Bliou Enterprises

Share/Bookmark

Posts Tagged ‘Video’

How (Often) Do You Thank Your Donors?

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Sally* made a donation using her son’s name to test her organization’s acknowledgment policy.  The results were disappointing.  The letter took three weeks, his name was misspelled, and the gift was posted to the wrong fund.

“Although it bothered me that we had so many mistakes in one gift, I suppose it was a blessing in disguise,” Sally said.  “This allowed us to find several problem areas all at once – and work to fix them.”  If it hadn’t happened this way, she admits, it likely would have taken much longer to convince all required parties that such sweeping changes were necessary.

Thanking donors is the last, most crucial point of contact, because it is this part of the communication cycle that will likely make or break the chance that the donor will contribute again in the future.  Acknowledging the gift in a timely fashion is important, but more essential than timing is making the donor feel appreciated – and letting them know that their gift matters.

Recent research shows that providing a thank you gift, for example, may lead to lower (or no) future gifts, because donors take this as a sign that organizations are wasting the funds they receive, rather than making the best use of them.

The best way to show donors that their gift matters is to tell a story, or show it working in action, such as giving a tour or testimony of the recipients/beneficiaries.  Of course, not every donor can come to a single location, but with the web and video, your nonprofit can now provide online testimony and include links with thank you letters and emails.

Depending on how many donors you have, a follow up phone call from staff, board or volunteers, thanking them, can speak volumes as well.

Six months later, Sally asked her father-in-law to make a gift and share what he received and when.  Of course, she had given him specific instructions about making a detailed type of gift, to see if her team got it right, and was pleased to learn that they had!

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that our donations and retention has increased since we improved our overall system of acknowledgment,” Sally said.  “Better customer service and record keeping has led to fewer people falling through the cracks.  Everyone wants to know that they are appreciated.  We always did appreciate them – we just didn’t demonstrate it very well before putting a thorough system in place.”

What can you do to make your donors feel more appreciated and a part of your organization . . . instead of just receiving statements from you every few months?

______________________________________________________________________________
Keep the base of the pyramid strong

Similar Posts

How Do You Retain the Donors You Have?

Why Recurring Giving is So Important

Under Pressure – REALLY!

Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

As you assess which portions of your campaign have been more successful than the others, no doubt you are considering which parts to eliminate or start anew.  It can be tempting to see what the trends are and mimic them.

It’s more important, though, to discern which parts of your campaigns your constituents are most responsive to, and keep those going strong, while adding and/or improving on others.

For example, you may be considering adding Pinterest this coming year, which might be a good fit with your demographic, but first consider carefully if you’re responding to media hype or what your constituents really prefer.  A recent study shows that people would prefer more videos than many other social media channels.

Social Media Sites Used

If you do add videos, make certain they are valuable ones that get searched and viewed . . . otherwise, you’ve spent a great deal of time in production for nothing.

Another social media change you might consider is adding GooglePlus, due to Facebook’s altered analytics and essential demand that you purchase ads, if you want your content to be viewed.  This doesn’t show signs of going away in 2013, since “stock prices” of FB keep making the news.  (Nearly all nonprofits – large and small – have seen a vast drop in their Facebook viewership, likes and shares this year.)

Direct mail is still a crucial part of your overall campaign, but it’s imperative to treat it as a multichannel appeal, which has a better overall response rate:

•     Do you include a direct hyperlink in mailings?
•     Do you include your social media channel logos prominently?

When sending email appeals, do you test your emails on various screens before sending – particularly mobile?  What about the links within the email . . . particularly your online giving form(s)?  How many clicks, scrolling and/or pop-ups is the mobile user subjected to?

It is going to be necessary to enhance and upgrade your mobile features, accessibilities for the coming year – and beyond.  There’s no doubt.  More and more users are accessing the web via mobile.  This figure is only going to increase.

You’ve got five seconds, BTW.  Has it loaded yet?  Oops.  I’ve moved on.  Try again, please.  (Think of the donors you might have gotten if you’d have tested this first.)

______________________________________________________________________________
Keep the base of the pyramid strong

Similar Posts

What Are Your Areas of Improvement?

Improving the Successful Campaign

Are You Making the Most of Email?

                

The Dreaded Annual Report

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Admit it – if you’ve been tasked with working on your organization’s Annual Report, “excited” is the opposite of how you feel about this duty.  It’s a chore – and a bore – and the sooner it’s done with, all the better, right?

