How to conduct a nonprofit survey & finally understand your mysterious audience

Let’s face it: your nonprofit’s audience can be very mysterious. Sometimes they donate, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they’re excited to be a part of your work and other times you can’t get their attention. Instead of letting yourself become discouraged, we want to encourage you to talk to your audience. Granted, you can’t sit down with each of them to uncover answers to all your questions, but you can conduct a nonprofit survey.

First, why a nonprofit survey?

Maybe you already believe in the power of this type of interaction, but if you don’t, boy do we have a case for you!

Marketing guru, Kissmetrics, points out how it may be true that you can learn a lot by studying data about users out there, but at the end of the day, you don’t get the answers to one very important piece of the puzzle: the why. Why did or didn’t your donor finish filling out the donation form? Why does or doesn’t your volunteer read your email newsletter?

If you can get the answer to these questions, from real users, you’ll have the information you need to start removing any of the obstacles between your audience and the action they take with your nonprofit. You can edit your website forms, tweak your content strategy and rephrase your copy in ways that resonate with your audience.

What’s just as notable about nonprofit surveys is that by taking the time to ask your audience questions, you go from constantly talking at them to opening up the conversation. In doing so, you demonstrate you care how they feel and what they have to say.

How to conduct a nonprofit survey & get the answers that count

1. Select a tool.

First, check the software you currently use to see if they have an option. You may be surprised that the tool was available to you this whole time. Otherwise, ArcStone has used and been satisfied with Survey Monkey and Google Survey. Capterra wrote up a post on five free survey tools for nonprofits to help uncover additional options.

2. Determine where you’d like to place the survey

We recently had a client come to us to check on the best practices for a short survey they wanted to send out. Note that the answer to this largely depends on context—how long the survey is and to whom you’re asking questions.

For this client, they originally thought sending it out in their newsletter would be best, but we advised against it. Instead, we suggested creating a distinct, simple landing page. This way, the survey would be void of distractions and they could lead to it from other sources besides email.

3. Think about how you will use this data

You don’t want to blindly ask questions before knowing where this data will be used.

For example, if you’re using this data for your yearly nonprofit report, you want to ask questions that will get you concrete numbers rather than open-ended responses. If it’s merely an opportunity to receive feedback on your most recent fundraiser, you can ask questions that give your audience space to reflect. With this, it’s likely you’ll get some unexpected ideas as they answer questions you didn’t even think to ask. Be open to these ideas as they could help expand your nonprofit’s creativity.

Similarly, you’ll want to think about who needs this data. If it’s for your Board of Directors, the language used might look different than if it’s for your web team. With each stakeholder, bring them into the survey development stage so you can ensure you’re asking useful questions in an appropriate way.

5. Choose optimal questions to get you honest, useful responses

Surveys rely on a lot of strategy to get answers you need. You don’t have much time before your audience gets bored or busy so your questions need to count. You’ll want to ask specific ones so that your audience understands what you’re looking to know. SurveyMonkey provides templates with tried-and-true survey questions for donors, volunteers and general organization feedback.

You also should avoid asking leading questions like, “why did you like coming to our gala?” Questions like these assume something about your audience which can both turn them away and provide incorrect data.


In the end, you’ll want to ensure your survey sounds like it’s coming from you. Ask questions you would ask if you were sitting down with each and every survey recipient. As you develop the survey, be patient, ensuring each question will get you the information you need to better serve your nonprofit audience. Need assistance setting your survey up? ArcStone’s happy to help! 

Nonprofit branding: 5 pieces to make your nonprofit brand work for you

nonprofit-branding

Branding is not the hottest topic in the nonprofit sector. According to Standford Social Innovation Review, skeptics tend to see it as a “commercial pursuit of monetary gain” or they fear the pursuit of a strong brand will overshadow the pursuit of the greater good. In some ways, such opinions are admirable; no one wants to see the nonprofit realm become commercialized.

However, there are ways to make your nonprofit branding efforts work for you that go beyond monetary gain. If your nonprofit brand had a strong presence – as in public recognition without promotional work – you could advance your cause without as much time and money. If the focus is on creating a brand that pulls on your audiences’ emotions, inspires them to act and, as a result, makes a positive change in the world, it’s a worthy endeavor. In this post, we’ll talk through how you can make your nonprofit brand speak for itself.

nonprofit-branding
Stanford Social Innovation Review

How to build your nonprofit brand

1. Know your objectives

You can be the smartest and most clever branding guru out there, but all the work in the world won’t get you very far if you haven’t honed in on what your nonprofit stands for. A brand is an identity, so when it comes to your nonprofit, your cause is what makes you uniquely you.

