According to the recently released 2012 Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report, the nonprofits that have been most successful have a clear strategy for social media, management support and have dedicated social media staff. The average size of an organization’s Facebook (8,317) and Twitter (3,290) communities continues to grow yet few nonprofits are raising funds from social media. Download your free copy.
(To kick start fundraising results, it will be interesting to see if development departments start to play a larger part in managing social networks – currently it’s usually marketing / communication that’s in charge.)
If you decide to go outside your organization for social media help, ask these 7 questions to anyone you’re considering hiring. (My take – it’s always preferable to assign this work to a staff person who is more familiar with your nonprofit.) And here are 10 things you may be doing wrong with social media.
Have you noticed the larger photos on Facebook’s mobile application? Wonder where they got this idea (see new kid on the blockPinterest).
Blackbaud’s webinar series today included an important reminder that work on your website doesn’t stop after the redesign. Websites must continue to evolve and most importantly,.must always have fresh content to keep your constituents coming back. Need ideas? Here are 58 ways to create great content.
The average email open rate has ‘steadied’ at 14% (is this supposed to be good?) but some nonprofits get better results by segmentation, localization & personalization.
While mobile devices accounted for 15-20% of email opens, those who read email on phones are less likely to click thru and take action. But it can also help if the email is formatted to look good on a small screen. Here’s tips on how to do it.
The Red Cross demonstrated why segmentation doesn’t have to be difficult, identifying donors by monthly, institutional, emergency, lapsed and non-donors.
Monthly donors constantly outperformed other segments. (For a great example of a nonprofit that realizes this, take a look at City Harvest Rescue Partners campaign that specifically asks for monthly gifts.)
While segmentation can improve email results, it will make even more of a difference if you prepare great content – as well as an engaging subject line.
US Fund for Unicef‘s Porter Mason stressed the neglected art of AB testing – emails, web pages, social media posts and added that ‘coding links must become normal practice.’ Take a look at WhichTestWon to test your instincts on what works best.
Causevox‘s Rob Wu finished the evening with tips on how to tell compelling stories, e.g. don’t talk about your organization, talk about your cause and your supporters. Also, get everyone involved – not only the marketing / communications folks.
Among the many tips offered at Friday’s session on Facebook Tactics That Get Results offered by M&R Strategic Services and Nten was the reminder that very few Facebook fans will visit your page – they will mostly see your posts in their newsfeed. (So why invest in expensive custom Facebook tabs?) Surprisingly, you are penalized for posting from third party services such as Tweetdeck and HootSuite (read more on why these posts are less likely to appear in your newsfeed then if you post directly on Facebook).
How do you get more engagement – i.e. likes and comments, which will give your posts more visibility? Use different types of content, including photos and videos, and ask constituents to take a specific action – especially those that will result in providing their email address so you can build your list. (Did you know that you lose 18% of your list each year through unsubscribes and email addresses that no longer work?).
Many nonprofits rely heavily on volunteers, yet their importance has often been overshadowed by those of lucky to have ‘paid’ work. LinkedIn now offers a section to highlight volunteer experience and causes, which will help nonprofits to find its most loyal supporters.
Sept. 11 was a sad day, marking a decade since we lost almost three thousand people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. What can nonprofits learn when the unthinkable happens? Here are some lessons and another view of the effect on nonprofits as we recover from a very emotional day yesterday. Ten years ago, I worked for Cross-Cultural Solutions, which was able to help to coordinate recovery efforts in NYC after the horrible event.
When planning your integrated communications / fundraising calendar, you may offer several opportunities for your constituents to take action on issues your organization is supporting, as well as scheduling fundraising appeals throughout the year. You probably have a department that focuses heavily on advocacy, while another group is involved primarily in development. But as will be clearly demonstrated during the upcoming Advocacy Live virtual event, you will get the best results if you connect online advocacy and fundraising, also detailed in this white paper available from Amnesty International, Blackbaud and M&R Strategic Services.
If you examine open rates and click-thru statistics from your email marketing (you are regularly looking at these, right?), you will find that advocacy focused communications consistently outperform other types of emails such as enewsletters and financial appeals. Advocates for your causes often feel strongly about showing their support, and may often respond favorably to a fundraising ask at the same time that they are taking action to sign an online petition.
Per the white paper, these are your strongest targets for fundraising appeals:
repeat activist who took action in the last 24 hours
current donor who took action in the last month
“super activitist” (took 6 or more actions in last year)
As I’ve discussed here, your constituents view you as one organization, not as multiple departments with differing goals. If you’re still operating in silos (see Beth Kanter‘s inspiring book, The Networked Nonprofit), you’re missing an opportunity to allow your strongest supporters to help you in more than one way. Online strategy works best when its a joint effort from many parts of your nonprofit.
If you haven’t yet seen it, take a look at the latest eNonprofit Benchmarks Study released last week where you can also listen to the recording or view slides from the May 14 event. The report covers major ephilanthropy topics: email messaging, online fundraising, and online advocacy. Major takeaways:
email open and click through rates continue to decline, although less than in previous years; but a message that is ‘opened’ may not be actually read by the constituent
the number of online gifts and total dollars raised online continue to increase; the increase in number of gifts helped to offset a decline in average gift from $86 to $71
email lists continue to grow, but at a slower rates than in past studies; almost 20% of email addresses go bad every year due to bounces or unsubscribes
email results vary dramatically by audience sent to; are you still making the mistake of sending everything to everyone?
gifts of under $250 represent 97% of all gifts, yet donations of $250 or more make up 41% of revenue – don’t forget to recruit and acknowledge your major donors
while social media gets most of the buzz lately, email clearly is still king, at least for now.
Asking corporate sponsors or like-minded charities to send ‘chaperoned’ e-mail messages on an organization’s behalf
Using multiple channels, e.g. social networks, video, e-mail, and text messages
Many nonprofits (including mine) raise significant revenues through athletic events, such as walks and endurance type events. But the Chronicle reports this too is also getting harder, encouraging us to provide lower-cost ways to participate, adding new types of events, encouraging more constituents to actively fundraise, and aggressively seeking more participants. This article encourages us to stay positive and seek creative approaches to stay afloat. Helping supporters to raise funds through third party events is sometimes overlooked as a further stimulus to overall fundraising.
NtenandM&R Strategic Serviceshave released a fascinatingstudywhich provides metrics for online messaging, fundraising and advocacy. Some highlights and observations:
open rates (compared to a study in 2006) declined from 21.3% to 17.6%; click-through rates dropped from 4.9% to 3.6%. I’ve found that many NPO staff don’t take the time to analyze reports which clearly demonstrate that most constituents who get email are not bothering to open them, fewer are clicking on any included links.
on the average, constituents are emailed 4 times / month. Seems like once a week is still too often, making more of a case to use segmentation to target content to selected constituents.
About 20% of an email list ‘goes bad’ each year due to unsubscribes and other changes in email addresses. So a nonprofit that wants to grow its list needs to first make up for this loss in numbers first.
Advocacy mailings consistently show higher response rates than other types of mailings. How many of these constituents can be effectively converted to other types of engagement?
$1000+ gifts were only 1% of the total number of donations, yet represented over 20% of online giving revenues. Major gifts still deserves consistent attention.