The only thing worse than putting weeks (months?) into such a project is realizing that when all is said and done – and you’ve shipped it off to hundreds (thousands? tens of thousands?) of your supporters – is that it’s so dry and boring that pretty much nobody will give it more than a passing glance, if that.

Think of it:  You spent all of that time, and it ends up in the trash?  Why bother?  Are the only people who are really looking at it your potential grantors, when you send the report with a proposal?  If that’s so, you could publish far fewer and be done with it (and it could be much shorter, too).  It may as well look like an accounting report then, right?  Wrong.

There are actually many ways that annual reports can be creative and grab donors’ attention these days.  Also, it isn’t essential to mail a copy to absolutely everyone.  Many reports are becoming much more interactive and web friendly.

Of course, it is still necessary to have printed reports to submit with your grant proposals – and many major donors do still like to receive documentation of how the organization is doing, but it doesn’t mean you need to publish a dry representation of your work that looks like everything and everyone else that has been published for the last couple of decades.

Consider the feedback you get (if any?) after your annual report is sent.  Is it positive or negative?  Should your report be longer or shorter?  Is it missing a component that people wanted to see, or could you really afford to leave several parts out . . . and nobody would even notice?

Irving* worked for a nonprofit that had quite a few wealthy donors, and considered the period after the annual report was published to be “hell month” because it was the time that his phone never stopped ringing.

Try as they might, his development staff never managed to get every donor listed exactly correct in their annual report, and it seemed that everybody paid attention to this section – to the exclusion of all else.

“We might list someone as giving at the $5,000 level,” Irving explained, “But we inadvertently neglected to count their additional $5,000 United Way donation, which would actually place them in the $10,000 recognition level.  This would really offend some people.”

“Of course, we would apologize for all errors,” Irving continued, “But after a while, I begin to wonder if these donors were giving for the cause, or merely so they could be on display for their other country club friends.  It just seemed so important to them!  And god forbid if someone’s name or title wasn’t exactly correct, or even missing a middle initial!”

Irving would be happy if there was something in his annual report of interest to his constituents besides the donor listing; however, the rest of it reads like a balance sheet, and hasn’t changed from that style since the founding of the organization.

Justine* worked at a nonprofit with supporters who were quite different.  They care deeply about the mission.

“I’m not certain that our supporters would notice or care if their names were listed at all in the annual report,” Justine remarked.  “We’ve been considering removing the levels of support section, and just making one single alphabetical list – which would certainly make my life simpler.”

Justine explained that, more important than the donor’s recognition section, they’ve been considering telling more “How your gifts impact the recipients” stories, but are looking to make an online – or possibly video – version, so that it doesn’t become too long, cumbersome (or costly) to mail an expanded version, with additional stories.  (Their mailed version will remain shorter and be sent to fewer people, as well as kept in reserve for grant submissions.)

Several innovative nonprofits and corporations have already stepped outside of the typical constraints and opted for new ways of producing their annual reports – and gotten attention and publicity for doing so.

•     an eyewear company
•     a solar company
•     the Amazon Conservation Association
•     a food company
•     a university athletics department

How could you apply these tactics to draw attention to the unique qualities of your organization and its mission?

______________________________________________________________________________
Keep the base of the pyramid strong

Similar posts

Customer Service – Burden or Opportunity?

Get to the Point!

Evaluate Your Strengths AND Weaknesses

Video Is Becoming More Important Than Ever Before!

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

I recently attended a presentation by Chip Dizárd, on the importance of video – good video – to the overall nonprofit campaign.  Chip teaches video techniques to Baltimore City school students, often working with nonprofits.

Not only are videos being shared in greater numbers than ever before

but the types of videos that are among those being viewed most directly relate to nonprofit fundraising:

According to Pew Research, nearly ¾ of online adults are using video sharing sites, and more than 1/3 are now looking for their news in the form of online videos.  Will your organization be there to provide any of the information that people are seeking in this medium . . . or will your competition supply it instead?

These days, it’s not enough simply to have a phone and shoot an amateur video, Chip explained.  It’s essential to have a plan, for one thing.  What are you intending to shoot?  What story are you telling?  What do you hope that viewers will do once they are finished viewing your video?  Donate? Volunteer? Sign a petition?  Understand your organization better?  If you don’t know, it’s not time to hit the [RECORD] button yet.

