#SOCIALMEDIA: Facebook Quietly Rolls Out ‘Gifts’ & Nonprofits Can Get Them Too

Message of a Facebook Gift

Didn’t Facebook develop Android integration?

Over this past spring Facebook has been expanding its Gifts service as a way to offer presents to family and friends. The service can be activated by clicking on the bowed gift box that appears on your organization’s News Feed or on the page of the person or nonprofit you want to give the gift to. Though the service is being touted as a way to connect to individuals and help them celebrate birthdays, milestones, promotions, etc., Facebook Gifts also offers opportunities to make donations to a small but growing number of nonprofits. How far will the service expand?

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#FUNDRAISING: Mobile Platforms For Donations Have Pros & Cons

iPhones ofer text donationsThat mobile communications devices like smart phones and tablets are the platform-of-choice for most people around the globe is a truism. Ever more business is being conducted over such devices as well, especially over tablets − and by ‘business’ we mean logistics, orders, and purchases, not just business calls.

Nonprofits have appreciated the impact of mobile devices for their work as well. The Red Cross’s famed text-to-donate drive after the Haitian earthquake of 2010 stands as one of the best-known early examples of such fundraising. But as the platform grows in scope and matures in form, what are some of the options out there that fit best with your nonprofit’s needs?

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#FUNDRAISING: Does Your Nonprofit Need Help Keeping Up With Its Growing Donor Base?

Open-Source CRM Package

OpenPetra’s Client Screen

Just this past week Idealware published its 2013 Field Guide to Software for nonprofits and charities. The staff at Idealware demarcate a number of areas that nonprofits and software developers have been collaborating, such as social-networking management, and gives reviews and how-tos on some of the solutions in the market. The book can be had via Amazon ($25) or directly from Idealware’s site ($20).

As you know, though, MKCREATIVEmedia has been tracking software developments for our clients for a number of years now, and we want to share some recent developments in the field of Customer Relations Management software (CRM). In particular, we have found some open-source and free platforms well worth considering to manage your donors and volunteers.

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Online Donations Up; Email Response Rates Down

The annual eNonprofit Benchmarks Study from M+R Strategic Services and NTEN had good news and bad news. On the plus side, the survey of 55 national nonprofits found a 15% increase in email list size, online fundraising revenues were up 21%, and social media is reaching more supporters than ever (with Twitter followers up 264%). On the other hand, email response rates dropped, especially on fundraising appeals (-21%).

Why? The authors note that the response rate decline is a long-term trend, in part a reaction to nonprofits that keep sending email to unresponsive addresses.  Then there’s Pale Shadow Syndrome, a theory I just concocted on the spot, which holds that successful innovators attract imitators who are but pale shadows of the originals, and audiences just get bored.



#DEVELOPMENT: How Much Cash Is Required To Land A Donation?

Woman charts customer relationships

What does it cost?

How often do nonprofits reach out to donors potential and actual online, yet have no real sense of how successful the outreach was? Did the time and money spent developing a program or launching a campaign prove to be worth the support? Dan Norris, founder of the online-analytics service Informly offers a tool to help you make that call. He also recently posted his somewhat-scientific results on using his ‘Cost Per Acquisition‘ (CPA) calculator to see what kinds of costs he was incurring to get people engaged with his for-profit business. Let’s see how the costs to acquire customers or donors can prove strikingly steep.

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#FUNDRAISING: Causevox Improves Online Outreach & Fundraising To 2.0

Widgets to turn on or off

Easy-to-customize donation pages

We have often sung the praises of the online charity-site platform Causevox. And we do so again as the good folks at Causevox have released a significant series of upgrades and integrations in version 2.0. It moved out of beta last week, allowing any charity or nonprofit to take advantage of the expanding toolbox. This is how the programmers put it last week on the company blog:

We found out that the key to success for online fundraising this decade is easy customization, community engagement, and content marketing. Our existing platform couldn’t accommodate that vision, so we scrapped it and developed, from the ground up, a new and improved CauseVox.

CauseVox 2.0 is our first step to revolutionize online fundraising.

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#VIDEO: Ken Sterns’s Book Offers Tough Love To Nonprofit Economy

Ken Sterns, former CEO of NPR, challenges the nonprofit sector

Ken Sterns, former CEO of NPR, challenges the nonprofit sector

Ken Sterns has served as CEO of National Public Radio, arguably one of the best-known nonprofits in the country. He supports The American Red Cross, and has served on the boards of a number of charities. So when his book, And Charity for All argues that the nonprofit sector is a huge part of the American economy, yet the least productive sector as well, people listen. And they should.

Mr. Sterns was recently interviewed at The Huffington Post, as he joined a roundtable (‘multiscreen’) discussion that included Alexander Berger at GiveWell; Dr. John Brothers, founder of Quidoo Consulting; and Rigo Sabarino, President and CEO of St. Barnabas Senior Services. The interview begins with him throwing down the gauntlet, wondering if the nonprofit community is even worth preserving.

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#INTERVIEW: Paul Jolly of Jump Start Growth Helps Us Plan for the 2013 ‘Ask’

Our interview with Paul Jolly

Paul Jolly, President of Jump Start Growth, Inc.

This past December, Paul Jolly, President of Jump Start Growth, Inc., talked about the spiritual side of fundraising, and how he works with nonprofits to help them appreciate the motives and desires of big donors. Paul’s company has many years of experience to bring to organizations that are trying to improve their success rates with big donors.

