they don’t even click the read more button. So, this is more just going based off of . . . as they said, what is your personal preference? What . . . you know, a lot of people when they’re looking at their email, they’re on the move, or they’re, you know, they’re doing, they’re getting a quick escape from what else ever else they’re doing.
But it has been one of those pieces where it’s just short and sweet, trying to be as compelling as possible is a great an advice as we can give because, you know, just because the mission is so incredibly powerful and important to you, and you want to talk about every detail. Sometimes it is important of getting to the point and I do think with the letter, you can sometimes say to yourself, “Okay, I have this letter, I’ll get to a certain point when I can actually sit down and really just read this.” And so, I think it’s just a little different with that.
Steven: Cool. Well, we’re about out of time, we only had about two minutes for the two o’clock hour. Maybe a fun way to end would be, what you folks do today? It’s October 25th, halfway through the day. What’s one thing just people do today to kind of get things started on a good footing here?
Chris: It’s exactly what I said. I think it is something where you should be sitting down with your team today. And say, “Hey, let’s look at the calendar here. We are a month and two days out from Giving Tuesday. What are we going to do? What are we going to do? Do you want to just do Giving Tuesday? Do we not feel that we have in that content to drive a campaign?” And for those that say that they don’t have that, I challenge you to say we can get more content, let’s compile it, and sit down, and say, “What is our strength? What are the things that we can do? How can we have these different touch points? How can we address people on every single platform and really make this compelling?”
And I would say, “You take to the next week, see what you can create, and if you feel like you can actually put together a real campaign, I say you go for it. You go a 100% and you get your team involved. One of those things that you might be surprised about is, you know, hey, you’ve been looking for that opportunity to engage with one of your colleagues, millennial Matt. Next thing you know millennial Matt might have the most banging idea you’ve ever thought of and he might be the one driving this campaign. I think it’s a great opportunity to ask your team what they think and really coming up with an idea together because they all get on the same page. They will be sharing this on their personal networks as well.
Steven: I love it. Man, you two were awesome. Thanks for being here. Thanks for taking an hour out of your day to share all these tips. This was really fun.
Brittany: Yes. Thank you everybody for joining. It was fun.
Chris: Look forward to staying in touch, guys.
Steven: Yes. And speaking of, get in touch with them. I know we didn’t get to all the questions. I’m so sorry about that. I know we try to get to all of them but email Chris, email Brittany. Obviously a wealth of knowledge, I’m sure they’d be happy to talk to you. Send them a tweet.
Chris: We love Twitter.
Brittany: Absolutely.
Steven: Yeah. So, cool. Well, we’ve got a lot of resources on our website as always. So, we always invite you to check those out as well. We’re going to be sending out the recording and the slides later on today. I’ll get that to you, I promise. If you get to dinnertime and you haven’t gotten it, send me an email. I might have missed you. I’ll try not to miss you though.
Next week, we have no webinar actually. So, I kind of . . . I was kind of wrong about doing it every week but two weeks from now, we have two webinars. So we’re going to make up for it. So, we got Terry Axelrod to talk about year-end fundraising events. It’s not too late. If you have some events in November and December, you may pick up some last-minute tips from her. I know you will. She’s got a lot of really cool tips for you, maybe some ways that you can tweak an existing event.
And then Larry Johnson, our buddy from the beautiful state of Idaho. He’s an avid motorcyclist. So, he’s got a fun, little session for us about making more impact for your nonprofit in the New Year. So, check those out, both are free, Tuesday, Thursday sessions and we’ll have more sessions into November and December as always. So, hopefully we’ll see you on one of other sessions. If not, we’ll see you on a . . . sometime afterwards. So, look for an email for me. We’ll get you the recording and the slide and hopefully your year-end goes really well. So, we’ll call it a day there. Have a great rest of your Thursday. Have a safe and warm weekend. And we’ll talk to you again soon.
Chris: All right. See you.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. She also serves as the Director of Communications for PRSA’s Hoosier chapter.
Kristen Hay
By |2018-10-30T10:50:04-04:00October 31st, 2018|Webinars|

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