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Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

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.)

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Keep the base of the pyramid strong

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The Devil is in the Details

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Fundraisers are concerned about 2012 year-end giving. Not only has philanthropic giving been slugging along, but Hurricane Sandy’s impact may well further diminish what is typically the most crucial giving season of the year.

Although everyone hopes for a game changer in their campaigns that will lead to a windfall, it’s more realistic to look for areas that can be tweaked and improved, which can lead to various increases and bumps in appeals over time.

Various annual giving professionals have offered a chance to look over their shoulder at tweaks they’ve made which have bolstered different campaigns for them:

Calvin*

I wanted to highlight a specific suggested ask amount on our reply card with one of those red circles, but it wasn’t in my printing budget.  So, instead, I designed it with that particular ask amount in a font size that was one point larger than the others.  Not grossly obvious, but it stood out a tad more.  Our average gift increased with that campaign.

Daisy*

We were sending more traffic to donate online, via multiple campaigns, and wanted it to be as easy and convenient as possible.  This included redesigning our home page so that there was a [one click] option, which would take donors from the [Donate Now] button, straight to the donation eform.  We still had a page which explained why donors should give, what their donation would accomplish and multiple options of giving (e.g., mail, phone, United Way, etc.), who to contact with questions, but wanted an immediate option to give for those donors in a hurry to do so.  Our online giving – both # of gifts and overall amount – increased in the first year.

Elvis*

Just as we have our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & YouTube icons on our website, we have added these on all direct mail pieces as well, to remind supporters that they can engage with us on the social media channels of their choice.

Even though these are not clickable links via mail, the marketing of the channels is important in all touches, including mail – even solicitations.

Fifi*

We include a direct hyperlink in all mail solicitations, to encourage online giving – and distinguish it from our [Donate Now] eform, for tracking purposes.  We make it memorable & marketable, such as Nonprofit.org/donate

Gunther*

After learning which types of gifts are typically larger (online), we redesigned our reply card to encourage these gifts above others, by promoting an online giving response more prominently, followed by credit card giving via mail, and a donation of check last.  Our average gift, overall income and online giving all increased.

Hortense*

We redesigned – and reprioritized – our reply card, keeping in mind that Annual Giving is focused on the “here and now” of giving.  While other, longer-term investments are important, they don’t make funds for this campaign, and belong on the back of the reply card (while “right now” data belongs on the front).

Among fields we moved to the front of the card:

–     Credit card information
–     Joint donor name
–     Email address

Data we moved to the back of the reply card:

–     Matching gift
–     Gifts of stock
–     Change of address
–     Planned giving options

Igor*

I inherited a bunch of appeals that talked mainly about deadlines and tax deductions, which I found to be very short-lived.  While some donors do care about these things, they aren’t the ones who will keep coming back year after year.

I changed our letters and emails so that they were much more mission related.  We began focusing on telling our supporters what their gifts would accomplish and who will be helped because they gave.  This tactic saw a lot more repeat donors . . . and a lot less focus on fake deadlines, fiscal years – or tax deductions.

Jessie*

I discovered that we didn’t have an account set up with the post office to forward our mail to the newest addresses.  We had been getting too much of it returned, and I was horrified to learn that nobody in the office did anything with the returns.  This meant that we were repeatedly mailing to outdated addresses!

I got us a postal account and marked our third class mail with Address Service Requested, which forwarded most of the mail to their new addresses and notified us with the data . . . which I made certain got entered into our system!

Although this meant extra postage costs in the beginning, after several mailing cycles, management saw that it was worth it.  Only the really older addresses would be returned with the original pieces of mail.  As we consistently updated our records, our mail became much more efficient – and the return on our direct mail costs improved greatly.

What tactics have you used to improve your fundraising techniques and campaigns – and which new ones will you implement to try and boost your 2012 appeals?

______________________________________________________________________________
Keep the base of the pyramid strong

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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?

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Keep the base of the pyramid strong

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How Involved Are Your Event Participants?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Have you upgraded your organization’s events, to reflect how participants now see themselves engaging?  That is, as an active shareholder, rather than a passive recipient?  Similar to social media, people expect involvement.

Social media, in fact, should be an ample part of any and all of your events.  Not only is it helpful in promoting an upcoming function, but your promotions can be used in a variety of ways, including recruiting volunteers and sponsors as well as attendees.

If you’ve been doing social media well and consistently, your supporters themselves can and will help you in the promotion of the upcoming event, too.  This amplification of your publicity can reach far and wide, particularly if your event is recurring, since regular attendees will extol the virtues of attending.

Events centered around awareness can take many forms, but when done well, can have a dramatic effect.  The Autism Awareness campaign in Michigan required many volunteers to achieve the effect of lighting the Mackinac Bridge, but made a significant impact on state participation, and ultimately increased donations.

For the Dionysus Project, their means of furthering their mission – educating the general population about the issues surrounding substance abuse and addiction – is to do so via a theatrical performance of a Greek play, with a panel discussion following.  Bringing in significantly well known actors to perform the play, as well as prominent local political figures for the panel discussion, helps bring credibility to the event.  It also ensures that more people will talk about it and promote it beforehand.

Of course, many organizations’ events are held primarily to raise funds, with a secondary purpose of raising awareness and publicity.  The Scleroderma Foundation has found a way to combine all of these – and more – with their upcoming Walk for Cure.  Not only are they actively inviting all participants to tell their stories via video, uploading them to the Scleroderma Foundation website, but they are going a step further by collecting all participants’ videos in a lobbying effort.  In the fall, they’ll be sending the entire video collection to Congress, asking for additional funding for Scleroderma research.

Be sure to use a variety of social media channels, including not only Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but consider Pinterest as an addition, since it is now the third most popular channel.  The more engaged you can get your supporters, the more educated about and invested in your mission they will eventually become.  Indeed, volunteers are typically among an organization’s best donors, because they see exactly what is happening within the nonprofit at the ground level.

The more time you invest in telling your story – and letting others tell it for you – on your social media channels before, during and after your events, the more evangelists you will acquire.

How have you upgraded your events to bring more people into the conversation?

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Keep the base of the pyramid strong

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Don’t Sell Yourself Short

(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

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