Author Archives: Seth Eisenstein

How to Pass Your School’s Fundraising Test

School Fundraiser

Over the past few years, US schools have faced severe budget cuts. The budget allocated per pupil at the K-12 and also in college levels has come down at an alarming level. As a result, more and more institutions are now turning to their own fundraising programs and activities to fill the shortage. In this age of active presence and influence of social media the older methods of fundraising are proving to be insufficient and, to some extent, inefficient. Schools have been raising funds merely by selling products like candy, popcorn or gift wraps but they cannot fulfill even 25% of the fund requirements of the schools.

When your institute needs funds for purchasing classroom supplies or essential equipments such as printers, computers, equipments for the science labs or art and music instruments, the amount runs in thousands and you cannot think of collecting the amount just by selling small gifts – you need a scalable fundraising solution!

Here are a few key questions you should ask yourself when selecting a tool for your next school fundraising campaign:

  • Can you design a campaign either for a specific cause such as buying classroom supplies, PTA fundraiser or crowdfunding for tuition?
  • Can you start your campaign as a teacher, student, parent or an administrator?
  • Does the donation platform work well for both individuals and non-profit organizations or institutes?
  • Can you design a customized campaign and easily spread it through contacts and groups or social networks?
  • Are there analytics to help you to modify your strategy for better results?Can you customize/personalize the fundraising tool for your specific institute easily?
  • Can donors earn points for the money raised/ donated and earn rewards/ prizes?
  • Is the donation page you create mobile friendly?
  • Can the school generate a cost report showing how the money was spent at the end of the campaign?

If you can answer YES to most of these questions, congratulations – you are well on your way to passing your school’s fundraising test with flying colors!

For information on how easy it is to set up a fundraising campaign customized for your educational institution and their specific needs, please reach out to Missio – we would be thrilled to help you support your school and its many needs!

Tips for Raising More Money at Fundraising Events

As we move into the holiday season, people are generally in a giving mood and it’s a great time to throw a memorable fundraising event! Organizing a fundraising event can be time consuming and expensive, but if your planning is right, you’ll get back an amazing return from your donors.

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Tips for organizing a great fundraising event

A lot of planning goes into the arrangement of any fundraising event. Here are a few quick tips that should help maximize your efforts BEFORE the day of the event.

  • It is important that you establish a quantitative goal for your event. This will allow you to conduct the event in a manner so that your goal is reached.
  • Identify your target audience and invite the guests accordingly – this could be a time consuming task, but it’s well worth the effort. You will need to optimize your database of potential donors and ensure that as many of them as possible attend your event.
  • Have your event promoted using a variety of different media. Sending emails or WhatsApp messages cost next to nothing and you should fully utilize these platforms. Facebook and Twitter should also be used for these communications so that a larger audience gets to know about your event. Encourage your social media followers to reply to invitations and constantly share the event with their friends and colleagues.
  • Even after the invites have gone out, your marketing activities for your fundraising event shouldn’t stop. Focus on periodic pre-event communications so that your audience is excited to be part of your event.
  • Have your fundraising goal clearly mentioned in your invites and in all your associated marketing activities.
  • If this invite list needs calling (apart from sending the invites through email etc.), you should have volunteers assist with calling your guests to maximize attendance.
  • Practice the execution of the event so that it sails through smoothly – trial runs are a must if you want your fundraising event to succeed.

How to raise more money during your fundraising event

Your event should have a range of exciting activities that your audience is going to enjoy. Let people participate in challenges, singly and in groups, and interact with each other. A happier audience is bound to lead to more money being raised.

Live auctions tend to work wonderfully well in fundraising events and you should have your own. If you have an auction going on, be sure that you keep the momentum going throughout the auction. If there are too many items to be sold, the momentum tends to slacken after a while, something you cannot afford. Stick to a time timeline for the auction portion of the evening, and put up the best items for sale.

