Get your lower-budget audience involved on Giving Tuesday

As a nonprofit, of course you want donations on Giving Tuesday, and a lot of your attention goes towards that. However, according to the independent sector, the financial value of a volunteer working in the U.S. is $23.07 per hour. Moreover, volunteers are twice as likely to donate as non-volunteers (GiveGab Blog). This goes to show, it’s a financially-sound investment to find ways to get people involved without their cash. Mashable posted “How to make an impact on Giving Tuesday when you’re strapped for cash” by Katie Dupere, and we thought we’d share some of her ideas.

What can you encourage your audience to do on Giving Tuesday, besides donate?

1. Make actual plans to volunteer

Encourage your audience to make concrete plans to volunteer. Rather than just saying they’ll do it eventually, they can take a pledge on Giving Tuesday to volunteer that month or volunteer on they day itself.

Resources: Giving Tuesday’s website, VolunteerMatch, or Mashable’s post on how to find volunteer opportunities online.

2. Offer their skills

If you’re like many nonprofits, you are likely understaffed, leaving you with a need for volunteers specialized in marketing, design or finances. Even an upcoming event with a talented knitter or singer could be beneficial. Encourage people to donate their skills over their dollar.

3. Create their own fundraiser page

One of the reasons nonprofit charity:water is a four-star nonprofit on Charity Navigator is largely due to their ability to have people fundraise for them. Anyone with a Facebook page can do this. Teach them how with Facebook’s help.

4. Try out an easy tech hack

VocaliDTab for a Cause, and Freerice are all tools that can help an internet user raise money over time. They can simply browse the web and still help fundraiser for your nonprofit.

5. Speak up for your cause

Maybe the current reader of your nonprofit’s content doesn’t have any cash to spare, but it’s likely they know at least one person who does. This one person might not know about your charity, even if it’s a cause they could get behind. Encourage your audience to simply retweet or share your message. Challenge them to retweet your #GivingTuesday post.

Check out how the U.N. Foundation is challenging their users to get involved on social media.

As you navigate Giving Season and Giving Tuesday, don’t forget the folks who would love to help, but don’t see the many ways in which they can give.

5 reasons for nonprofits to be thankful – November Nonprofit Marketing News

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Recipe from our team here »)

A reminder of why your nonprofit can be thankful…

– The Nerdy Nonprofit – November 2016 – 

#1. Your own nonprofit work & all the good you do.

Capterra posted “7 Reasons to Be Thankful for Nonprofits.” It’s a sweet and encouraging post you should take a minute to share with your team – especially if you get caught up in the stress of Giving Season planning.

Read the 7 reasons »

#2. This offer from ArcStone to set up your Google Analytics

From ArcStone





We want you to actually use your Google Analytics data come 2017. Find out how we can help you get set up with a customized dashboard and automated reporting.

Learn what’s included »

#3. The unprecedented rise in donations post-election

Article from The Atlantic






After the election, nonprofits report a spike in donations. What can your nonprofit do to meet people’s desires to get involved at this time?

Read more »

#4. A #GivingTuesday guide for procrastinators

Tips from Network for Good

Screen Shot 2016-11-21 at 2.08.23 PM.png




Not ready #GivingTuesday next week? Here are 3 pointers for catching up on the basics, quickly.

Review the tips»

#5 The potential for a better website experience

Post from The Nerdy Nonprofit





Big Brothers Big Sisters had a well-timed redesign. The combination of this and the rise in nonprofit activity post-election resulted in 4X more volunteer signups than they were seeing.

Learn how »

Need help strategizing for 2017? Contact our team today to discuss a few ideas.

Jenna & Chloe

Online Engagement Measurement for nonprofits – An offer to help you understand your site data


I have a nonprofit site… But now what?

What’s driving donations and what isn’t? Why do some volunteers signup through your online form while others do not? Is your message getting across to the right audience? Does your nonprofit website even show up in search results?

These are the questions most nonprofits ask and most don’t have the time to seek out answers for each time they need them.

Imagine opening up a digital dashboard and seeing the numbers you need to know right away. Maybe you’d want to know exactly how many visitors filled out your volunteer form that week compared to last, where they came from or why they left the form page. You’d know where to put your marketing budget, what efforts are working and what isn’t, and would have a better understanding of who is on your site in the first place.

We all know data such as Google Analytics is pretty central to digital marketing these days. We also all know how overwhelming it can be when first opening up a report and not having a plan of action for where to look. All the numbers could be useful to know, but only if you have time to analyze what they mean and then the time to apply them to your digital strategy.

In the end, the power of Google Analytics falls flat as you don’t end up informing many of your decisions with real data.