Consider your audience and the story they want and need to hear about your organization and what you’ve been accomplishing.  You’ll do much better telling a story about – and from! – the people you’re serving, rather than the executive director making a speech for ten minutes.  (“That’s what my donations pay for?!”)

It’s also crucial to consider the quality of the video itself, Chip explained.  The competition for viewing eyes is much greater, so if you post something with poor lighting, sound, etc., you can forget having others share it.  Your wonderful script and passionate speaker will have been for naught.

Of course, nonprofits can’t afford the best equipment in the industry, but a good executive director understands that prioritizing enough to invest in some good enough equipment to get the job done is essential.  A decision will have to be made about how important quality online representation is to the organization.

Some very high quality video production can be farmed out, but quite a bit can be done in-house with relatively little investment initially.

Also, there are many intern programs, such as Chip’s, where students who are learning in the classroom are willing to apply it in the organization and company offices.  Chip suggests searching on Twitter, for example, and laments, “People aren’t using social media to its full advantage,” when it comes to networking and finding one another.

An additional important component that nonprofits should add to their video campaign goals is applying for a YouTube Nonprofit account, which allows for additional features, including a clickable link directly within the video.  This can take the viewer outside of YouTube, to a donation page, a petition, or other actionable web page related to your campaign.

How do you plan to bolster video for your campaign in the coming year?

_________________________________________________________________________
Keep the base of the pyramid strong

Similar posts

(How) Are You Using Video in Your Campaign?

Who Has Time For Games, Anyway?

If you keep doing what you’ve been doing

(How) Are You Using Video in Your Campaign?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

The nonprofit without video in its campaign is leaving money on the table.  It’s a compelling part of storytelling, and has increased dramatically as a social media channel.  More smartphone market share will only bolster these figures.

Like other social media channels, video works best when it is incorporated with existing campaigns, in addition to occasionally – and eventually – standing alone.  Particularly if you are entering this arena for the first time, you’ll need vehicles to drive your audience to your new venue, so inserting links into your direct mail pieces and emails is a good place to start.  Don’t forget to use QR codes as well, since they can also represent a hyperlink.

Videos don’t always need to be professionally produced, either.  It really depends upon the purpose of the message.  Many nonprofits simply purchase a flip camera and begin shooting.  There may be times when a more polished image is necessary, however.  This is not different than printing many mail pieces in house and investing occasionally in a fine piece with a professional printer for a special mailing.

An important thing to remember is that it’s better to keep your message(s) short and to the point, however.  I advised a client in the past who had just begun to delve into the world of video, after presenting me with their first production that it needed to be chopped into several different pieces.  It was over ten minutes long, which I informed them that nobody would watch!

The great thing about it, though, was that it could easily be segmented into usable smaller portions.  What they had done was have an intro, where the director said “hello,” and spoke about the organization and its mission.  Next, they showed footage of a client they’d helped, with “before” and “after” footage, which took about three minutes.  After that, they showed another client’s “before” and “after,” and another client . . . and another . . .

Putting the right tags on each of these videos as separate items, I explained, would allow viewers who were interested to have the videos come up in the menu sidebar as “more videos like this,” and those viewers could continue watching, but it wouldn’t be a turn off as being too long and prevent nearly everyone from learning about their organization and its services.

There are a variety of messages that nonprofits can convey to their constituents through video, just as they can with direct mail and email:

•  Tell a heartfelt story about the people that the organization is trying to help

•  Have a spokesperson succinctly summarize the mission and add a call to action

•  Have a narrator summarize the mission and add a call to action

•  Provide a progress report (“Here’s what your donation is accomplishing!”)

•  Keep in touch with constituents, send a warm greeting

Additional ways to incorporate videos within existing channels would include adding a YouTube, Vimeo and/or Flickr tab to your Facebook page, and capturing still frames as photos to place in mailings or emailings as needed.

Finally, apply for a YouTube for Nonprofits account, which will allow you to insert clickable links within the videos you produce.  This important addition makes it easier for your viewers to take direct action straight from the video they are currently viewing.

How are you planning to make use of video in the coming year?

____________________________________________________________________________
Keep the base of the pyramid strong

Similar posts

So Much Time and So Little To Do!

How Has Event Management Changed For You?

Get to the Point!

© 2010 Bilou Enterprises, All Rights Reserved
Site designed and developed by zline media group, inc
Share/Bookmark