Kiva in Second Life: Interview With Official SL Volunteers, a micro-finance organization, has funded nearly 17,0000 loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries and last week crossed the $11 million rank. has already had a very big year, funding about $9 million worth of loans so far, and having been featured in the mainstream media including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Oprah and on ABC News.  With the assistance of dedicated volunteers, Kiva also maintains a presence on different social networking sites and has recently established a presence on Second Life through the Techsoup Nonprofits Commons Project.I discovered this when I clicked on Skeeboo Tammas’s profile while chatting with him in Second Life.   His profile said.Do good at! For $25, you can help fund a small loan to someone in need in a developing country. Kiva is not a charity. You get repaid and e-mail updates as the business succeeds! From there you can withdraw your funds or lend it back out. You can also donate Lindens to one of our Fundraisers, or drop it into the donation box at our virtual office here on Second Life. Click on the Picks tab above to teleport there! For more information about this amazing social lending network, visit Kiva.orgThat’s only one method they use to help educate Second Life users about Kiva’s work.Skeeboo Tammas (or Joe Alamo in real life), a volunteer who also runs, Kiva’s MySpace page, their profile and created the browser bar.  that the staff does not have time to manage.Julles Boucher or (Julia Bailey, PhD) serves as’s Second Life Coordinator on a volunteer basis.   She entered Second Life because of her relationship with, but has purchased land and operates a shop called Garb the World.  She is scientist in real life and a self-described philanthropist who has invested $5,000 plus in   She is interested in technology and is an owner of an Internet-based business.I sat down with to learn more about their efforts on Kiva’s behalf in the virtual world.What is doing in SL?Expanding marketing and awareness. We had an office a while back that someone donated but it disappeared, so we got a booth at 1st Life Aid, a few other places and we are just starting to set up a presence with the Nonprofit Commons Project. We think it is a good idea to be located with other nonprofits.Why do you think Second Life  is important for nonprofits – particularly fundraising?Second Life is a good way to disseminate information.  There is a large audience and it has been very helpful for other volunteers to work on projects in here.  For example, one morning I worked from my home in California with Joe in NY and a volunteer in Belgium in setting up an information booth. We also had help from the preson who runs the booth and who is in South Africa.  It’s exciting to meet other people in world who care about and work together.What are your goals for having a presence in SL with an office?Exposing the Kiva organization to new people in this interesting digital world and raising money to fund loans.  The strategy is kind of loose at the moment for us as we feel our way around this world.  We’ve set up a booth and got 15 loans (at $25 each), but donations really started pouring in when wwe got the first Life Aid booth.  Mostly we’re attending events and doing virtual guerrilla marketing.  There is another group that has raised $300 USD for Kikiva on Second Life and we also work with them. Given your experience with managing’s presence in other social networking sites like myspace, how do virtual worlds compare in terms of the ROI?Second Life is 3-D and very interesting in things can be done in terms of virtual marketing. It can go beyond a standard web page and we’re taking advantage of that.  I think it’s been very good. Kiva has had it’s biggest year ever and our digital marketing has had a big role in that. Maybe not as big as Oprah, but still …What advice would you give to nonprofits just starting off in second life?Start a team to figure things out, invite your volunteers/donors to help and empower them as the Official Second Life volunteer, look for gamers who are already familiar with these virtual worlds.  Attend lots of meetings and talk to people and ask questions and get help.  There are lots of people in Second Life who want to help and there are many users here hanging out who would love to volunteer for a non-profit.Source: read more

Quick Tips on Great Email Subject Lines

first_imgGet up close and personalUse “you” in the subject line — Your gift can change this family’s life. Be a teaseYou’re not going to believe this… Lots of great ideas here for you to put to use. I urge you to experiment, but wait to complete the body of the email before you write the subject line. Review the email to identify the most compelling element; then feature that in the subject line.Source: the AuthorNancy E. Schwartz helps nonprofits succeed through effective marketing and communications. As President of Nancy Schwartz & Company (, Nancy and her team provide marketing planning and implementation services to organizations as varied as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Center for Asian American Media, and Wake County (NC) Health Services.Subscribe to her free e-newsletter “Getting Attention”, ( and read her blog at for more insights, ideas and great tips on attracting the attention your organization deserves.NOTE: You’re welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the copyright and “about the author” info at the end), and you send a copy of your reprint. There’s no more important content in your organization’s email and e-newsletters than the subject line.I’ve thought and written a lot about this topic, but was struck by these imaginative suggestions from Gail Goodman, CEO of e-newsletter service provider Constant Contact:Ask a questionObviously, the question has to be relevant to your audiences Tell it like it isThe just the facts approach works best when you have a specific audience and know their interestslast_img read more

