How to Thrive in a Down Economy: December Luncheon

How to Thrive in a Down Economy:
Tips for Improving Online Giving
AFP Central New York Chapter
December Luncheon
Syracuse, NY – December 8, 2008
Jono Smith
Network for Good
About Network for Good
• Network for Good is a 501(c)3 nonprofit,
founded in 2001 by AOL, Yahoo! & Cisco
• Our mission is to make it easier for nonprofits to
raise money online, and for people to give online
• Network for Good has processed over $200
million in donations for over 30,000 nonprofits.
• We manage all of the online fundraising on
Facebook and MySpace
Key Takeaways
Why December is the most important month for online fundraising
The basics of an effective online marketing and fundraising strategy
An introduction to Web 2.0
Selecting and implementing the marketing & fundraising tools
The Case Studies
– Email Marketing Best Practices
– How TNC engaged a new audience on Flickr
– To Blog?
– How Kevin Bacon Flipped the Funnel for Nonprofits
– What’s the deal with Causes on Facebook?
• Bottom line: A few good ideas to try at the office
Download the slides from
Big Numbers
$7 billion
Why Online Giving is the Great Equalizer
• At Network for Good, 50% the donations
go to 1% of charities (excluding crisis
• The rest – 25,000 nonprofits – are spread
out along the long tail
• Small to medium-sized nonprofits account
for 70% of giving via Network for Good
How much can a small nonprofit raise?
Budget: under $250,000
1284 nonprofits
$9.2 million raised
Monthly average: $603
Annual average: $7,200
– Network for Good (2007)
Why December Is So Important
• Over 45% of annual giving via Network for Good’s
donation processing system is during December; this
percentage of annual giving has remained consistent
within 5% since 2003.
• In December, nearly half of the donations for the month
are in the last 6 days, when nearly each day we are
processing $1 million or more in donations.
Why December Is So Important
• Regardless of when the days of the week vs.
weekends fall over the holidays the pattern of
the spike in giving remains constant.
• Average donation is higher in December-in 2007
it was $189 versus during other months when
we see an average donation of $135.
Who Is Giving Online?*
• Online givers are young (38-39 years old)
• They are generous -- ($163)
• Men and women give online in equal
• Virtually all (96%) have given to charity
before, but 38% haven’t given online
*Network for Good Study, “The Young and Generous”
Why Are They Giving Online?*
• It’s easier than writing a check
• It’s a fast way to provide disaster relief
• It can be anonymous
• They like recurring donations
*Network for Good Study, “The Young and Generous”
10-Point Online Check-Up
Is your URL guessable?
Do you use website design strategically?
Do you provide relevant content?
Can you collect email addresses on your website?
Can you accept online donations on your website?
Do you tell your story through pictures, videos, or podcasts?
Do you have a blog?
Do you use email marketing to drive traffic back to your website?
Can people find your website in search engines?
Do your publish your URL on every communication,
both online and offline?
Rule #1: Make your Donate button obvious.
Rule #2: Build your email list
Still sending your newsletter from Microsoft Outlook? Six
reasons you need an email service provider
1. Your emails may look terrible.
2. You may get blacklisted
3. Say hello to your recipients spam, junk or bulk mail folder.
4. Send emails to thousands of recipients, and you'll get all the
bounce-backs and auto-replies from them. So much for free time!
5. You might be breaking the law. According to the CAN-SPAM law, if
someone requests to be removed from your list, you must do so
within 10 business days.
6. You won't know if anyone is reading your emails.
Grow your Email List with Tell-A-Friend
What makes a good email campaign?
• Get serious about the subject line
– February Newsletter
– 5 Tips to Fight Global Warming
• Focus “above the fold”
– Most people use a preview pane when perusing their
inbox, so it’s important when laying out your email’s
content to put a lot of attention on the top four inches
and use that prime real estate to the best of your
What makes a good email campaign?
• Personalizing beyond “Dear Bob.”
– Personalization really does boost response rates. But
don’t stop at a personal greeting.
– Try segmenting your list by gender, geography or
anything else you know about your recipients, so you
can personalize the content based on the people to
whom you’re sending.
– After all, showing that you know someone’s first name
is great; showing them you really know, respect and
care about them is even better.
Rapid Donor Cultivation (RDC)
• In the online retail industry, savvy retailers
noticed that online prospect affinity is
typically highest for the first 30 days after
the visitor opts in to the retailer’s email list.
• This honeymoon period—the high-affinity
phase—is characterized by higher email
open, click, and conversion rates.
Rapid Donor Cultivation (RDC)
• It turns out that this behavior is also
demonstrated by new nonprofit e-subscribers.
• You can capitalize on this high affinity period by
sending a stream of carefully crafted emails with
select content and calls-to-action to the new
subscriber over the first 30 days.
• TIP: Test a 5 or 10-email stream, ending with
a targeted fundraising ask.