Today we are excited to bring you part two of our interview with Paul. We shift directions just a bit in this conversation to talk about the near future of fundraising. What seems to be the lay-of-the-land for 2013? What technological/communications developments should we keep our eye on? What is developing on the Jump Start Growth website for the new year?

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#FUNDRAISING: Paul Jolly of Jumpstart Growth Explores The Spiritual Side Of Donors

Paul Jolly's fundraising organization

The soul of fundraising

Raising money for a nonprofit or charity is tough work. With the focus of the organization on fundraising, it is not surprising that outreach tends to focus on the numbers (the thousands who benefit from the nonprofit’s work, the millions required to keep such work going, the hundreds of people asked to give…). In this first part of our video interview with Paul Jolly, Founder and President of Jump Start Growth Incorporated, we learn that the numbers really should be the last concern of a nonprofit or charity, not the first. For Paul and Jump Start Growth, the first concern is the personal, the spiritual, connection between the donor and the cause she or he wants to support. Where is your organization’s focus?

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A Tool That May Help With Donor Retention

The fundraising statistics are bleak. A new study from the Association of Fundraising Professionals finds that:

  • For every $100 nonprofits raise, $100 is lost through attrition.
  • For every 100 new donors, 107 donors drop off.
  • Only 31% of 2009 donors gave again in 2010.

But help may be on the way. Jay Love, founder of eTapestry, has launched a new constituent relationship management (CRM) software product, Bloomerang, that is designed to be low-cost, easy to use, and aimed at both acquisition and retention. It won favorable reviews from two prominent fundraising consultants, Marc Pitman and Roger Craven.

Nonprofit Scandals Are Hurting Your Bottom Line

First it was CNN’s investigative reports on a veterans organization that paid its direct mail fundraiser $60 million in fees to raise $56 million. That got the attention of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. In June CNN found that the same fundraising firm kept most of the $25 million it raised for the SPCA. Last month Bloomberg News ran an expose on telemarketing fundraisers for major national charities who keep 85% or more of what they raise. When prospective donors asked telemarketers what percentage went to the charity, the scripted answer was 70% or more.

Now you’ve got a problem. Even if you don’t use outside telemarketing or direct mail services, you could pay the price for donors’ diminished trust in nonprofit causes. Prospective donors have more reasons to hang up on all telemarketers – even when volunteers do the calling – and to toss out all direct mail, unopened – even if you produce it in-house.

You need to shore up donor confidence in your organization, and that takes transparency. Explain how much of their money goes directly into your programs. Share stories that show how their dollars make a difference.Give them reasons to believe, and remember to keep it donor-centered. It’s about them, not you.

Here’s help: Guidestar has produced More Money for More Good, a free guide to communicating your impact and performance to donors.

#INTERVIEW: Rob Wu of Causevox Tells Us About Developments In Online Fundraising

CauseVox online donor acquisition

Causevox moves to version 2

Rob Wu is co-founder of Causevox, an online social-media and donor-acquisition platform, and he and his team have been working hard over the last number of months moving the online system to 2.0. We had the pleasure of talking with Rob a year or so ago, when Causevox first went live. The focus then was to create a ‘turn key’ website/social-media hub for nonprofits, which allowed them to customize the look and feel of the site to fit their ‘brand’ while also enjoying some advanced features like bulk emailing and email subscription captures.

The success of the platform has been phenomenal, as charities working from Africa and to the southwestern US have gotten connected with Causevox and have raised many tens of thousands of dollars over the last year. But the New-York based staff has not been sitting on its laurels. Let’s hear what Rob has to say in this first interview.

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#PHILANTHROPY: Evidence Of ‘Emerging Charitable Markets’ & How To Tap Into Them

Younger philanthropists want to be reached personallyAn article on yesterday’s E-Jewish Philanthropy caught our eye because the authors did a really interesting bit of research into the top givers in US in this calendar year. The study by Robert I. Evans and Avrum D. Lapin demonstrates how useful a careful parsing of statistics can be for fundraisers, and how that parsing can uncover shifting trends in the philanthropic world.

The ostensible foundation of their work was to try to explain why some 130 of the wealthiest Americans on the famed Forbes 400 list are Jewish, yet only about thirty of them have given gifts that break into the list of top donors as compiled by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. They have discovered not so much a shift in the habits of giving among Jewish donors but demographic and economic shifts that are opening what they call ‘emerging charitable markets.’ Who is participating in these markets?

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#FUNDRAISING: Paul Jolly Inspires The Big Ask To Raise Big Money

Nonprofits often ask for too little support

If you ask for less, you'll get less (and work harder on fundraising than on your projects)

We welcome back Paul Jolly, Director of Jump Start Growth, Inc., a nonprofit fundraising and consulting firm in Washington DC. Today, Paul tells about the importance of breaking the sound barrier.

Many good therapists will tell you your achievements are limited only by your attitude.  Organizations, as well as individuals, may have a mindset that limits what they can accomplish. Which means they work harder for less.

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#DEVELOPMENT: Social-Networking Is Good, But Conversation-Building Is Better

Social networks and the power of one Difficult to say that social networks have already grown to be mature means of communication. Moreover, some platforms shoot wide and far (vis Facebook for everyone), while others target a specific subset of the social-media community (vis Epernicus for the scientific community). Figuring out how to negotiate those platforms can seem daunting. But we have some advice that might help ease the stress of trying to reach everyone. Don’t try to reach everyone. Well, it’s not quite that simple.


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