Promote Your Cause on Facebook in Six Easy Steps

first_imgNonprofit organizations using Facebook can now launch a social networking-based fundraising drive for their cause, promote it to their friends and network, and raise money. That in a nutshell is what a new mini-application within Facebook, called Causes, is all about.Launched by Project Agape, this new service extends the “group” features and allows users to create causes, take donations, and recruit members. Why is this feature good for charities? According to Digital is a good step for charitable foundations, and will be a defining move as more and more of these groups begin to pop up on Facebook. There are many worthy charities already on the site, so I see this feature taking a huge lead and pushing some action with the groups. The demographic of Facebook users is also younger, thus more likely to donate to charity.In my recent Beginners Guide to Facebook, I covered some of the ways that you can get started using Facebook. In this follow-up post, I’ll take you through five simple steps you can do today to promote your cause on Facebook.1. Create a new cause and choose to have it support your campaign.To create a new cause, click the Start Cause button from your Facebook profile page. Fill out the following five sections: basic information; category and tags; geography; picture; and choose a nonprofit organization that will benefit from your cause. When you’re done, you will be asked to add a contact email address and it will be featured in your profile as an ‘application widget.’2. Invite your friends and network to join and support your cause.Once you’ve created a new cause, you can either invite your friends to join or just wait for people to find your cause and join your group. Facebook’s “feed” feature will automatically notify your friends. You can also send messages to personally invite them to join your cause.3. Tell others about your cause with photos.Facebook’s Cause application only allows you to select one picture or logo to go with your cause. But you can upload pictures on a photo-sharing site such as Flickr or Smugmug and add a link to your page. (You’ll find some good information to help you get started with Smugmug on this blog post.)4. Use your cause to get media coverage.Public relations is one of the most important aspects of promoting nonprofit organizations. It works because you can get a lot of free publicity through it. So why not use your cause and the funds raised to write a press release about your achievements? You’ll probably need to have a lot of members signed up or a significant amount of money raised for the media to pay attention, but it’s worth it. One good example is the ONE campaign, which has raised $2,360 with 8,802 members.5. Involve your friends and supporters.Looking for ways to involve your members and supporters? After a donation has been made, a scorecard on your member’s profile page tracks how many people your members recruited and how much money they have raised.6. Promote awareness about your fundraising events.If you have a fundraising event coming up, create a new cause to promote awareness and raise funds for that event. Promote your new cause on your organization’s Web site, event Web site, other social networking sites that you are part of, and so on. Facebook is all about getting the word out. And the more causes, groups, and friends you add, the more visibility and awareness you will get for your organization.This article first appeared as a post on Wild Apricot’s Nonprofit Technology Blog, which covers social media tools and Web technologies geared toward the nonprofit realm.Copyright: Wild ApricotSource: read more

Online Fundraising Case Study: Dance Theatre of Harlem

first_imgNetwork for Good & the Dance Theatre of HarlemPartner for Fundraising SuccessRaised $27,864Reaching supporters around the worldHope for the futureIn 2004, the famed Dance Theater of Harlem was in such desperate financial straits, it closed the doors to its school and laid off the 44 dancers in its acclaimed ballet troupe. And it did everything it could to raise money – from making very public pleas for help to turning to Network for Good to raise money, for the first time, through online donations and solicitations – to erase its $2.5 million debt and reopen.These days, the non-profit’s future is looking far more robust. Its school has reopened, most of the creditors have been repaid and the theater has begun making plans to create a new ballet