Last but not least, you should have your pledge campaign in place during your event. The pledges can be shown live using technology and your MC should be able to holler and motivate more and more guests to make their pledges during the event. Once the pledge wheel starts rolling, the momentum does build, but you need someone to keep the action running at full-speed all the time.

Make your audience feel important and ensure you send them a “Thank You” note immediately after the event conclusion – this will ensure that your donors feel proud of the work that they have done!

In the end

Fundraising is the best way to ensure that your goals are met. When a lot of people contribute towards a goal, the individual contributions are well within the budgets of most. A nicely conducted event where you have plenty of action for your guests gets them into a giving frame of mind. And it is at this moment that your volunteers should urge them to make their pledge. Follow these tips, and there is no reason why your fundraising event will not be successful.

Interested in easy solutions to manage your event volunteers, create fundraising events, and sell tickets online? Missio can help! Contact us to find out how.

5 Best Practices of Peer-To-Peer Fundraising Online

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5 Best Practices of Peer-To- Peer Fundraising Online

Peers are often your best friends and if you need help, your peers are usually the ones who come forward. This is also true for fundraising! The Digital Giving Index has already established that 18% of all funds raised online is through P2P campaigns. Even a Stanford Social Innovation Review study has revealed that 50% of the donors prefer social networks for making donations because they find transacting easier and transparent. Today you have smartphones and social media and it is fairly easy for you to leverage these and other technologies for effective fundraising.

All this taken into account, fundraising still requires those age old skills – you need marketing, you need sales skills and you need to present your proposition effectively for people to sit up and notice your campaign. There are those who think that they cannot sell; that they don’t want to annoy their peers and contacts and that they cannot bring themselves to beg for funds. But all these thoughts are states of mind – when it comes to peer-to-peer fundraising, there are effective techniques that help you. Combine these techniques with online technology and you can sail home easily.

Since we are talking about online fundraising here, we will not get into the basic strategies that include setting your goals and all that. We will straightaway dive into the online strategies that can help kick-off your online peer-to- peer fundraising campaign.

1. Use the best peer-to-peer fundraising platform

There are several peer-to-peer fundraising platforms that help you enlist supporters in your local community. Using these platforms, your supporters can tell their stories using an online platform. Plenty of multimedia can be added to the online platform to make your campaign effective that creates impact on the viewers’ mind. Also, social media can be used to popularize it. A dynamic progress meter shows how much fund has been raised so far and the way to go to achieve the target – prompting people to contribute. All the pages in the online platform can be linked to the donations page.

As far as picking the peer-to-peer fundraising platform is concerned, concentrate on a platform that has integration options, can be customized for mobile phones and offers you reports and analytics. Missio has focused on providing next-generation fundraising solutions to handle all devices and make sharing your donation pages easy and highly effective.

2. Use visuals

Nothing tells a story better than visuals and the biggest advantage of using an online peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is that you can use all the photos and videos that you want. Let people talk about their experiences, add sound bytes and include plenty of photos of successful campaigns that document your sincere efforts. 52% of marketing experts say that nothing beats videos when it comes to marketing ROI and this is something that you should seriously consider! As far as promoting your content is concerned, social media is always there to help amplify your cause.

3. Use gamification for your supporters

One of the best things about peer-to- peer fundraising is that success is not considered as sales success but as an act of humanity. Gamification is one of the best tools for you to use to bring in competitiveness among your supporters and this can be done online. You can encourage team fundraising through gamification where you have a leaderboard and badges on completion of certain milestones. The kind of intensity gamification brings to peer-to-peer fundraising is seen to be believed and you will fall in love with the concept instantly.

4. Use the right online tools

Who says that email campaigns have lived their life? When you have your emails designed effectively and have a strategy in place for the distribution of the emails, there will be no dearth of donations. Have your distribution list in place and do a lot of things with the recipients – talk about the need for funds, tell them about your progress, let them see how their money is benefiting those who are in need and subtly ask them to contribute.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can do wonders for your online peer-to- peer fundraising. And the best part of using social media is that you don’t need to invest a lot – a bit of innovative thinking and dedication to the cause and your campaign is surely going to see the light of success.

