Practical Advice for Modern Fundraisers

While preparing to teach an intro class at NYU on social media by non-profits.  I realized the myriad of ways pundits recommend using social media.  So I decided to peel back all the layers of “Best Practices” and focus on the simple mechanical acts that are required to have a social media presence. 

Let us start by looking at suggestion number four from my last post.

SUGGESTION 4. Do not start something you cannot finish. Be realistic about which social media platforms you can keep updated. You should post a new Facebook page post at least once a week!  Timely posting is integral to a successful social media presence. (Read the full post here)

That is why I recommend that every organization have a FACEBOOK PAGE - one that they control.  Remember an individual does not have to work for or even be associated with your organization to create a FACEBOOK PAGE in your organization’s name. So if you don’t already have a page, search FACEBOOK to see if someone has already created one in your organization’s name. If they have, your best bet is to contact them and ask –beg- them to deactivate it.  They can do this on the settings tab on the front of the page. Then create a new page that you control.

FACEBOOK PERSONAL PROFILE, FACEBOOK GROUP, and FACEBOOK PAGE

•    FACEBOOK PERSONAL PROFILE

A resource page filled with your personal information, pictures of kittens, and invitations to play odd games.

 

creatingAfacebookpersonalpage2

 

 

  • FACEBOOK GROUP

An assortment of “Friends” who have something in common like schools, pottery making, and kitten videos. These are all connected to your organization through a Personal Page.

  

group3

 

 

  • FACEBOOK PAGE

These pages promote an organization, a person or an interest.  As previously noted, only a person with a FACEBOOK PERSONAL PROFILE can create a FACEBOOK PAGE.

  

facebookPage

 

Your FACEBOOK PAGE:

•    Choose carefully the person who sets up the page. They will be tied forever to the page so not the summer intern, the temporary receptionist or anyone who you are considering letting go.

•    Choose a senior staff person as the main administrator and then add the people who will do the work as additional administrators.

•    Remember each administrator’s friends will be the first ones to see your page and the administrator will be encouraged to send LIKE request to their FRIENDS. Facebook is a bit sneaky about getting you to do this so read everything carefully before agreeing to anything.

•    Consider having your CEO or Founder create an “official” personal profile that they (you) only use for the organization.

•    DO NOT try to make a FACEBOOK PERSONAL PROFILE do the job of a FACEBOOK PAGE!

                         THE CITY ARTS CENTER is not a person and Facebook will close down your page.

The goal is to generate content for your FACEBOOK PAGE that drives traffic back to your site.  If you write about it on FACEBOOK it should be on your website! Suggestion # 3 from my last post covers how to do this.

Here is an example of a FACEBOOK PAGE post I might use to promote my blog.

 While preparing to teach an intro class at NYU on social media by non-profits.  I realized the myriad of ways pundits (myself included) recommend using social media.  So I decided to peel back all the layers of “Best Practices” and focus on the simple mechanical acts that are required to have a social media presence. To read the full post click here.

See how I used the text of the blog post as a FACEBOOK PAGE post but mainly as a tease for the full blog entry.

What it all boils down to is what I said in the beginning only start what you can keep up and the best way to do that is to cross purpose as much of your text as possible. Like I did above. FACEBOOK is not your end game – your main website is.  So focus on driving traffic where you really want it. 

This video walk you through how to set-up a FACEBOOK PROFILE PAGE.

Next time we will be looking at setting up Twitter.

 

5 Tips for a Thoughtful and Successful Social Media Presence

I struggled to write this post because there are so many different ways to treat Social Media in the non-profit world and most are not very thoughtful.  As I discussed in the social media section of The Thoughtful Approach's website, non-profits have latched on to the idea that they must have a presence on social media. But many do so without thoughtfully planning out what it will take to create a social media presence.  A presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, et. al., that  is worth the effort.

Development and Marketing offices go to great lengths to increase their LIKES and Followers but to what end?  Now don’t get me wrong. I want this blog to be LIKED, and I want Followers.  I have asked my readers to do both of those things.  I seed Facebook and Twitter every time I publish a new post.  That is a far cry from hoping to get  your social media contacts will make a donation. 