This being said, once you determine that, you have to stick to it. If you’re claiming you bring clean water to people in developing countries, you should show that through all your branding and messaging efforts. This might also mean you don’t post images or messages that go off topic – as in a photo of your nonprofit helping at a local food drive.

When your nonprofit is clear about its passion, others can see that and put their passion towards your cause. If your mission is muddled, it’s more likely they won’t identify their commonalities with you.

It helps to write it out. Take time revisiting your mission statement to ensure it’s concise and still represents the actual work your nonprofit does. This post from Nonprofit Hub walks through strong and weak mission statements, what best practices to keep in mind and how to evaluate your own.

2. Master your audience

At the core, your audience is the people who care about your cause. But in reality, your audience is full of various types of people who play multiple roles.

Break down your audience into types – donors, volunteers, Board of Directors, the community, people who need your services. Then study what would bring them to your nonprofit, how they would like to be communicated with, what they want to see and most importantly, how they feel about it all.

Your brand is made up of your nonprofit and your audience’s reaction to it; more specifically, it’s your cause and how your audience feels about how well you’re serving it. If you understand their feelings, your brand can speak directly to those.

Study your audience with our free audience persona ebook »

3. Have a mascot

Ideally, your nonprofit has a CEO or spokesperson who’s charismatic and respected. People love putting a face to a name. They don’t relate to just words on a page.

If possible, sign your email newsletters and messages from this person. Have them write for your nonprofit blog or at least contribute a quote here and there. Include images and video of them partaking in your nonprofit’s work.

nonprofit-brand-spokespersonBill & Melinda Gates

If you don’t have this one leader – not all of us can have Bill Gates – use your people. Your nonprofit has real workers with stories for as to why they care about your cause.

Either way, when your audience sees someone fighting for the rights of others, they may feel the desire to help and fight, too.

4. Highlight your supporters

Similar to needing a “mascot,” your brand needs to show it has fans. If you can highlight people who support your nonprofit, it’s more likely people will be able to identify with you and see themselves as potential supporters and advocates of your cause.

This shows your audience you’re not just talking about your cause. You’re in the community, getting people organized and making an impact beyond your four walls.

nonprofit-branding
Susan G. Komen, Orange County

5. Show your brand consistently

Peter Frumkin at NPQ says one of the best things you can do for your nonprofit brand is to,

“invest serious time and money in a website and collateral materials that truly communicate what you want people to understand your organization does, why it is different from other organizations in the field, and why people should care about the impact you are pursuing.”

Take Amnesty International for instance. They use their black and yellow colors and bold, capitalized font across each of their branded materials. Sure they have a bigger budget than many nonprofits, but it doesn’t take a lot of money to be consistent. In highlighting their brand, every time people see the combo of black and yellow and this font, they think human rights and standing up for others. By putting their brand across these causes, people feel an emotional pull, and hopefully a call to get involved.

nonprofit-branding
Amnesty International USA Homepage

 

nonprofit-branding
Amnesty International Instagram

 

Your challenge:

Instead of putting all your focus on adding more content and features to your site, posting more on social media and getting your name out there more frequently, take a step back. Reassess how consistent your brand is, how much you pull on it for inspiration and whether or not your audience has an emotional feeling from it. If you can bring it all back to a strong brand, the brand will start to do the work for you.

How to run a fundraiser gala – ideas from Charity: Water’s recent $3.2 million success

how-to-plan-nonprofit-gala

Charity: Water’s CEO, Scott Harrison, knew he was taking a risk with his nonprofit’s fundraiser gala plans. He knew he was, “either going to look very stupid in front of 400 people or maybe make them cry” as he admitted in an interview (Fast Company). When searching for how to run a fundraiser gala, a lot of answers will point to how to organize it all and how to ensure you feed your guests (which is no doubt important). However, Charity: Water’s example highlights the need to take a chance and think outside the box.