We want to make your digital marketing decisions easier, backed up by Google Analytics data

We have an offer going to set your Google Analytics account up for long-term benefits.

With this offer we will:

  • Review your Google Analytics account and customize what you view when you open it up
  • Build a report tailored to your strategy, automatically sending a weekly or monthly email update straight to your inbox (to use at your next Board meeting or in your yearly report)
  • Track your most important “Goals” to help you study the performance of your website and measure what strategies are working and what could be improved

Fill out this form to get in touch with our digital strategist, Jenna.

The benefits of having these reports set up for your nonprofit’s Google Analytics include:

  • A clearer understanding of your donors, volunteers and general site user’s
  • A starting point for any of your future site updates, forms, calls to action and landing pages
  • Better metrics for calculating the financial benefit of your website
  • Easy to share reports for your Board of Directors, staff and donors

Example nonprofit Google Analytics custom report: 



Ready to take advantage of your Google Analytics insight?

Sign up for the offer and start the new year off strong (and the many new years to come)»!

The rise in donations after election collided with this nonprofit’s redesign perfectly.


Regardless of how you felt about the turn of events post-presidential election, it’s become evident that since then, post election donations are higher than ever. With this in mind, your nonprofit’s donation and overall conversion potential is also on the rise; the need for a good site with a strong user experience is even more immediate.

To keep up with the heightened web traffic post-election, pre-Giving Season or whatever the busy period may be, there are a few aspects in which your site redesign or tweaks should hone in to improve your user’s experience. One such area? Your web forms.

In fact, a recent project with client Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities highlighted the truth to this and the timeliness of their website redesign with ArcStone. They’ve seen an uptick in volunteerism and donations since the election. One reason they point to is an unexpected referral from a, encouraged people to get involved with a nonprofit like BBBS. See excerpt below:


In regards to the number of people they’ve seen complete their volunteer signup form, Director of Communications and PR, Gail Vold Greco excitedly reported:

“Last we knew, we were at about triple our normal week, and I suspect when I add in the last day we’ll be closer to 4x. It’s amazing and I’m SOOOOOO happy that they’re encountering our beautiful slick new website rather than that old mess.”

Before this success, they were dealing with a higher drop-off rate on their web forms than is ideal. The fact that they were using a non-responsive site likely contributed to this, seeing as 38% of their leads used mobile devices. Think of it: if they had held off on their website redesign, they could have lost many of these new volunteers, leads and potential donors. 

In order to lessen the form drop-off rate, we used a favorite WordPress plugin, Gravity Forms to build their new site forms. For their informational session signup form, mentor referral form and their event signup, we were able to improve the usability of the forms. Another benefit to BBBS is in their easy-to-use CMS, WordPress; tweaks to these forms take a matter of minutes rather what it used to take (all the time and money communicating back and forth with their web developer).screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-2-12-11-pm screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-2-12-21-pm

This goes to show, if you’re debating whether or not your nonprofit can afford to invest in some website tweaks, if not a full redesign, it’s important to take into account how big the return could be, especially if the timing is right. Learn about the full BBBS case study or talk to ArcStone’s team if you think it’s time to make some tweaks to your nonprofit’s site.

Our nonprofit WordPress site design with Big Brothers Big Sisters – Focusing on audience & impact

As a nonprofit, you can probably relate to the following case study. Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities came to us with a tight budget, hefty goals and an outdated site. The site they had was hard to navigate, a pain to update and included unused content that was slowing them down. Most importantly, it wasn’t drawing in volunteers, donors and those that needed their services to the extent to which they knew a new site could. They wanted a site that could speak to their audience and convey the power of their cause.

Where did ArcStone come in?

To start:

Our team of digital strategists reviewed the current standing of the BBBS website through a website audit, content review and audience interviews:

  • Client’s qualms with the site: It was tied to BBBS National’s template, making it not very customized the BBBS Twin Cities’ community
  • First impressions: The initial homepage didn’t stand out from other sites as far as drawing in their audience and communicating their causes’ impact
  • User experience observations: The user paths and site navigation was not as effective as it could be at driving each audience to the right information
  • Site audit: There was several broken links and unused content. Some of the site was slow and not where it could be in terms of SEO
  • Audience interviews: When we interviewed BBBS’ audience, we found they weren’t using the site much – they didn’t find it that helpful or interesting

Our goals:

  • Communicate to their audience & encourage action: We felt the greatest need for BBBS was to understand their four main audiences and design a site that could drive these users to see how great their impact could be.
  • Pare down content & focus on what was working: We wanted the messaging to be clear and engaging. We also wanted to remove the broken links and unvisited pages.
  • Create a powerful design: To pull the user in right off the bat, we decided on a homepage video, a focus on their bright color palette and strong CTA’s.
  • Build an easy-to-use site: In order to allow BBBS the autonomy necessary to keep their site updated and usable long term, we chose WordPress as their platform. This allows for plenty of customization with endless plugins and features – giving them an advanced site without a huge cost down the road.
  • Work with their team and what materials they already had: Knowing that we were working with a nonprofit and being familiar with what this entails budget-wise, we wanted to make the most of the content they already had and their team’s skillset.
  • Meet project timeline and stay under budget: A major goal was making this affordable to their nonprofit with both time and money.