troupe. Development director Rodney Trapp and resident choreographer [and webmaster] Robert Garland talked to us about how Network for Good’s DonateNow and EmailNow services boosted the Dance Theater of Harlem’s initial fundraising efforts and, more importantly, how these tools will be key in ensuring the nation’s only primarily African-American ballet school and troupe will be here for years to come.N4G: Why did you start using Network for Good?RG: “We had to shut down our operations in 2004. An American woman sent out an e-mail saying the dance company and school had shut down and if everyone sent in $1, it could help fix the problem. We started receiving all these single dollars in the mail. We have to record every donation. It was great, but it was really time consuming.”RT: “We realized, as people were asking how they could help, that we needed to find a way to get donations online. [Turning to Network for Good] initially was a desperate attempt to make a vehicle available to make contributions. We put the DonateNow button on our website. That was it. It was very basic.”N4G: Is your online donation system still set up that way?RT: “No. We got some training from Network for Good on how to maximize the service. It was immensely helpful immediately. We learned how to design a website to attract people and the importance of putting the donation information ‘above the fold.’ We began thinking about ways to have visitors physically interact with the computer to make it more dynamic.”N4G: What features were especially appealing?RT: “We customized our DonateNow page to make it look like the rest of our website, so it didn’t look like you were leaving our site. It had the same color palate and graphics. It gives comfort to the potential donor. Even though they are being sent somewhere else [on the Internet], they feel like they are still with you. It’s a relationship you are building and you want it to be as positive and trustworthy as possible. For those still uncomfortable with making a donation online, we added language to ease their minds and let them know how to mail a donation or call us.”N4G: Do you use the EmailNow service?RG: “Yes. We have a performing company that is on hiatus. They were our messengers, our advertising. [Through EmailNow], we can maintain those supporters. They write us and ask when we are coming back. They still know what’s going on here. They know about our open houses, our schools. They know everything! We have a relationship with our supports [across the U.S. and abroad] that we didn’t have before.”RT: “In 2006, we gathered all the e-mail addresses we had in our database and put them in our EmailNow database. We’re adding to that list regularly by having people sign up through our website. We have different categories of lists within EmailNow: the New York metro area; people interested in our Open House series; non-New York metro area people; staff; and alumni. We send out one or two of these e-mails a month for special events, our regular series and our spring and fall solicitations. We send out hard copies of the solicitations too; the online one is a reminder. We can personalize them and not everyone gets every e-mail.”N4G: What role do DonateNow and EmailNow play in raising money in your $4.3 million budget?RT: “We received over $14,700 in online contributions the first year we, most one-time responses to the news of our closing. In 2005-06, we received $5,244 from 32 donors and in 2006-07, we received $7,920 from 44 donors. It’s not a whole lot of money but it’s the beginning of what we know is a growing trend. You have to start somewhere. As people become more comfortable with donating money online, I think more will be drawn to the site. It’s still fairly new for us, but people are using it, so it’s effective for us. It’s definitely worth it.”RG: “It’s great for unsolicited donations. And it’s helped use a new technology and keep us in touch with our constituents who are regularly online. That’s everyone! You can’t not do it. We had looked into other services, like PayPal, but they didn’t seem to work for us. When we got to Network for Good, it was perfect. A great match.”N4G: Why is it so important for the Dance Theater of Harlem to have this extra fund-raising and communications tool?RG: “We are about black people who do ballet. It is a real thorn in the side [that some people still believe the two don’t mix]. We have to exist for our culture and for our community here in Harlem.”Dance Theatre of Harlem read more

Twelve Tips for Gaining Awareness for Your Cause

first_imgKristin Melville is the Director of Development & Community Relations, Shalom House, Inc.Create a very clear, consistent description of your organization. Be able to use it in all means of communication. If someone asked you what your organization does be able to respond in one sentence. e.g. Shalom House provides housing and support services for people with serious mental illnesses in the Greater Portland area.Identify your target audience.Communicate to the media what’s happening at your organization on a regular basis. New programs, new staff, new grants and success stories are all newsworthy.Hitch your wagon. Is there a local or national news story where your organization has the expertise to address the topic?There is success in numbers. Joint campaigns can help reach a larger number of people.Give them a reason to visit. Use your website as an educational tool. Offer something that is clever and fun like games, coupons, educational materials written by experts, valuable tips that change each month.Newsletters are used frequently to communicate to the public. Make your newsletter unique, easy to read, with lots of pictures. If your organization fund raises always include an article about development and a donor envelope.Community events can give you a captive audience. Keep in mind they are labor intensive and may not be cost-efficient. Be clear in your planning process if the event is a public relations event or a fundraiser event.Brand your expertise and share it with others. Utilize your agency’s professionals to help communicate your brand.Real life stories are the best illustrations of your mission. “You have changed my life.”Check the language of your 990. Make sure that your agency description is accurate and up to date.Volunteer your public relations experience with others. Giving back what you know means a lot.Source: read more

3 Tests to Improve Your Website and Donation Process

first_imgSource: Adapted by Jake Emen from Mark Rovner’s Nonprofit 911 Presentation “Website 101 for Fundraisers.”Editor’s note: This article was originally published on October 18, 2012 and has been updated. Photo Source: Big Stock PhotoThe Friend TestFor this test you don’t want to use a coworker so find someone a little farther removed from your organization. Watch how quickly could that person figure out what site they are on, what page they are on, what the major sections of the site are, what the navigation options are and how to get home. Simply watch a person on your site or even a printout of your site and have them answer those questions.Task TestingHave your tester go through the process of making a donation on your website. Have them talk about where they are going and what they are doing, where they are having problems or are confused and what they are clicking on and why. This can expose any difficulties a potential donor may have or show you what the overly complex portions of your donation process are.Hypothetical TestingGive your subjects a hypothetical situation – they have heard of your organization and are considering donating to it, but first they need to get on the website and do some research to see if everything’s on the level. Again have them talk through the process, what they like and what they don’t, what caught their eye or drew them in, could they find everything easily and what if any information is missing that they were expecting.In one afternoon of usability testing you can effectively gather all of the information you need to drastically improve your website and gain more donations, for free! One of the easiest and most overlooked ways to improve your website and your donation process is by putting it through some basic testing. People hear “testing” and often get scared off, afraid they will have to hire some expensive firm to perform weeks of scrutiny. The opposite is true for usability testing; all you need is somebody who isn’t already familiar with your website. Your mother-in-law, your neighbor, or even in some instances a coworker from a different department are all acceptable testers. Gather up a handful of people and perform the following three tests, all of which will give you great insight.last_img read more

In Search of CRM Part 1: Understanding Constituents and Processes

first_imgMediumMostly simple sales processes focusing on donations, calls to action, get out the vote Simple Marketing ProcessLonger, Complex Marketing Process 1. Initiate contact (Request, incident, call, email question, check-in)2. Gather more information (call-back, email)3. Schedule meeting/call/appointment4. Alert manager if necessary5. Deliver service, program, information6. Track outcomes over time Low-MedComplex sales processes include convincing potential clients to participate in programs Members in a Trade Association LowRespond to questions; provide information about the impact of their actions Longer, Complex Sales Process(major donations, grants, high-cost memberships, large sponsorship sales, registration for lengthy programs) 1. Identify prospect or lead2. Recieve commitment (donation,action, membership, registration, purchase)1. Identify prospect or lead2. Introductory call or meeting to qualify prospect3. Follow-up calls or meetings to build value proposition4. Present proposal or ask5. Negotiate6. Recieve commitment (contract, donation, action, membership, registration, enrollment) Sales“Sales” convinces individuals to make a commitment or take an action. All nonprofits sell something, whether programs, products, services, or ideas. Any process that involves moving a person from merely being “interested” to making a commitment or taking an action is a sales process. This might include convincing a potential funder to donate, talking a client into attending a free event, or persuading a legislator or a citizen to vote a particular way.The complexity of the sales process often correlates with the size of the commitment. A free 1-hour seminar or a $25 donation would have a very short sales cycle and probably only one step (the ask), while a 10-week program or a $1000 donation would require more time and a more complex process. Clients of a Service Organization(homeless, legal rights) LowSome outreach to support membership and event sales In working through your constituent groups, think about the processes that you wouldn’t usually consider. Human services organizations don’t always plan how to tie their outreach efforts into program delivery and how successful program delivery can in turn help influence outreach and participation in their programs. Similarly, advocacy organizations spend lots of time doing outreach, but often spend less time thinking about the service aspect of their work to retain and keep supporters happy.Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to exhaustively review every process. Rather, use the exercise to identify the important recurring types of interaction processes your software will need to support.3) Understand Your Process MixYour final step is to prioritize your constituent groups and processes to get an idea of your mix. A youth development organization with “service” heavy processes – incident reporting, service plans, personal goals, outcomes – but that relies primarily on client referrals will need strong service tracking capabilities with less rigorous “marketing” functionality. A membership-based organization, alternatively, will need tools with strong marketing and sales functionality. Advocates for a Public Advocacy Organization Simple Sales Process (small donations, merchandise purchase, advocacy action, low-cost memberships) Constituent Constituent Relationship Management can help to provide an important 360° view of your constituents. However, an effective technology solution requires a detailed understanding of your constituents and processes. Paul Hagen explains, in Part One of a two part series exploring the issues behind CRM.center_img Sales Service HighComplex sales including higher cost memberships. Simple sales of events and merchandise Service“Service” refers to the delivery of programs and support to constituents. The most important part of what most nonprofits do with constituents – the delivery of programs and services – is virtually always left out of CRM discussions. Many nonprofits use isolated applications to track communications, program and service delivery, attendance, follow-ups and outcomes.Nonprofits that do not consider program delivery information as an integrated part of CRM efforts risk:Underserving clients. Nonprofits with lots of programs, each with its own data repository but no organizational-wide view, lacks the ability to knowledgeably serve its constituents. For example, a job placement counselor would benefit from knowing if a constituent has been referred by a different staff member to a drug treatment program. Similarly, the organization lacks the ability to know how to target new programs (cross-sell) to existing constituents (e.g. a person who has come a few times to brown-bag lunch meetings, but has never attended an annual event).Failing to understand the full benefit an individual is receiving. Nonprofits with constituent program data scattered have a difficult time seeing the full benefit that an individual receives from the organization. Certain public radio station’s fundraising efforts would be more powerful if its appeal size were based on the amount that an individual used the website. Missing out on important word-of-mouth evangelists. Happy program participants can be some of the best program evangelists and representatives for outreach to other constituent groups (e.g. funders, other potential participants, partners).Wasting time and resources. Without the tie between outreach and program outcomes, organizations have to guess which sources typically yield great participants and which only bring headaches. It’s important to maximize your relationships with those sources that bring solid prospects…and figure out how to help those who are sending you bad prospects, or cut the ties.Some organizations have very limited “service” components to their operations. This may include responding to requests or requirements from funders (e.g. reports), legislators (e.g. statistics), media (e.g. information for story), schools (e.g. request for speaker on topic), and other such constituents. For other organizations — such as food banks, health and wellness, and legal services organizations — services make up the bulk of their efforts.While every organization will vary, a service process may look like the following: MediumRespond to inquiries Simple Service Process (information requests, simple questions, tax receipts for donors)Longer, Mid-Level Service Process (scheduled reports to funders,on-going care for clients in a program) 1. Recieve request (call, email question, web site request)2. Respond 1. Compile list of every supporter you can find2. Send annual letter1. Target group of potential supporters2. Place ads in target venues3. Send direct mail piece4. Follow-up calls to supporters5. Send follow-up email6. Track outcome HighBroad outreach efforts to public HighComplex case management, outcomes management LowSome outreach, but relatively limited. Many nonprofits struggle with constituent data in many different locations. A single individual may donate money, then buy an item online, then attend a seminar, while three different staff members track the person in their own spreadsheets or contact managers, unaware of the other organizational interactions. Constituent relationship management (CRM) software can help. In fact, the term “CRM” was coined to refer to methods that support an organization’s full range of constituents and constituent processes.Here’s a definition of CRM:CRM is the set of processes and supporting technologies used to acquire, retain, and enhance the relationships with all different constituent groups who interact with an organization.These groups include — but are not limited to — donors, funders, partners, volunteers, clients, sponsors, suppliers, and all other people who help a nonprofit to achieve its mission or are benefactors of the mission.But