Recap of Charity: Water’s gala

According to an article featured in Fast Company, the gala took place in a glass atrium at Temple of Dendur, which was filled with a candlelit glow. At each table was a locked iPad on which a photo and name of a resident from Adi Etot, Ethiopia was displayed – each guest having their own individual from the community.

After dinner, Harrison got on stage to talk about their work and to show a video of life in Adi Etot. Then he instructed attendees to type in the iPad password, “together,” which unlocked more photos of the person they had seen on the lock screen. Once a person donated the suggested $30, the screen above the stage showed the person’s grayed out photo become colored. This was the first way they highlighted the impact each individual donor has.

But Harrison was just getting started. The screen then changed to live footage of Adi Etot, featuring the people the gala’s guests had just seen on their iPads. They were surrounding a drill. Suddenly, the geyser of water was activated, spreading water over all of the people there. Everyone was cheering – those in Adi Etot and those at the gala. Many of them, including Harrison, had tears streaming down their face.

All Harrison said after that was, “I don’t really have much to say. I’m glad that worked,” adding, “You don’t get a handbag or a trip to Telluride. You get nothing out of this except knowing that you can truly, truly impact the lives of people thousands of miles away.”

It worked. By the end of the night they had raised nearly $3.2 million.

How the gala idea came to life

In order to pull of such an act, Charity: Water planned their gala for six months. They had to:

  • Coordinate with Ethiopian government officials and their well-digging partners, REST, to both record the video and get the timing just right for the live stream
  • Visit Adi Etot to film the video, interviewing the community regarding the hardships of life without a well
  • Rent iPads and train volunteers to get these iPads both set up and tested for the gala
  • Match each guest with an Adi Etot community member – pairing gala attendees with someone of the same gender or similar circumstances (mothers with mothers, etc.)
  • Test their live stream to ensure all would function properly
  • Develop their tool for showing the live update of donations throughout the night

What can your nonprofit learn from this for your next gala?

Establish trust

“The biggest problem with charity is that people don’t trust charity,” – Scott Harrison, CEO of Charity: Water

When planning your gala, don’t get too caught up in details like what you’ll eat and how it will all appear. Back up and think about how to resolve the big factor Harrison points to in the above quote. People need to know that their money is being spent wisely. They are willing to donate to an important cause, but they may have been burned in the past:

“Historically, humanitarian aid groups have wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on poorly planned or maintained projects that have broken down, according to the International Institute for Environment and Development, a global-sustainability research group.” – FastCompany

With a gala, you have an opportunity to show them where their dollar goes, through a full on experience.

How can you establish trust for your gala attendees? Is it simply by producing a fancy dinner and showing them a video that pulls on their heartstrings? As Charity: Water’s example shows, it’s about more than that. Showing them exactly who their dollar impacts and how direct this is is what engages them.

Relate donor and recipient

Yes, it takes time to go through your attendees list and try to match them with someone of a similar background or identity, but this helped Charity: Water stir up empathy in their audience. When your event attendees can realize they have the power to make an impact on someone they can relate to, it’s more likely they’ll recognize how important that is.

Show them the real situation

Maybe you don’t have the funds to transport your team to the places your nonprofit impacts, but if you can somehow show the communities and situations you impact, focus on that through your gala.

The point where Charity: Water switched the footage from a recorded video to the live stream of the launch of the well was what changed the momentum of the evening. In that moment, the attendees were present with the people of Adi Etot.

For more help with fundraising your upcoming campaigns, reach out to our strategists at ArcStone »

Not ready for a new nonprofit website design? Start with a landing page instead

Not many nonprofits have the budget for a full-on website redesign, at least not until a lot of grant writing has been done. However, this doesn’t mean there isn’t room for any site tweaks, if prioritized above other expenses. This post highlights the necessity of quality landing pages and why they might be more worth their weight in gold than other digital marketing moves.

Nonprofit-Site-Design

Here’s how we know.

A client, Hunger Solutions, was seeking to drive attention to their campaign, Minnesota Food Helpline. They had spent time and effort developing a form and landing page and coupled that with promotion via social media and AdWords. Even with all of this effort, they weren’t seeing the results they thought they could.

When they came to ArcStone we decided the best use of their budget was not in promotional techniques or content marketing, but instead a completely redesigned landing page.