The results:



In the end, we met these goals. Our project manager was able to keep the team functioning collaboratively and efficiently through to the end. The designers collaborated to match the BBBS style guide and incorporate local imagery. Our strategists worked with their copywriter to establish powerful and concise messaging. Our video producer used content that BBBS already had and crafted the homepage video. We helped to guide BBBS through content entry to ensure they kept what was working and transported the content efficiently. Finally, our developers and IT team developed and launched the site.

Their site is now mobile-friendly, it’s easy-to-use and update, and most importantly, it speaks to each audience member in a powerful way, calling them to take action.

After launch:

“Thanks for all your help – including all the above-and-beyond work with the board presentation and project scope changes along the way. It’s truly a delight working with you and the whole Arcstone team.” – Gail Vold Greco

Now that the site is seeing results:

We are SO PROUD of the new site. You make us look good – Gail Vold Greco

Why voter turnout matters to your nonprofit

Image source: Pixabay

Seth Godin wrote a concise and powerful post on the importance of voting – not just for the general well-being of our democracy, but moreover, what it means to the nonprofit realm when people don’t vote.

If we reason that we won’t vote because neither of the candidates are good enough, nothing changes.

This same line of thinking could be applied to nonprofits: none of them are flawless enough so I’m not donating or volunteering. Where would we be if that’s the way we went about our every choice and every change?

I posted more snippets from Seth’s blog below, but be sure to read the full post »

“The easiest way to win an election is to get the people who might vote for your opponent to not vote.”

“The thing is, there has never been a perfect leader. There has never been a flawless president. There are always weaknesses, foibles and scandals.”

“Same thing for the charities we donate to (or don’t), the heroes and mentors we revere, the organizations we’re proud to be a part of.”

“Vote as if you’re responsible, because you are, especially if you don’t vote.”

When writing a nonprofit Unique Value Proposition, think personal value

unique-value-propositions-for-nonprofitsWe all have good intentions when crafting our nonprofit’s Unique Value Proposition, however we often put the focus on us. We get so caught up in defining what our nonprofit is seeking to do (what should be written in our Mission Statement), we forget about communicating why that should matter to our audience.

I came across an enlightening SumoMe article the other day – 26 Value Proposition Examples That Convert Visitors – which illustrated a few points that could be really helpful for nonprofits specifically.

In the end, people are looking to be a part of a nonprofit that fits their needs. This could be their needs as they aim to find help for a loved one or themselves, to do good in the world, or to give back; whatever the reason, it comes back to the user. In this way, your nonprofit’s Unique Value Proposition can’t just be about what you do, but should also include how you help your audience member specifically.

Strong Unique Value Propositions & how your nonprofit can write one.

1. About Us vs. About You

SumoMe found some striking examples to help illustrate this point. Which homepage are you more attracted to when seeking a vacation spot?



Image source: SumoMe

The latter one focuses on who the company is talking to, not just what their business does. It doesn’t neglect to talk about what service they provide, but it does an excellent job of drawing the reader in as the focus of the service.

*Key point: Review your UVP

Your nonprofit can follow suit by ensuring you answer your audience’s questions and convey your value right off the bat. You can also study this by surveying your audience. Interview previous donors, volunteers and other site users and ask them to tell you what value you communicate. Ask them how long it took them to find it. If these responses aren’t what you want them to be, revisit your site’s language and layout.

2. Placing the User Into an Active Role

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Twin Cities worked with ArcStone to launch their site fall 2016. A major challenge to most all nonprofits is their multiple audiences. How do you speak to each of them in your UVP? Big Brothers Big Sisters broke down each of their audiences into their own UVP. An audience member can find which purpose they want to serve and see how they can do it. It’s simple, yet it manages to speak to each user and encourage them to act.


*Key Point: Study each audience member and their specific CTA

It may take some time up, but mapping out each of your audience members and defining how they each are involved with your nonprofit can inform your design. Put yourself in their shoes and then use imagery, wording and CTA’s that would draw them in.