marketing-speak in the software marketplace has confused the issue. Vendors use the term “CRM” loosely to describe a wide variety of databases, even ones that focus only on a limited set of supporters such as donors.A Google search on the terms “nonprofit CRM” yields a number of well-known nonprofit vendors on the first page. While each helps to manage specific kinds of relationships with certain types of constituents, not one covers all the different possible groups alluded to in this CRM definition. One manages online interactions, but can’t handle the day-to-day contact that an organization may have with constituents over the phone or in person, such as the cultivation of event sponsors or suppliers for a food program. Another falls short of helping staff manage clients who receive long-term services or the complex set of relationships for a major event.The truth is that it is nearly impossible for a single vendor to create software capable of handling the widely diverse needs and processes of over 1.8 million nonprofits. Take an organization like Goodwill, for instance. Goodwill works with many different constituent groups who: 1) donate material goods, 2) donate money, 3) buy items in an online store; 4) buy in an offline retail store, 5) receive training and services, 6) receive job placements, 7) become advocates within businesses for job placements, and 8) who become advocates for donation drives. These represent just a few of the diverse groups for which it collects different data and has different cultivation processes.What’s more, CRM is not just a piece of software – it’s an organizational strategy that defines the processes and methods you use to interact with your constituents. In order to ensure effective Constituent Relationship Management for your nonprofit, you’ll need to understand your own constituents and processes. This will not only improve your ability to find the best software, but will likely improve your daily constituent-centric operations as well.How do you go about this? It’s a three step process:Identify your constituent groupsOutline your processesUnderstand your process mixLet’s go through those one by one.1) Identify Your Constituent GroupsYou likely have more types of constituents than you realize. A recent survey of staff members at a mid-sized nonprofit identified over 25 spreadsheets, contact managers, slips of paper and custom databases to store information about interactions with different constituent groups. About half of these repositories and interactions were unknown to both management and the IT department.As a critical first step, use department or program meetings to discuss and identify your constituent groups and rogue data repositories. Make sure to include staff who can speak to the broad range of your relationships with constituents, not just those in charge of raising money. In addition to the typical suspects (e.g. donors, foundations, members, volunteers, and advocates), look for the myriad of other interactions that bring important value to the organization:Alumni: staff, program participants, clientsCorporate supporters: sponsors, partners, advocates, cash or material donors, customersRecruits: staff, program participants, clientsRetail customers: merchandise online, merchandise in-person, facilities rentals, services, productsChannel partners: nonprofits with constituents who could use your programs or services, government agencies that provide referrals to your programsSuppliers and vendors: supplies, services, IT, eventsClients: program beneficiaries, service beneficiariesStaff: current staff, alumni, board members, advisors2) Outline Your ProcessesNext, write down the processes that your staff uses to interact with each group. Are the interactions one-time (e.g. a sent note with no follow-up) or multi-stage (e.g. follow-ups, status check-ins, in-person meetings or events to build interest)? What kind of data are your staff collecting about constituents for this cultivation? What interactions are core to your operations, and which are more peripheral? Answering these questions will help define the kinds of capabilities that will be required of CRM software.Reviewing these interactions and cultivation processes takes some time. However, the exercise invariably yields “constituent-centric” process improvements that don’t require technology investment. One nonprofit management team found that it was taking more than six weeks to send receipts to donors. Another realized that they weren’t asking their program alumni working in corporations to support their other services.Look for opportunities to enhance how your staff interacts with supporters to create value to the organization (e.g. dollars, volunteer hours, program usage, cross-promotion or cross-sell opportunities). Keep an eye out for underserved supporters, recipients of one service who might benefit from another, or new prospects who might provide more value to your nonprofit.It’s often helpful to think through your processes by breaking them into the components that the corporate world uses: Marketing (outreach), Sales (action), and Service. While at first glance the words may not seem to correspond to nonprofit operations, further inspection shows the striking similarity. Each constituent grouping has some kind of “Marketing”, “Sales”, and “Service” cycle, though efforts for each step will vary greatly and sometimes blend.MarketingMarketing, in the form of outreach or communications, builds general awarenessand interest. Most nonprofits engage in some kind of outreach efforts such as direct mail, email newsletters, ad buying or other marketing methods. These techniques may be geared towards creating greater awareness of programs and services among your clients, raising money, building advocacy efforts, and growing general organizational support.Typically, a marketing process involves first identifying the target group or segment, then communicating to them (via email, ad, etc), and finally measuring the results. Marketing may be limited to an annual letter and word of mouth, or may be a complex mix that includes events, advertising buys, messages targeted at certain demographic and/or psychographic profiles, and other outreach. Marketing Defining what CRM Means For YouUnderstanding your processes and constituents is an on-going process. The more you think about these issues, the more sophisticated you will become at tweaking your processes to improve the experience of your constituents…and bring more value to your organization.As you unravel and improve your processes you’ll also be able to look with confidence for technology tools to support your CRM effort. But that’s another article – we’ll cover the strategies and considerations for CRM software selection in in Part Two of this article, coming in June.Paul Hagen is the founding partner of Hagen 20/20 ( a consultancy that helps social enterprises and nonprofit organizations scale through the effective use of technology. He provides business and technology planning, change management, process re-engineering, and project management services for clients. Previously, Paul was a senior analyst at Forrester Research where he led research efforts on technologies such as customer relationship management (CRM), knowledge management, personalization, search and intelligent agents, online education, collaboration tools, and interface design. Paul’s career started in the nonprofit and education sector (U.S. Peace Corps, Teach For America, Edison Schools), and he’s held advisory board positions for the National Strategy for Nonprofit Technology (now N-TEN), Youth Technology Entrepreneurs, and Purple Sun. Paul holds a M.Ed. from Harvard and a B.A. from Stanford. Steven Backman of Database Design Associates, Peter Campbell of TechCafeteria, and Laura Quinn also contributed to this article.Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 LicenseReprinted with permission from:last_img read more