5. Use expert help

An online platform for peer-to- peer fundraising cannot be done by you writing a few lines and adding photos and videos. There are strategies that need to be put in place and you need a design that compels people to donate. For all this, you need someone who can design the platform in the most effective manner. And don’t forget mobile optimization because more people access the internet on their handheld devices than ever before. This does take some money but believe me, the results can be astoundingly effective!

Online peer-to-peer fundraising helps you interact with your proposed donors without meeting all of them face-to-face. It is all about appealing to their humanitarian side in an interesting manner. The job is not difficult – you just need to put your heart and mind into your fundraising effort. Technology can do wonders for your online peer-to- peer fundraising and using these means mentioned here, no target is unachievable.

To learn more about how Missio’s peer-to-peer fundraising solutions can help you spread your mission farther and faster, please Contact Us!

Ten Tips for Running a Successful Nonprofit Organization

When advocating for the causes you care about, you have to ensure that your non-profit organization is effective, efficient and achieves its goals. Here are ten tips to making that happen.

1. Have a clear vision, mission statement, principle of change, and performance metrics.

If you can’t clearly define (in ten words or less) the outcome you want your nonprofit to create for the world, you need to create a very short description that gets your mission across. Once you have your goal, your organization needs to be very clear regarding how you will specifically achieve your goals. Put simply, plan your work and work your plan. It needs to be clear, succinct and achievable. Literally make a “to do” list and a reasonable timeline to go with it that will enable you to hit your marks. Specify the resources you will need and the system of measurement you will use to check your performance.

2. Say “NO” to every good idea.

There is never enough time, talent or “fortune” (i.e. money) to do everything that any organization wants to do. While you want to be flexible and adaptable in bringing new ideas to the forefront, the most important tool in your tool chest is the word “no.” It is critical to be disciplined enough to only say “yes” to GREAT ideas. This means at times you must say “no” to your board, staff members, important donors and even family and friends who will bring you good ideas that will take you off task. It takes a thick skin to say “no” so often. Especially when it means saying “no” to those who care and are productive members of your team. However, you must keep yourself and your team focused on making breakthrough results happen. In no uncertain terms stay on the wall and don’t let anyone push you off of it. The more you say no and have a good reason for saying no, it will become easier for you to say and not feel guilty about it.

3. Perfection is the enemy of the “good enough.”

Once you are implementing your focused “great ideas,” don’t let your desire for perfection stand in the way of achieving solid performance outcomes. Good results on a great plan are always faster, more efficient and effective than perfection. Perfection is too unhurried to achieve in a rapid 24/7 environment.

4. Work backwards from the finish line.

Determine the goal you want to achieve, and then work your plan and timeline backwards from your goal. If you can’t get to your finish line of victory (however you define it) with the time, talent and treasure you have, go back to the drawing board and re-do your plan. Always make sure that your timeline is realistic.

5. Remember to K.I.S.

K.I.S. stands for “Keep It Simple.” If your overall theory of change (how you will achieve your breakthrough results) can’t be fit onto one page, it is way too complicated. Meet with your team and figure out how to streamline the process.

6. Lead from the front

A real leader spends the vast majority of their time doing things that only they themselves can do. This lesson is one of the hardest for leaders to follow because when you are the boss it is very tempting to do the things that come easiest to you and/or are the most fun. But you need to figure out your own role and how best to maximize your time. The rest must be delegated to others who can play other roles. Additionally, a leader should be one of the hardest workers on the team. You need to set an example for those who work alongside you.

7. There is no “I” in team.

A leader can’t afford to lose track of “life in the trenches”. Be willing to take the time now and then to put away the dirty coffee cups, fold and stuff some letters and/or dial for dollars with the team. Praise those who are doing a good job. Reward excellence. Put specific performance benchmarks and goals into every job description and every human resources evaluation. Invest in training for your staff and key volunteers. Celebrate success. The people who work for you, work hard. Let them know that you notice how much they care and how hard they work. For every criticism be ready to have 3 things you can praise the individual for.

