Fundraise Smarter

7 Tips for Crafting the Perfect Appeal Email for Mobile Donors

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Jun 27, 2016 10:00:00 AM


Over the years, much has been said about the best way to craft a direct mail appeal.

The size of the envelope, the audience, the message on the outside, the message on the inside, the response type, to include a gift or not. All these things and more have been debated ad nauseam.

But as more nonprofits incorporate digital elements into their fundraising campaigns, there is an oft-overlooked channel that provides tremendous amounts of value to those who can pull it off successfully.

It is the humble email.

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Topics: online fundraising, nonprofit marketing,, email fundraising

The Best Nonprofits on Snapchat

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Jun 20, 2016 10:00:00 AM

I gotta say, I’m fully hooked on Snapchat.

Like a lot of people, when I first tried Snapchat, I didn’t quite get it. I wrote it off as something that I must just be too old for (oh God no, it’s finally happening!) and didn’t open it for months after that.

But a few months back, I decided to give it another shake.

Now I can’t put it down.

Naturally, I wanted to see how nonprofits were using it, so I started following every single org I could possibly find.

And after a few months of watching their snaps, I’ve come up with what I think are the absolute best nonprofits on Snapchat.

It’s clear these orgs have a well-defined strategy and goals (as you should before diverting resources to a new social media channel). They’re not just snapping just to snap: they’re really delivering value to their audience.

I didn’t throw anyone on this list willy-nilly. In fact, the list was 8 at first, but then I took a hard look at a few and thought “Are they doing something truly creative?”

Simply put: these are the best of the best. At least that I’ve seen.

Here are my 5 favorites, in no particular order:

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Topics: social media, nonprofit marketing,

Are You Measuring What Matters On Your Nonprofit Website?

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Jun 13, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Can I share a vulnerability with you?

I’m easily influenced by numbers and stats that don’t really matter.

Things like website views, Twitter followers, or Facebook likes.

These are frequently referred to “Vanity Metrics.” They sure look pretty on the outside, but they’re surface level numbers. They don’t necessarily measure what actually matters.

It’s easy to fall into this trap. Vanity metrics are fun! Who doesn’t want lots of people on their website? How could that possibly be a bad thing?

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Topics: nonprofit marketing,, nonprofit websites

5 Brilliant Examples of Engaging Nonprofit Web Content

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Jun 6, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Close your eyes and think about your living room.

Think about your TV. Think about the furniture around your TV.

Do you have a shelf full of DVD’s and Blu-ray discs? Probably movies that you saw once in theaters, loved, then decided you needed to own?

God, I hope it’s not just me…

Actually, I know it’s not just me. Whenever I visit a friend’s apartment, I see the same set up. Shelves full of movies.

But here’s the thing:

Do you ever actually watch them?

Oh sure, there’s one on the shelf that gets a lot of playtime (it’s Stepbrothers, okay? Don’t judge me.) But other than that, they collect a lot of dust.

Same goes for all the books on my shelves. I read them, enjoyed them, and can’t bear to part with them. But how often do I ever re-read them?

Uh...never.

Now my Netflix account, on the other hand, gets more airtime than a Donald Trump rally, and the magazine, blogs, and other periodicals I read get my attention on a regular basis.

So what gives?

What gives is this: I don’t reread books or re-watch movies because I already know what’s there. I’ve seen it. I know it. There’s nothing new.

But I tune into shows and read magazine because there’s always something new. Something I haven’t seen that I might enjoy.

So it is with your nonprofit’s website.

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Topics: nonprofit marketing,, nonprofit websites

The Common Sense Approach to Corporate Fundraising That Nobody Seems to Be Doing

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on May 31, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Last week, we had the great privilege of hosting a webinar with Chris Baylis (here’s the recording on demand if you missed it). Chris is an expert on all things sponsorship, and people eat his presentations up.

I think one of the things that makes his presentations so engaging and interesting to people is this: a lot of what he says is “counter-cultural,” yet common sense at the same time.

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Topics: Fundraising, corporate giving, event sponsorship

5 Ways to Show Your Nonprofit’s Impact on Instagram

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on May 23, 2016 10:00:00 AM

If you’re plugged into the social media world, you know that Instagram has been in the news quite a bit lately.

A few weeks back, they announced major changes to the way posts will be displayed for users. Instagram will now follow a Facebook style algorithm, in that you won’t be shown every post, nor will they be shown to you in chronological order. Rather, an algorithm will decide what you will likely most want to see and show you posts based on that.

Then, just last week, Instagram revealed their new look. A new logo, color scheme, and app design. Reviews were...mixed.

But regardless of your thoughts on their new logo or timeline, Instagram is a force to be reckoned with. Last year they surpassed 400 million users, making it a bigger social network than Twitter. Plus, they have the backing of their parent company, Facebook, so they’re likely to be a force for years to come.

Instagram is getting crowded...

 

The problem with Instagram is that it can be a bit difficult to think of material to post. Instagram is just about the most visual social network there is, so you can’t just throw up some questions or update posts like you might on Facebook or Twitter (although you should absolutely do more than just update posts on those networks).

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Topics: social media, nonprofit marketing,

Missed The #DonorLove Rendezvous? Here's What You Missed.

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on May 16, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Raise your hand if you've ever dealt with the horror of a boring professional conference.

You know the ones: cold hotel conference rooms. Long opening sessions where you're obligated to clap for long lists of sponsors. Boring sessions. No breaks. No sunlight. Bad coffee. And you have to spend over a thousand bucks for the privilege to be there.

*Shudder*

Thankfully, there's people like Rory Green and Maeve Strathy who are doing their damnedest to change that.

And they just might start a fundraising revolution in the process.

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Topics: Fundraising, #donorlove, conference

What President Obama Can Teach Us About Sending Great Email

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on May 9, 2016 10:00:00 AM

You know what I find positively terrifying?

Those photos of presidents comparing how they look their first year in office versus their last year.

Across a span of 8 years, their appearance seems to fast-forward decades. The stress and long hours of the job takes a visible toll on their health. The future of our country is hanging on their decisions that they must make on a daily basis.

Yikes. Makes you wonder why anyone wants to run for office.

Given all that responsibility, the President is forced to be very efficient in their decision-making process.

And there’s a lesson to be learned here for nonprofits when it comes to communicating with donors.

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Topics: nonprofit marketing,, email fundraising

The Silly Thing You’re Doing With Your Nonprofit Newsletter That Keeps Me From Reading It

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on May 2, 2016 10:00:00 AM

There’s a brand new train station in Lower Manhattan. But it’s more than just any transit station.

It’s the “Oculus.”

With wing-like arms that shoot hundreds of feet in the air, it’s bright white structure causes your eyes to squint on a sunny day.

The Oculus is an impressive structure, no one can doubt that. But the project always manages to elicit grumbles from New Yorkers whenever it gets brought up.

That’s because the train station cost $4 billion. That’s nearly $2 billion MORE than it was supposed to originally cost. It also took 12 years to build.

You see, in all the excitement of building something new, beautiful, and impressive, the most important aspect of a train station was forgotten.

 It has to efficiently connect people to trains. You know...it needs to be a train station.

Now before you scratch your head and wonder what the hell has happened to the WeDidIt Fundraising Blog, bear with me a second.

The Oculus station fiasco is not unlike a lot of nonprofit newsletters.

They’re fancy.

They’re beautiful.

They’re big.

But did anyone stop and ask “Hey...are these affecting the behavior of recipients in anyway?”

Too often, the answer to that is no. Or more accurately, it’s “...you know, I have no clue. I just loved this design.”

 

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Topics: online fundraising, nonprofit marketing,, email fundraising

I Analyzed Data on 458 Nonprofit Zoos and Aquariums. Here’s What I Found.

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Apr 25, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Almost everyone has a distinct memory from their childhood of going to the zoo or aquarium.

There’s something magical about going to this place in your city where you can see and learn about incredible animals from all over the world.  Huge animals with sharp teeth, long tusks, or glowing eyes, right there in front of you.

I asked some of our team members here at WeDidIt about their memories of the zoo or aquarium as kids.

 

Our CEO Su Sanni has some great memories from the @bronxzoo

A video posted by WeDidItNYC (@wediditnyc) on

Besides playing an important role in education, zoos and aquariums also play an important role in conservation efforts around the world and in their local communities. Look no further than our friends at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, who just this past winter rescued nearly 100 sea turtles in their area suffering from a condition known as “cold stun.”

With over 450 zoos and aquariums across the country, I decided to crunch some data and to learn more about these nonprofits.

Here’s what I found.

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Topics: Fundraising, aquariums, zoos

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