How to Get Your Board and Administrators to Support Marketing

first_imgTiffany Meyer is president of Numa Marketing, and the author of Writing a Results-Driven Marketing Plan. Find more information about her nonprofit marketing services, register for her affordable nonprofit marketing e-courses, or sign up for her monthly e-zine The Smart Nonprofit at ©2007 Tiffany Meyer While the overall investment in marketing amid nonprofits has grown substantially over the years, the general comfort level with marketing among nonprofit executives has not yet caught up. Indeed, even next to its second cousin “public relations,” marketing can still carry a dirty connotation, sometimes difficult to justify to spendthrift board members and constituents.Conquering the Potato ChipFor many grassroots and cause-oriented nonprofits in particular, the term “marketing” can conjure up what I call the “potato chip syndrome”- people trying to sell me something I simply don’t need just for the sake of making money. The discomfort arises because it puts a nonprofit leader’s values in question: “I’m here to make a difference in the world, not to make money.”If you struggle obtaining buy-in for your marketing program budget, just sharing the cold hard facts about potential financial results may not be enough. It’s time to a take a different approach by putting these five keys to action. Buy-in begins with a shift in perception – starting with the potato chip.Key #1: Shift perception – Marketing is our friendThe first key to obtaining executive buy in is to help shift your board and administrators’ perception of what “marketing is.” The truth is this: Marketing is a nonprofit’s friend. To help shift perception, continually share these key concepts about the benefits of nonprofit marketing:Marketing helps us make a bigger difference – A strategic, results-oriented, well-planned marketing program will position our organization to make a difference to a greater number of people with the least amount of expenditure possible.Strategic marketing helps us stand out from the crowd – Marketing gives us the tools and messages to tell the public and our customers what we do exceptionally well.Strategic marketing equals efficiency – The truth is, most nonprofits ARE marketing their organization, products or services, but many are doing so reactively – without a plan in place. Strategic, formal marketing brings efficiency, focus, accountability, and cost-effectiveness to your effort. It helps you ensure that every dollar spent renders positive results.Key #2: Deliver efficiencyNothing can turn a marketing-phobe off more than a stack of seemingly useless marketing collateral materials that scream “expensive.” Yeah, they’re beautiful, but what will our constituents think? The second key to obtaining – and maintaining – executive buy-in for your marketing expenditure is to deliver efficiency with everything you do.Audit your publications and your program processes to see where you can streamline, eliminate waste, reduce printing or mailing costs, etc. Consider which publications will have more positive results by integrating budget-conscious designs (e.g. black and white or two color, recycled paper, etc.). Report your audit findings and the actions you take to executives to prove that you’re making every dollar count.Key #3: Start with needsYour organization exists to serve basic human needs, right? That’s where the passion to serve comes from, and that’s where your organization can make a difference. Perhaps it’s to educate at-risk youth, to provide essential resources for families affected by cancer, or to provide quality recreational spaces for the community. How will marketing help you maximize the number of people your organization is able to serve?The third key to landing executive buy-in is to “start with needs.” Work with your key leadership to identify measurable marketing objectives that are based on meeting the needs of your customers. In most cases, you will be able to set objectives that do double-duty – they meet the needs of your customers AND your financial needs (e.g., revenue) at the same time.For instance, let’s say that with little or no marketing you’re parent training programs reach 500 people each year. Sounds great doesn’t it? I mean that’s 500 people whose lives and families were changed by your training. But what is the context for measuring the value of that number? How many people really need what you’re offering? Is it 10,000 or 50,000? What is your potential market and what is your current share of that market?Let’s say your training programs are filling rooms each time, but so far you’ve only been successful reaching one of your two primary markets. In other words, you’re making a difference, but there’s another group out there that you haven’t helped yet. Yes, in reaching that second group there is definite potential to increase your revenue and your market share, but it also means helping make a difference in more people’s lives.Instead of an objective that simply reads, “increase revenue by 20% in 2006” you state “increase market share by 20% among Hispanic clientele in the southwest Washington region,” you not only have a very specific objective to work toward, but you’ll have a much easier time getting buy-in to fund that initiative.Key #4: Stay flexible, yet focusedWhen we sell the benefit of marketing by selling the potential impact of results, we often set our tactics up to be prematurely scrutinized by upper management. Take care to stay flexible but focused during your quarterly marketing plan evaluations. If some strategies simply aren’t doing the job it may be time to pull the plug on them. But do so with caution. Avoid quickly replacing one strategy with another, particularly mid-year.Before pulling the plug on a tactic, ask these questions: What is your evaluation telling you? Are you getting no response from your marketing tactic, or simply not the degree of response you’d like? Could your messaging be tweaked? Or is your messaging paying off, but your distribution simply isn’t finding enough of your target market? In other words, instead of pulling the plug entirely (and potentially losing your focus on reaching a specific market), stay flexible.When you facilitate a quarterly or semi-annual marketing report to your board, come prepared. Understand what your evaluation is telling you, and come with a game plan of recommendations. For instance, if your recommendation is to continue status quo with a tactic that hasn’t achieved the desired results by waiting it out another six months, be prepared to justify this choice. (e.g., Perhaps you’ve read a case study or consulted a colleague who has advised that your tactic takes longer to render results than you’d originally anticipated).Key #5: Communicate results as impact statementsLet’s face it; we’re not all numbers people. And reporting on marketing results can quite easily become a game of “fun with charts.” If you want to maintain buy-in on your marketing initiatives, report your results each quarter but take care in how you report. Remember pathos and logos? Appeal to your executives “emotional” and “logical” appeals by partnering the numbers with the personal impact your marketing program is having on the customers you serve. In other words, growing market share typically means your organization is bringing in more revenue. But it also means you’re making a bigger difference in the communities you serve. Period.last_img read more