How do you get the people who visit your FACEBOOK PAGE to visit the donor page on your website? Or do you use a program that allows people to give directly from FACEBOOK? Do you tweet out a link to your donor page or use a tweet for dollars program?  Both are options but then you have three online financial streams to reconcile each month. You do reconcile every month – right?

Since it is safe to a say that social media sites are here to stay. The question is how do you set them up and use them to your organization's advantage, not Mark Zuckerberg’s. He is, after all, the only one who makes money off of all those LIKES.

First and foremost, think of your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin sites as auxiliary to your main website.  Don’t make the mistake of allowing any of these programs to become your default online presence. I have seen this happen, and it can cause messaging problems for the organization.  Here are my FIVE top suggestions for managing your social media presence.

Suggestion 1.

Add a sign-up button to your Facebook Page that allows people to give you at a minimum their Email Address, First Name, and Zip Code.The fields you use will depend on your personal preferences. Remember that the more data you request the fewer responses you will receive.   Facebook Page buttons are simple to make by following Facebook's instructions on APP and Widget creation under Settings. My sign-up button updates my CRM. I am using MailChimp, but most CRM's have the ability to integrate in this way.  You should use the same CRM to collect prospect data on your social media sites and on your website.   

Suggestion 2.

Add a CONTACT US tab to your page. This is easily done through the settings functions in Facebook.  I recommend having it go to the contact page on your website. That way you do not have to keep two places updated, and you are driving traffic to your site.

facebook2 18post

Suggestion 3.

All roads should lead back to your main website. Build the content on your site and then push it out to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, et.al. Here is an example of how this post will be pushed out via eblast, Facebook post, and tweet.  Notice the hyperlink. It sends you to the full blog on the website.

TWEET

Is your social media presence worth the effort? Learn 5 steps to having a thoughtful presence. #NCYAFP  http://scan.me/n5p24z9

and/or

Non-profits go to great lengths to increase their LIKES and Followers but to what end? #ThoughtfulApproach  http://scan.me/n5p24z9

      Include a graphic in your Tweet. Tweets with graphics get more views and retweets than those without graphics. Even a stock graphic like the one below will work

               .SocialMediaImage small

Because of the nature of Twitter I usually send at least two tweets for every post. The first one when the post is published, the second a few days later. In between are regular posts that play off the whole site.

FACEBOOK PAGE POST

I struggled to write this post because there are so many different ways to treat social media in the non-profit world and most are not very thoughtful.  As I discussed in the social media section of The Thoughtful Approach's website, non-profits have latched on to the idea that they must have a presence on social media. But many do so without thoughtfully planning out what it will take to create a social media presence.  A presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, et. al., that  is worth the effort.  Is yours worth the effort click to find out - http://scan.me/n5p24z9

 

EBLAST TEXT

I struggled to write this post because there are so many different ways to treat social media in the non-profit world and most are not very thoughtful.  As I discussed in the social media section of The Thoughtful Approach website, non-profits have latched on to the idea that they must have a presence on social media. But many do so without thoughtfully planning out what it will take to create a social media presence.  A presence on FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, et. al., that  is worth the effort.

Development and Marketing offices go to great lengths to increase their LIKES and Followers but to what end? Now don’t get me wrong. I want this blog to be LIKED, and I want Followers.  I have asked my readers to do both of those things.  I seed Facebook and Twitter every time I publish a new post.  That is a far cry from hoping that your social media contacts will make a donation.

How do you get the people who visit your Facebook Page to visit the donor page on your website? READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

Suggestion 4.

Do not start something you cannot finish. Be realistic about which social media platforms you can keep updated. You should post a new blog entry on a regular schedule  (once a week or twice a month), Facebook page post at least once a week and three or four tweets a week.  Many social media experts recommend as many as seven or eight tweets a DAY!  Timely posting is integral to a successful social media presence.

Suggestion 5.

Learn to use integration and aggregator to schedule your posts and tweets. Both Twitter and Facebook have built in APPs and Widgets to allow you to cross-post. The other way achieve cross posting to use an aggregator.  I use Hootsuite, but there are others that work as well. A future post will look at different aggregators.