The priorities of this design included:

  • Simplify the language and remove much of the text. We wanted all the users’ attention to go to the call to action.
  • Change the call to action to a very specific direction. It was, “do I qualify for SNAP?” and we switched it to a more active phrase, including a verb, “find out if you qualify for SNAP.”
  • Remove distractions. We took all the unnecessary navigation items and really only kept the link to submit the form.
  • Provide insight through imagery. Although icons aren’t always a bad idea, we noticed they weren’t doing much to inform the user what their action would do.

A few of the results:

  • An increase in conversions of 178% the month after the redesign.
  • 3x as many calls to their helpline.

Where can your nonprofit start when it comes to its site design & landing pages?

1. Talk with your development team and nail down your most important priorities.

For Hunger Solutions, it was helping those in need find their helpline.

Maybe it’s driving donations for a campaign or getting more volunteers at your event. Whatever it may be, try your best to ensure your landing page focuses on a specific audience. If this is keyed into, you’ll better be able to redesign the layout and rewrite the copy with them in mind, making it more likely you’ll capture their interest.

2. Find examples from other similar nonprofits and determine what you do and don’t like.

For example, I admired the landing page below, as it is beautiful and gets right to the point:

nonprofit-landing-page-design
Image source: Leadpages

This works well as they state exactly what they want you to do at the get-go. The main information is kept at the top with an elegant design. If the donors want to learn more about where their money is going (which they often do) they can easily look below on how this helps reach the nonprofit’s goal.

3. Audit your current design. Whether you conduct this audit yourself or have an agency’s help, ask questions such as:

  • If you were a new visitor to the page, is it clear what your organization is trying to do?
  • How specific is your call to action? Is it easily found by a new user?
  • How is the page performing currently? Where would you like this conversion rate to be?
  • What’s the bounce rate? Learn about what might be the cause of a high bounce rate here »

We hope this encourages you to take a close look at what we believe is one of the best investments. By having a well thought out landing page, your nonprofit can better achieve its goal: getting people the information they need to make the world a better place.

4 fundraising metrics to start prioritizing (and 4 to stop worrying about) [Infographic]

Fundraising can be all-consuming for your nonprofit. Yes, it’s all about the cause, but we also know how much of a nonprofit’s day-to-day functioning revolves around a budget.

A common temptation is to put all your energy to continue to grow this budget, but a wise guy once said, “you are what you measure.” When it comes to fundraising, measurement matters.

Knowing this, a recent email subject line caught my attention, “Fundraising Metrics You Should Care About.” It made me pause, as it seems like there’s sometimes too many numbers to track – could we be overlooking some of them?

The headline was from Brady at re:charity. His post featured four metrics nonprofits often waste their time on and then four that are often neglected. If you take the latter four and really study them, this could have a great impact on your nonprofit long term.

We decided to take this post and illustrate the points through an infographic. See the full infographic by clicking on the preview below – Fundraising Metrics Your Nonprofit Should Care More About:

Planning an event for your nonprofit? Consider your millennial audience at every step.

nonprofit-event-planning

For most nonprofits, events are paramount to your organization’s success. A good event can boost awareness for your organization and help you meet your goals. However, a poorly-executed event can damage your organization’s image and turn into a major time suck.

Like most aspects of communication, the key to successful events is speaking to your audience. With this in mind, how can you prepare for the “changing of the guard” (read about what I mean in “Millennials Overtake Baby Boomers)? What can you do to attract this new, younger audience?

There’s more than black-tie galas

We’ve all been to black-tie galas with the rubber chicken dinner followed by the boring powerpoint programming. Don’t get me wrong, it can be effective but there are other options. If you’re trying to break through and attract a younger audience consider a less formal, traditional event. One of our clients, YouthLink, recently held an event that featured whiskey tastings and prize drawings. Though upscale in its own way, this event was a far cry from a traditional nonprofit gala. This makes it stand out.

Depending on your event goals, you may consider one of the following:

  • Activity-based events such as walks or runs
  • Experiential events
  • Pub crawls
  • Food or beverage-based events – food trucks, wine pairings, whiskey tastings
  • Trivia contents
  • House concerts
  • crowdfunding

Be upfront with “the ask”

There are more nonprofits now than ever before. With worthy causes out there competing for donors and volunteers, getting someone to even attend your event, not to mention make a gift, can be challenging.