8. Under promise and consistently over-deliver.

There is nothing that donors, stakeholders and coalition partners like better than working with people and organizations that get the job done. Elaborate promises are only counter-productive. If you over promise and don’t deliver people will think that you are not trustworthy. Make sure that you are realistic in what you promise.

9. Don’t forget to take a vacation.

Many of you are saying… “I can’t do that. What will they do without me?” Real results can take a marathon, not a sprint. Time away from the office can be the best thing possible not only for you, but also for your workplace. Breaks enable you to take a step back and re-evaluate people, processes and performance outcomes. The best ideas for work are often made far away from the office. If you don’t take a break and get away you will stop seeing the forest for the trees.

10. Smile.

Work, no matter the hours and intensity, should be fun. People should be nice to each other all up and down the “ladder.” Leaders with a “glass half empty” temperament are best at leading people over a cliff. Leaders with a “glass half full” mentality will get more productivity and positive outcomes from their teams. After all, life is short. Why not make it fun?

I promise if you put these ten tips in place you will begin to see major changes for the good and greater success.

Qualities of a Good Fundraiser

pounds-coins-007Recently I was asked… What are the characteristics of people and attributes to look for in a strong fundraising organization. Here are 7 characteristics that are universal for any great fundraiser.

Try rating yourself or your organization’s fundraising culture on a scale of 1 (you do not possess nor practice this trait) to 5 (you have and practiced this trait effortlessly). If you reach a total that is higher than thirty points then you are a superstar as a fundraiser!

Rate the following qualities:

  • Passionate – You share the excitement and joy you feel for your mission. You stop and celebrate all the gifts and the impact they will make. You bring compassion and high energy to every conversation whether it is in person, on the phone, in an e-mail, letters, or on site at events.
  • Integrity – You do what you say you are going to do. You make sure that there is follow through on all requests and offerings to a supporter.  You share facts of effective work and you are transparent about finances and goals.
  • Authenticity – You say thank you and you mean it.  You follow through with actions that support your work. You are an advocate for your mission and an example for other fundraisers and donors to follow.
  • Vigilant – You make an ongoing, concerted effort to build relationships inside and outside of your nonprofit.  You make this a priority for the organization and the leadership team.  You freely share meeting notes with your team and thoughts on next steps for stewardship and follow up. You treat your supporters with respect and appreciation.
  • Extroverted – You need to be friendly. Every week you reach out with at least one phone call to a donor or write a personal note card.  You know that every “ask” and meeting is important. You make sure to reflect a professional image at all times.
  • Systematic – You set goals for a number of meetings (in person), phone conversations and “asks” per month. You have ongoing meetings with staff and a Board of Directors to review accelerators and inhibitors to your nonprofits success.
  • Optimistic – People invest in success and hope.  Make sure to share stories of individuals and the impact of the organization on their lives. When you tug at someone’s heartstrings, they are more than willing to give where funds are needed. They are also willing to tell the story to someone else.

No one ever said that fundraising would be easy. It is one of the most difficult jobs there is. However; if you implement these ideas into your work week you will see great outcomes and you will have the great feeling of knowing that you are part of changing things for the positive.

 

5 Elements of Great Nonprofit Blogs

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When it comes to blogging, do you fire up the computer getting ready to start writing to find that you are just sitting and staring at the computer and not sure what to say? Do you think to yourself…”Oh, great! I need to get a blog on our website. This is the last thing I need today.”? We are here to help with some strategies that will make blogging interesting for you and your readers. There are a few key aspects of a nonprofit blogs that make the great stand out from the average. If you’re looking to achieve a “best-in-class” blog that supports your nonprofit’s cause and inspires your readers, here’s what your organization should keep in mind when striving for a successful, engaging blog.

1) Provide interactive communication.

Not only does your blog highlight your compelling stories, but it should be a place for communicating with your readers and supporters. Simply asking your audience for their input on a blog post or story creates that dialogue. It reminds your readers that there are actual people on the other end, supporting your mission from the inside. A blog is a great place to discuss issues, share success stories, and gain feedback on your content. It’s also a place for your donors to communicate with each other.

2) Tell and share personal stories.

The most powerful blog posts connect the reader emotionally to the story being told especially when they are told through video. Individuals respond on a deeper level when they see something that stirs their emotions. Give your cause a great way to communicate through video. Sometimes the video can be of an event that you held, telling about the success of the event and how much you earned. Maybe you overshot your goal, maybe you were under your goal. The video can strike heartstrings and lead to a donation. This is a great way to make more “asks” through a non-threatening venue.

3) Make Donating Interesting.

Explaining how a donation directly impacts your organization’s mission is sometimes made easier with numbers. You can tie the donation amount to singular units For example, let’s say you are raising funds to purchase mosquito nets. The nets cost $10.00 each. Let your readers know that when someone donates $10, for example, the organization is able to purchase a mosquito net for one child living in a country where malaria and other blood-borne diseases are rampant. THIS WORKS!!!!!!!

4) Thank people for their volunteer efforts.

If your organization has ways that people can volunteer their time, such as sitting on or chairing a committee, fundraising for your cause, or helping out at events, you can use blog posts to highlight their efforts. By spotlighting your constituents and what they have done to help your organization, you get a triple benefit. One, you’re thanking people for their time and effort, which always makes your volunteers happy; two, you inspire others to become involved; and three, when you spotlight people, they naturally tell their friends, family and co-workers through social media and email, which drives even more people back to your blog and spreads awareness instantly. I saw this very thing happen right before my eyes when I was asked to plan a large fundraising event that involved a live and silent auction. I reached out to people through social media and all of the sudden a few volunteers told other people and so on. One day I turned around and realized I had 100 enthusiastic volunteers assisting me with the event! You better believe they were well thanked and appreciated. The next time volunteers were needed for a project or event, I had a slew of volunteers to help.

5) Recruit volunteers and donors to guest blog for you.

You can recruit guest bloggers from your donors, experts in the community, board members, or volunteers. Having guest bloggers is a “win-win” You get your constituents’ personal stories and fresh blog content (without having to write it all yourself); your guest bloggers get to relate why they’re connected to your cause or how your organization is helping them battle cancer, save an animal’s life, retrain for a job, etc. As an added bonus, when a guest blogger writes a post, you can bet he or she will share it with his or her network, increasing your organization’s reach and building your credibility. The best people to spread the word about your nonprofit are those who are invested and who are passionate about your cause.

Here’s to hoping you will get more excited and effective with your blogging. Just start typing and see what happens. You can always delete and start over again.

Work Smarter, Not Harder: A Real World Guide to Fundraising

work-smarter

 Do you find yourself saying the following?

“I’m not good at sales.”

“There’s no way I can ask people for money.”

“I don’t want to annoy my friends.”

“Asking complete strangers for money makes me uncomfortable.”

If you’ve ever uttered any of these phrases, you’re not alone. Even the most successful fundraisers began their journey with excuses not to enter into the world of donation collecting than reasons to actually do it. And why shouldn’t they? It’s an intimidating undertaking  with absolutely no concept of what works and what doesn’t.

I remember the year that I was asked to participate in a walk-a-thon for our local Alzheimer’s Association. I was very excited to be asked to do this and to put together a team of others to walk and raise funds. My good intentions were there, but my follow through was a train wreck. I had no clue what to do. I didn’t want to ask my friends for money. What if they got mad at me? What if they thought I was using them? What kind of sales pitch would I use to approach a large company for funds? These people don’t know me. Why would they want to give me their money?