Sample RDC Campaign
1. Welcome
2. Elephants
3. Elephants
4. Whales
5. Whales
6. Eagles
7. Eagles
8. Puppy Mills
9. Puppy Mills
10. Puppy Mills
Read article on website
Visit blog
Photo Contest
RDC Results
• The International Fund for Animal Welfare
(IFAW) was the first organization to explore this
innovative concept of Rapid Donor Cultivation
– The time to first gift decreased by 17 days
– Rate of conversion of subscribers to donors
increased by 83%
– Rate of conversion of subscribers to activists
increased by 110%
– Average value of first gift increased by 15%
RDC Strategy
For smaller organizations that lack robust
email programs and struggle with staffing
constraints, RDC is a cost-effective
strategy to ensure that new subscribers
consistently receive effective stewardship,
and a high quality, timely fundraising ask.
December 26-31
Send your donors a
fundraising email the
day after Christmas.
Test two different
The growth in online giving is especially notable in the last week of December, when
online giving’s advantages of convenience and immediacy are crucial. Nearly 45% of
annual giving via Network for Good’s donation processing system is during
December. Nearly half of the amount we processed last December, which was $20M,
was donated in the last 5 days of the year.
December Strategy
• In addition to your core mailings your have
planned in December, be sure to send out an
extra appeal between the 26th and the 31st.
• The last week in the year is always hectic
which means your message should be short
and simple; reminding people how easy it is
to make their year-end gift online in the last
few days of the month.
December Strategy
• Network for Good’s top performing mailing is
the one we send on the 30th with a short and
simple reminder, “Still Time to Donate in
• This year especially, when people may have
less money, remember to highlight monthly
donations as a way to afford the same level
of giving spread out over time.
What Other Email Fundraising Tactics Work?
Multiple Appeal Series. Messages sent as part of a cohesive,
multiple appeal campaign over the course of three weeks
outperform one-time appeals, resulting in both a higher response
rate and a higher average gift.
Deadline-Driven. Appeals and series that included a deadline by
which gifts must be made tended to be more effective than openended appeals without specific deadlines.
Matching Gift. The idea of making a donation that will be doubled by
another donor (or group of donors) is motivational to many online donors.
A matching gift campaign also provides the perfect rationale to introduce
a deadline and to send out multiple appeals, both good ways to boost
Source: Online Fundraising Tactics – What Works?
Rule #3: Make your organization easy to find
Rule #3: Make your organization easy to find
Do you have a “call to inaction” problem?
• Think About Your Audience
• Who Is Your Audience & What Do you
Want Them To Do?
• What Is Your Call To Action?
Rule #4: Put yourself in your donor’s shoes.
• Online marketing is
not a monologue.
• You are not the target
• Marketing is about
looking at the world
from the point of view
of our audience rather
than our own.
The Mission Megaphone
Think About Your Audience
Marketing should compel action.
(What actions do we want them to take)
60-year-old activist
Volunteer time to recruit others to our
40-year-old long
distance caregiver
Give email address to your organization
Sign up online for monthly giving
Your Call to Action Must Answer 4 Questions!
1. Why Me? (Donor-centric)
2. Why Now? (Urgent)
3. What For? (Tangible)
4. Who Says? (Messenger)
Tools to engage a new or existing audience
Online photo management & sharing
application—has two main goals:
1. We want to help people make their
content available to the people who
matter to them.
2. We want to enable new ways of
organizing photos and video.
The Nature Conservancy Flickr Campaign
• Launched an annual digital photography contest on
• Promised winners of contest placement for their
photos in the annual member calendar and web site
• Ran integrated campaign with e-mail cultivations,
search engine ads and social networks to draw in
both members and new leads
Source: Jonathon D. Colman: Associate Director, Digital Marketing at The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy Flickr Campaign
• Allowed entrants to participate solely on
Flickr, but also by sending photos directly
(w/ opt-out registration for our list)
• TNC picked the finalists, but let the public
vote on the winners
• Never asked for money, only for
Source: Jonathon D. Colman: Associate Director, Digital Marketing at The Nature Conservancy
• Over 8,500 members of TNC’s photo group
on Flickr who have shared nearly 94,000
photos (~11 photos per member)
• One of the largest nonprofit groups on Flickr
to date
• Great, positive feedback from members and
new prospects
Source: Jonathon D. Colman: Associate Director, Digital Marketing at The Nature Conservancy
• Coverage for (and many links to) our photo contest
in numerous photography and nature picture blogs,
discussion boards
• Over 10% click-through rate on ads promoting the
• Over 7,200 new e-members registered
• Over 5,000 votes for 2006 contest; over 17,000
votes for 2007
Source: Jonathon D. Colman: Associate Director, Digital Marketing at The Nature Conservancy
Why did this work?
TNC framed their call-to-action to answer all four
Why me? The pictures helped the audience relate
to the cause.
Why now? The contest created urgency
What for? People were rewarded for participating.
Who says? TNC put their message in the hands of
their supporters.
Online Marketing & Fundraising
in a Web 2.0 World
Web 2.0 is about people using
technologies to get the things they
need from each other, rather than
from your nonprofit!