Making the Most of Your Limited Marketing Resources

first_imgTiffany Meyer is president of Numa Marketing, and the author of Writing a Results-Driven Marketing Plan. Find more information about her nonprofit marketing services, register for her affordable nonprofit marketing e-courses, or sign up for her monthly e-zine The Smart Nonprofit at ©2007 Tiffany Meyer One of the biggest misperceptions about marketing is that it has to be expensive to be effective. Simply not true. Even the smallest of nonprofit organizations – and even those that are entirely volunteer-run – can create and manage a results-driven marketing plan that uses a variety of low- or no-cost tactics.As you move forward on developing your marketing plan, consider some of the following ideas to keep costs in check:Leverage Your VolunteersMany nonprofits recruit volunteers to provide core marketing support, such as fundraising, managing their marketing program, graphic design, Web site development and more. This strategy can be very cost-effective in the short term. However, remember the challenges of relying on volunteers to handle these core areas, such as potential burnout, possible lack of availability, or simply a lack of professional skill. Consider going into the volunteer arrangement aware of these potential challenges, and try to be pro-active in exploring ideas with the volunteer to avoid them.Leverage Your Board MembersIf you haven’t already done so, consider creating a marketing or communications committee represented by 3-6 board members (depending on the size of your board and your organization). While it’s not necessary that all committee members have professional background in marketing or communications, such a background can certainly help you stay efficient and effective.Determine the purpose and function of the marketing committee up front. Typically, the committee’s job is to provide feedback and approval for any major marketing-related decisions (such as a new logo design, collateral materials, your marketing plan, or an overall theme or strategy for an upcoming event). When items require board approval, their job is take specific recommendations to the larger board.This type of committee functionality keeps projects moving along without getting stopped up in the board approval cycle. Equally important, it ensures administrator buy-in; a critical yet often overlooked step. In addition, you’re able to capitalize on the strengths of your marketing committee members and the power of creative collaboration.Depending on your board governance structure, you can also consider making certain marketing or fundraising tasks a mandatory component of your board member’s responsibilities. For instance, some nonprofits require all board members to generate a minimum amount of donations or sponsorships over the course of the year. If you take this route, be sure your board members have the tools they need to be effective, such as key messages, talking points, a description of your target donor markets, and fundraising collateral materials.Find Pro-bono SupportEvery year, for-profit companies and marketing associations (such as the American Marketing Association’s local chapters) donate millions of dollars in donated time and in-kind support to nonprofit organizations.Check in with your local chapter of the American Marketing Association or Public Relations Society of America. Ask if they have an application process for awarding pro-bono support to local nonprofits. Typically the association helps recruit pro-bono professionals from their membership pool to take on your project. Since these associations usually award support only once or twice each year, try to contact them well in advance of when you need your project completed.Remember, competition for such awards can be stiff – your proposal should aim to intrigue the professionals as much as possible. What makes the project creatively or intellectually attractive to the pros? What kind of exposure can this project give them?You may also consider soliciting proposals directly from qualified marketing firms, or even for-profit companies with an established marketing department, to provide pro-bono support for larger projects like branding, identity design, a large campaign or event, or a web site redesign. Your request could be for fully or partially donated time – meaning, if you’re able to pay the pros something, be sure to specify such in your recruitment. Be sure your Request for Proposals (RFP) clearly outlines all of the support you need and identifies methods you can offer to acknowledge the organization or individual’s donated time.Another option is to recruit a student volunteer from your area university’s public relations or marketing department to manage a short-term communications project. If you’re not prepared to manage an actual internship for a student or recent grad, this option may be a better fit for you. Be sure to recruit in a similar manner as the above examples – with an RFP that clearly describes the scope of the project, the specific support you need, what qualifications are important to you, and what benefits the project can offer to the student volunteer. As students are often eager to gain real-world support, a short-term project is likely to be very attractive to them.Request In-Kind DonationsFor some nonprofits, one of the most costly expenses is printing of their collateral materials. In fact, if you’re distributing materials in mass (such as for promotion of a large national event), printing and postage expenses can become a significant hindrance.Consider soliciting printing donations from local printers to offset these expenses, while also offering the print shop a great advertising opportunity (such as the inclusion of their logo and donation acknowledgment on all printed pieces). If the printer cannot provide in-kind support for the entire print job, ask them to match your contribution. For instance, if you can afford to print 50 outreach posters, but you really could use 100, ask the printer to match your payment.In-kind donations are really some of the easiest, low-risk methods for-profit organizations have to contribute to your organization financially. Solicit in-kind donations using a formal solicitation letter printed on letterhead. Include the following in your letter:Identify your specific requestState how the donation will be used in your broader campaign (e.g., the 100 posters will be placed in high-traffic businesses throughout the city)Highlight the contribution your organization makes to the communityHighlight how the company’s donation will help you serve the community better (or make a more significant impact than you could have alone)Identify how you will acknowledge their donation (e.g. placement of a logo, verbal announcements, name on press releases, etc.)When considering what to ask for, think beyond printing donations. What other materials or giveaways do you need for your marketing, event, or fundraiser to be successful? Ideas might include:Fundraising door prizes or auction itemsOutreach campaign giveawaysSpace or facility use for an event or trainingUse of audio-visual equipment for an event, or actual video taping of your eventRemember, acknowledgment of in-kind donations is critical component of effective fundraising, particularly if you hope to receive the support again in the future. Be sure to fulfill on any agreements you’ve made with the donor to acknowledge their gift. And, be sure to submit a personalized thank you letter or card after the donation has been received.Use Collaborative Resources from Nonprofit NetworksMany states have a nonprofit association or regional nonprofit network (or both) that gives access to a wealth of collaborative services at low- or no-cost to their members. From technology and computer support, and from software donations to fundraising and inexpensive Web site design, your state association may help you offset some major marketing-related expenses.To find out if your state has a nonprofit association, visit the National Council of Nonprofit Associations (NCNA) website at http://www.ncna.orgShare Donations and In-Kind Support in Your Marketing BudgetIf your administrators or board members are weary about investing in marketing, consider making a cost comparison between the tactics you are recommending and the tactics used by your top competitors. With a little marketing savvy, you can make an educated guess about the top 3-4 tactics the competition employs. Leverage this information to help your board understand how your investment ranks against the competition.Be sure to integrate the estimated value of in-kind gifts like printing expenses or pro-bono consultant support into your marketing budget to give administrators and board members a clear sense of their investment compared to the actual cost of your program.Even with all of these great ideas to run with, the best way to keep costs down is keep your marketing program efficient and focused. Creating a results-driven marketing plan is the best step you can take to keep costs in check. It will help you simplify your tactics to only those you can successfully manage and track, while eliminating those tactics that simply are not working.last_img read more