3. Clear & Concise

SumoMe also points out 10 top UVP examples they came across, such as the WordPress homepage below. This is not the time to tell your entire story or explain the nuances of how your organization works. Save that for the About Us page or you blog posts.

WordPress worked with their heading, subheading and call to action to point to exactly what they are offering their audience, quickly. Moreover, they know their audience is made up of both individuals and businesspeople as they address in their subheading. They also include “free” in their heading to emphasize the low risk / commitment – perfect for a busy individual who’s seeking a simple and affordable answer to promote their work.


Image source: SumoMe

*Key point: Get to the punchline quickly

Include language that immediately points to the heart of your organization. Think about what your audience needs to know and state it in as few words as is appropriate. Once you identify your audience’s concerns, be clear about how you are addressing them. Do they want an easy and safe way to donate? State that in your call to action. Are they concerned about how effective they will be in helping your cause? Give them confidence by stating how much volunteers have helped.

Read the full SumoMe article to walk through exercises that help you craft your nonprofit’s Unique Value Propositon.

Interested in redesigning your site? Learn more about ArcStone’s design work with nonprofits.

Nonprofit social media report – best practices before you present to your Board of Directors


Many nonprofit marketers see the value in social media as it builds your community in the digital sphere. However, many nonprofit Board of Directors may not see the value. A possible solution: A quick report that effectively shows the power of social media.

A two part post by Raissa Mendes on Medium illustrates how we can make this social media report happen.

To start your social media report:

1. Establish the criteria with which you’re reporting

First, focus on your goals on social media. Are they more big picture, such as gaining more followers and more traffic to your nonprofit website? Or, are they aimed at driving people to your donation page or engaging with a specific influencer or cause? Map out which numbers matter to you.

2. Determine how often you’ll report on your nonprofit’s social media

Don’t just say you’ll start more reporting and then do it when you find a spare moment every few months. Set a date on your Google Calendar that notifies you bi-weekly or monthly. Some ideas from Mendes includes weekly, every 28 days, every 90 days or every time you launch a new campaign. If your nonprofit is often sporadic in how often you allocate time for social media, you may want to stick with this last option as you will see the most in a targeted campaign.

As you continue building your report…

3. Figure out how you want to phrase your reporting to your Board of Directors

You can use comparative reporting = How something has changed from this month versus last month or the like. This is best for if your nonprofit is trying something new.

Actuality reporting = Look at one specific point in time. How much traffic is coming to your site from a specific post?

Campaign-based reporting = Determine if your campaign has performed well. Has it impacted donations or volunteer sign ups? Have you reached your goals?

Specific numbers your nonprofit can point to:

4. Volume of posts

Monitor how frequently you’re able to update your social media channels and website blog. Is there a positive correlation to this number and overall website traffic?

5. Clicks

The number of times a piece of content gets clicked on could indicate your audience’s interest in the content or the success of a factor like the title or image you chose. There are a few ways Mendes breaks down clicks:

a) Total clicks = “Sum the clicks from each post in a specific date range”

b) Clicks / post = “Total clicks / # of posts”

c) Clicks / followers = “Click per post / total # of followers”

6. Impressions

This is valuable to point out to your Board as it shows them how many sets of eyes are viewing your content. This may include people who haven’t even followed you on social media as many platforms reach beyond existing followers.

7. Engagement

This is one that may get foggy for any Board member who likes specific proof of your social media account’s effectiveness. Engagement includes clicks, shares, likes and comments; to any digital marketer, we know this means our audience is interacting with us, which eventually could lead to a donation or more involvement with your nonprofit down the funnel. However, you may need to explain how this correlates when you report to your Board.

Some interesting ways to track engagement numbers include engagement per post and engagement per follower. This can highlight if your effort to increase post frequency or number of followers directly correlates with how much interaction you get on your accounts.

8. Social Referral Traffic

It doesn’t take a Google Analytics expert to take a look at how much traffic is coming from social media to your website. Once you have this number, you can see how well your social media accounts are performing. If you are analytics-savvy enough to track how social media leads are moving through your site, and you see an increase in donation page visits or sign up forms, you know your social media accounts are taking flight.

What to do with all these numbers:

Now that you have a beautiful amount of numbers, take time each reporting period to draw some conclusions. When you put X amount of time into social media you get X amount of donations. When you invest X amount of your marketing budget into social media, you get X amount of traffic to your website. The more time you take to reflect, the more targeted and efficient you can be with your social media efforts down the road. Eventually, you can show your Board of Directors that the initial investment in social media means you can decrease spend down the road.

Need help setting yourself up with a healthy social media report? Contact ArcStone to speak with our digital strategists.