Adapted from Groundswell by Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff
Reality Check
Social networks are
not a silver bullet for
online fundraising.
Finding Your Wired Supporters
1. Who are your potential wired activists,
volunteers or fundraisers?
2. How do they use social networks?
3. Where can you find them?
4. What should you ask them to do?
5. What tools do they need?
The 3-step approach to Web 2.0
• Focus on where people are
• Decide what you want to accomplish (hint:
community first, fundraising second)
Strategy, Tactics, & Technology
• Avoid “random acts of marketing.”
• Don’t be just another fool with a tool
Adapted from Groundswell by Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff
Tools to find supporters and monitor them
To blog?
1. Are you listening to your online
2. Do you have something unique
to say?
3. Are you willing and able to say
4. Are you willing to be challenged
and criticized?
5. Are you willing and able to
dedicate the resources to
Source: Matt Dickman, Techno//Marketer blog:
Where is your traffic coming from?
Strategy: Person-to-Person Fundraising
The process of gathering money and other gifts in kind,
by empowering individuals to solicit from and
communicate with prospective donors of their own
choosing through the use of Web 2.0 (i.e., blogs,
widgets, images, video, face-to-face interactions and
other social media).
Synonyms: group fundraising, personal fundraising, viral
fundraising, grassroots fundraising, peer-to-peer fundraising.
Source: Peter Deitz, Social Actions, Founder
Fundraising Widgets
A person-to-person
fundraising widget is an
online tool that permits a
portion of one webpage to
appear on other webpages.
These multiple appearances
look exactly the same and
can be updated from a
single source.
Meet the Wired Fundraiser
• A wired fundraiser is a word-of-
mouth maven who is highly
effective at fundraising for a cause
in an ever-widening personal
sphere of influence online. They
are naturals at connecting to
• They are very good at what they
do for a simple reason: people are
most likely to give when someone
they know asks them (2006 Cone
Nonprofit Research).
Personal Motivation: Robin Maxwell
“I’m a runner and a tri-athlete, and the
mother of two small children, and girl scout
leader. I went from being totally normal
and healthy to facing a life of paralysis and
future disability, and those were really,
really dark days, those first two weeks.”
--Robin, MS Society Blue Ridge Chapter
Robin’s Story
Causes on Facebook
The 30+ audience is the fastest
growing segment of Facebook.
Causes on Facebook
The Causes
application for
Facebook adds the
ability to solicit and
make donations
from within
Causes on Facebook
• Allows American and
Canadian 501(c)(3)s to
recruit supporters and
fundraise directly on
• Raised $3.2MM for
25,000 charities since
June 2007
• 13MM total installs, 5MM
monthly active users
Facebook Cause: Love Without Boundaries
Has raised over $150,000 from
4,115 donors.
A small nonprofit with just 3%
overhead and an all-volunteer
staff, Love Without Boundaries
seeks to give medical care to
orphans in China in hopes of
readying them for adoption.
Their staff, who are older, nontraditional Facebook users, were
able to spread the cause through
their social network, bringing in
thousands of Facebook users
who had never before heard of
their small nonprofit.
Love Without Boundaries
“…every bit of the fundraising was done by
people like me, recruiting friends and
sending emails. The old model--wooing
big donors--requires considerable time
and expense, albeit with bigger payoffs.”
Lessons Learned
1. Focus on audience values not your own
2. Choose the right messenger
– Think like the Marine Corps: the few, the
3. Have faith in your audience
4. Provide a sense of urgency
5. Plug your wired fundraisers into great
tools & resources
6. Trust leads to results
Facebook Resources
For tips and resources, visit:
• Starting a Cause on Facebook
• Everything You Need to Know About
Using Facebook as a Nonprofit Marketing
Measurement Ingredients
Engagement & Reach
•Page Impressions, Visits, Unique Visitors
•Time Spent, Pages per visitor
•Emails opened, click-throughs
•Videos viewed, audio plays
Earned Media
•Offline media mentions
•Online media mentions
Search Visibility
•Higher search results
Word of Mouth
•Number of Mentions, Posts, Comments
•Greater search results “share”
•3rd party results
•Send This To A Friend
•Customer/stakeholder feedback
•Inbound links
•Product sampling
Source: Qui Diaz, Livingston Communications:
4 Rules for Fundraising & Marketing in a Web 2.0 World
• Don’t let your online presence be just a “brochure”
• Go to where people are, using the infinite variety of
the Internet
• Flip the funnel: Tap into user participation (personto-person fundraising, wired fundraisers, social
• Don’t get carried away by the hype; you still need all
the offline stuff
Closing Thought…
Inspiration + Know
how + Tools =
Change the World
• Jono Smith, Director of Marketing
Network for Good
[email protected]
• Website:
• Learning Center:
• LinkedIn:
• Beth Kanter’s Blog:
• Nonprofit Marketing Blog:
• The Nature Conservancy:
• Peter Dietz/Social Actions: