Friday, 30 August 2013

GUEST POST: Using charity fundraising tools to increase online donations

Finding the necessary online tools to maximise donations can be considered as less of a priority when compared to the core duties of running a charity day-to-day. Mik Dunne explore the options available to charities in this recent guest post.

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(unsubscribe from this feed) launches ProServices for nonprofits

Charities using the tool will be able to create pages which integrate with their social media channels. They will also be able to segment donors quickly and download data easily.

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Small charities invited to free digital skills conference

The FSI Skills Conference is providing free places for small charities with an annual turnover under £1.5 million to access a choice of 11 expert speakers on a range of core topics including digital support.

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Thursday, 29 August 2013

New daily microdonation app launched by Google

In a move to get people to give $1 a day to charity, Google has launched a new mobile app in the USA called One Today.

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Clinks launches online directory for charities working with offenders

The directory has more than 300 civil society organisations listed which can be searched for by location, size, track record and service provided.

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First international social media conference to be held in London

On Monday 2nd and Tuesday 3rd September, nearly 100 social media experts and researchers from 25 countries will be attending a conference organised by the University of Westminster's Centre for Social Media Research (CSMR).

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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Pajama Parties? Three Rules for Running Virtual Meetings

In my last blog post "I Get to Work in My Pajamas," I got a ton of great comments and feedback which was very informative and also very fun.  Working virtually is a hot topic and one that is near and dear to many people's hearts.

I'm no dummy.  My plan for this post WAS to talk about running meetings more effectively and how to "take control" of a meeting, but given the pajama feedback I think we should discuss those topics from a virtual perspective.

Raise your hand if you hate meetings (raises hand).  Type "I Hate Meetings" into Google and over 26 million hits come up.  There is even a Facebook page for I Hate Meetings.  In short, there is no shortage of vitriol out there for this, and many times, it's justified, right?

There are many reasons why folks dislike meetings, and I would love to hear your thoughts on your #1 meeting pet peeve in the comments below.

In terms of other folks' take on the topic, I thought Adam Kleinberg did a really nice job with this article, and this one talks a bit about ways to fix them.   I especially enjoyed Paul Graham's take on meetings where he differentiates between the schedules of "Managers and Makers."  Smart, and true, yes?  And a recent article by Fred Kofman on LinkedIn boasts cutting one's meeting time by 90% (!).  What do you think is the best way to do that?  Yep—DON'T HAVE THE MEETING IN THE FIRST PLACE!


But what about those of us who work in our pajamas (should virtual meetings be called pajama parties?)  Or how about sweats, or gym shorts, or on a plane, or whatever.  One of the golden rules of managing those who work virtually is to keep up communication with them so they feel connected and can identify with their colleagues and teammates.  So…more meetings?  UGH!

On the other hand, as someone who travels a good deal and is often doing all day presentations with clients (so I can't make a lot of meetings), I do sometimes feel like I miss out on a lot of information whether it is new team goals, corporate news, or just plain old gossip.  A good way to combat this for folks like me is to record calls and WebEx sessions, but let's be honest—listening or watching a presentation in my hotel room is pretty darn low on my list of things I want to do at 9:00 pm after working all day.


So…what's the answer?  I think we can learn some things from both the face-to-face and the virtual world.  In terms of meeting guidelines from the face-to-face world, the one to look to first is "Do we actually NEED to have this meeting?"  Kofman's piece referenced above argues that the ONLY reason one should meet in person is to "decide and commit."  And while my position is that there are other legitimate reasons for meetings, in general I think this is sage advice.  Thus, Rule #1.  Have fewer meetings.  Then the ones you have will mean more (and be worth the time of watching the recording).

Another great face-to-face meeting rule is that you MUST have a plan for what you want to accomplish (and as a bonus, determining this will help you decide whether you need the meeting in the first place!).  So, Rule #2:  You must have an agenda to have a meeting.  I loved the comment that Lauren Head left on the Kleinberg piece linked above, where she said the unspoken rule where she works is "No Agenda, No Attenda."  Isn't that perfect?  And so, so true:  Have a plan.  Execute that plan.  Then get out of Dodge.  How many times have you been on a conference call that was aimlessly wandering around, and your only thoughts were "I'm missing family dinner for THIS????"