These five suggestions are starting points for you to explore ways to integrate your web presence and your social media presence.  Making it easy for people who LIKE and FOLLOW your organization to learn more about your cause and possibly make a gift. That is the ultimate goal of all of your effort - right. 

Thoughtful Low Tech Project

I may be a self-confessed tech geek, but I still believe in backing up information to good old paper.  Once all the end of year gifts are entered and the thank you letters are mailed I usually try to do a quick check of my data for duplicates and oddities that can happen in the height of YEAR-END. Then I run a “donor profile report” on all donors over, say $250.00. I use three-hole paper and print it on both sides to save space and store the whole thing in a binder.

So what is this report?  You can find a pre-designed version in some CRM /Database programs. The problem with these reports is they are usually one donor per page reports, and that can use a lot of paper with even a medium sized donor list.

Try creating one in Word and merging it with an Excel spreadsheet of your donors. Promise me you will delete that spreadsheet once the merge is done. Spreadsheets are bad juju – in most cases. You could also use a program like Crystal Reports to create a more permanent solution. Crystal Reports is included with some CRM/Database programs. It can also be purchased separately I got mine from TechSoup.  It is well worth the cost and the time needed to learn it, which isn't long.  I use it all the time, and we will discuss one of my favorite custom reports an APPEAL VARIABLE REPORT in a future blog.

Your report only needs the following info -

Full Name Last Gift Amount
All Salutations Last Gift Date
Complete Address Last Gift Appeal
Phone First Gift Amount
Email First Gift Amount
Company Name First Gift Date
Spouse Info First Gift Appeal
Constituency Code Attributes
Total Giving Notes

It might look something like this-

The reason I picked these fields is that they are the basics you would need to rebuild your database if something happened. It also serves as a handy reference.  Click here to get a full-page example.

This report has saved me may times when I just need a piece of archived information, or my server is down. Just remember it is only a snapshot of your donors at a particular moment not a document to work from on an on going basis.

Later this month we will look at a couple of APPs that a will help you manage your data. Be sure to sign up to get updates if you are not presently receiving e-alerts.

January - Relationship Building Time 

What should the Thoughtful Approach development office be doing in January? Besides getting the last of those acknowledgment letters out by the second week of the month, you should be thinking about two things- which of your 2013 donors did not renew in 2014. As well as which donors from 2012 did renew after taking a year off.

It might seem like an odd place to start 2015 but building these two sets of donors could easily help prepare for success in 2016 and beyond. Look at who did not renew- not just your “major” donors but contributors at every level. 

First let's only look at renewals and two- year lapsed donors. I work very hard to have a renewals rate of at least 80%. That is relatively high so for the sake of this demonstration we will assume a 60% renewal rate on 10,000  donors (or 6,000 renewals). If that rate has held up over the last few years and your total donor population has stayed constant through acquisition you probably still have 4,000 lapsed donors from 2012. These are people who gave in 2012 but did not renew in 2013 or 2014.

Second, let's look at cost. We will take a tiny Peek at those acquisitions. I will hazard to guess that if you are mailing to 100,000 people and doing it really, really well you might be getting 1,000 new donors. Those new donors cost you a pretty penny.

Your renewals should only cost about .75¢ each which means your ROI for an average gift of $35.00 is $34.25 - not bad. Now what if you could get the 4,000 from 2012 to renew and do it at your average gift?  Here is my suggestion -

Why not make some calls or drop some notes to both of these groups? 

“Mrs. Donor, Thank you so much for renewing your donation to XXXXXX. But I am calling to learn more about your relationship with us and to invite you to …an XXXXX event. ” or “Mrs. Past Donor, I am calling to see how you are and to invite you to … “

Well, it doesn’t matter what you invite them to - just try to make a personal connection. In the course of your conversation, you will find out why they did or did not give in the past. You may also end up getting a renewal or even second gift. Most importantly, you will gain insight into who your institution's supporters are.  I would strongly recommend quantifying this information and adding it to your CRM.

What that data is will depend on your organization or agency. It most likely will include a paragraph on your conversation, what their connection is to you, which of your programs they have the greatest affinity for and why they gave in the past.

 

 

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