Some of us tend to hide that fact that we’re seeking donations, but I’d like to argue that it’s important to clearly communicate what your expectations are. If your guests know ahead of time what the goals of your organization are, they’ll be able to budget and consider their options, rather than feel unprepared or even tricked into an event.

Make it easy

Whether we’re talking about registering for the event, subscribing to a mailing list, or making a donation, make it as simple as possible. If there’s any bit of friction, your conversion rates and interactions will decrease. When you’re planning your event, consider your attendees: how do they prefer to interact? Do they prefer to donate online or are they more comfortable writing a check? Would they want someone to check them into the event?


Organizing an event for your nonprofit, takes time and money. Considering your audience will help you to plan an event that resonates with them while also allowing you to meet your goals.

A nonprofit brand strategy that’s often forgotten: Branded SEO campaigns.

nonprofit-brand-seo-strategy

A buzzword like SEO is thrown around a lot when it comes to digital strategy. As a nonprofit communicator, you know you need to understand it, but you don’t often have time to dive deeper. You attempt to stuff some keywords into your website content but that’s about it.

Knowing your time constraints, I want to make sure you don’t neglect the second part of SEO – branded search – as it can help you more effectively than just keyword stuffing would.

How SEO and your nonprofit brand can work together

You may not want yet another priority on your list, but listen up: what’s wonderful about branded search or brand SEO, is it does two things at once. You get people to your website AND you build your brand recognition. Boom done.

You need to first understand how these two goals work on their own to understand how they can aid one another.

1. Branding

For one, you need to ensure people know your name. You want your nonprofit brand to be well-known and remembered so people come to you first when searching for help or opportunity to help. If you need to better understand building your brand, read this.

2. SEO

Secondly, you need to show up when people search “volunteer opportunities” or “best nonprofit for helping ____ (insert your cause here).” The route for this = SEO strategy. If you need to better understand SEO read this.

How branding and SEO work together

Besides just building up common keywords, SEO can build up your brand recognition. When people search your nonprofits name, if you don’t show up as the first result, you may want to listen up.

Brand + SEO = Brand SEO

Branded keywords are simply your nonprofit’s name. For the nonprofit, Feed My Starving Children, one branded keyword phrase is “Feed my starving children” and another is the acronym “FMSC.”

How to start a branded SEO campaign

  • Write more blog content specifically about your nonprofit, including the name in the title, URL, headers, content, etc.
  • Be sure at least some of your photos contain alt text and descriptions with your name
  • If you have time, guest blog on nonprofit blog sites (ehem, like this one!). When Google sees your name in other places, it sees you as more important and helps your own site show up sooner in rankings.

If you need to convince your Board or team members this is worth your time, here are some additional benefits of brand SEO.

  • “Branded traffic is better traffic” as co-founder of ArcStone Lisa puts it. When people are seeking you out specifically with their search query, they aren’t there by accident, just hurting your bounce rates. When they’re coming to your site via a search of your name, they will interact with it and perhaps even convert into a donor or volunteer. This fulfills your goals of conversions and even positively impacts how Google ranks your site. (Remember: low bounce rates, high conversions, high interactions = strong SEO).
  • Brand campaigns help build overall awareness. Think about it: each time your brand shows up on the first name of Google, people are seeing it even when they didn’t seek it out specifically.
  • If you have control over your brand SEO, you can reduce the potential for a negative reputation down the road. Hopefully you never run into a scandal or negative review, but if you do, it’s helpful to have your brand showing up for other reasons besides that one bad article.

If you’d like some help building out this strategy, reach out to ArcStone .

Start a nonprofit blog to increase engagement with your cause

When first helping nonprofits develop their marketing strategy, one of ArcStone’s primary objectives is getting them set up with a blogging strategy. Nonprofit blogs hold huge potential. They contribute to huge gains in several main goals such as spreading the word about your cause, reigning in donors, and getting people to subscribe to your newsletter. Our VP of Marketing at ArcStone, Lisa, recently wrote a post on how to get started with this process, which I repurposed for you all below.

start-a-nonprofit-blog

Before we offer tips, 3 reasons why to start a nonprofit blog

  • You know that search tool, Google? The one that gets people to find your nonprofit in the first place? When you have a blog, and frequently post on it, your site will be more heavily indexed. This means a higher chance of people finding your site. Additionally, research from marketing giant HubSpot, found that sites that have a blog also have 97% more inbound links. Again, this means higher online visibility.
  • Turns out, people actually trust blog content. BlogHer found that 81% of U.S. consumers trust the information they find on blogs. If you’re worried people won’t take your content seriously, think again.
  • If people are coming to your blog, you have a higher chance of engaging with them. Whether your messaging is about fundraising or volunteering, you’ll be able to speak to an audience you wouldn’t have otherwise reached.