I finally decided to stop thinking about what I should do and just try doing it I would see what worked and what didn’t work. If the first approach didn’t work, I rethought my plan and tried again asking someone else.

I most definitely learned what NOT to do! I have learned over the years that fundraising is a continual learning curve and if anyone tells you differently, they have never raised funds or they are just plain wrong. Fundraising is a job and no job’s duties and/or requirements ever stay the same year after year. Technology changes and so do the tools available for fundraising. I’m not saying that I have all the answers, but I have done some things right and have used the following tips that I hope will help you.

I have listed a few tips below for nonprofit business fundraising and Peer to Peer fundraising. Simply asking for the donation because you are one awesome person, (while quite possibly true), isn’t going to make their wallets fall open. You have to give them a reason to want to give you their hard earned dollars. Today’s economy is tough. People are finding themselves with less extra funds due to the rise of fuel costs and other variables. Most people are trying to conserve every dollar they can. Your job is to convince  convince them that giving that dollar to your cause is more important than going to Starbuck’s that week. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It isn’t. But it can be done…you just have to commit to it, and by commit, I mean you must be on it consistently. You can’t be sporadic. You have to have a 30 second pitch (elevator speech) to get your message across. You need to have a message that is easy to understand and that will get the donor interested in your cause.

Social Media Is Your Friend

The key to using social media is to utilize your organization’s website. Once you sign up to raise funds, you can go to www.mymissio.com and create a fundraising page for free. USE IT! People are all about convenience and there is nothing more convenient than clicking on a link and entering a donation.  Pick a day (usually Fridays are the best due to it normally being a payday) and be consistent with posting a donation status message. The next paragraph will give you some examples of how to create the message update

The Real World

People are more likely to donate to a cause that they can relate to, or touches them emotionally. Say you are surfing through your news-feed status on Facebook and you see two new statuses from two different friends. One is from “Sue”. Sue is walking for the Heart Walk. Her status reads, “Walking in next week’s American Heart Association Walk. If you would like to, please donate here…” The other is from “Mary”. Mary is walking for the Race for a Cure. Her status reads, “Last year this time, my sister walked with me, with 500 other breast cancer survivors. While she’s not beside me this year, I know she’s above me. Please help me honor her and so many others who lost their fight and those that continue to fight. Follow this link to remember Jane…” Which one would YOU be more likely to donate to? I think that is a pretty easy question to answer.

Make Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Definitely send an email campaign. Be prepared that many people may not read it and delete it. Unless, the email holds a compelling “ask” and looks professional. At www.mymissio.com, we provide you with templates where you can create the look and wording that you want for Peer to Peer fundraising. However; as great as it is, don’t just rely on social media. Write your request in a, hand written note and include a self addressed stamped envelope. It is hard for people to resist opening a hand written note. Plus, you’ve included a stamped envelope, so it would be pretty hard for them to not at least mail something back to you…..and if they don’t….then the cause that you are for is not something that are interesting in donation to. Don’t feel rejected, just move on.

Stir The Pot

Stirring the pot is not meant to be argumentative. A little friendly competition is healthy for the soul and lucrative to fundraising. When raising funds give yourself a challenge and work to beat your challenge of dollars raised. Don’t use the phrase “Please donate.” This phrase is open ended and allows a person time to think, “oh, I still have time, next week.” However, “Please donate by 11pm or I will have to wash my husband/wife/son’s car for a month. Humor and something catchy will get you some dollars you never thought were possible.

Never Give Up

Not everyone you talk to is going to have your vision for the cause you are fundraising for. Don’t take a “no” as rejection. Instead, look at how you asked and see if there is anything you could have said differently. Also, remember that fear is not a reason to not ask for a donation. A very wise person once said to me “Remember, you are not the conscience of someone’s wallet.” That really changed things for me and allowed me to realize that I can’t assume someone will give or will not give. My job is to “ask.”

I wish you all the best as you fund raise for whatever worthy cause it is. Take advantage of the MyMissio.com Fundraising Tool and start creating your fundraising page today for free.

The Year of the Blog!

blogging-employees1Nonprofits, this is the year to start an amazing blog.

You can’t afford to wait any longer. Today, more than ever, a blog is simply one of the best investments your organization can make.

Donors give us gifts. It’s time to give one back. Blogging is the ultimate gift. It benefits you as much as your readers.

Your nonprofit can make a big impact by blogging. Blogging gets the word out about what you do to a wider audience than you could ever hope or imagine.

The great thing about a blog is that it is free. Nonprofits are always looking for ways to save money. Blogging is something that will cost you nothing, but what you will get in return will be amazing.

When writing a blog, there are 3 audiences that you are going to attract:

1. The cheerleader. This is the person who truly believes in your purpose and mission. This person will read anything that you write because they are passionate about your organization. They love your organization and carry your banner with boldness.

2. The casual donor. This person likes your organization. They will talk about your “mission and purpose” to other people if the subject comes up. They may even give a donation from time to time.  These are the people who your blog will make an impact on. It can make them true believers!

3. The hesitant donor. This is the person who might donate a small gift and they know a tiny bit about your organization.  This is a huge target area, because these people may not even remember that they ever gave you a donation. If they start receiving your blog because they are a donor, they may pass on reading the emailed blog the first time. The second time they get your email they will be more inclined to open it and see what the organization is really about. This is your chance to WOW them!

You don’t have to be a GREAT writer, but when blogging you do need to make sure that your blog isn’t too wordy. Make it interesting and give it a personal feel. Using stories about what your organization has accomplished will make your blog stand out.

Try to blog once a week or at least twice a month. In no time you will have many blog followers who will know more about your passion and mission and will definitely have something to talk about. Remember, when you care for and tender and cultivate a garden, don’t be surprised that it might, one day, grow fruit. More donations. More traffic. More fans.

MyMissio™ offers a feature where we can write blogs for your organization. To find out more about this go to www.mymissio.org

 

 

 

Fundraising Through Storytelling

Recently it seems as if there has been a lot of talk  among the nonprofit community regarding the importance of telling the story about your nonprofit. Perhaps this is because when economic times are tough, you have to reach donors on an emotional level for them to believe their giving makes a difference. It has been discovered that 70% of everything we learn is through stories. Perfecting the art, and it is an art, of seeking out real stories and telling them in a way that inspires both you and your donors is the essence of being a fundraiser. Your job as a fundraiser is to connect your cause with both the head and hearts of supporters and enable them to make a difference in the world. Whatever fundraising discipline you specialize in, telling a good story will help you achieve that. Find stories about your nonprofit and practice telling them. Like any skill, the more you practice the better you will be at telling your fundraising stories to inspire your supporters. Here are some tips that I have found that work: Simplify Keep your story simple. Focus on your core message. An analogy can uncomplicated a message. Unexpected Say something unexpected to get attention. Ask questions to hold people’s attention and curiosity. Concrete Be specific. Paint a mental picture with words by using sensory language. Credible Provide compelling details, whether its research and statistics, the name of an industry expert, or something down to earth about the difference you are making. Research shows that many people respond better when they can link their contribution to providing help to a specific situation or person. Emotional People care about people. People care about situations that they can identify with. There is a range of ways in which you can do. One way is to use your words to tap into the emotions of people by making them feel they are a part of something important. Stories Telling a story helps people see how an existing problem might change and how they could help that change happen. People want to be agents of change. The best stories about your nonprofit are going to be told by the person, organization etc. that your fundraising has affected. How to seek stories You want to have your story give a clear message of success? Your challenge is to continually and deliberately seek stories that inspire you and that you can tell to inspire others. Just like anything else, this needs practice. Practice telling your friends, family, even the mirror. The more you do this the easier it will get. Remember to speak in a way that will bring the story to life. Most of all make sure that your story is not too long. You want to engage the listener without losing them. All the best at Fundraising as you tell your story. MyMissioTM can help you tell your story and raise significant funding for your cause. www.mymissio.org

8 Great Tips for Getting Your Nonprofit’s Message Out

Social Media Messaging Your non-profit has a terrific mission, a wonderful staff, and fabulous resources to offer. Unfortunately, no one knows much about who you are or what you do. And that’s a problem. In order for your organization to reach out to its audience, spread its message, attract donors, and do its important work, it needs to reach out and connect with the wide world. That means writing press releases, running events, and using social media – but it also means following some basic guidelines for effective marketing.

Know your media outlets

If you’re a liberal social action group, you really don’t need to send your press release to the local conservative radio station. If you’re trying to reach a younger audience, you’ll want to reach out through publications that specifically target younger readers. You’ll also be far more likely to get a story published or an event covered if you actually know the media people involved in making decisions about which stories matter. Personal calls, appropriate press releases, photographs and videos can all encourage the media to pay attention to you.

Don’t preach to the choir

Your organization is pushing hard for a change in public policy relative to job access for people with disabilities. Your supporters are likely to be people with disabilities, their friends, and their family. They already agree with you. If you want to have your message heard, you need to tell people outside your immediate support group – people who disagree, or haven’t yet heard what you have to say. Of course, there are many ways to reach new listeners, but you can be pretty sure that they’re not already on your mailing list.

Use Social Media Effectively

All too often, non-profits start up a blog, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts – and then ignore them. That is about as effective as writing and publishing a brochure, and then shoving it into your desk drawer. The purpose of social media is to engage – socially – with other people, and if you don’t have the time or expertise to really use social media, you’re better off sticking with traditional media. If you do intend to use social media, though, make sure you assign someone the job of writing the blog, Facebooking, and tweeting on a regular basis, answer questions, engage in conversation, and generally make the most of the tools at hand. Social media is useful when it’s used correctly – but when someone connects with your organization through social media and is then ignored, they won’t be coming back through another, more traditional door.

Make your message actionable

Whether your call to action involves donating money, calling a policymaker, coming to an event, or quitting smoking, the bottom line is that you want someone to do something. The best way to make that happen is to make action very easy. Some organizations do this by providing e-postcards that can be sent to politicians with a couple of mouse clicks. Others provide quick and easy access to online or telephone registration, donation, or publications. Whatever your approach, be sure that the person you’re connecting with finds it quick and easy to take the action you have in mind.

Know your audience

Who are the people who engage with your programs, services, or projects? Why do they need you, agree with you, or care about you? How old are they? Where do they live? Are they men or women, gay or straight? What’s their ethnic and demographic status? All of these bits of information will help you to communicate effectively with the people you care about most.

Have a voice

Every organization has a unique voice. Universities tend to speak in a scholarly but positive tone about their offerings and the opportunities they provide to young people. Social service groups tend to be folksier in their tone, and more personal in the stories they tell. Political groups use a lot of action words, and present themselves as serious, engaged, and energetic. What is your voice like? Not only should you know the answer to that question, but the same answer should be shared by everyone in your organization.

Collect names and contact information where and whenever you can

You run a fabulously successful event, and hundreds of people attend. They all seem to be having a terrific time. Then they all go home. Who were they? If you didn’t collect their names, contact information, and basic personal details, you’ve missed a golden opportunity. The people who take the time to get in their cars and show up are your “family” – the folks who will support you financially, morally, and politically. Take the time to know their names!

Offer human contact

When communicating with your audience, be sure to include information about how to reach a real person to get further information, sign up for events or programs, or otherwise take part in your organization’s activities. While some people are quite comfortable communicating with an answering system or website, others are put off by impersonal treatment. And even those folks who would be happy to interact with your website are likely to be more fully engaged with your work after they get off the phone with a real person who answers their questions and provides helpful, positive support and information.

At MyMissio, we have the tools that can help your message reach farther and wider.

www.mymissio.org