Given the different schedules of those working virtually, I also think it is important to over communicate.  No, I'm not talking about more meetings—I'm talking about utilizing different media channels to get your messages across to those who work in different times and spaces than you do.  So, Rule #3: Tell 'em what's important, and then tell 'em again some different way.  So, yes, record the meeting.  But also send the agenda/presentation/notes in an email.  Tweet a link to relevant materials.  Keep a team blog page where meeting materials (and minutes) are always kept.  Give folks options to get that info whether they are able to be there in person or are on some plane, train, or automobile ("Those aren't pillows!").

There are certainly other tips and guidelines for having (or not having) meetings with virtual employees, and I would LOVE to hear what everybody has to say on that topic.  What is the right balance between having meetings and staying connected versus meetings sapping your precious work time?  What do you think is the best medium to use for virtual meetings?  And, most importantly, does anyone out there have a morning mask?  Let us all know what you think!

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CTPayments launches international money transfers service for UK charities

Charity Technology Trust has partnered with payment service providers FTT Global to launch a new international money transfers service for UK charities – tt-forex.

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Webinar – Variety the children’s charity: journey to the cloud

On 13th September between 1-1.30pm, Adrian Mitchell, IT Manager at Variety, will be hosting a webinar to outline how the charity made the transition into the cloud with Premier IT.

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Facebook Promotions Just Got Way Easier for Nonprofits!

Facebook Promotions Just Got Way Easier for Nonprofits Facebook Promotions Just Got Way Easier for Nonprofits!

Written by my good friend, Marc A. Pitman, AKA the Fundraising Coach

Facebook promotions used to be a weird thing. Nonprofits did them but technically, they risked Facebook deleting their page.

Facebooks changes its terms again. This time for the good!

Now according to Facebook’s blog you can run those promotions without fear!

You’re now able to use likes, comments, messages and posts by others as votes and entries into contests.

Sure, for some of you this is dull. We’ve already been doing all that. But if you’re a first born like me, it’s nice to know you’ve now got the rules on your side. icon smile Facebook Promotions Just Got Way Easier for Nonprofits!

Thanks to Pam Moore (@PamMktgNut) for the tweet that led me to Facebook’s blog

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A Lesson from the Fundraising Roundtables

Last year and again this year I've had the pleasure of joining the Fundraising Roundtables with many of you across the country. For a digital fundraiser like me, it's the mental equivalent of being a kid in a candy shop without mom to rein you in.

In Chicago and DC earlier this year, amid success stories, proven strategies and exciting new tactics, a constant theme emerged. Simply put:

Fundraising is best when it is donor-centric

It's an easy mantra to speak but a more challenging one to live. But the Roundtables provided two concrete examples I want to share with you.

American Diabetes Association

David McShea from ADA reminded us that you can't be everything to everyone. For their Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes fundraising program they narrowed their focus and selected three target audiences: team captains, top fundraisers and walkers with diabetes. Those clearly defined audiences allowed the ADA team to build three marketing approaches that hit on key messages that resonated with each of these strongest participant segments.

Easter Seals

At Easter Seals, they also put their audience at the center of their strategy. The team developed website visitor personas and collaborated with the Charity Dynamics team to ensure the newly redesigned site met the needs of those personas. The site is also responsively designed so no matter what device visitors are using, their experience is a great one.

In a few weeks we are taking the Roundtable to its next stop: the Big Apple. I'm sure New York fundraisers will have more examples of how donor-centric fundraising helps organizations fulfill their missions and I can't wait to hear every single one.

New York also highlights something a little different though. Given of the time of year, last year's canceled marathon is top of mind as we approach the event. I'm curious to hear what trends fundraisers are seeing related to the marathon. Are the usual suspects participating and fundraising again? How are you progressing toward your goals? How are you keeping your donors at the center of your strategies and tactics?

With a new format for the Roundtables this year – we've moved to a full afternoon of programming – there's more opportunity for in-depth conversations and networking. I know we'll use every minute of it digging into donor-centric fundraising and the unique experience of reviving marathon fundraising

Join us for the New York City Fundraising Roundtable on Tuesday, September 10.


DonnaWilkins 173x111 A Lesson from the Fundraising RoundtablesDonna Wilkins is the founder and CEO of Charity Dynamics, a leading agency for nonprofit digital marketing and fundraising. Visit to learn more about solutions and the team.

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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Charities urged to hire apprentices to help with the digital agenda

Many charities fall behind when it comes to social media because they simply don't have the time to invest in it. Hiring a digital marketing apprentice could well be the answer!

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Four Facebook Metrics Most ROI Calculators Are Missing

Four Facebook Metrics Most ROI Calculators Are Missing Four Facebook Metrics Most ROI Calculators Are Missing

Most Social Media ROI calculators include factors for investments and gains, but not many include factors for loss.

This means that any “collateral damage” of your campaign might often be overlooked.

A quick example:

Imagine you have a fundraising campaign which includes a Facebook component. A partner gives you $2,000 towards Facebook ads. After the campaign is done you walk away with $100,000 in donations from these ads.

But you also pissed off hundreds of people.

Success in this example might initially appear obvious, but without considering negative comments received during the campaign, a true ROI calculation can’t be made.

What are the loss metrics in Facebook?

Facebook has four data points that shows you how people negatively reacted to your post:

  • Hiding your post
  • Hiding all posts from your Page
  • Reporting your post as spam
  • Unliking your Page

Why does this matter?

You might be asking yourself why this matters within the scope of growing your community and raising money? Negative feedback shows you how you are hurting the growth of your community (if at all). It also helps you fine-tune your content strategy with a more holistic understanding of your fanbase.

What do you think?

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G+ Hangout: Why is email marketing important?

Those who attend Grow Your Charity Online's regular weekly webinars, which aim to improve charities' digital skills, will be pleased to hear that the next online discussion will focus on the importance of email marketing.

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Children’s Heart Surgery Fund chooses thankQ as CRM solution

The system is cost-effective, easy to use and allows the organisation to adopt a single CRM solution that manages its relationships across a range of digital platforms.

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Exact Target’s 50 Emailing Tips and Stats for 2014 Reduced to Three Key Takeaways

I love a good list and, I suspect you do, too. However, even the best of lists can sometimes feel a little long. That's why I took Exact Target's fantastic list of 50 Email Marketing Tips and Stats for 2014 and boiled it down to three key takeaways for nonprofits.

My top three takeaways (in bold) supported by Exact Target's list include:

Don't fret the small stuff. For example, panicking over the changes to Gmail Tabs is a moot point if your organization's emails aren't optimized for mobile. (More on that here from Scott Gilman)

  • A whopping 66% of Gmail opens occur on mobile devices, with only 19% opened in a web browser (Litmus)
  • The #1 email client for Gmail users is the iPhone's built-in mail program, with 34% of all Gmail opens. (Litmus)
  • According to Google, there were more than 425 million active Gmail users as of June 2012. According to email testing and tracking service Litmus, approximately four percent of all email opens can be attributed to Gmail webmail users, as of June 2013.

If you're not learning, you're not growing. Start with the simplest of tests (e.g. subject lines) before building your knowledge-base utilizing testing frameworks.

  • 33% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone. (Convince & Convert via
  • Subject lines fewer than 10 characters long had an open rate of 58%. (Adestra July 2012 Report)
  • Recipients often only read the subject line or the first few lines of an email. Include your CTA early on in your email.

It's not a question if the mobile revolution is upon us (because it already is!), but how your organization will embrace it (hint: think content strategy).

  • In a world where smartphone penetration in the US has reached 55%, marketers can no longer afford to think of email messages in terms of "mobile" and "non-mobile." The reality is that subscribers will likely view your messages on a wide variety of devices—including desktops, laptops, smart phones, and tablet computers.
  • 64% of decision-makers read their email via mobile devices. (TopRankBlog)
  • When planning content for a multi-device experience, your most important content should come first. Think back to the top-down hierarchy taught in basic journalism—what do you most want your readers to see?

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Google launches daily microdonation mobile app One Today

Google One Today screens

Google has launched One Today in the USA, a mobile app that encourages people to give $1 a day to charity.

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Sunday, 25 August 2013

Nonprofit Weekly Roundup: Surprising Twitter Stats, Content Creation, and Media Love for Your Next Event.

This was one of those weeks that will go down in history.

I had the incredible priveledge of attending Hubspot's Inbound Conference in Boston, where I heard encouraging words, inspiring talks, and transformative ideas about the changing face of marketing and what this means for companies, nonprofit organizations, and you and me.

We're in the middle of one of those revolutionary moments. The way we search for and share information has changed. And content is king.

And speaking of content…

Here’s some of this week's best content for the nonprofit industry.

  1. Some People Make Excuses; Others Raise Money – Fundraising Coach, Marc A. Pitman challenges nonprofits to reframe the slow months and use them to catapult their fall fundraising.
  2. 10 Surprising New Twitter Stats to Help You Reach More Followers – On Buffer's Blog, Belle Beth Cooper shares some easily implementable tips on how you can improve the way you reach your followers on social media.
  3. Five Ways to Ensure Your Event Makes Headline News – Kathryn Hall joins npEngange and gives advice on how to make sure your next event gets the love and attention it deserves from the media.
  4. Focusing on Donors, Not the Charity in your Appeals – The Chronicle of Philanthropy shares their monthly podcast hosted by Tony Martignetti. In this short piece, Tony speaks with fundraising consultants, John Lepp and Kimberly MacKenzie about the importance of refocusing your message to be more donor-centric.
  5. Encourage Planned Gifts By Telling a Bequest Story – Claire Meyerhoff, a guest writer on Gail Perry's Fired Up Fundraising Blog, gives suggestions for how your organization can use a bequest story to inspire planned giving.
  6. How to Write Your Way to the Top of Your Industry – this Copyblogger post by Pamela Wilson gives necessary advice on how to start
    creating content. Writer or not, the success of your organization depends on the creation of content that captivates and motivates supporters. You don't have to be a writer, just a person who writes. You can do it.

I hope this next week is a chart-topper for you.

Find me on Twitter and let’s talk about it @MaddieTPlease

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Saturday, 24 August 2013

Five Recent LinkedIn Group Updates Nonprofits Need to Know About

LinkedIn-Groups-for-NonprofWith the launch of new a LinkedIn Groups design, the company resolved one of its most pressing problems – LinkedIn Group spam. Group management had become cumbersome and time-consuming for many admins of medium and large groups. Flagging irrelevant discussions as promotion posts or deleting them altogether can take up to thirty minutes a day and if you didn’t invest the time to get rid of the clutter, then the group would become overrun with spam and lose its appeal to group members. The new design, however, requires people to participate if they want their discussions to get noticed. The mass posting of links as discussions will likely still continue, but without participation, the links won’t achieve “Popular” status.

1. Featured Hero Image

LinkedIn for Nonprofits 1

LinkedIn for Nonprofits 3

2. Increased Spam Control: Popular and Recent Discussion Tabs

LinkedIn for Nonprofits 8

3. Manager’s Choice Selections Prominently Featured

LinkedIn for Nonprofits 2

4. New Group Information Pop-down

LinkedIn for Nonprofits 5

5. Mobile-Compatible

linkedin groups mobile

Related Webinar:

LinkedIn Groups and Company Pages for Nonprofits


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Friday, 23 August 2013

Back to School and Board Governance

When you are starting kindergarten, that first day of school can be very exciting.  You have a new backpack, everything is bright and shiny, all your pencils and erasers are in their place and you just can't wait to wear your new outfit.

Let's fast forward to high school.  It's not cool to want to be cool.  It's more cool to not care.

Mom – "do you need a new backpack?"

Son – "this one's fine."

Mom – "but it's ripped."

Son – "I've got duct tape."

Mom – "What about your shoes?"

Son – "I told you, I've got duct tape."

And off he goes.

The same can be said for your nonprofit.  When you are a new board member, everything is bright and shiney.  You have your new board binder and you show up at every meeting, prepared to take notes.  You know the rules and are determined to be the best board member ever.

Fast forward a few years.  You know the rules but you also know the unwritten rules.  You know what you want done and you don't think you need to care about the pencils and financials.  The nonprofit you serve is doing well, so you can focus on the fun stuff like the website, the gala, the gossip.

Almost daily there's a nonprofit done somebody wrong song.  And, my question is always: Where was the board?  And, the answer is almost always the same.  Worrying about their new outfit and not the important stuff.

Duct tape does not mend a broken nonprofit.  It takes a lot of work to fix your nonprofit when things get broken.

There are basic governance practices that must be followed.  You as a nonprofit board member need to have your backpack in order – calculator for financials, notebook and pens for taking notes and a profound respect for the job that you are undertaking.

A lot has been said about the importance of governance vs. management.  Focus on the mission and not the minutiae.  Let staff handle the details but this isn't always possible.  Small nonprofits need their boards to be the staff, to take care of business.  When that happens, remember the rules you learned in kindergarten.  Listen to the teacher, do your homework and by all means, take a nap.

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Five Ways to Ensure Your Event Makes Headline News

Walk into a coffee shop in any size town, and you will see a bulletin board chock-a-block with posters for charity walks, runs, and similar events. The charity 5K and walk is so common that municipalities struggle to schedule parks and roadways for these events every weekend.

Let's look at ways to make your event stand out from the crowd and grab some headlines. So how do you make the fact that you're doing a 5K or walk into news that's going to get reported? The fact that you're doing a 5K for a worthwhile cause by itself is not news. Nonetheless, you need media coverage of all types to ensure your event's success.

The world of journalism and news publishing is changing rapidly. Here are a few ways to ensure your event gets plenty of love from the media:

1. Find the newsworthy stories within your event. Share these. "We're having a 5K/bike ride/walk this weekend …  it's for a good cause" is not as newsworthy as "couple to marry while running in a 5K for breast cancer research, this is why…". Well played, the second angle can garner news crews with video cameras to cover your event.

2. Write your posts like a news story. The traditional press release has been eclipsed in the modern news cycle. Instead, we want to make it as easy as possible for journalists to see the news potential of your piece, and give a head start on writing the story you hope they will write. (For more on this, check out a blog post I loved, “The Press Release that Made Me Cry”.)

Include the following key items to make it easier for a reporter or blogger to develop your story into a feature, and increase the likelihood of it getting picked up:

  • Direct quotes from "in the know" sources. Original quotes make your story read like news.
  • Photos that help tell your story. Great photos can help ensure your story gets picked up.
  • Ways for the reader to get more information, including contact details and links to event information and dates.

3. Get to know the alternative and "emerging" news outlets and most influential bloggers (known as "influencers") in your area. Look for online community news outlets like that allow individuals to submit local news stories for posting.

Your story could go further than you think, as reporters for established news outlets may be scanning the community sites for newsworthy stories. Here's an example from a small local event:

  • We posted this story to the "Trib Local" (a Chicago Tribune local news blog). The piece had started life as an announcement style press release that we rewrote to convert paragraphs about people into quotes by them. Variations went to other informal news outlets.
  • A reporter for a regional print newspaper, The Daily Herald, called for an interview shortly after the Trib Local piece was published. The resulting story appeared on the front page of the Lifestyle section the weekend of the event, inspiring a good number of individuals to attend.

4. Get ahead of the news so you can "own" the story, a practice often referred to as “newsjacking”. Kivi Leroux Miller gives an excellent primer in “Newsjacking: The New Way to Get Media Attention“.

One story I love shows how an unexpected event can create unimagined media success for your nonprofit if you get ahead of the story:

  • In 2011, runners from the Maryland Half Marathon streamed by the yard where Dozer the goldendoodle sat behind his 'invisible fence.' The intrepid dog broke through the 'fence' and ran with the runners for 8 miles, stopping to lap water from cups at aid stations, finishing the race at the 2:14 mark. He eventually made his way home – happy, tired and dirty – the morning after the festivities, leaving his owner to puzzle out what had happened.
  • That would have been the end of the story, except the University of Maryland Cancer Center that produced the half marathon worked with the owner to tell Dozer's story and gain priceless publicity for the event. They gave Dozer a ceremonial finisher medal and set up a fundraising webpage for Dozer. The calls and requests for interviews started pouring in. Dozer got his own Facebook page. He became a media darling, with stories and interviews with Dozer and his owner on ESPN, the Today Show, the Baltimore Sun, and countless media outlets and blogs across the world.
  • You can't pay for that kind of publicity. Dozer's fundraising page raised over $25,000 for cancer research that first year. Dozer had an official role in the Maryland Half Marathon in 2012 and 2013. He was a gift that kept giving, as the nonprofit handled their “star performer” quite well indeed.

5. Create a "surround sound" effect with Facebook and Twitter. Social media channels are essential tools for extending your reach.

  • Facebook: If a journalist checks Facebook for additional information, will they find facts, stories and other valuable information about your event?
    • Make sure the posts about your event stand out on the organization Facebook page.
    • Create a separate Facebook page for your event, if warranted, to allow you to build a community around your event.
  • Twitter: Connect and interact with influencers in your community through Twitter.
    • Network with influential Twitterati who can share your story and spread the word about your activities.
    • Tweet the same angles you're promoting on your Facebook timeline and news releases; keep the messages coordinated, but make them appropriate to the medium.
    • Use relevant hashtags. Have an event hashtag that lets people tweet about the experience preparing and participating, but also broadcast messages to a wider audience by using existing hashtags that relate to the cause your event supports.

The days of monolithic media outlets and sources are gone. All of the methods described above build on each other to help you create the buzz about your event that you need to make it stand out from the crowd.

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Innovation and the voluntary sector: live discussion

On 12th September between 1-3pm, the Guardian Voluntary Sector will be holding a live discussion about innovation in fundraising.

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