We recognize you may already be convinced, but there’s a reason your nonprofit hasn’t launched a blog (or kept up with your current one). It’s challenging and it takes time to see results. Through the following 10 tips, we hope to help you start a nonprofit blog that is successful.

10 tips towards starting a nonprofit blog

1. Develop personas.

Nonprofits often struggle as they have vast audiences. The problem is, their content speaks to everyone at once. This also means they’re not really reaching anyone at an individual, engaging level. Jake, the liberal arts student who’s interested in volunteering will have one set of needs and goals. Whereas Mary, the finance professional who’s interested in making a donation to your organization will have her own. Whenever you start writing, know who you’re target reader is.

Use our infographic to develop your personas »

start-a-nonprofit-blog

2. Write for your audience.

If you want to pull in traffic from Google, you’ll need to write content that answers people’s search queries. If possible, use a keyword research tool such as SEMRush to find out what people are typing into Google. If you can’t afford investing in a tool right now, you can even just rely on Google Suggest. See below:

start-a-nonprofit-blog

Based on the search above, a popular topic for a blog post might be “Why volunteering is good for your health” as people are already searching for content regarding that topic.

3. Study your keywords.

If you’ve found a strong key phrase to write about, do some more research on what other wording you can use throughout your post. You’ll want to do this in a natural way so as not to “keyword stuff.” Learn more about SEO strategy here »

4. Determine your call to action.

Now that you know who you’re writing for, you have to decide what you even want them to do after they read your post. If you’re trying to get more volunteers like Jake for your next event, write a post on how volunteering is good for your health, and then include a call to action that asks him to sign up. Craft a killer CTA »

5. Map out a draft.

Once you have your audience, your goals and keywords, include it all in a draft. This will help you stay focused on your nonprofit’s goals as you develop more content.

6. Decide the length.

Nonprofit clients often ask how long their blog post should be. There’s not one right answer here. If you have time for longer format blog posts (2000+ words), you’ll have more keyword targeting opportunities. This type of post also tends to give you more room backlinks.

Shorter posts often are more attainable when you’re low on time or budget. They also have an advantage many don’t realize: Google likes fresh content and according to HubSpot, organizations that blog more than 20 times per month get five times the traffic than those who blog less than four times per month.

Lisa’s formula: 8 short posts to every long post.

7. Find your writer.

The writing process gets tricky. If you’re too busy to write a post yourself, consider outsourcing. Review the pros and cons »

If it’s more of a matter of not having the knowledge base of the subject, find yourself a subject matter expert. To save time and budget, ask them specific questions so you get the answers you need quickly.

Another way to save time? Use content management tools. That way, you can communicate with your team and stay organized. See our favorite writing tools for nonprofits »

8. Optimize your post for SEO.

Don’t worry, there’s a hack for that. We recommend the Yoast SEO Plugin. Learn about how this and other plugins work here »

9. Be ready to analyze.

If you’re not analyzing how well your content does, you’re going to miss out. Install Analytics and be ready to study how your posts are doing. Learn how to get started with Google Analytics with this ebook»

10. Create your publishing plan.

The chances of people finding your content go way up if you have an adequate social media plan. We have some tools to help:

Blogging is one of the most effective routes to helping your nonprofit gain visibility. We hope you feel ready to start a nonprofit blog and that you reach out for help!

The Trump Administration’s impact on nonprofits and where to go from here

trump's-administration-impact-on-nonprofits

The Trump Administration’s first 100 days are well underway, and still many nonprofit communication teams are unsure of how to react. I thought it’d be wise to gather the opinions of many nonprofit experts and share some inspiration. Through reading their wise words, it’s possible that your nonprofit’s goals, positioning and messaging for the next four years could become clearer.

Here are some questions your nonprofit may be asking and the way that nonprofit experts are responding.

What will donors do with this unpredictable economy? How can we still rally their financial support?

Gail from Fired Up Fundraising worked to instill urgency in terms of nonprofit development:

“NOW is the time to reconnect to our donors. Seriously. We need to remind them of the work, the cause, the need out there in the world. It’s time to rally our donors around us.”

Roger Craver from The Agitator underlines this similar sense of potential saying we should,

“[r]ealize that nonprofits have a unique psychological place in a panic.  To their supporters they’re a known, dependable island of calms in a raging sea.”

Since so much is changing in the world, donors may see nonprofits as a source of stability. If they are reminded you’re still there to help, they may see you as an avenue to make changes. Through your nonprofit, they have control in an out of control time.

How can you ensure your community isn’t hurt by Trump’s policies?

Of course, there’s no black and white answer as nonprofits are coming from many different perspectives. However, a main goal is what CalNonprofits emphasizes here:

“In short, neither jubilation nor despair is right… This is a newly important time for us to ask ourselves, ‘Who is our community, and what do they need us to be doing right now? What are the values our community needs to see us standing up for?'”

Take advantage of this heated political climate to really hone in on the needs of your community. Instead of getting too caught up in the politics, think about the people and how you can best serve them.

Nonprofit Quarterly finds it important to focus in on your team and to get on the same page. They encourage nonprofit teams to work together, innovate and make changes.

“Our workloads will undoubtedly get heavier and our stress levels may skyrocket. Make sure that there is time for getting on the same page internally so that you are nimble and ready for all the threats and opportunities that happen to pass your way over the next four years. This is your job right now. Let’s not think small.”

What should your messaging be as you attempt to rally support for your cause?

President of Cambell and Company, Peter Fissinger, states it all comes back to people and their motivations in that,

“[e]ffective organizations achieve results because their missions speak to people’s hearts…. analyz[e] how new political leadership and trending activist movements motivate people.”

Rather than trying to comment on every single activity occurring on Capitol Hill, focus on what your audience is saying and speak to those desires and needs.

Media relations expert, Peter Panepento discusses the “two Americas” we now have and how many nonprofits find themselves trying to bridge the gap. He sees it as a chance to get to know our audience’s motivations and to truly speak to their goals.

“The best way to combat these attitudes and push for the greater good is to find areas of common ground…. As nonprofit communicators, we should see the election’s result as an opportunity — and challenge — to take time to listen thoughtfully to those who have different perspectives.”

He also points out how our tone can make all the difference,

“When we speak like insiders, we send a strong signal that we’re part of the same club of elites who don’t truly care about the needs of many of the people we are actually trying to help…. And that’s a shame because quite often this work… would improve the lives of many people who see it as working against their interests.”

Despite current state of things, remember your nonprofit’s goals. Your cause hopes to benefit people, no matter their political opinions. The more your nonprofit can focus this time on listening to the needs of your whole community, the greater your impact will be.

Enough New Year’s inspiration, time to get it all done (in 5 steps?) – January Nonprofit Marketing News

Seeing as your inbox has recently been flooded with several “top trends for the New Year” and other inspirational posts, we thought you might be feeling overwhelmed. We decided to simplify your main priorities down to five actionable steps.

january-nonprofit-news
Photo source: Angel Oak Creative

– The Nerdy Nonprofit – January 2017 – 


Here are 5 steps for…

1) Engaging donors, one step at a time

“…fundraisers that meet new donors and make asks without a plan usually find those donor relationships to be short lived.” Make your donor relationships last this year.

2) Sparking authenticity in your branding & messaging

Despite how personal it can be to partake in a nonprofit’s wonderful work, nonprofit branding and messaging can often feel impersonal. Find some ways to ensure you’re speaking authentically and connecting with your audience.

3) Increasing fundraising success

After so much fundraising during giving season, it’s good to reflect on some critical aspects of fundraising and take steps towards even more success this year.

4) Writing a newsletter that your members will actually read

You finally put the newsletter together and send it out, and you find out later, hardly anyone read it. Sound familiar? Write a newsletter that engages. Here’s how

5) Optimizing your nonprofit’s blog content (and finally seeing more traffic)

Have you verified your nonprofit site with Google, had Google crawl your posts, or tried the best SEO tools? If not, your blog isn’t as strong as it could be. Help your nonprofit be found online.